Monday, 30 May 2011

2 Sundays of pain and schizophrenic weather

So much for Sunday being a day of rest - I have spent the last 2 in unfavourable weather completing running and cycling challenges.

The 22nd saw me complete my first ever marathon. I prayed for half decent weather but in return got heavy downpours and almost gale-force winds! This was not helped by the fact most of the marathon course was along the coast.

The beginning
At these event there is always massive queues for the toilets - I thought, being lucky enough to live pretty nearby and being able to leave fairly late I would avoid them but my body had other plans. This lead to me ducking out as I was nearing the start line and then having to start my marathon with a sprint to overtake the sweeper bus. (a note the the woman in front of me in the aforementioned queue - it is a bit off for a non-participant to use the toilets when runners are in a hurry and then look pissed-off when you skip past them!).

After my sprinting start I slowed down, following the usual advice not to go too fast in the first half. I think this paid off but I still managed a half-marathon PB of 2h10min. 

The middle bit
One of the main drawbacks of the Edinburgh marathon course is that from about mile 16 or so the course kind of double backs on itself so when you still have a very long way to go, you start seeing all the elite runners on the way back and you have to live in the knowledge that you have all this to still to come. I think I got to about 18miles when I was starting to think...mmm, I may just finish this. Though by this time my stomach was starting to rebel against all the sports drink I was bombarding it with - not pleasant. so compared with no toilet stops for all of 18miles I managed 3 in the last 8 miles.

The worst of the weather then asserted itself by mile 20 and unfortunately it was in front of us. At one point it pushed me backwards. It was also making my nose stream.

The End (Hurrah!!)
There really is nothing like seeing the finish line and the feeling of adrenaline when, after limping, jogging, walking the past few miles, you somehow manage to find the energy to sprint like a maniac for the last 400 meters or so. I felt overwhelmed and a few tears were shed as I literally zoomed past people like I was being chased by something big and scary.

My finishing time was 4 hours 49 mins. I do think I would have been a bit faster if the wind wasn't so bad and my stomach problems hadn't required the toilet visits. (May have to find an alternative to sports drinks for long runs!)

The following Sunday I decided to mark the week anniversary by cycling 50 miles from Glasgow to Edinburgh in aid of Chest, Heart and Stroke Scotland. This is a really small event run by lovely volunteers. It was pretty tough - again, not helped by the windy conditions but it is a lovely route along the Forth and Clyde and Union Canals that link Glasgow and Edinburgh and you are treated to some wonderful scenery along the way. Myself and my Dad (who was that one that roped me in to taking part) managed it in about 4 and a half hours but then we did get to stop of for lunch, though not for long thanks to the freezing wind and rain!

Next week I shall definitely be doing nothing (other than a my daily Junathon exercise quota of course!!)

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