Not quite sure where to start with this one, but wow, what a weekend. Training hadn’t been ideal always, but I’d run the Tay 10 for my last long (ish) run the week before and I’d taken it easy and loved every minute of it. Previously that far into Marathon training where the taper is getting to me, I haven’t felt the love, so for once I was actually quietly confident about the whole thing.
There were quite a few folks from Aberdeen going down but my arm had been twisted to enter the race (yeah right) by Ann (Abz1903) so we left on the Saturday morning to get the train. Journey was lovely and uneventful and we caught a taxi to our hotel and checked in. All was good.
This was the view we had from the end of our floor:
The view out of our room was a little less inspiring, but you can’t have it all.
Once we’d got ourselves settled in we decided to take a wander around to find the baggage drop and start. It also gave us a chance to check out what local eateries were around 🙂
We did find the start and bag drop areas with relative ease, apart from it seemed, taking the long way round, and by this time it was pouring down so on our way back to the hotel we managed to find a local Tesco, where some emergency clothing supplies were bought. For the record, jeans are not the best thing to be wearing in the rain!
That did mean that we found a quicker way back and even managed to pop in to one of the BBC buildings, so I could get my photo taken with these guys:
Of course whilst there we also found this:
When we had managed to dry off a bit it was time for food. Thankfully the rain had stopped and we opted for Bella Italia and I settled for a pizza 🙂 This was a bit of a recurring theme!
This is the view we got as the sun was setting:
Then it was time for bed. We had taken the Tesco stop as an opportunity to pick up some breakfast supplies and additional water, so we had made sure we were well hydrated, which led to unbroken sleep – enough said!
When we awoke in the morning, it looked cold, but the sun was there. Forecast was for sunshine, so I was extremely glad I’d packed the sunblock! We had a leisurely breakfast and then got ourselves ready to go.
We left our hotel and started to wander up to the baggage drop. More about that later, but I was extremely thankful for my high race number! This of course also involved a standing in the toilet queue, but we managed to find some in the cricket ground round the other side, which were not quite so heavily populated, so with about 10 minutes or so to the start we were heading up to our muster point.
The start was a bit strange, in that there was no arch, gantry or anything so we didn’t really know where the start was, so as soon as I saw a timing mat I started my Garmin. I was feeling totally amazing and was shocked to find we were with and then in front of the 5:30 pacer. I did wonder at the time if that would backfire later on, but Ann assured me everything would be fine 🙂 The first mile marker confused me greatly as it was turned around, so only around 0.6 miles, which was a bit worrying till I figured what the problem was. I’d settled into a pace, so I was happy enough, but then I saw a familiar face. It was our very own Race Angel Autumnleaves 🙂 She bounded across to meet me and I got a big Fetchie hug, which gave me another boost. Was so glad to finally meet her.
I was pretty much running on a very wonderful runners high. In fact so much so that I ran though 10k in a PB time (oopppsss) and was even managing to take gels and drink on the go which I normally wouldn’t do for fear of choking!
We got to about 11 miles when I started to come down from my high. I didn’t realise that Ann wasn’t having the best time, so she’d suggested going down to a run walk strategy and actually I’d realised that this would be a very good idea since I was fading. I’d actually never run without stopping for this distance before as normally I would walk through water stations! Another new thing that I should not really have tried on race day!
Still we started doing a 4 minute run 1 minute walk and the 5:30 pacer only passed us around half way round. We were able to stick with her for a while, but I knew that would have been a massive ask. I just concentrated on keeping going.
I think we saw most folks we knew were running which was fab, and saw lots of other Fetchies. Got a hug from Naomi (Metro_Nome) around mile 12 as she was on her way back, which perked us up a bit too 🙂
I must admit, this is the part of the race I did not love. I seem to get a dip around half marathon distance, so every run was a bit of a struggle and I felt a bit rubbish. It was also getting way too hot for my liking (come on folks, I live in NE Scotland!). Mind you even folks more local were complaining about the heat.
Some of you may know that I sing in Aberdeen West Rock Choir. Seeing one of the Rock Choir groups en route, perked me up a little too and I followed Ann as we went slightly off course to run right past them 🙂
I can’t remember exactly where, but eventually my foe struck – cramp! I was glad I’d taken salts with me. We also met one of our other friends Michelle here, who was running for the same charity I support. She was having issues with cramp too, so now there were 3 of us 🙂 This actually gave me another boost which I was desperately needing.
We plodded on and the miles ticked away, granted some of them not quick enough for me! Sometimes I had to walk longer when the camp got bad, but I did what I could when I could. At one point when we passed a farmyard, I was almost sick, the smell was something else. Ripe would be an understatement. I think I may have actually picked up the pace for a few minutes to get past this!
The cramp had settled as much as it was going to for now, so I tried to just relax and noticed some of the interesting characters around us. We were running close to a gentleman in a naked suit, so there were lots of wolf whistles. Poor guy was having to hold his number down to cover his naked suit modesty as there were a lot of children out supporting!
I think this may have been around miles 21/22 as there was lots of loud music, in the boost zone. I think I just wanted to be finished by here. All I could think about was that I was hoping to get to see Autumnleaves again at mile 24 🙂
Some of the walking breaks were a bit longer now as the cramp came and went, but all in all I was still going okay. I’d taken a hydration pack filled with electrolyte drink and I had liquid salts, both of which I was very glad of.
Eventually it was mile 24, and my yup, I found my Race Angel 🙂 Could not do much for the cramp by this point other than walk when I couldn’t run, but I tried to keep as much as possible to the 4 and 1 strategy, but I must admit I was willing Ann to tell me it was time to walk. What I haven’t told you is that whilst we’d lost the 5:30 pacer I was still on for a very good time!
For the last 2 miles I chatted to Autumnleaves and found out that there had been many folks suffering from cramp and that she’d had a lovely day being a Race Angel (such a brilliant idea). Felt like I’ve known her for years. This is why I love fetcheveryone.com. There are so many wonderful and supportive people there. 🙂
When we got into the finishing straight Naomi joined us and when we got closer to the line Michelle, Ann and I held hands and finished together. I stopped my Garmin and just about collapsed at the time it told me. I yelled over at Autumnleaves for a last hug and then hugged Ann and Michelle as we went off in search of medals etc.
I managed to get my ass of a mobile phone (which refused to charge up in England) on so I could call my hubby and best mate to let them know how I’d got on.
This is my chuffed face:
It was then we found out that there were issues. The tracking had been a bit of a pest and some folks seemed to get it working okay and others didn’t. The baggage claim for anyone with a number up to 12,000 was more of a joke. The queue was about a mile long and that is not an exaggeration. People were taking up to 2 hours to get their bags back! An apology has since been issued. Luckily once we realised that this was not our queue (thanks Paul), we got our bags really quickly, then nothing else to do but head to the pub! A Fetchie meetup had been arranged, but unfortunately it ended up being just me, Ann and Naomi, who captured this wonderful OMG I’ve just done a marathon photo:
I managed a diet coke and a half pint of Guinness before we wandered back to our hotel, dropping Naomi at hers on the way.
I was tired, and a bit stiff, but no blisters (a first). Lovely shower (no chaffing either) and change and we ended up having dinner at our hotel which has a Marco Pierre White restaurant. I had a pizza again!
Okay, I know some of you will be wanting to know how I did. Previous Marathon PB 7:09:48. New Marathon PB 5:49:33. Yup I took a massive 1 hour 20 minutes off my time. I must stress I could have not achieved this with out the unfailing support of Ann, who has endured my ramblings and grumpy rants throughout training. Thank you Michelle for your company and Naomi for the hug and post run pub meet. I’d also like to thank all my friends who believed it me (even when I didn’t) and everyone who gave me a shout out on the day. The marshals were great and I really hope the Race Angels idea goes global. It’s awesome. Totally feel like I’m in the middle of an Oscar winning speech here, but I’m so proud I could burst. I could never have imagined doing what I did on Sunday.
For those of you who are interested, here are my mile splits:
1) 1m – 12:23(12:23/m) 98/123bpm 26cal 4.85/5.51mph
2) 1m – 11:58(11:58/m) 127/145bpm 70cal 5.02/5.78mph
3) 1m – 12:06(12:06/m) 143/148bpm 82cal 4.96/5.42mph
4) 1m – 12:13(12:13/m) 143/151bpm 83cal 4.91/6.26mph
5) 1m – 12:08(12:08/m) 145/154bpm 77cal 4.94/5.74mph
6) 1m – 12:13(12:13/m) 140/154bpm 80cal 4.91/5.51mph
7) 1m – 12:11(12:11/m) 115/145bpm 76cal 4.92/5.73mph
8) 1m – 12:09(12:09/m) 125/155bpm 43cal 4.93/10.14mph
9) 1m – 12:27(12:27/m) 113/138bpm 56cal 4.82/5.54mph
10) 1m – 12:24(12:24/m) 107/136bpm 78cal 4.84/5.5mph
11) 1m – 12:43(12:43/m) 88/121bpm 23cal 4.72/5.51mph
12) 1m – 13:59(13:59/m) 75/97bpm 36cal 4.29/5.46mph
13) 1m – 13:16(13:16/m) 75/91bpm 37cal 4.52/5.99mph
14) 1m – 12:58(12:58/m) 74/87bpm 14cal 4.63/6.11mph
15) 1m – 12:38(12:38/m) 70/99bpm 8cal 4.75/5.97mph
16) 1m – 13:07(13:07/m) 76/92bpm 9cal 4.58/5.8mph
17) 1m – 12:56(12:56/m) 77/90bpm 13cal 4.64/5.94mph
18) 1m – 15:04(15:04/m) 94/141bpm 37cal 3.98/5.28mph
19) 1m – 13:09(13:09/m) 92/140bpm 40cal 4.56/5.55mph
20) 1m – 14:09(14:09/m) 97/137bpm 41cal 4.24/5.43mph
21) 1m – 12:53(12:53/m) 90/105bpm 67cal 4.66/5.37mph
22) 1m – 14:33(14:33/m) 114/151bpm 26cal 4.12/5.55mph
23) 1m – 14:18(14:18/m) 125/158bpm 57cal 4.2/5.21mph
24) 1m – 16:02(16:02/m) 132/163bpm 67cal 3.74/5.51mph
25) 1m – 14:50(14:50/m) 137/174bpm 89cal 4.05/5.34mph
26) 1m – 14:22(14:22/m) 131/171bpm 78cal 4.18/5.35mph
27) 0.5m – 6:25(12:56/m) 127/148bpm 24cal 4.64/6.74mph
We stayed over on the Sunday night and spent Monday having a bit of a wander before the long journey home. Even managed some retail therapy, but it was good to keep the legs moving. They are a little stiff today still, but I seem to have got off lightly considering how I’ve felt after my previous marathon exploits.
Next time, I might just see what I can do to hang on to that 5:30 pacer, oh wait, I have another marathon in a couple of months. I might just take that one easy 🙂