Date: Yesterday, Sunday May 22nd.
Event: Edinburgh Marathon, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Plan: run this thing as a training run - the Swiss Alpine Marathon training thingie is what's important now.
I've never been less prepared. I had the worst possible marathon preparation.
1. I did not taper for this marathon (I didn't run a lot of miles in the last few days before the marathon, but had covered 50 miles in the week before, and did a Back-2-Back hill training in the weekend before the marathon - the Swiss Alpine Marathon training schedule is what's important now. And yes, I know there are several runners out there that would say 50 miles a week is low mileage, and that it would qualify as a taper period, but my body is used to running less miles than that in a taper period. Yep, I'm slow, I know. ;)).
2. I spent the day before the marathon sightseeing around Edinburgh. Walking, that is. Lovely city!
3. I had an awful migraine the late PM/evening before the marathon and spent hours in bed. And did not eat. Had a tiny bit of rice, but that stupid migraine made me feel sick.
4. I tried something new on race day. Not shorts. Not a shirt. Not socks. Nope, worse. I tried a new energy drink (GU Brew), because I couldn't take my usual Gatorade with me on the plane. Bad girl, I know.
I was already approaching this marathon as a training run for the Swiss Alpine Marathon K78, but - especially considering the migraine that left my musces feeling awful and me feeling exhausted - I really had no other option than taking it slow. So, I did take Mr Garmin with me, and turned it on, but never really looked at it. I couldn't care less about finish times or predicting a finishing time.
Start line: chatted the time away. Nice, friendly crowd of runners. And hardly any lines for the port-a-potties. Me likey! Not nervous. At all. No race day drippy poo (which is nice for a change). I was actually looking forward to heading out for a long run. All smiles.
Start: *Bleep*. Mr Garmin is on. Bag pipe players are playing. All choked up - already. Yep, way to go.
Mile 1-6 (1-10K): Not checking Mr Garmin. Just taking it slow. Some nice downhills and slight uphills. As long as I'm able to chat with other runners and able to hand out high-fives to the kids that were cheering us on, I'm fine. Filled up my watter bottle at mile 5.8 (9.5K) where my mom and a friend of hers were cheering me on.
10K mark: Mr Garmin bleeps, and since I'm on a timing mat for the 10K-split, I check how slow I'm moving forward. 54:22. Too fast. I know I'll pay for that later, but I really couldn't care less.
Mile 6-13 (10-21.1K): Still cruising along. My legs are okay. I can feel the aftermath of the migraine in my legs, but it doesn't get any worse than that. Refill my watter bottle at mile 11 (17.6K).
Mile 13.1 (21.1K): Timing mat. Let's check Mr Garmin again. 1:54:17. Can't be right. And I still couldn't care less. Doesn't feel like I'm racing, so I'll just head on and wait till I hit the wall.
Mile 13-18 (21-29K): Nice loop along the ocean. Scenic course. Now, where's that wall? Come out, come out, where ever you are! Mom and her friend are panicking because they missed me at mile 16 and are worrying their pants off that I might have crashed into that wall. Numerous phone calls later (yep, I was running and on the phone. Multi-tasking, baby), I've reassured them that I'd just missed them and that I'm fine.
You can't tell from the photo, but the rain at this point was insane. In-sane. And nope, those chicken wing arms aren't an example of bad running form. I was trying to take a GU, but was struggling with my handheld and opening the GU-pack at the same time. :)
Mile 18.8 (30K) mark: *Bleep*. Hi there, Mr Garmin. Ah, timing mat. 2:43:14. Oh, I'm going to hit that wall big time.
Mile 18-20 (29-32K): Because I missed mom at the 16 mile mark I didn't have any GU Brew left. Just took a salt pack. And I did just miss a water station. What's the plan? Flunning myself into getting some guy's water bottle. Yep, worked like a charm. He emptied his bottle in my handheld. Thanks! :) Still awaiting the point where I'll hit the wall.
Mile 20-22 (32-35K): Stop blocking the road! The course is narrow and there are quite a lot of runners walking. Next to each other. Chatting. Please, go to the side of the road and stop blocking others: that's what I always do when I'm walking for a bit (or limping it out, like I did at the NYC Marathon in 2010)! Finally find mom and her friend at mile 22 (35K), and get to refill my bottle. 'Are you okay?'. 'Yeah, I think I am. Just awaiting 'hitting the wall' moment.'. Still haven't walked through the water stops, which is what I'd normally do.
Mile 22-25.5 (35-41K): We're still running along the ocean. Headwinds! Headwinds! Insane headwinds! What the what! Decide to keep on doing what I was already doing: keep a pace that seems comfortable to me, and don't look at Mr Garmin. Now, please don't let me hit the wall hard in those last few miles!
Mile 25.5-26.2 (41-42.2K): Almost there yet? No! I'm having a blast! Hmmmppfff. We're directed to the right and sent onto a racing course. And there's the finish line. Chick a guy in front of me. And cross the finish line. Legs feel a bit stiffish, but I feel...fresh? Huh? That can't be correct.
Mile 26.2 (42.2K): 3:50:33. PR'd by 9 minutes and 22 seconds. 395/2913 women. Huh? And I never pushed it. It did not feel like racing. I was just having a blast. Maybe the 'I'm just going to have fun. I couldn't care less about speed'-attitude did the trick. I'm happy to have a second sub-4. :) The Edinburgh Marathon spoiled me. :) And yes, I know, it's no BQ-time, but I'm happy with it. Get over it. ;)
Yep...the silly face did make an appearance. ;)
Right before the finish line. Chicked the guy behind me. He had it coming. :)
'End run' - the finish line. And not believing what's on the screen of Mr Garmin...
And then some
After crossing the finish line, we were directed to the finisher's area. While I'm on my way over there, some TV-crew starts asking me questions. They are taping the interview. On camera. I was babbling. Babbling babbling. I do NOT want to see that interview. Must have been hilarious to watch.
Got my medal (from a cute little boy that was struggling with the medals. Too funny.). Have my finisher's photo taken (why aren't the photos available yet, marathonphotos.com? Then again...I might not want to see how they turned out...). And suddenly hear someone calling my name. Mom! She bragged her way into the finisher's area. Ha! Mom, where would I have been without you? Probably hitting some wall...
And then, it was over. We're through the reunion area and on the streets. Mom's friend was kind enough to drive us back to her place (where we were staying). All was left was packing our bags, getting Mr service dog ready and heading to the airport. No time to celebrate. Let's see if I can squeeze in some champagne and sushi tonight! :)