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|Myvanwy Fenton May||1768||FSen||03:41:38|
|Lorne Hugh Crowe||6414||MV40||04:45:01|
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David H said:
At first I wasn’t planning to write a report on my Edinburgh marathon experience since it didn’t exactly go to plan but then I thought maybe people would like to hear how it feels when it all goes slightly wrong. Everyone likes a good horror story right?
First, a little bit of background information: In 2012 I did my first marathon at Loch Ness, experienced some dodgy stomach issues on the second half and didn’t quite break my target of running under 4 hours but it was my first marathon and I finished so I was happy. In spring of 2013 I entered the Windermere marathon but injury struck and I never even made the start line. Then in autumn of 2013 I entered the Kielder marathon. For a variety of reasons I wasn’t quite up for it on the day and after 17 miles of mental torture I dropped out. I won’t go into all the gory details but it’s fair to say that afterwards I was feeling pretty low. So as you can see I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the marathon, I surprisingly love the marathon despite my difficulties with it while the marathon clearly hates me with a vengeance!
This year I have entered the Amsterdam marathon in October and I thought that I would try and get some confidence back by doing the Edinburgh marathon as a warm-up. Training went as well as could be expected and I had a really good run at the Edinburgh to North Berwick 20 mile race 3 weeks before. I was feeling quite confident up until the last week when the doubts really started to set in and memories of Kielder came flooding back. It felt like a really long week but I kept two important images in my mind. The first one was of me smiling, high-fiveing and waving happily at the ERN cheer point at 25 miles and the second was of me running down the finish straight, arms raised, enjoying the moment. I’ll come back to these images later!
On the morning of the race I got a lift into town from my Dad and I wandered along Waterloo Place towards the start on Regent Road and met John E (dressed in a furry outfit!), David M and Rachel M. After a brief chat we all went out separate ways to our starting pens. It was quite cool standing about so I was glad I’d brought an old space blanket to wrap around myself. The forecast had been for heavy rain and there was a lot of low cloud about but it was staying dry at least. The last few moments before we started I felt as calm and confident as I had all week so I thought that must be a good sign.
The gun went off, I slowly inched forward and a minute or two later I passed over the start line. The race was on! The first 3 miles down to Leith Links was quite crowded but it was keeping my pace in check on what could have been a fast downhill start. At the far end of Leith Links Elly and Phil were out to cheer so I gave them a wave. I reached 5 miles in 43 minutes which was right on my target but I got a surprise heading along Portobello Prom to the 10k point when the sun started shining through the clouds and the temperature immediately felt like it had risen a few degrees.
I carried on feeling fine and looking forward to reaching 10 miles and the ERN cheer point just past Mrs Formans Pub. I hit 10 miles in about 1 hour 26 minutes so I was still right on my target pace and I got a good lift seeing some friendly ERN faces although I tried not to think that it would be another 15 miles before I would see them again!
My legs were starting to feel a little bit heavy as I approached the half way point so I decided I needed some music to take my mind off things. It did help a bit but I found miles 13 to 16 from Port Seton along towards Gosford a bit of a struggle as I was getting tired and the sun was feeling quite warm. I had 2 or 3 walking breaks on some of the gentle inclines before disaster struck at about 16 miles just before the turn for home at Gosford. I took a step forward with my right leg when I felt a painful cramp on the inside of my thigh just above my knee. I immediately slowed to a walk and the pain went away. I carried on walking for a couple of minutes and then started running slowly again. I managed to run for a couple of minutes before I got the same twinge in my thigh again and I had to walk. This carried on through the grounds of Gosford House and back onto the main road towards Longniddry.
The really annoying thing was that I didn’t feel tired any more and wanted to run but couldn’t get further than a couple of minutes. I was really tempted to just call it a day and drop out at Longniddry as I knew I could get my Dad to come and pick me up but I kept thinking back to Kielder and I was feeling great apart from the cramping in my thigh. I accepted that I wasn’t going to break 4 hours and I wasn’t even going to beat my Loch Ness time but I was going to finish even if I had to walk the whole way. There was a part of me that thought the cramp might go away as I’d been drinking, taking gels and S-caps regularly so I didn’t feel like I was dehydrated in any way.
I was hoping I could keep up the run until it cramps, walk and repeat the rest of the way but at about 19.5 miles I tried to start running and immediately my thigh cramped up along with my right and left calf. I’m sure it looked quite funny as I hobbled/danced awkwardly! I knew then it was going to be a long walk to the finish. I found I was actually able to power walk quite quickly without any pain so I set about walking as fast as I could. It was quite tough walking through Port Seton, Cockenzie and Prestonpans with people out cheering. I didn’t feel deserving of the cheers so I just tried to keep my head down and keep on walking.
The miles slowly ticked by and at 24.5 miles I knew I was almost at the ERN cheer point. I was looking forward to getting there but at the same time I was secretly hoping nobody would see me walking. I decided to try a bit of running again and I’d run between two lamp posts and then walk between the next two. I managed this for longer than I thought I would but then the cramping started up again as I approached the ERN flag. This wasn’t going to be like I had imagined it. I wanted to stop and explain why I was so slow but as I took a couple of jelly babies from Murdo, saw everyone there and heard the cheers of encouragement the words stuck in my throat and I just couldn’t speak. I hurried on past with a few tears in my eyes, feeling like I was letting the club down but I quickly got a hold of myself and even tried to break into a run again to show I wasn’t completely useless even if that didn’t last long. Not quite how I had imagined this moment!
There were lots of crowds out cheering for the last mile alongside the racecourse and as much as I wanted to be able to run my legs just wouldn’t cooperate. I passed by my Mum and Dad (I’d phoned a couple of times to let them know I was well behind schedule) and then decided that I’d really have to run down the finishing straight. I turned the corner into Pinkie Park and saw the finishing line about 150 metres ahead. I tried a number of times breaking into a run but never got more than a few steps before I started cramping up in my thigh, both calves and in my groin. I grimaced and groaned as the line was so close and yet so far. I seemed to be stuck on moving walkway with the finish not getting any closer. I was really hoping the photographers would see my plight and spare my blushes but no they captured my painful steps towards the finish. Finally, I was just four of five feet from the line, I tried one final run, was gripped by cramp and hopped/hobbled/danced my way across the line! Remember that picture I had in my head? This was so not the way I’d imagined my moment of triumph would be like!
I know there has been a fair bit of outrage/debate about EMF not publishing a full result list due to “privacy rights,” and I’d normally be upset too but on this occasion I’m quite happy for my time to be hidden from view. What’s that? My time is on the ERN website? Darn it!
Here’s the funny thing though. I’ve now finished two marathons in times which I’d have been really disappointed with at the start. And yet any disappointment I have felt has been completely over shadowed by the feeling of satisfaction and happiness at just being able to finish. I guess that’s what makes the marathon special. It’s not meant to be easy and it doesn’t matter how long it takes, nothing quite beats that moment when you sprint/run/jog/walk/hop/
POST RUN NOTE: I showed physio my bruised thigh the day after the marathon and he said something like “ah, no wonder you couldn’t run, you’ve burst blood vessels in your thigh. Every time you tried to run the blood flow would increase and so would the pain”. Yes I can safely say it did increase every time I tried to run!
A wee half marathon report too from first timer Claire Monk:
Holy macaroni! First I have to talk to you about WEATHER! Got up on Sunday morning before 6am and as if that isn’t bad enough, I took a peek out of the window and realised I couldn’t see anything. No it wasn’t still dark, but there was a proper pea soup fog. I’ve been working on my nerves so I decided to ignore it and shut the blinds and made my way downstairs for the breakfast of champions – shredded wheat bitesize with dry fruit, a bagel with peanut butter and banana, OJ and a glass of water.
Got down to the start with plenty of time to SOAK up the atmosphere, by this time it was not just foggy but it was also pouring with rain. There was a short delay at the start and then we were off. It rained for about the first 4 miles, but you stop noticing after a while and I felt pretty good running along. There are obvious benefits to do most of your training around the Braids, all those long runs on hills had toughened me up.
6 miles in I was on the prom at Portobello, thinking about how much nicer the weather was at this stage last year when I did the relay! Then I clocked my fastest ever 10k time (62:30). Forgot about the weather and spent the next couple of miles feeling quite impressed with myself! By now I knew that I had some time in the bag if things started to slow down from here on. Yes, yes, I know all about negative splits, but I wanted to know I had time to play with later in the race.
Anyhoo I was still feeling OK by 9 miles, but I was starting to slow a bit. With my “time in the bag” I was OK with the slower pace. My partner Grm was waiting for me at 9 miles with flat coca cola, I grunted at him as I grabbed the bottle and was on my way. It started to feel hard from the 10 mile point. I was tired and a bit heavy legged, but told myself that I really only had to plod around Parkrun and I’d be done! I told myself (out loud) “you’ve got this Claire, keep going”. Quite a lot of people were walk/ running by this stage, but I just kept grinding it out. I had also developed a blister on the sole of my foot at about 8/9 miles, I suspect this was because of wet socks and shoes from the start – I never get blisters. It was painful, but I just tried to ignore it and concentrated on breathing smoothly.
Suddenly I was at 12.5 miles and Al (my coach) was there shouting me on then hot on his heels I saw Grm again. Once I could see the 13 mile marker up ahead I tried to pick up my pace a bit for a strong finish, turned into the playing fields, had a mild panic that I wouldn’t be able to keep up the pace to the end, but I put my head down and pushed with everything I could muster. I crossed the finish line in 2:22:23, well within my 2:30 target.
In 2012 when I started doing this running thing my objective was to be able to run 5k 2-3 times a week. On Sunday I finished my first half marathon and I am pretty pleased with that.”