Edinburgh Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon cancelled

A few times last week, I had been on the Edinburgh Rock ‘n’ Roll website filling in the entry form, but always closing the tab before comitting because I’m planning on selling my flat in the near future, and I seem to remember last year that this was one of those ‘send out race packs’ kind of races; basically I didn’t want to have to deal with getting in touch with organizers/setting up a forwarding address/hassle.  I also knew that I would have plenty of time to sign up, because Rock ‘n’ Roll races generally have a large capacity for runners, unlike some local races that sell out in a matter of hours.

2014 would have marked the third year that the Rock ‘n’ Roll half went ahead in Edinburgh – or at least everyone who had been signing up was expecting that.  Until Monday afternoon, when event organizers announced that they had pulled the plug on the event, offering refunds or a place in another of their races for those who had already signed up.

A refund is all well and good, but due to the popularity of these events, and the fact that (in order to fleece you for more cash) they offer ‘World Rocker’ medals to people who complete their races internationally, there is now a sizeable group of people who have non-refundable accomodation and flights, but no race to run.  Several of these have been leaving comments on the R’n’R Edinburgh facebook page, bemoaning their financial loss thanks to a big name brand happily accepting cash without fully securing the race they were shilling.  One couple even complained that they had included the race as part of their honeymoon!

While not quite as bad, I have several friends who had already entered, and many are now trying to see what they can get back from pre-paid hotel rooms and non-refundable travel arrangements.  I realize this is no wide scale disaster – nobody died, the event wasn’t scheduled to take place for another few months, etc. – but that doesn’t make it right for a company to accept money and allow people to make arrangements to compete in one of their events knowing that there was a chance they wouldn’t be able to follow through.  Why would anyone even do that?

Huh, how did this picture get here?

Huh, how did this picture get here?

I mean, they even changed the date from April to June after the weather last year made the run a horrible experience for many, though everyone understood that the weather was out of their control.  But the date change is a whole other can of worms: I mean, yes, Scottish weather is unpredicatble at the best of times, but the chances of a repeat of last year’s conditions? Remote (did I mention how utterly loathsome the weather was?  Because it was shit).

Anyway, I’ll leave the weather alone, because I have serious beef with Scottish weather even when I’m not running, and my focus here is on the sloppy organization of a not-very-cheap race by a company that clearly values making bank over providing a quality product.

It’s a real shame, as well, because the course really did (at times) go through the heart of the city. The EMF Edinburgh marathon and half marathon start off in the city centre, graze by Holyrood Park, but then the course veers to the outskirts of the city and along the coast to Musselburgh.  On the plus side, they don’t up and cancel a race that people have already paid for.

To the people who had planned an international trip around this event, I can imagine your frustration.  But if you’ve travelled hundreds (or thousands) of miles for a race, what’re a few more?  While perhaps not the glitz and glamour you would expect as part of the ‘world’s largest running series’, there are other races near (and not so near) around the same time to consider:

Sunday, June 22nd:

Saturday, June 28th:

  • Dollar Hill Race – website shows details for last year’s race.
  • Kelty Coal Race – brought to my attention by a reader.  I’ll admit, I am tempted.

Sunday, June 29th:

Saturday, July 5th:

Sunday, July 6th:

Edinburgh Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon 2013

Time: 2:05:40

Position: 2209/4361

Gender Position: 783/2269

Medal: Yes

IMG_20130414_144155

I signed up to this race KNOWING that is was to be held one week after the Paris marathon.  I know that there are a lot of people that run back to back marathons, or ultra marathons, and they are just peachy with that kind of thing, but a single marathon definitely still kicks my ass – or, more appropriately, quads.  Of course, having seen last year’s Rock ‘n’ Roll medals, I didn’t want to wait until 2014 until I had one of my own.  So I guess the lesson I have learnt from this whole experience is that impatience makes you do really dumb things.

After my Parisian mini-break, I enjoyed a couple of days of gentle walking and retail therapy (and finishing off the French treats I had brought back).  I also did some yoga, some weights, and a bit or cardio, and even went on a 5 mile run with a group of friends to test the legs.  Verdict: they were tighter than a nun’s asshole and I felt fatigued after about 200 yards. I was already not looking forward to this race.

On Saturday, Ian and I drove down to Edinburgh as we were staying with his sister’s family.  I had breakfast before we left, but we didn’t stop for lunch, thinking we would have something in Edinburgh.  What actually happened is that we dropped off our stuff, then went exploring Crichton Castle because, for a change, the weather was mild and the sun was out!  Plus, you can just drive to this kind of thing in Scotland.  This did involve a bit of walking, but it was an enjoyable visit:

Approaching Crichton Castle

Approaching Crichton Castle

Looking down onto the courtyard

Looking down onto the courtyard

Toddler included for scale

Toddler included for scale

There were some amazing views

There were some amazing views

And some interesting modifications...

And some interesting modifications…

By the time we got back to the flat, I had to head off to meet Jennifer and Darren (and eventually, Claudia) at a local pub as they were also running RnR and had suggested that we all make an effort to meet in real life as we had previously only spoken online.  I told Ian that if I wasn’t back for dinner, he should check all the alleys and ditches near the pub for my mangled corpse, though I was fairly certain that I was not going to meet a serial killer or a rapist (I was correct).  We had a beer and chatted about races we had all done/were planning to do (and I bought some crisps to appease my stomach’s growls), before everyone had to head off for dinner.

Despite an uncomfortable stomach at a previous Edinburgh race after a curry, I did not hesitate to destroy a North Indian garlic chilli chicken dish (and another beer), before relaxing and digesting for a while before bed.  As I drifted off to sleep, I thought how nice it would be to not have to wake up early and run 13 miles.  I was still not looking forward to this race.

The fact that the wind was howling and blowing the window in our room so much that it was making some pretty remarkable noises that woke us up several times throughout the  night did not make for the most peaceful sleep, and when my alarm went off I was definitely not looking forward to this race.

I forced some shredded wheat and banana down, got dressed, and glanced miserably at the rain beating off of the kitchen window.  I think you’re getting the point by now, but I feel it is necessary to emphasize that I did not want to be running this race.

Dressed, wearing my plastic poncho from Paris, and reluctant, I set off for Holyrood Park.  The wind had knocked over a lot of the road works signs on the road overnight, and had not let up.  At times, it felt like I might be blown off the sidewalk into oncoming traffic, and with my head dipped, I pushed into the wind until I arrived at the start area, shivering, wet, and unenthusiastic.

Screenshot 2013-04-18 at 23.33.36

Claudia, Susan, and some others were also meant to be running, and once I’d spotted them, and taken another pre-race snap, we tried to join fellow runners packed into the marquees like sardines, but there really wasn’t any room inside to shelter ourselves from the wind and rain.

Screenshot 2013-04-19 at 00.00.17

We huddled together, trying to make light of the situation, but we were all freezing and keen to get this thing over and done with.  We eventually heard an announcement (but not actually what it said) and assumed we should probably make our way to the start.  Amazingly, there was a momentary break in the rain, so I pulled out my phone and tried to take a couple of photos.  Unfortunately, my artistic skills have been somewhat hindered by three facts:

  1. I’m wearing gloves and my hands are shaking
  2. My phone is in a ziplock bag
  3. I can’t actually see the screen

Please ignore part of my finger in the crowd shot, but I have included it because the guy in orange’s face pretty much sums up how everyone at the start was feeling:

At the start of the Edinburgh Rock 'n' Roll half marathon 2103 - we are all super stoked to be here.

At the start of the Edinburgh Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon 2103 – we are all super stoked to be here.

And I promise that Susan is somewhere on the right and smiling for this photo, but you’ll just have to take my word for that:

Part of Claudia, me, none of Susan.

Part of Claudia, me, none of Susan.  Also, when did I develop crows feet?!

While I was chatting to Claudia and Susan, I heard someone say my name.  I turned to my right to see yet another person I ‘knew’ from the void that is the internet, Jane, and then another!  It was a pleasant surprise to just happen upon each other like that, and good to meet in person.  The announcer mentioned something about a ‘slight delay’ (met my my audible groans, much to the hilarity of my company), but shortly after our scheduled start time, we began to set off.  I decided to keep my poncho on.  It was that crappy.

Susan, Claudia and I set off at a reasonably quick pace.  My legs were stiff and sore, but I was so desperate to get some blood pumping to my extremities as soon as possible, and sure enough, after about a mile my fingers started to tingle as feeling returned!  Susan was chasing a PB, and wanted to come in under 2 hours, so she was setting an aggressive pace.  Claudia had just come back from 2 weeks in Panama, and was puffing.  We told Susan to go for it, while we hung back at a handicapped pace, as the sun began to creep through the clouds and create some heat!

Somewhere between miles 2 and 3 (I think, my Garmin decided to be an asshole so was essentially good for telling me that my heart rate was higher that normal) I ditched my poncho, being a bit too optimistic about the weather.  Although we were still being hammered by 37 mph wind (according to RnR’s facebook page), the rain seemed to be lightening up!

Screenshot 2013-04-18 at 23.34.49

Until we hit the coast.  Then it started hitting us in bitterly cold sheets, and I missed my poncho.  It was around here that I lost Claudia.  I assumed that she had pulled an ‘Inverness‘ on me, but found out later that she was struggling, and had fallen behind.  It was also around here that I knew the rest of the race was going to be really unpleasant. My legs felt like lead, I was out of breath, and I was spending more effort navigating puddles and fighting against the gusts than actually running.  I also knew that this bit was the easy, downhill section, and I would be attacking some pretty hilly terrain on the way back to the finish.

Obviously having a blast.

Obviously having a blast with my linebacker’s neck.

Screenshot 2013-04-16 at 06.44.52The rest of the race is a blur of rain, wind, pain, and a few hardy souls who braved the weather to cheer for the runners with looks of pity.  My legs were done, so I ended up walking most of the hills. Even the growing crowds as we approached the finish line weren’t enough to make me try to save face by speeding up.  I struggled across the finish line and let out a sigh of relief before getting my medal, some water, and finding the man with the foil blankets as my fingers were starting to turn blue.

Glad to be done.

Glad to be done.

And then joining the enormous queue to pick up my t-shirt.  Still, I counted myself lucky that I hadn’t checked any gear, because those lines were even longer!  Lines of foil-wrapped, soggy, shivering runners waiting to collect their stuff was an unfortunate sight, and instead of hanging around to socialize, I started trudging back to Ian’s sister’s where I thawed out in the shower.

I understand that the organizers can’t do anything about the weather, and the fact that the wind speed was, apparently, 37 mph on average, meant that some of the marquees blew over affecting the system at the finish, as well as forcing the concert at the end to be called off as it was deemed too unsafe.  I also get that casual supporters are more likely to not want to stay outside in such miserable conditions.  But being promised a band every mile (I counted 5 in total), I was expecting something a bit grander than what looked like a bunch of hollowed out burger vans with a band you could hear for all of 30 seconds (if they weren’t retuning or taking a break).

My goal for this race from the start was just getting around it in one piece and getting the medal, which is, admittedly, rather fantastic, so I guess I can technically count this as a success, but I am so glad I have two entire weeks before I have another race because my legs absolutely are not in love with me right now.

NVA Speed of Light, Edinburgh

Distance: Just under 5 miles

Medal: No.  But we did get a goody bag with a nice long-sleeved tech shirt!

This is the event that I signed up to after having a few drinks to drown my sorrow at having not been allocated a space in the 2012 London Marathon after the ballot.  And then forgot about.  So when I received an e-mail a couple of months later thanking me for signing up, it took a little bit of digging through my inbox and searching online to confirm what exactly I had signed up for.

Speed of Light is part of Edinburgh’s International Festival, and is seen as, among other things, a fusion of performance and endurance.  It involves runners (a whole bunch of them) suiting up in LED light suits and running around Arthur’s Seat in the dark for an audience.  It started on Thursday, and will be running until the beginning of September, so plenty of time to catch a (late-ish) show if you’re in Edinburgh.

On Saturday afternoon (after a day of walking around Edinburgh in the sun), I headed to Holyrood Park, aiming to arrive at the tents at 6pm.  We had already been through the park on Saturday, so I knew where to go, which always makes things less stressful, but it’s pretty hard to miss!  There were a number of runners milling about waiting to be let through the gates, all clad in black lycra.

Approaching Arthur’s Seat

Speed of Light tents

After a short wait, the security guys called for all the runners to go through.  I was one of the first to get to the registration tent, and after giving my name and telling them I was in the early group, I had two wrist bands put on; one to say I was part of the event, the other allocating me to the yellow group.

NVA wristbands

I headed through to the runners tent, where there were sets of tables for the different groups, found myself a spot, and watched other runners trickling in.  It was quite good fun spotting people wearing event t-shirts from throughout the year, and I spotted quite a few that I own!  There was a guy wearing a Perth Kilt Run shirt, an emf half marathon finisher, and a Tough Mudder shirt.

Eventually, some other early session yellow folk appeared, and we got to talking.  I met a fellow American called Leah, and her friend Morag.  We spoke of GPS, running, food, and what we were expecting from the night.  Before I knew it, the organizer was getting our attention to go through a few safety instructions, give us some information about what we were doing, and thank us for taking part.  Then it was time to get on the hill and go through some basics!

Our run leaders were Cat and Gordon, and after being introduced we set off to learn some of the arm signals we’d be using later on some of the trails we’d be running.  Each movement had been given a name, and some their own arm signal.  Names of the moves included: sparkle, heartbeat, lighthouse, and firefly.  All suitably ridiculous when not wearing a light suit and standing in broad daylight with a group of near strangers on a hill.

Cat, our enthusiastic run leader!

After the orientation, we were set free until about 9.  Leah, Morag, and I hit the cafe, Urban Angels, for some energy to carry us through the night.  I had a brownie (delicious) and some elderflower juice.  It cost me £4.50, so if you’re planning on filling up, bring notes, not coins.  The tables in the cafe were all adorned with tablecloths that had quotes printed on them.  Turns out the quotes were responses to ‘Why do you run?’ that everyone had a chance to fill in when they signed up!

Dinner

By 9pm, we had already made our way back to the runners’ tent, where a small group was huddled around a television showing live Olympic athletics events.  I managed to watch Jamaica beat the U.S.A (and set a new world record!) just before the yellow group got called away to get into our light suits!  The colours were pretty amazing, and they were less cumbersome than I had imagined them to be.

Hanging light suits!

We all helped each other get into the suits and then posed for a last minute group photo.  Unfortunately my camera was on the wrong setting, so a lot of my photos turned out blurry.  This is why the group photo below looks like a point of view shot from someone who had hit the Christmas brandy a little too early.  And a little too hard:

I know I’m in the front row….. somewhere…

Ian texted at about this point to let me know we was somewhere on the hill, and to look out for his phone light flashing when I left the tent.  It was twilight, so I saw his silhouette as soon as we started heading up the hill, and I started covering and uncovering my head torch to try and catch his attention, but he told me afterwards that he couldn’t see me.  Oh well.

The yellow group positioned ourselves in a line, keeping about 10 meters apart, and were told that from the start, we just had to stay still for the first couple of minutes.  I took the opportunity to snap a photo of Edinburgh at twilight from a pretty decent vantage point:

Edinburgh at about 9:30 pm

Once it started, everything was kind of a blue – albeit a very colourful one.  We were going up, we were going down, we were sparkling, we were lighthousing, we were turning around, going past other runners, going through the audience, inhaling flying beasties, navigating rocks and bogs – there was a lot of concentration required!  There were a few moments here and there when we had the opportunity to look across at some of the other runners and saw shapes and patterns being created out of lights on the hill.  It did look pretty impressive, but then it was time to move again!

There were also occasional surprises when your head torch suddenly illuminated a camera man/woman perched in the dark filming you (the BBC were filming that night), and there were one or two members of the public, at various stages of sober, along the trails as well.  If you want to have a look at some of the photos that were taken on the night, there’s a really nice set here.  There is also a short video and some more information about the event here.  Aaaaaand BBC In Pictures.

When we were finished, the late yellow group met us on the hill and we swapped our light suits for their high-viz vests and waited until the path was clear before heading down the hill to the tent.  Once back down, we had goodie bags hanging on the hooks where we had found our light suits, which we grabbed, before getting our personal belongings from the runners’ tent, and saying our goobyes/goodnights.

Ian was waiting for me outside the tent, and we wearily walked back to his sister’s, where I had a quick shower and then enjoyed the comfort of a warm bed.  I didn’t expect him to have stayed up the hill for the whole time I was out running – he must have been freezing!

I’m glad I signed up to this, as it was a one-off experience, and a pretty cool thing to be a part of.  It was also good to get some hill work in, since it has been pretty much non-existent so far (oops).  For anyone in Edinburgh, there are spots for reserve runners, since things happen and people can’t make it, so I’d definitely recommend going along.  I’m also looking forward to seeing the BBC footage, which I heard will be on BBC 2 on August 30th.

‘Daily Mail Reporter’ is a lazy journalist.

I got home after the Perth Kilt Run to find I had two pending comments on my blog.  One from a fellow runner saying nice things about what I write, the other from somebody telling me my blog was ‘sadly’ on Serbian news.  I had pretty much dismissed the comment as spam until I clicked through to check my stats for the day.  I was confronted with this:

Wtf?!

To put things into perspective, in the nearly 6 months in which I have been writing this blog, my busiest day barely had 200 hits, and that was mainly people looking for results and photos for the Balmoral 10k earlier this year.  I guess the random commenter was right!

This led to an investigation with my trusty friend Detective Google.  While I found the website (in Croatian) that linked to my blog, and got the gist of what was being said thanks to various online translation bots (it was about the unfortunate design of the emf finishers’ medal), that was not the weirdest moment of the evening.  For during my online searching, I came across an article on the Daily Mail website.  It appears they have used several quotes from my post in their article:

So while I’m glad ‘Daily Mail Reporter’ found my article amusing/useful, I am also kind of annoyed that all they had to do was cruise Twitter and liase with Detective Google to mash together an article.  For a paycheck.

Considering I did the legwork (literally and figuratively) for my original post, I feel a bit cheated.  Since what I wrote comprises nearly 20% of the Daily Mail article, I am surely entitled to nearly 20% of Daily Mail Reporter’s paycheck.  Am I right?

Oh, and because I could help looking at the comments, here is the utterly charming ‘highest rated’ comment from the article:

No problemo, classy commenter.  Knock yourself out:

Shlong medal and Rachel’s rack.

PS: To any magazines, newspapers, etc. out there, if you’re looking for a columnist, I’m cheap.

EMF Edinburgh Half Marathon 2012

Chip time: 1:53:28  PB!

Position: 2,055/?

Medal: Yes

This thing weighs a ton!

It had completely slipped my mind how early this race started (8 am), and what implications that had on the time I could sleep in until (before 6 am).  After a Saturday of lazing in the very un-Scottish heat and sunshine, complete with ice-cream, barbeque, and frisbee, I was ready for a loooooong sleep.  When my (super irritating) phone alarm went off at 5:32 (I don’t like rounded times for an alarm), a happy camper I was not.

Still full of the cold, I went through to the bathroom and blew what felt to be roughly 17 kilos of snot from my head into about half a roll of toilet paper.  I then ventured into the kitchen to make my porridge, which I enjoyed with a vanilla Power Bar and some Gatorade.  Glancing out of the window, I remember thinking I had never been happier to see clouds!

At about 6:15, I set off for the start, which was about a mile and a half from where I was staying – a perfect warm-up walk.  It was actually a bit chilly, and I hoped the cool air would hang around.

London Road, Edinburgh. 6:30 am. Blissfully cool.

Enjoying the less-than-scorching, but sadly, short-lived breeze.

After dumping my bag and taking part in the toilet queue waiting game, twice (in a very timely fashion to the supremely efficient toilet ushers), I headed to the start, and to the ‘black’ pen, full of finishers hoping to clock in at about 2 hours.  After a few minutes chatting to a fellow American, the crowd starting creeping forwards, and the race started pretty much bang on time.

I had decided to try to run the first mile or two without music, after reading on other blogs that the motivation of music only lasts for so long.  I was counting on the initial excitement to carry me through the start, and it did – and then some!  There was a real sense of camaraderie amongst the runners, and since there were so many of us, the route never really cleared out, so we were all pretty cozy, especially after the sun (and pounding heat) broke through the cloud and opened into bright blue skies.  It was also nice to hear the supporters along the way.  And to eavesdrop on people’s conversations that had decided to run together.

In fact, I didn’t really mind not having music in the first half, and didn’t pull my mp3 player out from between my two bras (very handy storage area), until after 8 miles!  After that, the heat was really starting to weigh people down, and I felt I could use the extra boost.  Thanks go out to Elton John (I’m Still Standing), Adam and the Ants (Stand and Deliver), David Bowie (Golden Years), Right Said Fred (I’m Too Sexy), and Brittany Murphy singing ‘Faster Kill Pussycat’.

At around 10 miles, the ‘elite’ runners passed us on the other side of the road, and the hot tarmac seemed to go on forever before it was our turn to turn around.  It was good as I managed to spot someone I knew that was running, and we did that retarded ‘smile-like-a-goon-and-wave-fanatically’ thing.  It was also a pretty good feeling when the turn eventually happened, somewhere after mile 11.  To the person who decided to hook up their hose to a shower feature and attach it to a ladder just after mile 12: you are my hero.  Nothing in my immediate past has felt as good as running through that cool mist felt.  Thank you.

As the mile 13 marker came into sight, I know I was sporting a full-beam grin because it was nearly over.  I dread to look at the photos – in fact I might just avoid it.  When the finish line came into view, I think I overdosed on joy.  I didn’t beast out a sprint like I would normally do because we were running on plastic sheets, and I didn’t really feel like my shoes were getting decent grip, but I kept it fast and steady until I crossed the line, REMEMBERING TO STOP MY GARMIN (!!!!), and immediately felt like puking, which thankfully, I did not.

I got the medal, the water, the goody bag, and my breath back, and then wandered into the battlefield of spent, hot, but elated runners.  It wasn’t long before I ran into Allan (the waving runner), and we took some obligatory finishers photos before starting the trek (seriously, it was like a 25 minute walk in steaming heat) to the shuttle bus back to Edinburgh.

At least 99.9% sexually enticing.

Solo pose

It didn’t take us very long to establish that the finishers medal was:

  1. Really, really heavy; and
  2. Shaped like a penis

The 14 year old boy trapped inside me laughs at this.

All in all, a well-organized race.  I had a great time, scored a PB, and received my first cock-shaped medal.  Not bad for a Sunday morning!

Another parkrun PB, last minute race packs and new races.

After the success of last week’s parkrun, I was doubtful I could improve today.  To cut a long story short, I did improve, and have a new parkrun PB of 24:01.  Such a nagging itch in the crotch that I was a mere 2 seconds from coming in under 24 minutes, but ho hum, maybe next time, right?  I was also pretty happy to finish 5th female.  Single figures is always pretty sweet (and there is simply no need to investigate and find out how many women actually participated – who needs to be brought down?).

In other news, I finally got my race pack delivered for the Baker Hughes 10k here in Aberdeen next Sunday.  There was a delay because they noticed, after sending out a few batches of race packs, that there was a spelling mistake on the bibs, so had to halt production, get new ones made, and then start resending stuff.  It was a nice surprise to come home to after the gym and parkrun.  I’m pleased that the technical tee is significantly less boring than ones in the past – they’ve used lots of colour!

Nice easy number to remember!

I was kind of thinking about running the 10k at half marathon pace, because I want to rock the Edinburgh half marathon the following weekend, but I know once I’m at the starting line, I’ll find it really difficult not to just hit the gas.  I guess I’ll make my final decision when the starting gun goes!

Finally, all these long runs on the weekend make me seriously dread my full marathon training that will need to kick into gear in July-ish.  I can see myself getting really bored of them, without any atmosphere and all on my own.  Solution?  Search online for any long race that can be substituted as a ‘long run’ for motivation!  So my marathon debut will be at Loch Ness in late September (the day after a friend’s wedding in Edinburgh, so I’ll have some magic to work there).  Two weeks prior to this, I have entered the Crathes half marathon, and two weeks prior to the Crathes half marathon, I have blindly entered the BRG Challenge, a 17.5 mile hilly beast of a run up North.

In a couple of days when my updated race schedule registers in my brain, I’ll perhaps be slightly irritated with myself for depriving my body of a few weekend lie-ins, but in the end, I think it’s for the best, pre-marathon, not only as training, but to help me feel more confident about actually completing the distance in one piece…

Longest training run yet!

I had originally planned to run 14 miles today, but I had originally meant to get out of bed in the morning and not laze about.  The forecast was for rain in the early afternoon, and my original plan had been to get a run in before the terrible weather.  Oh well.

The rain came, and what was meant to be a ‘chance of light shower’ turned into about an hour of proper rain/hail/snow.  Fabulous.  I very nearly binned the idea of going out for a run.  And then came 4pm.  And the sun.  And a sense of guilt for having fueled up last night (and, admittedly, lunchtime today).  So on went yesterday’s running tights (don’t judge, they’re going in the wash soon), and don’t went an entire bottle of Powerade (unwise, I was feeling pretty nauseous between mile 3 and mile 7).

The run was fairly uneventful, I just chugged on hoping that my planning would take me somewhere close to 14 miles, because I knew if I ended up back on my street before, I wouldn’t turn away.  And?  Success!  My longest training run to date, and the second time I’ve run a half marathon distance (with several minutes knocked off my time)!  Edinburgh – bring it on!

Nearly done…

Although the official photos aren’t up yet, there were about 60 photos submitted by various people to the Kilomathon website of the race.  I managed to actually find one featuring yours truly, though from a distance and in an unfortunate ‘mid stride’ stance that doesn’t make my running look particularly dynamic.  I will have you know that I beat the chick in front of me.

I'm the one in black, ahead of the dude in green, behind the chick in the white shirt (for now). On the left: Murrayfield Stadium!

Kilomathon Scotland 2012

Distance 13.1 K

Chip Time: 1:08:35 (PB)

109th finisher (36th female)

Medal: Yes

Edinburgh runs are always nice because we usually stay with my boyfriend’s sister, her husband, and their daughter.  We also usually catch up with friends, so it’s a social thing instead of just a running thing.  This was no exception, and on Saturday night, despite all

Good company

my better judgement, I found myself indulging in a spicy order out curry and washing it down with beer.  NOT ADVISED!  When you’re desperately hoping for a fart to ease some of the discomfort caused by fattus muchus (eating too much), you know you’ve gone too far.  After a quick costume change (into pyjamas with an elasticated waist and a baggy old race shirt), everyone settled onto the couch to watch some TV and relax.  I went through for a quick kit check for the morning, re-read the fact that it was an 8:30 am start, and decided I should probably not stay up for Mad Max 2.

The alarm at 6:30 am on Sunday morning was a bitch.  Plus, after the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having, the return to typical Scottish spring weather was a kick in the teeth.  I devoured a power bar whilst remaining under the duvet, taking full advantage of my boyfriend’s body heat.  I even put as much of my running kit on as possible under the duvet – it was cold!  At 7, I nudged Ian and told him he needed to get up, get dressed and think about driving me to the start.  I’m convinced he was too tired to be grumpy, so I counted myself lucky, and he took me as close to the start as possible, before dumping me into the cold and zooming off back to civilization.

The race started at Ocean Terminal, and since there were no buildings or anything to block the sea breeze, I was pretty much covered in goosebumps from the moment I ventured out of the car.  I made my way to the baggage drop, reluctantly giving up my tracksuit bottoms and vest, but meeting a friendly woman who seemed just as enthused as I was about being up at that time in the morning (for clarity: not very).  Everyone took refuge in the shopping mall until we were called to the starting pen, where everyone ‘warmed up’ in an effort to not freeze.  Eventually, 8:30 arrived and we set off.

It took a good 2k for me to feel a bit thawed, and it was the first outing of my new toy (Garmin 310X) that I can justify buying as it is waterproof, and I have at least 2 races this year that will require a waterproof GPS watch.  I repeat: totally justifiable purchase.  I glanced at the pace and was shocked to discover it was around 8:30/mi and I didn’t feel like I was particularly exerting myself.  I slowed down for the second kilometer just in case, but when the 3k marker came into view I thought ‘screw it’, and sped up again.  Next weekend is the first in a while with no race (!!!) so I might as well go for a decent (automatic) PB on a new distance.  Plus there was a woman who passed me at the very start with a smoking hot body, and if she is blessed with that, I want to at least be faster than her (this is the kind of crap that motivates me).

The route was generally very pretty, taking us along cycle routes away from traffic.  It wasn’t too dissimilar to the old railway line in Aberdeen, except it had more impressive bridges.  Each kilometer was clearly marked, and when we joined up with the 6.5 k

Looking back into Murrayfield Stadium at the exit after finishing.

runners, the markers were clearly colour-coded.  Despite the cold, the skies were blue and the sun was shining, and by the time we ran the finishing kilometer around Murrayfield Stadium and onto the track it was actually fairly pleasant!  As I crossed the finish line, I was instructed to go straight ahead to pick up my medal and goody bag, and the marshals were all very helpful and friendly, directing me to the toilets, the baggage pick-up, and even towards town (where I was about to start walking to meet Ian).

The sun stayed out for my walk back so I didn’t bother adding any layers apart from an extra t-shirt over my wicking top.  Once I met up with Ian we walked around Edinburgh city centre for a while before grabbing a ‘Big Belter’ cooked breakfast from a cafe bathed in sunlight for ‘brunch’.  It was definitely a case of my eyes being bigger than my belly as, despite making a good dent in the pile of food delivered to me, I was defeated.  We continued walking back to Ian’s sister’s in the sun, walking down the royal mile and through Holyrood Park.  After a shower and some goodbye’s, we had a quick stopover at a friend’s for a quick board game, then started on the journey home.

Holyrood Park

More Holyrood Park

OBVIOUSLY, as I now have 2 weeks off work thanks to the beauty of Easter Holidays, the gorgeous weather we have had for the last week has disappeared and been replaced by the gross weather that will cause me to want to sit around in pyjamas all day watching Jeremy Kyle instead of going for a carefree run in the sun.  Leaving Edinburgh, I fell asleep in the car for about 45 minutes and awoke to meat sweats courtesy of the fry up, and this uplifting scene:

Awesome.

NVA’s Speed of Light

Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh  August 2012

I remember a good few months back, when I initially decided to up my running, I entered the ballot for the London Marathon (possibly after a drink).  I think the excitement of that overshadowed all other events from that night, which is why an e-mail I received yesterday completely took me by surprise.  Months after letting out a jaded sigh after receiving my ‘sorry you were unsuccessful’ magazine, it seems I will still be participating in something as a result of that night.

The e-mail was from NVA wishing me a Merry Christmas and New Year, and thanking me for registering for their Speed of Light event.  My initial reaction of ‘what the fuck?’ and a quickened heartbeat caused by me panicking about double booking in my quickly-becoming-full race schedule without knowing, eventually turned into one of those  moments where snippets of memory start returning.  I mostly experience these after nights of excess, and normally find myself cringing as I remember challenging complete strangers to push-up competitions on dirty pub floors, or telling people intimate details of my sex life, but this time it was kind of pleasant.

After sifting through all of my ‘running’ e-mails, I eventually found my registration receipt, and then set to reacquainting myself with what the hell I’d actually signed up to.  The Speed of Light event is “one of Scotland’s official artistic contributions to the London 2012 and Paralympic Games”, according to the website.  It involves running/walking around Arthur’s seat in specially made light suits, at night, lighting up the hillside.

I have seemingly signed up for Saturday, August 11th.  When you register you can opt for a free ticket for the same night.  Mine will obviously be offered to my boyfriend because it will be a clear indication that he must accompany me!  While not a race, it is a running event, and something a bit different, so I’m looking forward to it for the experience.  Training and information packs will be sent out soon, I believe, and participants are encouraged to attend training days in Edinburgh leading up to the event, but they aren’t compulsory (or convenient for me, unfortunately).

The only downside is that I don’t think you get a memento (participant’s medal), but I’ll let it slide because this will hopefully be more of an experience.