Reflecting back on my Edinburgh marathon experience, I would say I learnt three things that’s day;
1) Pacing is everything when it comes to running a Marathon and something I need to clearly work on.
2) Running a marathon is an emotional experience. Well it was for me, just ask anyone who saw me from around mile 20/21 onwards…
3) The BRR cheering crew is simply the best in the world. FACT.
I woke up on the Sunday morning to a grey sky and drizzle and immediately thought yippee, today is going to be a good day for running. Not so good for the spectators as Graeme was packing his waterproofs. As we made our way to the start line, the nerves were kicking in but I kept them at bay by just reminding myself of all the training runs I had done since January to get me to this point.
After a rather frantic walk to the start (and the right start at that!) I met up with Hayley and Lynne and we made our way to our pen. We had arranged to meet up and start together as we were all aiming for around the same pace. My plan was to keep it to 9-9.10s and as the gun went off I was feeling confident. The start was downhill, so it was really easy to get carried away but I kept reminding myself to reign it in and keep to my target pace. Now what is it that say about best laid plans….
So despite my plan, I ran much of the first half of the race slightly faster I should have. At one point I clocked a 8.39 mile which was far too fast (for me at least). However at this point I felt really strong, comfortable and was absolutely loving the race. In short, I felt like a super hero flying through the course. When I saw and heard the BRR support crew at mile 9/10 my confidence was boosted even further. Their cheers were immense. I was cruising along and thoroughly enjoying the experience. I seriously thought I could keep this pace for the whole way. Oh how naive I was…
As I reached mile 15, I was beginning to feel a little less confident and by mile 16/17 it happened. The marathon came up and slapped me right in the face for being an idiot and starting off too fast. It all went pretty much downhill from there. A welcomed surprise of seeing Bob and Matty at mile 22/23 gave me a much needed pick up and brought tears (of joy) to my face. By this stage I was dying and every step and shuffle I made was painful and utter hell. At this point it was only 3 miles or so to go and I knew I would see Graeme and the BRR support crew soon. I had arranged with Graeme that he would be stood at mile 24, so when I reached there and he wasn’t there, the tears (not of joy) returned as well as a few expletives. Thankfully he was only a couple of hundred metres further down and when I saw him, yes you guessed it more tears were experienced. However he pretty much told me to get a grip, to stop crying as I was wasting energy and to focus on the race. It was the kick I needed. As I approached mile 25 I could hear the BRR support crew before I saw them. My tears turned to a smile and I knew then finish line wasn’t far. The last mile or so was the longest ever.
As I crossed the finished line in 4 hrs 13 mins and 23 seconds (pb of just over 30 mins), I was wrecked. I burst into tears yet again and swore I was never doing another marathon again. Or so I thought… Yes Davie and Peter you were right, my marathon hangover has now subsided and I’m already thinking of what my next marathon will be. With the right pacing perhaps next time I’ll be able to get closer to 4hrs if not under… For now though I’m enjoying my week of recovery and not eating pasta.