Oh my goodness, I cannot believe it, just 3 days until our BIG marathon run. As we pack our suitcases to travel to Birmingham Airport, trying to remember all of our running gear, all sorts of emotions are going through our minds. Fear, nerves, excitement, apprehension to name just a few, can we do this? We have worked so hard for 16 weeks on our training and apart from our old bodies letting us down with my dodgy foot and Graeme’s dodgy knees I reckon we can nail this!
I have raised £1000 for the Scooby Doo charity which I just cannot believe. My friends, family and colleagues have been so generous and thoughtful – Thank you from the bottom of my heart to you all.
We stayed at the Mercure Edinburgh Haymarket Hotel. From the Airport, we hopped onto the tram and the hotel was just 10 minutes walk away and in a nice quiet location – ideal. A word of advice if you do book to run the Edinburgh Marathon or half in the future, book your hotel well in advance because the running festival lasts all weekend and hotel places go fast and at a high premium.
On Friday afternoon, we had a nice browse around the Grass Market and Edinburgh Castle areas. The City is truly stunning and we chose a nice restaurant called Made in Italy for our pasta feasts. Conscious of the fact that 2 days before we need to be “Carb loading” and hydrating our bodies we were very impressed with our meal. Just what we needed, an excellent little restaurant with a very efficient service.
Saturday’s breakfast was also superb. Just around the corner from our hotel we stumbled across by luck an amazing café & bakery called Loudons. The homemade porridge, golden syrup and sliced banana was out of this world. An ideal pre-marathon run day treat! By the time we left people were queuing to get in so obviously a popular but hidden gem.
Conscious that we had to take it easy and not notch up too many miles we wandered around the sites of Edinburgh. We visited the National Museum of Scotland, Castle, Royal Mile and finished up with an Iron Bru and a Pepsi in Frankenstein’s Pub. Alas, no alcohol for us folks L!
After another nice pasta feast at a restaurant near to our hotel we retired to bed early with our running gear all laid out ready for our marathon day.
On the morning of the run I was so so excited, words cannot even explain my emotions. Somehow, I managed to eat some instant porridge where as Graeme chose not to eat at all. He had been up during the night with a bad stomach and was feeling a little under the weather. So with our running kit on, we set off to the start. Our walk was a little longer than we anticipated, whoops 1.5 miles before we even run – a bit of a concern!
Wrapped in our black bin liners to keep us warm we bumped into our good Stroud AC friend Julie and a few Gloucestershire runners at the start which was great. We even found we had mutual friends, how bizarre. The start was downhill winding it’s way around Holyrood and the Scottish Parliament out towards the coastline. It was very difficult to hold back the pace. I remained focused pulling back my speed and watching carefully every step to ensure I did not get tripped up in the crowd of runners.
By 4 miles at Musselborough seafront I had settled nicely into my 9:30 pace and the crowd of runners had thinned out. I found what looked like two experienced guys running the same pace as me. Hurrah! So I tucked in behind them and for the first time relaxed taking in the whole atmosphere of the race. My foot felt good and I actually started to enjoy my run. At 6 miles I said goodbye to my pacers as I pulled into the water station for water/High 5 and a nibble of my chewy bar – Darn they were brilliant to run behind but food and drink I know are vital!
Between 6 – 12 miles I enjoyed the company of a lady from a local Gloucester club, Almost Athletes who knew some of my running friends so the miles flew by whilst I chatted to her. The support from the locals was very much appreciated. Lots of music, Jelly Babies and even some fresh oranges to enjoy. We also saw the 401 marathon running man, Ben working hard on conquering his challenge. So far so good, I am running on target, without pain and things are going to plan. The good thing about Edinburgh is that it is held on a flat traffic free route which is great for running. The day was overcast with a nice onshore breeze.
More food & drink at 12- & 18 miles and I am in the zone, on the pace and feeling pretty good. I wondered about Graeme and hoped he was OK. He had not been able to run over 14 miles in training so I knew how hard this was going to be. We hadn’t seen each other after the start so I assumed all was going to plan. As I looked ahead along the coast line and the elite runners had turned at the end where there is a nice off-road park area to run around before the last 6 miles I could not see him amongst the crowd.
The last 6 miles was interesting. Neither of us had anticipated sunshine for a Scottish marathon let alone 20 degrees and blue skies. With a slight uphill run to the end I set myself a target to run at least to 23 miles before walking if at all. The heat was taking it’s toll a bit and with tired legs I did stop very briefly at the water station at 23 for more water and an extra gel but actually walking was more painful then running so on I went until the finish line was in sight. I have to say I did take it steady because I did see a few people suffering from heat exhaustion on the side of the road. This allowed me to finish strong in Mussleborough 4:29. I was so relieved to see Graeme waiting for me. He had finished 10 minutes before. Hooray – we had done it. A marathon run in our 50th birthday years – well done us. Such an amazing experience and what a special place Edinburgh is.
By the time we had caught the bus back to Edinburgh town centre and reached our hotel later in the day, we had run and walked around 30 miles! Thankfully after a quick freshen up we found a gorgeous Turkish restaurant close to the Mercure for a very welcome post marathon celebration meal.