The day of my goal race did not start well when I woke at 2 am feeling sick. I tossed and turned for awhile, I sent a plaintive text to my brother in Melbourne, I imagined throwing up in the first mile and being told off by marshals for running when not fit to do so, I wondered how would I decide what to do. Eventually I decided on a small glass of water and half a Nuun electrolyte tablet, figuring that it might settle my stomach.
I woke an hour or so later feeling much better. Yay, at least I would make it to the start line. I ate my breakfast and ticked the items off my list and headed out the door at 5:15 am. All went smoothly with the park + ride and shuttle services and I arrived at the start line at 7 am, in time for queue-free toilets. My tummy was back to being dodgy, but not too bad and I managed a banana and rice cake with almond butter.
The rain started as we counted down the minutes to the start and I was very grateful for my home made arm warmers and for a last minute decision to grab a garbage bag. In the end I kept the arm warmers on until about mile 8. We got underway with a long gentle downhill, crossing part of the route and the start/finish line of the Great Edinburgh 10 mile course of 4 weeks ago. We were soon out of Edinburgh town centre and into the suburbs, headed for the coast.
I kept close check on my average mile pace, aiming to keep it close to 10 minute/mile. At mile two I was a little worried that my legs were tired, but I shut off the thought and concentrated on what was happening around me. We hit the Portobello Promenade just before mile 5 and this was my favourite section: the beach, rolling waves and sea mist to my left, Victorian houses and terraces to my left and plenty of crowd support. My tummy was still feeling odd but it was not getting worse and I kept down two Clif Shot Bloks and water at mile 4/5. I was grateful that I didn’t need the toilet as the queues for the Portaloos were long and slow and would no doubt be the death of anyone’s PB attempt. Runners in the know made use of the public toilets dotted along the promenade.
The miles ticked by at 10 ish minutes/mile and my confidence grew. The last 3 miles (only a parkrun to go!!) were an out and back section that felt like it went on forever before the turn around. The running crowds never thinned out but I was steadily overtaking people around me and able to increase my pace for the last two miles. Then I was done!
My official time came through by text less than 10 minutes after crossing the finish line: 2:12:10
That is 15 minutes off my previous PB for the Half Marathon and the first one that I have run the whole way. I am VERY happy with that!
After the race I immediately felt dreadful and I’m not quite sure how I made it home. It was a long walk to the shuttle buses, but thankfully I got immediately on a bus for the Park + Ride rather than waiting in the queue for the Edinburgh City centre buses. Minutes after sitting down on the bus a torrential downpour started which lasted for most of my journey back to Glasgow.
I’m starting to feel more human now, with the magic cure of toast with butter and Vegemite. I’ve reviewed my race splits and they were very even, varying between 9:51 and 10:15 (except for the first mile which was closer to 10:30). My tummy on the other hand may need a look at. Given that I wasn’t feeling great for the past week, I don’t necessarily think that it is race nutrition/hydration, but it is odd that I’ve had several similar experiences.
I had heard quite a few negative things about the EMF Half Marathon, mostly around the route being boring and the crowd support poor, but I really enjoyed the whole race. The start was well organised and I had no problem with portaloos. The finish area was smooth with good signage to the shuttle buses (even if they were a hike away). The course passed quickly out of Edinburgh City centre but wound through scenic suburbs and along the attractive waterfront. Crowd support was sparse in places early on but more than made up for it later. A fab race, that I would recommend…but then maybe I’m only saying that cos I got a 15 minute PB 🙂