Wow – and another one bites the dust. I think it’s only starting to dawn on me just how short a calendar month can be. I’d not even got rid of my blisters from Chester, before I was donning my running kit and heading up to Edinburgh (OK, I was wearing jeans, and the kit was in my bag, you know what I mean). I have to put in a disclaimer now about what you’re about to read. I am currently so tired that I can barely type, so if anything doesn’t make sense, I apologise in advance.
The great train journey up to Scotland afforded me some long awaited me time to get some admin done for [21:21], which was good. I was kindly met at the station by my Uncle, before being ferried off to Queensferry (short ride outside the city) – having 80% of my family based in Scotland has its plus points!
Just like every night before an exam I woke up about 3 times, before finally waking at 06:30. A good energy filled breakfast and we were off. Needless to say there weren’t that many people about at first (I was worried that it would be a re-run of Chester), but as we got nearer the starting area of Meadow Bank stadium I realised that this was going to be a proper race. I met some fellow Help for Heroes fundraisers in the runners enclosure (hope you did alright Bev & Sam), which very much helped calm the nerves.
The sun was in the sky, the runners were on their marks and we were off! Having a group of 3000 runners plus really does help in terms of motivation. Knowing that so many other people were all in the same boat made each step that little bit easier.
The route itself was great – from the stadium we meandered through some residential bits before getting down to the water front; the breeze & sun made for a very pleasant first few miles. Then crisis struck – there was no water available at the 3 mile marker. I was genuinely gutted when I’d realised. However, this was rectified by the Lucozade at the 6 mile marker – it felt like wonder juice, as I got a right stride going on after that.
The race itself finished at Musslebrough racecourse, but in order to finish you have to run past it about 3 miles to then run 3 miles back (happy days). On another note, you know what, I still don’t get the scarily fit athletes. Not because they run at the speed of light, but because not a single one of them ever seems to smile. Not even when you can see the blood, sweat and tears pouring off them, so you offer a friendly smile. Nothing. Nada. Just plain rude I say.
I’d made a couple of tweaks to my running play list, and I’m not ashamed to say I added a bit of Shakira and some less well known Latin American stars. Needless to say the tunes were all in Spanish, so I was having a right good Latino beat to the run. OH MY GOD. Wait just one little second. How the hell could I have forgotten to mention the most amazing invention since electricity…surgical tape. Oh yes. After the pain of bleeding nipples in Chester in front of 39 other people, I sure as hell didn’t want to do the same in front of 3000.
Anyway, so I get to about mile 10 and there’s a group of local kids at the side of the street sticking their hands out giving runners high 5s as they go past. It was such a small thing, but it made such a difference for the final slog. I don’t know if it was the sun, the fact my ankle wasn’t hurting as much or you enter the last stretch of the race course and finish in front of god knows how many people, but what a sprint finish!
I should mention at this point that while I was giving it hell for leather to get to the finish line, I had my iPod on full blast and I could hear some crazed woman screaming at the top of her voice. That crazed woman just happened to be my cousin Fiona – big up to you for the deafening support (sorry for the dirty looks you got).
I’m still waiting for the official time to be released, as I think we ended up running a bit further than we needed to, but managed to get under 2hrs 20 mins, which means I somehow shaved 15 minutes off my last run, which I’m well happy about. What I’m not happy about however is my feet. Literally a joke. I’m actually wearing flip flops to work tomorrow as you couldn’t pay me enough to get these bad boys into shoes.
Joking aside, it was a great race, and a great challenge. Big thanks to my fabulous Aunt & Uncle for having me to stay and getting me to the start line, and a pretty special cousin for meeting me at the finish. Very sorry that Fiona & Sheila couldn’t take part, you were missed. Hopefully see you on another challenge though.
Challenge four complete – bring on the Manchester 10km!!
Help for Heroes [21:21] Challenge