Edinburgh Half Marathon 2012

This was one of those running days where nothing goes right at all. The night before my friends and I had a supah-cool pasta party to get some carbs in and we also watched the Eurovision song contest, which was pure comedy gold:

I'm the one at the stove in a boys checked shirt (at the stove in mah man's shirt, like all good ladies should be... NOT!). We had pasta and lots of veggies and chicken and then a weee bit of ice cream. One of the team who was running the full refused to eat ice cream on the grounds that dairy makes you... Um... 'Do a Radcliffe'...

That night was really nice and relaxed then I packed my race gear and got into bed. Then I COULD. NOT. SLEEP. The last time I consciously saw was 12.30. This is an issue for those of us who had to get up at 4.45 the next day. Oh yes, that would be me.

Up the next day and grumped out as anything, we had a stressful drive to Edinburgh, then a stressful search for our parking, then a walk over 1.5 miles to the race area. Then the queues for toilets were SO long that we almost missed our start! One friend and I tried to go in a bush instead (as there were still 4 people in front of us in the queue with 4 minutes to go) but I couldn't make myself do it so I ran to the start still pretty... full and sloshy... 

Our teamate at the front looks so concerned in this!

Not a good way to start but I had my Garmin and my wits and I felt okay.The first four miles were lovely, about 9.30 pace exactly as I had planned. Then I re-hydrated at 4mi with water and an electrolyte replacement tab cause the day was heating up. Then everything went to pot. 

I started feeling really sick and started dropping, crossing the 10k in 58 odd minutes. K caught up to me then I jumped into the bathrooms to see if that would help. My stomach was really upset and it took a few minutes out of my time too. Basically my body was having major problems processing. Through the next 8 miles my times for each mile dropped and dropped and I knew I was behind everyone in my team. I walked huge sections of the course, fighting back the urge to vomit and with cramped calves. I'm not quite sure what went wrong, my best guess is that my stomach wasn't okay with processing the gels and tabs combo in heat, especially as I haven't trained with tabs as its usually so cool in Scotland. 

The last few miles were miserable as I knew how crappy my time was about to be. Two EMTs also asked if I was alright around 11mi as apparently I had gone quite pale and I was almost tempted to let them take me off course and be a DNF but I didn't. I ran as much of 13 as I could, trying to make it under 2,30hrs. Coming into the finish I spotted some of my team who were holding a huge sign urging on all GUHHers and managed a sprint finish (7.30 pace! Overtook 4 people!). That's the only part of the race I'm proud of.

Then again I am heel striking something TERRIBLE.
 Then I was done. I almost fell over the line then bent over. A marshal was worriedly asking me if I was okay and all I kept repeating was, 'Just give me a second... Just a second', cause I thought I was going to be sick on her shoes. I wasn't so I headed to meet my team. I was so dang disappointed in myself and I thought about crying but I honestly didn't have the energy.

In the lunge photo I'm struggling to smile cause I felt so sick and bending wasn't helping. One close friend (who did an amazing 1 hr 41 minutes) and I headed towards the buses. Then I was very, very sick into a bin. Then on the buses I was very, very sick into her plastic bag (luckily no holes in these!). Thank you to her for being so nice! The weirdest bit? *WARNING TMI INCOMING*... because all I had ingested was banana, an oat type bar, tropical gels and lemon and lime electrolyte tabs... the vomit tasted like a smoothie in reverse. It even looked like banana oatmeal smoothie! Simultaneously yuck but... If you have to be sick I guess it may as well not taste horrific?

The BF was really worried that it was food poisoning, cause it turned out he had been sick all day too at home and had called in sick to work, and we had eaten together recently. However, it took till I got to my brother, iced my legs and took a cool shower, then had more water then I felt a lot better. Therefore I think my nausea was from my high body temperature. 

My day then took a total upswing! I met my family for lunch and presents :D (they are all away for my 23rd birthday). I got a new camera! So expect 329539875 photos of me incoming :P. I also got some lovely smellie goodies, PJs from my brother and an Edinburgh mug (he loves Edinburgh> Glasgow and is trying to convince me!). I had a lovely time with them then met my friend and ex flatmate for a lovely girlie catch up, half price frappes from Starbucks and dinner! Lots of money was spent but it was well worth it.

Some great things did come out of the races- GUHH did so well overall. The half marathon winner was our teammate in 1 hour 8 minutes! MIND BOGGLING! As I mentioned, one had a 1hr 41. Other girls hit 1 hr 45, our team captain was 1.26. The marathoners were amazing- a guy on our team did 2 hours 59 in midday heat, the one girl running the marathon was a three and a half hours. Two other guys hit the 3.05 mark. Amazing! Another guy had huge problems with hydration and electrolyte loss and didn't do as he wanted but still finished strong.

So! The report!

Good Things

+ Starting corrals really wide, excellently market and brilliantly policed as before

+ Gel stations this year! A bit late perhaps (10 mi?) but still, they were offered!

+ Still the same nice course- flat and fast and down by the waterfront

+ Plenty of water station, though a kid did spray me with a hose. Pfft he best watch out

+ Okay race pack, medal and (even nicer design this year) a technical tee which makes it obnoxiously clear that you just ran a half marathon (last years has quiet, dignified writing about the half, this years has a huge logo and 'finisher' proclaimed on it :P!)

+ Overall excellent marshaling, organization etc including buses back to the city, baggage buses. No issues with any of this at all

+ Obviously experienced and knowledgeable marshals on such a hot day with such high dehydration risks, clearly on the lookout for warning signs

+ They've REALLY improved the finishers areas, giving room for only finishers then a ton of room to meet people and get baggage, bathrooms, food etc

Bad Things

-Seemingly LESS toilets than last year. Noooo guys you had it right! Considering we got there earlier than last year and only just made our start with no toilet stop! Plenty on the course and at the end though

- Less things in the goody bag than last year. And mine didn't have a free sample of body wash but everyone else's did! I'm a child! I demand free gifts!

- Buses really quite far away, good 20 minutes on half marathon legs as before

So what now? WELL I'm taking 1.5 weeks off of running. No running till next Wednesday. If I get back into it too fast I will forget to love it. For future races I will be fully practicing my fueling before for a long while to get the body used to it. I also intend to focus on shorter distances for a while, 10Ks and suchthelike. Maybe try and lower my 10K time by quite a bit. This week I took today off and tomorrow I'm returning to exercise but non running exercise. I'm sad and disappointed but every race is a set of lessons. I have amazing friends and family, that's one lesson!


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