Going into the Edinburgh Marathon I was absolutely genuine with my expectation – although I’m prone to do the usual thing of playing it down, getting excuses in early, referencing the lingering cold etc. But the fact is, I’d trained more than ever this winter, apart from a slight cold the previous week I felt pretty good.
My target, in quite a noble fashion, was to beat my brother’s pb of 2hrs46, which he admits was achieved with the stupidest pacing strategy but it still stood as the family record. And that was it. No pressure, enjoy the day, take in the experience, appreciate being able to do this.
So on the start line in Edinburgh I felt relaxed, I was able to look around and take in the atmosphere. And it was everything that a start line should be. In particular there was a banner, which quoted Philippians “I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me”. This set the context in which to run. I’ve never enjoyed starting a race as much as this. I’m usually running a marathon after swimming a few miles and cycling for 5 hours. This felt manageable.
Race strategy: 26.2 miles, 42km. Run every km in 3mins50 or just under and pick it up for the final 10k to the finish. This is the first time I’ve raced with GPS and it was brilliant. Having a time-check every km kept everything on track. By the time it got to the last 10k I felt like there was still some strength left and managed to speed up a bit, and just shaving those few seconds off each km definitely opened up the hurt box.
I finished in 2hrs40 and 13th overall. Ran a negative split of 1:21/1:19 and got first Scottish runner back (Tiree for 10 years; I’m taking that!). Nice trophy and some prize money. Thank you Edinburgh! Overall, it was one of the best races I’ve ever done. The legs felt great. And in new shoes too – Scott T2C – I’ve trained all winter in them and on race day they proved they are as fast as they feel.
On the way home on the bus, there was a guy sat opposite with head in hands. I asked if he was ok – yeah just feeling sick. Sure enough, he starts puking up in his goodie bag (T-Shirt and medal removed). After offering baby wipes/towel etc he manages to compose himself and we start talking. He just missed the time required to qualify for London Marathon. He needs sub 3hrs15 to make it. Got a race later in the year as his next chance. Classic. Got to love it. Not even home yet and he’s thinking about the next race. Never defeated, never give up, pressing on toward your goal – You can hurt me, you can break me, make me throw up in a bag, but I will not give up. I’m coming back and I’m going to go faster. Good man, I love that about fitness training. You can do it mate, see you in London.