Getting over an injured calf, my target for May was the Edinburgh Half Marathon. Part of the attraction was that it started at eight in the morning. Not that I like running at that hour, but knew it would be cooler than last years Edinburgh Marathon which started at 10am and was a scorcher in 2010. I couldn't face another marathon so soon after the last one and especially not in the heat.
With the passing of doomsday, I dragged myself from below the stairs and I made my way with trusty navigator up to Edinburgh. This year we parked free in St Andrews Square (just because we could). Free parking in the middle of a Capital City is the best bit.
I bundled my bag on the baggage bus among the throng of stretching, preening and nervous runners and confused bystanders at the end of Princes Street and tried to warm up by running around Waverley. I think people thought I was lost or had missed my train.
It was cool and breezy but not too bad. Made my way to the start and before long the runners were told to get into their pens. This year I was after a result so there was no chat or waving to the crowd, natty photos or flicking casually through the ipod.
I worked hard on the road past Meadowbank and then down to Portobello where, by then, the runners had thinned out. The wind was difficult to predict but it felt like a crosswind gusting in between building openings. I hit the 10k mark at 37:48. There weren't many people around and I expected a headwind for the last two miles so I was keen not to end up running on my own, so I latched onto an Edinburgh AC runner. It was head down and graft past Musselburgh and at the 10 mile mark I think I was close to the hour.
I had a gel after 40 minutes and another at 11 miles. Its not easy taking in gel when you're doing your best to gasp as much of the troposphere as you can and I felt the stuff squeezing out and bubbling around my lips while it waited patiently for an opportunity to go down. Probably not a pretty sight.
By 12 miles the Edinburgh AC athlete had about 5 seconds on me but the good news was that with a bit of effort I might catch a Fife runner who was running out of steam. He was only about 4 or 5 seconds ahead at the finish line when the announcer identified him as a Gateshead runner, (just with a similar vest).
Got my medal and goodie bag and waited to take photos of the early marathon runners as they came past. The weather had now deteriorated to a black sky and squally showers. I recognised quite a few. The wind began to whip up and I was pleased not to be caught up in what was going to be a hard final stretch of marathon into the wind.
Caught the bus back to St Andrews with a large Italian contingent who had taken part and finished the day experiencing coffee and patisserie in a souped-up swanky cafe next to Harvey Nicks.
No results yet but pleased to finish in 1:20:34. It might have been quicker if I'd used a low froth gel!
Photographs of the Edinburgh Marathon on Flickr - Link here http://www.flickr.com/photos/34070057@N06/sets/