Saturday, 2 January 2016

Portobello Promathon 2016

(photo from Bob Marshall - see link to his site and collection
on the right of the page)
After a sober Hogmanay and having to put up with 15 minutes of fireworks intruding into my beauty sleep, we had a big day out (in an understated way) yesterday, when 3 runners, a supporter and a black lab made the long journey from Northumberland to Portobello seafront for the New Years day Promathon. The event is well organised and well attended. It appears to demand minimal marshalling and route planning, taking the runners up and down the seafront. Its flat and its a toughie. If you accidentally go left, you'll end up in shadows of the urban hinterland and you could inadvertently be talked into buying a car where the avenue of car showrooms and eager salesmen occupy the high ground. If you take a right you'll' find yourself on the beach with the seaweed or even ankle deep in the lapping waters of the Firth of Forth. The water was a glassy calm when we arrived, which meant that the wind was down and we were in for a fastish day.
Around 300 runners had entered in advance. Many looked trim and motivated, some sporting new trainers and coordinated gear. I was neither. I decided on the flats rather than the Hoka trainers and took up a position on the line a little way back and behind the youngster. At the gun, she took off like a rocket and it took me a mile at the first u-turn to pass her, clocking in a 5.50 something for the first mile. Far too fast. The extra ballast I was carrying was soon beginning to tell, however.
I was going well enough and feeling fine for the first 3 miles. Then I felt a drop of speed, like a little pilot light going out and from then on I had to hang on in there to the end. Much pain was felt. I felt the energy dissipating, frittering away, a result of an overindulgence over Christmas and a lack of miles. I waited for the avalanche of runners to come past, but it was more like a trickle, some runners whom I had passed a minute previously.

During the run I tried not to look at the runners coming back, the gymnastic undeniable power of the front runners or the seemingly effortless technique that Kate Avery (women's winner) employed to cover the ground at speed.

I recognised a couple of the V50's up front and while I was some way back, I wasn't an embarrassing distance behind, not too far away and around a minute or so down.  Overhauled by about 5 or 6 runners in the last mile, I finished in tolerable shape in 51st position and collected some raisins and a carton of juice. The youngster landed 30 seconds behind me in 8th place, a very handy run.

Its probably not best to drink concentrate after a race, so after a cool down we cracked open the flask to celebrate the new year with tea. Some runners took a dip afterwards and the cameras from the local news were present to cover the event.

We got back home to catch the end of the local 11k and I was pleased to have made the effort to do something different for the new year.  The pub was heaving in the afternoon and after a couple of hours, I appreciated the stew and tatties that were ready at home. Proper athlete scran.

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