Although we had our list of excuses ready to go, in the end, we did not need any of them. We completed the Vancouver half marathon in just less than two hours.
It was a lovely run, it started sunny and then clouded over. After ‘racing’ in Europe for these past years, I appreciate North America’s early start times (7.30 vs. 10.30), the organization of the races here and the fans.
It was the first long race Ben and I have run together, so it was extra special. We made a pact to run together and even after I hit the wall at 10 miles, he did not leave me. I insisted he go on- a true running martyr!
Which race should we do next?
We had our friends Sarah and Thomas Sherman up from London for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. They were joined by Sarah’s sister, Jennifer and her fiance Stuart. Their visit was too short, but we packed in a bit of fun.
Sunday morning, Jennifer and Stuart ran the full half-marathon and Thomas ran the first 8 miles (something about living in Africa and not having time to train). The course, which was different from my recent half marathon, started on Regent Street and ended near the Musselburgh Racecourse. From what the gang said it was a lovely course along the coast.
Ben, Sarah and I, as loyal spectators, took the crowded bus to mile 8 to meet up with Thomas and then dashed to the finish line to see Jennifer and Stuart cross the finish line.
While we were waiting, we were able to see some of the everybody runners finish. I have not seen a lot of these races end because I try to compete, but I surprised myself by becoming a bit emotional watching this group of finishers. You could see the determination on their faces as they pounded the last 200 meters. There was a mix of elation and agony. The pride on some of these runners faces made me a bit misty- luckily Sarah shared similar feelings!
The runner above is Canadian running against diabetes- colorful pinnies!
Here are Jen and Stuart- look at them go. Poor Stuart hurt his foot, but persevered to complete his first half-marathon and an additional milestone since it was their first couple 13.1 mile run together. A solid start for a future of races together.
We had Sunday afternoon chilling and lunching at the Cumberland Bar. Then our runners took a well-needed nap. Later Jennifer and Stuart popped down for some snacks and drinks. We all called it a day about 9.30 p.m.
We headed to work on Monday, while the gang made it safely back to London. They might be back next year to run!
Sometimes I regret my ideas to get out and embrace life! Our recent trip to Yellowcraig’s beach was not one of these times, even though our adventure did not go as originally planned. Curses new running shoes, but we still had a fun few hours out and about.
My Scottish and outdoorsy colleague Seonaid, suggested we visit this particular beach between Edinburgh and North Berwick. Since Ben and I are ‘in training’ for the Vancouver half marathon. We wanted a change from my usual loops- I can run the same loops repeatedly and I do not like running-loop changes, but Ben does, so I thought, let’s mix it up!
Compromise is key- so off we went in our City Club Car to the beach. It was windy, cloudy, misty and cold. A perfect mix for our planned six mile run.
We had new running shoes. During all the years I have been running, I have always had 12mm running shoes, but due to the barefoot running craze, they are harder and harder to track down, so I opted for an 8mm pair. I had heard stories about how these lower shoes can lead to injuries if you do not break them in slowly. I quickly realized that running six miles might be a bit much- I am sure you are thinking- wimp- and you are probably correct, but I did not want to injure myself and jeopardise our upcoming race.
We ended up running just a few miles on the trails- I got in another run later in the day. My shoes now seem nicely broken in, we had a long run last weekend in the pouring rain.
The next time it is sunny and a bit warmer, Yellowcraig’s would be a perfect spot to picnic. Ben thinks we should cycle out here the next time, I remember hills, so I am not entirely onboard with this plan.
Since I have been hyping this weekend’s half-marathon more than I should have, I owe you an equally engrossing recap, however I fear the video I posted just the other day sums up the experience in a wind-tousled nutshell.
Picture it- Sunday, April 14, light breaks through a cloudy sky, Reia and Buffy ask themselves- how can rain be vertical and horizontal at the same time? It is impossible, but in Edinburgh our fearless twosome soon realize it is happening before their sleep-encrusted eyes.
Out the door they head, Reia dressed like a true runner in her Falke gear and Buffy like a adopt-a-highway trash collector- hi-vis yellow. Followed closely by Ben- support crew and official photographer of our backs.
Exhausted by the time they arrive at the starting line- curses you hills, Reia and Buffy attempt to stay warm by jogging in place, hopping from one ice-blocked foot to the other and giggling about the male racers relieving themselves in the Queen’s well-trimmed hedges.
Finding themselves in corral 8 meant they had to wait an additional 10 minutes before they would even step foot over the starting line. When it happened, they were good to go- passing people at a steady rate. They even saw the sun for a minute or two.
They pass the first band- trying to play and sing through the wind, they pass the second- Reia continues to give Buffy updates on their pace. Buffy gets annoyed and tells Reia she doesn’t care. Reia keeps checking her watch- they are seaside now along the promenade in Portobello (Buffy has been here before). Support Crew member Ben is supposed to me them there- he is no where to be found.
Out of Porty, they head to Duddingston and tackle the first hill. They crush it. Nice work Reia and Buffy. Due to prior injuries, the runners pull over to stretch and respond to a text from Support Crew Ben.
Hill Two- again taken down by the girls. Nearing a flat area they speed up- Reia still checks her watch. Buffy gets excited, it’s Ben, he is cute and wet. He takes photos- later Buffy realizes they are unflattering and she questions her running style. They don’t stop, they keep putting one foot in front of another.
Another hill, this time, the hill wins. Walking a bit helps the runners relax. Once at the top it is smooth sailing down through Holyrood Park. Reia checks her watch- she says ‘Oh we only have 5 miles to go’, Buffy says ‘huh?’. Reia does not realize they had just passed the 10 km marker and for a brief moment Reia thinks a half marathon is only 12 miles. In their cupcake-fill dreams. A major mental bummer for these two.
Up though Grassmarket, the rain has stopped and they see a rainbow, one of the benefits of living in a rainy land. There is another hill, this one is a slight incline which Reia and Buffy think they can take, they were wrong, because then they turn the corner and bam another short-steep number that makes Reia’s tendonitis go crazy and Buffy’s quads and hammies squeal.
By the Meadows now, they are excited for two reasons- only three miles to go and Support Crew Ben is going to be there with friends Sarah and James. Buffy’s phone rings, Buffy answers, it is Ben tell her where to look. Posters are held up, more pictures of backs are taken as Reia and Buffy wave and run by.
The pace has slowed- Reia knows this because she is still looking at her watch. They are conscious they need to stick with the blue pacer balloon to beat Buffy’s mother-in-law’s time from her last half marathon which she did on a flat course in perfect windless and rainless conditions. Maintaining her athletic superiority over her 61 year old mother-in-law is important to Buffy, less so to Reia.
They reach the top of The Mound- the shouts of you are almost done do not help- especially when shouted by people with cigarettes in their mouths. Down The Mound- ouch-down hills hurt by this point. Through the National Galleries- Reia is getting the best, most-painful tour of the Scottish Capital.
Through the Princes Street Gradens and past the Scott Monument, this halfie is winding down. Up to the Royal Mile, the home stretch, man, would they ever arrive at the end, Buffy was trying to motivate Reia using old sayings from her days as a cross-country runner- Pain is Temporary, Pride is Forver, Running is 90% Mental and 10% Physical and Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body- sayings even 16-year-old Buffy never beleived- sorry Mrs Gavic (Buffy’s cross country and track coach).
Support Crew Ben had made it to the finish line to get additional photos, hand in hand our heroines crossed the finish line. They collected their medals and feasted on bananas at the post-race banquet. Too cold to concentrate, they left before they found where they could collect their finisher technical t-shirts.
The official time posted after showers, scrambled eggs and naps was 2.17.16.
High-five Reia and Buffy!
GUEST POST… Reia- dear friend and running partner wanted to share her account of her recent running-themed weekend in Edinburgh. She also is an avid hipstamatic photographer. I will post my account tomorrow!
Meeting up with my gorgeous running partner extraordinaire in far flung places (yes to my Tasmanian heritage running in Paris and Edinburgh is very far away) has become my crutch towards keeping a little a piece of sanity in my life. Ever since dearest Buffy moved away from Grenoble that is. When Buffy was living in Grenoble we managed to go running early mornings, with views towards the soaring French Alps. These runs and chats with the Buffster helped like nothing else to feed the soul, and our daily intellectual ponderings (really working out how to deal with our everyday working commitments) made the simple things that much clearer and easier to achieve.
After crushing last year’s Paris half-marathon, Buffy and I signed up (just after Christmas and in time for new year’s resolutions) for the Edinburgh ‘rock n’ roll’ half-marathon. And what a ride! You can say there was lots of rocks to run up, and the rolling down the other side was very joyful. That morning we woke up with a buzz, and tummy churnings but the sun was shining so we were ready… After a little bit of breakfast the storm clouds came out, and thank heavens we didn’t notice the wind that was to come! Getting to the course was a nice little warm-up (a stroll of 1.5 miles perhaps). And then that’s when the full implication of the meteorological outlook hit us like a brick. The quasi-horizontal rain, the gale force winds, and the icy needle pin-prick raindrops (this didn’t seem to deter the notorious pre-race male pee-ers though who had to walk up Arthurs Seat to enjoy the city view in all it’s glory, and have a pee).
We were in Edinburgh, about to dash through this volcanic, history- steeped megalith, with some of what I imagine are typical weather conditions. The rest of the semi is a blur, except for the wonderful support of Ben, who would pop up from time to time, and some cheers from the watchers (including a guest appearance from Sarah and ???), ooh and did I forget our white rabbit, who made us run that bit faster – the superb man in a kilt (yes you can look good running in a kilt). Running down that last mile (which was partly royal) seemed to arrive way too quickly. We did it!
The rest of my time in Edinburgh was just that – a euphoric mind and physical rest. And how blissful it was! Buffy and Ben are really the hosts with the mosts. Wonderful meal prepared and cooked after wonderful meal, lots of walking around, lots of chats, lots of good coffees, lots of chats, a little bit of rain… A perfect home away from home. Thank you so much Ben and Buffy for this wonderful idyll. And do you think I can come again next year? But maybe stay for 6 months – I’m sure we can do 10 semis in that time.
HALFIE… Rock n Roll Half Marathon- Edinburgh- Here is the video- the sound quality is poor and for this I apologise, but it also shows how unbelievably horrendous the weather was. We finished in 2.17.16- not bad we think and truthfully we do not care what you think! Plus there were hills- quite a lot of them.
Ben went above and beyond, he cycled to several points on the course to support us. Our pals Sarah and James also popped out in the wind and rain to hold a sign and clap as we ran by the Meadows.
More photos to come!
Over the next few months Ben and I are registered to compete in several sports events.
APRIL 14: I have finished the Rock n Roll half marathon this weekend.
APRIL 20: Ben is racing in the Tour de Lauder, his first ever cycling race- he has been training up a storm. I will be there and hopefully get to see him cross the finish line. I am going as a volunteer for Chest Heart Stroke Scotland.
JUNE 23: When in Vancouver for work- run the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon- sure why not- a great way to explore the coast.
AUGUST 10-11: A sporty-surprise for Ben’s birthday- so excited for this one- the one clue- can you pop?
Check back for the mile-by-mile recap of all this sporty fun.
FINISHED… Nuff said! We did it! #running #done #rocknrollhalfmarathon
LISTEN UP… This weekend I, along with my pal Reia, will be running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Edinburgh. This is our second halfie together, you might recall the time we ran the one in Paris last year. I will only make two pre-excuses- Reia has tendonitis and I have not been running as much I should have been since I proudly ran my 80 miles during my trip.
Our goal- best my mother-in-law’s last half marathon time of 2:18. Can we do it? I am hoping so, but Sue is a serious athlete and a very regular runner with her club, Bushfield Joggers.
Enjoy this weekend’s mix! If you are on Spotify, listen here, if not, what is stopping you, it is easy- even I can do it.
Remember my post a few weeks ago about running, well to help spur me on, I set a RunKeeper personal goal to cover 80 miles while I was hopping from hotel gym to hotel gym and I am pleased to report I completed the goal miles, they were capped off by a 10 milers at the LaLit Hotel in New Delhi.
After visiting a total of eight hotel gyms on this trip, I was most impressed by the following:
- Mexico City- clean, good equipment, refreshing orange slice-infused water for post-workout refreshment. A wide-range of T.V. channels on the equipment. Dirty Dancing, yes please…
- Mumbai- bright and airy, full bottles of water and an on-site instructor to assistant when needed. Some frustrating non-atheletes- texting and talking on the phone on the neighbouring treadmills.
- Bogota- practically new, not a lot of equipment and no real space to stretch. Was empty and led to the pool, a nice place to relax post run.
- New Delhi- treadmills right in front of the mirrors, never a good thing.
- Bangalore- this is the hottest hotel gym I have ever experienced, on the plus side, no one is ever there. I stayed at this hotel last February and May, so I know of what I speak.
- Sao Paulo- this is was good one- my first Portuguese spinning class and a fair number of running machines- drawback, you had to pay- 5 pounds a time.
- Sao Paulo- I had to change hotels, just fine and in defence of this one, I only had time to squeeze in a 30 minute run.
- Santiago- worst ever, had to pay, only two treadmills and an oven on the 18th floor.
The key will be keeping this up now I am back in Edinburgh, with no gym just a few floors away, can I do it? I expect yes- that halfie is not going to run itself.