Breaking 3 Hours. Edinburgh Marathon 2014.

The Edinburgh Marathon wasn’t that big of a deal for me. I had entered the Manchester marathon in mid April with a goal of getting as close to 3 hours as possible. I had put in a lot of mileage and felt ready. Unfortunately, it didnt happen on the day and I came home in 19th place with 3.05 (not bad out of around 10,000 runners, but still not my goal). I made a spontaneous decision in the car journey home that I was going to try again in Edinburgh 6 weeks later.

In the gap in between marathons, I entered the Balmoral 5k AND 10k in the same day for some fun with friends from work (work sponsored the 5k so I got free entry!), managed 5th female in both races, celebrated immediately after the last of the races with a glass of Prosecco in the sponsors tent (very posh indeed!) and later that evening fell down my stairs and ended up in A&E. A few days on crutches and I was back on the treadmill, much to Kyle’s disbelief, and training for sub3 had recommenced…

Pre-race

May have overdone it on the carbs – was probably more stress eating than anything else as didn’t feel as ready for this as I did Manchester after the crutches incident. That might have worked in my favour though since it meant I went into the race with less pressure and was more relaxed.

I drank more alcohol in the week leading up to it as I should have with a charity dinner where I was hosting/helping to give out prizes meant a late night, as did my girly night in the following evening (at that point I was being negative and presumed the marathon was a lost cause anyway and gorged on so much pizza and wine with Nicolle and Katie.)

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Race day

After staying at Nicolle’s (right on the start line) and having a night of watching movies with Emma and eating lots of carbs (any excuse!), I got ~8 hours sleep and on waking I immediately had a bagel with pb & banana and some golden syrup porridge, with a bottle of Lucozade and strong coffee. I then went out for a 15 min slog (slow jog) which included 3 x strides, then did some mobility exercises. Quick change as it was pouring rain and then chilled before leaving for the start ~9.15. Waited in portapotty queue and headed to the pen with Graham. We were chatting away and before we knew it we were off. I spotted Emma and Nicolle so, of course, had to expend energy riight at the start giving them a fist pump (reason I didn’t get under 2.59??)

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Miles 1-6: 6.46, 6.34, 6.37, 6.34, 6.43, 6.44

Went out easy and there were lots of people that I had to weave in and out of. It took about 5 miles to see how I was really feeling. Legs did feel a little heavy but I stayed relaxed. Took a gel at mile 5

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Miles 7-13: 6.50, 6.44, 6.39, 6.45, 6.50, 6.52, 6.47 HM – 1.28.04 by watch

Very strong wind in our face the whole way! Tucked behind some guys and was already one of the first females as people were shouting “wow a girl” and “go guys..and girl”. Took a gel at mile 9.5

Miles 14-20: 6.50, 6.50, 6.45, 6.48, 6.48, 6.38, 6.43

Still feeling surprisingly good. There were points where I thought I should really slow it down as I have a habit of going out fast and dying, but running faster with a group seemed easier than running slower by myself. Kept asking myself if I could talk at this pace and the answer was yes so I tried to stay as relaxed as possible and just float with a group. Started picking people off in the hills. Never got overtaken on the hills at all! Took a gel at mile 15 and 20

Miles 21-26.27: 6.47, 6.55, 6.58, 7.11, 7.18, 7.13, 7.04 (last 0.27)

Wind was on our backs for this part, but it wasn’t as strong as when we started the race (the weather got brighter and warmer and the wind conveniently stopped) so it wasn’t that aided. With around 5 miles to go, I could feel a wall coming. I was still holding pace but all of a sudden it was a lot harder than before. I just kept trying to pick people off one by one. No girls in sight until about mile 23 when I overtook someone, but she pipped me at the finish. The last 4 miles were the longest 4 miles ever! I kept telling myself less than half an hour to go and it’s just up and down Aberdeen beach, but my legs were dying! I took a hi5 gel and one of mine within a couple miles of each other. About mile 21 is where I really wish they provided Lucozade or something – water plus gels weren’t enough for the amount of salt I lost. With 5k to go I just kept thinking of people who can’t run and how well I’ve done so far – I wasn’t going to let sub3 slip out of my hands but I thought it might be close, especially because I expected the course to be long considering all the mile markers were off. My brain did do the standard “if I go this slow I can still do this time” which I want to try and get rid of, but I’m so happy I didn’t stop or walk this time! The last couple miles people are everywhere cheering and I got a lot of compliments for being a top girl and for my pretty outfit! The last 1.5 miles were horrendous and I had nothing left at the end, but when I turned the corner to the finishing straight and saw the clock was in the low 2.58s I was pretty emotional! I did it!

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Post-race

I went to the grass and lay down right after crossing the line. Lots of guys were congratulating me as if I did something special being a girl, and I felt elated. I grabbed 2 bottles of water, forgot my goody bag and hugged Emma. Then went for a really long shower (tangled hair). I got the changing room to myself as not many girls were around yet, but they were so hot so I couldn’t stop sweating! Then I retraced my steps and got my goody bag and waited for Graham (he got 3.10 and a big PB!), but the rain came on so we made him get the bus back to Edinburgh with Geoff (1st marathon completed!).  I then had my pre-made rego in the car and kept drinking water.

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I know lots of improvement could be made (learning not to die in the final few miles, better rest/nutrition/mindset) but I hope I remember this race for a while, because I achieved another barrier that I wasn’t sure I would manage for a good while…

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Result: 2.59.04 – 8th overall female (2nd Scot) out of 2,806 (148th out of 8,620 overall)

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7 thoughts on “Breaking 3 Hours. Edinburgh Marathon 2014.

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