So bad at updating this, so I’ll pop out a brief update. Surely a marathon deserves a few words.
Edinburgh to North Berwick
By my estimation I was not in my best ever form, but the fitness had picked up a bit, maybe not so much on shorter distances but with some decent endurance. So I estimated my marathon shape was maybe 2:50 (slightly optimistic but realistic).
I aimed to set out the Edinburgh to North Berwick race at about this pace. Unfortunately the day came and it was a headwind; being a straight race along the coast this is therefore sustained.
As we set off down the prom, Dave Limmer shot off the front, a large otherwise leading group formed, and I found myself very soon relatively alone with 1 other runner behind this, ahead of the next group. We seemed to have the same pace, but after exiting the prom he was picking up a little and I let him go, setting up for a lonely race.
The first 5 miles I ticked along at this pace, spot on 4:00/km. Then progressively as the race went on, the energy fell from my legs, a few guys passed me and I tried to stay with them for a short while out of the wind, but couldn’t stick it.
I felt like someone had snuck in 10 miles when I wasn’t looking. 5 mile splits of 32:09, 33:20, 34:51, 35:28. Some good company for a while last mile or two downhill into NB were ok, but otherwise a real slog.
Stirling Scottish Marathon
I ran this race with Owain. Backing off from my conception of having 2:50 shape, I sounded him out, in his goal of hitting a good sub-3 he was aiming for 2:55 pace and that sounded good for me.
After the novel sight of giraffes from the start line (the race beings at Blair Drummond safari park) we were off, and started ticking off miles bang on pace. Running a constant effort (for me) I was falling slightly behind Owain on the uphills and rolling forward on the downs, otherwise shoulder to shoulder, chatting and smiling.
Firstly it was running through the countryside, then through Doune and Dunblane. This is what I really remember of the race, the support through those small towns was immense, maybe dangerously so early in a race with a temptation to pick up the pace. But high-fiving kids while the brain is still in a state of comprehension of reality kept the good cheer rolling.
Next memories were some also enjoyable sections out of town, along lonely roads, contrasted with the slog up through Bridge of Allan to Stirling university, the last bit of uphill and the turning point, if there is one.
Eventually we arrive in Stirling itself for the looped section. This was two and a half loops through the center of town, controversial but worked for me. Around the start of this I unintentionally moved away from Owain, and when I realised that I was alone and in striking distance of the finish, I started to pick up the pace and run it hard.
Passing the loop point I had the odd experience of Andrew Lemoncello and the fanfare of motorbikes and lead bikes coming past - slowly - and then it was my turn to loop around. On the first loop, passing those running the section for the first time, by the 2nd there are two sets of people being passed - slight potential for carnage - but other than progressively poorer lines (and a high-five in front of me that was almost a closeline) I didn’t find an issue.
Happy as can be with the time, it was a great race and good to finish hard, my 2nd fastest ever marathon.
17th June - Midnight Sun Marathon. Afterwards cycling in the Lofoten islands.
July/August - Going to see if I can squeeze in a last-minute ultra.