Thursday, 11 April 2013

Other People's Running

I finished the first half of a large project on Tuesday and took a breather till Monday to gather my strength (and do a few things, like quotes, the warm up for a portrait, finishing editing a video etc.) and I can only say I'm greatly in favour of a 3 day week. Or 2 day. It gave me time to catch up on some stuff. Including the following 2 pieces of writing. The common ground is that they are both critiquing races. Neither of them races I greatly admire, though both have their attractions.

First is by Gio and his bandit “entry” at last year's Edinburgh Rock and Roll Half Marathon. (Nothing if not timely.) I like his tone, and his neck. I wouldn't normally condone fleecing the race organisers of an entry fee but in this case, where the general direction of the robbery seemed so much in the opposite direction, I felt bound to applaud Gio's initiative. In the same spirit, I haven't asked Gio for his ok to reprint this from his facebook archive. I'm just running it without permission...

Rock’n’Roll Half-Marathon, Sunday 15 April 2012

Decided to tag along unofficially with the Rock’n’Roll Half-Marathon as my Sunday morning hill running pals were away - and resolved to give it everything I had to achieve a new personal target of never once getting out of breath.

Joined the group which had set off just before I arrived, following the two pacers with their little 1:45 time cards held aloft. Good on them, because it must get a bit tiring on the arms after a while. It’s all I can do to carry a wrist watch these days.

Nice April morning for it. Cold out of the sun, but warm enough in it for a tan - so off came the T-shirt after a couple of miles. I seemed to be the only one with no top, and this attracted quite a lot of attention and comments all the way round, mostly “Get your top on” and, at the finish, “You’re disqualified. No number.”

So no medal or free Hula Hoops for me then. But I was handed an energy gel at Duddingston Loch, there were live bands all the way round, and it really was a great course – well worth every penny of the entrance fee I didn’t pay in the first place. Only thing I would say is there was an awful lot of tarmac and no real hills.

Talking of first place, I’ve no idea who won it or how fast they did it, but I can tell you that yours truly romped round in a blistering 1:44 with just a single strategic sit-down (SSSD) at the Portobello Portaloos, to powder his bandanna, so to speak. How’s that for focus?

Note: a single strategic is better than a double strategic (DSSD) but not as good as a zero strategic (ZSSD), and if you’re having a treble strategic (TSSD) or worse, you’re in big trouble.

My single strategic meant the two little 1:45 clock cards were out of view for the next 8 miles, but it reinvigorated me enough to move right up into second gear from then on, during which time I realised that being topless hid my lack of a number – it also attracted a few hoots from some of the ladies watching (I winked back at each of them), and an offer from a Spanish gentleman that he run along with me (admittedly I may have got slightly out of breath here, and was sorry I had winked) - but it did nothing to hide the lack of an electronic tag on my shoe, which became embarrassingly noticeable after a group of runners just in front of me set off a flurry of beeps as they passed over a detector pad … but not so much as a squeak as I crossed it alone. Oops.

Caught me completely unawares, this new-fangled, roadlubber technology, and I hadn’t the wit to just smile at the marshal and say beep! Next time, though.

Anyway, I finally closed on the 1:45 twins at Holyrood, just in sight of the finish line - by which time, though, it was unfortunately too late to veer prudently off the official course, and I was funnelled by the temporary railings right up to said line, with no option but to high-five the pretty American emcee standing there, who smiled at my bare torso and said get your top on. And you’re disqualified.

I said I was never qualified in the first place, and sloped off to buy my own Hula Hoops.

Have to say though, that aside from her, the talent was a bit disappointing and there weren’t as many motivational backsides to track round like in the old days, though I did hear a few people asking who that *rse in the bandanna was with no top.

But as Marie Antoinette famously said, you can’t have your cake and eat it.
I did though, in Costa Coffee after, so she knew absolutely nothing about cake. Twat.

Next up is a report, a complaint, a set of complaints about the MDS, Mary came across in the world of blogs. I was talking about this race on Wednesday at club saying I thought it was overpriced and attended by non-runners doing it for the bragging rights, having met a couple of them at the Everest Marathon where they were also ticking off that one for similar reasons. (One finished in about last place, the other ended up (dnf-ed) on his back with a drip in his arm.) However as I have not, nor ever will run the Marathon Des Sables I should perhaps defer to someone who has. This someone, James Adams (ultra runner) has a blog. The entry below has a number of grumbles, and after the ones about Garmins and Memes is an enlightening crit of the MDS that should be read by anyone thinking of stumping up the £3500 (2008 price) and getting in the 3 year queue to do this bloated sand fest.

All the photos above are
"Abandoned Houses reclaimed by the Namib Desert"
by Spanish Photographer Alvaro Sanchez-MontaƱes and can be found here

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