Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Auld Lang Promathon

Can I just have a quick rant about the google icon for the last couple of days. I know the team must work very hard on a limited budget because google is a thing hardly anyone uses ever, and they had to take a break over the festive season, (I understand the staff need time off) but could they please take the crayons away from the genius who spat out this uglification...

And no I wasn't tempted to sit up till midnight and watch the moment when I imagine the cute 4 took over from the exhausted 3. I must move on myself now before I start swearing and frothing at the mouth. But honestly even the google janitor could have knocked out a less repulsive puddle of shite. 

Ok moving on. Last day of the year, and it has been a very good year running wise. I was half thinking about doing a summary of 2013 - photos and race results etc. but it has been such a good year it might be a bit like boasting. So let's move forward and leave it at that. It was great. The odd years are generally better - 2005, 2007 and last year. I always go into the even years thinking I'll break the mould but it hasn't really happened yet. Maybe this year. And maybe the Carnethy sub60 too. And probably time for a crack at a fast road marathon if I can be bothered to do the road miles. I'm not sure if I can. If I want it enough. I have to find sufficient motivation to put myself through that wringer. 

Last run of the year round Leith. 

So last day of the year and the book is all about the marcothon. I have not been doing the marcothon but have run every day in December bar 6 when I took time out for work or whatever, because there seems little to be gained from 3 slow miles, just to tick off another day. I was impressed by the likes of Roly who seemed to be doing 10 miles daily at least and ended with 31 totaling nearly 3,000 miles for the year. I don't count or record all of mine on a Garmin but I would imagine it would be around 40~44 a week on average so just over 2,000. Greig G did over 3,000 but was not happy about his running this year. Some did 750 for the year and were delighted! 

Anyway I meant to go up Arthur's Seat and take a picture of the sunset as a metaphor for the end of the year then realised I had to go to the bank and Tesco's which to borrow a phrase from Mike had a "post-apocalyptic" feel to it. Every trolley was in use and there were queues the full length of the aisles for the checkouts. Mary drew my attention to the fact that Tesco's didn't close today (the first) and so there wasn't really the usual shops-are-shut panic that modern man so dreads. OMG we're low on milk.

So by the time I got out running it was dark and I (hypocritically) opted for the 4 miler round Leith and back. It was just to flush out any aches from Sunday's 32 miler in prep for the Promathon but my legs were grand. I think giving them a good rollering is the best to thing when trying to force a quick recovery. And they felt fine warming up for the Promathon today. I have to admit to nerves. I'm not keen on the course and I knew there was a stiffer field today in the mv50 dept than last year when I took home the Chick Third Cup. I knew I would be running as hard as possible for 22~23 minutes and it would hurt. 

Mary warming up on the beach.

However there are always so many friendly faces on the prom on the first that it is a delight and a continual stream of hellos and happy-new-years. The atmosphere is great, the weather was brilliant - perfect for running - and it does seem to have become a necessary evil to kickstart the year. And I had at least had the good sense to go to bed early after only a couple of glasses of red and read a book as the good folk of Leith set about the important business of puking and fighting in the street. Wonderfully I managed to sleep through it all. 

It was great to see a few Porties helping with marshalling duties and over 40 signed up to run. It's a pity they don't open the changing rooms in Tumbles and the showers. I meant to ask Alex if we could force that issue through as I had planned to have a micro-dip in the sea post-race and it would help to avoid hypothermia and getting socks back over sandy white dead-mans-feet if one could have a quick shower afterwards.
Great to see Tony - unfortunately his knees are shot so the prognosis is not good for running.

And so we were off. I had warmed up a bit but was so busy chatting I had forgotten to do strides or sprints and so spent the first mile gasping till I settled. I hadn't wanted to set off too quickly but was surprised at some of the slower runners setting off at the front and blocking the way. This had sorted itself out after the first 200 yards. I could see John Blair way ahead and reckoned even then he was looking good for the mv50 trophy. Michael and Nicola had set off strongly and were leading the PRC crew. As we turned it became apparent the wind was now in our faces for 2 miles to the turn at Joppa. I shamelessly hid behind the dude in the blue shirt (Chris Poxton?) although it looks from the photos I ran alongside him for a bit as well. He set a good pace and I reckoned we both did a good job to avoid overcooking it while constantly catching runners along the way. There were a few girls and younger guys set off too quickly and fell by the wayside by the time we cruised past. 

Thanks to David for this photo where he was marshalling at the D&C end.

Both having a lovely time. Thanks Bob for the photos!

I could hear people cheering on Stuart before I saw him.
Thanks to Adrian for the photo.

Thanks Susan for this photo.

Loads of people shouted encouraging things. It kept me going. I zoned out a bit too. I could see John Blair but I wasn't making much progress. Then I overtook Rab from Musselburgh. Either I was going well or he wasn't. However with a race this close to a drinks festival you never know what folk have been up to the night before. However he picked it back up and went past. Nature was restored, although his rival Michael (1st mv40) had the upper hand today by a long way. 

I was also cheered by the proximity of Fergus, a Wintervals buddy who is miles ahead on the hills but spent a lot of today nearby, finishing just one place ahead. I was glad to turn at the Joppa end and head back with the wind behind us. I later found that after a 5.21 mile I ran a 5.35 and then a 5.41 before a final 5.34 averaging out at 5.33 which is probably the fastest 4 miles I've ever run. I could see John along the prom but he remained the same distance ahead. By now I was resigned to this but swapping places with Stuart kept me focussed for the remainder of the prom. I was pleased with the new layout of the course (starting and finishing at the new Gym) and that we didn't have the awful derelict prom along the West End again. With the finish in sight I lifted the pace and left Stuart behind, probably the benefit of doing endurance training recently. It was only after crossing the line that I realised Colin F had raced and finished 6 seconds ahead. So I was third mv50. I was very pleased to have run my fastest time there as far as I can recall. 

Thanks to Susan for this photo

And very glad that was over. Thanks Alex J for organising and Run and Become, and all who helped out. I shook hands with loads of folk and then changed my shoes to my swimming shoes. Last year I got distracted before I could get in the water, this year I went for it. I took off the Garmin and waded out until the water was up to my waist then ducked under and headed straight back out. It is like a baptism and really very unpleasant (I shouted a lot of language Fifewards as the icy water ascended) but marks the new year in a way that drinking and standing in a circle singing auld lang whatsit doesn't. Like the race it is brutal but something I am glad to have done. 

cold and damp
(Rumours that I was self harming after a poor performance are totally untrue - that is tomorrow at the Greenmantle Dash.)

First lady - anything else would have been a surprise!

First three men. (2nd, 1st, 3rd)
Photo Adrian Stott

Results here

John is politely hiding a trophy behind his back!

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