Sunday, 4 May 2014

e2nb race

E2NB 03/05/14
Firstly another Edinburgh landmark to identify. 
Where was Wally working this week? Answer at the bottom of the page.

photo Susan L
I didn't carry the camera today as the weather was a bit dull, the course is a bit dull and I wanted 2 hands free to cope with gels and bottles at the aid stations.

After last week's rather botched NB2E rehearsal I was pretty nervous about how today would pan out. I am reasonably fit but haven't spent much time recently doing roads and particularly roads at speed. Last weekend was a timely reminder to start moderately and NOT in new shoes. To cover all moving parts in vaseline and tip a ton of talc into socks before setting off (thanks to Bernie for that blister prevention tip.) The camber on the snaking roads after Port Seton seem to set off hot spots on my soles the way few other roads do.

It was great to see a large Porty contingent registering and warming up today. Lots of familiar faces on our home turf. Thanks to Kathy for the lift there this morning – herself and Graeme D were boldly running despite doing the 53mile Fling last weekend. I've no idea how they both ran so well.

My remit today was marathon training. Not to win prizes or push the early pace. But to set out steadily and try to run even splits over (mostly) flat ground. I had thought 6.30minute miling was what I should be aiming for in the (Edinburgh) marathon at the end of the month. After last week this seemed hugely ambitious. There was certainly no reason to go any faster in the first half of the race and speaking to Michael F at the start line he agreed this was the figure in his mind.

down the Pans - photo Roly

So I was surprised to see him hare off a bit faster than this over the first 2. (He hit 5 around 31; myself about a minute after that.) Also out the blocks like it was a 10k was Stuart Hay. He ran a pretty fine marathon lately and I felt if he wanted to run at 6 minute miles he was welcome to it but I wouldn't be keeping him in sight. He would earn that first 50 prize right enough, if he could keep it going. So I tried not to get involved in anyone else's race. Oh and I nearly forgot David the Limmer-zine who set off as if it was a parkrun. And was possibly the only one in the top 25 wearing a backpack. His style is curious although admirable. Meanwhile I was regularly looking at the Garmin and aiming for 6.30 pace. As the Garmin jumps around from moment to moment 5.50 / 7.20 / 6.20 and only really averages out pace after every mile, it took a couple of miles to get the speed sorted. And I even got a telling off from Alex Jackson early on for too much chatting not enough racing!

I ran past the water station at 3 miles not requiring a drink. Nice to see Michael, Susan and others handing out bottles. I had made up 3 bottles for the water stations at 8, 13 and 18 miles. 13 was, I felt, the crucial one and the bottle contained a bit of a Nuun (electrolytes) tablet, Co-op (red bull like) energy/stimulation drink, mineral water, and had a caffeine gel taped to the side. The others were just fruity placebos.

great photo from Martin D showing the personalised drinks station.
Mine third in from left.

Martin D was near the 8mile station and took photos as I went past. He surely wins the prize for the most potential realised of recent marathons run. Running either half to within seconds of each other he monitors his heart rate and judges effort by that. He beat Dougie C who can take a handful of minutes or more off Martin in a half. Nicola, marathon superstar, also mentioned starting out reasonably, rather than pushing the pace early on, although it's been a while since she ran any miles as slowly as myself. She was absent from today's start line :-( . 

photo Martin D

Taking time to remove the gel from the bottle and open it with wet and slippy fingers, consume it, and then the drink, made mile 9 the slowest of the day. A few folk closed in from behind but picking it back up I set off strongly and left most of them behind. One who came along was Davey F a tall guy in a non denominational vest I have run alongside a few times. We both have similar targets on the 25th. He and I were still close when we approached the next station at 13.

photo Martin D

Richard was sweeper.
photo Martin D

This time I made sure I had a drier hand for opening the gel and bottle. I took quite a lot of (caffeine) drink on board and it was no time before I felt the blue touch paper being lit. I chased Davey up the hill alongside Gullane golf course and caught him just after the turn. Through Gullane and up the ascent leading out of Gullane, and I hardly even noticed the hills. Then at the furthest reaches of the event horizon I could see Michael F and someone in a Dunbar vest. Could that be Stuart Hay? Surely he is finished by now with his feet on the bar smoking a cigar? I reel in the Dunbar vest as we travel down the long straight out of Gullane then climb and turn round the high point of the race. I have tried to establish a tradition of shouting “thar she blows” when the Law appears round the corner but had to hush up today out of respect for the death of Stuart's race.

He had had something of a crash and burn. Meanwhile the prospect of overtaking first mv50 a couple of miles from the finish had (with the excess caffeine) stoked my furnace (anagram of race fun) and the mile that started on that corner beyond the turn for Archerfields and finished just short of the 18 mile water-station was the fastest of the day at 6.09. And that includes the short sharp left turn up to Dirleton which I scarcely remember. Next mile (uphill onto the rutted pavement) was more moderate and the young dude with the C (Clydesdale Harriers) on his vest took the lead. I had left my drink untouched at the 18 mile station. I had no need.

Just about to be overtaken by the C

It's all downhill from here I told the C and he said I should go ahead. There were a couple of twinges in my hamstrings as we cruised down the last mile into NB (and second fastest mile of the day) although the C managed to produce a hectic sprint over the putting greens to finish about a second ahead of me. And I wasn't coasting.

I was delighted to run properly over the last 5 miles today keeping a steady pace. I have memories of doing this one with George S and Scott F and having nothing in the tank from about 13 miles. Today was a much better approach – it's a shame it has taken 14 years to work this out. And Stuart went out of his way to confirm that the go-out-hard-and-see-if-you-can-hold-on method can be tough to sustain. Mr Limmer on the other hand went out hard and kept on keeping on. Holding onto 2nd place and finishing just seconds under the 2 hour mark. This is outstanding running and a great return from a stress fracture. Sub 2 hours is a very impressive result and Willie J reckoned a PRC club best.

Anne had a great run today, a pb and prize.
Stuart accusing me of wearing comfortable shoes.

The walk up to the Sports Centre is steep and slow but the hot showers were very good. My feet survived (not really any blisters – but I didn't wear my new shoes) although my legs were pretty trashed. I went back to the finish to find Mary but she had already headed to the centre. I took some photos and returned for the prize giving. Sadly the results were a bit fumbled and a couple of things, particularly Jim S, first mv60, had to be sorted. However I did get first fifty which was very pleasing. Michael got 2nd mv40. David was second overall, Emily won an age group prize and also Porty won both M&F team prizes.

So now all I have to do is work out how I can possibly extend that pace from 20 miles to 26. And in between I have a 35 mile trail race and a dangerous hill race. That should do the trick.

Big thanks to Andrew Stavert who rallied the troops to help and organise this event. It all (results aside) seemed to go smoothly. Interesting to see healthy fruit on the post race buffet table rather than the usual homebakes and chocolate cakes. Actually it really made me want chocolate cake. Had to stir in extra sugar to my tea to offset craving. Tomorrow I'm having a big lie in. If this excess caffeine ever lets me get to sleep. And also while I remember, a huge WELL DONE to Tim Neighbour who is a recreational runner. Previously a recreational drinker and smoker, like Mary and myself, and he has started running and ran E2NB as the furthest he has ever run in one go. Training for the Marathon on the 25th. Keep up the good work Tim.

medal for 1st team, trophy for 1st mv50

Oh and last week's make over was next door to Liberton Kirk. Designed by James Gillespie Graham and erected in 1815.

it's only taken 14 years to work out how to make splits like this

Bob's photos cruelly taken at 20 miles! 
- which has produced quite a few memorable faces

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