My Forthside Half Marathon Experience by Ed

@ Leith

Chris seemed quite calm on Friday/Saturday, however I was bricking it. All I could think about was will my feet be OK?, will I have to limp back embarrassed and crying?, will my body be able to do it?

I usually sleep regardless of what is going on in my life, but on Saturday night I had a terrible nights sleep, tossing and turning, eventually getting about four hours shut eye. An early start on Sunday morning, i.e. 6:45am rise followed by me eating too many bagels and feeling sick. We picked up Chris and Suz en route and got parked in the Blue Car Park whereupon we got half ready in the car park and the couches outside Molly’s. Once I got my ChampionChip on my shoe, my number on my t–shirt and my sticky padding on my feet, we were ready to go.

In Ocean Terminal (pre race)
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson
In Ocean Terminal (pre race)
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson

Ocean Terminal consisted at that time of the morning of all 3000 competitors attempting to go to the loo. We stood in a queue for ten minutes before we realised that we were in the #2 queue and not the #1 queue. We only needed a wee! All those men queuing to clear their bowels before a race, how pleasant!

It was really all about hanging around and waiting and we didn’t venture outside until 5 minutes before we needed to.

Waiting around at the start
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson
Waiting around at the start
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson

I had categorised myself three months ago when applying to run as the worst group, i.e. more than 2:30, Chris was less pessimistic and had put himself in the group before, 2:15 — 2:30 however he decided to join me in the Special Needs group. We lined up on the Roundabout as you come into Ocean Terminal talking with Vic Rickis’ fiancee and sister making polite conversation in an attempt to forget about the impending run. Now when I say we started at the back, I am not exaggerating, we were at the back, last, absolutely, there was no one behind us apart from the Stragglers Bus (running at a three hour pace) and some stewards.

Folk started to move forwards, we didn’t even hear the start gun/klaxon so just followed along at walking pace for a few minutes. All of a sudden folk started to jog. So we jogged. Around about three minutes after the start we made it to the start line where Rose had nabbed a good spot and papped us for the first time that day.

We finally make it to the start line (3 minutes after the race begins)
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson
We finally make it to the start line (3 minutes after the race begins)
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson

We headed off along Ocean Drive and towards Bernard Street which to be honest was disheartening, first of all the quality of the road was terrible and Chris and I spent a good half the time dodging pot holes and running on the pavement! Additionally, running in the other direction from where the majority of the route is meant to be heading is kind of sapping. The pace was too slow for both of us and we were stuck behind all the weirdos and fatties. Now I don’t mean to be disrespectful, these people are entitled to compete and raise funds for charity but some people should just not run, whether its their body shape, equipment or just mentality. I’ll leave it at that, you can fill in the gaps.

Our supporters had made the 500 yard dash to the top of the street, while we went round the long way to catch us at the 1 mile mark:

Ed at the 1 mile mark
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson
Ed at the 1 mile mark
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson
Chris at the 1 mile mark
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson
Chris at the 1 mile mark
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson
Jack and Grandad cheering on
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson
Jack and Grandad cheering on
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson

After this we headed along Newhaven and Granton and the support dried up. To be honest, there were more folk watching that had no idea there was a Marathon running than folk actually supporting. A few folk pulled out with injury etc, which was a bit disconcerting.

Heading through the new posh part of Leith which is right beside the old crap part of Leith, it was quite a run. Around the 2 mile mark we got our first ever water stop. These are great but it really annoys me to see the amount of water that is wasted, folk taking one drink and then chucking away a whole bottle, its a real shame.

Chris papped by Vic
📷 Photograph: Vic Rickis
Chris papped by Vic
📷 Photograph: Vic Rickis

As we reached Upper Strand, the new super office posh part of Leith, Chris was feeling it in his knee so prompted me to go and he would manage at his pace. This turned out to be a god send in some respects (I don’t know about Chris) but I was able to put the music on and be at one with my thoughts. A real tough hill with only Take That for company and then downhill for a few miles to Cramond Promenade.

I was really going for it and was enjoying testing my body out. When I felt tired, I just kicked back and ramped it up a bit. When going downhill I found it better to maintain the effort and hence the pace increases rather than resting.

We got to Cramond and it was all a bit confusing as folk were crossing past each other. Chris said he felt a bit travel sick, I just thought it was silly. The plus side was that I was able to see Chris twice down at Cramond as I felt a bit guilty about going ahead. There was a Lucozade stop which was nice but its too hard to run and drink sensibly.

The lack of signs to show the mileage was a big pain as I like to know my pace, time, splits etc. so to see the turn at Cramond was a big number 7 and the time on my watch was 61 minutes, I was in a great mood. Turn time, more than halfway and on the way back. The run along Cramond Promenade was enjoyable, some sea fresh air but it was also into the wind a little, but that was refreshing. At the end of Cramond Promenade there was a nice long big hill which in essence was the payback for the nice down hills earlier on. It was tough and about half a mile. Right at the top was the 9 mile marker along with a water station and it was here I had a stop. First reason, I was tired and second I needed a proper drink which I couldn’t do if I was moving. I stood for about thirty seconds and had a good long drink and rest. Then it was off again.

We then headed through the horrible Industrial Estate part of Leith which I would never venture into myself. The fact there was a Marathon on was the only reason I did. Running at the back of units with their rubbish everywhere and horrible smells, pot holes is not great. We eventually got back onto the Granton Road and there was about two miles to go. We passed a girl who was stretching and the lady in front of me clapped her hands and shouted encouragement. By this point I had some group mentality so joined it. What came out was a high pitched squeal like Come on which was very embarrassing. I speeded up and kept running.

I popped myself a couple of Ibuprofen for feet and a Lucozade tablet. These were OK but dried up your mouth upon taking them. Think next time I wont bother.

The next two miles were very hard and I kept looking out for the twelve mile marker, which probably didn’t help. Eventually it came into sight, just after a drinks stop where I had another 20 second stop. I knew I had one more mile and took the time to have a decent drink to allow me to finish. I was feeling OK but wanted to make sure. Remember I have never run a race and it does require some strategy.

I knew the race finished at Ocean Terminal so as we turned left round the back of the building I knew I was almost home. My friend Vic was standing here with his camera and got a shot of me with ½ a mile to go. Thanks Vic.

Ed at the back of Ocean Terminal (½ a mile to go)
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson
Ed at the back of Ocean Terminal (½ a mile to go)
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson

As I came round the last side of Ocean Terminal I started my sprint finish. No problem, still some gas in the tank, lets make this look good as I enter the finish area. It was at this point I saw that the Finish Line was not the same as the Start and was in fact another 500 yards and two turns away. The Sprint Finish fizzled out and I carried on jogging.

On the last turn, there was a fair crowd and just I was turning right, some stupid cow stepped onto the track in an attempt to cross over (for a burger no doubt). I ran straight into her and was shocked that someone could be so stupid. Rather than stop I kept going, barged her, gave her a right elbow and shouted (from what I can remember) — get off the track you stupid cow and carried on. I am not going to apologise, she was able bodied, of sound mind and deserved it.

Onto the home straight now. I had been worried for the last three miles as I had managed to complete the course a lot quicker than anticipated so I didn’t even know if my family would be there! Luckily they were and I spotted Jack on Grandad’s shoulders. I saw my Mum but like any good Paparazzi, Rose was well hidden ;-)

I came them a trademark salute and glided over the line around the 1:55 mark. Once the chip time was calculated, my time turned out to be a super 1:52:24. I am very pleased.

Ed saluting the crowd
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson
Ed saluting the crowd
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson
Where is my silver foil blanket and Mars Bar?
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson
Where is my silver foil blanket and Mars Bar?
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson
Must beat fat guy next to me, must, must
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson
Must beat fat guy next to me, must, must
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson

Five minutes later and much to the amusement of the support, the oldest guy in the field came home, 69 year old, Grandad. Where was Chris?

Then out of the sunshine and crowd, Chris appeared. It seemed like ages since I ended (sorry Chris) but to be fair it was only 13 minutes. He looked almost embarrassed as the girlies screamed, Jack cheered hurray UnChris and furiously clapped his hands and the men clapped and shouted. I shouted Come on Web Man Walking, just to get one more plug in as he ran across the finish line.

Chris racing a middle aged lady to the finish line
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson
Chris racing a middle aged lady to the finish line
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson

Once we had all met up and calmed down, we fished our medals out of the goody bag and my Mum (as highest ranking Marathon person we know) presented them in a Star Wars fashion.

Ed and Chris afterwards with medals
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson
Ed and Chris afterwards with medals
📷 Photograph: Rose Henderson

I was quite tired but no way as bad as I thought I would be. Legs and feet were sore and I was weary but nothing like staggering about fainting or anything daft like that. I actually feel more tired today (Monday) and am looking forward to resuming normal training this week, Tue (5), Wed (8), Thu (5), Weekend (18).

That was actually the farthest I have ever ran, and managed the best time, which is another great milestone for me. Long may it continue. There are six weeks more hard training followed by three weeks wind down training before the big day. I aim to lose some more weight and get myself in a state where I am able to run that pace for 26 miles, not 13.

A big thank you to our Supporters — Rose, Jack, Suz, Dad (Eddie), Mum (Liz) and Vic (who was supporting his fiancee but supported us as well). Well done on the photos Rose (and Vic, thank you for sending yours over). As usual they are excellent and a great reminder of the day.

For consistency:

Distance
13.1 miles
Time
1:52:24 (or 112:24), Split, 7 miles (61 minutes)
Stops
Two, #1 for a rest and drink, #2 for a drink