On Sunday, May 25, 2014, I reached a huge milestone life goal by completing the EMF Edinburgh Marathon (same for the Cordovas). I honestly didn't think I would finish due to the back problems I had early on and a nasty sickness at the end of my training cycle, which forced me to go into the race having only ran 15 miles as my maximum mileage. This also was my fifth or sixth attempt to run the marathon (and some that I registered for) since 2011, but had to bail, because of random injuries, surgeries, and/or sickness. I kind of got the impression that the Powers that Be were against me. But now, I can say that I'M A FREAKING MARATHONER!!! And nobody can take that away from me.
And not only that, but it was a pretty epic trip to England, Scotland, and France with some great people.
|Thanks Martha for this image right before my race!|
We rolled into Edinburgh, Scotland, on May 23 (my birthday), which included activities, such as falconry (the best experience ever non-running related and will have a post on that later), whiskey tasting (um...we WERE in Scotland), and drinks at the Brew Dog Beer Pub (known for the world's strongest beer). I wanted to get there two days earlier to do touristy things on Friday and relax on Saturday. Mission Accomplished.
|This is probably the best selfie ever with Puck the Owl.|
|Jim, Helen, me, Ray, and JL at the Scotch Whiskey Experience. There is over 300 bottles of whiskey in that room.|
|Drinking a very strong and good beer at Brew Dogs.|
|We deemed this night Our Last Supper at Vittoria Bridge in which I had a wonderful salmon dinner. I highly recommend this place for dinner in Edinburgh. Thanks to Helen for getting our reservations early; people were being told that tables were ready around 9 p.m. early in the night.|
|Our Last Breakfast picture.|
|Of course I was wearing my Texas Run shirt. I got a few compliments on the course. Also, you can't tell in this picture, but I was freaking out on the inside.|
|The Cordovas and I trying to release some of the nervousness.|
Finally, it was time to go. Helen, JL, Ray, Jim, and I headed out the door of our perfectly located hotel (seriously half a mile from the start). We saw outside the window during breakfast how busy it was down there and now it was a mob of 8,622 people. We found our corral, did some stretching, went to the bathroom (men got to pee outdoors in the trough looking thing), and listened to some music until it was time to get in our corrals.
I originally wanted the Best Day of My Life song to pump us all up, which was used as the New York City Marathon's theme song, but didn't have it apparently on my phone. But Your the Best was of course the next best song and got us all smiling, especially when I performed some high kicks as a warm up.
|Reason #2 for Jim being the best supporter and boyfriend; he thought to bring these slickers for us to help with the rain. #1 being because he's Jim and awesome and a giant.|
|Seriously, this is the best boyfriend EVER. He allowed us to stretch our legs on him since the ground was all wet.|
And then, the countdown started. OMG! I was about to start my marathon and I could already feel the tears just hinting to start. I pushed them back, because it was too damn early for this to happen.
This was my first international race. American races always play the Star Spangled Banner before each start and I guess I was expecting something like bagpipes for this one. They didn't. We also took off our slickers, because the rain had completely died and the clouds were lighter.
The plan was to do a couple of miles slower than normal to keep our legs rested for the rest of the marathon. Helen would stay with us for a mile and then take off since she was trying to get a Personal Record (PR)/Personal Best (PB) for the Brits. However, at the start, I did the one thing I was warned not to do; I ran faster than average speed. I couldn't help it. I was caught up in the moment and the runners and with Helen. I kept looking back to the see the Cordovas trailing behind and it finally clicked to me why I was ahead of them. DUH! So, I slowed down and eventually Helen left us.
Mile 1: OMG! I'M RUNNING A FREAKING MARATHON! Excitement, craziness, speedy were all things happening to me at once. The scenery was beautiful and people were running and cheering. We also got to see Jim taking photos of us on a wall and I threw him my jacket, because it was already getting hot. This was the last time I saw him until the Finish Line.
|This was the start and took us awhile to make it to the actual start line. It was a lot of starting, stopping, starting stopping.|
|Yay, my first running step in my first marathon.|
|Ray, JL, me, and Helen waving to Jim. This is the only shot of all of us on the course.|
|We made it to mile 1. WOOOHOOOO!|
|I'm not sure where this was, but it was in the beginning mileage.|
|Mile 1-2 had some of the best scenery.|
|I'm not sure where these drummers were, but they were amazing. You could hear them miles away.|
|The Scottish coast was beautiful.|
|Not only am I running a marathon, but I'm learning, as well. East Lothian is home to the Scottish Flag.|
|Even Ray still has a goofy smile.|
|This was taken somewhere around Mile 5.|
|We made it to Mile 7.|
Miles 10-13: As I mentioned before, JL started to have issues with her IT band and had to walk a great deal. This section of the marathon is when it got really bad for her and we walked most of the time. I wanted to stay with them, but I couldn't keep up with all the walking. So, I told her at mile 13, I would be taking off on my own. And when mile 13 hit, I bid adieu to the Cordovas and wished them well.
|I love this picture, because I'm just caught in the moment of running.|
Miles 21-25: It wasn't mile 20 that did it for me; it was actually mile 21. I kept up the 5 minutes run/1 minute walk intervals after I left the Cordovas; however, at some point (can't even say when), it turned into 5 minutes run/2 minutes walk. But at mile 21, I went back to 1 minute walk. I also started to run just a tad bit faster. A house was playing Chariots of Fire and I began to smile and picked it up even more. Somebody yelled out to me that they were glad I was still smiling after all these miles. I also noticed people went from "Good job" to "Good effort," because I was basically at the back of the pack. People were packing up and there weren't many supporters left. At mile 24, the rain stopped and I just ran and ran and ran. I didn't want to walk anymore, I wanted to get it done.
|This is me trying not to cry.|
|Thank you Helen for being there for me at the end!|
|I'm looking pale for a marathoner, but who cares really? I just ran a freaking marathon.|
After we got our bags and the Cordovas bag, I saw Jim walking towards me. I wanted to run to him, but I couldn't. He just picked me up and I started crying again. I wanted him to pick me up and carry me to wherever I needed to go, preferably with beer and food, but we needed to wait for the Cordovas. I was almost positive they got picked up by the late van (picks up people that wouldn't make the cutoff time of 6 hours:30 minutes). Jim set off to find someone to tell us where they were since it was passed the cutoff time. However, they were still announcing racers crossing the finish line. After much confusion, the Cordovas crossed the finish line just under 7 hours (so much for that strict cutoff time). They didn't get any supporters, a medal, or a finisher's shirt. But they finished.
Then, the rain came crashing down on us as soon as the Cordovas showed up. This nice volunteer drove us to the buses where we had one of the most amazing bus rides back to our hotel. This awesome group of Scottish people (I think they drank some booze in celebration) started to sing. We sang the whole freaking away home. They asked for Texas songs, but the Cordovas and I were just too tired and zombie like to remember Deep in the Heart of Texas. We tried. The best was when they sang Proclaimers, I Will Walk 500 Miles. It made the long bus ride home that much better.
|I wish we were in the right mind to take video, because it was priceless.|
We finally got back to the hotel to shower and go out for food. One thing we should have done beforehand was made reservations or picked out a place to go after the marathon. Many places were packed and one pub shut down on a holiday...at 6 p.m. We ended up at this one dark pub that had some good fried pub food and good beer (loving Scottish's Three Hop beer). Then, it was time to go to bed. I did not take an ice bath like suggested, because I was freaking cold. I didn't get warm until probably 9-10 p.m. I couldn't move to foam roll and I just didn't think about an Epsom Salt bath, which we bought in England and learned that it's used for constipation. However, I'm not sure it's the same. I took an Epsom Salt bath the morning after, but it didn't soothe me.
|Helen eating her medal like an Olympian.|
|I bet the beauty queens haven't ran a marathon and then went on to win a beauty contest...but we did.|
|The happy couple with their temporary medals.|
|My giant taking care of me.|
|I'm a marathoner.|
My overall thoughts for my first marathon was that my time wasn't my best by far, but I knew that going into the run. I was hoping for sub 6; I think walking in the beginning and long bathroom stops hurt me in the end. I know what I need to fix in order to improve my time for Route 66 Marathon, November 23, 2014. It was also crazy having basically four different climates in one marathon: cold, rain, wind, and sun.
- This was my first marathon and that experience and feeling alone can't be taken away from me. Plus, it was in a beautiful city.
- It was a nice flat course, with very little uphills. The scenery was beautiful.
- They had a decent amount of bathrooms in the beginning and throughout the course.
- The volunteers were great, especially the one that drove us to the buses.
- They weren't strict on the cutoff time or the bus tickets.
- I loved the finisher's shirts and long sleeved shirt.
- When we couldn't find the Cordovas, only one person out of all the people we talked to could tell us where to go if they were picked up by the late bus. The information booth had already packed up and left. That man told Jim to go to the Main Gate where they dropped off the people; however, no one at the Main Gate even knew that gate was called the Main Gate. It took forever to find them and we didn't know where they were. It was quite scary and we didn't like it.
- The website proved to be hard to navigate and well, not true. We could have music and there was no strict cutoff time. And when I bought the bus tickets for Jim as a spectator, there were different descriptions than when I printed the tickets.
- They ran out of all sizes (except xs) for me and had already packed up the shirts when the Cordovas crossed the finish line. We were all required to give our shirt size and they were supposed to have shirts and medals for everyone. I feel this was a big letdown.
- The park part of the run was boring.
- From mile 15-19, there were no bathrooms or any bathrooms that I saw and no water.
- The bathrooms ran out of toilet paper.
Would I run this marathon again? I probably would. They need to fix some stuff, but so do I.
I want to take the time to thank the Cordovas for randomly saying yes (well, JL said yes and Ray was told) when I asked if they wanted to come run a marathon with me in Edinburgh. I'm so glad they went on this journey with me and hope for many more to come. And thanks to Helen for being there, as well and being there when I needed you most (both times). You were so supportive before, during, and after. Thanks to everyone that ran with me during the training cycle or just gave me advice, especially to Jim (the other one) who was like a coach to me. And last but certainly by no means least, thank you to my wonderful giant, Jim. You were absolutely amazing to take us around, support us, hang out for six plus hours by yourself (while getting sunburnt and rained on) just to see me cross the finish line, carry my stuff, find the Cordovas, and everything else you did that day/night. I love you so much!