The Edinburgh marathon is the most low key marathon I've done. Sian and I went to find the start line the day before and there wasn't one. It was so low key that I had began to wonder if I'd got the wrong weekend. Normally flying into a city before a marathon you can't escape references to it, but the first clue I had that it was going on was a sign tied to a lamp post two days before saying that a road was going to be closed.
Edinburgh is the first marathon I've done which isn't one of the Majors, which is why is a bit less full on than I'm used to. This wasn't a bad thing. I certainly didn't miss schleping out to the Expo and it was pretty easy to get to the start line on the morning of the race, although walking through Edinburgh you could easily be ignorant that there was a marathon going on at all. My marathon experience wouldn't be the same without a little bit of drama, and this was no exception. The drama came in the form of the weather, or rather the expected weather. Basically the forecast was Old Testament, torrential rain and strong wind, "Fuck." I thought, but knew that I would I still have a crack at running it, but I didn't know how far I'd get. I expected to get wet and I expected to be miserable. I was also feeling very bloaty from my Carb loading. The day before I also had the familiar phantom pains, first in my right knee, then my left calf and finally in my back. I'd be worried if something didn't hurt the day before.
The morning of the marathon was damp but not bad. I began to walk the route from the day before to the start line but soon just followed the other runners. The start line was less fuss than the Cardiff half marathon. I know that there was a 'Runners Village' somewhere, but you basically just rocked up to your start pen and waited for the off. What this did share with every race I've ever done was the over excited count down followed by the anti climatic shuffle of the runners to the actual start line.
The first few miles of my marathons are always characterised by me thinking 'How am I feeling? Can I keep this pace up?' My Garmin beeped that I was ahead of my pace and I thought 'I don't think I am.' as we passed the bottom of Arthur's Seat. The first mile flew by and I felt pretty comfortable for the single digit miles. I'd learned my lesson from Boston and packed some energy bars, running beans and Deep Heat. I had a few beans in the first half and left the energy bars for the last half.
Our good friends Jason and Debbie Maybury are kind enough to come with us on these marathon trips. The day before I'd been watching the F.A Cup Final with Jas and Sian in a pub. Jas was expecting the worse but said "If we get to half time and it's still nil/nil I'll be happy.". Unfortunately that didn't happen thanks to - I think - a penalty? For some reason Jas' nil/nil hope was on repeat in my head, but I thought "If I can get to half way without the Garmin beeping to tell me I'm behind my pace I'll be happy." As it turned out I I was consistantly ahead of my pace and felt pretty good. It wasn't the most scenic of marathons and the support was below that of the Cardiff half, in fact it was the complete opposite of the craziness of Boston last year. I was fine with that though, it was good to turn up and just run.
I realised fairly early on that with the weather being better than expected that I had a good chance at a personnal best, and thought that I might be on for 3:15. This was a possibility if not for two things. Not to put too finer point on it dear reader I couldn't stop going to the toilet. I'll draw a discrete veil over the details but I had to stop four times, once I was stood outside a toliet for what felt like an age. Also on the way back from around mile 20 there was an unbelievable head wind which we were running into just when you don't want it. It was in the last four miles that I began to lose my pace and my legs began to calcify. My race then became a matter of just grinding out the steps. Despite this I knew I still had an opportunity of beating my PB from Chicago of 3:31 but it would be won or lost in the last two miles, so I dug deep. it hurt but I still had something left in the tank and managed to speed up for the last two miles, culminating in a sprint finish at the end. I crossed the line in Musselburgh at 3:24 which I was very happy with. I didn't feel anywhere near as bad I have at the end of other marathons, which is lucky as I then had to walk nearly two miles to get a bus back to Edinburgh, which felt like a little like a slap in the face. Other than that it was a very well organised marathon. One thing which was unique about the Edinburgh marathon was that it was the first race that I can remember doing where I haven't heard 'Eye of the Tiger' played on the route, however I did hear 'Rockaway Beach' by The Ramones, which was more than a fair trade.