16/04/2013

This was to be a joyous write-up, another race down, cracking bling, a challenging but fun course in the mountains, a Tweet Up, but I cannot shake the images of Boston out of my head.

When the first plane hit the Twin Towers I was working on the trading floor of Bear Stearns. I stopped when I heard of the story and walked over to see what all the fuss was about. When I was a kid a German teenager landed a Cessna in Red Square, Moscow, so I had an image of a light aircraft hanging precariously with its tail out of the glass monoliths of downtown Manhattan. I was shocked when the full extent of what had transpired came to light, for only a year earlier I had completed all VISA paperwork and was supposed to head to the US to work for an investment bank that took up the top floors of the buildings I watched fall. I had taken the financial hit of the VISA legal work and now thanked God that I had.

Still, in the weeks and months that followed, as I was flown to the US, and NY, as part of the reconstruction and renewal projects of other large multinational financial institutions, I could not shake the images and, worse still, my imagination went riot. It took a long time for the nightmares to stop.

I could have applied for Boston like so many of my Twitter friends. I saw them desperate to get a place or qualify with a fast time in one of theĀ parochial races. I may even have got in. And if I had, how fast would I have run it? As I run within myself, and in a pretty linear fashion I could extrapolate that an hour 10K, and a 2 hour half would lead to a four hour full. Add a few minutes here and there for a toilet break and water stop and that would be put me right at the finish at the wrong time. It could have been me. In reality, it could have been anyone.

I am disgusted about what happened but it will not stop me from running. The hijackers did not stop me flying. Good wins in the end. And I have plenty of miles left on my shoes. And for the next race I shall honour Boston with my apparel, and my thoughts.

And so to something more upbeat, the Rock and Roll Edinburgh Half Marathon Race Review…

The race was part of the Rock and Roll series of races that are held over the world. The RnR races are very popular and the Edinburgh race was the second running in the Scottish capital. Now, the RnR folks decided to reward those who have done 2 RnR races with a 3rd medal. Sort of a reward for travelling to two countries to run. I do not agree with this, as I have already earned the medal for the races in question, but I can see how some people will like it. I am joining the 50 States group, who award a trophy, not just a medal, for completing a half marathon in all 50 US states. In November I will finish my second, so will get my finger out.

Anyway, to Edinburgh. I had not been to the city for more than a decade and was amazed to find that it was utterly lovely. The restaurants were great, the pubs, architecture, sights. The downside being that it has clearly turned into a Stag (bachelor) and Hen (bachelorette) party venue, meaning roaming crowds of drunkards made noise late into the night.

The race route was fun, starting in Holyrood Park, along the coast, running out into the mountains, a back along the Royal Mile, by the university and under the shadow the castle, and then back.

I actually really liked the route. What I didn’t like was the stair rodding rain and gusts of wind as we waited and froze for the start of the race. I am sick of the crap weather and half contemplated just going back to the Hilton and enjoying the complimentary breakfast. But, seeing as most just hid from the elements, I joined them and was glad I did.

I was glad I persevered, as the course was great. I really enjoyed the diversity of running by the sea, and through the mountains, and down through the park, and by the sights. And the weather even turned a little better, giving us a rainbow all the way.

I still haven’t trained since December. My training, as several people have pointed out, is me running a half marathon every second weekend. I think I need a new challenge, so hope Septembers Berlin Full, and then 2014 Ironman training will suffice, because my hypochondria is coming back in spades.

Still, you wouldn’t guess it seeing my cheery face around the course.

And yes, both feet off ground does mean I was running at this point. And I could have run at any. I run within myself so much that I know a 1:45 half is not impossible. I know under 2 every time could be the norm if I just gave enough of a shit. I just don’t want to be in pain. How far have I come since last March and those first tentative steps on the treadmill?

And this race was fun. It started with a Tweet Up the evening before with several runners I chat to a lot online but have never met in person @JenniferTough and @MissMedalSlut, and ended with seeing MissMedalAddict as she climbed the last hill before the downward sprint to the finish. There were plenty of kilts. Although I did not wear mine as it is now too big for me. There were plenty of Elvises (Elvi?). There was even a Dalek.

And more so, there was some choice bling!

Will you look at that beauty. Shaped like a guitar, very rock and roll. It has perfect sparkly Scots tartan. I love the Rock and Roll font, and then the Scottish font for Edinburgh. Nice image of the castle. An all round great metal. Downside, should have had dark blue tartan ribbon, not the plain.

So, how did I do? It was my slowest half ever? Would I do it again? Yes, in better weather. Would I recommend it? Absolutely. And I you go drink at Meercat (sic), eat at the Indian Cavalry Club and def eat and drink at Tigerlily.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Edinburgh, meeting great people, and enjoying the city. I enjoyed a pain free race, ended up with some sweet bling, and look back on it with much joy.

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