Scottish 10k and Great Cumbrian Run 1/2


In Which I PB At Both! (Wait, Spoile… Too Late)

Scottish 10k – 22nd September 2019

I like the Scottish 10k. It’s local, reasonably priced but more importantly very FLAT, and so (after a pre-run microwave burger and a short bus ride) I found myself lining up for the race for the third year in a row.

It starts at Musselburgh Racecourse and you run 5k into East Lothian before turning back to the start, in a nice out and back route (which are my favourite kind.)

My second favourite course type is a ‘loop’ when you run in a massive circle (such as York Marathon) then my third is a ‘point to point’ where you start and finish at two different places. (Such as Great North Run.)

Scottish10K_Route-map-e1540398254354

I set off, as always, too quickly. (Do I ever learn? I do not.) And I could feel a stitch coming on around the second mile. In a race I try not to look at my watch until halfway (if there’s no pacers) and run by feel and I felt I was going to blow up.

Reaching the turn around at 5k I glanced at my TomTom and it said I’d done the first 5k in just over 23 minutes… A lot faster than expected! However, like I said, I was blowing a bit and so had to walk a little to catch my breath.

I could feel the chance of a PB though (47.57 to beat) and did my best to get my legs going. As I’d started near the front I was getting over taken by plenty of fit people and that also meant lots of encouragement as they ran by. Listening to them and trying to focus on a PB, I pushed, and grunted a fair bit too.

Finishing line in sight, didn’t seem to get nearer for a while, but then before I knew it I was done. NEW OFFICIAL PB OF 47.15!!

The rest of the day was spent with beer. Standard.

Scot10kMedal

Great Cumbrian Run 1/2 Marathon – 6th October 2019

Two weeks after the Scottish 10k was the Great Cumbrian Half Marathon, taking place in Carlisle. (Don’t think I’ve ever been before.) As it’s not local (ages away) I booked a cheap room for the night and went down on the saturday.

Numbers weren’t posted out so went to the Sheepmount Stadium on Saturday afternoon to collect it. Also realising I had no energy gels with me, I bought one I’ve not tried before, KMC Chocolate Mint Gel.

After I got my number I went and checked in to the B&B (a LOT nicer than the price suggested!) and then I went to the cinema alone like a loser and watched Joker (which is about a loner loser. Its AMAZING.)

An early night followed but I was woken at 3am by torrential rain. Not the best of signs… Ah well, went back to sleep as I can’t change the weather so no point worrying. Woke up at 8am (race starts at 10) and had my (standard carbs) of a microwave burger. (IT WORKS FOR ME).

I then checked out and made my way to the Stadium once more.

GCRsign

On this race (a loop) you sort yourself into what ever start time you fancy so I made my way into the Sub 2hr group. I once did a sub 2hr half marathon but that was in training so I don’t really count it as official. Think my official-official time is 2.02, but with the previous 10k PB I was kinda confident.

HONK! Time to go. (That was a horn, not like an angry goose.)

Turns out this route is hilly. VERY hilly. The first 5km is almost a straight line (of hills) before you start looping back around anti-clockwise. I was feeling quite good though and felt my pace was working well. Again, trying not to check my watch until halfway I waited until just after 6 miles, thinking I was running around about 9mins a mile I was happy to see it registered at 8.50 a mile.

Still felling quite good I told myself to get to 7 miles then have the energy gel and see how my legs are feeling. Handily, at 7 miles most of the hills are done with and its more or less flat or downhill until the end. (With a couple hills still, of course…)

cumbrian.jpg.gallery

7 miles flew by and then the rain came. FULLY came. It was the same sort of rain as through the night, pouring and pouring. But, I ain’t sawft so kept on keeping on. Before long I got to 8 miles and realised this was the longest non-stop running I’d done in years.

Fully preparing myself for needing a walk break, I told myself to get to 10 miles first. 10 miles came, I kept running. 11 miles… 12… chuffing hell, am I gonna run the whole route with walking any?

Too chuffing right I did!

And you know what? I did it in 1.52.44! Massive PB!

Seems my training is going quite well this year. Next up, York marathon on the 20th October. Can I get another PB? We’ll see…

GCRmedal

Either way they’ll be plenty of beer afterwards!

 

York ParkRun and York 10k Recap


In Which You Get Two Recaps For The Price Of One! (Price: £FREE)

York ParkRun Recap – 3rd August 2019

4am. Alarm bells were ringing. Well, the alarm on my phone was ringing and it’s more of a whiny beep but you get what I mean, you’re clever like that. ‘Why though,’ you ask, ‘why so early?’ WELL:

I’d signed up to the York 10k race on the Sunday, but as I live in Edinburgh I was travelling down on the Saturday and staying overnight, to wake up fresh for the run. However, when I looked at cheap trains the cheapest ones were early in the morning, leaving around 7am from Edinburgh and arriving in York around 9.30am.

Somewhere in my little mind a voice said ‘that’s ParkRun time that is!’ But the little voice didn’t realise that York ParkRun starts at 9.00, not 9.30 like so many others. Why’s it start at 9.00? I have no idea. To be honest I’ve not even thought about it till now. Do your own research for once.

YorkTired

SO ANYWAY that meant that to get to York in time for the ParkRun I had to leave even earlier. My alarm went off at 4am, I left home at 4.15, bus to Edinburgh at 4.30, arrived in Edinburgh at 5.15, train left at 5.50, arrived in York at 8.25, walked the two miles up to York Racecourse and arrived with about 5 minutes to spare.

I’ve only ever done my local ParkRun, Meadowmill, which is a newish one and attracts 75 – 100 people a week whereas York has around 400-500. A guy with a speaker said York gets busy because people like to do a ParkRun for each letter of the alphabet and there’s only York and one other that begins with a ‘Y’. (Yeovil is the other. There’s a Q in the form of Queen Elizabeth ParkRun but for a Z you’d have to go to Cape Town (Zandvlei), Poland (Zielona Góra) or Zillmere in Brisbane, Australia.)

I lined up mid-pack (behind a few buggies and next to a dog) and then it was go time. It’s a nicely set out run if you like to see where you’re going because its a one and a half lap of the race course. (horse racing.) In that respect there’s not so much I can tell you about it except I ran in a big circle, then carried on for another half circle. I tried to stay kinda steady with my pace due to the 10k the next day and also carrying my rucksack full of my stuff for the weekend but got carried away a bit in the last mile. Finished in 27:32. (Got overtaken by a running buggy at the end but no animals, thank dog.)

Then, because York is my favourite place in the world, I walked back the two miles into the city centre, bought five books at a second hand book sale and had a wander round. I was sensible and kept my beer intake low (few pints) then carbed up a bit with a lamb kebab from a stall in the Shambles market. Spent a bit more time being a tourist and then made my way to my cheap cheap hotel which, as it turns out, was next to the race course. (So again, walked two miles up to it.)

YorkMinster

Time was getting on a bit (4pm) and I was tired from getting up so early so decided to nap. I set my alarm for 6pm and woke up at 10pm. Bugger. Luckily I’d bought a load of cheap food from Poundland so had a bit of carbs then went back to sleep around 1am.

York 10k Recap – 4th August 2019

I was awake at around 7am. Dunno why I couldn’t sleep much longer… My friend Rob was travelling from Bradford for the race so he was well on his way. My original plan was to sleep on his sofa but the hotel was cheap and figured that after the cost of York to Bradford then back to York this morning it was only costing an extra £10 or so. Plus it meant we had a place to keep our bags and then shower afterwards. Clever like a FOX.

I needed a coffee and because it was a cheap room there was no kettle, so I wandered to the breakfast area:

YorkCoffee

Full of caffeine, back to my room for a sandwich (carbs) then I walked up the road to meet Rob. After dropping his bag in my room we walked down the small field which brought us nicely out onto the race course where the 10k would start and end. (same race course as yesterday but started on the opposite side and went away from it.)

Rob wanted under 1hr 20mins and I was toying with the idea of under 50mins but it was already a hot day and I don’t do so well in the heat when walking, let alone running, so figured I’d follow a 50min pacer until I started flagging and then I’d drop back, but would stay in front of the 55min pacer. (All the tactics!) Rob went to the back of the pack and I said I’d meet him at the end.

The countdown was on, then we were off. York 10k is a funny route that takes in plenty of the local sights, but has a fair few turns. Like so:

York10kRoute

I kept the pacer in my sight but took me the first couple of kilometres before I caught up with her properly, as it was hard to navigate through the field of runners until we all leveled out a bit. I was quite warm and sweaty already so told myself to stick with her as long as possible, but not to over do it. I was carrying a bottle of water with me which was a good thing because I completely missed the first water station (3.5km), somehow managing to avoid the dozen or so volunteers thrusting water towards parched runners.

Running over the river for the first time, we approached the minster and a nice supportive crowd cheering everyone on. Then 5km went by and I still felt kinda good. To be honest, the motivation from the pacer was the main reason (COME ON KEEP GOING). Constantly shouting support at everyone around (EVERYONE DOING OK?) and giving advice such as pour water on your wrists instead of your head helps cool you down quicker, massive massive help!

Cliffords tower was the next landmark around about 6k and I got into conversation with the pacer who told me shes trained in Rio for the Olympics (!) and would also be pacing at York Marathon in October so knew I was in good hands (feet?).

7k approached after a long straight stretch along the river (IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING FIND AN ARSE TO LOOK AT AND CONCENTRATE ON THAT) then back over the bridge for the first of two quick out and back sections (IF YOU CHEAT I’LL BREAK YOUR LEGS) and then 9k went by.

Deciding to try finish strong I sped up as much as I could and got over the line in a 2nd best ever time of mine of 48:45! I’m not a dickhead though (not much…) and so made sure I waited for the pacer at the end to thank her for getting me round in such a decent time. Made her have a selfie with me, because that’s the age we live in.

YorkPacer

I hung around for Rob who finished a LOT quicker than he expected too, in 1hr 9mins. Then, obviously, we went for celebration beer. (After using the hotel shower and getting freshened up obviously.) Another great thing about York is the amount of pubs. We managed a few…

YorkMedal

YorkBEER

Next Up: Darlington 10k on the 11th August!

 

Mad Dog ’18 Race Recap


In Which I Go Back AGAIN

Mad Dog. One of my first 10k races ever and the one that I always say means that my running year has started properly. (York marathon in October signalling that I can take it easy over the winter. As though I’ve been pounding the pavements all summer..!)

The main concern with this years Mad Dog (Sixth year in a row I’ve been there!) was getting there. (Floo powder?) For the five years previous I’ve been living in Yorkshire and so a little over an hour drive and you’re there. At the end of last Summer we moved up to just outside Edinburgh and so the commute to the race got a bit longer. Four hours to be exact. (Not too exact. Four and a bit hours. Four hours 15 minutes. And 17 seconds. Not counting stopping off.)

(Four hours 37 minutes and 32 seconds in total to be exact.)

(Roughly.)

There was also the matter of staying over to take into account as it was too much driving (For Hayley) to go there and back in the same day (lazy) so we decided to make a weekend of it. (In Southport. In Winter.)

I had a hotel booked (Ramada Plaza) with payment on arrival, which was £90 for room only so we decided to stay Friday and Saturday nights. A few days before race day however, I got an email from the (excellent) organisers of the Mad Dog 10k saying that you could get Bed and Breakfast for £90 a night and organise late check out if you mentioned Mad Dog but only at the hotel… Ramada Plaza!

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Straight on to the phone was I, and the nice lady at the other end changed my booking. Same price as before but now with late checkout and breakfast for us both? Magic!

I won’t bore you with the Friday and Saturday details because you’re here for the race recap and not a holiday recap. But we ate plenty, had a good wand-around, Hayley spilled my beer all down me on the Friday, and we played in loads of Amusements and won a baby Groot after spending a few quid(ditch).

Sunday Morning 

Getting up nice and early (nope, snoozed my alarm loads) we went down for breakfast. I took it easy and had bacon (x2) sausage (x2) hash brown (x2) and coffee (x2 and a bit.) We then walked the 15 minutes to the car park where the coaches were lined up shuttling runners and spectators to the start of the race. Only takes five minutes or so on the transfer buses and its free for everyone.

Every year there’s a movie/tv theme to the Mad Dog 10k with a canine connection. This year was Hairy Potter and The Half Bred Pup and as such there were plenty of Harry Potter costumes going on. We saw a few wizards, plenty of HP scarves, a woman dressed as a broomstick and, oddly, five blokes dressed as the Spice Girls. (It’s not Leviosah, it’s Levi-Zigga-ZiggAH.)

A nice touch and to save time at the end, you can get your t-shirt and goody bag before the run. (Medals at the end still.) It means that if people want to run in that years themed tshirt they can, and also reduces congestion at the end of the race. The goody bag is BRILLIANT. You can wait til the end though.

Time to line up so went and lined up. Must’ve got giddy with my predicted time because I was right at the front. The race was started by Jo Pavey (an ACTUAL Olympian) and after a countdown and some barking, we were off. The course is an out-loop-back kinda set up. The first and last 2.5k are on the same stretch of road with a 5k loop in the middle.

There’s plenty of bands/singers/entertainment going on and the middle loop is always well supported. You run alongside the coast for a lot of the run and even though the day had started off icy, it was very nice running weather.

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Now the thing is, starting too far forward means that there’s fast people around you. From the start. And because they are fast you feel you have to go fast too as otherwise they all overtake you. Which is why, after planning to start off around 8m15s a mile, I clocked my first mile at 7m15s. WAY too quick. I actually did the first two miles in 15 minutes which is probably where the (golden) stitch came from to slow me down.

Running towards the Pier and by the Elvis impersonator (think he lives under that Pier, he’s always there) I made myself slow down because I knew I couldn’t keep that pace for long without messing up the second half of the race. Still, first 5km done in bang on 24 minutes.

Water station coming up so allowed myself to walk through it to get some energy back before tackling the second half (blood prince) of the course. I was nowhere near the speed that I had before and that was fine by me. Sub 50 was ebbing away but figured I can still get under 51 minutes. Before I knew it I was back on the main road and then turning towards the finish line, keep going keep going annnnnnnddd…… finished. 50:41.

Chuffed.

So that’s that! Mad Dog 10k done for six years in a row now. Will I make it back for next years race? Always. (Especially seeing as though it’s called “Bark To The Future”!)

Oh wait! Before you go!

LOOK AT THE GOODY BAG!

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Backpack, Running hat, Racebelt (THAT HAS A FLASHING LIGHT) Water Bottle, Fridge Magnet Picture Frame, Snood, Fruit, Energy Drinks, Number Clips, loads of snacks PLUS the Medal and TShirt! (The bar just above the bag is a doggy treat bar. I’ve seen a few people on facebook that didn’t realise it wasn’t an energy bar til too late… Mongrels!)

*flies off on his broomstick for butterbeer*

Great Edinburgh Winter 5k Run


In Which I Wasn’t Expecting To Go So Far Up

Saturday morning. Odd day for a race, a Saturday. I think every other race I’ve taken part in has been on a Sunday. Probably because there was a televised cross country run around the same area later on in the day, but still. A Saturday. 

We woke up around 7am then snoozed til around 7:20, as is the tradition. I got up and made myself and Hayley a wonderful home made breakfast (microwave burger to share, I normally have one to myself but as it was only a 5k that felt greedy.)

Got to the bus stop a few minutes before the bus arrived (handy) and stayed on it for around 40 minutes before getting off quite near Holyrood park where the run was taking place. (Which is obviously why we got off there…)

Ten minutes steady walk and a quick look around then it was pretty much time to line up for the warm up. I don’t usually take part in the warm up for two reasons:

1. I use the first mile as my warm up, and:

2. I don’t want to look like a knob.

However! I took part this time for two reasons:

1. It was a 5km run so not long enough to use a mile as a warm up, and:

2. It was chuffing freezing.

Warm up done, it was go time. I’ve not been around this area so much but figured that it would be a lap of Arthur’s Seat and so nice and steady. Arthur’s Seat is an extinct volcano and popular with climbers, it’s not too hard to get to the top. (Been there, done that.) The views from the top of Edinburgh are amazing. 

Back to the run! Started off easy enough, nice and flat route for a few minutes then we turned a corner and… hill. Big hill. BIG hill! Should’ve checked the route.

Turns out the first mile included 200ft of climb. And I felt every foot. In my feet. And legs. But the views from the top were amazing. There was a bloke playing bagpipes at the top and he must’ve had a lift up because otherwise he would’ve not had enough air in his lungs to play. 

The down hill section was fun though. Not done many 5k races and so it seemed over very quick. Especially the last mile. Before I knew it I was over the line and getting my goody bag with a brand new medal and t-shirt. 

Found Hayley easy enough and we watched a few of the runners finishing before heading off to Wetherspoons for a breakfast and to recover. 

I love food. Normally, right around now I’d show you the medal draped over a cool, refreshing pint of lager. Unfortunately I’m still doing Dry January so here’s my medal with diet coke instead. 

Looks just as good, right?

Next Up: Mad Dog 10k on Feb 4th. Can’t WAIT!

Scottish 10k Recap 24th Sept 2017


In Which I’m Not In Berlin 

Quick catch up:

I’d signed up to run Berlin marathon for charity, and agreed to raise £500 for the cause. The marathon was yesterday, in Berlin, but I wasn’t in Berlin and I definitely wasn’t a marathon. (How would that even work? Why would you even think that?)

The reason I wasn’t in Berlin is because I was in Scotland. The reason I was in Scotland is that I now actually live in Scotland, and so find myself quite often in Scotland, what with living there and all that. I work there too! In Scotland.

“But you live in Yorkshire! In England!” You cry. 

No. Scotland now. Keep up.

ANYWAY that’s why I wasn’t in Berlin, because I’d met a wee Scottish lassie and we decided to move here (Scotland) last month. Moving ain’t cheap, and so Berlin has been deferred until next year. The charity is fine with this, which is good.

So what with living and working in Scotland (Edinburgh to be precise) I looked for a run somewhere around to take my mind off Berlin and found a run three miles from my front door. Can’t get much more local than that!

Sunday

The 10k route was a relativity flat, out and back route starting and finishing at Musselburgh race course, just outside Edinburgh (in Scotland.) Hayley (wee Scottish lassie) dropped me at the race course at 8:40 and went off to park up while I lined up and watched people stretch and looked at clouds and stuff. 

There was a half marathon going on too which started a way away but finished at the same bit as the 10k which meant less runners doing the 10k. Just over a thousand (according to results.)

Turns out I must’ve been quite confident on signing up as I was right behind the elites. Bet they felt nervous when they saw me looking all athletic and with my number hanging off.

Few minutes to go. Minute to go. Ten seconds. Go.

Hayley and her little sisters were at the start cheering me on and the elites sped off into the distance like the chuffing show offs that they are.

I wanted under 50 minutes but decided the run the first half on feel and without looking at my watch. Needed a pace of around 8 minutes a mile to get under 50. The weather was nice and overcast and at 2km I was feeling quite well.

This event would be ideal for someone’s first 10k run due to the lack of hills, but unfortunately there was a lack of support on the route. A few people were knocking around outside their houses but nothing major. Unless they were all waiting on the 1/2 marathoners coming by later? How should I know, do your own research.

4k went by then before long the turn around and the 5k sign. I was averaging 7:45 a mile! Quicker than I thought! Just realised that this is gonna be a very boring post as not much happened. Didn’t see any fancy dress or cats or anything so if that’s what you’re after then you probably want a refund.

Got a bit of an ache in my right knee so took it a bit easier as York marathon is coming up next month. Walked a little at each km marker and had a sip of water too. Before long, race course was back in view and I could see the end. Gave Hayley a wave as a flew by and then I was done!

WELL under my 50 minute target! Chuffed! Rest of the day was spent relaxing, visiting, and drinking beer. Standard recovery.

Next up: York Marathon! (5th year in a row!)

Blackpool 10k Recap – 7th May 2017


In Which I Go To My Least Favourite Place

With Edinburgh marathon only a few weeks away, and a rare Sunday off of work coming up, I decided to find a 10k to do for last minute marathon prep. The only one I could find, however, was Blackpool. 

DUN-DUN-DUUUUUN!

Last time I went to Blackpool was for a half marathon, it was freezing cold, wet, raining and Blackpool. The time before was for my first ever marathon, when I had no idea about race nutrition or things like ‘sports drinks.’ Didn’t like either trip much.

But needs must (whatever that means) and I booked a cheap b&b, train tickets and 10k entry. (a bargain at £10.50.) I worked 6-6 on the Saturday so finished work, picked up a 4 pack of Bud Lights (taking the run seriously, light beer) and got on the train.

This book is amazing. Finished it in less than a day

Little under two hours later I was checking in to the bed and breakfast. I don’t normally advertise anything, but if you’re ever over night in Blackpool stay in the Phoenix Guest House. Friendly staff, exceptionally clean room and the comfiest bed I’ve ever slept in. Separate toilet, but a shower in the room. £30 for the night was incredibly cheap. 

I got settled then went for a short wander around Blackpool. I was planning on getting some chips from somewhere but everywhere seemed to be full of stag or hen parties singing and being idiots all over (standard Saturday in Blackpool).

Incredible sunset though

I went and played in the arcades for a bit, won a few Marvel toys and then went back to the b&b for some sleep, ready for the morning.

Race Day

The race wasn’t starting until 11am. Lovely! I got up at 9, went and had some coffee and jam on toast (for clarity, the coffee was in a cup, just the jam was on the toast) and then got my kit ready.

King of the toy grabber machines

15 minute walk to the start line, walked around for a bit when I got there to stretch my legs and then it was line up time. Countdown started, we were off. And it was chuffing warm.

Slow shuffle to the starting mat, few seconds of a jog, then congestion hit. 2’000 or so people in a two lane road doesn’t really go very well. Took a few minutes of walking before there was enough room to start running, but it cleared out eventually.

The route was an out and back run, from the Savoy hotel up past the north pier, along the main strip, going by Blackpool tower (like the Eiffel tower, but shitter) down to the pleasure beach, then turn around and come back the other way. 

I wanted around 50 minutes, which was a pace of 8mins/mile and it took me until 5km to get to that speed. (in part because of the start, but also there were some charity runners pushing a bed around the course and overtaking them was a bit difficult as they seemed to want to run together, all in a line across the width of the road.)

My pace steadily came down from 9mins/mile to 8:30, 8:10, 8:01… 8:02 (wait what) but then bang on 8. Chuffed.

Around mile 4 it dropped to 7:58 a mile, but then the heat got to me a bit and I kept slowing to take a drink of water. Plus there was a *slight* incline around mile 5. I pushed on though and managed a sprint finish at the end. Finished in 50:16. New medal earned!

Made my way back towards the b&b, watching and cheering on the other runners as I walked. Got too involved and missed my road by about five minutes, so turned back and found it. Had a shower, then checked out and went (finally) for some chips.

Told you

Bought some beers for the return train journey (Heineken) and finished my book. As much as I disliked Blackpool before going, turns out I had quite a nice time. Still 2-1 down  overall though.

Next Up: Edinburgh Marathon

Insta: @zepalm (Food, Runs and Books)

Strava: Marc Hemingway (Just runs. Obvs.)

Delayed Las Vegas Marathon Recap


In Which I Finally Start Up My Blogging Again (Yet Again..!)

TL;DR – How Not To Prepare For A Marathon

In August 2016, my dad died a few days before his birthday. I was crushed and spent a lot of time being drunk, and miserable. Having one of those “life’s too short moments” I decided (as you do) to fire up my credit card and book the Rock and Roll marathon in Las Vegas, three months and 5’000 miles away.

Found a decent deal on a hotel, average deal on flights and a poor exchange rate on dollars. 

Then before I knew it, it was time to fly. Spent the night at a hotel at Manchester airport to save time the next morning as I was on an early flight. Then in the morning I had a Burger King and the standard holiday beer (at 7:30am.)

Thursday 

I got free upgrade to extra leg room (probably felt sorry for the loser going to Vegas alone) then I was well on my way. Nine hours flew (heh) by and touched down to 27 degree heat. (Along with a 60 minute wait to get through arrivals.)

My castle hotel to make me feel like a princess

Check in at the hotel went quick and got chatting to a few people in the queue who had running shirts on. I’ve never seen a hotel so big! My room was clean and bright, but the hotel in general had a bit of a musty smell about it. Ah well.

After a shower I made my way out to have a look at Las Vegas.

Jesus.

It’s mental.

The traffic, the people, the sounds, the buildings, it’s all exactly as you see on TV. Loud, noisy, busy. I loved it! 

I walked up the main strip for a half hour or so to get my bearings, and by bearings I mean beer. There’s a million different places to drink, all with offers on for different times of the day. And I know, drinking three days before a marathon isn’t a good idea, but I’d be fine if I only had a couple.

IF!

Think I managed about six bars that first day. Most of them, because I sat at the bar in each and talked to the staff, gave me a free beer and/or shot. Coupled in with the 8hrs time difference and  being awake for almost 20hrs, I was merry.

Went back to my hotel around 6pm local time (2am English time) and decided to have a bit of a nap.

Friday

3am and a lot of a nap later, I was utterly confused. Suppose that’s what you get for waking up in Vegas. I’d bought beer for my room from somewhere on the way back the evening before and as my body clock had NO idea what was happening, I opened a bud and looked out over Vegas

I was hungry, I knew that, so as I’d not actually explored the hotel yet I went downstairs. Multiple bars, restaurants and a casino that went further than I could see is what I found. More importantly I found food from a place called Johnny Rockets.

Then went back to bed.

6am, I’m wide awake. Watched some American TV (what with being in America) then had a shower and went out walking and exploring further. 

I figured out the bus service and made my way up to the expo to pick up my race pack. Looked around all the stalls and bought a couple of souvenirs but managed to not buy anything major. Lunch, followed by a few bars and a bit of gambling and I was worn out. (Stupid jet lag.) 

I needed to sleep even though I knew I should try get into a proper sleep pattern and told myself I’d nap for an hour at most.

Woke up at sunset. 

Bugger.

Saturday

I’d had an easy night after waking up, went and found a bit of live music then was back before midnight. Still woke up at 5am though. Went down to a bar in the hotel and watched a bit of American football that was replaying from when ever American football is played. 

Went to Denny’s when it was open for some breakfast and a coffee (free refills, bliss) 

Caught the bus to the outlet stores, right on the end of the line. As today was the day before the marathon I told myself that no alcohol would pass my lips and I’d have an early night. 

Had a nice relaxing morning, sorted out all my race kit for the next day and then watched a bit of TV. Then got bored. Stood up, looked out of my window and saw this:

Hooters

HOOTERS

Obviously I didn’t go in

Maybe I did 

Maybe I had some beer, maybe I had a lot. Maybe I shouldn’t have, the day before I marathon and maybe I’d regret it the next day. Maybe all these things.

All these things

Sunday: Marathon Day

Ow.

My head hurt. But at least I was awake at a normal time. 9am. The marathon didn’t start until the afternoon, so that your be running along the strip at night. Plenty of time to sober up!

And carb up! Good old Denny’s.

My day was spent making sure I had everything I needed, running belt, energy bars and stuff. Then it was go time. As it’s a Rock and Roll event they put on a gig at the start of the race, and it was Snoop Dogg. Not a fan, but watched a bit of him. Still not a fan.

24 degree heat

Slight hangover

Slight jet lag

Doesn’t make for a fun marathon.

Sound goes off and everyone’s running. We go one way for around a mile, going by the Vegas sign, turn around and back up the other side and up the strip. My hotel is right at the start line and am tempted to just run up to bed.

You run all up Las Vegas Blvd until mile 8. I was fine until about mile 6 then the previous few days caught up with me. It was horrible. Mile 7 took about five hours to do, mile 8 took about 12 hours. I wanted to quit. Seriously wanted to quit. 

I decided to quit.

I looked for a marshal but found a portaloo first. Went inside and evaluated what I was doing. 9 miles in, no way I’d be able to manage another 17 feeling like this. Drinking the night before, eating loads of rubbish, not getting into a sleep pattern. I needed to quit. Plus, I’d only run about three times since my dad died.

Ah. My dad.

Main reason for signing up to this. Main reason I decided to travel 5’000 miles, alone, to do a marathon. Main reason I needed to MAN THE FUCK UP and get on with it.

Main reason I needed to get out of this portaloo because it chuffing stinks.

Right. Get on with it. Push to mile ten, then you’re in double figures. Mile ten done. Just 5k to go then  you’ve finished half the race. Funny route now, winding in and out of loads of roads, up and down and back on short streets. 

Aim for mile 15. Bit by bit, run/walk run/walk. Am I actually starting to enjoy this?! Stop for a picture and have a breather

Soon be at mile 20. Huge milestone. Mile 20 passed.

21. 22. 23.

5k til the end, just 5k. Think of the Facebook posts, think of the medal! THINK OF THE POST RUN BEER!

And then. As always. The finish is in sight. 

And it’s done, and I’m hurting, and I’m chuffed.

Monday

My legs are still hurting and I’m going to make them hurt even more by  getting a tattoo. I’ve carried around a design that I sketched in my wallet for around six months and it’s time to get it done.

Very happy with how it turned out. And very happy with the race bling too!

Last full day in Vegas so did a bit of  shopping and sightseeing. (Trying to walk the stiffness out of my legs.) Also ate ALL the junk food

And that’s pretty much it. I flew home the next day, back to normality. Loads of amazing memories and I learned incredibly well how not to run a marathon. The course is incredible, running along the strip and plenty of bands playing rock music everywhere. Atmosphere and crowds and music and Vegas!

Bet its even better when you prepare properly.