February Recap


In Which I Can’t Believe It’s Already March..!

After January last just under 18 weeks, it’s a shock that February only lasted 12 days. How is it March already?!

My target for Feb was the same as January, 100 miles. The crappy weather made it a much tougher challenge this month and I’m VERY much looking forward to Spring springing it’s way here.

As well as wanting to run 1’000 miles this year, I’m also wanting new PB’s (Personal Bests) for 5km, 10km, half and full marathons, so it was very nice that my first run of February, on the 1st, was a BRAND NEW 5K PB! 22:41 according to my watch! (Previous was 23:00.)

The next day I had a long, steady run planned of 13.1 miles. (Half marathon y’annow) but as it was a steady run, I took it steady. Took 2 hour and 14 minutes and it actually blows my tiny mind that only a few years ago that was my PB, now it’s training pace!

Next few runs were a mixture of 10k’s and some hill work. (Hills make the runner!) Luckily I live near an extinct volcano (Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh) so that’s handy for hill training.

2020FebHills

Where does that put me miles-wise… Hang on, I’ll check… 30! 30 Miles by the 7th Feb! Very much on target. Next day was a Saturday, so to ParkRun. With a respectable time of 24:17, I earned a big fat breakfast.

Then a few days later a storm hit, so I didn’t run. And I know what you’re saying to yourself, you’re saying ‘you should run in all weather’ and you’re right, as usual. But this was TORRENTIAL. So, no running.

The next run was also cut short by the weather, it was so windy that I almost ended up in Oz. Then the NEXT run I was battered by more wind and rain, so my targets weren’t getting hit. I was getting hit. By weather.

The miles needed to be done though, so went out later than usual for a long run thinking that I’d get finished before it got dark, and I almost made it! 7 miles run, last one in VERY unsafe conditions…

With five days of February left I was on 73.5 miles. Looking at my work schedule I couldn’t see that I’d be able to reach 100 miles for the month but decided 75 is still impressive. Then decided I’m not sawft so went out and ran 10 miles.

Then the next chance I did a short run, just to get a few more done. This left me with the wonderful task of running 13.5 miles on the last day of February. (Thank chuff it’s a leap year!)

I’d had a few too many beers the night before so wasn’t really feeling my best. Slow and steady though, walk if you need to, just do the distance. It was actually a really nice morning for it, but my hangover didn’t agree.

2020FebASeat

Ran by Arthur’s Seat (see pic), down the Innocent Railway, through some wooded areas, along the beach in Portobello, then back around the other side of Arthur’s Seat, towards the Meadows and did a couple laps which gave me 13.5 miles and my SECOND MONTH IN A ROW OF 100 MILES RUN!!

Bradford 10k in two weeks times back in my home town.

Can’t believe it’s March already!

If you want to keep a close eye on me, and let’s be honest why WOULDN’T you, I’m on Strava:

STRAVA

and Instagram:

INSTAGRAM

How Was Your January?


In Which I Reach My First Goal Of The Year (Smuggly)

My aim for January was 100 miles. And, now realising the above sentence ruins any surprise, I may as well tell you I did it. Thanks for reading, bye. NO WAIT! I’ll give details and stuff, come back!

New Year’s Day, the day usually put aside for beer recovery and tiredness was instead given over to running a 10k. I recently moved into Edinburgh city centre and found a nice Park area that’s flat and easy to lap so that’s what I did, ran around it four times. Scenery didn’t change on ANY lap because nature is lazy.

2020JanNewYear

(1st Jan: 6 miles down, 94 to go.)

The next few runs were short ones, all around 3 or 4 miles before doing another 10k on the 12th January followed by a 5 miler the next day. Trying to keep in the habit of running after my (12hr) day shifts and before my (12hr) night shifts. I usually have my son before the nightshifts and drop him off at 5 which then gives me enough time to do a 4.5 mile run before getting to work for a shower. Also, my first medal of the year arrived. It was a virtual 10k run from MedalMad and couldn’t resist when I saw it.

2020JanMedal

(16th Jan: 41 miles down, 59 to go.)

Saturday I decided to try test my legs on a 10k run so lapped the Meadows (the park area I mentioned and did the 6.2 miles in 50:21. Very happy with that! So happy in fact that the next day I decided to do a steady 10 miles (longest run of the year so far) and then a very steady 10k on the monday. Motivation seemed to be hanging around so was taking full advantage.

2020JanLaps

(20th Jan: 63 miles down, 37 to go.)

The next friday I ran 4.5miles before I worked the nightshift (1830 – 0630) then got home, had a WHOLE hour sleep and decided to go do the ParkRun. There’s a few near me but heard that Portobello was a decent one, so went there. Wasn’t entirely sure that it was a great idea, having run, worked, napped then forced myself out of bed but I’ve done worse things. (See: Vegas Marathon, hungover to balls.)

There was no way I could’ve pushed myself even if I wanted to (and I really didn’t want to) so started mid-pack. The run came to a walk as soon as it started for a few seconds before it managed to even out and people got moving.

Portobello ParkRun is three laps of Figgate Park which (as all ParkRuns do) gives you 5km total distance. It’s a nice steady loop, going by a pond and a wooded area before coming back up the other side. (This is why I’m not a travel writer.) Finished in a respectable (given the circumstances) 30:32. Went home to bed.

(25th Jan: 75.5 miles down, 24.5 to go.)

2020JanPorto

The Sunday was another steady 10 mile run staying local to home and then a few smaller runs to bring me up to 100 for January. I was gonna try build up tension and drama and make myself sound like a hero, but I’d stuck to my plan and schedule all month so reached the goal with a couple days spare. I almost ran into a kid on a bike on the last run if that helps the drama? Wait no, let’s give it a cliffhanger!

2020Jan100

“On my last run, on the second to last lap, I could feel myself getting nervous. The 100 mile target was within distance. RUNNING distance. When suddenly, as if from nowhere, a child. A bike. A child on a bike. (Same child, one bike.) I neared. They swerved. Came at LEAST two foot closer than I liked. Two wheel closer. Wheely close. And then…”

TUNE IN NEXT TIME

 

2019 Running Recap


In Which I Recap…. 2019’s…. Running

(Very brief recap of the year, there’s blog posts about most of the races that go into more detail!)

January 2019: RED Attempt

RED – Run Every Day. Sounded like a good idea to get 2019 off to a good start, running everyday for the entire month. (Probably decided to do it when drunk on New Years Eve.)

Gave myself a goal of a minimum of a mile a day running. Might not sound much, but being the parent to a very new (three months old) baby boy, it was as much as I could hope to get out for on some days.

2019Jan

Shortest run of the month was a mile (on a few occasions) and the longest was 7.8 miles. I managed quite well, did a full four weeks (28 days) of running every day but then on the morning of the 29th I got hit with a sickness bug that knocked me sideways.

Total Miles: 101

February

No running. Zero. No motivation. ZERO

March

Decided I needed to get back out running. February was a failure and so written off, running-wise. Finn (my boy) was now old enough where he was allowed to be in a running buggy while I ran and pushed him along. (He’s still yet to push ME in the buggy. Lazy thing.)

I was still on parental leave from work (six months at full pay? Oh yes!) and so I had no excuses not to run with him and the buggy. We took it easy at the start but then quickly realising that the running buggy sent him to sleep, I started running a bit longer.

2019Mar

They take a bit of getting used to (running buggys, not children. Although…) but we soon had our 10k time down to just under an hour. Bet it won’t be too long before he’s managing this without a buggy.

Total miles: 46

April

Back to work. Boooo. Was a bit of a shock having to get up and leave home and Finn I tell ya. But, I suppose it was nice to see work people and get back into a routine. I do a shift pattern of two days, two nights, four off so wanted to try run after both my day shifts. The weather started being a bit kinder (for Scotland) so it wasn’t too bad.

Also, they started up a ParkRun very close to home so gave that a go on the Saturdays I wasn’t working.

Towards the end of the month I entered a 10k race called the Dalkeith Bluebell Trail Run. However, I was still suprised that it was an actual trail run (even though it had ‘trail’ in the name…) It was hilly, very warm and I got around in a respectable 55m 17s then went and watched the Avengers.

2019Apr

Never had a wooden medal before! Wood you believe it?

Total Miles: 55

May

Started May with a 5k PB at ParkRun of 23:36! Training seems to be paying off! Not sure what happened in May but my running missed a week. (I’m writing this post based on what Strava is telling me. Tells me I missed a week in May and I believe it.)

May is the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, held towards the end of the month. On the Saturday there’s a 5k and 10k then on the Sunday there’s a half or full marathon. I did the full in 2017 and 2018 but found the second half of the marathon quite boring so decided on the half this year.

Happily, it was the morning after my night shift so I worked 12 hours then hung around work for an hour, the went to run a half marathon… Not the BEST idea I’ve ever had. But saying that, I ran the first nine miles without a walking break and finished the race in just over two hours. Not gonna complain about THAT.

2019May

Total Miles: 35

June

June I wanted to get more hills into my training so I started running up and around Arthur’s Seat a bit more. (Arthur’s Seat is a massive hill in Edinburgh. I want to say it’s an extinct volcano, and I could easily check Wikipedia as I’m on a computer but let’s leave some mystery in this relationship eh?)

Being June, and being Scotland, one run was raining and the next was sunny, the next was in the rain and the next in the heat. All month long.

2019June

Total Miles: 36

July

NOW we’re talking. July meant a trip down to Yorkshire for the Leeds 10k, which I’ve done every year for around 5 years now. Being an almost home town run, I met up with friends the night before and had beer. Too much beer. Then the run was a hot one, so was happy enough to get around in 53:31. Then was equally as happy (if not more so) to get to the pub for a recovery beer. It’s a hard life, this running.

The rest of the month was a mixture of slightly longer runs and plenty of ice lollys afterwards. All well earned.

Total Miles: 50

August

After Leeds 10k myself and Rob (running buddy for many years) had a good talk and decided to enter a few more races for the year. First up was York 10k at the start of August. I traveled down from Scotland VERY early on the Saturday to be able to do York ParkRun (27:32) then did the 10k on the Sunday morning.

As it was a big event they had pacers, so I followed the 50 minute one. She was good at her job and I finished in 48:47 which was my second fastest 10k EVER. Celebrated with Rob, and with beer.

The following week we went to Darlington for their 10k. It was only a week after York so wasn’t expecting much but was VERY happy with a time of 49:55, my second sub 50 minute 10k in a week!

Total Miles: 52

September

The first few weeks of September were trying to concentrate on a bit of speed work. I was feeling positive about York and Darlo 10k times and as Scottish 10k was at the end of the month, I was eyeing up a 10k PB. (Currently at 47:57)

On the morning of the race I woke up to ideal running weather. Kinda overcast but not too cold. This was the third time I’d be running this race and as it was near where I lived, I’d run the route plenty times.

I pushed a bit hard at the start and so had to walk a little at 5k, but pushed and pushed myself to get going, and got finished with a NEW PB of 47:15. VERY chuffed!

2019Sept

Total Miles: 31

October

First week of October was the Great Cumbrian Half Marathon in Carlisle. I stayed over the night before (and went to see Joker, it was great!)

I had no idea of the route or elevation because I didn’t check. Turns out it’s a hilly one. I felt good all the way around, and for the first time ever I ran a whole half marathon with no walking breaks at all. NEW HALF MARATHON PB of 1:52:43.

2019Oct

October 20th was York marathon. My 7th time there, 11th marathon overall. What with the recent 10k and 1/2 Mara PB’s I was kinda confident that a Marathon PB could be in my future. (Currently 3:59:15, but you know that.)

On the day it wasn’t meant to be. I managed to run 17.5 miles before needing to walk (best ever!) and after that I didn’t quite hit the wall but I definitely knocked into it a bit. Finish time of 4:19:22 gave me my second fastest marathon time, and all the beers later that night more than cheered me up.

Total Miles: 54

November/December

Lazy. Total of 5 miles over TWO MONTHS.

Finished the year on shirt of 500 miles.

Let’s get 2020 kicked up the arse yeah?

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!

 

Edinburgh 1/2 Marathon Recap


In Which I Run VERY Tired

Edinburgh Half Marathon. As I live in Edinburgh, it’s my adopted hometown 1/2 Marathon race.  (That and the Scottish 1/2 Marathon in September which actually goes by my home…)

The previous two years I did the full marathon, finishing both years in around 5hrs (and last year being sponsored by a beer company, I got a HELLA lot of beer given!) This year however, I’m concentrating on York marathon in October so didn’t want to commit to doing two in a year. (I’ve run two a year in 2016, 2017, 2018. Gets tiring!)

To make the half marathon easy on myself I agreed to work the night shift just before. So I started work at 6.30pm on the Saturday, finished at 6.30am on the Sunday and the race began at 8am…

I hung around work when I finished as it was starting a few minutes walk away. I carbed up on a crappy microwave burger (seems to work for me!) and then got changed and set off in the pouring rain to the start line.

EMFhalfStart

People were soaked but their spirits could not be dampened. (I’m proud of that sentence!) The PA system was counting down by the minute and everyone looked excited and/or nervous, with lots of family and friends at the side lines cheering them on already.

EMFhalfCrowd

Then, we were off. Slowly, walking to the start line. It’s a huge undertaking I’m sure, getting all these people organised into start pens and making sure it all goes off without a hitch but it doesn’t stop people complaining that they have to walk a few minutes to begin the race. See it as a bit more of a warm up why don’t you?

The race starts very central to Edinburgh and within a few minutes I was running by Greyfriars Bobby and then my workplace. (National Library of Scotland.) The guys on the day shift said they’d be out front looking for me but they got confused and thought I was running the full which didn’t start until 10am. Turns out at 10am they spent AGES looking for me, but obviously I wasn’t there.

After the library we ran over the Royal Mile and down a hill called the Mound which lead us to Princes Street Gardens and a bit of people congestion so had to slow right down. Didn’t take long to get going again though, and we looped by Waverly Train Station and back on to the Royal Mile (which is a bit longer than a mile.)

EMF_MARATHON_2018 I felt surprisingly fresh after a 12hr night shift and was running quite well. Not fast, but I wasn’t struggling either. My plan for this run was just to enjoy it, finish and get the medal. We then ran in front of Arthurs Seat (a HUGE hill) and at 5k we left the city behind. (But not the rain.)

I was expecting to have to walk at the water station but carried on running. Mile 5 soon arrived and then we stuck to the coast line for the next three miles before coming slightly inland and running near the historic Musselburgh racecourse and that brought me to mile 9, which is where my tiredness caught up and I had a walk break. NINE miles constant running after a night shift though! I was VERY chuffed with that! I could see the finish area on the other side of the road but still had a way to go.

After that it was 2 miles on the same road before turning back for the final 2 mile stretch. The sun came out for a couple minutes, didn’t like what it saw and went away again. The last few miles of my race was a mixture of running and walking and I was enjoying myself more than I thought I would be. Time flew by and all of a sudden I was in the final stretch, down the finishers chute and done!

In my head I wanted around 2hrs 10mins and I completed in 2hrs 5mins 8secs. Can’t argue with that! Handily, the in-laws live close to the finish line so I went there for a shower and some cuddles from my baby. He made sure the medal wasn’t fake.

EMFhalfFinn

And there you go! Turns out that I can run okayish even when tired which is good news for marathon training surely? I usually run after my 12hr day shifts but this is the first time ever I’ve run after a night shift. Next race I’m entered for is Leeds 10k at the start of July and I want to get close to my PB of 47.57. If I do or if I don’t, there’ll be plenty beer afterwards..!

Speaking of which, you thought I’d forgotten!

EMFhalfBeer

TA-DA!

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.