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*

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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.