One in Five

Posted on October 5, 2011. Filed under: 10k, escape from alcatraz, great edinburgh run, great scottish swim, joggers nipple, race report, run, shakey, virgin london marathon, vlm | Tags: |

I have a lot of big news to share with you.

On Monday night I appeared on the telly and not somewhere shonky like channel five but the Beeb no less.  Unfortunately Shakey the media ho went all me, me, me and muscled in and got in my way.  Being a gentleman I took a step backwards.

Despite hiring Max Clifford, Shakey has done such a great job raising money for the Stroke Association that she was interviewed on the finish line of the Great Edinburgh Run at the weekend.  The whole story of what she has been up to was in the Half Iron Shakey post and you can find her just giving page there if you would like to make a donation to a great cause.  This link will take you straight to the start of her interview where you can take the opportunity to wonder at her glowing red heid and why the Beeb didn’t use subtitles like they do for some other foreign nationals.

Gladiator Siren competes with Shakey as whitest person in Edinburgh

I take only two issues with Shakey in her whole fundraising campaign.  Firstly, when she told me she had been interviewed for the telly, she failed to say it was Ali Paton off the telly better known as the Gladiator Siren who interviewed her.  Failing to mention that you have met a genuine Gladiator is a massive oversight to a real Glad fan although this recent photo of Siren suggests that, like Shakey, she may have been an abuser of fake tan in the past.  And secondly, I taught her to swim front crawl a damned sight better than she models on the telly (thats Shakey not Siren – I don’t know what her front crawl is like).  That was just sloppy.

So this week saw me re-visit the Great Edinburgh Run over two years since I targeted that as my first run to recover my health and my soul after years of abuse culminating in a week long bender in Berlin.  Preparation was sketchy at best having only run 6 miles once since the Ironman so my target was to finish faster than my first run which was tantalisingly just under 60minutes.  Last year in this event I ran the fastest 3k I had ever run however the race was unfortunately 10km long.  When I unpleasantly popped my calf muscle at the bottom of the Pleasance I suffered my one and only DNF to date at ceased to threaten the Kenyan front runners.  To be fair I wasn’t even much bothering the guy in the Womble suit at the back but I was a little faster than normal.

Waking up in the morning I could hear that the rain was dinging down.  I got up and had some peanut butter on toast and a strong black coffee while I contemplated the implications of the climate and the fear that it struck in me.  Two years ago I discovered the perils of running in the rain when I finished the Forth Bridge 10k looking like I had been shot in the chest.  This post captured the dual humiliation of crossing the finish line looking like an extra from the Kennedy assassination behind an old lady in dayglo.  The shame!

With the pain still fresh in my mind I flip-flopped through the whole running wardrobe that I had with me before dispatching a text to Shakey to ask her opinion.  I pinned my race number on one t-shirt, then took it off and put it on another.  I packed under armour, I unpacked it to wear it.  I thought single layer with foil blanket to stay warm at the start.  I was in turmoil.  It was warm as well as wet which made the conundrum even worse as I really suffer in the heat but the only sure fire way for me to guarantee to retain my nipples is through compression layering which is hot.  After about the third exchange of text and clothes options Pam commented that we were a pair of fannies and asked what Shakey had settled on.  With exasperation, fear and despair at the lack of understanding I blurted out “she’ll be fine, she wears a bra!”.  After which kind offers of additional supportive apparel were made through howls of laughter.

I coralled Pam and Rory out the door as they were wanting to watch the start and we made our way out with the rain seemingly getting heavier.  After 5 minutes I realised I had forgotten my timing chip and had to run back and get my chip.  By my reckoning I had now used up about half a mile of my 6 miles that I had in me.  After catching up with the sherpas again we watched the elite ladies shoot by and I got spooked that I had misjudged the start time so I started jogging again.  This time faster and farther.

As usual all plans to meet up beforehand were shot to hell.  Of the original five participants in 2009 not all could be at the meeting point.  Shakey was on time but was obviously in her favourite portaloo.  Really Long Socks may also have been on time, and may have tried to look for a portaloo but was more likely to be away peeing somewhere totally inappropriate desperately trying to cover his race number in case anyone spotted him.  HiViz was fighting his own battle against the rain in the Loch Ness Marathon and by all accounts took full advantage of St Johns Ambulance to sort his chafing.  And finally Hairy appears to have retired, possibly because his shorts got too tight if that is possible or possibly because he is the only one of the original five not to have tried a marathon.  Remember Hairy Boy – it is better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all.

Anyway, as we prepared for the start I got an unexpected round of hugs.  I miraculously spotted Shakey amongst the crowd and we had a quick good luck hug.  Either that or she was cleaning her hands on me post portaloo.  Then as I approached the portaloos myself I met Sean, a fellow recent Ironman and we shared a brief (Iron)Man Hug and finally I bumped into Lee one of the Regensburg Pirates and we also had a hug.  Then the lady who used to be in Spooks hooted the hooter and we were off.

The race was actually really nice and the route was much nicer than I remember.  My plan was to go canny for the long haul up to the Commonwealth Pool and then to push as hard as I could after that until I blew up.  On the way down the Pleasance I saw Pam and Rory and it was great to chuck the torn calf monkey off my back as I burrelled around the corner and up the Cowgate.  Three years ago at the top of the West Port a blind man with a guide dog overtook me and then stopped to tie his laces and then overtook me again.  This year no-one overtook me on that stretch.  At the water stop half way around the Meadows I had to walk through the water stop and take about three mouthfuls of water but then douse myself with the remainder as I was starting to overheat.  Just through 7k on Potterow I saw Pam who had done a decent dash up from the Pleasance and then it was downhill the whole way home.

The Great Edinburgh Run had a great atmosphere this year with speakers and music through a lot of the course and there were loads of kids high fiving down the High Street.  I knew I was well inside the target hour but when I passed the 400m to go sign and glanced at my watch I realised that 54 mins was on so I went head down, arse up for a sprint finish scraping into the 54s.

After the race the whole of Holyrood Park was a quagmire so deep that the tatt was obscured by the clart.   End of season pizza and beers with Shakey rounded off a good day and a good year.

So, I said I have a lot of big news to tell you.  Well as mentioned a couple of posts ago I entered the ballot for the London Marathon of which there is a one in five chance of getting picked.  For years I have got up early on a Sunday morning in April, even in my drinking days when sometimes I hadn’t long been in bed, to watch the elite, the inspirational and the mentalists complete the most iconic 26.2mile course that there is.  And now I have only gone and got myself picked at the first attempt and in olympic year – it really is a dream come true!!  That kind of settles the survival of the blog for another few months anyway!  And to top off the good news Shakey, who is not as lucky as me, got a charity place from the Stroke Association which is a fitting tribute for the selfless effort she has put in this year.  I can picture the sprint down the Mall already – like the race in Run Fat Boy Run – with Sue Barker tutting on the commentary as I will not discriminate against Shakey as a girlie in my competitive enthusiasm.

Sometime tonight or tomorrow I should find out if I have got into Escape from Alcatraz on the first ballot which would provide a lovely main event for next summer.  If not I might have to do some other silly event.  I’ll keep you posted.

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