Well at least I was smiling by the end of the 2009 Edinburgh Marathon. But then I did have a beer in my hand and unlike many of the runners I passed in the last couple of miles I was still walking unaided and without the need for additional oxygen.
This was a race of two halves for me, a quick first one and a much slower, way more painful second one. By the time I’d done a 1hr 27min first half it was getting hot. That’s always going to be a potential issue with a marathon this late in the year but hey, this was Scotland, I didn’t realise they had temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius. Even on the start line at 9am it felt warm. The first few miles are shaded so it wasn’t until we hit the coast that it was obvious the sea breeze would be slight at best.
So great, a quick first half and then immediate tiredness. Miles 13-19 were really tough going and I struggled to maintain a sub 7 minute/mile pace. Any hope of the target I’d set myself, a sub 3 hour marathon, was ebbing away and I realised that to cope with the heat and not end up a wreck I needed to slow down. In fact at three separate points I walked for a short distance to compose myself. It worked as I felt fine for the last couple of miles and even managed a sprint finish on the home straight as I noticed the clock nearing 3hrs 10 minutes.
In reflection I ran a bad marathon. If I eased up in the first half I might well have been nearer the 3 hour mark. But I was heartened at the end by the knowledge that I now run ‘bad’ marathons in under 3hrs 10mins – not bad I think. Plus the crowds at the end were great (I was virtually alone down the finish straight and got huge cheers) and then I spotted some ladies serving beer – how could I refuse.
Many thanks to all who sent messages of support on Twitter and donated to the charity I was supporting. Unfortunately those finishing later in the race had a rough time with some of the water stations running out. That aside (and I realise that’s a big thing to put aside) I thought this a well-organised race in a great city. Great to see so many Bournville Harriers there as well – thanks for the company at dinner the night before.
David Harte (Male 40) (301) 228th 03:09:47
It’s only half a review of West by West Midlands 2 (hosted in the excellent Spotted Dog in Digbeth/Highgate) as I ducked out at about 9pm. But going by what I saw in the first half it gladdens my heart that Birmingham is fast developing a knack for these self-organising, quick and dirty events that help develop a strong bond amongst those with an interest in social media and its applications.
It’s appropriate that the only pic I could find of my contribution to the evening is the above blurry shot by Jon Bounds. For a start I’d rather not see a clearer picture of me wearing a running headband, singlet and, as you can see, my special running pants. Secondly, the evening was by its nature hazy and meandering, in fact that was its strength. The image captures the spirit then, and leaves the detail to linger in the memory.
But enough of the semiotic deconstruction. I pitched in with an idea for a Birmingham Un-marathon to celebrate mass sporting participation but not before instructing the crowd through some pre-race warm-up exercises. Went down well I think. Next up was Jon Hickman who reflected on the reactions to his MA Social Media proposed at the last wxwm but then expanded to discuss his worries over the relative cosiness of Birmingham’s social media scene. A randomly chosen question from the audience about the visibility of women in the social media scene produced a lively discussion which suggested that we shouldn’t get too wound up by the fact that men and women may talk about different things online but the underlying issues of equality and representation still need to be addressed.
The final talk I saw was from Dynamic Arts in relation to their future plans for Rhubarb Radio (who were covering the whole evening live). Some exciting developments there it seems, particularly around mobile applications and an expansion to FM.
There I left it, hopefully someone else will review part two. I had a blast but my non-social media life beckoned and I had to go water the cabbages on the allotment. Thanks for having me.
Last year when I ran the London Marathon (before this blog existed) I wasn’t going to bother with raising funds for charity but then that nice fella Nick Booth said that if I did, he’d spread the word using social media and see how well we could do. At the same time a work colleague was eager to demonstrate that the old-fashioned way of raising money, hassling work colleagues in meetings and via email, would raise more. I can’t recall which way was more successful but we made about £500 for St Mary’s Hospice in Selly Oak.
So with a short time to go before I run the Edinburgh Marathon I’ve decided to see if I can’t raise a few quid for St Mary’s again. Love to have you donate as little or as much as you like.
As I continue to plod my way through Edinburgh Marathon training I’ve taken to doing a bit of running at lunchtimes (now that I at last work somewhere with shower facilities). I thought it worth sharing the route with you as it’s a fantastic, popular, traffic-free run with a few interesting sights along the way.
The start could be from anywhere in the city centre or Jewellery Quarter but, as the map indicates, I start from the B1 building opposite Spring Hill library. I enter the canal near Summer Row and then proceed towards the National Indoor Arena. You could cross here and continue down the Birmingham and Worcester canal but better by far to head up the Birmingham Mainline canal, the M6 motorway of the West Midlands canal system.
I say that because it’s dead straight, very wide and with a towpath on both sides. And it’s full of lunchtime runners. Most just go up and down but I do a loop round the Soho loop. This runs at the back of the prison and then comes out again on the Mainline canal where you can head straight back to base. The straightness of the canal really lends itself to some short sprinting if you’re so inclined. There are several bridges so it’s worth trying to push hard between them and then recover to the next, repeating until you run out of bridges.
In total the run is just over 5 miles. It would make a pleasant enough walk as well. If anyone fancies coming along with me one lunchtime just ask.
As promised, I’ve now given my £40 to St Basils – happy to have you do the same if you wish. Although I do appreciate that giving up twitter is hardly some kind of great sacrifice so will understand if you’re not inclined to hand over a few pennies. It was generally harder than I realised though.
Oh and it is good to be back. I’ve been on so many ‘awesome runs’ and have been gagging to tell you all about them…
This year I’m running the Edinburgh Marathon on May 31st as I didn’t get into London. I’ve been training for a good few weeks now but it’s been a little on and off as I hadn’t done that essential thing in my training regime – start a spreadsheet. It’s only the spreadsheet that usually guilts me into keeping the mileage up. So with 12 weeks to go and at the end of my first fairly full-on week I’ve started one.
This morning I had a lovely run all the way from Bournville up to spaghetti junction and back again on the Rea Valley route and then the canals. At 16 miles it’s my longest run to date – more to come though.
I just need to also write down that if I don’t do under 3 hours (best so far 3 hrs 1 min in London 2008) at Edinburgh I will have to do a second marathon later in the year (probably Dublin) in order to have a second bash at the time. Sub 3 hours is one of my 2009 goals, as is being less of an idiot. At least one of these is achievable.
I am officially a London Marathon reject. My application to run it for the third time in a row in 2009 was rejected today so I am now contemplating which 2009 marathon I should run instead. Given I’ll probably try to blag some sponsorship from you all when I get round to running it (and you guys have been so kind in the past), how about you decide which one I run: