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An impostor at Edinburgh Marathon!

Edinburgh Marathon 2023

On Thursday as always my trainer sends over the Friday training and weekend target distance so I can start planning my weekend. For the weekend he sent a 30 km run, I can choose if I want to split the distance between two days or do all in one, which I usually do in one, that means it’s worth driving somewhere for a long day, and I can have a full day on the couch ( and … only one set of dirty clothes haha-)

When I started to look for routes, I discovered it was the marathon weekend in Edinburgh and started playing with the idea… I knew it was too late to sign up or get any number transferred to my name, but I posted in a couple of groups if there was a chance that anyone has selling his number and didn’t mind me running with theirs. I know is not 100 % ideal and even maybe frowned upon but hey, the number is there, was purchased, the other person doesn’t mind and I’m definitely not an elite looking to run any records or steal anyone’s chances.

Did the post on Saturday afternoon, but no luck, so I started to get my kit ready to hit the hills for a long day out. Suddenly at 6 pm, I received a message! A girl made the trip with her friends to Edi , she’s gotten an injury, and last minute she just decided not to risk it, we made a Facetime call, arranged, and at 8 pm on Saturday night, we have NEW PLANS ! I am running a marathon tomorrow –yay! She and her friends had an Airbnb close to the start, with parking as well… I mean how much more lucky can I get right !?

I was excited with the idea of doing something different, I changed my kit, outfit layout, nutrition sorted and off to bed for an early morning to drive over to Edinburgh, find the Airbnb park the car, get the number and run ... Easy.

Until it wasn’t …

Woke up, gave myself plenty of time, got myself sorted in the car … pulled out of my parking space … and whaaaaa….. a flat tire!!! OMG , panic took over. I wasn’t going to miss this, just because of a stup£$£% tire , so went upstairs quickly re adjusted my kit to one small bag and ran to Queen Central station to catch the next train. Fortunately, I always leave extra time for any last-minute inconveniences like this one.

The experience started on the train, full of runners, sat next to a girl, doing the marathon as well, we chatted all the way up to my stop ( Haymarket ) one before the closest one to the start as I still needed to get to the Airbnb for the BIB number. I ran over 20 min to the Airbnb ( I considered this my warm-up, lol) and met the lovely lady that was happy to share her bib with me. Such a nice gal, sad she couldn’t run it but she was so excited for me.

Once I got the BIB number, ran out again to get to the start line, the whole start area, was madness, different colours, and very spread out, I needed to drop my finisher bag, found the truck to drop it off… and yay ! made it …. With 40 min to spare. That was a crazy morning, all this running around made me hungry, lol.

I went to the closest shop got a croissant and sat to rest a little , I started seeing groups of runners , warming up, stretching, looking so serious … while I was just there seated eating my croissant.

I just sat there thinking to myself, this is new, in the ultra-trail world, we all sit around with a coffee, chat with everyone, share pastries, candys, experiences, there’s no really much warm-up stretches -lol. I didn’t know anyone, so I definitely felt quite intimidated a times, everyone passing by, moving quickly, looking at their watches, talking about paces, all seemed quite intense. I have only done 2 marathons in my life, years ago, I’ve already forgotten the feeling.

I started walking to place myself to the start, I started pairing my earphones … when I noticed they weren’t working! (They had a wee swim in the washer over the week but tested them before coming and they seemed fine… ) and again, panic took over, and If ultra runner we are good at something, is at solving problems on the go…. But Oh no.. no time to solve, 3-2-1 Time to Start running !!!

I kept thinking how to solve this, until we turned into a street, and there it was a wee shop, and is open! Ran into it, the poor guy was shocked, me screaming I need earphones for an iPhone… he ran to get them, helped me to get them working, bless him, he was so fast and nice, I paid and off the door.

Yas! Second problem of the day, solved!

The start is massive, with masses of people running , all trying to go so fast, I felt pushed and rushed at the beginning, a bit different from my experience on my trail race experience, the start is usually slow and everyone takes their time, it isn’t a massive start but we don’t get all the wonderful cheers and seeing hundreds of people gathered just to wish good luck to all runners, which is the best part of experiencing a marathon. Usually, trail race start line is just a couple of people, usually just a couple of family or friends of runners, the organizers, and that’s all , there is still some cheering of course, but definitely nothing compared to the super motivating marathon experience.

I chose my pace early on the run, where I felt comfortable, and with my experience now, I knew I could hold for the next hours. I decided to live in that pace and don’t let go…. And that’s exactly what I did.

I realized my new earphones were going to be a problem, the volume kept playing up and down I had to be adjusting it manually all the time, and later I read that this was due to of course not being an authentic iPhone. So that was quite distracting, don’t know if good or bad, just kept me guessing when the volume was going to be, loud or mute suddenly, so no audiobook or podcast friendly, decided to play my usual Opera music, which I love while running on trails, but experiencing this calm relaxing music during this wild and lively atmosphere was even comical at times.

During a stretch weren’t many people around me, but there was this group at the distance , weirdly super excited and cheering loudly for me… took me a bit to realize that was the girl that gave me her number! I was her! There she was, cheering on herself! I jumped around a bit and thank her again.

It was sunny, there were some really long stretches with no shade and people struggle a bit with heat, I do have to thank my Mexican genes I love a bit of sun and topping up my tan was just a bonus.

Kept going, loved seeing all types of runners, charities, all the signs and taking in all the cheers.

Later on the race, when the paces were settled, it was a bit distracting to be passed by a very fast runner suddenly, looking fresh and looking cero tired, a bit demotivating …. until I realized there was a Relay Race happening at the same time, and I’ve got the feeling of “we are not in the same boat” kind off as some were racing a fast 10 km while other are trying to survive km 30.

Suddenly! Another familiar face!! Yay! I was shocked to see some other running friends I met during the Lululemon Run Retreat! like truly shocked, I thought I wouldn’t be able to see any other familiar faces in this sea of runners.

By km 30 , I still felt amazing but I was cautiously excited, I wasn’t sure how to use this new superpower I just found, so I decided to stay safe and kept my same happy pace… Until suddenly I was in km 40 ! Whaaa, unbelievable only 2 km to go and I still have a lot on the tank, I picked up the pace and closed doing the fastest km of the whole race.

Had a wee proud tear crossing the finish line, I can’t believe I don’t feel broken, a very much much nicer experience than my last one years ago. All the hard work I’ve put in years! I can see and feel it now.

The team (Andy) made it barely on time, and didn’t make it to see me cross the finish line, because I mean… I finished one hour earlier than the estimated plan, opsy, but he was already there to give me a hug and take me for a good cold well-deserved pint.

Regardless of the time, I finished feeling 100%, no funny walk, and even managed to walk around Edinburgh enjoying the day and having the best hot dogs in town. I could have probably pushed a bit more, maybe, but I was a bit scared of this new superpower blowing up on my face and I had to remember that this was just a training run, I still have to function for tomorrow’s workout hahaha.

It was a great experience overall, nothing can beat the vibes of a marathon, it was very interesting to measure my progress as it is hard to do it sometimes on trail races as they are all different with different challenges and characteristics.

I will definitely keep my eyes open for another marathon 😊

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