Monday, 3 December 2012

Marcothon: Aye, why not?



The challenge: run every day in December
The rules: minimum of three miles or twenty-five minutes
The benefits: gloating and a smaller bottom
The obstacles: snow, ice and general can’t-be-bothered-ness 

All the cool kids are doing it so I thought I’d join in. Whilst I can run, I only do it 3-4 times a week.  So lacing up the shoes and pulling up the lycra everyday will be a challenge for me. I'm a whopping two days in and already grizzling about sore knees and smelly running kit so I can imagine that I’ll be a joy to live with for the rest of the month.

My legs were set to fly on day one. I negotiated the Haymarket tram works without smacking into any fences or swearing at any suitcase-pulling tourists. Unfortunately this early success was short-lived as my chosen route along the river had succumbed to the frost. That’s ok though because on day one of the Marcothon I probably shouldn't be running too fast anyway.  So I try a bit of ice-skating. This may actually be cheating. So I decide to stop and take out some walkers in the process instead. It’s probably time to reconsider the route. Perhaps run on the grass where a fall would be safer. I reroute and get lapped on Arthur’s Seat. Other runners obviously have magic shoes for icy running as their pace seems unaffected. But are they doing the Marcothon? Because maybe that’s what I'm pacing myself for.  I make it home alive.

Day two was a planned run near Pitlochry with Scott, Norm and Ally. Scott’s training for his first marathon with this being his longest training run, Norm’s just back from a marathon abroad and Ally is training for Marathon de Sables. And we’re all running the Gran Canaria marathon in January. Not together though, it’s most definitely a race. Three middle-aged men, how hard could it be? Apparently for them, the run wasn't hard at all. However for me, things were a little more difficult. I feel that I was at a little bit of a disadvantage growing up on a Pacific island. I’m not very good at picking which icy patches are good, which icy patches are bad and what’s just a plain bit of trail with no ice at all. Although obviously there were no bits of trail without ice because that wouldn't be exciting enough. So I pull up the rear with the boys stopping every few hundred metres to wait for me. We don’t want a Keith Hughes incident after all. Norm is from the area and loves engineering so I learn about some bridges. I actually quite fancy bridges; an exhibition on bridges makes up my favourite part of the Scottish Museum. The weather is great. The scenery is stunning. Every time I look up to check it out I dance a wee bit more on the ice. They’ll probably be booking me for the TV show next year.

Scott waits for me to catch up

We go up Ben Vrackie later... 
There are some grass tufts next to the road we are running along. So now I'm digging it in, leaping over the tufts, racing the boys who are jogging along the road. I've got my fists clenched and my chubby face screwed up in concentration. Boing, boing, boing. Don’t fall, lift your knees! I have to run up the hills so I don’t get left behind. And then the grass runs out and it’s back to the icy road for me. BeyoncĂ© and I pull up the rear again as the boys carry on in the distance. After about three hours we get back to the car. Pub time J

Although I've forgotten we are now to climb Ben Vrackie. The view is amazing although my general ability is rubbish. The top is covered in snow and we celebrate by drinking Caribbean Burst flavoured Lucozade. Highly appropriate. I fancy a hot chocolate. With marshmallows. An even number of each colour would be appreciated. I'm slower going down the hill than I was going up. Scott holds my hand. I get a lesson in walking down hills covered in snow:

1.   Stand on the black bits. There are no black rocks left, they’re covered in bloody snow.
2.   Don’t put all your weight on one foot. Sometimes one leg is up in the air and I have to.
3.   Avoid the shiny bits. My eyes don’t work well enough to differentiate between the different shades of white.
4.   Take big steps, don’t shuffleI'm sliding because it’s slippery. That’s why you’re holding my hand.
5.   Try not to put both feet in the same place. But I found a black rock, I thought that’s what I was meant to be standing on.

I could blame my peepers because they can’t see properly. Or, I could blame my shoes because one of them has the grip underneath worn off. I showed this off to the boys at the start as it obviously means I have been running some tough terrain over the last few years. Or, I could blame my complete lack of coordination. Which is awful and why I am a runner and do not participate in team sports involving balls, hand-held objects or things with wheels.  Although I think it was probably just because my legs weren't as long! Check out the photo with the boys at the top!  

Caribbean Burst Lucozade anyone? 

Norm, Ally, me and Scott

We’re back on the last few stretched of road. It’about 4.30pm and reasonable dark. The boys are ahead and I can’t see whether I should be running on the road or not. There doesn't seem to be much frost but there are shiny patches. So I'm meant to avoid them. But there’s also black patches, and I'm supposed to run on them. So I run very slowly down the middle of the road dodging shiny patches. In the dark. Down a country road. By myself. I turn a corner and Scott’s standing there laughing. The shiny patches are water. Not ice. It’s fine to run. I look like a twit. Six hours after we started I finally get to sit by the fire in the Moulin pub with a drink and some fish and chips. A great adventure and the boys are in good form so I'm really going to have to put in some training if I want to beat them in Gran Canaria in January! Norm and Ally have to call their wives to apologise for being so late. Blame Antonia; she ran like a girl.

So what did I get out of the weekend? A hangover, a curry and a massive kick to my confidence regarding my running ability. I won’t give you a play-by-play of my daily runs because they are about to be the same and very boring. Tonight’s run? Let’s just say I hit 25 minutes before I hit three miles!    

View from Ben Vrackie


1 comment:

  1. Such interesting reading.....as ever! Well done all.....you'll be ok in Yorkshire as there is no ice! x

    ReplyDelete

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