And, just like that, we’re marathoners!

So, we did it — the Edinburgh Marathon has been conquered!

As I mentioned here, my training was poor and I’m ashamed to admit my longest training run was 12 miles, but I was determined to do this thing. I wanted to cross that marathon off of my list of things to do for the year I turn 30 and I succeeded in that.

Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh…view from the start of the race.

Did I meet the original time goal that I set for myself when we signed up? No.

Did I beat my previous marathon time (when I had properly trained)? Yes, and by quite a lot!

Will I ever run another marathon again? Definitely not. At mile 16, my knees reminded me that they weren’t made for distances much further than a half marathon. But, as I said to the Brit, I’m more than happy to be his cheerleader if he should choose to do another!

Am I disappointed? Not really. Mostly I’m really happy — I did this for me and to prove to myself that I could do another. And that is exactly what I did.

Along the sea…view from mile 20-something.

The Brit, because he is one of the most determined people that I know, as I suspected, smashed his marathon goal time. I mean SMASHED it! I am so unbelievably proud of him! He was a bit nervous in the morning as we said goodbye and headed off into our separate starting corrals, but I knew he was going to get the time he wanted.

The best part of running the same marathon as your fiancé? He realizes what an amazing accomplishment it is to complete those 26.2 miles and he plants a big kiss on you when you find each other at the finish! I didn’t even get to say anything to him before he grabbed me and laid one on me. That? Oh, it’s definitely one of the best feelings in the world.

It’s marathon weekend!

Although it isn’t a holiday weekend like it is in the U.S. (next weekend is bank holiday here!), the Brit and I are off to Scotland for two nights.

We’re heading north, so we can run the Edinburgh Marathon. I’m excited to get away for the weekend, but I’m not so excited to run 26.2 miles on Sunday. Running another marathon has been a goal of mine for the year I turn 30, so I am glad I’ll get to cross this off of my list.

However, I have trained poorly. I did have a time goal in mind, but at this point my goal is just to finish. And, I’m okay with that! And, I’m even more okay with that since the temperature is expected to be fairly warm on Sunday.

The weather here has been summer-like (and basically down right amazing!) this week, and I’m happy we can experience Edinburgh when it isn’t freezing cold and snowing as it was the last time we were there. So, I’ll be back with a full report on how we fared sometime on Monday.

Enjoy the weather and the long weekend (to those of you in the U.S.)!

{Running} Harewood House 10k

Two Sundays ago, the Brit and I along with a friend of ours participated in the first ever Age UK Wrap Up and Run 10k at Harewood House.  The morning started off a bit chilly, but the sun was shining bright. When the race started at 10 AM, we had the perfect conditions for a run.

Because this was the first run that Age UK had sponsored at Harewood House, there was not much information on it aside from it was a 10k. With the training we’ve been doing for the Edinburgh Marathon, my running pace has improved drastically so I was looking for a personal best. (The Brit even gave me a little pep talk that morning!) However, when we pulled up and realized that this race would likely not be on roads at all, I was a bit disappointed. I was pretty sure uneven conditions and a ‘trail race’ aren’t the best place for achieving a personal best. I still went into it thinking I would keep my pace up where I could and give it my all, so that’s what I did!

The Brit and our friend are both speedy, so they got up near the front and I hung back just a bit. Soon, we were off through the field and we were running on grass so I could keep a steady pace. Then, we headed into the woods where the mud began! The trail was uneven and just…well…mud. A couple of times, I was able to find a place that was harder terrain to run on for a short stretch of time before it turned into mud as well. In all honesty, I couldn’t even get frustrated because it was pretty fun to be doing a ‘different’ type of run than my usual runs on the sidewalk and canal path. I just carried on my merry way checking my pace every once in awhile realizing that I was doing quite well.

Then, the hills started. Ha! At the start, the race director kept announcing there would be a ‘slight incline at the 7.5k mark’, so I kept that in my head. But, when I started on this first series of hills, I was soon asking myself what this man considered to be a ‘slight incline’ as these were tough especially on the uneven terrain. Before the ‘slight incline’, there was a long downhill part so I took advantage of that and went as fast as I could without tripping on a rock or a branch.

It evened out around the 5k mark, so I enjoyed the flatness for a bit. Then, the ‘slight incline’ started. Holy wow. This hill was at least a mile long and steep. This is where I saw my pace slow down immensely, but I trudged along and fought off the voice in my head telling me, ‘You can walk up this hill faster than you are running right now.’ Annoying.

Finally, we reached the top and there was about a 1k left, so even though I felt like my lungs were about to collapse, I made myself go as fast as I could because there was a girl in a blue shirt that I had been leap frogging with for most of the race and I was determined to beat her. (Pretty sure she had the same goal in her head.) I knew I could push myself because the end was in sight and then I could sit down or fall over or drink some water or whatever, so off I went. And, guess what?! I beat the girl in the blue shirt! (It’s the little victories, people!)

Although I didn’t beat my personal best for a 10k, I beat my 10k time from a road race we did in November despite the crazy terrain of this race! (Again, little victories!) So, I was still really pleased!

The Brit and our friend? Well, they ran the entire race together and crushed it…both finishing in the top 85 out of 1100 runners! Well done, guys!

So, I would definitely recommend this race in the future. It is only £15 entry fee with £5 going toward a campaign to help elderly people stay warm in the winter. Just keep in mind that it is not a road race, but it was very fun to do something new and spice up the training for a day! Check it out next year!

P.S. I didn’t take any photos. But, I’d definitely recommend checking out Harewood House and its grounds — absolutely beautiful!

Marathon Redemption

For the past year or so, I have said I would run another marathon the year I turn 30. Lucky (unlucky?!) for me, that year is 2012! My first marathon experience was amazing because I ran it with an incredible group of ladies (a few I still consider to be great friends), who I met through Team In Training, AND because it was in Honolulu in December.

However, I did not do as well time-wise as I had expected, so I’ve been talking redemption ever since.

So, this is the year and the target is the Edinburgh Marathon on May 27th. I have signed up and so has the Brit, although his time goal is about 30 minutes faster than mine. So, that should answer any questions as to whether or not we will be running the marathon together — ha!

I am very excited about it because it is getting me back into running, which is a sport I love oh-so-very-much, and it is taking me back to Edinburgh, which is one of my favorite cities! Can’t ask for more than that!

Let the fun of training for the next 3 months begin!