Portobello Promathon 2017

Happy New Year! Here’s hoping that you have a prosperous, healthy and happy 2017. What better way to kick it off, than by vanquishing a hangover with a run up and down Porty Prom?

Getting to the start line, it’s a morning that bears more of a resemblance to a Scottish winter day than most of December. We’re treated to clear blue skies, and bright sunshine such that it’s a good job I can practically drive the route from memory. The start is at Tumbles soft play centre, so we can all hide indoors from the cold, pick up numbers and my wife remarks that she didn’t even have to queue for the loo. For the £ 7 entry fee, this is one of the best put together events I’ve ever attended

Ten minutes to go, and we reluctantly shuffle outside. I’m still not feeling ready to ‘race’, so I’m wearing long sleeves under my club vest, gloves and a neck baffle. I’ve got shorts on though, it’s not *that* cold. The race is on the same prom our running club do our winter training on, so I know the route we’re going to run all too well. I have no idea if this will help in anyway, but it does mean I am surrounded by familiar faces and I soon find a little pocket of friends as we wonder to the start line

Hang on, was that murmur a race briefing? Not sure… oh we’re off! Heading toward the dog and cats home we’re slaloming round bollards and across a carpark – duck and weave! On the long straight I start to find a bit of a rhythm and I can feel a small amount of tension in the middle of my back – don’t you dare spasm – then it’s gone and replaced by a small feeling of broken glass in my hips, LOVELY, then my brain wonders off that and I’m thinking about that cold breeze that’s blowing straight through me. Blimey those are the fast boys coming back at us – they are FLYING! My feet are just threatening to go numb when we turn the corner, the breeze is gone but now the sun is right in our eyes and I can no longer see

The watch bleeps and mile #1 is done in 7.05. Panic hits, that’s faster than I thought it would be… ah well. Now with the sun in my eyes, the breeze on our tails things have gone quiet. All I can hear is the steady gentle tramp of feet, the swoosh of the sea and everything feels dreamlike. I feel myself now hitting a rhythm, all the niggles have gone and I know what I’ve got to do. I could probably hold a fairly stilted conversation, but I’d rather not

Mile #2 at 7.02 and I’m firmly putting that down to having the wind behind me. The promenade now stretches out in front of us and I’m starting to wonder how soon we’ll see the leaders coming back the way. Joppa is coming toward us, and I’m feeling good. I’ve been around most of the same people for a while now, so as long as they’re not slowing down then neither am I. Just past the bit near Joppa where the Prom narrows we can see the leaders. This for me is brilliant, since I’ll now see a good few of my club mates coming back at me and I can cheer them on. I love courses that let me do that, since while I’m scrabbling for their names, I’m not thinking about me. While I’m cheering them on, I’m getting a boost as well. We’re now off the prom and round the corner heading for home before I know what’s going on. I see my wife and give her a shout, then I’m down the little ramp and heading for home

Mile #3 at 7.01 and somehow I’m getting quicker. This can’t last… and indeed it doesn’t. Probably as much to knowing I’m heading for home, I start to flag. I’m now having to push  hard to keep to pace. I wonder to myself if knowing the course is now a help or a hindrance. I know the markers on the way, the swim centre – 800m to go and I start counting them down. I’m only losing a couple of places as people now start to wind it up in style while I’m pushing to keep level. Past chippy chips and I see the line, a few people come past me, and good for them – I’m just happy to have held on and not lost too much time

Over the line and I’m given a box of juice and a box of raisins. I chat with some friends and then stroll up the course to see my wife striding in and looking really strong. Down on the beach a number of the club are getting in the sea. It looks from a distance like a good idea so I go down to join them. By the time I get there I’m already cold and up close it’s no longer a good idea. As luck would have it they’re already done with the sea and making their way back to the refuge of Tumbles, so I’m off the hook I half heartedly put myself near

Brilliant start to the year, now for a big cup of tea

Scores on the door: 3.94 miles; 27:47; 7.03/m average

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