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Twenty Six Point Two ... Whoo Hooooo

I haven't talked much about the Edinburgh trip lately. Mostly because I've been a bit lax on my training and wasn't really sure that I'd be able to do the run. Each time I'd think about it last week I'd flashback to junior high school gym class. We were doing track work one day (50 or 100 yard dashes) and, running at my top speed, I tripped over my own feet and banged myself up pretty badly. Never the most coordinated or athletic of tall, gangly boys, it pretty much turned me off the track and field events. I was, however, a very good junior bowler.

I really don't know why I blew off the training. But I guess that's journal/therapy grist for a different mill.

Anyway, I arrived Friday in foggy Edinburgh (I love a good harr) with more than a few marathon misgivings. Once I got to the Expo and picked up my bib and goodie bag, I was psyched. By Sunday morning, most of my dread had returned, slightly diluted the excitement of the day. I kept trying to visualize an easy-paced, lovely run through a magical city. Unfortunately, those visualizations were interrupted by images of blown knees, torn tendons, and embarrassing taxi rides back from somewhere a long way from the finish line.

I'd long given up hopes of my 4.5 hour finish. As of about 3 weeks ago, I was now running for Team Lexapro and my goal was to just do my best and try to get through the entire 26.2 miles. And, in a personal non-best of what is now three marathons, I did in fact finish. 5 hours 26 minutes. So yay me.

Most of the race is kind of hazy. It's amazing how you just lose track of time and keep plodding forward. I think at some point my brain kind of shut down, thanks to either endorphins or trauma.

I do remember the pre-race, and attempting to bribe the ambulance drivers. My sister taught me a long time ago (not long after her first pregnancy) to grease the palm of your anesthesiologist. So I handed a few EMTs a tenner, asking them to keep an eye out for me after mile 10. You never know when you'll need an epidural. Or a gurney.

Actually, the first 20 miles were relatively easy. I did the trusted walk break method, having a 1-minute stroll at each mile marker. The weather, while a little warm, was really beautiful and running along the sea was amazing. The crowd was sparse compared to DC and Chicago, but what they lacked in numbers they made up for in enthusiasm. I did the "desperately seeking encouragement" trick of putting my name on the front of my shirt. I'd never done that before and I have to say it helps to have people cheering you on by name, even though they don't know you from Adam. Also put the addy for this site on the back of my shirt, and I've noticed some new hits from Scotland, so hi to anybody who's checking in on me post-marathon. I guess it does pay to advertise.

Surprisingly, I made it 16 miles before I turned on the iPod. The Drowsy Chaperone got me through miles 16-20. I laughed out loud a few times which, I suppose, was better than jogging to the side of the road and throwing up. Bless that poor guy. In a bit of schadenfreude, knowing I was doing better than than him got me through at least another mile. I suppose he was a little bit worse off than the guy I passed at mile 17 who could barely stretch his legs. When he stood up, his shirt was covered in two huge spots of blood where his nipples had been worn raw. Ouch. And just under 10 miles to go.

Marathoning ... it's so pretty at the back of the pack.

I found the ubiquitous wall around mile 20, which was just about when we were running along the beach. People were laying out on the sand, eating ice cream and frolicking in the surf. I'm sure that water was wicked cold, but it looked soooo inviting. I seriously thought about just calling it a day.

Alas, with only a 10k to go I figured I might as well finish, and if I had to walk for a good part of it, then so be it. Pink urged me along , and (A Long Way to Happy was never more appropriate. 1-minute walk breaks turned into 1-minute run breaks. I knew that the finish line would show up eventually, and with heavy sponsorship from Aleve, I was in no hurry to get there. Do analgesics count as doping?

But get there I did, and I didn't need that wheelchair after all. I got my medal and my banana (not a euphamism), but sadly no silver foil superhero cape. I'm glad to have finished, don't really give a toss about my time, and I'm sure I'll be able to walk down stairs by the end of the week.

And, by the way, I love Edinburgh. I can't wait to go back when I have the time, energy, and leg strength to take in the city properly.