Edinburgh Half Marathon Saga – 07/04/11 to 11/04/11

Hey Blog fans…

I wrote this partly in Scotland and then finished afterwards – It needs to be trimmed and is rubbish and full of typos but i cannot bring myself to go through it anymore… I might update it but i just want it out there and done.

Enjoy…

Oh yeah and it is insanely long…….but there are pictures…

 

 Hey Blog fans and welcome to 2011′s first official Team Stagg entry – the Edinburgh half marathon – me and Leroy signed up (as did Greg – a new Team Stagg member, but he bailed as felt rough) and the plan was to get a coach to Edinburgh at half midnight Friday (Arriving about 8am), go out on lash Friday night, recover on Saturday then run on the Sunday before another night coach home to MK…… But before we get to the actual race we have the build up. Good to see you all again-hope you enjoy :)

Cafe Balti.

It being a Thursday night we were going to be having curry- a now longstanding tradition from last season’s cycle training – before getting the coach to Scotland and a few familiar faces decided to join this evening’s curry club which moved from its cheap and cheerful wetherspoons roots to a curry house in wolverton. Rene, Marta and Steve (old team Stagg members) joined me and Leroy for fine Indian cuisine along with Carla and Carly (Steve’s girlfriend and sister).  I walked to Scotty’s from home and realised that now I can run and cycle and am generally fit, walking sucks….ok actually walking for the sake of getting somewhere sucks as I can run or cycle there much quicker but with the race three days away I was resting the running legs and sauntered to Scotty’s whinging to myself about how long it took…

Scotty provided me with a bottle of beer and ushered me into his garden-clearly I was not to converse with his housemates as I am evil and then he promptly abandoned me in said garden with only a gang of cats that had appeared for conversation. Drinking my beer and chatting to my new feline friends I discovered that Scotty has an infinite number of sweets in his garage (not that I actually believe in infinity but that’s an argument for another time) and also that Cats aren’t partial to a sip of Cobra….

Scotty returned and we went to pick up Leroy from work to then get back to curry time-of course not long after leaving work we had to return as Leroy forgot his wallet (even though he had literally gone to his car two minutes ago purely for that purpose) and eventually we got to the curry house…

Rene and Marta were waiting inside as the rest of us appeared, talking about MC Hammer and his magic shoes – to explain – Leroy started talking about some MC Hammer cartoon show that existed (in his mind….) that featured the rap stars shoes which were magic and could talk – we all told him he was mental until Rene also recalled this and a quick Google confirmed this did indeed exist – concerning and annoying as this prompted Leroy to do a little dance whilst humming you can’t touch this for a large proportion of the meal , nudging me each time he got to ‘you can’t touch this’ and almost got a punch in the face…

When ordering drinks, Leroy’s northern accent was clearly too much for the staff as his many attempts to say pint didn’t work so this lead to Steve ordering his food for the night – partly because it was ‘his’ curry house and Leroy wanted his recommendation and partly cos Steve can speak English unlike the northerner and it would make the process run a lot more smoothly.

Food ordered we chatted and the like and then the starters turned up – All except mine…
Whilst waiting for my starter Steve decided to give a large chunk of his to Rene – who’s samosas were rather pathetic and it was then that the final starter arrived – which wasn’t mine either L  It turns out Steve forgot his order so had not only stolen mine but given half of it away!!!!!  All good in the end though as I stole it back from Rene and quickly wolfed it down before any more theft could occur.

The food was excellent – Cheers Steve for finally making us go there – my only gripe was this promise of too much food – I ate all of mine and then most of everyone’s leftovers – I may be thin now but it don’t mean I can’t eat – and now the gang see that the cheeseburger challenge will be mine J

Fine Indian Cuisine...

Rene had a bit too much of a chilli and got quite a sweat on – Myself and Leroy then tried some of this evil chilli but clearly my end was defective as it had little to no effect whilst Leroy was sweating like a pig – I reckon it is partly many years of smoking that has immuned me to such things – even though I have still not got back on them since quitting….

Good evening – good to see everyone and great food – good start to the trip and after a discussion about sweets vs chocolate (I maintain if it is in a bag it is sweets therefore malteasers and minstrels are sweets not chocolate – no one agrees) we set off, most people for home, me and Leroy to face the evil that is a national express 8 hour trip to Scotland…..

Melting

 

We had to go to the office first as Leroy had, of course, forgotten the coach tickets, thanks to Marta for giving us a lift.

Tickets obtained we then had a pint in the local ‘Spoons and then got a cab to the new and improved MK Coachway.

Hooligan Stagg waiting for his coach.....

We had three seats booked as Greg was due to join us and a poor lady at the coachway had accidentally (but easily done) booked her ticket for half midnight on Thursday not Friday and so the driver said she would have to pay again – Leroy stepped in to say we had a third seat booked so she can use that but the driver weren’t having it – claiming that it would void insurance despite there being no passenger names on it….Leroy pushed the issue to the point that the driver got a bit narked and I was mildly concerned we would get kicked off the bus but fair play as the driver was bang out of order…

We weren’t lucky enough to get two seats each so had to sit together and we set off and tried to get some kip….not easily done….and after about ten minutes the coach got insanely hot….we stopped about 2 hours in up near Rotherham at some services and I have never been so wet from sweat just by sitting…it was horrendous – so it’s like 3 in the morning and we are eating ice cream at a services cos of the insanely hot bus – we were not looking forward to getting back on…

Weird blue lights.....i was bored....

A sleeping Northern Monkey.....

But we did!  And we played some PSP for a bit and then the rest of the trip was just a sweaty attempt to sleep that never seemed to end….the last hour and a half being particularly excruciating but at least the sun had come up by then and there was something to look at…

Half asleep coach Stagg

The Sea!!!!!!!!!

There were also some crazy American’s being rather loud playing twenty questions. They had such exciting things as Pen, watch and Super Nintendo!  Exciting stuff it was – and to be fair did kill about twenty minutes of non sleep melting time….

At around quarter past five in the morning I was paranoid that my alarm would go off on my phone at half five and wake everyone up but before I could turn it off I fell asleep and sure enough – the alarm woke people up as it is insanely loud – even woke Leroy as he had forgotten to wear the ear defenders he brought to survive my snoring…

People didn’t lynch me so all was good and eventually (8ish – later than expected) we got to Edinburgh….

Day 1 – Pre drinking

 

We began with a trip to McDonalds ( a recurring theme…) for a much needed toilet break and caffeine for Elroy – I decided to change from trackies into jeans in the middle of the place in front of a big window to the street – not sure why but somehow didn’t get arrested…and then we wandered to Gamestation – Leroy hoping to bag some goodies in the giant retro section upstairs – alas Leroy was saddened to find that that Retro section was now a small corner downstairs and upstairs was no more……he did find some bargains though…

We then searched for the local wetherspoons for brekkie and so Leroy could do some work (uh – what –we are on holiday) so we sat in Spoons for a few hours drinking endless pints of juice and I loitered as Leroy did some forecasts and also took the many stickers off his new retro game purchases – this was a painful thing to watch and went on for hours…..fortunately (eventually) he decided he’d messed his forecast up enough and we got out of there….

We then trawled around the city for a good few hours, looking for more gaming goodness but all the shops I found on Google maps were ever closed down or non existent… but we did pass a few tattoo shops and the usual urge to get some new ink took hold and I thought I might get one to commemorate the Half with my time etc – assuming I did break the 2 hour mark…..but more on that later.

About three we decided to find the hotel and this is when we ended up in some crescent with loads of tall old houses and Leroy commented they were like Mary Poppins houses…..  not long afterwards some bloke who was rather dirty walked past and this coupled with the already established Mary Poppins theme led Leroy into singing ‘Step in Time’ form the aforementioned film (the chimney sweep song – hence the connection to the dirty bloke…) and this began ‘It’s the Guv’nor’….

Now the actual song has ‘It’s the Master’ but Guv’nor came out and this stuck….. very often we would say it and then occasionally Leroy would take to jumping and clicking his heels together…..quite random – and I pretty much whistled it constantly form then on….. quite sad but very funny if you were there – and it reached it’s peak about 9/11 miles into the half marathon, but we will get to that….

WE got to the hotel and checked in – eventually got a room that was ready (decent room too) and then pretty much got ready to go out on the town…..  I realised that too much spinning meant my jeans were super tight round the thighs and this caused problems with walking but never mind…

Obligatory view from room shot....

Leroy decided to have a shave and discovered that the shower was not hot enough and cut half his face open…

To rectify this he boiled the kettle and then used that water to save with which caused him to scream like a little girl whilst shaving…..  so now we were ready to hit the town – me in my super tight jeans and Leroy with his mangled face…….

Oh and this was also after Leroy checked on his eBay items he was selling for the 8 hundredth time and continued to do so throughout the trip….

Day 1 – DRINKING

 

We hit the town and drank – making our way form near the hotel to the royal mile and nothing particularly eventful happened – although Leroy’s inability to talk to non northerners raised it’s head again (like in the curry house) as he asked a bouncer type dude if we could stand outside this pub with our drinks (there were no seats left) and he said yes but then when we tried he wouldn’t let us – was rather odd – still, I had a pint of Bud so I was happy and we eventually got to sit outside in the sun.

Mmmmmm Budweiser.........

View whilst drinking the Bud....

We ended up further down the road in this cool random bar that had a cinema in it (didn’t see that), some clubby room that go packed later, a pole dancing room (which was empty L), a couple of bars and a pool room.

WE headed to play pool – even though I suck at it – and there was a juke box with system of a down on it so I was proper happy but the stupid juke box had a broken button so I couldn’t select any of my tunes and then Leroy put o a load of Green Day songs – idiot.

Weird Pool room...

As expected I lost pool 3-1 (and the 1 was only cos Leroy sunk the black – he didn’t 7 ball me though so that’s a plus) and these women sponsoring Smirnoff kept appearing with free shots to try which was cool and this lead to us going to buy some Smirnoff so we would get the cool funky shades you can see below….and we got some glow band things….

Oh Dear

Half cut, wearing shaded and glow bands we then accost this couple and find out where to go and they say they will meet us at midnight in some club….we then head off to go on a ghost tour….

The ghost tour was cool, at least for us – less sure the other customers that had to deal with drunken goons…ie us.

It was cool as we were encouraged to spit on the floor and later on it got all dark and scary and at one point I actually jumped about eight feet to the left and possibly screamed…..manly scream though…Leroy had been on tour before so knew what to expect…

Ghost tour led back to cool bar place and we had some free vodka plus mixer but only tasted of mixture to me – and then we hit this club next door but I then was too sober to dance so didn’t care for it and that was pretty much it….back to hotel for sleeps after demolishing a box of Pringles…. having mad by dog bed on the floor under the window, not caring for the sofa and allowing Windle to have the actual bed.

Managed to avoid the plan to try to get people singing Step in Time in the club too which was a good thing I reckon..

Day 2 – Carb loading…

Waking around seven (after Leroy has had to get up and turn off my alarm – I really will sleep through anything as I didn’t hear it and he had ear defenders on….) , I left an unconscious Leroy and went to get food.

He was asleep with the stupid ear defenders on, mouth open and holding up his hands – his mobile in the left hand, and nothing in the other – looked proper stupid and I meant to take a photo but sorry peeps – the call for McDonalds was too great.

I mosied into town and sat in the park for a bit to write some of this blog – but then a strange man started taking photos of the park and mainly me so I went for  wander – hit HMV when it opened at half 8 and then got some brekkie and head back to hotel.

Chilling in the Park

Woke the northerner and we demolished the brekkie and then pretty much slept until midday…

Then we went for a wander….

There was a pre race pasta party to load on the carbs form 4-6 so we planned to end up there after trawling around town vaguely in the direction of this hotel the party was at…some 3 miles away… Not far out of the hotel we bumped into a Ladbrokes employee chatting about the Grand National which we had completely forgot/not known was on so off we went to place a bet.  Leroy made a few bets, me just one but we both bet on Silver By Nature – which had some good buzz and also as it was the only Scottish horse and when in Rome……… more on that later…

We wandered about and found several thousand cash converters or equivalent – also searched for other retro game shops which once again did not exist and then I made the mistake of talking about something on the ghost tour and although I said it rather badly, Leroy then wouldn’t let it go for the rest of the day – actually, hasn’t let it go since….. and it was making me angry (as usual) but is not allowed to be published here so sorry peeps, just know that in normal Leroy fashion, he went on and on and generally twisted things around to make me look bad….

We of course needed food as we didn’t really stop eating all weekend and we saw this sign to the Snax Café so we followed it down this back street to this little café run by some children (OK so young people not actual kids) and it was cool….some woman was trying to open a giant can of beans with an industrial can opener and nearly took the whole sideboard down and covered herself in bean juice, the bloke who took our order asked if he had charged us just in time before we walked out of the place (he hadn’t – we wouldn’t have stolen the food though, we did that later on…) and then the woman that put sauce in  my sausage and bacon roll somehow covered herself in it….was random…and we assumed we would get poisoning but thankfully we were alright….

We carried on down this super long street and stopped in another cash converters and the grand national was gonna start in ten mins so we loitered by the DVDs and watched the race.  One of Leroy’s three horses fell almost immediately and the second one was doing quite well but the commentator seemed confused as he implied he was further up the pack than he actually was….Silver by Nature, despite having loads of buzz only came 12th but was not mentioned ONCE by the commentator and it was not until two days later than we actually found out if he even ran or not….stupid grand national – not exciting when the horse you backed isn’t ever mentioned…

Having far outstayed our welcome in Ash converters we eventually got to the pasta party at just after 5 – it was odd.  It was some relatively poncey restaurant part of some hotel and there were ten tables outside reserved for the half marathon – we went inside – said we were half marathon peeps (didn’t prove this) and were shown to the pasta and drinks which we got, sat outside and ate….there were a few other people about but not many and no one seemed to be there – we were expecting a meet and greet, some music or something – but nowt.

And no one seemed to want us to pay for it so we just did a runner – to be fair Leroy’s was free as he is a gold runner (do not get him started on this – he will bore you for a good ten minutes) so technically I am the only thief , but he would at least be some sort of accomplice I reckon.

Escaping the restaurant police we mosied back the looooooong trek to the hotel, deciding to go to the comedy club we found later on…the trek was relatively uneventful and mainly consisted of Leroy annoying me as usual and the odd bout of ‘It’s the Guv’nor’….

It also led to a laughing fit by me as Leroy said something relating to the thing that I will not talk about that was proper funny and had me in fits – despite it being very wrong – and of course lies….

WE got to the hotel, I got changed and Leroy had a ‘Power Nap’…because he is a girl or a child as only girls and children have naps (Don’t they Rene?).

The Power Nap lasted only ten minutes or so until I made him get up or we would miss the comedy club (doors shut at half 8) and unfortunately the power nap just made him even more annoying and he kept saying ‘Pow’ for like five minutes for no reason – weirdo…

WE eventually headed out to the comedy club but due to Nap Boy we were running late so even though we have a half marathon in the morning and want to preserve our legs we have to shift it across Edinburgh and run there to avoid missing the show – well done Leroy.

Instantly into running I get a stitch and my foot hurts which bodes very badly for the big run – but we make it with minutes to spare (even though the doors weren’t gonna shut til five to nine) and after trying to find cash machines and waiting to get a table we manage to blag our way in to the show……

WE get a seat far form the stage (fortunately) and the place is full of Stags (as in people on Stag Do’s – not relations of mine or the actual Deer type animal) and Hens (as in women on – oh you understand? OK sorry)…… and then there is the two sober idiots about to run a half marathon that have to drink pop…… not the best situation but comedy should be funny sober….

We eventually got some food (which we nearly didn’t as we had no cash on us and they claimed they wouldn’t accept cards) so despite our pasta dinner to load us up we then also had a Thai green curry – but the mammoth walk and jog across town had burnt those carbs off so it was fine and then watched the show.

It was alright – not the best comedy club I’ve been too but not the worst either…… I was concerned I would get the giggles and embarrass myself in some sort of endless laughing fit but managed to avoid such things…

After comedy we headed back to the hotel (probably eating more on the way) and packed our stuff for the morning – alarms set for half 6 we crashed around midnight and I started to stress about the morning’s run before passing out…

Day three – Pre Race…
We got up about half 6 – the original plan to get up at crack of dawn and hit a car boot sale before the race didn’t happen due the car boot not opening until nine – we got read, got our race stuff together and headed to McDonalds for brekkie.

We had porridge of course as a sausage and egg McMuffin prob not race food and then started the 3 mile walk to the start.

I am at this point getting proper butterflies and feel rather sick, normally I would be fine before a run but with this being my first proper race and wanting to do under 2 hours I am worried – Leroy bursts into another rendition of ‘Under Pressure’ at this point (as he has done over the weekend) so I stop whinging about it.

The walk to the stadium where the race starts gradually gets busier with more and more runners and it was quite cool to see, this did not sort my nerves out though….

We got to the stadium, had a much needed toilet break to ensure no problems on course, vaselined up (wrong I know) and got our race numbers pinned on.  Leroy then went off to get his bag on the truck to take to the end and I loitered, surrounded by thousands of runners – all of which looked infinitely more capable than I.

RUnners!

Eventually Leroy returned, having had to abandon his bag as the truck had gone – and handed me his sim card, bank card and return bus ticket to look after on the way round (he had no pockets…).

WE then went to our separate start pens – assume this is standard for most races but they asked us to go in the relevant expected completion time part of the stadium as they then release people to start based on expected speed.  Leroy hit the hour and a half one and I went in the 2-2:15 hours with the plan that to beat two hours I would need to overtake everyone!

Stagg just before race start...

Eventually the race started and the gun started off the front runners, by the time I got over the start line nearly six minutes had elapsed but I got going, out of the stadium and off I went.

To be honest there is not much to report….early on I somehow found myself outside the coned area for runners and was concerned I would never get back in without leaping over this tape that I would almost certainly trip on and hurt myself, but a break in the tape not too far along got me back in.

I missed the 2 mile marker so was very concerned when I saw what turned out to be number three in the distance as if it had said two I would have given up (same thing happened with 4 and five…)

At five I had some of my energy jelly beans – this was fun!  I have never really eaten whilst running and as I am a bit out of breath, chewing jelly beans was rather awkward and I nearly choked to death!!!!  By the end of the race I was marginally better at chewing and running.

The first water station had no water left, which was OK by me but a lot of people were whinging about it.

The weather was good, warm but not hot, overcast so not blinding and a nice breeze off the sea kept us all cool.

The second water station was plentiful and I grabbed some lucozade which helped I think….I continued to overtake people and never looked at my iphone to see how I was doing – I made the decision to just run and see what happens.

Between miles 8 and 9 the leaders passed on the right (the last three miles of the race come back on themselves) and in front of them was the lead car with the current race time on it – knowing vaguely where I was and that the time was the gun time and 6 minutes in front of me I tried to do the math and decided that I was possibly still on track – it also kept the mind occupied….

At around 9 miles I hit the third water stop and this is where Leroy appeared on his way back on mile 11 – I missed the water here as I wanted to ensure he spotted me, which he did and shouted ‘It’s the Guv’nor’ and I reciprocated ‘Step In Time’ and sped off….I imagine people were rather confused but a few people cheered!! Huzzah. This was of course planned and a culmination of the whole ‘It’s The Guv’nor’ saga!!!!!!

After the water stop it was a long old slog until the turn around part and mile 10 seemed to take forever to appear, when it did I started to slow down and people started to overtake me (which hadn’t really happened up until now)… concerned that I was flagging I tried to pick it up and then some kids appeared with a water pistol and I urged them to soak me and they duly obliged (Leroy had also used the water pistol kids services when he passed).  Mile 11 came a lot sooner than expected and this helped a bit and I tried to get a good pace going – 2 miles to go Stagg …you can do it!  A bloke with a hose helped as I ran straight through that and then around 12 there was a sprinkler set up which also helped….1 mile left….

Two blokes behind me started talking between 12 and 13 and although I didn’t catch what the time was, one said he just wanted to do the race under two hours and the other said that was going to happen as only half a mile left  -  this was encouraging to me but then these two guys overtook me and got away from me – surely I was on track?!?

Eventually the finish appeared in the distance and it was then that I took my iphone out to see the time – 1:55…I had four minutes to get to the finish which was totally achievable so I kinda just carried on – no sprint finish, just ran with my iphone in my hand and as I crossed the line I hit stop and tracked 1:58:51 – I had done it….

I was proper chuffed, and still can’t quite understand how in six months I had gone from not being able to get from work to the shops without stopping to running a half under 2 hours but there you go….just need to get faster now…

I had to take my tracking chip off from my ankle but my body didn’t seem to want me to bend down to do this but it eventually agreed, I handed it in , got my medal and goodie bag and then went to find Leroy (who finished in 1:35 something ) .

Leroy had seen me cross the line and thought I hadn’t done it under the two hours, which explained why he looked a bit apprehensive when I found him…but I told him all was good and I had done it :)

He had managed to get his bag – the woman who told him to leave it had brought it for him, and we ate our goody bag snacks and drank post race lucozade as we went to get the shuttle bus back to the start.

We discussed the race on the bus, Leroy slightly angry that he had missed his PB for a half by like half a minute and he was proper confused by mile 10 and refused to believe it was right (as I had felt, but assumed it was first race madness)…

I was still buzzing and my legs were in a pain not known before but adrenaline, gorgeous weather and the thought of my new tattoo were keeping me going…

First stop though was the bloody car boot sale.

The walk form the start to the car boot was about a mile and a half and we didn’t have long before it closed….Leroy’s need to get to the car boot (I believe he only waned to do the Edinburgh half to go to this car boot) and wanted us to pick up the pace …. he didn’t seem to realise that about 40 minutes prior we had run a bloody half marathon…..I tried to go faster but it was hard…..and we got to the car boot with 20 minutes to spare…

Where is this car boot?  in an underground car park – 4 bloody flights of stairs down…really?  Stairs?  After a half marathon?  If I didn’t know better I believe this was just a plan of the evil northerner to make me run, walk fast and then go down stairs in order to destroy my legs…..but anyway…

The car boot was uneventful…we brought nowt, but it was kinda cool, not been to an underground one before … I also still had my medal showing and after a couple of people asked about it I put it under my shirt as it seemed somewhat show off-y….and as much as people may claim I like attention – people wouldn’t understand how much I wanted to break the two hours and it cheapened it some how…,

car boot over we headed up the endless flights of stairs (oh so painful) – I was gonna get the lift – not to avoid the pain but because Leroy has a habit of poking me in the back of the knee when climbing the stairs in the office – it is infinitely annoying, but in this instance I would have buckled and fallen down – fortunately he behaved…

Sunday – Post race

The plan was to get my tattoo, and grab some cans and sit in the park, have a drink and generally kill time until we got the coach – some 8 odd hours after the car boot.

First we stopped so Leroy could sort his foot out – he had got a blood blister under his toe so he sat on a bench, skewered with a drawing pin and bled all over the pavement – it was gross – his feet are wrong from running – clearly I don’t run fast enough as my feet are not the car crash that Leroy’s are….

Bleeding over we headed to the tattoo place I had picked – way over the other side of the city – stopping in M&S for much needed water to rehydrate and some grub (cheese scones!)….

We eventually got to the tattoo place, and to cut a long story short, I got my tattoo…….

Leroy passed out in the waiting room when I was getting inked ( I had told him I would not get them to tattoo one of many appropriate four letter words across his forehead if he fell asleep) and got ready to be inked.  Having had 7 before I was not bothered but my calves were so wrong at this point and was convinced I would get cramp as my calf was being tattooed and it would go horribly wrong…..in actuality I think my calf being so tense alleviated any feeling and being knackered coupled with having to lie down for the inking, I actually nearly fell asleep…..least painful tattoo to date :)

Stagg's new Ink.

Happy with my ink, I got my trackies on to keep it out of the sun and off we went in search of beer…

We grabbed some (and a sandwich, more food…) and headed to the park.  Since we got off the bus the weather had gone nuts and it was proper hot – perfect time to chill in the park with a brewski :)

After a can each , Leroy decided he would have a nap….and promptly fell asleep…I tried to have a nap but just can’t sleep in public parks with loads of people about so after five minutes went and got an ice cream (which annoyed Leroy when he found out as he didn’t get one – bloody child)…I then spent the next twenty minutes staring at these three women across the park as I was convinced one of them was my ex…. concerned that I was just staring at them but unable to stop I grew less convinced as time went by but was not 100% sure….not really anted to go over there on the off chance, my decision to stop staring was made for me as Leroy got a phone call….

The Castle

Stagg in the sun

After the call we headed off to get real food (and I wanted some deep fried pizza and a battered mars bar) and so this was the perfect opportunity to pass the three women – - bit when we did the potential ex had disappeared ….. was she even there at all? Do half marathons cause hallucinations?  was the ink somehow tainted with a hallucinogenic drug? was I just mad?  Who can say…….  So – Char – should you be reading this for some strange reason – were you sitting in the park in Edinburgh on April 10 2011?

We headed back to ghost walk territory, grabbed some shortbread for the office and then found a take away that did the two heart attack inducing food I was after….and they were excellent.

The deep fried pizza was exactly that, no batter, just deep fried – it essentially tasted of pizza on deep pan fried bread – mmmmm and the mars bar was awesome….I can not ever live in Scotland as I will be 19 stone again in a week and will then die….

Deep Fried 'Za

After food we headed to the bus station as there was a bit of grass there with ‘outdoor art’ that we had seen Friday and decided to go drink our other can of beer there.

When we passed the ‘outdoor art’ as Leroy named it, he was keen to see it as it was outdoor – apparently art found inside a building is not as good – but when we got closer we saw it was actually outdoor photography of various sea life….random..and not as exciting as proper outdoor art…

Anyhow – we got there but the park bit was shut so instead we hit McDonalds for a mcflurry (me) and a strawberry sundae (Leroy) and hen sat by the park, outside Harvey Nichols and Luis Vuitton (ie a semi poncey part of town) on the pavement an drank our beer…..like proper chavs….

Chav-roy

We then grabbed our bags form the bus station (we had left them in  locker this morning before the race) and headed back to the wetherspoons we frequented Friday morning for a couple of drinks and some food (me only – sausage chips and beans).

Having eaten all the food in the land you would think I was full but no – apparently running a half marathon makes me eat more than I ever have (and is still the case as I write this one week later – must stop as gonna be back at 14 stone otherwise…).

We then headed for the bus station and got there 40 minutes before our coach was due….and Leroy went a bit weird…

A bus turned up at a different gate with the same number as ours and headed to London….in my mind it was not ours as it was 40 minutes early and at the wrong gate….but Leroy seemed a bit too worried we might get stuck in Scotland and was itching to get on it – even when the driver said London ONLY he still wouldn’t believe it was not our coach….until the bus people told us it was NOT going to Milton Keynes….

Then another one appeared at the wrong gate and he wanted to get on THAT one too…..but I said no….and I was of course right – and then a bus appeared at our gate so we quickly got on that….I had taken off my trackies and was just in shorts and the top I ran in (we now must stink as we haven’t showered since before going out the night before…have run a half marathon and wandered around in blazing heat for hours….and not got changed….) as I don’t wanna bake like on the way out but fortunately keep my coat on the coach with me (rather than sticking in the hold) as it will make a handy pillow!

We get on the bus and thanks to the multiple decoy coaches to London we will prob be able to have two seats each….

We get towards the back of the bus and Leroy sits on the left and I on the right – I am putting my bags on the shelf thing above the seats and Leroy is faffing about on the floor…I ask what is happening and he says ‘I just dropped my pop in sick”.  Confused, I ask him to elaborate and it transpires that there is sick on the floor at his seat and having taken his shoes off he notices it but thankfully hasn’t stood in it but whilst trying to avoid it and get out, he drops his bottle of Pepsi right in it….

I of course fall about laughing, to which he retaliates by wiping the bottle on my leg, which I then wipe on him and then we sit on the seats behind, first checking for some sick….

As Leroy whinges that he can smell it and I keep hearing “Dropped my pop in sick” and laughing like a maniac, I realise I am getting wet…

The air con is leaking above me and dripping on me – Seat change number two…

We go to the next row and check for sick and leaking air con and seem to be safe, so we set up camp and await the bus to depart, hoping that it doesn’t fill up too much and we have to move and sit together – especially as Leroy may or may not be covered in puke….

It is bad, but we didn’t mention the sick or the leak so it was funny to watch other people having similar trauma to us – but no one ended up on leak or sick seats so all was good….an then we set off…

Sunday/Monday – The Ride Home

A pretty short segment now as fortunately most of it (although not all by a long shot) was spent sleeping.  With two seats, there was a lot of positions to try for most comfortable position and one of us would wake up and see that the other had tried some new random position to sleep in….which helped to restore sanity briefly upon waking up and realising that it was BLOODY FREEZING!!!!!!!

Prepared for the hell of the sauna we travelled up in, I was in shorts and t-shirt as mentioned, fortunately my trackies and m coat were on board as I ended up in them, with my hood up shivering most of the journey….it was clearly a sick joke on National Express’s part – the bastards!

When we stopped at the services nearish Sheffield that we stopped at on the way – there was no ice creams this time – Leroy grabbed a coffee to regain warmth and I nabbed some sweets (more bloody food) and then we got on with the final two hours….and this was when they decided to turn the heating on and roast us again – FFS!!!!!.

We arrived back in MK around half five in the morning, the coachway mysteriously taped up so you had to wait around in the cold – not too bad after the alt leg of the coach being boiling……we got a cab to work, Leroy dropped me home, then I got back to the office pretty swift for the McDonalds brekkie Leroy had picked up and that my friends, was it….

Until the next day….

It transpires that the Half Marathon was actually 0.23 miles longer than it should be….so I broke the two hours and it was longer – my tattoo is technically wrong (although I maintain it is not as I ran the Edinburgh Half in the time it states, the fact it is not a real half is irrelevant) and technically this means Leroy got his PB….but who really knows what would have happened if that bloody ten mile turnround part was correct?  I may have fallen down a hole or something if the course was slightly different!!!

It did help though in that it explained why mile 10 seemed so long – because it was!!!!!!!

I had two aims this weekend – run the half in under two and eat a deep fried pizza – I guess it was a success!  The fact that I didn’t murder Leroy (or vice versa) was a plus and generally it was a top weekend.

Obligatory thanks to Mr Windle for putting up with me and also for suggesting I run the Blackpool half (which lead to Edinburgh as Blackpool was cancelled) way back in September.

Thanks for the training mate – now I just need to start getting faster and give you some competition.

Bike training begins so blog will be up for that – next official team Stagg event is the dragon boat race late June….I have the Torbay half the week before that which may end up here….and then it goes mad with Sheffield and Dublin cycles….

Hopefully some other people will also be joining in – not just me and Leroy….

So thanks for reading this mammoth blog entry – and remember people – when getting on national express, check for sick….or you may drop your pop in it :-)

Laters friends

Stagg

This entry was posted in Running, Team Stagg. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Edinburgh Half Marathon Saga – 07/04/11 to 11/04/11

  1. scotty says:

    That took me almost an entire lunchtime to read … I hope you’re happy ;-)

  2. Staggly says:

    I am happy :-) and nothing else would have been as satisfying at lunch than reading the blog….

Leave a Reply