Monday, 28 May 2012

Run (not so) fat boy, run!

This weekend all of Joe's running training came to a head as we headed north to Edinburgh for the marathon weekend.  As well as Joe, my brother Michael and his friend Alan are also gluttons for punishment and had also signed up for the marathon, and it was a bit of a Barcroft fiesta as my cousin Rosie and her boyfriend Karl were up to do the half marathon too!  We were also joined by Uncle John and the lovely Jean who were up to see Rosie cross the finish line.  Unfortunately Joe's mum was not able to join us for the weekend but was there in spirit and Joe has already signed up for the Liverpool marathon so she can join me on the next finish line. 

Joe and I went up on Friday after work, making a quick stop off at the pub in Leeds train station (quite the treat!) where I very generously bought Joe a drink, and then promptly knocked it over and spilled it all over him...woops.  Well it's best to get your mishaps out of the way early.
Me, post beer spillage.  Oops!
Joe, pre-beer spillage.  Look how happy he was!
Friday night dinner - my mum's brilliant fish pie
Clearly the focus on Saturday was getting the runners prepped for the big race.  Rather unusually Edinburgh was super warm this weekend (just typical on the weekend when everyone had to run long distances!) so we were able to have a bit of a picnic party in the garden.  We even treated the family to a sneak preview of the wedding pork pies - which received a resounding thumbs up!  It seems you can spend forever researching the best food to eat before a marathon, and I'm sure there is some science behind it, but we just went for the general carb-load.  Lots of pizza, pasta and bread, along with some more fun treats for the lazy ones in the party!

The only thing I am certain of is Eurovision makes for perfect pre-marathon viewing - very distracting car crash tv!  Poor Engelbert but he was outdone by some European calamities.  I love Eurovision.
Saturday's pre-marathon fiesta.  Count the carbs!
The Haley & Clifford pork pie
Dad and I enjoying the sunshine
Rosie and Karl looking a touch nervous before the half marathon
On Sunday we were up bright an early.  The half marathon kicked off at 8.00am, with the marathon starting at 9.50!  The runners all started in Edinburgh city centre and then made the long stomp out to Musselburgh, with the marathon runners continuing on to Longniddry and back.  26.2 miles sounds damn long to me!  Mum, dad and I were all well positioned at the finish line to see the runners come in - the first ones making it in at just over two hours!  Incredible!  For spectators, the sunny day was fantastic, but I'm sure the runners would have appreciated a little cloud cover after a while.  It was a fantastic day, cheering on the athletes as they made it down the home stretch, encouraging the ones who looked in difficulty and applauding the showmen.  Joe made it across the finish line in 4 hours and 3 minutes, a fantastic time made even more impressive with all the heat. My brother and Alan made it in at around 5 hours and 20 minutes, which was just brilliant as well and I'm incredibly proud of them all. 
Joe's pre-marathon breakfast - bagel with peanut butter and jam, beetroot juice and an isotonic drink.  Breakfast of champions!
Joe before the race, looking very fetching in his pink Breast Cancer Care vest
Michael and Alan just before the race
Mum and dad at the charity enclosure waiting for the runners to come in
Joe, 25 metres before the finish, looking good
After the race, champion!!
After the marathon we retired to mum and dad's so Joe could kick back for the first time all weekend.  Some well deserved beers and fizz in the sunshine and a chicken and chorizo stew were just what the doctor ordered. I think Joe was fairly dazed for the remainder of the day, and now appears to be sporting some very interesting tan lines! 

John and Jean
Joe and I, toasting his success
Joe and my dad, definitely sun-kissed!
Post marathon dinner - chicken and chorizo stew with rice and garlic bread.  Well, you can eat what you want after a marathon!
Post marathon treat wine
We were back on the train on Monday, leaving behind a beautifully hot Edinburgh (but not without a quick pause in Princes Street Gardens for a sunbathe and some photos!)

It was a fantastic weekend with some great achievements.  I am in awe of anyone who can run a marathon, but more so my wonderful and family and friends who made it across the finish line.  This time last year Joe was a part time runner at best and is a great example of what can be done with a bit of determination (or bloody mindedness!).  Congratulations Joe, Michael, Alan, Rosie and Karl - very well deserved.
Me reclining in the gardens before jumping back on the train to Leeds
A beautiful sunny day in Edinburgh's Princes Street Gardens
And our dinner, and Joe's first spice in a week - barbeque'd prawns with a sweet and spicy noodle salad