Rants and raves #5

**Disclaimer: this post was written while the author was experiencing a post 37th birthday slump. As always, all rants, raves and opinions represent my own views. Other (far superior) less opinionated running blogs are available**

I’m feeling a little bit mardy at the moment so decided it was time for another rants and raves blog. I’m hoping that I’ll feel better after writing this blog.

Rave: the weather

The sun is shining, it’s finally warm enough to wear my Lululemon running skirts, and the sky is blue. I love the sunshine and the lighter mornings. Operation leg tanning 2016 has finally commenced. Please let the forecast be accurate. It’s now May, and in my expert opinion as a geography geek we’ve had enough rain, hail and other freaky weather.Kenyan HillsDuring a recent hill session. Although I’m not sure that the black t-shirt was the most sensible option I love my running skirt.

I just need to purchase some running resistant sun cream or lotion. I’ve heard that P20 is really good.

Rant: London Marathon finishers’ t-shirts 

I wore my London Marathon finishers’ t-shirt for the first time on Sunday. Rather predictably the large t-shirt that was included inside my goody bag was massive. If the t-shirt swamps me (I’m taller than the average female) it’s going to be far too long for the majority female runners. Why didn’t I choose a smaller size? To get a finishers’ t-shirt in more sensible sizes (extra small and small) you needed to complete the marathon in under 4 and a half hours. As a slower runner I was left with the option of either large or extra large.

Thanks London Marathon!

Perhaps in future the t-shirts could be handed out at the Expo. Runners could collect their number, timing chip and t-shirt. I thought about buying a slightly smaller t-shirt on eBay, but with medium t-shirts selling for a minimum of £50 I decided to make do with my finishers’ tent, sorry t-shirt.

Rave: my Garmin 220

I only had the opportunity to test out my second-hand Garmin 220 on a handful of short runs, and was concerned that the battery life wasn’t great. The night before the London Marathon I turned off the vibrate and sound functions and left the Garmin on charge.  On the morning of the London Marathon the Garmin seemed to take forever to pick up satellites. I was starting to panic as I needed an indication of how long I’d been running. Not a great start. Luckily it decided to function as a GPS just before I crossed the start line.

Garmin MarathonIt’s good to see exactly where I fell apart!

At about the 22-mile mark a low battery warning appeared on the screen. I had no idea how much longer the battery would last and had a mini meltdown. At 26 miles the Garmin was still functioning and allowed me to achieve (just) a sub 6-hour finish. It also allowed me to determine how fast my ‘sprint’ finish along The Mall was (not very fast), and exactly where I fell apart during the London Marathon (far too early on!).

Rant: blisters

After eating my post-marathon McDonald’s chips, I removed my trainers and socks and inspected my feet. Although my toenails were intact, I appeared to have a couple of blisters. I never get blisters, I suspect that my socks were slightly too thick. The following morning I stood up and discovered a third blister in a really awkward position. My friend kindly went out and bought me a packet of Compeed blister plasters from Boots. While I could easily protect the blisters on the sole of my right foot, the third blister was virtually impossible to cover. In the end I decided to HTFU and to leave the blister uncovered. I’m still waiting for the third blister to heel.

Rave: modern technology

I’m a big fan of modern technology, when it works. However, when a timing chip suddenly fails during a marathon it can cause needless panic. I really enjoyed watching the Boston Marathon online and stalking monitoring my friend’s progress. When I saw how tough the conditions were, I was relieved when she crossed the finish line. Similar modern technology enabled my family and friends to monitor my slow progress around the streets of London. My friend Geoff knew my official finish time before I did. Aren’t timing chips great when they work!

Timing chips have another important function… highlighting marathon cheats.

Rant: people cheating in marathons

I’m not naming any names, but a few individuals (I’m reluctant to call them runners) evidently decided that they couldn’t be bothered to cover the entire marathon distance. These people missed out a large proportion of the course and cheated. Although I really hope that the event organisers give these cheats a life ban, how could such a ban be enforced? From what I’ve seen online some of these individuals are repeat offenders. I’ll save my race bandits rant for next time.

Boston SleuthArticle in Runner’s World USA

Cheating to obtain a Boston qualifying time is evidently so common in the USA, there is an entire blog dedicated to investigating dubious race results. The Marathon Investigation site is fascinating. I wonder how many people feel the need to cheat in order to obtain a Good for Age (GFA) time for London. It would be quite easy to get a faster friend to run a GFA time.

I knew that I’d feel better after writing this blog. My friend Kate couldn’t understand why I got so annoyed when I discovered that a z-list celebrity had missed out a substantial proportion of the London Marathon course. I told her that I got annoyed because I can’t stand cheats and because people have been missing out the same section of the London Marathon course for years. Perhaps the organisers need some way of identifying these cheats before they cross the finish line and collect a medal.

Do you think more could be done to prevent people from ducking under the barriers and cheating?

Do you have any tips for running in warmer weather? Although I love the summer I find running when it’s warm really challenging.


2 thoughts on “Rants and raves #5

  1. Maria @ runningcupcake says:

    I get so annoyed with races only having rubbish t-shirt sizes left. I have run a few smaller events and when you sign up you request a size, and then that is written on your number- then when you finish they tick it off, and they know how many of each to make. I did Oxford half and they only had large or extra large, and even though I am not that skinny, I am short and not that big and even the unisex small from the Brighton half is way too big for me, so the large I got from Oxford is only used as an extra layer when it’s freezing.
    I too love the sunshine but don’t run fast in the heat. I wear a tennis visor to keep the sun off my face, try to run in a shady route or early/late in the day, and also don’t worry about speed- I know I’m not getting any pbs in the summer!
    And yes, cheats are awful. They have basically taken a space from someone who earned it.


    • Emma says:

      Top ranting, I love it! I’m pretty certain that if smaller events can provide t-shirts rather than technical tents then larger events can too. Recently the 7 Pools Run offered me the choice of a small, medium or large t-shirt when I’d completed the race. I opted for a medium and have a t-shirt that I’ll actually wear. I’ve decided that the London Marathon tent isn’t actually that nice to look. Red isn’t a great colour because I look like a lobster at the end of every run, and even after three washes the t-shirt smells really chemically.
      For some reason the sunshine seems to encourage me to run faster. I then start to feel too warm and have to slow down and even walk. I always tend to run in a cap if it’s sunny. I bought a running visor last week but couldn’t get it to stay on my head! I just don’t understand why people feel the need to cheat, it’s pathetic!


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