03 May 2009

(Note: The picture is not mine)

As it has been several days since I have last updated, I felt that a post was in order. Not because my life is particularly all that interesting, but more because if I don't post, people get antsy. April 30th was, of course, May Day Eve. In Edinburgh, this meant making the trek up to Calton Hill to watch the Beltane Fire Festival. The events of the night are rather hazy, considering that it was quite dark on top of the hill (which has a bunch of monuments on top of it), but I can honestly say that it was fun. Calton Hill provided amazing views of the city while the sounds of drums, naked dancers, and loads of fire (torches, bonfires, and miscellaneous things burning) created a buzzing atmosphere. The only downsides to the night were the large crowd (11,000 strong) and the general lack of lighting (which, combined with large rocks and dips in the ground, made for almost continuous tripping on my part). I awoke back at WPR on Friday morning bruised and sprained, but otherwise in good working order. A good thing, as I had my final training run for my 10k on Friday. Saturday was spent revising on the meadows (or attempting to...peoplewatching ended up being much more interesting than reading about the political theories of James VI/I).

The other major event that has taken place was the Bupa Great Edinburgh Run. It was my first 10k race and it couldn't have gone better. I was able to leave my flat about 30 minutes before the start and join the small crowd heading towards George IV bridge where the race was to begin. 10,000 people were scheduled to run in the race, with the elite women (Olympians and internationally classed runners) starting at 10:15am. The race route encompassed most of Edinburgh's city centre, so it was odd to see many of the major roads closed to traffic. George IV bridge was almost unrecognizable due to the large crowds of runners, Bupa marshalls, and supporters. I must admit, I think it would have been a bit more enjoyable at the beginning had I been accompanied by someone I knew. Still, the general buzz of the crowds generated an excitement and, during the mass warmup following the elite women's start, I lost any residual nervousness about the race. The starting process was divided into four sections depending on anticipated ending-time. The elite men went off at 10:25, followed by the orange wave (mine), then white, green, and pink. I wish I could describe the feeling of hearing the gun go off, running across the starting mat, and knowing that I had 10km to go before I could stop.

The weather was as perfect as anyone could hope for. Sunshine, mild temperatures, a few clouds. Beautiful. The fact that the race route passed by the castle, Holyrood Palace, Parliament, and the crags (the most beautiful locations in the city) helped to ease some of the distance. Overall, the run was not that difficult. The hill going up past the crags was a pain in the ass and marked the first time that I had to walk a bit in order to save my knees from completely giving out. The only other snag came at kilometer 6 along Cowgate/Grassmarket when I had an asthma attack. I had opted not to bring my inhaler, which proved to be a bit of a mistake, as the attack meant that I had to alternate a bit of walking every half kilometer or so. (So frustrating! I hope to remedy this situation sometime this summer because I have decided to enter a few more races while back in the States for the next year or so.) I crossed the finish at 55:36, almost collapsed while trying to take the timing chip off my sneakers, and then joined the procession to collect my t-shirt/participants medal. I think the only downside to the event was that, despite feeling fine for most of the day, my knees decided that they hated me about 7pm and made it impossible to walk for the rest of the night. Would I do the 10k again? Absolutely. (Note to Edinburgh Uni: If you want to require me to have a grad school interview in early May 2010, I would not be opposed.)

Plans for this week:
* Revisions. (I spent all day in the library and currently have 'Tudor Economic Documents' opened in front of me. Exam time makes me hate my life. At SMCM, it would only one week. Sure, I might have three exams in one day, but at least it would be over. Oh well, next week is exam time.)
* Dunfermline (To satisfy Dad's desire for me to take pictures of graves. Oh, it shall be thrilling.)

Note: As I've mentioned above, it is exam time. In fact, I am entering week three (or is it four?) of revisions. As a result, my brain is slightly addled from the long hours spent reading and taking notes. Writing, in particular, has been quite difficult as of late. As such, please forgive the elementary and increasingly senile nature of these (and future) posts. I shall probably be recovered by the end of June. Of course, by that time, this blog will have become unnecessary as I will be back in the States. Ah, such is life.

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