Monday, 19 September 2011
Gannin to the GNR!
To pick up where I left off this time last week..... I did indeed make it to club tonight for the King's Road hill reps, I didn't however, complete the session as hill reps but more of a hill recovery jog. I was just in the mood to get my trainers on and get out again following our somewhat hectic but extremely enjoyable weekend.
We started our journey at about 2:50 on Friday afternoon, setting off up the A1(M) it was very busy and a long stretch of it was reduced to 50 mph speed limit due to road works. It didn't seem too long before we spotted the Angel of the North. It was though rather late and fairly dark when we arrived at Sandy Bay caravan park in the pouring rain. Next morning as we prepared to set off to Newcastle Quayside for the junior Great North Run, the sun was shining and although quite breezy and showery now and then it was a much better day. Marc, Taylor and Dylan thoroughly enjoyed their junior races and posted fantastic finishing times for their 4k races. It was thrilling watching the likes of Mo Farah, Jenny Meadows, Hannah England and Helen Clitheroe compete in the City Games, England & N I were thrashed 7 - 3 by the USA but it was still brilliant to watch! After all the excitement of the day we visited the Great North Run Fitness Show and Pasta Party for some much welcomed carb loading! My best Great North time so far was 2:14 so for a laugh I picked up two 2 hour 10 minute Pace bands from the Powerade stand! Upon returning back to the caravan we were treated to even more of a carb boost by our resident chef Neil who made us a fantastic pasta bolognese!
Early (ish) to bed we rose early to travel to Morpeth to catch our transfer coach to the start of the race. We seemed to arrive in Newcastle in no time at all and it was very early as we walked through St James' Park to the initial field (full of cow pats) where the first portaloos are situated, tentatively crossing it to make our way down to the closed roads and our starting pens. After walking up and down for quite a while we settled on a barrier at the side of the road and I put on my poncho which I had brought in case of rain in the hope that it would shield me from the wind as I was now quite chilly. A few minutes later I felt a searing pain in my left arm, lifting the poncho and slipping my hand inside my fleece to rub the area it began to dawn on me that I had been stung. Upon removing the top layers I saw that I had been stung twice, probably by a wasp. Seeking first aid, I was told by a steward that he didn't have a map and didn't know where the first aid was, furthermore the radio they had wasn't working! Charming, good job I wasn't allergic. Eventually we were instructed to walk further down to the next crossing point and we would be met by someone who would show us where the first aid was. On arrival I was told they had nothing for stings except an ice pack to reduce the swelling. It did just that but also made me shiver uncontrollably. Martin was worried that I was becoming ill due to the stings but I assured him I wasn't anything more than cold. When we eventually got into our pens I soon warmed up dancing around to the music being played for the official warm up routine.
The start gun sounded and we began to move slowly forward, 20 minutes later we crossed the start line. The sun was shining and I felt good. It became quite warm and at around the 3 mile mark it clouded over and soon began to rain. Very welcome rain it was too. The rest of the race remained over cast with frequent outbursts of rain, heavy at times. It was though much better conditions than running in the blazing sun as we have done for the most part of every race since 2006. I absolutely had a ball, the miles fell away. Martin and I had made a pact to keep going if we could come what may. Despite him suffering stomach cramps and being quite fatigued and having to keep a slower pace at times we did just that and managed to run every single bit without stopping at all.
As we ran in along the sea front I glanced at the pace band for only the third time, at 3 miles we had been on target and also at 6 miles but I hadn't looked at it again until now and lo and behold my watch said 2 hrs and 8 minutes, I exclaimed to Martin that if we kept going we would quite likely make the 2 hrs 10, he wasn't at all moved by this and just declared that he couldn't go any faster!
Crossing the line I stopped my watch and and observed that we had completed it in 2 hrs 10 minutes! A little while later when the official results came through by text we found we had done it in a time of 2:10:18, fantastic. Here's to next year!
Big thanks to my family and club mates waiting at the end to cheer us in, it's just the best feeling in the world to get to the end and see familiar faces.