Sunday, 1 April 2007

Forthside Half Marathon Done *warning long post*

I've been finished for 7-and-a-bit hours so I thought it was time to get the race day down.
I'll start with the stats and facts.

2.13.17 - chip time (and what Orwell said too!)
Average pace 10.15
Calories burnt 1781

9.37 - My 10K time was under an hour - not done that in ages.
10.49 - at 10 miles in I had managed to maintain 10min/mile pace overall

Bib - 5728
Gender Position - 852
Category (FSNR) Position 401 (It's high because there were so many club and over 35s)
Overall - 2434/2756 finishers
The need for sleep and food overcame me - this is being continued the following day.
My preparation had gone well despite the hideous cold.
On Saturday I did definitely CARB-UP (baked potato lunch, pasta dinner, 3 bits of toast before bed), but I also managed to get a decent sleep and awake refreshed and ready to go.
Sun AM I had my porridge and my giant coffee and then the lucozade sport which would keep me going (supposedly). I also decided that I would take a Sudafed to at least attempt to keep the nose-blowing to a minimum whilst running. Made it to the race in good time, very relaxed and excited. Met all the friends doing it, discussed possible times, ranging from an excellent club runner who attained 1.16! to me.

When the klaxon went I was ready - in a strangely relaxed frame of mind. I always tell myself I'm only going to run x distance and then see how I feel. The first 3-4 miles were good, I felt myself relax relatively early for me. The weather was perfect - a little nip in the air but clear, occasionally sunny, and without the strong wind that can ruin any run along a big river. I realised I wasn't coughing and could breathe - no nose blowing was necessary for the whole race... although it was before and after!

I was a little disappointed by the marshalls who were, in the main, bootfaced and unsupportive. My thanks go out to all those who smiled and said anything encouraging. At the half-way point one of the spectators (of which there were few and they were almost silent apart from cheering on an individual friend - weird) yelled "GO RNLI WOMAN!" which was brilliant - it really made me smile and I was at the point when I needed a cheer.

6.5 - 9 were the hardest miles. 8 was pretty much all into the wind - but incredibly at exactly the 8 mile point TheO and HighHeels turned up - it was incredible to see them as we'd agreed they'd be at the end only. I'd already been thinking about TheO's smiling face to keep me going (I know, it's pathetic) and to really see it was amazing. Also brilliant to get some yells just for me. I'd picked up a lucozade sport at the 6 mile point. At mile 7 I opened it and nursed small sips all the way to mile 10 ... it was effective but I should have taken a gel with me. Mile 8-9 snaked up hill and I was talking to myself like crazy, the mantra was, "not one step" or to translate -" I will not walk - not even for one step". I just kept repeating this until the hill (probably a gentle rise usually) was over.

Mile 12 - I know I have a problem with the second last mile of any distance so I was determined to push through it - to not be a wimp - and to KEEP GOING. Then I saw them - like a beacon - a small child, its parents, and a proffered plate of jelly babies - I ran towards them yelling, "thank god" but had the sense to ask if they were for anyone special - they delightfully replied, "YOU". Sucking and chewing those small jelly lumps took my mind of the tiny increments of mile that were crawling by.

I managed to have positive thoughts and decided that I would use techniques I'd read about. At 12.4 I knew that it was feeling really, ridiculously hard. So the imaginary helium balloons tied to my shoulders managed to lift me, just that fraction, to improve my posture, and keep me moving forward. The moment I turned the final corner and realised that I was really going to do it, to have run all the way, to finish in a time that delighted me, still makes me want to cry as a wave of emotion rushes over me.

There were 2 friends at the very last corner - they yelled encouraging things and it's always amazing to see people happy for your own successes. Then just at the finish were TheO and HighHeels having made it through Edinburgh. The sight of the finish line was almost too much for my body - my brain just flicked and it took a lot to keep the pace going and cross the line.

About 10 steps afterwards I knew I was going to faint - I had just enough warning to sit down and get my head down. I managed to avoid it - just. A very nice steward/medic came and sat with me and gave me water and checked I was ok. It took a few minutes to get my body back on track - during which time a scum photographer kept taking my picture (despite being told to go away several times) - hmmm, who knows if he'll use it.

It was an incredible feeling - not something I've planned to do my whole life, not something I ever expected to do, not on a life-achievement list anywhere - but still one of the proudest moments I've had to date. I loved it - even just afterwards I was delighted with the distance and the time. Delighted with the feeling of achievement. Roll on more races. (Still no plans to do a marathon - ever - although I'd be prepared to try 15 miles ..)

Today I'm a little stiff but not too bad - I feel good enough to be a little smug - but I know it'll probably kick me in the arse tomorrow. The only bits that really aches, weirdly, are my shoulders - a combination of the camelbak (although it's never caused it before) and simple tension had made them hurt. I'll a bit of a massage from TheO's magic hands and it'll clear right up.

My only injuries are one giant bubble of blister (pain free so far) on each of my left first little toe & my right second little toe. My right first little toenail is also a gruesome warning to all - its black and red and is all a giant blister and mess - it hurts. But quite frankly if that's the worst of it I can cope. I just hope they don't stop me running after a few days rest.

I can't wait to get back out there - good running and reading people.

1 comment:

Ron Hill's Alter Ego said...

Well done Girl!!

Even though I'm an elite athlete I still have a little place in my heart for ordinary runners like you.

Your man here did a Scotch race once - the Loch Ness Marathon - and discovered race fuel can be alcoholic!

Keep up the good work - and keep on tapering.