[Sorry this is so long, but it will probably be my only record of the weekend so I have to get it all down while it is in my head.]
Travelled down to London on Friday - train diversion via Birmingham to Euston, which meant I wouldn’t meet RunnyBunny at Kings Cross and travel to the expo together – were all my nightmares of disastrous train journeys about to come true?
Five of us from the running club had booked into a hotel close the expo, so I went there to drop my bags before registering and meeting RB –we decided that the pasta party was required, so off we went, but while standing in the queue I realised I couldn’t find my purse – a small panic, RB paid for my meal and then I scooted back to the hotel – and there it was on the table in my room! Phew! While dashing out to the hotel I was spotted by RichK andTrinity – so I stopped for a chat on my way back. Poor Trinity had withdrawn that morning, her leg having given her clear messages that it was NOT going to run 26 miles :<( Difficult to see all these excited people at the expo when you know you will not be running.
It is soo good to see people you know at such a huge event! Also met jog*jog*jog while chatting to Rich.
I went back into the expo for a mooch, buying a RW goody rucksack and a reject’s fleece on my way round and then back to the hotel for Spaghetti Napolitano and an early night.
I met Keith Anderson at breakfast and we chatted – he told me to let him know how the day goes and he’ll suggest what next for Abingdon – nice man :>)
Lots more people expected at the expo today, it was going to be crowded and but should be a chance to meet up with some more friends.
First things first – I take my Oxfam vest to have beanz printed across the top – an essential aspect of running this race is having your name on your shirt.
And where shall I go next? Now, various people have suggested that it is a good idea to have shoes from different brands, giving a slightly different ride and strengthening leg muscles better - and you can't have too many runnign shoes can you? So off to the Saucony stand – a combination of Hippo’s recommendation and the free draw on the RW site I suspect!!
I decide that I really can’t justify another pair of road shoes, but a pair of trail shoes is a different matter. After some misunderstandings about sizing – whether we are talking US or UK sizes, eventually we find a pair that is a good fit – and a test run on the tready shows that they are doing the job - apparently. So that’s £70 for the shoes plus a ‘free’ ‘goody bag’ containing a long sleeve saucony top, some gloves and a beanie hat.
I hear from Tigerrunner, the Sinfin boys are in town and registering! We meet up, have a wander round, two of the lads go for a massage, we mooch some more and then its time for pasta – again. Legs are getting weary, boys are getting thirsty so they adjourn to the pub. I manage to meet up with both SpeedyG and Hippo for chats before going to the pub too, where a couple more club mates are hanging out – they are off to Cuba in the morning, but call into have a jar or two and wish us good luck.
I meet Bud Baldaro in the hotel and thank him for inspiring teenbeanz at last year’s Trailplus – he asks how he is going now and says he shouldn’t worry about not liking track racing! He’ll be at TP again this summer, as will teenbeanz.
And now a chance to rest our legs before the evening pasta hunt. Initially we had not planned to go far from the hotel, but there did not seem to be much around, so on the advice of the concierge in the hotel we took the DLR to Canary Wharf – after the next stage in the train nightmare came true when we got on a train in the wrong direction!! Close to the station we found Carluccio’s which sold pasta, didn’t have too long a queue and looked good.
We had pasta all round – they didn’t have a simple tomato sauce on the menu but they came up trumps with a great sauce as well as some fantastic bread.
An uneventful journey back and to bed – but not before I had pinned my number on my vest, packed my bag, debated the long sleeves/short sleeves issue to myself with the help of the weather forecast (and got it wrong).
Up early for breakfast – yes there is ‘porridge’ but not as I know it – more like milk with a few oatflakes floating in it. I settle for cereal and toast.
7.30 and we begin to make our way to the start – the first DLR train is pretty full before we get on, but we are on, then there is a convoluted story about what we have to do when we change trains – nightmare reawakens – and TR has been having similar dreams! We are advised to get the train to Greenwich rather than Cutty Sark as CS is already filling up with spectators and is very congested.
A bonus of walking from Greenwich is that we walk up to the start with the RFG crowd – seeing most of the runners, plus Sally Gunnel and the doc – we guess Crammy is copped up in a box somewhere with Brendan Foster. I chat to Michelle who is very nervous and we talk a little about Anna and what star she is. Chris takes a pic of Michelle and me!
Arrive at the start in time for the loo queue, then sort out clothes and drop the bag off, keeping an old cagoule that is probably not very waterproof, but will do for the hanging around at the start as there is a light drizzle.
And so to the run- it’s not really a race is it?
Had hoped to meet up with SpeedyG at the start to try to run-walk together – but it was not to be.
We set off and cross the start about 8 minutes after the gun, but about 500 metres further on we grind to a halt – and it seems to be the loo queue at 600m that is causing the delay!!
My target time is 6 hours – which is 13:44 minute/mile, so the plan is to run a mile and then walk until the 13:44 is up at this start of the next mile. I’ve been doing this with 14 minute miling in training and seemed to manage it – up to 14 miles anyway.
I use the mile markers to give me the lap times on the Garmin, rather than rely on the GPS as I know it will be unreliable in the City amongst the tall buildings and the two tunnels. So I’ve set the custom screen to give me HR, lap time and overall time. I decide that I WILL walk if my HR goes too high – but what is too high? I decided that 148 was too high, but looking at how I faded I think maybe I should have gone for 145 – I used 140 in most long runs – and I was probably going too fast in the first half of the run.
I can’t do a mile by mile report of scenery etc – so the highlights are really looking forward to seeing people at particular places – and that will not be possible at Abingdon, so I’ll need a different strategy by then.
Mile 11 – Nicko on his bollard – a big hug.
Mile 11 and a bit – Meldy – another hug and ‘you’ll see the others soon’
Mile 13.5 – my brother and nieces and the first of three great bear hugs of the day – what stars to chase round London in the rain!! It kept me going along the Highway just looking out for them!
As can be seen from the data, the AHR has dropped, I am slowing now and walking more– I made a decision to walk if it went over 140 at this stage – too late I suspect
Mile 17 - Mudchute and the forum supporters – more stars! – Stickless, VRap, Evil Pixie, CdK and MrCdK, Berry, and more I am sure – all a bit of a blur – some hugs and kisses and a couple of mini mars bars for my bum bag and on I go.
I make a decision now that I am probably more effective walking briskly than trying to run walk and feeling horrible about it. So my brisk walk comes into its own again and I manage sub 16 mm walking, if you discount stops for hugs!!
Mile 22ish and my brother pops up again :>) and I tell him it is going to be more than 6 hours to finish as I am walking more now.
Mile 23ish(??) I spot Trinity standing alone watching the crowds I run over to her and we have a big hug – not sure who needed it most.
Somewhere around this stage it is raining heavily and I am wishing I had worn my long sleeved helly and my gilet – I am getting quite cold now and when I spot a St John’s person with space blankets I go for one.
And again I see my brother - not sure where – Embankment or Birdcage Walk??
Soon I am near to the finish, I throw away the blanket and manage to jog the last 100 m or so on the encouragement of the commentator!
Time: 6:13:42 – an improvement of over 18 minutes on last year’s time – so maybe next year I can get under 6 hours!
I made my way to the Oxfam reception, which was up the top of the Duke of York steps – how on Earth was I going to climb those steps with my very heavy goody bag (loads to drink in there) as well as my kit? A lovely lady from Oxfam came dashing down the steps to meet me and carried my bags, as I entered the reception area there was a great cheer - more tears welling up – they were all so kind, I showered, was massaged, and met my family listening to some good music. I couldn’t eat the wonderful food though as my digestion system was still shut down.
And at last I retrieved my phone, which had soo many messages asking how I had done, where I was, was I ok – by now it was an hour after I had finished and I had not checked in with anyone (tsk) – but lovely that so many people wanted to know :>)
I wended my way over to the Thistle, where there was a lovely welcome from so many friends (sadly I had missed some because they had been and gone).
It was lovely to see Meldy and Nicko again and especially to see RichK, and Leon and Karen, and Hippo of course. And there were my great Sinfin clubmates who had finished AGES before me but had hung around drinking beer until I turned up.
Eventually hunger got the better of the lads, the football had finished on the telly, so we Sinfin runners wandered off to find food. And another Italian restaurant – this time for Pizzas or Lasagne. But I couldn’t do the lasagne justice – my digestion still had not recovered from the hammering of gels and lucozade. So just a small glass of wine, and loads of water.
Back to the hotel and crash out to sleep – after hanging all my kit up to dry out before packing in the morning.
the morning after ….
after waking starving at 1 am and a feast of muesli bars and pretzels (and water), I was not up too early, breakfast and then off to the train into Tower Hill. We went for a good look at Tower Bridge, as no one remembered much from yesterday. Then we walked along the embankment to Blackfriars, taking a tube to Kings Cross for some lunch in a café – all day breakfasts for the boys and a delicious bacon bap for me – the first food I had actually enjoyed since the run.
On to the train, a good read with music in the ears and a return to reality at home.
|1||13:19||142||includes 2 minutes stopped!|
|10km||1:18:38 a pb by 5 minutes - oops!|
|14||14:21||140||hugs from brother|
|15||missed the marker|
|25||17:14||118||hugs and slowing|
How could I forget - Tigerrunner didn't quite make his PB - but he WAS 15th in his age group :>))))