This was my first GNR and it couldn't have gone better on a personal level. However....
In the days leading up to the race, I have to admit I wasn't looking forward to it! The huge crowds of competitors, the panic before the start, the pressure of putting in a decent time and the fear of becoming chlostrophobic.
My wife dropped me off at Exhibition Park just after 9am. Early I know, but best to be too early in my book. I duly lined up for the portaloo, nerves starting to kick in!
I did a quick recce of where I was, where the baggage bus was and roughly where I had to be for the start. Once I had mapped it out in my mind I took a stroll up to the baggage bus. I was passing all sorts of runners from cigarette munchers to elite lean athletes. I stripped off my outer layers so and packed them into my rucksack and popped it on the bus ensuring my number got stamped with the bus number so I could collect it at the end.
After a quick warm up down a back lane I made my way to the start. I was looking for Orange A - of course the entry to each pen was at the rear so by the time I got there it was full. Luckily everyone was focussed on the keep fit guy on the huge TV so I made my move and traversed through the crowd to the front of the pen!
By this time I was surprisingly feeling relaxed and composed saying to myself that if I got a good start, around 5:45min mile then I'd have a clearish run for the rest of the race.
The gun went off and I found myself dodging through the crowd like a slalom skier! I was so focussed on finding the best route that I wasn't thinking of my pace. By the time I reached mile 1 I was on schedule at 5:42. The downhill to the Tyne bridge certainly helped. I maintained the pace up to mile 3-4 and felt very comfortable, probably the most comfortable I have felt during a race of this length.
I checked my watch again at mile 4 and was under 6 min miles. I was way ahead of schedule as my prediction was 1:25. At this pace I was heading for 1:20 or less.
The crowds certainly helped and the weather was perfect, not too warm and no wind! I maintined 6 min miles up to 10 then slowed to 6:30 for the last 3. The last mile didn't feel half as bad as I was led to believe, so much encouragement for which I was grateful.
I crossed the line in a new PB of 1:20:11, so close to sub 1:20! Nevertheless I was over the moon!
My calf's were very sore for a few days after and a bit of a sore achilles still bugs me but no pain no gain! Ha!
I duly picked up my bag and got changed. Bus back to town, pint in the Goose and picked up by my wife. A good day.
North East Harrier League this Saturday, my first one since I was a young teenager. Should be interesting!
|Courtesy of runnerwanderings|