Monday, 27 May 2013

Vanquishing demons

While most of the UK population was enjoying a Bank Holiday Monday lie in, I had persuaded Husbando to come up to London with me while I ran the Bupa 10,000m.  This meant that we got up at 'normal' time, but that we didn't have the hassle of getting the tribe organised for school, although number one son was travelling as far as Woking with us on the train before getting another train to Brighton for the day.  Porridge with banana and cinnamon was consumed, a final check of race number and timing chip was made and off we set.

London was beautiful this morning.  Despite bumping into a crowd of Chineham Park Runners on Waterloo Station, Husbando and I decided to walk 'our way' to Green Park, crossing an almost deserted Hungerford Bridge.  London was quieter at 8.30am on a Bank Holiday morning that it normally is when I go for a run at 6.30am on a Sunday!

I arrived at Green Park at about 9am.  The voice over the tannoy was exhorting everyone in the red starting areas to make their way to the start!  I still had to queue for a portaloo, untie and retie my shoe laces several times, dither about whether I'd need to keep a t-shirt on until the start, check my bag in at the bag drop etc. etc.  I was no where near ready to proceed to to the start a whole hour before the race was due to start.  I think I got my act together by about 9.20am when the blue wave were being encouraged to get a wiggle on and make their way to The Mall!

Standing in The Mall was a hugely different experience to last year.  Last year it was 27C as we baked in one of the very few hot and sunny days of last year.  This year it was sunny, but the minute the Sun hid behind a cloud there was a chill in the air.  My nerves were starting to build, I'd had a bad time at this race last  year and that, and being injured for a lot of last year had sapped my confidence.  I know that my time does not matter to anyone other than me, but boy does it matter to me!  I set myself a target of getting round in 54 minutes or under, that would be over 2 minutes faster than last year but would mean that I wouldn't have to push too hard on my poorly foot!

Mo Farah went past our start zone, to the accompaniment of a huge cheer.  I gave myself a bit of a talking to.  This bloke has won this event 4 years running, the pressure on him to make it 5 in a row must be incredible.  I was just out for a nice run in the Sun!

Soon we were off.  I started too fast, but thought, never mind, I'll soon slow down.  But I never really did slow down, passing each kilometre marker less than 5 minutes after the previous one.  It wasn't easy, in fact it was possibly the hardest run I have done in a long time, but I thought that I may as well push on.  The support on the course was fantastic, running through Leadenhall Market where a drum band plays loudly is a great treat.  I am not mad on the reverse route though as there seem to be a lot more upward slopes rather than one very short sharpish (not really steep at all) hill and lots of gentle downhill slopes.

The temperature through the City was pretty warm - very sheltered and the buildings reflecting all the heat, but there were plenty of pleasant breezes.  I almost got knocked sideways by the breeze as I passed Horse Guards!  The breeze through St James Park was rather brisk.  Suddenly there were only 400m left!  I picked up the pace, as I turned back onto The Mall and decided it was now or never - I didn't even think about smiling for the cameras, I just ran.   I crossed the line and stopped my watch, then before I could look at it I found I was hanging onto the barrier and trying not to be sick!  I couldn't see a friendly first aider with a sick bag anywhere and I was not going to throw up at this race two years running!

When I did look at my watch I found I had done it!  A new PB!  It had been very hard work, and probably not the best idea 5 days before a marathon, but it is done!

Milling about in Green Park and hearing eveyone's stories of the race was fantastic.  There really is a great atmosphere after this race as runners meet friends and family.  Many photos were taken, and I apologies if the ones I took on other people's cameras are useless but it was so sunny that I couldn't see the screen!

This really is a great race!  It isn't cheap, but if you are only going to do one 10k then this is it.  And if you aren't ever going to do the London Marathon then this race gives you some great sights to look out while you run!

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