Well, there was really only one title I could give this one, especially after having to defer last year due to the ‘alcohol related gravity fail’. Thankfully this year I have been more careful as I was determined to make it to that start line.
There was a few moments of mild panic when I started to get a sore throat last week, but that seems to have been fixed with loads of Vitamin C and Echinacea.
So it was a 4 day week. Friday was spent plumber and electrician sitting at home. The words you never want to hear when you are about to head out to get your hair done are “oh shit”. Turns out the Electrician had drilled through a central heating pipe (but that’s a different story).
I left at this point as hubby had come home and I had a hair do to be done. Can’t have loads of grey hair when I could be on the telly! So, when I came back an emergency plumber had been contacted and they would arrive on Saturday, so there was now no chance of a lift to the train station. There was also no chance of a shower before I went. Thankfully I was able to get some emergency washing done, which was most helpful.
Saturday came about all too quickly. Breakfast was had and then off for the bus. I’d booked the train journey in two parts as it was much cheaper that way, but it meant I had some time to kill in Edinburgh, but not enough to actually wander off, so I spent my time drinking coffee.
Finally got to Newcastle, and set off to find my hotel. Thankfully I pretty much knew where I was going, which is good given my normal directionally challenged state. I just about came a cropper as the streets were wet and almost landed on my butt, but thankfully managed to find my balance and then my hotel.
I got myself checked in and into my room. Budget hotel where you pay for everything extra (towels, hairdryer), but because I ended up paying bucket loads of cash, my room came with all this 🙂 Everything it seemed except a kettle, which I would need for my porridge pot! Thankfully I could get boiling water at reception, so that wasn’t so much of a problem.
I settled myself in and picked out everything I needed for the race and then watched a little TV coverage of the City Games. It was only when I decided to go for a wander and headed down the street that I found that I was pretty much beside the Tyne Bridge. I just caught the last of the children’s races which was a 4k. It was great seeing all the kids and accompanying adults belt round the course.
By now my belly was starting to rumble. I’d spotted a Pizza Express and decided that wouldn’t be a bad move and it was still early enough that I got a table easily and my meal quickly. I did treat myself to a glass of Pinot Grigio (but just the one) and even had pudding, then it was time for a quick freshen up at the hotel before having a good wander down at the Quayside.
Okay, you get the picture. I did see some other interesting things to photograph along the Quayside.
Before I can move on, just one more bridge.
I tried to walk across it, but kept getting the feeling it was moving, so had to come back. After that I decided that it was time to head back to the hotel and watch some TV before turning in for the night.
Had a bit of an unsettled night, but that’s pretty normal for me before a race. I wandered down to the hotel reception and got some boiling water for my porridge pot. Then was my next challenge. How to eat it. I could only see stirrers and not spoons, so wandered back up to my room with one. Thankfully I was still able to eat the porridge, or more accurately kind of drink/chew it. Once I was sure I was fed and hydrated sufficiently, I got myself changed.
I decided since the weather forecast looked like there was going to be some sun, I applied sunblock to my face and took my shades. As soon as I left the hotel, I was a bit dismayed to realise it was going to be a hot one.
I wandered up slowly to the start, with pretty much all of Newcastle heading in the same direction. There was time for a portaloo stop and then I decided to head to my pen. I was at the back, so it would be a long walk. Managed to bump into Graham and Matthew who were hanging around hoping to bump into Marie. I spoke to them for a bit and then headed off again.
It was a long way to the back. Thankfully there was abundant water, so we were able to keep hydrated (which I would suffer the consequences of later). Couldn’t really get into the spirit of things so far at the back, but there were people playing brass instruments somewhere close by which kept our spirits up. Then came then came the waiting.
The side I had lined up on seemed to not be moving as fast as the other side of the road, so there were a lot of people who crossed over. I stuck with it for a while, but eventually moved over and I’m so glad I did. Although it took me around 45 minutes to get over the start line, I managed to high 5 Jo Pavey and some other folks to my utter delight. Then almost immediately I had to use one of the portaloos.
My first mile was far too fast at 12:12 and that was with said toilet stop. I knew I had to slow down, but to be honest, I was just so caught up in the moment. A lot of the race was a bit of a blur. Running across the Tyne Bridge was amazing. It’s just such an iconic scene. When we went under a bridge there was the shouts of oggy, oggy, oggy, oi, oi, oi, which was great fun. There were the children holding out their hands for high 5s. There was Gladys, who is a Great North Run icon (look her up – Gladys Tingle). There were the Red Arrows, whom I thankfully saw on several occasions and then there was the moment that made my day.
I spied Denise Lewis around the halfway point. She was with a camera crew, but they didn’t look to be doing anything, so I thought, well why not, so I yelled “Hi Denise” at her. She turned round, gave a big smile and shouted back “Well done my love, you are doing great, keep going”. I couldn’t stop grinning for about a mile.
Then however it started to get tough. You don’t realise the full elevation of the route when you watch it on the TV. The road surface is really good to run on, but there is a lot of ups and downs. The heat meant that I was struggling, even with the showers you could go through, which were very welcome relief.
After one of the showers, I started running and immediately got cramp in my quads. I took some salt and kept walking as fast as I could manage. I was really enjoying myself. Chatting to lots of people around, but still the miles were not ticking by as fast as they usually do. I was starting to get actually fed up. I just wanted to be finished.
Finally got to see the sea, so I knew there was a sharp downhill and then it was just along the seafront. I managed to get past some people on the downhill and then did my strange run/walk thing along the seafront, as the cramp was still bothering me. Finally I saw the 800m to go, then the 400m to go and then I could see the finish, which for us was across the grass. There were people in front of me and I don’t know where I got the energy from but I ran as fast as my legs would carry me (probably not that fast in reality) to that line.
Full splits were:
Great North Run – Split Summary
1) 1m – 12:12(12:12/m) 142/167bpm 86cal 4.91/6.04mph – with toilet stop.
2) 1m – 14:17(14:17/m) 102/158bpm 52cal 4.2/59.73mph
3) 1m – 13:47(13:47/m) 42/55bpm 16cal 4.35/5.14mph
4) 1m – 15:59(15:59/m) 42/55bpm 85cal 3.75/5.27mph
5) 1m – 16:55(16:55/m) 54/72bpm 73cal 3.55/4.78mph
6) 1m – 14:55(14:55/m) 52/113bpm 40cal 4.02/5.28mph
7) 1m – 15:28(15:28/m) 82/113bpm 52cal 3.88/5mph
8) 1m – 15:51(15:51/m) 79/85bpm 59cal 3.79/5.28mph
9) 1m – 17:34(17:34/m) 68/72bpm 75cal 3.42/4.95mph
10) 1m – 16:52(16:52/m) 65/68bpm 79cal 3.56/4.51mph
11) 1m – 18:44(18:44/m) 65/68bpm 83cal 3.2/3.81mph – cramp
12) 1m – 18:22(18:22/m) 68/72bpm 74cal 3.27/5.91mph – cramp
13) 1m – 15:30(15:30/m) 57/73bpm 67cal 3.87/5.43mph
14) 0.19m – 2:24(12:42/m) 41/89bpm 8cal 4.72/6.35mph – OMG, there’s the finish line!
Finish time confirmed as 03:28:50. Certainly not my worst time ever.
When I had picked up my medal and goody bag, I had a quick wander round, then I decided that I wanted beer! So I treated myself to a 2 pint glass full of the stuff 🙂
Then the fun started. When I got to where my bus should have been there were none there. Wandered about for a bit then phoned Fiona in a bit of a pickle (was starting to feel a bit giddy from the beer) and then headed for the Metro. It actually took me 3 hours to get back to the hotel.
Once back, time for shower and change before heading up to Wagamamas to inhale some food, then back down to the Brew Dog Bar for a quick drink before bed.
Despite the few hitches had a fantastic time, but I don’t feel the need to do it again.
Another week of taper then it’s the big one. Loch Ness here I come! 🙂