Monday, October 06, 2008
Great Big Run
I collected my schoolfriend from the station at 5.15pm on Saturday and we immediately went into our usual routine. We lined up the Nurofen Plus, loo roll, jelly beans, Lucozade tablets, Lucozade carb gel, Lucozade Sport, change for the bus, thermos flasks, numbers and safety pins, ankle chips, change of clothes and baby wipes plus lipstick for me; there's nothing like an unmade-up purple face in the hideous pictures, taken without knowledge by the professionals, to make you feel like re-mortgaging.
This year we were both inexplicably nervous, perhaps because we'd missed last year and I was worried about my knee and not doing enough training. I'd also been suffering from a psychosomatic cold all week which had panicked me into imagining a total, fatal collapse on the side of the road, breathing my rancid last into the face of a poor St John's ambulance volunteer.
Lurch cooked the boys supper and schoolfriend and I ate huge amounts of vegetable lasagne. I had excelled myself during the week in the carb loading department; coffee and cakes in every local tea shop and mountains of pasta and had denied myself wine for two weeks, apart from a couple of blips when things really got too much. I had worn my tracksuit non-stop at home to get myself in the mood, even Lurch noticed and remarked 'there's a whiff of the Vicky Pollards about you these days'. My preparation could not have been more keen. Off to bed at 10pm, awake in a cold sweat at 2pm, 4pm and then up at 5.15 ready for the trip to Newcastle.
The Great North Run is such a moving and inspirational race. It was chilly but bright as SF and I arrived at the starting line with the 52,000 other runners and we both started blubbing at the radio interviews with fundraisers. We also chatted to lots of people and were totally impressed with a 65 year old woman with an 18 year old's figure. She had only started running at 53 after a school reunion where she saw some little old ladies and realised they were her classmates, her best time was under two hours, she was brilliant fun. Schoolfriend and I are hugely competitive and she was confident. We have an agreement to start together but run apart. We were off, with a big high five from Chris Hoy - funnily enough I didn't notice Tony Blair or anybody else at the start.
It was a tough race, I'd forgotten the hills again and really struggled at 4 miles, my legs were hurting and I was boiling hot, thankfully the Geordies were out in force, children were squirting runners with water (I think!!) and kind people were handing out ice pops from their homes (don't eat the yellow ones), all gratefully received by me. Several onlookers were smoking tabs and drinking cans of lager and I would have given everything I possessed, even the boys, at one point to trade places but I forced myself to keep going. At 6 miles I started to feel OK and swallowed nearly the whole packet of Lucozade carb tablets. I had also drunk 2 bottles of Lucozade Sport but still took on board a further pouch of Lucozade at one of the stations. The eleven mile hill is normally my worst point but the sugar rush helped me to carry on without walking and suddenly at 12 miles I realised I could probably get a personal best if I just tried to hang on. I swallowed the Lucozade carb gel and gave it my all. 800 metres to go, 400 metres to go, 200 metres to go with the crowds cheering us on along the seafront and I managed to sprint the last bit to achieve a personal best of 2 hours 7 minutes and 24 seconds. Woohoo! But I was nearly sick at the finish line due to Luco-nausea, tablets, gel and isotonic drink combining to create a near volcanic effect in my stomach. Yuck! Will not be touching that stuff for some time, however I'm grateful for its help.
Met Schoolfriend at the family bit, trying not to gloat, she didn't know her time but her daughter texted her to say she had done it in 2 hours 6 minutes and 42 seconds!!! Pipped at the post by 42 seconds!! 2 all now. Still, we were both thrilled with the result. Got home, happy, sore and tired, had a lovely hot bath with a glass of champagne and fell asleep at 9.00pm.
I would like to say a big thank you and a big congratulations to everybody who did it and made it such a brilliant race. Cheers!