Great North Run 2012 Race Recap
Hello! I hope everyone’s having a good week so far. I’m still recovering from the Great North Run on Sunday, and thankfully I’ve got the week off work for some rest and relaxation. I have to apologise in advance that I don’t have any photos of the day to share. I left a camera and my phone with my spectators, but it rained for most of the race, so they spent a lot of time sheltering and didn’t feel like taking snaps.
Peter and my parents came up to Newcastle with me, which I really appreciated and it made the weekend even more special. On Saturday night we tried to find somewhere to eat, which was a challenge and eventually we ended up at an Italian restaurant right by the hotel. We ate quite late because there was a wait for a table and I chose a vegetable pizza, which in hindsight wasn’t perhaps the wisest choice. I was pretty full by the time I went to bed, but I hoped that it would at least provide me with energy.
In the morning my loyal spectators had breakfast in the hotel and I ate some overnight oats with chia seeds and blueberries that I prepared the night before. We headed to the start at about 9am and it took a lot longer than I thought to walk there, primarily because the crowd was moving quite slowly. My parents and Peter turned back once we got near the start to try and make their way towards the finish. Once I got into my start zone I started to get really excited and had a huge smile on my face. I had a good view of the big screen, so I could see all the interviews and the start of the elite races. The warm-up was brilliant and so much fun. Sometimes the warm-up at races can fall a bit flat, but I think everyone joined in this one, even if not everyone was in time. I did get whacked on the head a couple of times by the person next to me doing to Mobot.
At 10:40 sharp the elite men’s race started and we started the walk to the start. It took 15 minutes for me to cross the start line, which I’m told isn’t bad. I made the decision while walking up to my start zone that I didn’t want to use my Garmin. My main aim in this race was to enjoy the experience and actually enjoy running. Sometimes focusing on my pace can ruin that. I made a metal note of the time when I crossed the line and then forgot about looking at my watch.
The course was busy and I was constantly surrounded by other runners, but I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to run at a steady pace straight away without tripping up over other legs. The live music at each mile was a big motivation, as were the crowds of spectators that seemed to line the whole route. The miles ticked by faster than they have in any other race, probably because I was distracted by all the fun. I checked my watch at the halfway mark and worked out that I’d been running for about 55 minutes. I knew that I would probably fade a bit in the last half, but I still felt good so I felt fairly confident of a good time.
The last three miles are always the toughest for me, as I usually start to feel tired and mentally drained after 10 miles. I was really grateful for the Bupa Boost Zone just before the 10 mile mark where there was pumping music, motivation and jelly babies. The speakers were blaring out Pitbull, which was just what I needed at that point.
Laura had told me the day before that when you go down a steep hill towards the coast you know that you’re nearly finished, so I had the hugest smile on my face as I freewheeled down the road. That last mile felt tough, but the crowd was thick all along the road, which just kept my legs moving.
When I finished I looked at my watch and worked out that I’d finished in just under 1hr 53mins. My official time was 1:52:32, which is a new PR I honestly wasn’t expecting a PR, but I guess that the hard work I’d been putting into training had paid off. It was also perfect running weather. It stayed sunny and dry almost to the point where I crossed the start. It then rained for most of the race, just drying up as I got to the coast. Sometimes the stars align and make for a great race, in this case the atmosphere, crowds and weather. The Red Arrows display started a few minutes after I finished, which was just breath-taking.
I did come to regret that pizza though. For the last three miles I was struggling with stomach cramps and I felt quite nauseous once I’d finished. I knew better than to go for something so greasy and heavy the next before a race, but it was late and temptation got the better of me. Hopefully that is a lesson learned. My legs, lungs and heart felt fairly ok as I was running, but when I stopped I had so much lactic acid that my whole body was hurting. Luckily that wore off pretty quickly and I’m not too sore at all now. The only muscles that really ache are in my core, so my future training plan definitely needs some more core work.
I would certainly do this race again in the future, perhaps not next year because it’s quite expensive, especially if you want to stay over in Newcastle. I couldn’t fault the organisation and the enthusiasm of the spectators was brilliant. I’m off for another snooze now before continuing my training for Bridlington half marathon in a month’s time …