So I've done it. It's over. Yesterday I ran 13.1 miles (well 13.3 but more on that later) for Rainbows Childrens Hospice. A massive thank you to everyone that has sponsored me - it's not too late to do so if you've got a spare £1 or two, you can use this link.
I was nervous yesterday morning, I woke up much earlier than the alarm and lay there thinking of miles and hills. At breakfast, where I was very pleased to find the hotel had porridge, Flino & I discovered we'd both dreamt of trying to get through a tunnel but things kept blocking our way - weird anxiety dreams!
We'd booked shuttle bus tickets to the start of the race so had to leave the hotel at 7.50am. This got us to the start area far too early so we had a wander round, covered up in some Asics foil blankets that were being given away.
Nerves are strange things, I couldn't stop yawning and had to go for a wee about 5 times. Why, at events where there are portaloos do us British only form 3 orderly queues outside a row of about 15 portaloos? Why don't we queue outside each one - surely that would make the whole process quicker? Or at least seem quicker.
It was soon time to get to our allotted start 'pens'. There were huge screens between the pens so we could see the start of the wheelchair race and the elite athetes. When they showed the Elite Mens start line I was proud to see my brother's friend Jon Gilby! He finished 32nd in an amazing time of 1hr 7mins 36seconds ( I was at around 6.5 miles then!).
Once the gun had gone off it took us about 12 minutes to actually cross the starting line. The race has to start on a motorway as it's the only 'space' big enough for 50,000 runners.
The first few miles seemed to fly by despite the rain and I was surprised how quickly we got to 6 miles. I was feeling good and the supporters, bands and other runners served as a great distraction. It was at about 10 miles that I started to feel the pain. My legs hurt, the course started to incline and I could feel myself starting to panic. I think if it hadn't been for Flino motivating me I would have stopped to walk. But I didn't stop, I reached the 12 mile marker and could see the sea where I knew the finish line was.
The last mile is all downhill which on paper sounds great but in reality hurts your knees! There were so many supporters on the sidelines, the noise was incredible. Those 1600 metres lasted a lifetime and I admit that I cried for most them. I managed a very pathetic spint over the finish line and thought I was going to throw up.
So these were my splits:
Mile 1 - 9.12
Mile 2 - 9.45
Mile 3 - 9.51
Mile 4 - 9.52
Mile 5 - 9.55
Mile 6 - 9.34
Mile 7 - 9.29
Mile 8 - 9.39
Mile 9 - 10.10
Mile 10 - 9.57
Mile 11 - 10.23
Mile 12 - 9.36
Mile 13 - 9.49 *and a bit
Final time 2.09.47
My watch clocked me at 2.08.13 at 13.2 miles but that was before the official finish.
If I hadn't been such a drama queen I probably could have finished a minute or two quicker!!
We got our finishers goodie bag, put the t-shirts on and then went to meet the other Derwent Runners at the Rainbows tent in the Charity Village. A lovely woman from Rainbows gave me a cup of tea which made me very happy. It was great to see the other Hoops and find out how they'd got on. We'd all done well especially Matt who had done a new PB of 1.18! Brilliant.
So that was it. Finished, training done, half marathon in under 2hrs 10minutes, goal acheived.
I couldn't have done without help & support from a lot of people - Flino who puts up with the majority of my moaning & whittling, Rob for writing my training plan, Rachel & Lee for looking after Frank and the Hoops - Matt, Suse, Carolyn, Adel, Bee, Rachel, Matt B. Also thanks to everyone that sent me a message before or after the race yesterday, I've got such lovely lovely friends & family.
I'm at home today, my legs hurt but I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself. And thinking about how I can get to run under 2 hours.....