Sunday, 28 October 2012

Race Report: Nike Run to the Beat

A year ago it was unthinkable that I would run 10k, never mind double that - in one go. My training has been 'stunted' to say the least. Two weeks in the South of France coupled with the appeal of eating good food and drinking nice wine into the small hours saw to that. Somehow I managed to do some form of training, including two 10 mile runs, which didn't actually give me that much trouble.

Last year I volunteered at Nike Run to the Beat for team Macmillan  This year I wanted to be the one crossing the finish line. In the last week it has become incredibly cold. Layers or no layers in the staring pen it was FREEZING. 90% of competitors wear the coloured Nike shirt, which is a bit odd as it means you cannot necessarily represent your chosen charity. Macmillan had sent me a vest and letters, but I wanted to stick to the Nike top which also has your colour coded number on it (colours represent start pens).

OK so this is getting wicked boring, onto something more interesting. I was aiming for a close to 2 hours as possible. Here's the math: for 2 hours you have to run in 9 minute miles. The whole way. I started out with 9 miles 30 seconds which felt pretty maintainable. Nike Run to the beat is London's music half marathon. Throughout the course there are 14 stages each having different 'beats' to encourage the runners. The first stage is pretty 'main' with headliners such as Reggie Yates and Jamila Jamil. Not that I got to appreciate any of that as I was off!

I also had my headphones on with a pre-prepared playlist including such gems as Bieber, Taylor Swift, No Doubt and Wilson Phillips. Yep I'm that cool. Handily there are signs telling you where there is a stage up ahead so you can pause your track. One of my favourite acts were a tribal drum group in Greenwich park. They were really good, and the perfect rhythm for my pace.

Towards the latter part of the race there is a lovely downhill. I was happily skipping down maintaining to keep my 9.5 minute mile pace even though we were post 10k (I posted a PB for my 10k - TBC by the official chip result, but YES according to my Garmin). Anyway, we were happily going downhill and then turned a corner. All I could see in front was a SEA of yellow. People going up a SERIOUS hill. Why do they do it to us?! I went down to 11 minute miles on the hill but would not stop running. Lots of people around had started to walk. My stubbornness kept me going.

Once I had done 10 miles I was in uncharted territory. I have never run further than this before. In training I ran 10 miles in a decent time, but broke this time today. The miles 11 and 12 seemed particularly long and I could feel my legs turning to lead. What is great at this stage is the motivation you can give yourself "It's only 5 more KM, that's do that everyday in your sleep to work" "only 2 more miles to do, 20 minutes and it will all be over!" When we could see the 02 I knew I was going to be able to do it without walking, which is a massive achievement in itself.
Champagne at the finish, standard
I couldn't see the chute up ahead when I knew I was close to 13 miles. I switched my headphones off completely at this stage. I had my name on the shirt so people were cheering me on, which is great. I however started my 'sprint finish' a bit too early! It was great motivation but it was too long...I slowed a bit and the end was in sight. I still managed to cross the line at 9 minutes and 30.

AAAAND Collapse. The difference between 10 and 13 miles is amazing my legs were killing! I walked it off to go and claim my medal. Well done me, especially since I've raised a fair whack of Money for Macmillan Cancer. You may also find my '8 year old boy' look attractive. Trust me the hat helps, keeps the fringe out of the way and any rain off my glasses. Looking awesome is optional...
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