This is a sewing deficient post, in fact there is bare reference to sewing, so if you tune in for snips & stitches hold on ! More sewing exploits will be to follow next….
Thank you all, each and everyone of you who left such kind encouragement on my last post in anticipation of the Great North Run. I haven’t replied to your comments individually as I was away & off-line, but THANK YOU! It was a *great* run. And I can tell by the comments that it is held dear by many of you as a special run too.
I thought I’d share my Great North Run tale & some of the pics – just in case you’re interested. Afterall I’ve had about a week off blogging & I need to stretch my blogging muscles after their seizure…
You may not have known that the plan was hatched amongst some of my friends from university to enter the Great North Run – there was inevitably alcohol involved! Two of my friends live near Newcastle so the connection was already there. I hadn’t appreciated that it involved a public ballot to get a place, (& it may have even started in January!) but somehow, I was successful upon my first year of entry – & so was my friend! And then I ran my best ever Bath Half Marathon (March) & it felt right that the Great North would be my next goal 6 months later.
And then I entered my first (& unlikely to be repeated, but no definites until after the actual event) marathon & the Great North became part of my training. “Part of your training?” I hear you say? How can the largest half marathon in the UK be relegated to “part of your training”? Well, it did, such is the enormity of the challenge for a newbie minimalist marathon runner-to-be. Peeps, suffice to say I have been reduced to a (non flesh eating) zombie, such are my current energy levels – but that’s for another time.
Anyway, the prospect of running in the Great North appeared to me to be a “treat”, a welcome relief from the ridiculously long marathon training runs. Plus I was on a mini break up to Newcastle to stay with friends – a long weekend, going somewhere new.
Newcastle bridges- it was buzzing with athletic activity.
Have you ever arrived at the airport during the ski season to be greeted by swathes of brightly coloured eider-stuffed jackets & unfeasibly long & thin ski luggage? Does it get your heart going? Do you feel the buzz? Of course it’s much better if you are one of those jetting off to the powder, to be part of a movement, a short migration of sorts to all share a common activity amongst the mountains. Well, I wasn’t prepared for a similar experience on my easyjet flight to Newcastle from Bristol. I am certain that 95% of the passengers were lean, fit runners, all taking the one hour flight to take part in the Great North Run. We all carried our race numbers, safety pins & lycra in our luggage. We were all topping up our hydration levels, & there were plenty of single travellers focused on a singular running goal…I loved that!
When I arrived, I looked up & saw the Great North Run logo – in reverse & was so excited!!
Anyway, Newcastle & the race itself. I arrived during the junior Great North Run as my friend’s daughter was running – I therefore got to see Newcastle in full flow a day before my race: the logo on the Tyne Bridge, the City games, the view from the Baltic over Quayside & cheering the junior runners. A great teaser for the next day. And then I got to see the North Sea in September sunlight, walked on the beach. Wow, I almost fell in love with another coast….imagining it in all weathers, particularly its bleakness in the gales…
But onto the race. All the weather forecasts were appalling, predicting rain & gales. Over half of my luggage was sportswear – taken up with running & keep warm options because I really did not know what to wear (“oh what shall I wear”). It was my biggest conundrum, what to wear, because get it wrong & the 13 miles would elevate the challenge needlessly…. however come the morning & ignoring the Gore-tex clad TV reporter on location at the start, I took faith that I’d be sheltered by the numbers of other runners, would keep warm by running anyway & that it would be a “tail wind”…
Travelling into the city was another example of being part of something huge, another movement, as we passed runners travelling to join the race. It’s a bit like the Saturdays when Bath are playing at home & you see everyone drawn to the city wearing their Bath shirts, lured, magnetised, all congregating in one place. But this was an easy game of “spot the runner” at bus stops.
So what else to say about the race? I’ve run a few of the runs in the Bupa “Great “ series now & they do a great job at organising the events, & as they are on such a large scale are also full of atmosphere. Waiting in the start pens for the start amongst other runners & laughing as the warm up guru leads us to follow his moves, catching cheesy songs to motivate (such as “Don’t Stop me Now” & “Living on a Prayer”) are actually a part of the experience I love. There’s a tension in waiting. Hey, this was the largest race I’d ever been in. It was also high profile with some big names taking part in the elite races. AND it was on the TV. AND I can’t believe it – people I knew were watching it hoping to catch sight of my diminutive form within the 55,000 runners!!
I feel a little disloyal to say that the runners were more friendly up North, as part of that is my fault & how I project myself. But I had more chats with others- even a fireman at about mile 8 until I let him peel away from me as I dropped the pace a little. There was lots of runner participation under the bridges to join in with the calls for “oggy oggy oggy” . The route was lined its whole length with supporters who were offering oranges, jelly babies, even small quoffs of beer (within 2 miles of the finish!) And the Red Arrows? I was so excited when they flew over at the start & then performed an awesome display over the sea after I’d finished….can’t beat the Red Arrows in my book. Oh yes, my time! I wasn’t chasing a time as such because my general speed has slowed down to the marathon shuffle (!) however, as always I got taken along by the crowds at the beginning & kept quite a reasonable speed going. I came in at my second fastest time for a Half, just 3 mins slower than my PB which isn’t bad considering I was out to “enjoy the run”, the crowds running – the difficulty in passing particularly in the last mile (even if I wanted to!) and my marathon waddle.
Now the rain didn’t hold back when the throngs were walking back to their chosen transport home. There was a veritable deluge of biblical proportions as we squelched our way to the ferry through Southshields. But, hey ho.
I’d do it again. Next time I hope my friend will not be injured & we can run together.
Now, do I have the energy to get some sewing done as a quiet Saturday treat? I think so …have a great weekend everyone xx