Monday, 18 July 2011

Great North 10K Recap - Edited

When I got up on Sunday morning it was tipping it down. Ru-roh, as Scooby Doo might have said. Fortunately the rain had eased by the time my family and Mr Scientist and I parked in Newcastle and it was merely drizzling by the time we got to Gateshead Stadium for the start of the Great North 10K. I was really anxious before the race and the weather did nothing for my nerves. I found myself alternatively wishing it would be called off, feeling sick, and wondering why the heck I put myself and my family through this for fun, and not only that, but paying for the privilege as well. Glumly I set my Garmin running partner to a slower pace, anticipating finding running on wet roads more difficult.

Full recap after the jump. I've edited this post to include a bit more info about the run.

Route of the Great North 10k according to my Garmin


My parents had come over for the race and stayed the night before, so to avoid the crowds we parked in Newcastle and got the metro across. This was good because I could nip to the loo in Newcastle train station and bad because it took longer to get there and made me even more anxious. By the time I got to the stadium and picked up my race pack mum had to help me pin my number to my t-shirt because my hands were shaking so much I kept dropping the safety pins.

It was just as well I went to the loo in Newcastle because the queue was a good 30-40 people deep and although moving quickly I didn't want to risk it. I just wanted to get to the starting line. One final hug and good luck and I headed for my pen. I looked out for a colleague of mine who was also running the race but couldn't find him.

I found the pink pen, which was going to be second to last to be released, and realised I'd been too conservative with my estimated finishing time.  I've only been to small races before where you either register on the day, or by the day before at the latest, and everyone is left to do their own thing before being released all in one go. The music and the warm up and the commentator getting everyone to cheer and whoop really made me relax and begin to enjoy myself.

I set off at 10:23 feeling happy and confident and soon found my Garmin running partner slipping further and further behind. I was running at around the pace I wanted to complete the race in.

The first few kilometres through Gateshead were more or less downhill, then it was a flat run along the Tyne with a couple of bumps. My colleague passed me around the fourth kilometre going the other direction and I slapped him on the hand across the tape dividing the two lanes and yelled Come on! like a crazy person.

I found it difficult after the route turned back at the 5k mark because it became more crowded and I kept having to tail people for a few seconds before finding an opportunity to overtake them. Overall though it was plain sailing until the last 2 kilometres when the route turned up the riverbank into Gateshead. I found the hill really tough and was thoroughly exhausted by the time we turned into the stadium.

Elevation of the Great North 10k according to my Garmin. Roughly speaking you can see the downhill toward the Tyne in miles 0-1, then how miles 1-4.5 more or less mirror each other as you run along the side of the Tyne and back, then miles 4.5-6.2 are a steady climb to Gateshead Stadium along a different route to the one you took to the Tyne.

I'd been concentrating so hard on the race and the people around me that I barely noticed the landmarks I passed such as the Baltic, the Tyne Bridge, and the Sage - so it was just as well I'd walked that area on the Friday before. I was beginning to worry I'd missed my parents and Mr Scientist when I saw my parents and Mr Scientist around the 8th kilometre and they gave me a cheer as I passed. Not only that having been collecting money for the Alzeihmer's Society I'd got a T-shirt on which I could iron my name, and the race commentator bloke called out, "Come on Fifi'sRealLifeName!" How cool is that? I am DEFINITELY putting my name on my t-shirt at every race I run from now on. ;) ETA: Just so you don't think I'm a massive big-head he was doing this for everyone who had their name on their t-shirt.

The goody bag was good - 3 fruit and nut energy-type bars, a bottle of powerade, some anti-deodorant wipes, a t-shirt, a MEDAL!!!, and some flaxseed powders. I also got a banana from the Alzheimers Society marquee. While I was eating the banana a random bloke came up to me and said: "Are they giving out medals? I've seen people wearing medals. I want a medal!" All I got out was, "Um, I think they're in the goody bag" before he walked off again.

All in all a brilliant race. Definitely doing it next year.
Best Costumes: Batman, Captain America, and the Incredible Hulk
Chip time: 53:48
Splits: Mile 1 08:16
           Mile 2 08:36
           Mile 3 08:27
           Mile 4 08:39
           Mile 5 08:43
           Mile 6 08:38
           Mile 7 (0.3 mile distance) 02:38

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