I hate the Great North Run !!
Because I LOVE the Great North Run !
Makes no sense right but if you run it then maybe it does. It is such a challenge that it is physically and mentally exhausting (especially for a trail runner who’s lifetime longest is 10 mile ).
As a past entrant I knew it was tough and as someone who regularly spectates I know the huge ranges of feelings and emotions it brings to watch it. Pride, awesomeness, envy, inspiration.
It’s the inspirational bit that gets me every time I watch it. Every time I see those tens of thousands either cross the Tyne Bridge or make their way up the last mile to the finish along the coast road.
The week run up to it is mental agony as you change your food intake, try not to get injured, reduce alcohol consumption (yikes), make sure your socks, shoes, kit are all up to standard – Argghh this list goes on – don’t forget your number, don’t forget your safety pins – too much, TOO MUCH.
Then race day – not much sleep, what to eat for breakfast, what to drink before, what to consume during.
Maybe I am just thinking things through too much and if I actually trained more during the year it wouldn’t be such a trauma but, like most people with work and family, it isn’t as simple as that.
Having mysteriously suddenly starting to suffer blisters on my instep with ALL my running shoes this pretty much pre-conditioned my mind that I was going to have a bad run (the same as I did 6 years ago when I ran in shoes that were wrong for my gait – before I knew about pronation).
I was so consumed with failing that I was counting the miles – mile 5 feet ok – mile 6 feet still good – mile 8 no pain and so on.
I was so consumed that I didn’t realise exhaustion was creeping up until mile 11 when I hit the wall !!
I stopped running all together and walked – slowly. I felt like a failure. I could not muster the strength to even slowly jog.
And this is the bit I LOVE about the Great North Run.
The crowds – the spectators – here to cheer and clap and encourage EVERYONE no matter who they are. People were shouting my name (it’s on your number bib) encouraging me to keep going – people handing out Ice pops because it was so warm. Can you imagine someone thinking “I better take some ice pops to the GNR in case someone needs them.” And it wasn’t just a couple of people it was loads. Oranges, jelly babies, biscuits, Jaffa Cakes.
I took an ice pop – god I needed to cool down. then I took a roadside cold shower and grabbed a drink from the drink station and slowly got myself back together.
I started running again but was being dogged by the onset of cramp in both quads – anyone who has had quad cramp (especially when they are as big as mine) will know it’s intensely painful and not something I wanted – so I managed to run walk the last 2 mile to the finish and run the last 600M to the finish line in just over 2 HRS 9 mins.
I was disappointed at first but on reflection was actually pleased to cross the line running.
Until next time ? Hmmm not sure about that one .