'Ackney 'Arf - 22/06/14

Posted on: 23 Jun 2014

This will have to be the last update on this blog.  I’ve now trained and completed my 2nd half marathon.  Next biggie will be Brighton Marathon in 2015 (unless I register for another half in the meantime).

Very early start (poor Hubby not used to getting up ‘before the streets are aired’).  As the public transport is such a joke (first train from Penge scheduled at 7.15am) we decided to take the car and park in Westfield for the day.  I wanted to get there early as I didn’t know how many others were going to have the same idea.  Arrived about 6.30 and the place was practically empty.

I changed into my trainers and bib’d tee shirt, then we set off – obviously in the wrong direction to start with but after consulting a local map we managed to find our way to the village (although there was a moment went we went under a rather dodgy underpass by the side of the canal and then into some woods – but we came out right in front of the ‘village’).  It was only just 7am so it was only just beginning to liven up.  First stop was the loos but they appeared to still be installing/moving them into position.  Eventually braved them.  Hand sanitizer why didn’t we bring any hand sanitizer – on the list for next time.  Would you believe the worse most disgusting loo had the only sanitizer working?

Headed for the giant running lady (think she was referred to as Vicky?).  Dug my phone out and made contact with Dave.  He was on his way. 

(Me with Vicky)

Sorry I’m rambling. Second coat of factor 30, dumped bag, met up with Dave, Keith came along a short while later.  Photo session.

Keith, Dave and Moi

Declined the warm-up session, we all three agreed that it would kill us off before we’d started. Then hugs and kisses and off we went to our separate positions.

The last pen was marked sub 2.30 now I had no intention of going for that today, but it was the only one left so I stood there and waited.  And waited.  Then a little voice by my side said “Hello”.  It was the young girl from my local Parkrun, isn’t it a small world!  We past the time away chatting but split up once we eventually got underway.

Took an age getting to the start but eventually we were off.  Kept an eye open for Hubby but didn’t see him.  Kept it slow and steady (letting all the speedy ones rush past).  Training programme had suggested keeping it slow for the first 3-5 miles then a little faster for the next bit and then go for it at the end.  Well they didn't factor in the heat so I took it as it came.

I had my hat on and my ‘cobber’ (body cooling neck wrap) plus two layers of factor 30 so I felt okay.  Missed the Mile 1 marker as I was watching all the fast runners on the other side of the road – had no idea how far they had already gone but they were all pelting along.  Kept my eye out for Dave but didn’t see him.

Was beginning to lose hope that the water station would ever materialise but it did eventually and I grabbed a water bag.  Strange little thing but really clever.  Had to squeeze or suck on it to get the water out but didn’t spill and wasn’t a trip hazard when dropped on floor.  That’s when I started walking.  Whenever there was a shady spot (house shadow, trees, bridge) I walked slowly and had a mouthful or two of water (Dave had said “Little and Often”).  Back in the sunshine and slow trot on. 

Knew Mile 6 was another water station so ditched the warm bag as I was getting close, only to discover (much to mine and everyone else’s horror) they had run out of water!  I saw many locals appear with water in plastic cups and one enterprising chappie set up his hose pipe.  I’m not proud and grabbed a full looking bag from off the top of a dustbin! 

Things I remember or vague thoughts passing through my mind:  A lovely aging African gentleman thoroughly enjoying himself shouting encouragement to everyone and laughing.  An elderly couple sitting in their front garden drinking cups of tea and watching everyone going past.  A Guy with a megaphone and sign “Come On Random Stranger” made me smile.  Adam and Eve pub (isn’t there one of those in Westminster?), Steel Band (twice – on the way out and on the way back).  A kid shouting “Not far now, just 6 more laps”, making way for ambulances, being asked by a kid where I got my water and telling him from the top of a bin – loved the horrified look on his face. Wishing I was Emma – sign said “Come on Emma there’s a beer at the end”.  Lots and lots of people sprawled out at the side of the street, some being looked after by spectators whilst waiting for paramedics  (Dave had told me to expect them but not to try to help).  The lady with a jug of water and plastic cups (I took one and splashed the dregs over my head, cold drips down the backs of legs was a new and different experience.  Another chap with bottles of water telling people to leave the cups so they could be re-used!  Lots of spectators with bells and other noisy things. The tree lined avenues were wonderful.  Always walked these and sipped my warm water.  The gentleman telling everyone to move to the left of the street to be in the shade (as if we needed telling!) but sweet all the same.  Seeing Hubby and Daughter in the Olympic Park was a nice surprise.  Hearing a serious telling off of a friend who wanted to give up and her mate wouldn’t let her just around the 10-11 mile marker.  The water spray thingys (wonderful invention).

As I strolled past the 13 mile marker I do recall thinking, I’d better try to get a move on but it was hard trying to get everything working again.  I got into the finishing straight and really tried to push faster, then somewhere (very ephemeral like) a voice surrounded me saying “Come On Yvie” It was Dave, I had no idea where he was, I didn’t see him but his voice carried me over the line.  Not sure how it looked but it felt fast compared to my strolling pace of 5 minutes previous.

Through the finish, medal and goody bagged up, Dave appeared before me, near carried me to a free spot, then reappeared with a bottle of water – what a guy.

Just after that my phone rang and Hubby with daughter got their instructions on where I was sat.  Once recovered to a degree, made our way over to the bagging area, then along the canal back to Westfield.  I had to have a sit down on route though and Dave dashed off to catch his train – he had a garden to sort out and a barbecue to cook up.  Only found out once home that he’d had to have a lie down himself on route.   He really had put himself through the mill but he does appear to thrive on it. 

We finished our day in TGI Fridays (no beer yet I had to drive home).  Despite the hat and double layer of factor 30 felt a bit sunstroky later on though, but the ice cold bier (lager with tequila) helped.

Oh and my time (Dave assured me that it would be a PB) and it was by 1min 55 seconds!!  Gawd knows how though – I must have walked half of it!  2:50:39.  

Looking forward to the 10k in July oh and the parkrun in Inverness.

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