I also picked up a charity t-shirt from the British Heart Foundation stand and was ready to go.
There I am, looking very fresh faced & bleary eyed. It was a very early start for a Sunday morning but maybe I had better get used to it if I'm going to become a proper race runner! I was in the pink wave who only set off at 12.30, but we arrived early with enough time to get a new race pack and find our bearings. At 11.25 we had to line up for the warm up. It was drizzling and cold and I looked like a bit of an idiot with my Asics poncho on! The green wave set off (Scott and his brother were in this wave) and I was waiting by my lonesome. I felt quite nervous at this point. Then we slowly moved forward on Portland Street and off I went! The run went quite well, before I knew it I was at the 5k mark in less than 30 minutes which meant I was on track for my sub 1hr 10k. Then kilometres 6-8 felt quite hard. I think it was mainly boredom because at this point we were just on some industrial estate in Manchester and I had no clue where I was. Then we started approaching the city centre again and the crowd were cheering and I sped up and made it across the finishing line in 59 minutes and 55 seconds! I was so elated. I didn't think that I would manage it in less than one hour because I had a few hiccups with my training because I was injured with plantar fasciitis for a bit. My foot did start hurting again towards the end but it's been fine now.
Look at my red, sweaty face! So happy I finished it. I felt so tired on the train home though and promptly fell asleep for an hour nap when I got home. Then I had a lovely bath and rested my sore toes. I definitely need new running shoes now I think. They're going on the birthday wishlist.
And here is my first race medal! Here are a few tips for race days:
- Be prepared! I admit I wasn't completely prepared with all my kit ready for the morning because I'd been watching Eurovision the night before. Hence why I forgot my race chip. Some smaller runs might not have spare chips and be able to give spares out. Make sure your kit is clean & ready, down to your socks and bra. Pack your bag the night before with water, your race number, SAFETY PINS!, race chip, pre-race and post-race snacks. Snacks depend on how long you'll be hanging around, I ate a nakd bar about 2 hours before the run to keep me going because I'd had a big bowl of porridge at 8am. The golden rule is to never try any new food on race day - a funny tummy is the last thing you want.
- Don't worry about not training enough. Now is not the time to worry! If you've completed your training plan and can run about 90% of the distance, you'll be fine. I had only ran 8.5km before my race. Not running the complete distance gives you an extra sense of achievement. If I had ran 10k the week before and then ran it again on the Sunday but gone slower I would have been so disappointed. However this way you're guaranteed to get a personal best in the race.
- Don't start off too fast! This is THE golden rule. It is so tempting to start off really fast as everyone else speeds off. Try not to feel too competitive at the start. If you try to start off slow you'll see yourself overtaking all those runners who set off too fast.
- Enjoy the day. Don't take it too seriously, especially if it's your first race. Enjoy the crowds, wave when people cheer and take it all in your stride.
I've got the running bug now and I'm already thinking about entering a half marathon next March. I would kind of like to do one sooner, but the Liverpool half marathon is only in March and there aren't many nearer. I may enter a few 10k races in between and try to get my PB down to 55 minutes.