This race was most excellent. I had convinced myself that it wasn’t going to be (thoughts of being undertrained, as per usual) and there were several things about it that were not most excellent (the banning of spectators from the race village, the chaotic start, the overcrowded first half of the race, the fetching orange tees, NO MEDAL…), but in spite of all of those things, I PB’d and that is most excellent.
At the end of my NTC class on Saturday morning (yep, the same morning of the race), our trainer, Gil, asked those of us who were running Energizer Night Run how we were feeling. I felt like I disappointed him when I told him I hadn’t properly trained for it, and so was heading into it as just a bit of fun. Wrong response.
So, it came as no real surprise to me that I found the race hard. Real hard. Like worse than my first ever race two and a half years ago when I only trained on a treadmill and it was in Sheffield so really hilly hard.
But then I remembered that I only properly started running again (after a prolonged, eight-ish month break) a month ago, so it’s not all bad. It does mean that my goal of getting a PB at the We Own The Night 10k is probably a bit unrealistic – I’d need to shave off eight minutes in five weeks. As I didn’t feel strong at any point during the Night Run, I’ll just look to changing that for the next one.
As for the actual race, I don’t have any complaints. I was really looking forward to running after dark – I prefer it anyway to daytime running – and expected it to be fun as it was a race concept we haven’t really seen in the UK yet. As I turned up, it was raining, so I tried to do my best ‘I’m happy about this and not at all nervous’ face.
Battersea Evolution was used as the pre-race and after party venue, which meant there was tonnes of room for picking up tshirts, head torches and mooching around.
Olympic Gold medalist Nicola Adams was the race’s ambassador, so there was a quick Q&A with her before the typically awful cheesy warm up (Eric Prydz video workout, anyone?) The transition from mooching to start line was surprisingly quick and we were off.
I found the first 5k pretty average. There was a point approaching the 5k turn off where I considered just going for the shorter route, but in reality I was never going to let that happen. I slogged on for the next couple of kilometres, and was thankful for a tap on the shoulder and wave from fellow NTC-er Laura at around the 7k mark.
After the second time around the bandstand, I really started to struggle and took my first walk break. The last 2k were more of a run-walk combo, with some much needed encouragement from a runner who was a fan of my galaxy leggings just after 9k. The last straight up towards the turning off was hard and seemed to go on a while, and by this point my cotton Night Run tshirt felt heavy from the earlier heavy rain. As soon as I saw the light up Energizer batteries I managed about 20 metres of sprinting, straight towards my boyfriend, Stu, who lovingly proceeded to take my photo at (way too close) range.
Overall, I’d really recommend this race (it’s already open to register your interest for 2014). The race ran smoothly, the marshalls were present and mostly vocal, the course well marked and runners well dispersed throughout. I really appreciated having such a big indoor area for pre/post-race use (especially as it was raining), which helped make it more of an event, rather than just a race. Just one (tiny) improvement would be some dri-fit tshirts – those cotton numbers help no one.
I may have had a terrible race – but I kinda knew I would do. If you under prepare, you will get told. I don’t ever want to feel that weak whilst racing again, so from now the training must step up. And step up it will.
This song. Oh my. This song was an extremely late addition to my race playlist. It was played in our room before the race, and I immediately knew I needed to run to it. How had I not realised this before? Thankfully I already had it on my iPhone, so with a few hours to spare, it made it onto the half marathon soundtrack.
This morning was the British Heart Foundation Regent’s Park jog – a choice of one or two 5k laps around the park in aid of the charity. Myself and Stu ran the race, and as we haven’t actually raised any sponsorship (I was treating it as a training run, Stu can run 10k in his sleep), we’ve pledged to sponsor each other a tenner so we are at least contributing something.
I always thought Regent’s Park was ‘just round the corner’ from Stu’s flat, and at 1.5 miles away, I guess it is by London standards (just doesn’t feel like it when you’re walking – rather than running – there). We got there just in time to miss the massive queue that developed at the registration tent, walking straight up to get our timing chips and tees with no problems.
I’m a bit late posting about this, but here goes…
So Sunday was the Derby 10k. If you’ve read any of my previous posts you will be well aware of this.
After a couple of nights with ‘The Fear’, dreaming of all the ways I was going to screw up, I woke on Sunday after a full, uninterrupted, dream free 6 or 7 hours, feeling alright, maybe even looking forward to it.
I’d had a slight panic the right before, when I returned home at 9.30 to the realisation that ALL my running kit was still in the washing machine. Thankfully synthetic fabric dries quickly.
Back to the race day – I collected The Boy, then my work friend Nicola who was running with me & made our way to Derby.
Here’s us before the race:
Now, there’s a picture of us doing the warm up on the This is Derbyshire website, but I’ll refrain from linking to that. All you need to know is there’s a small dog sat on the floor with it’s owner in the background of the photo. And at one point during the warm up my right foot & the dog’s face may have come into contact. Mortified! Trying to follow the warm up, say ‘Nic, I just kicked that dog’ & hold in laughter. This combination does not make a good photo.
At the start, I was surprised how quickly everyone got going. The only race I’ve done before was the Great Yorkshire, where each colour group was stopped when they got to the start line & we had to wait a couple of minutes to let the previous group get ahead. At this one it was one starting gun & we’re all off. The start was very congested, in fact the whole course was pretty narrow & there was only one part where we ran over a bridge that the road really widened & you could run truly at your own pace.
Me & Nic ran together for the first 4k until she got too frustrated with the crowds & I gave her the signal to start weaving through without me.
I managed the first 5k in pretty much bang on 30 minutes, which was great, but at the same time meant I had no leeway to slow down in the second half. I hit 7.5k a couple of minutes shy of 45, and at that point was really enjoying it. The run from about 7k up until entering Pride Park was the easiest & best part of the race. The Boy was even surprised when I came round the corner all smiling & waving at 9.5k.
Here’s me as I’m running past him:
I picked up the pace as I realised the gun time was still under an hour, so my goal chip time of under an hour was definitely safe. My final time was 57:52. Really chuffed! I said I would’ve been happy with even a second under an hour, so those two minutes were a bonus!
Nic managed 54:24 – really impressed with her, especially as she’d twisted her ankle about 4 weeks before the race & missed 2-3 weeks training.
Here we are post-race, in our new t-shirts:
On top of that me & Nic are weighing up whether to enter the Robin Hood half marathon at the end of September. Because that requires some proper, hardcore training!