The excitement started with a free shuttle service from Reading Station to Madejski Stadium and as I left my car a people carrier parked beside me and off loaded its passengers in my direction. Being the person that I am (never got the “don’t talk to strangers” lesson) we started up conversation, waited in line together and got on the bus and sat together. As we exchanged training stories and estimated finish times I confessed that I would just be glad to finish under 2:30. I was secretly hoping for better, but I’d struggled on Thursday’s 5k run (35mins) and my ankle wasn’t feeling quite right, so I wanted to take it easy.
So, I went into this race knowing I wasn't at my best; at the start line however, I felt great; I guess it was the usual pre-race adrenalin rush. As I went to go in the right pace group I walked past 2:10 and dropped into the 2:05 group I felt so good! I found the 2:05 pace maker (thank you Runners World!) and kept up with him for the first mile, I had to try to get upwind from him, but I’ll say no more on that subject! After the first mile I knew two things 1) It was hotter than I thought and I was roasting in my long sleeved top & singlet! 2) I was getting ahead of myself with 2:05, but at least I’d got off to a good start! I stopped to take my long sleeved top off; I’m so glad I reset my Garmin so it auto pauses when I stop running! Now my Scope singlet was over my l/s top, which meant one thing; I had to take both off, then put my singlet back on… Good thing I’m not that modest! Actually the thought going through my head as I stood in front of someone front garden and undress in front of hundreds of people was “it said this sports bra could be worn on its own on the label…”. Anyway, shame aside I tied my top around my waist and kept on running. At some point I found myself a running partner; she ran past me smiled I smiled back then we kept pace with each other, she got ahead I fought to keep up, I got ahead and she was soon back on my heels. I always race well when I find someone to keep up with! All was going well till mile 8 when I felt something go in my ankle area. I didn’t want to stop so pushed on for a bit. My better judgement won over though and I realised I would need to hold off if I wanted to make it to the London Marathon. I was on track to still hit 2:10, but I figured limping the rest would take me a little longer ;-). As it was I limped, jogged and dragged myself to the finish. Well to the outside of the stadium anyway; when I realised the finish was in the stadium (with cameras) I picked up the pace at run through the pain. Sorry, but I am vain enough to not want photos of myself limping at a race! Yeah I said it! (sorry Chris Rock!)
The race itself was great; amazing support from the crowd, nice city route; great scenery and a fantastic medal! I can’t wait until next year to do it all again! And I will run it all the way next time!