The third most frequently occurring thought in my head during a running event, after “why the ***** am I doing this” and “when will this hell ever end” is, “next year I’m going to be so much better, I’m going to train really hard….”. Ha, guess what, this Sunday I’m doing my third Great North Run and my training has been rubbish so no great expectations of fulfilling that goal!
I’ve actually decided to view this event as a chance for a long weekend away, staying in a nice hotel, with a bit of a run on the Sunday. A chance to eat chips on Saturday night and have my biannual Sunday roast (the other one being on Christmas Day) which also means I can have roast potatoes (get the violins out, I know, my life is so sad, roast potatoes twice a year!). Chips are usually my reward for a “big” run but as the hotel only does Sunday roasts on Sunday (rather appropriately), chips don’t appear on the menu so I have them on Saturday evening instead of that other running staple, pasta! Bored with my dietary habits yet?!
Training has been so bad that the furthest I’ve run in the last few months is 13k (ever so slightly more than 8 miles). The event guide says you should be able to run 8 miles comfortably to enjoy your Great North Run. Hmmm, well I wouldn’t say it was comfortable but …
I know I can cover the distance, in the middle of August I managed just over 16 miles in a Saxon Vikings & Normans event, although there were breaks at the aid station stop off which meant the first 5.25 mile lap was all run, the second was run with a bit of walking and the third was a walk with a bit of running. I also know that 3 x 5.25 doesn’t equate to 16 miles but that’s what my watch said I’d covered and we’ll go with that thank you!
I’m determined not to go off at my usual stupidly fast “race pace” and I’ve even been practising going at a slower rate. When I remember, I’ve started timing my right foot strike in rhythm to a “one and two and three” phrasing in my head and that seems to reduce my pace. Although obviously the success of this is also dependent on how quickly I’m reciting my little rhythm!
I was evidently a bit more realistic in my predicted finish time this year as I appear to be further back in the starting pens so hopefully if I’m running with slower runners than previously, perhaps this might help keep my pace down.
On both my previous GNR attempts, I was successful in the ballot even though I’m constantly told by other runners that they find it really difficult to get in. So successful was I last year that I got in during a pre ballot ballot! I didn’t even know I’d entered a pre ballot ballot. So desperate was I to ensure I had a place in this year’s event and therefore an opportunity to improve my time, I paid a premium and got a guaranteed place. I’m also now a Great North Run Member.
So the weather’s looking reasonable, 17 degrees, cloudy with a slight risk of rain (which would be great after 2010’s constant rain and 2015’s very high temperatures). I’m going to enjoy the event, soak up the atmosphere and hope I get to South Shields in time to see the Red Arrows’ display.
Oh, and the other advantage of being a Great North Run Member is that I have a guaranteed place for 2017 and 2018! Yeah, so if I’m really rubbish this year, I have another two chances to “train really hard and do better next year …” 😉
This year I’m raising money for Guys & St Thomas’ Trust