Race day performance depends on two things:
- Not getting injured - unfortunately, my ankle got buggered playing netball. It was actually football, but I refuse to blame her.
- A good night's sleep - I only managed 4 hours
Actually, the vital factor is the training that you must do beforehand. 12 hours sleep does not substitute hard miles run. I felt like I hadn't done enough, but my version of preparation would be five dry runs of the actual route a year before the race.
So I set off to the o2 Arena for the start of the race with Johnnie (my running partner). I had a weak ankle and the feeling of workday tiredness. It was a gloriously sunny day. Perfect for a picnic but not ideal for a run. The race was well organised. It was a relief to find that there was somewhere to put my stuff and that I wouldn't have to carry around my wallet, oyster, keys and phone. It also started on time.
I did a steady 9.5 minute per mile pace for the first few miles. My ankle hurt a bit but Johnnie and I soon hit a rhythm. It was hot and stopping for water was tricky. You had to virtually stop and wait to grab a cup off the table because the stewards were so busy. At the halfway stage, we were looking good and on track for a 2 hour (plus a bit) finish.
There were some killer hills at the 7/8 mile stage. Fortunately, training on "death hill" in Greenwich Park meant that we coped well. We soon hit the familiar training spot of Blackheath and Greenwich park. Alas, Johnnie got tired and graciously told me to go on ahead. Then I developed a horrible pain in my right knee. For the last three miles I pathetically hobbled towards the finish line. My theory that the pain would go away after 20 seconds was completely wrong.
I waddled over the finish line at 2 hours and 13 minutes. I finished 5,627th out of 9,065. The pain was worthwhile and I hope it has done a lot of good for Steven. Now, I'm determined to go back and beat the two hour mark.
I'm now on a post-run recovery regime of beer, pain killers, glucosamine, ice packs and rest.