Between my Sister, Dad and Mum the Terry family have completed The Great South Run a total of six times. Every year a family member has completed it I have never found myself quite ever wanting to run the 10 miles (16km) around Portsmouth. However, given my new found love for endurance sport I thought this year would be as good a year as any to give it a go.
I can tell you already that having done a few sprint triathlons, some long bike rides and few casual training runs does not translate to a very pleasant 10 mile run.
The first 6km started out pretty well. I started chugging along the Southsea seafront at just under my target pace of 5 min/km and I felt fine. As we worked our way into through Old Portsmouth and into the Portsmouth Naval base I started to feel a bit sore around my chest, perhaps a sign that I was running a little bit too fast? I decided to keep my pace and carry on running and the pain quickly faded – a good sign, or so I thought.
One part of the run takes you through the city centre and out to a roundabout and back. This is where the wheels quickly came off the wagon! I made it through the first water station and I was as much of a terror to the volunteers as Patrick Lange as I tried to grab bottles of water:
The bottles were a bit of a pain to open as I was running along so I found myself running with bottles for a while as I opened and then tried to drink gracefully. In hindsight I don’t think it is possible to drink gracefully whilst running; in future races I will just accept that water face happens and take in what I can. After the aid station I had to navigate a short obstacle course of jelly babies as someone ahead of me must have demonstrated some poor hand eye co-ordination whilst picking them up.
Anyway, back to the de-wheeling of the wagon. The run leg to the roundabout and back was tough. For some reason the long straight road with a view of people running back the other way didn’t sit well with me. Somehow I survived but I think the mental hit resulted in me losing about 20 seconds a kilometer with half the distance remaining that meant I was very quickly losing time on my target time – shouldn’t have been so vocal about thinking I could hit that time oh well.
The next leg of the race featured a run back towards Southsea and into some spectator heavy territory. The worst time to be thinking a quick walk wouldn’t be too bad. I managed to perceiver through the negative thoughts and stumbled by my Mum and Dad. Unfortunately I had been looking down at my watch at the time and the video of me stumbling along doesn’t look too great!
It had really started to get warm by this point and I was starting to feel the effects of it and seeing a water station bought a lot of relief to me! Shame it took me about three attempts to grab a bottle of water from someone. A couple of sips of water bought me back to life and for some reason I didn’t drink anymore than that! Got. To. Force. The. Water. Down. Me.
Soon I was approaching the final turn in the course and heading back along the sea front to the finish line. This bit actually wasn’t too bad. I had a fixed goal of a helicopter hovering over the finish line so I was able to focus on running towards that. Felt a bit sad as the pacer for 1h 25 ran past me and I couldn’t make myself run any faster to keep up with him but I powered through.
Before I knew it I was at the final 800m and then what felt like 800ms later I was at the 400m sign and then about another 800m I was crossing the finishing line. Which looked like something out of Saving Private Ryan but with people vomiting and the shell shock effect replaced by my hearing going for a bit and me feeling a bit wobbly.
So I made it through the race, definitely wasn’t what I hoped for but I’m glad I got it done anyway. Definitely need to pay more attention to training correctly for an event, completing the training plan and then making sure I fuel correctly during the event.
The only fuelling on the course was provided by water, jelly babies and a free Sports in Science Gel. The gel was provided too late in the course for me; with about 15/20 minutes left which I don’t think is enough time for the carbs to actually get into the system. However, the electrolyte top up was very much appreciated!