The wind speed may have broken records, but I certainly didn't. However, that wasn't what I set out to do. Injuring myself 3 weeks ago has meant that I've run a lot less than I had intended to over the last few weeks and my training plan has had to undergo a number of small tweeks. So today wasn't about time; it was about finishing the race (in one piece!). Which I did. The fact that I had a whale of a time whilst doing is the icing, so to speak, on the cake... actually, I'm not a massive fan of icing, so it's probably more the buttercream!
The race starts at the Norbreck Castle. I had never seen this hotel before and therefore did not expect it to actually look like a castle; I don't know why as despite never having visited this particular hotel, I have been to Blackpool several times and am well aquianted with the
|The picture doesn't do it justice... it's nowhere near as swish as this!|
Taking Chad along for the ride, I used the Audiofuel tracks to keep a steady rhythm, but also motivate me throughout the race; I find the music highly stimulating whilst I'm running and Chad's little pick-me-ups along the way are great for PRB too... 'You're doing well, keep a steady pace and move your feet to the rhythm' he told me, 'one two three four, one two three four...' brilliant! And particularly useful when I turned the corner at the 3 mile mark and found myself hitting a brick wall... of wind! Seriously, there is no overexaggeration here; I'm not employing hyperbole to add drama or excitement. The wind was ferocious. Pushing, knocking, whipping me as I battled with all my might against it. I was just beginning to wonder how much longer we'd have to run in that direction, when I started running towards people coming back the other way. 'Wow,' I thought to myself, 'I'm only 5 1/2 miles in, they must be running fast to be there... and then I saw Dom: 'DOM! DOM! WELL DONE!!!' I yelled across the cones, waving madly; I found out later my cheerleading skills had done their job and cheered him right up! I, however, had another 4 miles in my fight against the gale, until respite came as we turned the corner onto the promenade. With the sea, once again, on our right the wind subsided.
Receiving my medal with pride, we headed back up to 'The Castle', where I diligently carried out my physio 'bum' exercises and
All in all, the Great North West Half Marathon is a great race. Granted, it doesn't offer the most inspiring scenery, and there is a fair bit of to-ing and fro-ing along the sea front, but it's very well managed and has a great atmosphere about it. The times were even posted on a wall in the hotel before we left; an added bonus due to my Garmin neglection at the start line. My time was 2:10:14; like I said, I didn't break any records, but I did run the whole way, my knee didn't hurt and I feel Grrrrreat!
Distance: 14 miles (including cool down)
Weather: sunny and ferociously windy!