Warning, this is a bit of a long one....
So, as you might be able to see from the attached photo, I had a good time at the 10k today... that was just past 9k if I remember correctly. I got a second wind by that point but it was a bit tough before.
The day started off well, although I didn't get much sleep the night before. I think it was a combination of nerves and excitement. After a couple of slices of toast and a black coffee, I was on my way to the train station. I could see there were already lots of people on the way to Green Park (even at 8am) and by the time I came out of the tube station, there was already a big mass of people. 12,000 runners had signed up to do this one apparently!
The entire pre-race set-up was really well organised I thought. Even had staff with spare loo roll by all the rows of portaloos, making sure they were all well-stocked, even the "runners only" ones just before the walk to the start.
On to the actual race. I got there a bit early - I was in the pen by about 9.30am for what was about a 10.25am start. It was empty up until about 9.59am! Need to get that bit sorted in future. There wasn't a big group warm up or anything so I did my usual stretches on my own, and probably looked like an idiot, but who cares!
All this waiting around didn't seem to help my Garmin. I kept trying to get a bloomin' GPS lock for about half an hour before the start. I tried stopping the GPS and trying to refind it, turning the watch off... nothing. This actually caused me a bit of a problem later on. I gave up on the GPS and just "ran" - using the stopwatch to get an idea of km splits.
The first 5k went by in a blur! Fantastic route around the city and a really great atmosphere with all the fellow runners around the roads. Bands everywhere, lots of support, and it really kept me going. I was physically spent by about 6k though - I did the first 5k in just over 32 minutes, which is a pretty hard 5k pace for me. I finally gave in to a little walk after the 2nd water stop at 6.5k. At that point, all I wanted was to make sure I broke 70 minutes. I was cursing my watch (and myself!) again. I just tried to keep moving for a kilometre, allow myself a minute walking, then run another km.
Through 8km and onwards to trafalgar square, the support was everywhere! It must have been 2 deep through Whitehall. To the guy giving me some major encouragement to keep moving by the cenotaph - thank you, you don't know how much that helped. I actually got a bit of a second wind not long after that as I could see the "9km" signs. I knew it wasn't far away then, and started to pick up the pace, turn the corner, and get papped by the hidden photographer by the kerb! I really really love that photo!
There were even more people all the way down birdcage walk and as soon as the palace was in view, so was the finish! Finally got through my first official race and proper 10k in 1:06:11. I was hoping for something sub 65 on a perfect day. Thing to take from this is to have 2 or 3 targets on race day that you can change as you go. I did hit my "B" target of a PB (of over 2 minutes!) so feel amazing about that
The goody bag was full of the usual garb, food and drinks, but did have this rather nice t-shirt and medal! Been clinging onto it all day, even at Wembley (yes Norwich!).
I have now MASSIVELY got the race bug. I've never really run with groups that much and wow, it is so much fun! I have a 10k on for the end of August, and some HM planning to begin... all rather exciting and I'm feeling on top of the world this evening.
Sorry to bore you all with the mind dump!