I had an almost perfect build up to Ealing HM on Sunday. Pizza and an early night on Saturday, a good 8 hours sleep, nice big bowl of porridge and a banana, and plenty of water in the 2 hours before the race. I was sure I would get a PB especially as the race was flat*.
The 1st 3 miles seemed to be one long, but gentle, incline. Undeterred (I don’t like hills) I plodded on, fortified by a big hug from Louise who was marshalling at around the 2.5m point, and tried to keep my pace around 11:30. At some points I actually had to slow myself down a bit! Then there was a short sharp hill – I didn’t have to slow myself down for that – but I did keep running.
Mile 4 was a lovely long downhill – nice bit of recovery.
Mile 5 another hill – quite steep this time, but still I ran (yes me – the girl that normally walks up ALL inclines!).
Got to the bottom of the hill then there was another one, ran up that, flew downhill then hit another hill, plodded up, sailed down and then hit ANOTHER hill.
Seriously, this race is NOT flat! However, by mile 9, despite the hills, I HAD NOT STOPPED TO WALK! I was quietly congratulating myself and feeling quite smug when lo and behold, what should loom before me but ANOTHER HILL.
I groaned allowed, but then quite randomly a quote from Galaxy Quest (one of my favourite films**) popped into my head:
NEVER GIVE UP, NEVER SURRENDER
I gritted my teeth and kept going, spurred on by the wonderful crowd support and jelly babies, whilst that phrase went round and round in my head. At mile 12 there was one last hill, and I hate to say I caved in, my legs were full of lactic acid and I had to walk the hill. The last mile wasn’t pretty, in my head I was running, however the race photos suggest it was more of a grimacing stumble. One more walk break right before the end and then somehow I pulled my usual sprint finish out of the bag.
I crossed the line in 2:32:33. For some reason, I had it in my head that my PB was 2:31:39, so when Alma asked if I’d got a PB I said no but that I was really happy with my race as I’d conquered my mental block on hills, and managed a pretty consistent pace (I stayed within +/- 10 secs of 11:30m/mile).
4 days later I still feel the same, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a race as much as I did Ealing – the support was fantastic, the course was varied enough that it didn’t get boring and I felt well trained for it. So imagine how GODDAMN HAPPY I was when I looked at my event history and realised I’d got a 20 second PB!!!!!! Zippadeedoodar zippadeeday!!!
Bring on Cardiff!!***
*or so I was told. Wrongly.
**I am a bit of a geek, I went to the Star Trek convention last year.
***Half Marathon yes. I signed up for 2 in 2 weeks, it was supposed to be 3 but I missed Northampton as I was poorly.