15/05/16 – Bristol 10k Report!
The day of the Bristol Great Run arrived! It was too sunny, I hadn’t been able to get a good night’s sleep, and I was freaking out about the pre-game portaloo situation. I hadn’t looked over the route and my last run on Friday had been a tortuous slog of 2 miles at 11 minutes per mile each… I have to be honest, I was feeling nervous.
I woke up just before 7 and ate 2 pieces of toast with peanut butter and a banana. I had two cups of tea, one redbush, one normal. Rob and I walked down into Bristol city centre, seeing how many runners we could spot making their way to the event. Some were walking, some were running, because apparently some people just can’t get enough running in their day. Weirdos. Also walking through Stokes Croft it was evident some kind of SERIOUS PROFESSIONAL PARTYING had gone DOWN the night before. (What happened Bristol? It looked intense!) We bumped into so many people stumbling home, beer cans still in hand. One of them gave Rob a double high five. (I was glad he took a high five bullet for me.)
We made it to the Waterfront. The noise, the crowds, the way the roads had been closed off meant the centre of Bristol was trussed up to be a different kind of centre to the one I was accustomed to. I would definitely use the words ‘Buzzing’ and ‘Atmosphere’.
I met @jakeharv and @johepworth at Millennium Square. We decided that whilst we may not be running the whole 10k together, we would all set off together in the Pink Wave. We arrived 15 minutes before the start of the warm up, so I rushed off to queue in a cafe for forever to have one last nervous wee. After the warm up we still had 30 minutes to wait until the pink wave was released, so I did spend half an hour worrying I needed to wee again. Pre-race nerves!
LESSON LEARNT #1: In an event this big, the internet just don’t work. My awesome Spotify Grumpy Jogger playlist was refusing to play. I had to default to a months old iTunes playlist I still had on my phone. Next time: have all your shit downloaded onto your phone.
The race began! The first mile was crowded. It was basically a crash course in learning to dodge legs. (Or not, in which case it was a literal crash course.) It did mean that the first part was nice and slow and stopped us from setting out too crazy too early. The crowd started to thin at around 2 miles, and miles 2-3 for me passed like dream. I was probably going a wee bit too fast on mile 3, and paid for it later… Because no one had told me there was a FLIPPIN’ UPHILL BIT in the SECOND HALF of the route (meanies), so once I hit that my pace took a bit of a battering. My only rule to myself was that I wasn’t allowed to walk, (caveat: I walked briefly to grab some water) so although some of those hill sections were painfully, painfully slow, I kept those grumpy legs moving.
LESSON LEARNT #2: Feeling amazing during Mile 3 doesn’t mean the latter part of the race is going to feel the same way. PACING IS HARD.
I high-fived a little kid who was holding out his hand to the crowd. That was fun.
A group of Firemen were doing the race carrying massive fire extinguishers/ breathing apparatus / whatever it is they carry that looks really heavy, what crazy folks. I saw a bunch of people dressed up in tandem as a dragon. There was a guy running in a Spiderman outfit. A big group running with bright green wigs. Do people not get hot and bothered enough just running a flipping 10k?!?
LESSON LEARNT #3: NO. PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS WEAR CRAZY COSTUMES.
The last two miles were really, really not fun. The sun was zapping down on me. My breathing wasn’t too ragged but I felt a general heaviness in my limbs, so hard to keep moving forward. My last mile just a bit quicker than my first mile, but oh my it was much much more of a struggle. HOWEVER:
LESSON LEARNT #4: Because of the spectators, the last 0.2 miles of a race is really, really, REALLY, AWESOME.
The crowds make your heart sing! I took out my headphones to listen to the cheers. I think it’s the memory of the last teeny bit of the race that makes me certain I want to do it again. That feeling must rise exponentially for longer races, I think if I ever do a marathon that final, exultant, cheery part of the race would make me bawl out hot, proud tears of joy. But then again maybe I would be too dead to even notice. Anyway, 6 miles in, tired as a dog, that crowd made me feel like a hero! Thank you.
I got a recorded time of 01’04’01”, and I came in 7143rd out of over 12,000 runners. I was also the 5th Derrick to cross the finish line, out of 9 Derricks. I’m happy with that!
In conclusion: 10/10 WOULD RUN AGAIN.