Great North Run & Spooky Goings On

Great North RunSo after months of preparation the time has come to run the Great North Run race!I travelled up on Saturday with Stew and Rob, and after having dinner with them, they dropped me off at Northumbria University where I was staying for the weekend.I decided an early night was in order, and surprisingly I fell asleep relatively quickly. However a couple of hours later, I was wide awake and struggling to sleep. It’s the night owl in me! I finally got back to sleep at 4am in the knowledge that I would be up in a couple of hours.

Come 6.45am, I was up and getting ready. Gym kit was checked for the twelfth time and put on. My throw away Primarni trackie bottoms and top were on and I was ready to go.

Breakfast was included with the accommodation, but I had no idea where I was meant to go on the campus, so decided to stay in my room until it was time to get the coach to the start line.

We arrived at the start line around 8.30am and it was bitterly cold. I was beginning to wish I bought some throw-away hat and gloves as well!!!

Knowing not having breakfast was not a wise move, I went and got a bacon buttie. Wasn’t sure if that was a wise move either but it did taste good.

After putting my bag on the baggage bus, I headed to the agreed destination to meet the Runners World forumites that I had been chatting to for the last couple of months before the event. Great bunch of people and really friendly. I didn’t really expect anything else really, but as always meeting new people really scares me.

Come 9.30am, I decided to head to my pen with the hope that if I got into the middle of the group of people then I wouldn’t feel as cold. That didn’t really work though. But, the good thing about arriving early meant that I was near the front of the pen and this would be more beneficial in the long run. Also, good news (and possibly bad) was that the bad forecast weather was now turning into a really sunny day.

When the race was about to begin, I stripped myself of the Primani trackie set and tossed it aside for charity. However my bladder which was gently telling me that I needed a wee before entering the pen was now demanding action to be taken. By now though, it was too late to do anything. I now realise why so many people need to dive for wees within minutes of the race starting. I felt like I was going to have to join them, but I knew stubbornness to get a good time prevailed.

I didn’t hear the starting gun go off. The first sign that it was starting was when we moved forward. Taking everything in was just overwhelming and within a couple of mins passing the start line I had a lump in my throat.

The race itself was relatively clear. I didn’t feel like I had to dodge that many people and was able to keep a nice steady pace throughout. This was very different to Great Manchester which was awful in comparison.

What the Great North Run also did a lot better that Great Manchester was the crowds. The majority of the course had people cheering you on. And putting my name of my t-shirt really made a difference because I lost count at the number of people who cheered me on by name. It was a proper buzz!!!

Plus there is those in the crowd that go out of their way and provide treats for you, in the shape of oranges, juice, beer, ice pops, sweeties or biscuits for the runners. You can tell they are a proud bunch to host this event.

Apart from the above there is two more highlights of the event; Tyne Bridge and the finishing stretch.

Running across Tyne Bridge was amazing. This is the realisation sinking in that you are actually doing the Great North Run. And as for the last stretch of race. All I can say is wow!!! To see that many people cheering you on was simply jaw dropping and when I was crossing the line I was fighting back the tears of joy, relief and amazement that I have actually completed the half-marathon.

Although the race was relatively comfortable to run, there was probably two niggly low lights.

The first felt like I was constantly on an incline. I knew at the beginning I had a two mile incline and relief was on my face when I saw a sign saying there was now 3 miles downhill. However after a short decline I was on an incline again. However my legs kept strong the whole way through. I give credit to my runs on Dove Stone Reservoir.

The second low point was probably around the 10 mile mark when my knee started to hurt a little. It wasn’t really bad, but there was that panic that a previous injury was going to resurface. Luckily it didn’t and I was able to complete the race.

The target finish time for the Great North was 1:45 and I am proud to say that I beat this target by completing the race in 1:44:25 (official time).

Mike Nike+ states that I did over 14 miles. I would say that I did probably do over 13.1 miles as I dodged a few people and also took the long route to miss the masses, but definitely not over an extra mile. I really love the calibration on that thing!

So will I do a half-marathon again? Most definitely.

Will I do the Great North again? Most probably.

What about a marathon? Hold your horses there!!!

Nike+ Stats
Distance: 14.49 Miles
Time: 1 Hour 44 Mins 29 Seconds (I must have started/stopped it early/late)
Pace: 7’12″/mi
Pace Breakdown:
1 = 6’10″/mi
2 = 7’02″/mi
3 = 6’10″/mi
4 = 8’13″/mi
5 = 7’02″/mi
6 = 7’02″/mi
7 = 6’10″/mi
8 = 7’02″/mi
9 = 8’13″/mi
10 = 7’02″/mi
11 = 6’09″/mi
12 = 7’02″/mi
13 = 8’13″/mi
14 = 7’02″/mi
14.49 = 7’12″/mi

I know this is already a relatively long blog, and I apologise for this. Actually if you are still reading this I applaud you and ask if you have actually got a life!!! ;o)

However I have a story about my last night at Northumbria Uni (where I was staying for the weekend) which was quite eventful as such.

I seemed like I was the only runner left in the block that I was in, as there was no one around. I decided that I would go and watch X-Factor and Harry Potter in the common room.

There was no-one about and while watching TV I kept on seeing shadows in the corner of my eye, however when I looked there was nothing. So just thought it was the light playing tricks on my and never thought about it.

Then about the quarter of the way through Harry Potter, I then heard someone come into the common room area (it’s a lock so you need a key), a bit of fumbling out of sight and leave after a couple of minutes. No one actually came into the common room and I saw no one outside. Again never thought anything about it and carried on watching the film.

About 3/4 of the way through and the shadows started to appear again. But dark shadows and this was starting to creep me out. And as I was started to feel tired I thought I would head back to my room.

Then about 11ish, I started to hear footsteps on the top corridor. Again, never thought anything about it as I just thought it was another runner coming in from a night out.

The next day, I got speaking to the block cleaners and was telling them I felt stupid last night because I kept of seeing shadows while in the common room. The both looked at each other and then said ‘Oh that would be Bella’ the blocks ghost.

I thought they were pulling my leg and said that they weren’t, there has been many reports of people seeing ghosts.

I then spoke to them about the sound of someone coming in to the common room and leaving and then footsteps upstairs, and they said that would have been Bella too as there was no other runners in my part of the block.

I left within 5 minutes of them telling me this!!!

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