On Sunday I woke up to my Event Day To-Do-List and the leftover winds of Storm Brian. I’d heard radio coverage at work all throughout the day before talking about the cancelled kids 5k on the Saturday and the better weather (despite the winds!) Great South runners would take on the next day. I slipped on my marble-print leggings and was ready for one of my favourite days of the year, even know I knew it wasn’t a day that would see a personal best.
My medal and me
I left my house at half eight and arrived in Portsmouth munching on a protein bar a little while later. After a bit of havoc (a decision made by Aaron the boyfriend meant he was able to go for one final toilet stop but I wasn’t- I would pretend I’m over it but I’m not) we missed the warm up and were on our way before I had a chance to double check my number was attached to my top properly and my shoelaces tied enough. One of these two things was not. Ah, suspense.
In the first few miles of the run I felt relatively strong. I think I was doing about 8:30 minute miles (Strava decided to record my run in km which meant I had no idea what was going on) and, while the wind was often against us, it wasn’t terrible; it was maybe even refreshing. At about mile three I waved to Aaron’s mum who popped over briefly before shouting a “hello!” at Aaron’s sister and her boyfriend at mile six. From then until might seven-eight I felt okay, but not as Eye of the Tiger (kickbutt) as before. The famous headwind of the Great South greeted us runners at mile eight and I weakly willed myself not to give up. But did I? Ah, suspense.
I battled (it sounds dramatic but I can’t think of a more suitable adjective) the horrific headwind (I’m looking at you, Brian), knowing I was somewhat beaten. I managed to keep my feet firmly on the ground but I knew for sure by this point that a personal best was out of the window. In fact, it was floating off into the choppy sea. What’s more, a safety pin had been lost along the way and my number was flapping all over the place. Too much of my energy was used making sure that I had the number firmly in my hand so that it wouldn’t go and join my failed personal best in the sea. I had a little chat with myself and promised that I would remind myself of how terrible I felt and then consequently forgive myself for not beating last year’s time. But do I forgive myself? Ah, sus- yes, I forgive myself. Yes, Brian pooped on my party but it might well have been hit or miss as to whether I achieved a PB anyway. It was an incredibly challenging run but I’m already excited to return next year.
Runners + Supporters
I reached the last 800m not feeling all that relieved. Only thinking, “800m never used to be this long.” By this point every other gust of wind felt like it was physically stopping me. Much like “the wall” in Run Fat Boy Run, only six miles or so too soon. The 400m sign passed me and I felt some kind of relief. I realised I felt really uneasy but stronger than before. I knew something bad was going to happen as soon as I stopped but, oh my, I couldn’t wait to stop. I apparently looked alarmingly red and yet ghostly white as I ran the last stretch I normally like to sprint with everything left in me. My feet passed the finish line and my energy came back up. Yup, in front of a hundred or so people, I threw up. I was ushered to a seat and my disorientated self can be spotted in the Great South Run coverage that aired on Channel 5. Hey mum, look, I’m famous!
I completed the Great South Run 2017 in 1:29:24, about four minutes slower than last year’s time but three minutes faster that my first recorded time at the Great South a couple of years beforehand. It’s easy to feel overcome by personal competitiveness as a runner. After you run a single event it’s as though you have a goal you have to reach in every run following. I wanted a personal best this year- I wanted to finally get my absolute goal: 1:23:00. But I’ll get there! As soon as my legs have stopped throbbing I am getting my training game ON. The wind was an invisible obstacle for my ten miles this year but 1:23:00 wouldn’t have been reached, that’s for sure. A little shoutout to Aaron and his incredible 1:19:50. He too felt restricted by the wind but AHH, what a time!
~ Kat ~