I was filled with excitement, not fear. I hadn't been able to do much running in the last week but knew my basic core strength would be enough to allow me to complete this event safely. My outlook and my strategy is to make sure I can waddle steadily, with a good consistent pace, soak up and enjoy the atmosphere, and finish with a smile.
I had a lift to Portsmouth with Becky Smith , also running with me (for Macmillan), and we stayed over night at her friend's house (Thankyou for being a wonderful hostess Tanyia!). Usually I would have a plain grilled chicken with potatoes and vegetables, hydrate with nuuns and get an early night, before an event. We stayed up until nearly midnight, had a chicken tikka with rice, and a glass of wine!
I didn't sleep very well but that was mostly because I was staying somewhere different and my body often wreaks havoc by going all insomniac on me when I don't need it to! At least the clocks had gone back so I gained an hour to just lay there resting some more!
Had a decent breakfast of "GetBuzzing Bars" (the most moist delicious mix of oats, dates and bananas), Plus a peanut and oat Trek bar. As I was staying at some one's house I didn't want to carry my own milk and porridge. Had 2 mugs of water and was then race ready!
Had a decent short car journey to the Southsea Common to park up and wait.. and wait some more! It was relatively quiet at 8am and I was able to go to the loo twice without queueing. However, at 10am when the announcement was made to start going to your "wave coloured area" my bladder demanded some attention, and relief, and I ended up in a queue for hours, for a third wee!
I ate a Cashew Cookie Nakd bar for some extra energy, washed down with a blue rinse of Powerade Ion 4 (free on the day). Ok, I am now chomping at the beak to get going!
Under my ducksuit I had my favourite compression garb on! My Born In A Field compression top and my Skinz compression tights. These are my "Dumbo feather" as I am sure I run better with them on. Plus aids recovery!
I hate crowds. I hate being jammed in amongst people. But I can honestly say that I wasn't at all frustrated by this today. I managed to squeeze into my area and stood with "War Horse" just behind me. He insisted on necking with me until the race moved off! Wonderful piece of engineering ingenuity and a 41/2 stone "outfit" with 4 runners beneath it. Respect you guys! They were collecting for Royal Marsden.
It seemed an eternity before the Green Wave was moved out onto the esplanade. Eventually, at 11.15am we were off! Check out the maps to see the routes we took.
For the entire run I kept a steady pace, occassionally having to get the gazelle like Becky to slow down and pace herself. There were cobblestones in the area near HMS Victory, and a gentle gradient out of town, but generally the course was flat and fun. I loved the beating drums and bagpipes that played around the course. Loved hi-5-ing the children who all shouted out "quacks"!
I also loved seeing my neice, Alexia and her boyfriend, Perry, at about mile 4! Thankyou guys! I had goosebumps to see "family". Although the rest of the crowd were very warming and supportive of all the runners, not just their own kin and friends.
At 7.5miles I was feeling a little dizzy and had a couple of bites from a seed bar Becky had on her. Didn't help. Had some water at the water station, and started to feel better. The jelly babies at 9 miles were my saving grace. I also had a tightness in my lungs at mile 8 which is when we were running along the sea front into a fresh easterly wind. I was chatting with another competitor and was aware I couldn't breathe in properly - just like how I would imagine an asthmatic suffering and not getting the oxygen. I think it was just the sea salty air as I didn't collapse at the end.
I was running with a little duck in my hand and wanted to give it to some one special. I saw a fellow fibromyalgia runner, who hadn't heard of fibroduck, so I gave it to him. He was running for his wife who has fibromyalgia and runs a blog called Follypogs.
So, in the aftermath of this Great Run, how did I feel? Bloomin' quacktastic. How did I do? 2hrs 11mins - not bad for a waddling duck!
I may not have been running the distance for the last 2 weeks but my attitude to running has changed. I do not like it, but I am no longer in fear of it. Kettlercise and Zumba are key to my basic core training and strengthening. With the continued support of Gareth France and the wonderful team at revive, I know I can now enter most events to enjoy it and complete it, with a smile. After all, I run the miles for the smiles! I will also step up to run some extra miles in the week to improve on what I have learned and experieed today.
A big thankyou to Becky for driving me home to Reading, before she had drive back to Thetford! We were stationery in the Great Portsmoth enmasse exit gridlock for hours!
I enjoyed a jacket potato and sausages for dinner, 2 glasses of red wine, and a few squares of dark chocoalate. I may have burned 1300 calories but didn't want to eat them all! Couldn't quite go to sleep until midnight!
I am also pleased to say that I have no aches or blisters, and was up bright and early the next day ready for a double shift! Bring it on!