Posted: Yesterday at 12:15
Miles 19 (6:37), 20 (6:34), 21 (6:45)
As suddenly as I felt a lull in my mood and energy levels, I recover and am trying to keep my feet pitter pattering as the coach has advised. Final gel at mile 20. More caffeine. I start dedicating a mile to each of my children. Mile 20, I think of MsEtte1. Ah MsEtte1. My lovely little munchkin. How I missed you last night. God, the crowds are noisy. Mile 21, the lovely MsEtte2. Sweet MsEtte2, the family peacekeeper. How I adore you. The noise is deafening. I am overtaking people. This is good.
Miles 22 (6:49), 23 (6:49), 24 (6:59)
I am still contemplating MsEtte2 in mile 22. I think it is the noise of the crowds and also a large bottomed lady who looks like a charity runner but is running strong who distracts me. She clearly has so much talent. Mile 23, time to switch to MsEtte3. Loopy but adorable MsEtte3. Mile 24, MsEsq. The loveliest boy a mum could hope for. But I seem to be losing focus as I am doing battle with a lady from Winchester who has a lovely gait and pace. She seems to know what she is doing. So I lock onto her until I realise by locking onto her I have inadvertently started slowing down. Pace judgement is much harder these final few miles and I realise it is a mistake to assume others are running evenly. I continue to overtake people.
Miles 25 (6:49), 26 (7:02), 0.46 (6:47)
I overtake Winchester Lady and push on myself making a mental note not to lock onto others. MrE, mile 25. Amazing MrE who could not be more supportive of my running goals since he has realised how much running means to me. Admittedly, it has taken him the best part of 15 years to realise it. The final mile was meant to be for dad but suddenly there seem more runners to navigate and They Are In My Way. I cannot run as fast as I would like for all the people around me. I realise it is because they are all hanging onto their sub-3 goal. which must surely be just around the corner. I have not given it a second thought until now as I have just been running each mile at a a time. I know I must be close as I think my pacing was fairly even, The signs are encouraging with just 800m to go, 600m to go, 400m to go when a man shouts out, “who wants to hold hands with me?!” and for some inexplicable reason, I hold out my hand. I instantly regret this as it is actually impossible to run properly holding someone’s hand. We cross the line together and part ways before I have a chance to see who it was who I was clasping. I have no idea of my time although I feel confident I have come in under 3 hours. It is only when I see my club team mates and their families later on that I find out I have run it in 2:59:12. This was a bit close for comfort and had I known at the time, I think I would have focused more in the final 10K, ignored other runners, not held hands and, in the style of those men at the start of the race, pushed on for the finish line!
A huge thanks to those who cheered for me. I knew it was you because I didn't have my name on my vest and when I did hear a cheer, it made it all the more special. While the noise was generally an unwelcome distraction, the cheers I heard from you were certainly a welcome boost and for that I cannot thank you enough!
Oh and I checked. I beat Winchester Lady Final thoughts? I must keep a better eye on the gun time. And stop locking onto others and run my own race. The entire way.