The Great North Run and the ABC Plan

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It’s always good to have a plan B but why stop there?

The A plan would have seen romping home at the Bupa Great North Run in a new personal best of somewhere shy of 2:56:14 but when I failed to lose the 2 stone accumulated since the last PB I knew it was unlikely.

Plan B was somewhat of a compromise and had the 3 hour mark as the line in the South Shields sand. Plan C was a must and would see me finishing ahead of Gladys, the unsuspecting 80-year-old I have been stalking since the 2010 Great North Run. It may be considered unsporting to race against someone who is completely unaware of the wager but I need every legal advantage.

20120917-184210.jpgIt was a grim start to the day. We took rather too long in the hotel room considering whether to join in Dan’s impromptu warm up session and that meant a rather tardy arrival at the start. I had secured a place in the green pen (one up from the end) and although Dan and Michael were supposed to start in super speedy orange zone, they hung back with me. I know they regretted that when we were refused entry at every opening due to overcrowding. We had to join the back – behind the sweep van.

The race started some kilometres ahead of us and the clouds opened in celebration. 45 minutes later we shuffled our soggy bodies over the start line and so began the relentless weaving.

I’m sure this year’s event must have been bigger than ever. I just couldn’t get into a zone that enabled me to run free. I was surrounded by walkers 3 or 4 abreast and veered this way and that trying to find space to put one foot in front of the other.

I’m afraid to say I didn’t really feel the joy of GNR for much of this year’s race. I don’t know if it was the weather dampening spirits all round or the overcrowding on the course. I overheard some spectators in the bar at the end of the day saying they thought the runners were a bit flat this year and weren’t so appreciative of the support. That’s a shame as we all feed off each other and I was genuinely grateful for everyone who gave me a cheer down that last gruelling mile of coast.

I might not have looked so jolly from miles 8-11 though. From mile 8 onward, my Garmin’s virtual partner overtook me and started kicking sand in my face. I was sure I’d programmed him to pace me to the 3hr mark and I felt miserable to be failing on my plan B. I pushed on but my heart wasn’t really in it.

The steel bands and the Bupa Boost Zone complete with Jelly Babies, raised a hint of a smile but that was a tough section.

At some way past 11 miles I looked at my watch and noticed I was at 2hrs 40mins and decided that I surely had a chance to rattle off less than 2 miles in 20 mins and just then the sea appeared – that wondrous apparition that appears like a beacon and melts away the gloom of sodden pounding along dreary dual carriageways.

That sight has brought me to tears on each of the last 4 runs. It figuratively marks the end of the pain – we’ve reached lands end and can surely go no further. Although it seems we can as it actually marks the start of an extremely steep descent on to an extraordinarily cruel mile-long stretch up to the finish line.

I had a target to beat though so couldn’t weep and philosophise for long. I took full advantage of my Hoka One One’s superhuman descending properties and fair sprinted down the slope. I had to call out for a path to be cleared as I was a little wayward and my arms might have been wind-milling.

Then I pushed on and on up that coast. I felt I was going to come a cropper some way short of the finish line but I was prepared for the worst and pushed on. Here the supporters helped me along and each calling of my name sprung me forward at least a centimetre.

20120917-181834.jpgI gave one of those sprint finishes that remains imperceptible to the human eye but it was there and I stopped to read the Garmin at ………. 3:01:25.

Thank god for Plan Cs.

I didn’t actually see Gladys but I’m reading her stats now and I’m glad to say she was there and a good few minutes behind me. Ah the joy of beating 80-year-old speed walkers.

I don’t think I can rest on my laurels though, Gladys was 5 minutes faster than her 2010 time and at that rate will be breaking my PB next year. Bring it on.

Alternative Wisdom for the Great North Run – 9 Insider Tips

Bupa Great North Run Red Arrows and Tyne Bridge

As I prepare to head up north for my fourth running of the Bupa Great North Run, I feel it is time to assemble a top tips post, illustrated with snippets from earlier race reports.

Treat the Great North Run as 4 individual stages – XLMan from the runnersworld forum let me re-post his race strategy back in 2007. I’m still using it to visualise the race 5 years later.

Run 1 – 5 miles (8 km). (DON’T think about anything further) Huge crowds, great atmosphere, bands. Take it steady, not too fast, you’ve run five miles or further loads of times. Enjoy the spectacle, and remember you are part of it. Those inspirational pictures of thousands running across the Tyne Bridge? You’re in them this year. Yes, you’re in the Great North Run, the world’s biggest half marathon. Enjoy!

Run 2 – 3 miles (5 km). Forget the 5 behind you, they’re done. Think only of the next three. Three miles? Piece of cake, you’ve done 9, 10, 11 .. much more in training. These three are all downhill, wheeeeeee !! Great news for those of you after PBs for the event, or even if it’s your first time and you have a target. Go for it here, within reason. Unfortunately, the road narrows, so you may notice it feeling a little more congested. Be careful.

Run 3 – 3 miles (5 km). SLOW DOWN. This is where you need your mental toughness and/or your MP3 player. It’s a bit of a slog up the John Reid Road etc and there’s not much to enjoy, but hey, if it was easy, the medal wouldn’t be as important to you would it? If you’re a run/walk person this is where you may want to be taking extra walks, and psych yourself up, but don’t start thinking about the finish yet. Just get to 11 miles

Run 4 – 2.1 miles (3 km) That’s nowt! Of course you’re tired but you’re nearly there. Now, start to tell yourself that you’ve done it (almost) the goody bag is waiting for you, go and get it. The last mile and a bit up the sea front is fantastic. Huge crowds yelling at you, the end is nigh. Let your spirits fly, even if you’re knackered. You can stop soon. If you’re after a time, push, you know you are fit, you have prepared well, and as knackered as you will feel when you cross the line, the elation will speed your recovery. Well done, you’ve finished the GREAT NORTH RUN 2012

Go Low for Ritual Chanting – just past the start line the road divides and you get to choose whether to go under or over the bridge. The low road offers the full echoing experience of thousands of runners shouting oggy oggy oggy. It also carries the risk of a non too refreshing shower.

Take the high road for a shower free experience – at least a hundred men with bladder issues choose to take the high road and then proceed to shower the oggy oggy oggy runners beneath them.

I also came close to having an unwelcome shower from the guys caught short and relieving themselves on the overpass above me. GNR N0 1

Never underestimate the old and frail – This is one for Gladys who looked delightfully doddery at the start of the 2010 GNR but who had a second wind and was caught on camera at the finish line – a good 4 minutes ahead of me.

It’s all in the pacing – every seasoned racer seeks the holy grail of the negative split where you complete the second half of the race faster than the first. That only happens if you take the first half slower than the last and therefore requires you to proceed with caution and not get caught up in the excitement of the day. Breaking your 5k pb during a half marathon does not usually bode well for the finish line.

Remember to smile at mile 10 – For 2012 Bupa have installed a mile of smiles section at the toughest part of the run and you don’t want to be immortalised with a sweaty grimace.#happiestrun

Ride the emotional rollercoaster – it’s hard to run while gasping for air and choking on painful emotions

At 10 miles I was broken emotionally, I was on a rollercoaster of weeping triggers. The first was a picture of young man on the back of t-shirt, a dad, dead of prostate cancer already. So many people run with powerful messages it’s too hard not to choke up. The second was the red arrows swooping over the Jarrow Rd and third, that actually did see me sobbing was the sight of the sea on the slope down to South Shields. There is still more than a mile to go but it’s the best indication, short of the finish line, that marks the end of the pain. GNR No 3

Embrace the motivation from the crowd

She was barely more than four years old and I’d only gone about a kilometre before she yelled out from the sidelines, “Keep running fat girl!” GNR No 3

Run with faster friends – That way they can deal with the carnage at the baggage vans and deliver your assembled kit to the finish line.

We found him eventually in an emotional heap after spending about 45 mins battling in the baggage bus for our clobber. Shoes and bags and shirts had been strewn all over and it sounded a bit like a blood fest. Luckily I got to avoid all that – that’s the benefit of running with fast friends, thay get to collect the bags while all you have to do is struggle over the finish and stumble into the nearest fish and chip restaurant. GNR No 2

If you find any of my tips useful, perhaps you would consider showing appreciation by donating to my Virginmoney charity site – raising money for the Samaritans

GNR Anxiety

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The Great North Run race pack arrived yesterday.

A high level of anxiety followed its opening. Enclosed was a Team Bupa technical t-shirt which was so tight it finished a good few inches above my belly button. It might have super wicking properties but I don’t think the good folk of South Shields deserve the full exposure of my midriff.

I was spurred into action by the reminder that it’s only 6 weeks til the big day.

I’ve been following an unorthodox approach of weekly 10 mile runs interspersed with about 4 high intensity but short (20 min) spurts on the treadmill.

I always come away from half marathon events determined to maintain my physical peak by rattling out weekly 10-milers. I reckon that if I can manage that, I ought to be able step up to 13.1 on adrenaline alone.

The trouble is, the weekly 10’s often turn into 8’s and then holidays happen and 6 weeks before race day I discover I’m no longer a perfectly honed running machine.

I discovered that today while the full cycling family entourage were called upon to push me around the 8 mile circuit of Richmond Park. It was hot, I moaned a lot and I crossed my imaginary finish line in an irritable, damp and salty heap. And, I was still 2 miles too short.

Richmond Park deer

When I got back home I headed for the treadmill to rattle off the last two. Inspired by the Australian version of The Biggest Loser, I set myself up for a 2 mile hill climb at maximum incline (12). I let myself down by gradually dropping the distance target until I decided that a 1km hill sprint had a lovely ring about it. I was less irritable but equally damp and heap-like at the end.

Perhaps I’m not too late to take some training advice from the Bupa Running team.

Keep Running Fat Girl

GNR 2010

Don’t you just love kids?

She was barely more than four years old and I’d only gone about a kilometre before she yelled out from the sidelines, “Keep running fat girl!”

Nice one.

Kids actually make this race. They line up with their grubby hands outstretched for a high-five and I love it when they screw their faces up with a grimaced “euuuw” as they come into contact with your sweaty palm.

At the 8th mile one particularly bedraggled lad was offering out orange quarters from a bucket. I could have kissed him as I took it from him. I’d been hallucinating on the joys of oranges for the last few miles. I could see hundreds of discarded skins on route but didn’t hold out much hope of their being any left for the slow pokes at the end. The Great North Run spectators are so generous with their support and their treats and it was particularly impressive this year with the constant drizzle and occasional downpour.

After breakfast Dan joined us to wander down to the start line. We probably took it a bit too leisurely as we couldn’t even squeeze past the crowds to make it into the coloured pens before the race started. There seemed to be more people than ever trying to cram themselves onto the dual carriageway. We had plenty of time to eye up the opposition though including one old dear who we’d pegged as a lost spectator but who actually turned out to be a competitor – Gladys was her name. Here she is crossing the finish line about 4 minutes ahead of me, and she isn’t even sprinting.

I don’t know what happened, I was ahead of her at 5k, 10k and 15k and I even sprinted at the end. I’ll be back next year and I publicly challenge Gladys to a 10-13 mile showdown.

It took 40 minutes for the crowd to clear enough for us to cross the start line. I was fit to drop before we started but as my four year oldfriend said, I just had to keep on running. I did just that. I hit an in-year record for my 5k time, not very good pacing but impressive nonetheless. At 5 miles an old geezer pulled alongside me and informed me that I was keeping a good pace – 15 minute miles he reckoned. I would have been happy with this comment if the old fella hadn’t been walking comfortably alongside me. I upped my pace and escaped.

My pace seemed to die around the 9th mile from then on I lost a couple of minutes for each remaining mile. I felt ok really, my legs weren’t suffering as much as usual but I was on autopilot, head down, eyes closed. I couldn’t seem to alter the pace after slowing down for an uphill trog.

At 10 miles I was broken emotionally, I was on a rollercoaster of weeping triggers. The first was a picture of young man on the back of t-shirt, a dad, dead of prostate cancer already. So many people run with powerful messages it’s too hard not to choke up. The second was the red arrows swooping over the Jarrow Rd and third, that actually did see me sobbing was the sight of the sea on the slope down to South Shields. There is still more than a mile to go but it’s the best indication, short of the finish line, that marks the end of the pain.

From here on in I was gasping from the increased effort and the choked back tears. Both Lynn and my parents had come down to support me and I knew I was going to see them any minute. It’s a lovely experience to collapse over the finish line after such a gruelling effort and find all your loved ones around you.

Yes, this event holds a special place in my heart.

Race t-shirt can be seen on the t-shirt page.

The Gadgets Keep Getting Bigger

toe socks

We took receipt of the largest box in the world yesterday.

I am just beginning to get over the stress of it now. It took 3 of us to haul it across the threshold and then I spent the rest of the afternoon emptying the dining room of extraneous clutter such as dining tables and tried to make the contents of The Box look just a little smaller.

Not sure I was that successful. The dining room still looks like an homage to The Box and I am a little unpopular.

So, the new toy, an industrial size mega treadmill is filling the room and the pressure of the “you better bloody use it” variety is building. I reckon I could easily use it more often than the dining table but I’m not sure that’s going to be enough to save me.

It was relatively easy to install and despite discovering two spare parts and 6 extra screws I was able to clamber on board and knock out a sweaty 5k from the comfort of my own home.

It was an ideal opportunity to test out all my gadgets and clobber for the Great North run tomorrow.

I’ve discarded the miCoach as it seemed to disable the remote control features of my swanky new Sennheiser headphones. I bought the new sporty model which comes complete with a microphone. Now I’ll be able to answer the call from my mum without having to pull out my phone. She always rings at about the 10 mile mark to say she can see the Red Arrows as they swoop over South Shields.

The blister plasters had to go as well, they just won’t stay put during a run but the special padded toe end glove things are marvellous.

So my journey up north has begun. This time tomorrow I’ll be covered in blisters but at least my toe nails will still be intact.

Long Distance Limbo

Grantham Canal

I needed a long run this weekend, something to confirm that I could complete the Great North Run without crumpling. We were away at the in-laws so I opted for the canal run. A remote out and back trail with no opportunities for rescue or abandonment. Perfect.

Out and back runs offer up an interesting dilemma – when to turn back. I set off with a ten-miler on my mind but I was feeling good after the first 5k and it was a fairly easy decision to commit myself to an extra kilometre before turning round. At that rate I would finish the run at 18km knowing that I’d only have to pull another 3 out of the bag come the big GNR day.

I was comfortable, smug almost for the first 6km. I was actually worried that my route might be too easy. A canalside swathe cut through the lowlands of Grantham isn’t a great imitation of the undulating route along the dual carriageway between Newcastle and South Shields.

I needn’t have worried. The towpath disappeared at 7k and I had to navigate bumpy grassland and then the fishers appeared.

I had to disturb at least 30 anglers who had set up along my route, their huge rods laid out across my path. Mostly I had to hurdle them but some fishermen took time to lift them out of my way. They’d allow them to hover around 4ft off the ground and I had little option but to limbo under the obstructions.

I didn’t feel like turning round too soon and making them repeat the exercise in reverse but I was getting fed up and wanted to be home already.

The return journey was not as enjoyable, the moment I turned round a pair of psychological bands clamped tight around my thighs. At every kilometre beep from my Garmin I would quickly calculate where I would have been if I’d turned around at the planned 8k point. I was punishing my earlier rash self.

I’d deposited a spare water bottle at the 5k point and now threatened to collapse with dehydration before I arrived back. When I did retrieve the bottle I was so paranoid that a passing dog had pee’d on it that I couldn’t enjoy it.

I was staggering by the end, hobble walking for the last kilometre but it was done and now I know I can do it next weekend.

Now all I need to do is raise some money. Donations for the Samaritans greatly received.

Great North Run 2008

I love this event, it is a complete pain to get to, it costs a fortune, it’s almost impossible to get out of South Shields before night fall, but it still remains the highlight of my year. Grubby street urchins high fiving you, toddlers squirting bottled puddle water at your feet, spectators cheering and offering out ice pops, pizza and vodka. The folk from South Tyneside really get into the spirit of this event and you can’t help but feel privilidged to be part of it. At times through the race the emotion gets the better of me and I have to fight to stop myself blubbing.

I couldn’t fathom a way of setting myself a target for the 13.1 mile distance on the forerunner 405 so instead I had to set the pace of the virtual trainer and just watch my progress against my shadow. Being a “tad” heavier and not having shown an immense amount of commitment to my training this year I thought the best I could hope for was to aim for a 3:05 hr finish and so set the training buddy to 14min/miles. With the watch stuck on this screen I couldn’t tell what pace I was running at and so effectively ran the race blind. At each mile mark though I seemed to be gaining minutes on my buddy – I was kicking virtual sand in his face.

At mile 7 as was hosed down by a teenager in full firemans garb, it coincided with the end of the first episode the Archers and its replacement by P!nk’s “I’m Not Dead”. The combined effect was so refreshing that I experienced the best 20 seconds running of my life. I overtook walkers and everything!

Unfortunately in a half marathon, there is no escaping mile 10, it arrives like a soggy duvet and throws itself around your legs. At this point I was 9 minutes ahead of my target but with the duvet around my ankles I was losing minutes every few hundred yards. I was cracking up but at this time last year I had to step of the sideline to perform first aid on my thighs, something must have improved despite my preparations.

At 11 miles I had slipped back to only 6 minutes above the 3:05 target but I was smelling the sea air and getting all emotional again. My folks had driven down to catch me cross the finish line and started to feel a pb in my bones. I upped the pace at the 12 mile marker and kept looking down at my watch to see if I could get that the distance between me and my shadow to increase. It started to happen and I felt strength in my legs.

That final mile was exciting for me. It was just like the final leg of the Bushy park run, giving it all for a chance at some glory. At 7 minutes ahead of target I was struggling with my maths again to see how much I had to do to beat last year. The finish was coming upon me so quickly I didn’t think I had enough distance left to make the time but I was willing myself on anyway.

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I crossed the line in 2:57:00 about 50 seconds slower than last year. Not a pb but I was so chuffed that I’d come anywhere near it. Here’s my thank god it’s over shot, I don’t think I look quite as happy as last year but then OGB had gone AWOL. His training had been a bit lacklustre as well but at the start line he’d decided he was going to push it anyway. When he wasn’t sitting at the agreed meeting point with my pint in his hand I assumed he must have been carried off in a helicopter. I was probably wondering what I was going to tell his mum as the photo was taken.

We found him eventually in an emotional heap after spending about 45 mins battling in the baggage bus for our clobber. Shoes and bags and shirts had been strewn all over and it sounded a bit like a blood fest. Luckily I got to avoid all that – that’s the benefit of running with fast friends, thay get to collect the bags while all you have to do is struggle over the finish and stumble into the nearest fish and chip restaurant.

Delicious!

Fancy a Bottle of Dog, Pet?

The Great North Run has got to be the most self-indulgent running event in the race calendar, I personally could handle this kind of ego boost on a monthly basis, I would say weekly, but as I’m still unable to walk so I think that might be pushing it.

Happy

Look how happy I am barely seconds after the finish. I work hard to be permanently grumpy but this race had infectious happiness thrown in – I was smiling at every mile, even at mile 12 when my quads seized up badly and I had to be rejuvenated by a tumbler of vodkaless vodka handed to me from the sideline.

The Great North run is a very special event, the organization is flawless and the support from the crowd is amazing. I ran the route hugging the left hand side, I therefore got very familiar with a lot of locals (I also came close to having an unwelcome shower from the guys caught short and relieving themselves on the overpass above me). Every one of those 13 miles ticked by so quickly, I must have slapped the grubby hands of at least a thousand kids and I have to admit its not an everyday occurrence for kids to high five me.

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We had to set off from my parents house at 5am, so there was a 4.15 am rush to the loos, enough to put anyone in a bad mood you’d think. OGB and myself have managed to be grumpy for every race we’ve attended over the last year but we surprised ourselves by feeling upbeat for the whole shebang on Sunday. We were a bit nervy at the outset as we were right at the back and it felt a little uncomfortable to start with the sweeper van clipping at your heels. Still, it only took us 25 mins after the starters pistol to reach the start and we set off at a sprint (unmaintainable) to escape the van.

Thats the last I saw of OGB until we were re-united at the family meeting spot. You’d be forgiven for thinking he just hitched a ride to the end as he looks so fresh and spritely but his official time was 1:58:33 so I suppose he had plenty of time to freshen up.

Me and OGB

I had a lovely run from the start, I was just raring to go and set off a bit too swiftly but I was enjoying myself. Despite sharing the motorway with 49,999 other runners, I didn’t feel too constricted. I had to do a little bit of weaving in and out but mostly I followed my line.

The red arrows stormed across our path just as we crossed the start line and then appeared above South Shields again when I reached mile 10 and kept me fairly occupied with their acrobatics til mile 12ish. That was jolly good timing as I was suffering quite a bit from the tenth mile. I still had plenty of energy but my legs (quads specifically) were tightening up like crazy. I had to hop off to the sidelines at mile 12 to try and stretch out my legs a bit so I could carry on. I ran the whole way but in the latter stages my running was no faster than other folks walk. Every now and again the crowd would call out “Go on warriorwoman!” and I’d manage another appreciative burst. Such good fun.

We recovered from the run with a plate of fish and chips served on the seafront with a bottle of dog. Such bliss.

GNR Route

Here are my splits from the garmin:

GNRsplit

I suppose that shows that I need more training. I had plenty of energy at the end but my legs cannot cope with the strain. I sooooooo hope I don’t get accepted into the London Marathon this year, I only entered so that I can start building up my rejections for the 5 strikes and you’re in rule. God help me if I get accepted first time. Instead I fancy cramming a few half marathons in for the new year, I think thats a good challenge distance.

I’m back home now and am suffering quite badly, not sure how I’m going to get into work tomorrow. My quads are completely shot and I’m practically descending my flat stairs by shuffling down on my arse. In fact the only reason I’m not bouncing down on my bum is that I wouldn’t be able to drag myself back into the upright position. What a state! Mind you, I’ve made progress, this time last year I was crippled by the Nike 10k run, at least I’ve doubled the distance to knock myself out. This time next year…..who knows?

Official time: 2:56:07

T-shirt shot over here.

Great North Run – Race Tips

This time next week I ought to be sitting in a South Tyneside pub celebrating the end of a half marathon. I’m pretty apprehensive about the event, the travel arrangements are just mind boggling and both me and OGB have decided to just arrive and hope we get dragged in the right direction. Every time we read the official magazine and try and get our head around the details we end up quaking in our running shoes. At least we will get to Newcastle though, my dad has kindly offered to drive us there at the crack of dawn.

I didn’t run at all last week, I thought it was more important to ensure I got over the cold than attempt any endurance training while I was ill.
Now I’m not sure what to do with this week – cram in a long run mid week or just aim to keep the legs ticking over with the mileage low? I suppose I’ll play it by ear and just try and relax.

As for the race itself, I haven’t much of a clue how to play this either. Still not sure what pace to aim for, I’m thinking it’s going to be so crowded back in my race pen that I should just aim to keep going and not stress too much about hitting any specific splits, I can leave that for the *next* half mara. I’ve picked up some great psychological tips for dealing with the Great North Run from the runnersworld forum. XL-man kindly let me repeat his 4in1 race strategy here:

Run 1 – 5 miles (8 km). (DON’T think about anything further) Huge crowds, great atmosphere, bands. Take it steady, not too fast, you’ve run five miles or further loads of times. Enjoy the spectacle, and remember you are part of it. Those inspirational pictures of thousands running across the Tyne Bridge? You’re in them this year. Yes, you’re in the Great North Run, the world’s biggest half marathon. Enjoy!

Run 2 – 3 miles (5 km). Forget the 5 behind you, they’re done. Think only of the next three. Three miles? Piece of cake, you’ve done 9, 10, 11 .. much more in training. These three are all downhill, wheeeeeee !! Great news for those of you after PBs for the event, or even if it’s your first time and you have a target. Go for it here, within reason. Unfortunately, the road narrows, so you may notice it feeling a little more congested. Be careful.

Run 3 – 3 miles (5 km). SLOW DOWN. This is where you need your mental toughness and/or your MP3 player. It’s a bit of a slog up the John Reid Road etc and there’s not much to enjoy, but hey, if it was easy, the medal wouldn’t be as important to you would it? If you’re a run/walk person this is where you may want to be taking extra walks, and psych yourself up, but don’t start thinking about the finish yet. Just get to 11 miles

Run 4 – 2.1 miles (3 km) That’s nowt! Of course you’re tired but you’re nearly there. Now, start to tell yourself that you’ve done it (almost) the goody bag is waiting for you, go and get it. The last mile and a bit up the sea front is fantastic. Huge crowds yelling at you, the end is nigh. Let your spirits fly, even if you’re knackered. You can stop soon. If you’re after a time, push, you know you are fit, you have prepared well, and as knackered as you will feel when you cross the line, the elation will speed your recovery. Well done, you’ve finished the GREAT NORTH RUN 2007

Good stuff eh? Now do I switch the garmin to miles so that I’m in-sync with the road markers or do I stick to what I know?