I completed my second Pier to Pier event on Sunday and I’m still smiling! Smiling because I loved the run and smiling because I got a new personal best.
The day started great. I’d had a decent nights sleep considering two kids getting me up at the crack of dawn. I had a small bowl of cereal and a glass of water with a splash of orange juice. Martin kindly picked me up just before 8:00am and we set off for Shields. Having met up with Peter and John, they registered and we made our way down to the beach. I had a quick wee and couldn’t help but laugh when the guy stood next to me, dropped his mobile phone into the urinal. Nasty!
Walking along the beach I heard a “Fancy seeing you here.” It was Hilary from Gateshead parkrun. Peter and I had just volunteered the day before so it great to see her and her family there. I spotted a few other familiar faces including a woman who I used to work with. The race was delayed for ten minutes for one reason or another and then we were off.
A very quick mile along the beach and we made our way up on to the grass tops. For the first 5k I felt great. The four of us hadn’t planned on running together so we all just went at our own pace. I felt strong, confident and most of all, I didn’t feel out of breath! I For some reason the next few minutes didn’t quite go according to plan. I suffered with the worst stitch I’ve ever had. I had an issue with a running stitch early last year and I thought I’d seen the back of them. The stitch was so painful it stopped me in my tracks as I couldn’t breathe without pain. I was devastated. Devastated may sound like a strong word but seeing other runners flying past you and all I wanted to do was run, was hard to take. Knowing I felt strong and not out of breath, I felt embarrassed. Why was this happening again? Was it my breakfast or was it that I was running too fast? Suddenly I felt an arm around me, it was Peter. We walked a little until the pain had gone and then we set off again. We then passed Amy and my family before I said to Peter to go on his own. I really appreciated him stopping like that. I’m not going to mention my stitch anymore and I was in two minds whether to mention it at all. I don’t ever want to use something as an excuse but then I realised that my running stitch has been part of my fitness journey since last year. My next few runs should be interesting.
I can remember one point from last year when I had a split-second thought that maybe the distance was a bit too far for me. Thankfully that thought never came yesterday and I really enjoyed the run. I knew my time from last year was just under an hour and I was very happy with it at the time. Since then, my running has really improved and I felt confident of beating my time this year. Once I hit the promenade at Seaburn I flicked my Nike+ SportBand from distance to time. When I realised my time I let out a little smile and picked up the pace.
I crossed the line in a time of 55:16, that was a huge 4 minutes and 28 seconds off last years time. I couldn’t believe it! I was really, really happy with my time and I said to Amy the night before I was aiming for 55 minutes! It’s funny how you know your own body and what times are achievable. Amy could tell by my face that was something wasn’t 100% right. I guess at that point I was still in a bit of shock.
The Pier to Pier run was again extremely well organised and I owe a massive thank-you to both the Sunderland Strollers and the South Shields Harriers. This year we received a fantastic Hydro Belt with water bottle plus a bag of crisps, bottle of water and a Mars Bar. Can’t really complain about that!
The lads did fantastically well too. Peter came in first (despite stopping!), then Martin was just infront of me and John just behind. I think now’s as good a time as any to write a little bit about John. Last year he watched and supported Peter, Ray and myself. Since then he’s lost over two stone through eating sensibly and training hard. Running is a big part of his training routine and I was delighted to see he had signed up to a handful of events this year. John’s own fitness journey is inspiring and one of hard work and dedication. I said to him on Sunday that I’m more proud of what he has achieved in the last year than I am of myself. I’m just pleased I can be a small part of John’s journey and I’ll continue to support him all the way.
Thanks for reading,