Run, Iceni, Run: Race Day – Do or Die
Vicki set two alarms on her phone and I set an alarm on my phone and one on my Garmin too.
Neither of us wanted to risk sleeping in (we had done the previous day until 8am, which would have been a HUGE problem!). Unfortunately, it was never going to be a problem as I managed to successfully see every single hour during the night. Nervous energy was obviously keeping me awake. That combined with sleeping in a different bed, I guess.
Beep beep beep. 6am arrived and I felt as though I had probably had just a couple of hours of sleep maximum. It took me back to the early days of parenthood when I would be woken countless times during the night and never seemed to catch up!
We showered and dressed before making our way downstairs for breakfast. I had brought my usual porridge from home as I didn’t want to risk changing anything. A handful of raisins and nuts added to the oats, a glass of orange juice and a pot of tea later, we headed back upstairs to make sure everything was ready. Vicki’s bag packed with everything she needed and my pockets bursting with my fuel for regular stops around the course, we set off at just gone 8am. The mass warm up was due to begin at 9:10 and the race itself at 9:30. The B&B was located 2.3 miles from the University of York, so we practically marched there and arrived in good time. Vicki safety pinned my number on for me after I made use of the (actually not too bad!) portaloos. I quickly took my place in zone 4 where I reluctantly took part in the mass warm up then slurped down my Naked Nutrition, Naked energy pre workout supplement. The nerves were really building now, but I was also excited and somewhat impatient to get going.
9:30am and the wheelchair racers began, closely followed by the elite runners. We began to move and all of a sudden, before I really could comprehend what was happening, I crossed the start line. Vicki was waiting a couple of hundred metres down from there and she shouted to me as I ran past. I was feeling good and determined to complete today’s huge challenge.
A few miles in, a high five and declaration that I am an Iceni Warrior from a Vicar, and I was still feeling pretty good. Happy with my pace and everything seemed to be going the way I hoped. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I had never run an organised race before. A couple of Parkruns (I know, they’re not races!) and that was the only form of ‘mass’ running in which I’d taken part. I’ve got to admit that the crowds really did spur me on. Hearing people shouting my name gave me a bit of a buzz and motivated me. My favourite name shouting had to be from the farmer who declared, after his wife cheered me on, “That’s a good name that, Colin; a proper name!”
I pinged a selfie over to Vick to let her know I was ok, although she was tracking me furiously on the app. Shortly after, I reached half way in under two hours and had managed to refuel sufficiently up until then. Perhaps a sub-4 hour marathon could be mine.
Mile 18 and I heard a familiar voice shouting my name. Vicki had come to cheer me on there and it was fanstasic to see her and a real boost. I stopped momentarily to give her a kiss and then continued on my way. She managed to capture me with flying feet (the ultimate achievement!) and that made me even more pleased that she was there (well, it did when I discovered afterwards anyway!). Eight miles to go now and my body was starting to tell me what an idiot I was for opting to do a marathon. I reminded my body that it was, in fact, Vicki to blame as she had bought me the entry as a Christmas present. My body didn’t care for the facts though and continued to punish me.
I almost hit the wall at around Mile 23. Remembered that I had my headphones as a backup, so I put those in and blasted out some classic Prodigy to keep me going. It worked incredibly well. Before I knew it, I saw the Mile 24 marker and then Mile 25. Shortly after that, the incline began and my body started to fight me again. But, I was so close to the end that I knew my stubborn ways would keep me going. Before going to bed, Vicki asked me what I thought I would complete it in. She guessed 4:08. The clock said 4:03 and I knew I had a little way to go, so I dug deep and pushed through the pain, finishing in 4:07 on the clock. Stupidly, I had forgotten that my chip time would be significantly less. I crossed the line with a chip time of 4:01:22. Not quite the sub-4 hour that I had hoped for, but an achievement I am proud of nonetheless.
I heard Vicki cheering my name again, so ran/walked/hobbled over to her, kissed her again (I blame the kiss at Mile 18 for the lack of sub-4 time!) and then made me way over to the goodie bag and beer area. Much to my surprise, just as I was beginning to take in the enormity of what had just happened, I was approached by two University of York students who asked to interview me. Not usually one for talking, especially in front of a camera, I accepted and quite enjoyed the experience. Maybe I will appear in front of the camera a little more for Iceni Magazine. Watch this space!
I have so much more to write about, but this is my instant reflection on the day. I will endeavour to write more again soon… when the buzz has worn off and I’m feeling a little more human.
Current status: it’s complicated (I both love and hate running right now!)