Don’t Call it a Comeback! Nike’s We Own The Night: May 18th

Saturday. Night. Owned. So much has happened over the past 8 weeks in the world of Lycra. Training began in earnest having signed up for my first race since the ill-fated Royal Parks last year, I discovered the power of social media in getting (and staying) motivated with Team Pretty Fit (thanks Sophie!) and FINALLY joined a running crew (RDCWest). 
(From L-R) Jade, Cara (me!) and Charlie clocking 8km in Notting Hill 
Come May 18th, I had  found a whole host of new running mates, which made the longer training sessions in the lead up to the race that much easier, and added to the the massive buzz pre-race.
This whole experience was completely different to my previous medal hunting expeditions. As most of my mates are not massively into running, the races themselves and the training, were generally fairly solitary experiences. Wake up, race, take a few pics, and go home with a few very kind words of encouragement from close family and a few friends (always appreciated from your nearest and dearest don’t get me wrong!). But this was next level stuff. 

From Friday night to Saturday afternoon, my timelines were jammed with words of encouragement, meet up plans and ideas for various after party madness. By 3pm I could barely sit still, never mind, RELAX pre-race as we all know we’re supposed to do.  Needless to say I have everything set up and organised hours before I needed to head off to Victoria Park. Such a control freak running geek. Not going to fight it any more!

Neon-tastic race shirt and spangly lyca

Getting to the race was easy enough,but  finding everyone was a different matter. As everyone was wearing the orange shirts it was very hard to see who was who ion the sea of neon tangerine. The bag drop queues were very long and no spectators were allowed in the runner’s village (massive oversight, and lots of complaints). The running ‘pens’ weren’t very clear and there was a fair amount of confusion about what the orange/pink band actually meant!

But the atmosphere was almost as electric as those neon shirts, with over 3,000 women all getting ready to smash out 10km BUZZING.

Runner’s Village. Cushions – Comfy

This buzz reached fever-pitch  pre-race when guest star Paula Radcliffe came on stage and announced she’d be running the 10km too. How often do you get the chance to say you shared the tarmac with an Olympic legend and all round heroic individual?! Spectacular.

However, I was very disappointed with the questions Nike/Elle asked Paula on stage. From what outfits/ kit she liked best (does new kit motivate you?) to what make up she liked to wear while running (she doesn’t bother, funnily enough). Personally I thought these were really lazy questions at best, and bearing in mind we were here to RUN, not pose in kit and try on lipgloss, it would have been much more useful to have heard more about motivation and  training techniques from such a huge role model. Not whether or not waterproof mascara features in her pre-race kit. FFS.

PAULA!! 

But a little bit of rage isn’t a bad thing pre-race, something to add to the adrenalin to get my pace on! The first few km were very congested as ‘orange’ was hugely oversubscribed and turning around some of the tighter turns had some of us coming to a complete stop. That and the fact my lycra was not staying put, meant I didn’t get out ahead as quickly as I would have liked. But by 4km, I had turned up the waistband to add a bit more grip, and found my rhythm.

That and Cheer Dem Crew (boys from East and West!) were out in full force and gave us all the lift we needed – you guys were AH- MAZE- ING.

By 6km I realised my dreams of getting a sub 60 min time were a tad unrealistic. I was averaging 6 mins 10 seconds per km and I was not getting any faster. Certainly not fast enough to make up the time required. So I settled into that pace and gunned for sub 1:05 which would still bring me a new PB. One hour Two Minutes and Thirteen Seconds after I started, I sprinted over the finish line (and nearly tripped up… but lets hop they didn’t get that on camera)

Post race atmosphere was hectic to say the least. There was no race medal which was disappointing (a very flimsy woven bracelet? say what?) and a lot of congestion at the finish line. After queueing again, no-one could find my bag for 20 minutes as the bag drop was absolute chaos. Thankfully I waited so long, it was nearly clear by the time I threw a strop and they allowed me into the area to find it myself (!).

But other than the admin/ logistical pit falls (always to be taken into consideration with a new race) it was brilliant to meet the RDC ladies from East as well as catch up with the ones from West I hadn’t seen along the way. Loads of PBs, first timers and amazing race stories across the board. Whoop!

Christabel Rose and myself: NIGHT OWNED
So, a new PB, new running mates, new goals and even a neon T-shirt to show for it? Not bad for my first race in 6 months! And screaming quads aside, I’m looking forward to RDCWest tomorrow and getting another 10K in the diary ASAP. 
ONWARD!*
*and this time a sub 1hr 10K (please!)

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