The Scribbler

8 April 2012

A running anniversary

Filed under: run — The Scribbler @ 19:29
Tags: , , ,

The North Tyneside 10k was my first ever race and every year it rolls around, it seems to mark a change in my running story. My first time, I felt nervous, lonely, out of place among all the running vests. But I finished with the hugest grin and knew I wanted to do it again.

My second time, I knew so many more people, felt at home in the crowd and ran my socks off for a PB. Last year, I was sorry not to run it, but it fell the day before my first tri, so I stood in the sunshine and watched and cheered friends, Fetchies and parkrun pals.

Me and Danielle at the North Tyneside 10k

Me and Danielle towards the end of the race. Thanks to Rob Kirtley for the picture.

This time, still conscious of coming back from injury, I offered to pace my twitter and parkrun buddy Danielle, who was aiming to get as close to 60 minutes as she could. It was a bit of a daunting task, as it would be my longest run since January, but after a good run at the Olympic Park last week, I felt confident I could run a nice steady pace and just enjoy it.

It was great to see so many familiar faces at the start, to fall in with a group of Elvet Striders (surely one of our friendliest running clubs) waiting in the sports centre. Smashing to chat to Adam on for a super speedy run and to catch up with Karen and Sue. Team Fetch was out in force, both running and supporting.

Grey and overcast, with barely a breath of wind, it was splendid running weather, and not too cold as Danni and I headed out to the start. My aim was to keep it steady, just under 10 min miling as we clicked our Garmins on the start line. We soon found space and kept it nice and relaxed, running along with Natalie from parkrun for a good spell in the first mile.

There’s a good down hill within the first stretch and then a turn onto the quayside and along by the river. Here I noticed my Garmin hadn’t started properly, so clicked it into action and just used the pace to guide me until the first mile when I lapped the timer to get roughly back on track.

Our first mile was a bit speedy at 9:20ish, but with the downhill and race rush, that’s almost inevitable. Danni hadn’t run this route before, so I tried to keep her ready for what was coming up. There’s a steep hill that bends round at the end of the quayside and then another almost immediately after up by the priory. We picked our feet up and powered past a couple of runners on the ups and made it to the top.

I thought Danni was running really well, as we recovered at the top and assured her that the rest was pretty flat, plain sailing. But maybe 10 min miles was a bit ambitious as she started to struggle at around 3 miles and needed a little break to get her breathing on track. We grabbed some water and pushed on along the sea front, with me pointing out my favourite spots.

I was trying to measure out the right amount of encouragement and push, but I could sense she was finding it hard and had to take a couple more breaks. I really felt for her, because I know how hard it is to push yourself for a time and the pressure you put on yourself.. So I said just to run at her pace, to keep moving forward and get to the end.

The skies were brightening as we got to 4 miles, and although I was pretty sure sub 60 was now out of reach, I thought we could still sneak her a PB. So I kept on moving, just willing her on and looking forward to some cheers and shouts along the links.

A couple of Go Fetchie shouts, and then there were Lesley Anne and Penny cheering us on, swiftly followed by Flip, Anna and Adam (finished and looking fresh faced and ready to run again). You certainly gave us a bit of a boost, as did the sight of the finish line and as we turned towards the lighthouse, Danni and I picked up the pace.

With 200m to go, she was finishing strongly and still keeping me at a decent sprint, so on we pushed for the finish. With me losing bait of time at the start, I was a bit unsure of our time, but sadly, I didn’t manage to get her that PB. But goodness knows, she tried.

The usual fab goody bag collected and I wandered back to catch up with my Fetchie friends, almost forgetting to collect my bag. But it was great to hear of so many good runs and a massive 5 min PB from one of Newcastle’s parkrunners. And just as nice to get a hug from Lesley Anne and a welcome lift back home and time to catch up with Penny.

My first reaction on finishing was that I didn’t feel like I’d just run over 6 miles, my longest run in terms of time and distance since January. But as we walked back over the Links, I did feel a small twinge of heel pain. It’s the last remnants of the plantar fasciitis and I’ve eased it quickly with ice and massage. But it does remind me I am still on a comeback. And as much as I long to go out there and blast out a fast run, I have to keep my patience.

So I’ll try to pick up bit of speed work, little by little and keep rolling, stretching and working with what I’ve got. And I really do hope this is the last race where I have to hold back. I enjoyed my run and it’s great to be covering the distance again, but I really miss the speed and push, the adrenaline rush of finding my limits.



  1. Great report as ever Michelle. If I can be be so bold I’d offer a tip that a wiser man gave me last year and has really improved my running. On hills, the instinct (if you’re feeling good) is to attack and go past others. Don’t. Rein it in on hills and even slow a touch. Your goal is to try and maintain a consistent heart rate and consumption of glycogen. On the downhills, that’s the time to push, more fast than you usually feel comfortable. Try it next time. Cheers Alister


    Comment by alisterrobson — 8 April 2012 @ 20:53 | Reply

    • Thanks Alister, I’m always ready to learn something new to help my running or other activities.


      Comment by The Scribbler — 9 April 2012 @ 15:20 | Reply

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