Sunday, 15 September 2013

Oggi Oggi Oggi, Pace Pace Pace, Oggi Oggi Oggi, PB PB PB!

All the chit chat in the days leading up to my 7th GNR was about the expected rain and gale force winds, however it turned out to be excellent running conditions.

On arrival at the start area at 9am, the clouds were bubbling up but it didn't rain. After many wee stops on the way down the Central Motorway I met up with a bunch of friends and chatted until it was time to enter the pens.
Pretty dam good photo
This year was a bit different as I was pacing my mate Vixx around. The plan was to go sub 2:23 so I had my Garmin charged and ready and the mile splits tattooed on my arm with the aid of a permanent pen. (it's still visible!)
It seemed to take bloody ages shuffling down the motorway to the start line but eventually it came into view.
I seductively took my old tracky jacket off and flung it over the fence. It was bloody cold; I can tell'ya!
I've always started on the left carriageway but as Vixx always starts on the right I joined him. After all, the elites start on the right so if it's good enough for Henry Gebrselassie and Jo Farah it's good enough for us! Running on the right means there aren't as many opportunities to join in or instigate an Oggi Oggi chant so as soon as I was under a flyover I let rip my second loudest Oggi Oggi of the day! Brilliant. I love it! :)

Over the Tyne Bridge and onwards to Heworth roundabout, we kept a steady if not slightly faster than planned pace but pacing the first couple of miles is tough. The amount of runners, hills and weather were against us but by the sharp left at mile 6 towards South Shields we were up by a couple of minutes. It's good to have a cushion to fall back on as mile 10-ish is a twat as it's a slog uphill.

The weather was blustery in places but nothing too bad and the 'bad' rain still held off. My feet were wet though and from mile 3 I had a bloody blister between my toes. From mile 10 it was head down for Vixx and grit the teeth. Walking was never an option for us; a PB even by a second is a PB so that was our aim. Before we started he told me he didn't want to know the mile time splits; just if we were on time and if we needed to speed up. I knew we should be ok as by mile 10 we had a good 7 minute cushion but 10 to 12 miles is a right old bugger.

Running through South Shileds I overheard a woman saying "it's a bit quiet (the crowds)" So I let rip with my biggest OGGI OGGI OGGI of the day. :) I'm pleased to say that the runners replied! Sometimes you just can't be arsed with an OI, OI, OI reply when you're 10 miles in! The best thing was another runner past me on my left and said "cheers, I really needed that!" :)

The course drops down severely onto the sea front just before mile 12, followed by a sharp left then it's just a smidge over a mile to go. I told Vixx we were doing good; just keep the pace steady and the PB was his.
At 800 metres I picked the pace up a tad and he was right behind me.
With 200 meters to go he left me for dead sprinting off to the finish. I said "bloody hell" under my breath and weaved and skipped between the crowd like a gazelle to catch up. :)

I was chuffed to bits for Vixx bagging a PB by over 7 minutes finishing in 2:20:17. I finished in 2:20:20.

For me I was very pleased. That was my longest run since October 2012 and my previous long run was 8 miles about a month ago. My did 3 miles 5 days before and that's pretty much it.

I mentioned a few posts ago that I was unsure whether to wear my Saucony Fastwitch as they are quite sparse on the cushioning and wasn't sure how I'd get on over 13 miles. They were spot on. Running a half marathon in them is no problem and goes to show that sometimes not listening to the 'experts' in the running shops and running in what feels comfortable and right for you is sometimes the way to go.

So then, will I be doing my 8th Great North Run in 2014? You're goddam right I will! :)


  1. Thanks again Mick. 7 minutes up at one point you say..... :D

  2. Another great write up Mick and well done on your new Pb Vixx