Well how did it all come about....
I did this race a couple of years ago and remembered all those bits today. The things I love, i.e. flat course, lots to see, loads of support and Mo Farah and Jo Pavey running at full pelt to the things I hate, i.e. the 'safety officials' with their high level of self importance, the fact they try and start cramming you into the pens up to 45mins before the race and those commentators that quite frankly ruin what could be a nice quiet morning in Green Park.
I met up with an excited child called eatingtrees who was bouncing off the walls with positivity for this race and sat on the grass looking at the clouds and wondering when I'd have the courage to take off my jeans and go with the shorts. Then the sun came out and BOY did it come out. Another reminder of the race a couple of years ago when the heat was a killer. A quick chat with Dianne, and separately with Adele, Edward and Hector and it was off to dump our bags we went.
I was in 2 minds about this race. I hadn't run for 2 weeks due to a painful left knee and couldn't decide whether this was genius or stupidity. Would I crash and burn? Quite possibly but I also felt confident that if I didn't and the knee held, there was a PB chance. I didn't honestly believe it would be sub 50 though. Because of the lack or recent training (although I had been running prior to that plus plenty of miles on the bike) I had decided on a strategy for this race. One I had never tried before. This is what I emailed eatingtrees prior to the race.
"Incidentally, my current plan for BUPA (which I have never tried before) is push from the start and see what happens. No taking it easy and seeing what happens. No resting in case the knee hurts. Just say fuck it and see how long I can run at 5min/km pace and hope I don't crash and burn."
Some would say bold. Some would say stupid and I was well aware those 'some' could be right but I felt that for this race, it was my only option.
One thing I have learnt doing these London races is that you can't let yourself get held up for the first km. That can easily add 2 minutes to your time so when our Blue A group started, I just went. I had no idea that eatingtrees was hot on my heels with the same 'don't get held up' theory as me but with a first km of 4.45, it obviously worked although I panicked a little as there was no way that pace would stick.
Eatingtrees had eked in-front at this point but I knew that I just had to stick to the pace and any time I started feeling myself slow, I just pushed on again. Kilometres 2 and 3 were both 4.45's too and by the time 5km came up, I was shocked to see I was well inside the 50min pace at 24:49.
Just after that I had caught eatingtrees again and we ran the next bit
This was it. I could actually do this. I turned into Horse Guards Avenue and then right onto Whitehall. I knew Mrs HMC and the Boy would be at the top of Whitehall so I kept an eye out, shouted a hello and then turned for The Mall. This bit is longer than it looks and seems to take an age but by just keeping focussed on pushing on and checking the watch, I ran over the line, looking like I'd been shot in that new magic PB. Hardly any time at all later, eatingtrees came across with a massive grin, with his arms out like an aeroplane looking 30 times better than me. Oh yes, the knee... it was absolutely fine apart from one little twinge. I don't know what all the fuss was about.
The safety police who had nothing better to do than piss me off, insisted on keeping me away from Mrs HMC and the Boy for a good 30 mins by closing all the relevant points where we could get together but after walking half the length of London, we were joined again and along with eatingtrees, Adele, Edward and Hector, headed into SoHo for some well deserved Mexican food!
What a race, what a day. Now I just need to figure out if I'll ever be able to go faster!