I had the funnest day on Saturday.
I started with a whip round my local parkrun before getting my glad rags on to head off for a Michelin starred 7 course tasting menu (more on this soon). Afterwards we caught Far From The Madding Crowd at the cinema (loved it) and scoffed popcorn. We didn’t get home until 9pm so I made myself a yummy dinner plate of soft boiled eggs, salad, blue cheese, oatcakes and anything else I could find in my fridge.
I went to bed at a decent time knowing I had a big day ahead of me with a belly full of joy.
I’m training for a race with my friend Travis and Run Hackney formed part of my training run, so Travis joined me on the way there and we enjoyed exploring a new part of London whilst the streets were still empty.
A few miles later Travis and I arrived in Hackney, after the poor boy had dealt with me bitching and moaning about needing the toilet for about two miles. “How do you feel about going in a bush Steph” “This is not a bush kind of toilet visit” I replied. Sorry Travis. Talk about TMI.
I spent the time between arriving at the start area and 9:15 in the queue for the toilets, getting pretty stressed which probably didn’t help matters. I should have been spending this time finding my Run Dem Crew family. Lissy found me in the loo queue after most of the runners had gone and pretty much got a mouthful of profanities from me.
Finally at quarter past nine. I headed off, I thought I was going to hate Hackney Half marathon, I thought it was going to be an immensely boring route. But boy was I wrong.
In between finding all the possible toilets on the course and those in lovely cute cafes and those in the velodrome I had time to enjoy the scenery. Running past Netil market which looked cute and in need of a return visit and through the Olympic Park was a joy.
The best bit of Hackney Half Marathon was the support. I suspect being close to London Marathon helps, Londoners get a taste of cheering and want more! But there were pockets of cheers all round Hackney, from youngsters holding out high fives to twenty somethings drinking on roofs.
Thanks Hackney, you helped me through. But the cheer I was waiting for was the Cheer Dem station after mile 10. If Cheer Dem hadn’t been there I think I would have given up during one of my toilet stops but I just wanted to get to them, if I could get that far there wasn’t far to go. I heard cheer dem before I could see them, just at a time when I was feeling pretty low. The thought of the moment I’d been waiting for finally arriving became overwhelming and I was sobbing as I turned the corner, I could see some of the crew on ladders, I could hear mega phones but I couldn’t think of how I would get through the three miles after them.
I started waving for them as I ran up the slope towards the crew, I needed them, I needed this moment. As I approached the noise ERUPTED. Ellie was screaming at me telling me I could do this, just ahead of the cacophony. I couldn’t pick out anyone’s face, or hear any particular cheer, my eyes were too full of tears but as you can see above they became tears of joy. I think Cheer Dem at Hackney and the concentration of people actually trumped London Cheer Dem or maybe it’s because this time I needed you guys – and you were there. I’m welling up thinking about it. These are the moments when it is affirmed that we are a crew, a family, a community and certainly not a running club.
I’ll spare you the rest of the details, I made it to the finish line. Not in my expected time, not in any sort of style. I got panicked by the crowds who seemingly didn’t want to let us out of the finish funnel. So panicked that I called David up and started sobbing down the phone that I just wanted to go home and the people of Hackney wouldn’t let me. I think the poor boy thought I was being held hostage. Instead of joining my crew I took my grumpy and sorry self home. Past Becs – who tried to have a conversations with me, sorry! David coaxed me into a shower with promise of a roast and I became myself again whilst eating the biggest pig belly I’ve ever seen – even the landlord was surprised I finished it.
The goody bag was excellent but come on Vitality, I’ve run three of your races this year and binned all the T-shirts, the Small’s are HUGE. [Image Courtesy of Gareth]
But I tell you what Hackney, I’ll be back and next time I’m going to do you properly.
So just to recap
– Don’t eat stupidly late the night before a race
– Don’t eat hugely rich foods the day before a race
– Don’t let yourself get dehydrated
– Don’t run a race when you have a bad tum, it’s not going to improve from running.
Has your tummy ever played havoc during a race? I know Lissy’s didn’t play fair during London marathon.
Do you avoid any foods the night before race day?