Great South Run- a long recap!

(You have been warned)

Hey! Thanks so much for the best wishes- stick around for a very long recap of my weekend! First of all, despite getting out my race kit to take photos, for some reason I packed my mp3 player and Nike+ away when I put everything else in my bag, so they got left at home. Whoopsie.

So here is how the weekend went:

  • Drive to Southampton. Realise I forgot my Nike+ etc!
  • Get some lunch, then Andy went to the football while I did some shopping.
  • Got tired so went for a rest in Starbucks. Tried a soy chai latte (I had a regular one before and found it so sweet, and one of the guys working suggested it was the milk..) anyway- it is amazing!
  • Go for Nando’s with Andy (not sure if this is the best pre race fuel? I had a veggie wrap and sweet potato mash for some carbs!), then spend at least an hour wandering around IKEA- since when did they swap mini dime bars for their own version???
  • Go to hotel and get everything ready for the morning. Re-read the race information over and over.
  • Get up and dressed and leave with plenty of time (we were 20 mins away). Spend over an hour and a half in a queue of traffic. Eat breakfast (clif bar) in the car. Not impressed with the directions in the leaflets (follow the signs, er, what signs?? The only signs we saw were signs saying “Great South Run, congestion possible”, oh and one to follow signs for the waterfront which we could not do as the road was closed) then at 10.30 park in a town centre multi storey.
  • Run to the start- 2 miles away! We passed the 2 mile marker on our way (and the 3 mile, and the 5K, but they loop around a bit). Ask marshalls where the bag drop is- they don’t know. We can’t work out the map. I did get a bit worked up here and start crying as we heard the first wave get sent on their way and we could not even work out where to go- we were just in a field of cars.
  • Andy went to the bag drop while I went to the toilets, then had to find my way to the back of the last wave (I missed my wave as I was in the toilet).
  • At last the race started (I went over the start line at 11.20am)- I found it hard to judge my pace, plus loads of people walked before the first mile marker- sometimes due to congestion but other times just because these were the back wave so expecting to walk some of it.
  • It drizzled a lot so my glasses kept fogging up. At one point I managed to spill nuun all over my glasses when I was trying to clean them and juggle my water bottle!
  • I enjoyed the run, it was really flat, there was lots of support and some bands on the way around, although at mile 8 I could hear the tannoy announcing the runners who were at mile 9 which was a bit painful- especially as there was a fairly brisk wind blowing into our faces at that point.
  • 800m to go- start to sprint. Realise that 800m is a long way to sprint, so just try to overtake as many people as possible.
  • Cross the finish line- yay! No idea how long it took me? Apparently there were results available immediately but I could not see where.
  • Get my bag, put on my foil blanket. I have always wanted to have a foil blanket after a race- it seems hardcore you know? I did not even get one after my marathon!  Once of my life’s ambitions ticked off! Oh and put on my medal.
  • Eat an Eat Natural bar from the goody bag, then wander around and try to find Andy. Yup, in my panic we had not arranged a place to meet- he said “oh it will be like Stockholm and there will be a big finishers pen“- well, no it was not like that!
  • I wandered around for ages, then went to see if I could find the bag drop in case he was there- I could not find it still! I think after about 20 mins I found him! Phew. Seeing as neither of us had our phones and I had no idea of the way back to the car it could have been much worse!

  • Walk back to the car- still proudly wearing my foil blanket (and medal!)
  • Change in the toilets in the shopping centre (I did bring a towel and was prepared to do some in-car gymnastics to change as I did not fancy wearing my sweaty running clothes for the journey home) and here is where the fun began.
  • We got in the car at 2.25pm. We sat in a queue of traffic in the car park. Nothing was moving.
  • At 3.30pm I went to get us a Starbucks as we were both hungry (all we had eaten was a clif bar for breakfast and the cereal bar in the race pack).

  • My new-found love- a soy chai latte, plus a cinnamon roll. That was a rather late lunch and I do not think anything has ever tasted nicer!
  • At 4.30 we were still sat in the queue of traffic. I kept getting out to look but we had no idea, it really was a total standstill and it was meant to be shutting at 4.45pm.
  • Finally someone came to direct the traffic and we left the car park at 5.15pm. So we had spent nearly 3 hours in the car park- we were hoping to be home by then.
  • More bad luck- someone drove into the back of Andy’s car when we were sat at traffic lights waiting to get onto the M25- luckily it does not seem like they did any damage (poor him, he only bought it a few months ago).
  • Finally get home just before 8pm (dreaded Sunday evening traffic) – quickly make dinner and have a shower while it cooks.
  • Ah, that is better.

Later on I checked my time and I was super excited- I was aiming for 1 hour 50, but what with all the walking and ducking and weaving I was not optimistic- I had no idea how long it took me. My official chip time was 1 hr, 49.31- so I made my target by 29 seconds! That sprint at 800m to go was well worth it!

We got a pretty good goody bag- t-shirt, medal, that scary coloured drink, a few cereal bars, shreddies, mini toothpaste and mini deoderant (and you know I love mini things), tea (I love tea too!)…

Anyway, I am glad I did it- I think I prefer the smaller races, but the atmosphere at the start line and with all the people cheering was really good. Plus I managed to raise over £250 at the last count, all for Cancer Research. 🙂 Thanks for all the sponsorship 🙂

Today I had a rest day, as my hamstrings are quite tight- I did stretch a lot before I got in the car, but I suppose all that sitting down did not help that much. I have some yoga pencilled in for later.

Oh and tomorrow I will be announcing the winners of the giveaway!

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13 thoughts on “Great South Run- a long recap!”

  1. Congratulations on beating your goal time – that’s brilliant 🙂
    It sounds like the race was a bit badly organised – well done on not having a complete breakdown. Sitting in traffic is so frustrating, especially if you’re tired and just want to get home!

  2. Super Huge Congratulations to you that is fantastic to beat your projected time – WOOOHOOOO 🙂
    I’ve heard nightmare stories of leaving post GSR before but DANG, 3 hours in the parking lot!!!!!! OUCH!

  3. I love your epic recaps 😀

    It sounds like such a difficult day – I’m very pleased you achieved your time goal, as there were so many stressful other things going on. I would have flipped out having to wait that long to escape the car park – I am very surprised and disappointed that Bupa would organise things so poorly, because all of the Bupa runs I’ve ever done have been brilliant (GNR, Great North 10K). Such a shame. Glad it didn’t spoil the day in the end though!


  4. Wow, congratulations on the time! Sounds like a nightmare apart from the actual race; it’s so frustrating when poor organisation lets down events like that… and it must have been so horrible knowing you were late and not being able to find it 🙁
    Congratulations too for raising so much, brilliant – and the foil blanket rocks!

  5. Congratulations on beating your goal! Really impressive stuff!

    I ran the GSR yesterday too and I didn’t think the organisiation was that bad. I think that the corrals/starting areas were a bit chaotic but the bag drop was really well-run although I agree it wasn’t clearly sign-posted. Did you read the magazine they sent you with your race bib? I found all the details about bag-drop etc in there. But maybe I just found it easier because I’ve been to Portsmouth sea-front before? I’m so sorry it wasn’t a great experience for you 🙁

    I wish I’d known you were coming to Southampton! That’s where I live- we could have met in Starbucks for a latte! Maybe next time 🙂

  6. Marijke- we could have met up! Next time for sure! 🙂
    Yes I did read the magazine, but it said things like “follow the signs for the car parks”- it did not suggest any particular ones to use. And we had the race day leaflet with us, but it was not a “real” map you know? I had never been there before so I suppose if you knew the area the map might make more sense. Ah well it all worked out OK in the end!.
    Eleanor- thanks about the blanket- the important bit!
    Jessica- I think it was more the local council (although it would have helped having marshals who knew where things were!).
    Lara- yeah I think it was more to do with something else (a fuel spill? or something?) but yeah it was a nightmare!
    Sarah- thanks 🙂

  7. Laura- yes the lattes are yummy! Think it is so much better with soy milk as the normal milk made them really rich.
    Shaman- thanks- yeah the 2 mile run was not the best start haha!

  8. A huge well done on your run time. You must have been really chuffed considering all the trouble at the start. It’s a very good job that you left yourself plenty of time to get there.

    I still have my foil blanket from the London Marathon. It’s never even been out of it’s packet as it was far too hot to need on the day! I’ve had lots of use of the poncho though!!!


  9. Lauren- yes it was mental and if I wasn’t laughing I would have been crying!
    Rose- I actually threw the blanket in a bin- I think it was probably a bit sweaty haha!
    Rachel- hooray for the chai latte too! 🙂

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