Eyy yo. Second event of the year is done, and my hammies feel just about back to normal now. Hills hills hills.

This is the third time I’ve done this run, and the first year it wasn’t raining. It started off as a two mile fun run in 1977 (apparently Great Britain’s first ever fun run don’tchaknow – set up by wor own Brendan Foster who went on to establish the Great North Run like a canny lad) and eventually as the old factories, warehouses and industrial bits and pieces closed, were razed, and roads rebuilt, morphed into a 10K race that takes you from Gateshead International Stadium down to the riverside (now the Quayside; I live on the Newcastle side :D), past the Baltic Mill gallery (formerly a flour mill), past The Sage (an amazing spangly new music venue), past or underneath six of the seven bridges over the Tyne river (the seventh is just a couple of miles further down), and then a quick turnaround and back along the river, along a quiet path, and then…

Slog on the Tyne.

Which is just a hill, really, but it’s a short and steep one and if you’re not prepared it will do a number on you, simply because it’s a nasty sharp hill at the end of a lot of upsies and downsies. At least at the halfway point a man from local radio shouts your name as you pass to go back up the slope you just came down 🙂

g10kelev

I’ve marked the start of the toughest bit, the final push up and over Slog. My hill training paid off quite well, and I was really pleased that I didn’t stop or slow down too much and managed to keep it going over the top, past some spectating blokes (one of whom told me well done and I managed to say thank you so that was cool) and on to the entrance to the stadium and the finish.

Nerdly Techniques: Stupid Smelly Hills.

  • Do NOT lean forwards or bend over if you can help it.
  • Keep your back straight, head up, and eyes pointed towards the top of the hill but be cautious of stray gel wrappers and runner snot underfoot; you’re going to need some grip.
  • Keep your feet underneath you and in line with your center of gravity, or rather don’t try to stride outwards to get up the hill, push up and forward so the push comes from your calf rather than your quads. Save those for cushioning the downhill 😀 Try to grip and push using your toes and balls of your feet so that your heel doesn’t pull your calf down; they may not be prehensile anymore but you can still use them to scramble and push with your toesies.
  • Shake out your shoulders, keep your arms relaxed but bent, and pull them up with each stride to get some momentum. Also it feels pretty damned boss. Don’t swing them back, just let gravity do that while you bring up the next arm.
  • As you get to the top don’t slow down, but push over the top so that you leave the stragglers behind. Try not to holler “LATERS!”. If only to save your breath and avoid nasty looks.

And you’re done! On to the next! Blaaaagh.

I finished in 57 minutes, which I was pleased with, but I could have done better. I was a little too keen on the first set of downhills for the first four kilometers, but bringing my own water meant I could skip the scrum at the water station just before the halfway turnaround. But hey, it was a warm day, a busy course, and for some reason the firemen with their lovely cooling hose was at eight kilometers instead of six like last year.

It would have been lovely to get a spray down after the halfway point because it was pretty humid and warm, although slightly cooler than Manchester only because we’re slightly less inland and running near a body of water, but an additional shower point or water station would have been nice. I filled in a feedback form and mentioned it, so maybe next year if it’s another hot one.

Finishing the course in a stadium is fun, especially as to get into it you have to run past a load of speakers blasting the theme from Chariots of Fire at you with the sound of cheering, applause and commentators playing over the top. A bit corny, but when you’re knackered and just want a lie down and maybe an ice cream later it’s weirdly emotional.

Speed up over the line, ooooh track feels nice and spongy underfoot, over the timing pad, done. Collapse slightly, reassure the helpful St John’s Ambulance chap that you’re fine, say thank you, stand up again and keep moving. Get finishing pack, say thank you. Get water, say thank you.

Oooh, red!

medalandshirt

And there we go. Next up is the Northern Frontrunners LGBT 5K in a couple of weeks!

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