Roughly four weeks ago, Steph and I signed up to the Vitality London 10,000. We had been looking for races to do before our marathon in October. We wanted to see how our training was going and what kind of shape we were in. It was Steph’s suggestion, but I had heard lots of good things about it from Twitter and if we could work out the logistics, I definitely wanted to do it.
With us both living away from London we decided to get the train on the Sunday (as the race was Bank Holiday Monday) and stop over in a hotel. This meant that we couldn’t do the mile race on the Sunday, but gave us time to relax and get our things prepped ready for Monday morning.
My train journey from Worcester to London was ok, although the train was really hot and stuffy and the man opposite me kept staring at me! We also got stuck at Slough station for around 20 minutes because there was a piece of rubber stuck in the train door. It’s always eventful when I go anywhere. I was meeting Steph at Liverpool Street, which meant I needed to get on the Circle Line from Paddington. Simple right? Apparently not. I ended up getting on the circle line the wrong way and ended up at Edgware Road, one stop along the line. I got off and got onto the City Line (the right way – I know!) and finally made it to Liverpool Street where I waited for Steph to arrive.
I started talking to Steph around a year ago on Twitter and we met up to do a park run in Birmingham in August. We have been friends ever since and she’s definitely my bestie. We always have the best time together and we text and tweet each other almost every day. I cannot remember us not being friends. We have met up a few times since our park run and have many more exciting things planned for this year.
Steph had the details of the hotel and once she arrived at Liverpool Street we worked out the route we needed to take to get to our hotel. Our hotel was in Westminster, it was called the Grange Rochester. We had chosen it as it wasn’t too far from the race start – we didn’t want to have to be going on the tube before the race. We got off the tube at St. James’ Palace (I let Steph take control of the tube as we all know I end up going the wrong way!) and Steph programmed the address into her maps app on her phone. We started following the directions, hoping we were going in the right direction and then Steph’s phone froze. At that it started to rain and we headed for shelter under a tree so we could have a closer look at the directions. I used my map app and we then realised Steph’s maps app had taken us completely the wrong way! We were by Westminster Abbey and Winston Churchill’s Statue. Our hotel was Vincent Square. My map app kicked in and huddled under one small umbrella we headed in the direction of the hotel, taking one of two wrong turns along the way and a stop off in a shop to buy water and Lucozade to keep us nicely hydrated. (If only we had waited we went past a Sainsburys which was steps away from the hotel).
Finally at the hotel, we checked in and headed to our room. It was really really nice and only cost us £56 each. We had tea and coffee making facilities, although it posed an obstacle for Steph getting into and out of her bed. This was good for us making our porridge in the morning. We unpacked and got our race kit ready, pinned our numbers on and made sure we had everything. We laid our kit on the bed to take the obligatory pre-race kit photo. Steph said that my photo looked like we had put two bodies on the bed. I promise it was just our race kit!
With our kit all ready (and removed from our beds) we headed out to get some food. Steph let me navigate us from our hotel back to St. James’ Park tube station as we had seen somewhere to eat near there. Although once we got there we realised that it was closed. We were having the best time but it was like a comedy of errors. We couldn’t stop laughing in between talking. I have to say it is so much nicer to experience a race build up with someone else, especially your bestie. We found a really nice Italian restaurant, after retracing our steps from earlier and rejecting a few places to eat. We had homemade garlic bread and then I had lasagne (sooo yummy) and Steph had a huge chicken salad which looked amazing too. We were very good, although I wanted wine and Limoncello, we had a large bottle of water with our meal, and we had already had plenty of water before leaving the hotel.
After our amazing food we headed back, Steph followed my lead – it appears I can navigate above ground, but underground I haven’t a clue! We got back to the hotel and I realised that I hadn’t done my 10,000 steps for the day. Steph also wanted some pineapple. We headed back down the road to Sainsburys to get our fruit fix and so I could reach my 10,000 steps. Once back in the hotel, we ate our fruit, had more water and looked at the race magazine to know the final details. We set our alarm for 7am and then went to sleep, hoping we would get a good sleep.
I slept through a thunderstorm, but managed to wake Steph up when I made a loud noise in my sleep. I had been dreaming about people breaking into our room and trying to steal my ipad and I was fighting them. Of all the things to dream about!
We woke at 7am and Steph was on porridge duty – she was much more prepared than me and had bought porridge pots for us both to have. Porridge eaten, more water drunk and numerous trips to the loo and then it was time to put on our kit and tie our yellow ribbons in our hair. We checked out of the hotel and left our bags there and headed off to the race village to meet Carl, Andrianna, Hannah, Lil, Caroline, Martin, David, Alex, Carl’s dad.
It was really lovely to meet people from twitter who I have spoken to for ages! It was good to put names to faces. We realised that Alex was in our pen and were talking about times, we all wanted similar times (Me, Steph and Alex). We then went and wrote our goals in the vitality tent and then I said to Steph that I really needed the loo. We headed back to the others, said good luck and headed off to join the massive loo queues. I have a bit of a thing about portaloos. I really don’t like them. But I realise that they are a necessity at big races with the amount of people taking part. We managed to join a shorter queue and as portaloos go, these were actually ok. They had plenty of loo role and there were people going around and refilling them. We then headed to our pen and bumped into Alex again (he is so lovely!) we were chatting again and we decided that the three of us would start together. I don’t think we decided on a pace, but we wanted to start off slowish and then get quicker. I had pace on my watch and I took up the role of pacing us sort of by accident. It was quite crowded at the start and I found myself weaving in and out of people. Steph and Alex were following me and we started off at a slow pace, but I knew we could get quicker. My legs felt good and it was fab to have Steph and Alex running with me. I couldn’t tell you anything that we ran past, because that part is really a blur (possibly because I wasn’t wearing my glasses and also because I had suncream in my eyes!). At the first water station I was on the wrong side and couldn’t get to the water, but Alex very kindly went to the water station and got water for the three of us. It was so kind of him. I held onto my water just in case – it’s like my comfort blanket when I’m racing. We ran negative splits for the first 5k which is what we wanted and we were on track for our time if we could maintain that pace or go quicker. It was so humid which really took it out of me. We ran past Carl and his Dad and waved and shouted hi. I have no idea at what point that was, I was completely unaware of anything we were passing by. It was the weirdest thing.
We got to around 7/8km and I was really struggling, my legs felt heavy and I said to Steph that I didn’t think I could carry on at that pace. Steph kept telling me that I was doing great, to keep going and keep pushing. She took over pacing us. We lost Alex at the 7/8KM point (I think) but we were both hoping that he would get the time he wanted. I remember Steph shouting at me saying we were going past Downing Street, but again I have no recollection of actually seeing it! I do remember going past Winston Churchill as Steph joked about us seeing that yesterday. I seriously don’t think I could’ve kept going if Steph hadn’t pushed me. She believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. We edged ever closer, but the last 2kms seemed to go on forever. We got to Birdcage walk and Steph told me we were nearly there. Although I remember her saying it was the longest piece of road she had run down in the marathon. I somehow managed to keep my legs moving. Steph was a few metres away, she told me after that she was doing that to keep me going as quick as I was. We got closer to the line and Steph shouted at me that we had one minute and to run. I saw the finish line and tried to get my legs moving as quickly as I could. I thought we had one minute until 1:15, in fact it was about a minute until 1:10, which would be a new PB for me. Steph knew I really wanted to get under 1:10 and she kept me going all the way to the line. I crossed the line with Steph, we stopped our watches and then I realised the time. I looked at Steph, we hugged, smiled and then I broke down in tears. I literally couldn’t believe I had gone under 1:10. I pulled myself together and thanked Steph for getting me there. She really is the most amazing person I know. We ran negative splits as well!! And I not only got under 1:10, I ran a new 10k PB and a new 5k PB as well! Wow!
We went and had our timing chips taken off and collected our finishers bags. I took my medal out of my bag and placed it over Stephs head as a way of saying thank you and she did the same to me. We then took a photo of us with our medals and headed off to find space to stretch and take on some water. Stretching complete, we tried to look for Alex but we couldn’t see him. We then headed off to collect our bags from the hotel so we could grab food before we had to head home. On our way back we bumped into Rohan (not literally!) and had a chat to him. Was so good to finally meet him after so long. We had a brilliant photo with him – a really fab memory to look back on.
As is customary, we now try and have a Pret whenever we meet, and this time was no different, we collected our bags and headed straight there, still in our running kit, proudly displaying out medals and our huge smiles. A lovely couple in Pret were asking about our run and said well done to us, as did the guys who served us. All too soon we had to head home (sad times) but we had a plan – we would do a long run together in 2 weeks and also look for more races to do before the marathon.
We had to get onto different tube lines and once again I was useless – I got onto the wrong tube train and then had to work out where to get off, luckily I was heading the right way. I really shouldn’t be allowed on the tube on my own.
All in all an amazing experience, made even better having my bestie there.
- Amazing medal
- Love the t-shirt – I proudly wore mine to kettlercise the next day
- The race village was amazing – although we didn’t have time to get a massage
- Plenty of water in the race village
- Portaloos had lots of loo roll
- Great support all the way
- Loved the route even if I don’t really remember too much about it
- Loo queues were sooo long
- We were in the last pen and missed the minutes silence as we couldn’t hear anything through the speakers
- The road was narrow in places and made it hard to pass people
- Some people were unaware of people trying to pass them
- It was really hot – maybe another water station
Will I be back next year? Hopefully, depends if it fits into my plans for next year (not sure what they are yet) but I’d definitely recommend it.
My marathon training is off to a great start. If you would like to sponsor me, visit the link below. I am raising money for the Matt Hampson Foundation by taking part in the Birmingham International Marathon on 15th October 2017. Please sponsor me at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/KimberleyJMiles