Running for royalty. Sort of.

  • By Alison
  • 4 November, 2010
  • Comments Off on Running for royalty. Sort of.


When last we spoke I was training for the Royal Parks half marathon – well, the big day has come and gone. I find it hard to talk about though, hence the pregnant pause between my last entry and this one.

The bald fact of the matter is that I was beaten by both Ernie AND Bert. And an oil drum. And also The Stig.

It’s a hard truth to face – I was completely unable to overtake two men wearing fleecy head masks representing two of my favourite Sesame Street characters. They must have been sweating like devils, but they kept pace. I knew they were still in front of me, because Bert was about 7 foot tall and I could see the fluffy top of his head, and people kept shouting to him that Ernie was ahead of him.

The oil drum I took on early in the race and left behind me with an easy stride. But only a mile later I realised he was nudging forward beside and and had soon got a good heading on me. I closed the gap again and went past head held high but again he fought back.

This went on for 8 or so miles until he finally pulled himself well forward and I lost track of him.

In my defense however, his “oil drum” was thin polyester jacket lining strung around a hoop. It’s not like he was running in the real thing.

I didn’t see The Stig at all, but I know he finished in front of me as I approached the finish line and heard the announcers hooting with delight that he was just crossing the line.

Imagine that – this guy ran 13.1 miles wearing a motorbike helmet. His facial features must have been so cooked he probably had 3rd degree burns. If he had cauliflower ears to start with all you’d need would be cheese sauce.

I have no idea if he was wearing a matching formular one pants suit, but if so then it’s highly unlikely that he’ll ever be passing on the seed of life unless it’s for pizza topping.

Had I tried to run in a get up like that I would probably have drowned in my own sweat and been hosed off the street by the cleanup crew.

So anyway, personal affront aside, I actually ran pretty well. If you remember, this was the second half marathon I’ve ever done, the first being 11 years ago, and oop north.

Back then (pre children) I ran 13.1 miles in 2 hours 16 minutes. So I thought a good target would be 2 and a half hours. And I hoped to do it in just under that – and with luck, about 2 hours 20 minutes.

But on the day you don’t run in the same way as you do while you’re training. Firstly, you need to keep up with the crowd, so you end up running a bit faster. And then – if you’re me – you have to run like you drive, and overtake everyone in front of you. So I did.

My nike app lady told me that my run pace was 9 minutes per mile, which was 2 minutes faster than my training pace, so I knew I was going faster than normal.

And also – the queues to the toilet were so long that I didn’t go, so I needed to wee from the first mile. I was hoping to reabsorb it! And so I ran fast to get to the loo at the finish line quickly!

I was slightly worried that the increase in speed might mean a complete and utter collapse (potentially accompanied with a mental breakdown or a total paddy!) mid course, but I managed to keep up the 9 minute miles for 5 miles, then my pace dropped to 10 minutes per mile.

Bert and Ernie were pulling away from me. Disaster.

My pace went back to 9 minutes per mile, and then I realised that there were only 3 miles to go. I had totally lost Bert and Ernie, and I wanted to find the oil drum and trip him up, so I picked up the pace on the 11 mile marker.

Then my nike app lady announced that I was apparently pausing my workout. WHAT? Half a mile was spent trying to tear my iphone holder off my arm and turn the workout back on. I was so sweaty that I couldn’t get it back up onto my arm afterwards, so ran with it on my forearm instead.

The last two miles also switched out the water tables and replaced them with percy pig tables. Small pink sweeties were shoved towards me, and I took them for the sugar burst. As a non veteran runner, I was unaware that shoving a whole percy pig in your mouth is likely to choke you, and the damn thing sticks in your teeth and is unchewable. I wasn’t the only one to give up on old percy, as I also finished the race with several percy’s stuck to the underside of one shoe which I could NOT dislodge (and thought was dog poo until I inspected later). I was doing a running shuffle trying to wipe off the lump on the grass for some time, but it was to no avail. It was like running on one kitten heel.

Despite the percy pig situation I did the last 2 miles in 7 minutes per mile, and didn’t even catch up with the damn oil drum. But I did lose all feeling in my legs and feel like I was walking on rubber!

The wonders of technology mean that as soon as I ran over the finish line, the little chip in my shoe sent my finish time off to the Gods of running, who then texted me my final time.

Which was a crowd pleasing 2 hours and SEVEN minutes!

Beat that, Bert and Ernie! Oh no wait… you did.


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