running blog


Great South Run

Nothing ever goes exactly to plan.

On Saturday afternoon I grabbed my garmin to lend to my family who were off to try a new cycle route.  No battery power left! Just as well I checked, at least I know to charge it for the race.  Then I realised I had brought the wrong charger.  Disaster!  I can’t run a race without my garmin! Does it stop you being able to run?  Well, actually no… err … um…yes… how do I know what pace I’m running? Don’t suppose there’s anywhere on the IOW that sell garmin chargers separately?  Didn’t think so… Advice from twitter was to ‘run so it hurts!’ Eventually I followed advice for plan B to use runkeeper on my iPhone.

On Sunday morning I travelled to the race from the Isle of Wight by hovercraft. (Well I was excited!) and very handy too as it delivers you straight to Southsea Common within easy walking distance of the race start.

 I had plenty of time to queue for the loo and drop my bag off at the leisure centre before making my way to my start area.  Although we were standing there for  a long time it was sociable and I passed the time chatting with the people around me.  It was particularly amusing during the warm up, jumping jacks are not a great idea when packed together closely!

Not long after the start I realised that Runkeeper was not giving me any feedback on pace and distance.  I thought I’d mistakenly disabled the audio cues so removed my earphones and carried on regardless, assuming it was still recording OK.

I ran at the pace of the group to start and then fell into my comfortable pace. I had completely no idea of actual speed apart from what I could work out using the old traditional method of analogue watch and mile markers. (Not knowing the precise start time on my watch didn’t help!) I was conscious of not starting out too fast and  If anything I was running slower than I thought.  No bad thing.  After the first few miles I started to overtake at least 3 or 4 people each mile to help me maintain my pace and not slow with the pack.

My official split times of 29.08 at 5k, 58.08 at 10K and 1.27.56 at 15K  show that my average pace at each was very close to my overall average pace of 9.24 min miles indicating I ran a pretty evenly paced race without the help of modern technology.  Yes, I would have liked to have run at more like 9.00 pace but in hindsight I would have then really flagged at the 7 to 9 mile point and my aching legs and limp sprint finish indicated that I ran my best race on the day.  Who needs a garmin?!

I do actually.  I was very disappointed to find Runkeeper had stopped along the way.  So no record of a race ran and no nice map and mile splits and statistics to download.  What Runkeeper did record was my first mile at 9.32 into Portsmouth Old Town before a 4.26 min/mile sprint somewhere (the pub?) before it stopped!

I really enjoyed the race.  There was a fantastic atmosphere and freed from the need to look at my watch every few minutes I relaxed and loved running through scenic Portsmouth and Southsea.  The amount of support was amazing and there were some brilliant groups of drummers and bands.  Yes I was overtaken by a crocodile, a donkey and Superman but not by Percy Pig!  And my claim to fame is overtaking part of Pompey FC while they lapped up support from the locals.

Great South Run, Bupa!  I’m coming back for some more next year!