Still deciding which pair of trainers to wear at 6am this morning, left ones or right ones? Pronators or Neutral, New or Old? I know which pair of pants I will be wearing, which bib, which vest (Sheffield Running Club of course), which pair of socks, (miles and miles to go) and which pair of shorts. It’s just the shoes, should I wear wellies instead? Not needed the sun had risen far too early despite my tweet to tell it to go back to bed. You either ran today or you didn’t. If you didn’t you missed this…
OBSESSED is just a word the LAZY use to describe the dedicated. – Author Unknown
The race began at Don Valley Stadium, home to Don Valley. The race ended some 13.1 miles later at Don Valley, home to Don Valley.
The usual fiasco with not enough toilets was just about the only downfall of this race. But hey us runners expect to queue for 6 hours for a wee, that’s why I got up at 6am this morning.
After meeting up with the club guys for some general chit chat I made my way onto the track to warm up and got scared of everyone who looked so pro and that they were going to beat the s^&%s out of me. Ok compose yourself compose. I lined myself up just below the 1.45 banner I can do this I can get a sub 1.45 I can, and bumped into Etienne a fellow Sheffield RC runner who is a tad bit faster than me on the 5 milers but this was his first half – ohhh you brave man! So we stuck together as the gun went off and crossed the start line bang on the same time, and the story continues…
The first 2 miles took us on Brightside, always look on the bright side of life rather than on the Attercliffe side as you may fall off it into the sea, although Sheffield isn’t on the coast. These two miles was a bit fast, the 2nd one below 7 minute mile. Cheers from the club guys supporting the runners – thanks guys!. The route carried on to Park Square roundabout which is a complete contradiction in itself, how a roundabout can be square is beyond me unless whoever invented the roundabout invented it before the circle or the wheel?
At this stage it took on a bit of the Great Yorkshire Run route I had really had it, how was I going to get up Commercial street and then run another 9 miles or so. With fellow club runner Etienne by my side until now he was ready to push on I managed somehow to patter on after him but still grinning. Part of my first gel was consumed the rest splatted on my face to ensure my BP and sugar levels were regulated in addition to looking like I had been in a war (raspberry I believe) and on I Ran.
Run with passion, live with passion, and feel with passion
Next Sheffield highlight was past work (its Sunday people please) and on to Sheffield United football ground, I hear they are not doing that well? Well well well. I needed water and wells produce water and just in time as there was another water stop just outside the footy ground. Which dumb arse of a big car parked right at the corner as we turned up onto London road? Hello we are running a half marathon here – now shift it. Down London road didn’t lead to London thank goodness but took us further into this amazing journey around Sheffield. Lovin’ it folks, loving it. *big grin*
Up and round and up and round and up and up and up as a fellow Sheffield RC girl ran past me, with a nice greeting. Just at the turning of Ecci road, (that’s the long road with the great support for those not in Sheffield) I heard my name called, someone who I used to work with (and who used to run for the club) – aww that got me going, and I started grinning again. All the really fast runners were bombing back down Ecci road at this time I gave my support to all my fellow speedy club runners who looked so strong waving them on, I wish I could run like you guys you looked great!
Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm
And Ecci road was amazing, the atmosphere was indescribable, the band was playing, the crowds were fantastic and kept me going up the road to the turn around as that is a slight undulated uphill. Just slightly we are in Sheffield my friends. And that my other friends was half time, but in running we don’t get half times oh no we get halfway only so on I went with Etienne still by my side, sometimes in front sometimes behind but always there, keeping me going. Going back down Ecci road was just as brilliant with everyone shouting out words of encouragement. At the “Waitrose” roundabout we didn’t have to wait luckily as we had to pass under the underpass with runner signs telling us to go under. Duck.
Back up the back of town and round Devonshire Green which was interesting and meant another Gel intake to get me up the hill as I could feel my BP dropping again, shame Devonshire green didn’t involve a cream tea as we could have headed into Cornwall, and a Cornish pasty wouldn’t go amiss although the race didn’t take us up to the Henderson’s Relish factory. What a shame. And Henderson’s Relish goes so well with Cornish Pasty. I felt quite strong now and zoning out and really enjoying it. This is what is is about. yey!
The philosophy of running is the philosophy of holism…to function as you are supposed to function, to achieve your personal best – George Sheehan, M.D.
Back through downtown through the peace gardens with another “go Sheffield running club” shout out to myself and Etienne as we were still running the same pace. Peace love and understanding folks, and then down towards the crucible (snooker loopy nuts are we, or should that be running loopy mad are we?) A WTF came out of my mouth as we were directed underground to the Crucible car park – what an odd route, adjust those eyes now. I was feeling OK now and bounding along downhill this time, down down down down commercial street which is not an advert, back round the square roundabout, it’s a park you know apparently. This is when the stitch hit me hard, and I swore again, but ran through it, stitch you will not defeat me ever, die stitch die. Sponges at the ready, I have never experienced sponges before on a run so this was new territory for me – you gotta try things once, so I did and it really helped. More encouragement by the club supporters kept me going with a little cheeky grin to go with it. Thanks Dave and Debs.
My body takes me from A to B, but the real journey is in my mind.
10 miles, the inevitable 10 mile mark where I expected Etienne to whizz past me but we stuck close together marking each others pace, and that kept us both going, breathing deeply taking in that oxygen getting those lungs working, getting that energy to those muscles, come on we can both do it. Through the industrial part of Sheffield. What is Sheffield famous for? – Steel what my legs are feeling like – Steel. Steel I am a piece of steel and I can keep going I can. I am steel, I can keep going, Someone shouted out my number “Go 2231” aww bless, if it hadn’t been at 11 miles I would have called that cute!
Now I always thought the Sheffield Half went up Attercliffe Road but no, always look on the bright side of life really came into play as we went down where we started off the Brightside road instead, past the post office, and up towards the arena overtaking people who were walking, I can do this I can, another 1.5 miles to go and another great shout out from the club supporters telling myself and Etienne to give it one extra push.
From experience of doing Race for Life before I knew this takes you round the top of Don Valley before back into the Stadium, I had lost all concept of the crowds and for some reason got a bit of an extra wind, and pushed through the top which I normally struggle with at a 5km race, yet here I felt quite determined and raced past a few people over the last 400m to bring home a time of 139.20, whilst Etienne niftily out sprinted me by 1 second.
Running is a road to self awareness and self reliance. You can push yourself to extremes and learn the harsh reality of your physical and mental limitations or coast quietly down a solitary path watching the Earth spin at your feet.
But, when you are through, exhilarated and exhausted, at least for the moment everything seems right in the world.