The Big L
The nerves start to kick in the moment I wake up early ready for our drive to Liverpool. I’m taking part in the Liverpool Tunnel 10k run which I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time, the idea of getting to run through somewhere that I normally wouldn’t be allowed seems awesome. Luckily I packed last night and am pretty well organised so we set off on time. We meet my folks up in New Brighton who have come along to cheer me on with Sarah and had also offered to drop me off near the start in Liverpool.
We drive through the Wallasey tunnel where I would be running in just a couple of hours, my head filled with so many thoughts. I hadn’t really trained as much as I probably should have done but really wanted to improve on my time from Market Drayton. The conditions for the race seemed a little better than for Market Drayton, I really don’t like running in the sunshine as I simply get too hot and then the run becomes tough (even in the bad snow and sub freezing temperatures we had earlier on this year I only wore a vest and jogging bottoms to run). Market Drayton had been tough as I had learnt a valuable lesson about race pace, in the excitement I had started off too quickly, trying to keep up with the pack and had really suffered from it later in the race.
Despite getting dropped off near the start line, I still manage to get a little lost but get talking to a fellow runner who soon points me in the right direction. There’s an amazing sense of camaraderie amongst the runners who are all happy to chat, finding out if this is their first time running Liverpool 10k, what time they’re hoping to finish in. Everyone’s got a story and it’s nice to just chat and forget about the race for a few minutes. There’s less to see and do here with the starting area comprising of a booth playing music, a coach to take the bags to the end and loads of portable loos. The crowds are overlooked by some modern flats and we see glimpses of the people who live in them as they line up on their balconies to cheer us on.
I begin warming up pacing the area and doing various stretches partly to warm up, partly through impatience to start and partially to calm my nerves. Very quickly, it’s time to line up and the almost three and a half thousand people are huddled together all eager to begin. This part of the race has always felt like when I used to go on stage, it sounds daft but the nerves really do start to set in as you prepare for what you know is coming. I choose to start from about two thirds of the way back from the back of the crowd to try and stop me from trying to pace myself with some of the faster ones.
All too soon and the countdown begins and the gun goes off, we slowly make our way over the start line onto the streets of Liverpool. I’m aware that I really need to pace myself but am steadily overtaking people, the streets are nice and wide and it gives us lots of space to get around people.
The kilometres pass and all to soon we’re making our way onto the tunnel approach making our decent under the Mersey. The air is really warm down here and I’m starting to regret wearing my new running jacket which very soon ends up around my waist. We seem to go down for what seems like an eternity only making fears that the incline is going to be a struggle. Before too long though we reach the bottom and immediately begin the climb back to the surface. It doesn’t seem nearly as bad as I had feared, maybe it’s because i’m pacing myself or maybe because from halfway you can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel (see what I did there ??).
Emerging from the tunnel and its obvious the weather has taken a turn for the worst, the rain’s coming down now although it’s very welcome. Down in the tunnel it was very warm so the rain cools me down somewhat. People on the overpasses taking photos and waving certainly help to boost my motivation as does the water station which is just around the corner. Very soon I’ve completed a loop and am running along the seafront towards New Brighton. It’s still quite a way off and the straight section seems to go on forever. Luckily markers every 100 metres countdown my journey to the finish which really does aid my spirits.
It’s the last few hundred meters now and I’m sprinting as fast as I can trying to get the best time possible. I see my Sarah and my folks in the side cheering me on and that only makes me run even quicker. I cross the line in 53 minutes and 7 seconds and my legs instantly turn to lead, I’m trying to slow my breathing down and feel phyiscally sick for a few moments. A few second’s later I’m walking along in the crowd picking up my T-shirt, medal and goodie bag. I’m ready to collapse and feel in a complete daze.
I meet back up with my folks and sit on the side for a few moments just catching my breath. Elation hits me and it suddenly catches up with me just how well I had done, I’d shaved a decent amount of my Market Drayton time regardless. A little later on in the afternoon after a well deserved cup of tea and a drive to Blackpool and the nicest ever fish and chips (see below)I recieve notification that my actual time to complete the course was 51 minutes 23 seconds, I finished 1082nd out of around 3300.
So there you have it, thanks for reading and thanks to all of those who’ve donated to my next big race the Lake Vyrnwy Half Marathon which I’m running once again for Severn Hospice. If you’d like to donate some cash you can do so by clicking the link below. So far we’ve raised £170 … a great start but I really want to reach my first target of £250. If you can spare even just the price of a pint you’ll be making a huge difference to such a great cause !!
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