Great South Run – one year on

I just 3 days time I’ll be running the Great South Run for the second time. The 2011 GSR was my first ‘big race’ and the first time I had run over 5K in a race environment. It was the first time that I met Sandra, Chris and Trevor from Thinking Slimmer face to face and the first time I ran with Darin McCloud. It will always be a special race for me.

Me, Trevor, Darin and Sandra before the start of the GSR 2011

As I’ve started to think about preparing to make the trip to Portsmouth for this year’s race I’ve been reflecting on my year of running. Since the GSR last year I have taken part in 10 races totalling 90 miles – if you count the GSR itself that will take it to a nice round 100. Not bad going for someone who still considers herself to be a relative beginner.

Preparing for the race this year feels really different to last year. There’s a mix of nerves and excitement as there were before but this year is different. I know the course, I know how the day is organised but it’s a year on and my expectations of myself are different. Last year was just about finishing and enjoying the atmosphere and my first big race. This year I’m out for a PB and that brings a different kind of pressure altogether.

This is the first race that I’m returning to so it will be interesting to see how I get on. There’s been times this summer when I’ve felt like I’ve been making no progress at all so I’m looking forward to having my first proper marker of progress. My main aims for the race are to beat last year’s time (ideally I want to come home in under 1hr 55mins) and to pace myself so I have something left in my legs come mile 8.

Before taking part in the race last year no-one warned me about the wall of wind that hits you as you turn the corner at mile 8 onto the sea front. It was literally like being punched in the chest. Last year I ended up walking most of those last 2 miles and this year I want that to be different.

I am delighted that Darin is going to be able to make the start of the race – he had doubts in the last few weeks due to a calf injury – so we will start together, this year from the white zone – one zone up from last year and see what the race brings. We have agreed that if Darin needs to slow down then I will go on ahead. We’ll run our own races this time.

And it’s a smaller me that will be racing this year. Last year I ran in size 14 capris and a size 16 top. This year both top and bottom will be in size 12s. That’s what a year of running and listening to a Slimpod will do for you!

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