View from the Back
Vicki Milburn's Blog
I am back! Injured but never defeated. Due to spraining my ankle at the Lizard Trail Race, I needed to take a short break so it could heal. It was touch and go whether I would be on the start line for the Sunderland Half. The big decider was Parkrun on May 6th.
This was a highly significant Parkrun for me as the outcome would determine if I was going to do the Sunderland Half. As it happened, to my great relief my ankle held up well. It was a fairly slow Parkrun after not running for a week. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable morning at Redcar Parkrun.
Sunday morning came early. Too early if anything, I struggled to get up. After the usual long run prep of Vaseline, deep heat and beet-it, we arrived for the start in Keel Square. I had a lovely time catching up with friends and runners we know but rarely see. After cheering Carolyn and the other 10k runners over the start, it was my turn.
The half marathon had 1000+ fewer people than the 10k but the start line atmosphere was just as lively. I was near the back from the start but I am happy with that, there is more space there. I never see the point of starting at the front when I know I am slow. The first 5 miles went quickly and on target. There were more loops than a roller coaster in the first few miles. I settled into an interval pace and headed out towards Grangetown. The next 5 miles started well. I work on a slower time for miles 6-10. Negative splits are a long distant dream for me. As the run headed into the bridge and followed the 10k route, I seemed to run into a glass wall.
For the last 4 miles, it was hell. Every part of my body hurt. Every interval run got harder and increasingly slower and shorter. Walking got slower. Heading up the hill at Roker Park felt like a very long slow slog. At the top, my mum was cheering me on. The Roker Park loop seemed endless. On reaching Dame Dorothy Road, my spirits increased as that was on the home straight. Crossing the bridge again, Carolyn was there with her camera. The photos aren't pretty, I looked totally wrecked.
On the sight of the finish line, I somehow found the strength to run, in a fashion. I was well beyond sprinting! To say I was relieved at crossing the line is an understatement.
I was disappointed in my time of 3:07 but wear the finishers t-shirt with pride. I really struggled to get over the finish to wear that!
Now it is time to look back at possible mistakes and how I can improve them. I had no means of interval timing so I maybe got those wrong. I also need to look at changing the intervals in the second half when I am getting more tired. I am not dwelling on the time, though it really hasn't done my Run Britain handicap any good. I just want to make my next half marathon, Edinburgh, better.
My name is Vicki, 40 something runner, living in Sunderland. I've been doing running events since 2011. I do a range of races, parkruns, Great Run Locals, monthly miles, charity fun runs and various distances. Over the last few years, I have taken training more seriously. I am a member of Newcastle Frontrunners.