Running the Rock n Roll Liverpool Half Marathon further emphasised to me two of the many 'bi products' to running. Completing the race enabled me to explore another new city which I had never visited before, and also strengthened my friendship further with one of my running buddies. I didn't do too badly time wise either...!
During my time in Liverpool I was lucky to be staying in a family members flat, which was literally 2 minutes from the start and finish lines of the Half Marathon. This obviously didn't mean I just rolled out of bed to the start line, but did mean the stress of getting there to begin with was removed. My friend and I still arrived a little too early though, and there was enough time for us to notice the strong, cool wind coming off the dock. Standing in the start 'corrals' it was also clear how much the Rock n' Roll series of running events had a international following. Spanish, French and American runners all surrounded us, and many runners were also bearing old Rock n Roll race t-shirts from around the globe.
I strangely was not too nervous at the start line, unlike my friend who was running after a good six weeks of being out injured with a stress fracture. Having done extremely limited running in this time, and definitely not anything on paper that would resemble half marathon training, she was feeling a little anxious! We started together, although I didn't expect to run the race together at all - but we did. As we wound our way through Liverpool my friend stayed by my side and we shared the joys of the route together.
The start of the Half Marathon takes in the centre of Liverpool, including running past the famous Cavern Club. The route then takes a bit of an incline, including one hill in particular which is rather steep and long. One runner sticks in my mind who at the bottom motivationally shouted to us all 'its only a hill!', followed by a few moments later adding 'its a bit of a b*****d hill though!' The route then leads on through a serious of beautiful parks which seem like hidden gems, and also includes a little trip down The Beatle's very own Penny Lane. The fact that live bands were dotted around the course seemed just an added bonus to the route!
The hardest part of the race came at the final 5km. This long stretch along the dockland was where that strong, cool wind made its presence felt. Up until now I had felt really good running, the tiredness in my legs was minimal and I certainly had no niggles. My pace had been a little fast at the start of the race, but had steadied to a consistent level.
The head wind now bearing onto us made steps feel harder though, and people around began to struggle. I used this as my motivation to keep going, picking who I deemed to be a struggling runner ahead and aiming to catch up with them. At one point along this stretch I thought I was going to lose my friend, I upped the pace a little and suddenly she wasn't by my side. She soon returned and we then vowed to cross the line together.
As we headed into the last kilometre it suddenly became me who looked like was going to be left behind. My speedy friend started to surge for the finish, something I would never do with a kilometre left to go still. But I knew I had to keep up. I hung in there, a fact which has told me I need to have more confidence in my legs during the final stretch of a race, and we crossed the line as planned, hand in hand in 1 hour 49 minutes. How my friend did it I don't know, but I am just glad she did.
With a wonderful race and finish time behind us, not to forget some very 'bling' medals - we spent post race enjoying the bars of Liverpool. I forget to mention that other running 'bi product' - you can drink and eat guilt free!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...