Last year, the Bloxwich Bolt, Baz Nicholls, took on the Tour of Merseyside, and had an epic week - remember his video diary?
So jealous of his time there last year, watching her friend run on her home turf, that SJT, Lady Plock, Sarah Tucker decided to jump in to the 2015 event, with Baz by her side for his 2nd year.
Here she tells us about day 1 of the Tour - Southport Hallf Marathon...
8 weeks ago, the thought of starting this race seemed a vague hope on the horizon. My injured hip, and a trail of DNF and DNS races had blown my hopes and confidence into nothing.
Then an expert gave me the go ahead to begin training again. Gently.
My interpretation of this:
Week 1 Day 1, 1 minute intervals
Week 1 Day 2, 2 minute intervals
Week 1 Day 3, 4 minute intervals
Week 1 Day 4, full 5k parkrun (with walk breaks – and excellent support)
Week 2 Day 1, full 5k, no walking
Week 2 Day 2, intervals with a sprint
Week 2 Day 3, 1mile run, 0.1m recovery, 4 mile run
Week 3 Day 1, 12 1minute speed intervals
Week 3 Day 2, hill repeats
Week 3 Day 3, Great Midlands Fun Run dressed as Wonder Woman while running with Bananaman (8.5 miles)
Here endeth the gentle re-introduction.
Here follows 9 miles of trail running, Liverpool Rock ‘N’ Roll Half Marathon and the Trail Marathon Wales half marathon. And a few parkuns thrown in of course.
So standing on the start line of this huge event I suddenly felt nervous.
Was I ready? Should I be doing this? I should be marathon fit, and I’m not.
I look around me and see my husband, Chris.
I see my fellow shabbarunners Paul, Ian and Baz.
I see my aunt, my cousin and his wife.
All there ready to run.
Of course I’m ready.
And then not – the race has started but there’s a bit of a bottleneck at the start so we have to walk a bit.
We get into a bit of space, and we settle into a pace. Me, Ann (my aunt), Mark (my cousin), and his wife (Natalie).
The course is out along the coast road and back, and there’s not a huge amount of spectator support, but because the course does double back, you pass runners going in the opposite direction, which meant I got to high five all my friends and call out support along the way.
Mark and Natalie settled into a slightly quicker pace than me and Ann, and they headed off into the distance, while me and Ann nattered about our favourite races and ones we’d like to do.
Before we knew it we were at the Bon Jovi point.
You know.. “Woah we’re halfway there....”
Oh. Just me then. Yes I sang it! Loudly!!
Another section where the route doubled up meant I was able to cheer on Paul, Ian and Baz as they were going through mile 12 – all looking good and strong.
We then overtook the man dressed as a can of Spam, and the one dressed as a mobile phone ringing a handbell. There’s nothing better than a ringing bell for ½ a mile. That MAY be a lie.
Feeling fresh still, I decided to push a bit (with the knowledge that I have 5 more races this week, I didn’t push TOO much!).
At mile 12 – I caught sight of Natalie ahead of me, and was tempted to see if I could catch her up, but decided to be sensible, and just kept her in sight instead.
Coming back into the park is deceptive – you can see the finish, but you still have a ¼ of a mile to go, so you loop round a bit.
Towards the end, one of the other runners on the Tour, Steve, called out that Chris had flown past him – I called back “GOOD!!”
Then there was the finish – on a red carpet – and there were family and friends cheering me home. Paul, Ian and Baz having all got a PB, and Chris sustaining his current form – they were all really chuffed.
Mark (carrying an injury) had survived, Natalie had equalled her last half marathon time (give or take 6 seconds) and Ann finished strongly while still smiling.
I ran all 13.1 miles with a smile and crossed the line with a massive grin.
I’d had a blast and felt good.
Now me, Mark and Baz have to do it all again – and again, and again etc... for the next 6 days.
Let’s see if we can keep smiling!!