A little jaunt around York

I signed up for the Yorkshire Marathon months ago but due to injury had to swap to the 10 mile. That is an achievement, who would have thought that I would “only” run 10 miles because I was injured ?

My race number

I had planned to stay in York the night of the marathon but changed my mind and booked a room for the night before. There were only 2 Lakers staying in York on the Saturday, me and Rachel, we were staying in opposite directions so spent a nice couple of hours checking out the shops and looking for spots along the route. The excitement and nerves were building, I was having serious doubts about whether I could actually complete the distance. Rachel was doing the marathon but she seemed very calm.

The day before, running sign hunting.

York Minster.

The pub I stayed in advertised food so I headed down to the bar only to be told that they weren’t doing food that night. I was having a drink and chatting to the barman to find out where was good to eat when I heard my name being called. I didn’t think they were actually talking to me until I looked over and spotted and very old friend, by old I mean ancient (sorry Gaz).

Gaz accosting me in the pub.

I headed back into the town centre and went in the first pub that advertised food and was given a nice table in the corner. I ordered from the 2 course specials menu and had what I think was one of the best burgers I’ve ever tasted. I was stuffed so I just chilled in my little corner while I finished my drink.

I would definitely recommend the Royal Oak in York.

I headed back to the pub and watched the rugby with a nice pint (of lemonade). I won’t say any more about the rugby but I will say that York is a good place for a lone female. Not once did I feel uncomfortable, even when the annoying regular kept talking to me.

My room.

I had to buy some instant porridge because even though breakfast was included they had a late start and it was too late for me to set off. I do not like instant porridge made with water but I forced it down because I knew that I would not be able to run 10 miles on an empty stomach.

The walk to the university was nice, if a little bit scary at first. The route planner on Google maps directed me down a footpath and I wondered if it was actually the right way having been fooled by Google maps before. It was quite a pleasant walk, away from traffic and though trees and a nature reserve. I saw a couple of other people but not one serial killer tried to get me. The trees were very calming and I managed to enjoy the walk, especially when I came around a corner and saw a hot air balloon.

I arrived at the university and found my way to the meeting place, there were already quite a few fellow Lakers there. The nerves really hit hard then and I turned into grumpy Binnsy. I used my favourite pre race phrases frequently (I don’t even like running, I hate mornings, why I am here ?) I think most of the Lakers are used to my morning strops by now.

Lakers assemble.

Soon, it was time to wave off the marathoners and the 10 milers loitered around for a little while before we made our way to the start line. Time for a last minute toilet stop and then I was swallowed up by the crowd. I set my watch to run for 10 minutes and walk for 2 minutes which worked for about 3 miles then I just walked when I wanted.

I don’t know where this was taken but the lack of tomato face suggests it was quite early in the race.

The first stretch was downhill, yay. Just before the city walls I spied my first friendly face, Holly Button. For those who don’t already know Holly runs the South Leeds Sisters, my first running group.  I ran with arms outstretched for a hug, Holly went in for a high 10. Fortunately we managed to co ordinate before any damage was done.

Not far after that was the 1 mile mark and more supporters from Team Woods (I think). We were almost into the centre of  York then and the crowds were getting big again, the noise just carries you along. Just before Parliament Street I spied another friendly face, Sylvia, faffing with her camera on her phone. I had to wait ages for her to get it going again, I did not use it as an excuse to have a rest. No really, I didn’t !

Not resting, nope, definitely not resting.

Passing York Minster was very noisy, I heard my name but wasn’t really sure if they were just reading it on my number. Not far after that I had flashbacks to the delicious burger from the night before, I ate in The Royal Oak. It’s a lovely little pub and I felt quite comfortable eating there alone and the food was fantastic. Shortly after that we hit mile 2 and a hill, I hate hills, even the teeny tiny hills of York. More flashbacks as we passed the hotel I stayed in. It also crossed my mind that I could have stayed in bed and just sneaked in at that point.

The 2 mile marker at the bottom of the hill before my hotel.

Before the race I strapped my ankle up and it had been gradually working loose so at mile 4 I used the post to hold on while I removed the strapping. The last thing I wanted was a blister on the top of my foot. Sorry to whichever marshal found the pink leopard print compression bandage and had to pick it up.

The rest of the way was pretty uneventful. I ran alongside a few other ladies who were run/walking too, we kept each other going.

Too fast for the camera.

At mile 5 the marathon runners went off, I didn’t see any, they were long gone by the time I got there. Around half a mile later they joined us again, by this time they had done 16 miles more than us. This was just before their 22 mile marker. They tazzed off in front making it look so easy. Along the way through the villages we were offered a variety of snacks and drinks. I was jealous of the spectators sat in their gardens and stood outside pubs with nice cold beers.

Next year I will be too knackered to stop and take a photo of this.

The last stretch was pure hell, we had to go up the hill we had run down at the start. There were lots of supporters cheering me on, both friends and strangers and I kept running up the hill. I knew they start was not far, not realising that the finish was not in the same place as the start. That last bit was the longest, I kept telling myself that the finish was there, and there, and there. Eventually I crossed the line, I’ve seen the video, it wasn’t pretty. I collected my goody bag and medal and spied the free “beer”. The alcohol free beer tasted exactly as I expected but I drank it anyway, I was thirsty.


Hot, sweaty feet and alcohol free beer.

Post race frizzy hair and tomato face. I actually got a little bit of sunburn, in October ! It was a gorgeous day.

Sat on the grass in the sun I was brought back to reality with a bump by the sight of armed police. I was pleased to see them knowing that we were being looked after but sad that they needed to be there.

For the first time I had a massage immediately after the race, an experience I will be repeating after every race. No tight calves for me, everything else was sore and tight but I had an appointment the lovely Dalia from Chapiteau Massage to see to that.

The usual post race hydration session started in the nearest pub, we were gradually joined by the marathon runners as they came in. The blister and bruise show and tell session started, fortunately I escaped any damage apart from the usual sore muscles. I have to keep reminding myself that this pain is like the pain I used to get after a session with running club but this was 10 miles. 10 bloody miles ! I really do amaze myself sometimes. I have already signed up for the marathon next year.

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