Race #2 – Bristol

So, not quite as far for us all to go this time… The Great North Run really was quite a long way to go, just to run between two places.

Bristol is my old university town, with a lot of fond memories. To run round it, for me was very special.

The Awesome Team (TM) assembled on College Green on Sunday morning – Bristol seemed quite relaxed. 10,000 others assembled around us, and before we knew it, the Machine and the one with Lycra on bounded off to their celebrity start line (towards the front of the pack). The rest of us mere mortals joined the throng, near the back.

There were no red arrows this time, but no rain either – confidence was high, having had a full 14 days’ rest! My pace maker, Mr Carpenter and I therefore decided it would be a great idea to head off at sub-8 minute miles. A plan I quickly ducked out of and let him go on his way.

The first 7 miles head out along the Avon, under the Clifton suspension bridge… and back again. Few crowds, but as flat as it gets. It also means you get to see the fast guys coming back on the other side of the road, which meant high fives, various, across the central reservation as team members went past. Nice.

The course then heads back into Bristol City Centre, where the crowds are waiting, including our very own support – awesome families with boundless energy, who’ll never really know what it feels like to hear and see their support when you’re struggling at 10 miles.

Bristol threw in a curve ball with some small, but rather annoying hills between miles 9 and 13. They hurt, Bristol – it wasn’t really what we had signed up for. Cobbles too made for an interesting end to the race.

Everyone did incredibly well. I somehow managed a new personal best, fresh off the previous race’s personal best and the legend that is Mr P Johnson smashed 5 mins off his best time too. Most of his arms and legs remained strapped to him too and his gels activity belt did the job.

I’m afraid to say there were a few tears at the end – these things do get a bit emotional, especially when Mrs Carpenter gives you a hug. It’s my feminine side – I just can’t help it. It makes you realise how special the people are, who are doing this with me.

2 down. 2 to go – but the next one’s in 7 days and as I write this on the Monday, I still am avoiding stairs.