May is a glorious month because of the Bank Holiday and because of the races. The last May Bank Holiday saw two races take place over two days. The first was the Westminster Mile and the second was the Vitality 10000. This post is all about the Westminster Mile and tomorrow I will be posting my race recap over the longer distance.
Of all the races I have run and distances I have plodded over, the mile distance is something I have never raced in proper race conditions. Yes I have run timed miles before, and you can read about those here and here, but a proper race with a medal at the end and Lord Seb Coe at the start?! Never and I couldn’t wait.
I was given a free race entry bib through my friend Elle and Runners World. It was my first mile and I couldn’t wait. The race was starting in between Green Park and St James’ Park. The course would take runners along The Mall, down Horse Guards Road, along Birdcage Walk and then finish just outside Buckingham Palace.
My wave was starting at 12.40 in the afternoon; probably the latest I have ever started a race. When I reached Green Park there were already so many people who had completed their mile. I saw medals everywhere and this did nothing for my pre-race nerves. I must have checked at least six times to see if I had missed my wave accidentally.
Thankfully my paranoid checking always told me the same thing; my wave was starting at 12.40 and I would have to be patient. ‘Patient’ is not my middle name, or first or last, and it was torturous. However it was definitely easier to waste time when I became completely lost in Green Park trying to find the start. The signs were perfect until they weren’t and I had no idea where to go. Finding the start definitely helped to pass time and after that being patient was easier than stressing out.
My wave was started by the one and only Lord Seb Coe – I may not agree with his politics but I will always love him for all things athletics and London2012. I had a little fangirl moment when he started counting us down!
With mile races there aren’t really any race plans – at least not for me. Start fast, minion the speed, and finish faster. I probably started off too fast thanks to the speedsters in my wave and my general excitement. I tried to maintain it at much as possible, knew I slowed down during Birdcage Walk and picked it up at the very end. It wasn’t my latest mile (I finished at 7 minutes 41 seconds) and to be completely honest I really wanted it to be faster.
My speed has almost completely vanished and I am not quite sure why – that’s probably something to talk about in another post.
What made everything a lot better was that I knew I pushed myself completely – I left nothing out on that course, the Buckingham Palace finish, and the medal I was given at the very end. The sun was shining, my hay fever seemed to be under control, and there was nothing as glorious as the Palace in the warmth. The medal was also ridiculously beautiful – I have completed much longer races with really substandard medals in comparison to this one.
I headed home with a grin on my face and a spring in my step; it was a great day and a great race.