With no early breakfast at her hotel, Tracey was up at 6:15am struggling her way through a self prepared pair of instant porridge pots and a banana to fuel her marathon effort. She left the hotel at 7:15am but got stuck on the tube at Shepherds Bush at 7:30am due to severe delays on the line. Most of us will have had that recurrent anxiety dream about not getting to the start of the race on time, and for Tracey that nightmare was coming true as she finally abandoned the station with lots of other runners and walked 1 mile to the next tube station.
It was far from the ideal, relaxed build up to a big race, but once at Blackheath around 9ish she had time for an emotional farewell to hubby and Supporter in Cheif Michael before entering the blue championship pen. Tracey confesses to feeling a little bit special going in the pen, and so she should do having earned her place there with a good for age qualifying performance. After dumping her bags on the lorry and taking part in the traditional pee queue she was delighted to bump into Joanne Goorney from Wesham and Karen Bridge.
A few minutes chatting and catching up helped settle the nerves and then suddenly the wheelchair race set off and and it was time to take their places on the start line. For the first 5 to 6 miles Tracey ran along with Joanne, but after the red start and green starts had merged they lost touch with eachother. A green dragon and a horny red devil (only wearing a pair of red trunks) overtook her, before the slightly less odd sight of Paul Seddon and Dave Waddington came into view as they too passed and said a hello on the way.
When the 6:52 pace marker went past, Tacey made an effort to keep with him. With hamstrings and gutes beginning to ache Tracey decided the pace was too hot and dropped off the group. A roadside rendition of “Country Roads” lifted spirits and Tracey begin tio wish she was alos on that homeward bound stretch. Liz Yelling got a huge cheer when she passed on the opposite side, and then Tracey realized “Oh my God – I have still got along way to go yet!”
She carried on counting the miles down, digging in and taking on gels and water and perked up abit around 22 miles. Just like Dave Waddington the signs for 800m, then 600m put her in mind of track sessions with Wigan Harriers, (twice around the track for 800 etc).
After the race Tracey discovered a huge blood blister on her toe and the nail half hanging off. Delightful!
In her own words:
I would like to say a big thank you to my Hubby who supported me and gave up his sundays runs with his friends to follow me on the bike on my 20 and 22 mile pace runs.