My goodness, where to start? How do you describe the sheer brilliance of 10,000 women descending on London and turning a cold damp evening in to sparkly party of epic proportions? Yeah, We Own the Night was pretty epic...and not just because I scored a PB!
^^ race kit ready to go...I like to coordinate ^^
It is no secret that I'd been looking forward to this race, after putting in eight weeks of training with the team at Nike I was psyched to see what the night would hold...even though I did have a few reservations about the weather...just a minor fear of being cold/wet...luckily excitement kept me warm in the end (that and the great warm up led by Geoff Bagshaw from Equinox).
^^ getting warmed up with one of my favourite friends Becca ^^
Nike's disco fairies had descended on East London's Victoria Park, transforming a perfectly nice, but pretty ordinary, London park in to a pixie wonderland of light and sound (although maybe we will gloss over the smoke machine...not the greatest idea) centred around a festival like event village complete with food trucks, beauty stations (all races should have a ready supply of hair ties and grips) and the all important bar (race mantra - think of the prosecco). I don't know how I will go back to 'normal' races having danced my way through light tunnels and past DJ's, bands and pretty light installations!
Bobbing up and down in the green start pen (sub-1hr 10k) I didn't have any specific race strategy in mind, I wasn't really expecting to score another PB after last week, and really just wanted to take in the atmosphere and have some fun! I plugged in, took a deep breath, and trotted over the start line. Hitting my stride I kept an eye on my pace using Nike+, aiming to stick around the 5.30 mark (didn't do too bad, my average pace was 5:37 in the end), but ultimately focused on enjoying the ride, the kilometres (complete with glamorous light up markers) flew by and I was buoyed by the amazing support along the route (thanks Run Dem Crew, I felt the love!). Before I knew it I was within sight of the finish line, picking up to a sprint, dodging people with nimble ease (all those weeks of running down Regent's Street had paid off, my weaving skills were second to none), crossing the beautiful finish line with a massive grin! It felt amazing!
^^ disco drink, a PB and a best friend...the best type of race ^^
Walking from the finishing line back to the event village I was buzzing with excitement, Nike+ showed my time was 56 minutes. 56 minutes! That's more than 90 seconds faster than last week's effort, something so unexpected and so exciting! What was also exciting was being handed my lovely Alex Monroe finishers necklace, as well as quite a few other lovely goodies (I am rolling in Vita Coco...) along the way. Nike does do excellent goodies.
The necklace is really rather pretty, a delicate chain (in some cases too delicate, I hear there have been some breakages already) with three teeny discs celebrating the evening. It is nice to have a race memento that's a little bit different, and that I will wear again.
^^ I need to show some love for my hoodie, it's amazing ^^
At this point I have to give a shout out to the lovely lady who gave me my disco drink. You see, I was waiting to catch up with my lovely friend Becca and became a little fascinated with the drinks the girls next to me were holding - I mean who wouldn't be draw to a disco drink! Very kindly, one of the girls had decided she didn't like said drink and offered it to me, which was brilliant because the beetroot and kept me hydrated, while the light up ice-cube got the party started!
Drink acquired, and Becca located, we headed off to explore the event village, dropping in to the Elle tent just in time for a fan girl moment with Paula Radcliffe. I love Paula, she is brilliant, I have absolutely no shame, my review of her autobiography is pretty much a love letter. It was a real idol moment, I was pretty giddy. Becca was even more giddy, maintaining that she beat Paula by crossing the finish line before her (we are ignoring times for the sake of the story, ignorance is bliss).
Adoration of Paula complete, it was time to grab a glass of bubbly and throw some stunning shapes - Becca and I have moves you cannot imagine, years of practice at uni in Bristol really refined our double act, which is only surpassed when our friend Emma gets involved too...but enough of that. It was a pretty good party!
We Own the Night is more than a race, it is an event, and one that was impeccably pulled off by Nike. Under normal circumstances a two lap race of an East London park could be a bit meh, but Nike managed to turn it in to something special - quite the feat!