I’ve missed racing this year!! It felt so familiar getting set up this morning. Standard pre-race breakfast, peanut butter on an english muffin and a banana.
I laid out my clothes this morning for the race, having looked at the weather forecast. What I failed to think about was the shoreline breeze. It was cold!! I wished I was wearing a windbreaker, although the Merino wool did keep me quite warm.
The drive took about two hours, and we parked in the free car park before making our way over to the start line (via the loos). Our race packs didn’t include safety pins, so we had to find some and attach our race numbers that contained our chips. As I was running, I saw a lot of runners with their race numbers on their back. I was sad that no-one had told them to wear them on the front so they could identify themselves in the official race photos!
My friend bailed on running the half marathon yesterday, so I was running it just with three speedy boys. They were aiming for times around 1.45! Er, not exactly my pace so I ran on my own.
I know that I didn’t train for this half marathon correctly, far from it. I was secretly hoping for a PR with a time of under 2.10 (my PR from Portsmouth last year was 2.11). My splits from my 10 mile run the previous week suggested that I could do it but I was worried about my endurance, and about the hill at mile 3.
And I was right to be worried about hill.
There was a long gradual incline just before mile 3, I slowed down a little and happily kept running. At the top, I thought the hill was over and thought they had overreacted about the incline! Unfortunately the hill was not over. Around the corner was the steepest hills I have ever seen in a race!
I slowed to a fast walk, hoping to save my legs for the rest of the run. All around me people were walking. And the hill just kept going, and going and going….for a mile! At one point the 2.15 pacers overtook me, and I knew that the chances of a PR were slipping away.
But what goes up must come down. And I managed to pick up the pace substantially to overtake the 2.15 pacers (there didn’t seem to be a 2.10 pacer but two 2.15 pacers running separately- weird!) Once we got to the bottom of the hill, and made up some crucial time, we ran along the waterfront. We were running into a huge headwind. It was really pretty and FLAT!!
From mile 5-7 we ran along the waterfront, before cutting off and running through some residential areas. At this point I saw the winner running towards me! Lapped at mile 7! He was well out at the front of the pack, and I cheered as he run past.
The course was very loopy and we seemed to go round in circles to make up mileage. It was quite annoying and made the course a little boring. The worst part was the final stretch, where we ran almost part the finish line, but had to do an out and back! I had already picked up the pace by then and didn’t want to back off so really pushed myself to the end.
I finished strong in 2:06:56 – PR!!!!! WHOOOP! So pleased with myself.
Here are my garmin splits;
Mile 3-10.12- long slight incline
Mile 4-11.59- walking up the steepest hill ever
Mile 5-8.28- coming back down the hill
I was thrilled with my time, but now I am hungry for a sub 2 hour half. I know that with a great training cycle and a flat course, I could do it.
I don’t think I would run the Eastbourne half again though, for a smaller race they had plenty of marshals, but I didn’t like the course at all!! I hated the hill and I hated how much the course looped around. The race started a little late, and there weren’t many loos at the start line. I also thought that there could have been more water stations.