Well we’ve made it to May and I think it’s about time I start adding some more medals to my 2016 medal holding coat-hanger, since April’s only race was devoid of bling and I only go to these things for that and a selfie after all! Ok so that may not be strictly true, but what is true is that I have three races to do this month, and two of them are trail half marathons.
Hastings Runners 5 Mile Road Race
Kicking off May was the Hastings 5 miler, starting you off at the Town hall, out along the seafront and back again. Since this was in my home town, with the start line a 10 min walk from my house, this was well worth the entry fee. We had a large number of people from RPCC taking part and it was a lovely atmosphere on a really hot day. I was running with my favourite running partner Linda, although conversation was at a minimum as we ran out along the seafront, as we went out a bit fast and it was so hot it was hard to catch our breath let alone chat.
By the turn around point at the far end of the seafront, we were roasting, the cup of water I gratefully grabbed went half in my mouth and half over my head, our vests came off and were tucked into our shorts (A bit of a momentous moment for me, I’ve never had the confidence to do that before, and although I felt a bit stupid and very self conscious, at least I was no longer completely overheating).
We had slowed a little as we came to the 4 mile mark, but once we had turned around at the other end of the seafront and were headed back to the finish, we put in a final effort and managed a pretty decent sprint finish to get to the line, cheered in by the RPCC people who had finished before us, we grabbed our medals and some much needed water and went to join the people watching, cheering in the rest of the RPCC team as they finished. We finished the day with a well deserved pint. Next stop, Bewl half marathon.
Bewl Water Half Marathon
The weekend after the Hastings 5 mile race saw husband Phil and I take a drive out to Bewl Water to run a half marathon, my first off road. This race had the option of a half, full or ultra marathon, meaning one, two or three laps around Bewl reservoir. We had opted for just the one lap, and set off with the other blue bibs at 10am running up a slight hill then off around the reservoir.
The run took you over several different terrains, from forest paths, to grass, to sections on quiet country roads. I had had a bit of a dilemma about what kind of trainers to wear before this race, with pretty mixed opinions from those that had done it before, this was put somewhat into perspective by my personal trainer though who pointed out that if the only thing worrying me about running a half marathon was which shoes I should wear, then I was in a pretty good position overall! He was right, at no point did I worry about the distance or race itself, so my confidence in my ability to run a longer distance race has obviously improved. In the end I opted for my road trainers, and I think this was the right choice, as the muddy sections were easily negotiated.
This was one of the prettiest races I’ve run, I kept finding myself lost in my own thoughts as I looked out over the beautiful scenery and slowing down while I ran, to then remember what I was supposed to be doing and trying to pick up my pace again. The only goal I had for this race was to try and keep it inside 2hours, so I tried to keep half an eye on my pace to make sure it didn’t drop down to low, but other than that I just wanted to enjoy the run, which I did. The weather was warm, but with a cool wind, which was cold while we waited to start, but perfect once running.
As I came round towards the end of the race, I found myself surprised as I came to the top of the hill down to the finish, as my watch hadn’t beeped 13miles yet, but I picked up my pace to have a strong finish and crossed the line in 1h50mins (the race was a little short at 12.8 miles according to my Garmin) so I had achieved my goal, I was then further surprised to find out that I had also managed 9th place woman, which was a really happy ending to the day, and this is definitely a race I would want to do again.
Judgement Day Trail Half Marathon – Pippingford
The weekend after Bewl I was up early and heading to Pippingford for what I knew was going to be the toughest half yet. I wasn’t wrong! The universe seemed hell bent on stopping me even getting to this race, with two lifts falling through and a sickness bug at the beginning of the week that threatened to cause me to drop out, but by the weekend I was feeling OK and had secured another ride, and I’m so glad I did.
The race was brilliant, brutal hills, challenging terrain that made you think about where you were putting your feet and what you were doing, and some lovely running through wooded areas, open areas, grass, mud, concrete, bogs. I’d been a little worried about doing a half marathon at Pippingford, particularly as I had been so ill leading up to the race, but I actually felt pretty good running. I love running downhill and there was plenty of opportunity to do so, although this of course meant a lot of uphill’s too. Somewhere after the half way point a marshal told me I was in 5th place for the ladies, and this spurred me on a bit as I was flagging, and starting to find things tough, I was overtaken and slipped into 6th, but was just thinking how amazing it would be to get another top 10 placing.
Somewhere around 10.5 miles I caught up with the two ladies in front of me and moved up into 4th place, although I didn’t expect to be able to hold on to that for the next 3 miles, I really felt like I was flagging, as you tantalisingly heard the music from the event village I actually found myself idly hoping the course might come up short (as if – this is Judgement Day!) but you were cruelly looped away and down another hill, meaning the finish was going to be up, up, up.
When my watch beeped 13 miles and I looked up the final hill to the finish I almost wanted to give up, despite there only being a short distance to go, I had slowed to a walk, but decided I wanted to try and finish strong, as I painfully ran up that final hill, I was cheered in by a couple of people that gave me the boost to get to the line, I had done it, and well under my estimated 3 hours, plus I had held 4th place female until the end. I was on a complete high, and absolutely loved the race.
We hung around for quite a while after the race, and watched some of the 10km race that ran later in the day, and it was lovely to have a good long catch up with some people I’d not seen for ages where I have been out of the OCR loop for a while. If I could do this weekend over again, I would, In a heartbeat, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you Judgement day!