Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon, and a bit of a Farewell.

As the year draws to a close there was room for one more race on my calendar (it was going to be two, but I have decided that cold dirty water is not the best idea when pregnant so I have given my Brutal entry to a friend and will be there in a supportive capacity only).

After I’ve finished writing this race up I’m going to wind the blog down for a while. In all honesty there is only so many ways I can talk about running a race, particularly as I have started doing more standard running, OCR did at least give a bit more variety to a race review! I’m not closing it down, or stopping completely though. This is a great outlet, and not always about running, and some of my most popular blogs have been the more personal ones rather than the race write ups.

My plan going forward is to write what I feel like, when I feel like it. If a race is particularly good, or unusual, or a big deal, something different that I’ve not done before then I’ll write about it. If something is on my mind, I’ll write about it, but they will be fewer and further between in the future.

One thing that will be coming up in the future is a little known race called the London Marathon (You heard it here first kids!) I got in on the ballot this year, on my first ever attempt and found out about a week after getting the positive pregnancy test (you couldn’t make this up!), so my entry is getting deferred until 2019 which means some serious training once baby has arrived to try and be Marathon ready – I’ll have about 10 months to get back in shape and sorted, and I think I might want to write a little about that!

So with “farewells” over with, to business, the Portsmouth Half…

With our hotel just over the road from the start line, it was probably the most chilled out morning before a race in a long time, no need to rush, or get cold waiting to start just cross the road and get ready to run, especially as we picked our numbers up the night before.

This race offered an ultra (50k), full marathon or half marathon all setting off half an hour apart, following the same out and back route but with different turn around points. Ours being the shortest distance we were set off last at 9am, and headed out along the seafront.

Views from the start line

Once again my husband agreed to slow down and run with me, and we plodded along together along the promenade, and then onto a section of beach, which would be cut off by the tide on our way back giving the course a slightly different route after we turned around.

The course was mostly on coastal paths, but did take us on some muddy paths, and through a small patch of woods, as well as the beach section on the way out. The drinks stops were well stocked with sweets, shot-blocks, jaffa cakes and mince pies, as well as offering shots of mulled wine and beer on the return leg for anyone who wanted them. (I obviously stuck to the water!)

It was a really flat route which would allow for some quick times if you were looking for a PB, and there were some lovely views on the way round, but I think it could have been a bit bleak on a miserable day!

Views on the way round

At the finish we were given a large medal and a goody bag containing food, drink and a wrag, had a photo snapped and then made our way back over to our hotel for a hot shower.

Finished

And with that my years races are complete, and I’m signing off for a bit… unless I have something to say that is 🙂

TTFN

 

Maverick Dark Series – Surrey and Hampshire

To finish off November and Kick off December the hubby and I had two more of the Maverick Dark series races to run. In between these races and my previous race I have “come out” as being pregnant, which explains why Phil has agreed to drop his pace to run with me, and why I’ve slowed down quite as much as I have, making a concerted effort to not over exert myself.

The first of the two races was set in Surrey at the Denbies Wine Estate. We signed up for the three dark series races before we knew I was pregnant so we had already opted to do the long distance for each of them. This race was advertised as 15km for the long distance, but eventually came up just a little short, around 14.5km by my watch, a little less than that if you believe Phil’s.

It was freezing cold on the evening, and we were lucky that we could use the main building of the Denbies Wine Estate, including the warm indoor toilets prior to the race, eventually though we had to head out into the biting cold to take our places by the start line. we set off into the dark at 5pm, in the glow of our head-torches, and pretty much straight up a hill.

Cresting the hill
Photo Credit: Sue Hill Photography

The hill felt never ending, I found it really tough going, and had to give up and walk despite it being so near the beginning of the race. The views out over the estate were amazing though, the lights of Surrey twinkling below us. As the path levelled off it was easier to run again, but it’s fair to say I found this race tough. It was really hilly and I was suffering somewhat with fatigue. I wasn’t sorry It came up a little short.

Despite being a trail run, underfoot the ground was good, sometimes on paths and sometimes on wooded trails, and much less muddy than the previous race in Sussex! This was a good thing as we had to swing by a family charity event on our way home, and it also made changing in a freezing cold car park much easier too!

The next weekend we packed up the car and headed to the New Forest for the Hampshire race. This time we booked ourselves into a hotel nearby, so we were able to get changed and take the 5 min drive to the race start without rushing.

The race was based at Foxlease in Lyndhurst, which is a Girl Guiding UK activity centre (one that brought back happy memories, as I actually stayed here in my younger days). Again the HQ was in doors, which meant no portaloos, but the evening didn’t feel as cold as the week before.

This race was advertised as 16km, and with less elevation than the week before, I was confident the extra distance shouldn’t be too much of a problem, a good thing, as this time I clocked the race as a little over the advertised distance. Again we set off in the dark at 5pm, out of the main entrance of Foxlease and straight into the forest.

Again, the route was easy going underfoot, keeping to the fire roads that weave through the forest. It was really pleasant running through the trees in the dark, at one point running past a bemused looking pony in the dark (although I only noticed the one). The hills were much more manageable than the week before and I felt like I was running much better this time.

Nearly at the finish!
Photo Credit: Sue Hill Photography

After a bit of a nasty fall earlier in the week proceeding this event, the race really helped to restore my running confidence (although I’ve not run since, still a little nervous I think) and it was a wonderful run.

When we finished the only slight dampener on the evening was not receiving the original medal for the event, after it had been over sold, we were handed a wooden engraved medal which we have seen at other races being given to the dogs! We were both slightly miffed, it made the ending feel a bit flat. Although I don’t usually care about what (if any) medal I get, I have a wall full of the things, but I had wanted to collect the set and the wooden medal was just not the same as the glow in the dark medal we should have received.  I have been at other races where, when they have taken on extra runners, those runners have been marked on their number or similar, and those are the ones that get the alternative. Perhaps something to think about, as we were not last minuet sign ups.

This stupid little moan aside, which really probably wasn’t worth the paragraph I wasted on it (but hey, i’m pregnant, irrational and want what I want!), these races were fantastic! I really hope I’m able to get in a couple of Maverick’s next year, be it the original series or more in the dark, even if I have to cut down to the short distance and waddle!

Maverick Dark Series, Done!