Despite the two week break after Nuts, It was with a lot of niggley leg problems that I stepped out of my house in my Dryrobe to walk down to the start line of the Hastings Half Marathon.
This was to be my first ever attempt at the Hastings Half, despite living in Hastings all of my life (other than a 6 year hiatus in Staffordshire) and my second half marathon (both of which were run this month)
Hastings Half Marathon is known for being one of the toughest half’s in the country. It’s very hilly, finishing with a flat, but seemingly endless slog along the seafront, which I had been told could break you. The atmosphere however is second to none. I don’t know if it was because it was my home town and I knew a lot of spectators on the way round, but I suspect it would be pretty awesome regardless, with people cheering you on even when there is no one around that you know and a few bands along the route.
There was a massive turn out from RPCC and it made the atmosphere and support even better. we were absolutely buzzing before we got anywhere near the start line.
We snuck as close to the front as we could to avoid being caught up, and set off, a few of us starting together but all running our own races.
The race started and we set off, and it was only a short time before you hit the first hill. After Eastbourne I had thought I may have to walk some of the hills, but I managed to run up this first hill without stopping, and pushed on until I eventually hit the dreaded Queensway.
Queensway is a long uphill slog of about 2-3 miles, again I had thought I would have to walk, but I found the gradient manageable enough to keep running, until I tripped up! I had somehow caught my foot on a cats-eye in the road , and down I went, hard! I smashed my hands, arm, and worst of all bad right leg, into the ground. I was mortified. A few guys around me stopped to check I was OK, and one man paused to help me up, I staggered to my feet, my hands stinging, and tried to assess the damage. I seemed to be able to run so I set off again a bit slower, my confidence knocked and my leg hurting.
Finally I got to the top of the hill, and started along The Ridge. The support here was amazing, with people cheering and shouting, the people there that I knew, cheering me on made a real difference and I started to pick up my pace again.
Along The Ridge and through Ore Village then the final hill before the decent back onto the seafront began. Here I could make back some time as I love running down hill.
As I hit the 10mile marker once again my body started to give up on me, it seems this may be my limit, It had not been a very comfortable run from the start with pain in my legs and feet from the outset, but here it started to really kick in, however there was a clock at this point and I saw that if I could hold 10min miles for the last 3 I would still beat my Eastbourne time. I could do that, I knew I could, so I dug deep and kept going.
I hit the seafront and divided it up in my head as I had been advised by my (absolutely amazing) PT, just get to the pier, just get to the marina, just get to the end.
By the time I got past the pier my right leg was burning, but here my two best friends were waiting to cheer me on so I kept going.
Eventually the finish arch was in sight and I just kept repeating to myself “Just keep going, Just keep going” Then there were some more RPCC supporters screaming my name and it became easier to keep running.
The finish was so close now that I put in everything I had left, to almost give a sprint finish. I crossed the line in 1h52.42 not only managing to smash the 2h mark but also taking a little over 5mins off the time I set at Eastbourne. I could hardly walk any more, but I was so proud of myself. I had done it.