As you may have read before, for our last race of the year, we decided we would return to Bexhill-on-Sea – the venue of what was until earlier this year my best ever half marathon. But having not had a solo run under UKA rules at the 10k distance this year, I thought I’d step down a distance and take it on today.
I came into the run wanting a sub-50 minute run, hoping for a PB and imaging what a sub-49 might be like.
Preparation has been mixed over the past month or two in truth. A back injury a few weeks ago had affected training and then holidays came up too which made running harder to arrange. All that said though I had had some excellent training runs since getting back from Grenada a couple of weeks ago.
The trip to first Eastbourne then on to Bexhill went well enough. However we discovered pretty early on that the weather was not brilliant. Rain was definitely in the air and there was a fair bit of wind before the start too, although in fairness that did fade before the race start.
With the way training runs have gone I decided I’d run the race in much the same way I attacked the Jayson Lee 10k a few months ago – aiming for 5-minute-kilos and try and hang on enough so that a final kilometre surge would bring me in under 50 minutes.
It being the 11th of November we had a two minutes silence before the start. Well it was actually longer because most people misheard the PA announcer when they said they’d start the two minutes silence shortly. Everyone fell silent anyway, leaving the PA guy to sheepishly say “right now we’ll have the two minutes silence”.
The course was two laps of an out and back route along the seafront and the first run out to the far end of the course was fine and steady. The first four kilometres were all timed within a second of each other around 4:54 each.
Around the 5k mark I was overtaken, possibly for the only time in the race by a lady who eventually was the second fastest woman in the race. Shortly afterwards I noticed some soreness in my hip and I was increasingly finding breathing to be hard work. I wasn’t feeling optimistic at the time but my watch still indicated I was heading for a low 49s time, but I did resolve to allow myself to ease the speed a fraction.
At around the 3km and 8km mark there was a steep hill, followed by a right turn and then a demoralising longer steadier climb. On the second lap I found this particularly tough and my predicted time dropped to over 50 minutes.
When I reached the top of the hill I felt like I accelerated very nicely, without really even noticing it because at one stage in the last kilometre I glanced down at my watch and saw I was running an excellent 13km/h and my predicted time was down in the 49s again.
I just put my head down ignored the time and speed after that, ignored the pain in my legs and ignored my wheezy breathing and just got on with running. The finish seemed to take ages but it probably didn’t. A bit of a fast finish coming in towards the De La Warren Pavilion brought me over the line in a gun timed 49:14 and chip timed 49:06, setting a new PB for the distance plus beating those also for 5 and 6 miles.
I was delighted. The time so was much better than I’d expected, especially given the bad the patch I had experienced around 7k. I picked up my unofficial time print and was amazed to discover that I was 26th overall out of 218. Just a brilliant effort and something I’ve never really done before. We’ll certainly be back.
After the race I felt quite tired and sore. I’d definitely taken a lot out of my legs, and I had a sore right foot too. So the two hours on trains to come up here to Reading weren’t really wanted, but the trip was worth it.
Tonight we met up with our daughter and enjoyed celebrating the weekend via cocktails and steak and very nice they were too. We go home tomorrow and at the moment I’m expecting to have a lighter training schedule for a few weeks before Reading Half Marathon training builds again.