Poppy Half Report 08/11/14

Posted on: 10 Nov 2014

Hi, my name’s Yve and I like to run.  It’s been almost a month since my last Blog.  

No excuses, just nothing to tell.

Big huge thank you and a well deserved Congratulations, to all those who took part or contributed to the Snowdon expedition 2014.  I so thoroughly enjoyed following and reading everything.  I had even contemplated taking part next year but will probably stick to my original plan of 2016. 

Bexhill Poppy Half  -  Saturday 8th November

Saturday was an early start as Hubby and myself headed down to the south coast (2 hr drive).  Arrived nice and early and found a good parking place on the sea front.  Wind was vicious and the waves huge!  Registration, however, was a breeze!  Although I took exception to being pointed at the 5 and 10k registration desks away from the half marathon desk!  Cheeky blighter.  Didn’t think much of the tracker and the loosely sewn on velco strip for the ankle but the t-shirt is fab.

You'll have to take my word for it, the waves were quite big!

Walked up the front the front and found a nice Italian café and enjoyed bacon toastie and a pot of tea. 

Strolled back to the start/finish and joined the gathering crowd.  Hubby took a couple more photos and then a quick good luck ‘peck’ and he disappeared into the crowd of spectators. 

(I had my too small London 10k shirt on underneath - layering)

A few of the girls around me were looking froze through to their marrows!  Wanted to give the skinny girl in front of me a hug – she was in shorts and a vest top and was shivering.  Poor thing.

Heavy emphasis was on the armed forces and in respect of them, a lone bugler played the last post followed by a two minute silence.  Found both quite moving.

Thereafter the start was announced and with the customary shuffle we were off. 

The course itself had been advertised as ‘as flat as possible’ and consisted of 3 x 7km laps, mostly along the sea front, back up through a street and then along the front again.

I spotted an elderly gentleman in his first world war uniform (with shining brasses - see below for photo) along with a couple of younger chaps in a sort of knock off effect.  All of them did brilliantly.

The course was actually quite challenging in places.  Definitely the first time I’ve attempted to run on shingles.  -  Along the prom (in several places) a considerable amount of the beach had been washed up on the side along with seaweed and other assorted stuff (plastic bottles, string, mermaid purses etc).  Sea foam was also a first – sort of beige coloured bubble bath.  Some of it floating in the air but quite a bit along the route.  Not slippy though, just odd looking. 

Lets see how much I can remember of the course:  Set off along the front with the sea on the left being buffeted by the wind.  Road just on the right, then a sharp turn to the left, down past some loos – (came in useful later) then right along the promenade. First sign of shingles on the front – a marshall was warning us to be careful at this point.  All the way along past the De La Warr Pavilion (built in 1935 but looks like a modern building).  Onto the street and pavement (someone had discarded their jacket on the fence).  Then another left down back onto the lower shelf  – shingles along here were very difficult to negotiate, but I had a go and managed to keep running but carefully (didn’t want to wrench my ankle).  Carried on along until the 180 degree turn and then back along the way we’d just come (this is where you get to see how many (if any) are behind you).  Back over the shingles and then up an incline into the street (there was an aid / water station here) I declined first time but not the second and the third time I grabbed the last coke! 

The road was slightly up to start with but then declined back towards the sea, but we were signposted to the left up a back street, most of the way up the tree lined avenue but then another 180 degree turn back down the street and onto the sea-front again.  As one approached the end of the road the wind was directly in our face and got stronger with each subsequent lap.  Thankfully only for a very short time.  Back along the sea front you could see everyone on their second lap (quite a few in front) going back up.  Up an incline in front of the pavilion again and directed into town along a sheltered walkway and then, yes, back onto the front.  Keeping to the right (finish was on the left and the 10k winners were just going through as I went past) then the 180 degree turn and back on track for the second lap.

Felt the first lap had gone quite well.  Had decided against the runkeeper but to go ‘by feel’ but guess I’m not experienced enough to do this yet.  Must have been going far too fast, as I rounded the point of 1st/2nd lap I heard the time called out: 39 mins something seconds.  Slowed for my first walk and grabbed a cup of water.  Couldn’t quite get back into the flow after that.

Wind was coming straight off the sea, so it was very bracing!  But the sky was clear and the sun was shining so it was actually very nice – bit cool, but nicer than Silverstone – there it was freezing, windy and wet.  Urgh!

Somewhere along the first lap my tracker vanished from off my ankle, but didn’t notice until the second lap – the marshall at the turning point told me not to worry but tell them at the end.  Didn’t stop me looking for it though. 

Spotted my hubby quite a few times but I wasn’t wearing my glasses so each time it turned out not to be him.  (When it was, and I have seen the photos to prove it, I didn’t see him at all – ran right past him, totally oblivious).

Second lap really felt hard work (guess it’s because I knew what to expect).  Walked quite a bit of this one – felt a bit miserable that I hadn’t been able to run longer – but I can’t drink from a cup and run at the same time – totally unable to multi-task!  Which kinda puts one off ones stride.  Eventually managed to get running again albeit at a slower pace than previously.  Walked over the shingles (mistake) even more tiring then just gently jogging over them. 

Once I was running again I  felt happier as I managed to pass a few of the walkers (not many though).  Grabbed another water at the station this time and was thanked for throwing my cup away in the bin instead of discarding it on the pavement. 

Really wasn’t looking forward to the third lap as I past the marshall at the windy point (I was walking yet again, but I used the wind as an excuse this time).  I had been passed long ago but the leaders so the runners on the other side of the prom were on their final lap but most looked up for it.  I struggled on and as I approached the finish/turning point I heard a few calls of “not far to go now” little did they know!  No times rang out this time but I glanced at my watch and realised I wasn’t going to be smashing any records today.

Last lap didn’t seem quite so bad.  Passing lots of people, got a bit of a flow going at one point (just after I’d finished the last cola drink) and got a ‘looking strong’ from a marshall which certainly helped.  Spent about 10 minutes trying to work out my times, knowing I wasn’t going to get a definitive time.  But gave up and concentrated on getting to the finish instead. 

Made a sprint for the line passing a lady with a group of friends running along with her (one with a handbag) but I got there before her.  Got my medal and was told where to go when I explained about my missing chip.  Didn’t get a little print out like everyone else (it would probably have been blank) but she made a note of the time and I went and got a cup of tea and chocolate biscuit. 

Hubby had met me at the finish line and told me he thought I’d done it in about 2hrs 45 mins  which turned out to be spot on.  So despite all the walking I have knocked 5 mins off my Hackney time.

I had promised that if I’d managed it in 2:30 or less I’d sign up for Snowdonia but I’m not ready yet.  I have Brighton to look forward to instead – then I’ve my heart set on Las Vegas Half this time next year (Half Marathon down the strip at night!).  So I’ll be registering for Snowdonia in 2016 no excuses, even if it's just me.

Finished the day back in the Italian café for a lasagne and hot chocolate. 

Think the hardest part though was the drive home – the heavens opened at one point and gave the salt encrusted car a bit of a clean whilst hubby snoozed in the passenger seat – explaining later that he thought he’d OD’d on fresh air!  Bless!

Right – next I need to register for the winter 10k in London (1st Feb) if I’m not too late, then Brighton here I come.

Thank you for reading.

Here are a few photos: 

The faster runners are in the foregrowd and the slower one on the front in the background, going in the opposite direction

The Gentleman in his Uniform

Me coming into the finish (at least I made it before the sun set!)

Another one of me, this time doing my impression of a 'bag lady'

Oh the official time was 2:44:35

PS Bev, now I know how you felt at Silverstone earlier in the year.

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