Having run the sum-total of one race last year, this year’s tally is up to three, two of which have been within the last 4 days! I don’t expect this accelerated race-rate to continue. My body wouldn’t thank me.
Anyway, now that I live by the coast, only about 40 mins from Bognor Regis (though I’ve never been before!) my lovely friend Nicky asked if I fancied joining her and Grant for the local 10k race, due to take place today. Even though I knew I had the Top Gun Race, I fancied it, and the fact the earlier race was whatever distance you fancied – minimum 5k – then I thought it would be fine doing two races so close together. I must admit though, the word ‘race’ isn’t exactly accurate here. If I was actually racing, and aiming for stellar times for both, I would space them out. However, I’ve only just started running again in the last couple of weeks, so I knew I’d just plod round.
The legs/feet felt fine after Thursday, as I ran to feel, and it turns out that I feel very gentle, slow running is what suits me, so I was no worse off starting today, leg-wise at least. I woke up just after 7 with a slightly dodgy stomach, shall I say, and spent most of the time before leaving running back and forth to the bathroom. I didn’t feel like eating brekkie so took a cursory banana with me in the car. I ate 1/3 of it, and drank some water. That would need to do.
The Sunday morning drive to Bognor was grand, and I arrived a bit earlier than I’d planned to meet N&G, so just waited in the car for them to arrive. It was slightly chilly outside, so I hid in the warmth. Once they arrived we duly queued outside the portaloos for the obligatory pre-race panic wee/poo (nice, I know), then a few minutes later, it was time for the off. I’d originally planned to run 4/walk 1 which I changed earlier in the morning to run 4 mins/walk 30s (I don’t know why, it wouldn’t have helped), but thankfully Nicky, who’s a lot wiser than I am suggested run 2/walk 1. Thank god she did. I’m so unfit at the mo, I don’t know who I was kidding (myself). We crossed the start line, Garmins to ‘START!” and off we went. Grant soon ran off into the distance, and we settled in for the day.
I have to be honest, running with people usually makes me really nervous/agitated because I spend the entire time convinced people are annoyed that I’m so slow, that I’m holding them back but they’re too polite to just say “see you later, i’m off”. However, thankfully I knew I was in good hands, and Nicky is so laid bad, I didn’t worry. It’s also fair to say she got me round! The start of the route involves a short switch back before joining the prom for a little bit, before heading back off to the streets and then a lovely bit around various houses. I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a race with so many marshalls! The race is run by the Rotary Club, so many of their members were out in force, cheering everyone on and making sure we all went the right way. When we got to the houses, lots of locals were out in their gardens, enjoying the sun which had appeared in force, and clapping us all through the streets. Being towards the back of the pack, we were made to feel like superstars with all the applause. It was lovely.
The first half felt not too bad, but I was getting hot and was glad when the water station came up. Rookie error though, I guzzled three cups of water so fast I nearly choked, which is to say that was the ONLY thing that was done at speed today. I don’t know what I was thinking, but the second half of the race felt a little bit difficult as a result. Later on Nicky told me I went as white as a sheet, which I hadn’t realised. I knew I wouldn’t be sick, but I didn’t feel particularly tip-top, it’s fair to say. My lovely running companion was fantastic though, and was doing little dance steps of encouragement, kept me motivated and pulled me along to that finish. She could clearly see I was struggling, but did a great job of keeping me going, and we stuck to the run 2/ walk 1, finally making it over the line in 1:23:59. Considering my current level of fitness/weight, I’m happy with that. It’s a good marker for this point in time, and something I can use as a benchmark against future races. I finished the race, got the medal, and that’s the main thing. My thanks to the wonderful Nicky for getting me through it today; I really would have not finished in the time we did, or with a smile if I’d been on my own.
The hard bit done, the three of us reunited, we wandered to the local cafe where I sat on my ass, drinking water, while Grant queued for an age for tea (everyone else had the same idea). I felt really hungry, but also the thought of eating made me feel slightly nauseous. However, after sitting for about 10 mins I suddenly rallied and felt about 100 times better so got some crisps and a bit of coffee cake. Nice healthy treat! Haha. The salty crisps were amazing through. We bumped into the lovely Funkins at the cafe (two pirate pals) who live locally and had done the race too, so that was nice.
So tea and cake finished, it was time to go. All in all a great race. The course is lovely – especially when you re-join the beach, it just looked stunning – the organisation great, lots of amazing support, and a wee medal at the end; what more could you want? (other than doing some training. I’ve taken note).
I’ll definitely be back to do this race again.