I wake up to a cold drizzly morning and a feeling tension just like as though I was going to take an exam. Shit - I AM going to be taking an exam! I start triple checking everything again.... clothes - check. Shoes - check. Fuel (nuts and dried fruit) - check. Is this a two-layer or three-layer day? I settle on three layers to stay warm.
I'm staying with my sister as we both signed up to run this race together, and as we drive down to Weymouth we both wonder at how we ended up here. It is generally agreed that we have both got to be stark raving bonkers to be doing this. I mean what on earth were we thinking? For the last three months we have 'talked about doing an HM' and the now the day has come. Time to stand up and be counted. Ohhh shit!!!
A blustery wind is coming in off the sea and rolling up the beach. That is not going to be fun when running the causeway out to Portland Bill. A headwind will really slow us down. I am glad that I have three layers despite seeing people lining up wearing only sleeveless t-shirts!
The hooter goes and we're off and running. My target is to average 6mins 45secs per km but already I am being dragged along much faster than that. I complete 5km in 30 mins and I am going slower than many others but not slow enough! This is FUN, but the niggly thought going through my mind is 'You will PAY for this later'!
Already we are fairly well stretched out and by the hour mark we have gone back along the beachfront and can see the causeway to Portland in the distance. We run through the town to much applause, past some yachts and I suggest to my sister that we stop for some 'Fish and Chips'! Hmmm - on we go. I have some music and Runkeeper plugged in to one ear to hear the split times, so I know that I am still running above my target pace at an average of 6m20s..... You WILL pay for this later...
Out onto the causeway and the Tarmac changes to a rough gravel track. Already there are runners coming back the other way, but that has got to be some mistake because no way could they have managed to get all the way to the end of the causeway and turn around to come back again by now. (Actually they had done just that!). I am truly in awe.
The wind picks up. Seagulls overhead... and I am getting in to a good rhythm now. I actually manage to start overtaking some people. Not many but some. I get to the end of causeway and turn-around to run back. I feel like I am on the home straight but the wind is now blowing directly against me.. At 15km it is beginning to get tough. The dried fruit and nuts is not really helping because the water stations are too far apart and now I am paying for starting too fast!
I remember a tip at 18km that my niece told me... 'in the last third of the race you need to be looking ahead to focus on someone that you can latch on to and eventually pick off'. Hmmm I seem to be the one being picked off more often than the other way round. I am determined not to walk and to keep the pace going. I want to finish under 2hr30min and not disgrace myself.
By 20km I am well knackered but still going. 1+km to go and I can still get under 2hr30. I can see the finish line ahead and I am plodding along. What's this? Someone overtaking me? SOD THAT! I put the hammer down and sprint for the line. I cannot believe where this extra burst of energy comes from but as I cross the line I know that I have done it in every sense.
Check out the huge grin guys! And the bling as well! That there is my niece under my arm. She finished in 1hr 48mins - a PB. My time? 2hrs 15mins and 7 secs - also a PB.
I am a happy boy again with a great deal of satisfaction and a sense of fulfilment that I never ever thought I could have.
I checked out the race winner later. He is between 50 and 54 years old and finished 58mins before me! Gulp! There really is no age limitation in this running lark!
Happy running all.