Today was my first visit to Hayling Island. It is always slightly worrying not to be able to see anything at the other end of a bridge, and this was exactly what happened as I drove onto the bridge over to Hayling Island. It wasn't even a long bridge - but all I could see in front of me was mist! I hadn't thought too much about where this race was located when I booked it. The guys at On the Whistle put on great events, and that is all I really need to know, this meant that I didn't realise that it was to be a trip to the seaside! The run was on the Billy Line, consisting of out and backs, as many or as few as you fancied completing.
My training plan, aimed at the Paris marathon, required me to run 9 miles today, which would have been a smidge over 2 laps, so obviously a new plan was required. I decided that I would run 9 miles and then adopt a run/walk strategy until I felt like giving up. The tough thing was to stop running at 9 miles when I still felt as though I could go on for ever! But I did. I also managed to stay relatively on track with my run/walk breaks - they sometimes varied a bit when I stopped or slowed down to talk to another runner. I think I finished in about 4hrs 30mins, maybe 4hrs 3mins - I was feeling so ropey that I was concentrating on staying upright rather than important things like stopping my Garmin!
The run itself was much tougher than I'd anticipated! This was a very flat course, but also, due to the rain, very muddy. We ran the first couple of laps with very limited visibility, the mist and/or rain ensured that we were pretty soggy pretty quickly, and the lack of obvious landmarks on the route made it somewhat soul destroying! The fact that I was pleased to see a white fertiliser bag in a puddle is an indication of how desperate I was for familiar points to judge how far I had to go! The visibility remained poor throughout the time I was running - I didn't get to see the sea! Who'd of thought that I might actually welcome a couple of hills to break up the monotony?! And I decided very early on that a marathon distance would be enough for today. The idea of setting out for a 7th lap made me want to weep! During my 5th and 6th laps it was only the thought of McDonalds that kept me going. I can only have McDs if I have run a full marathon, so I had to keep on going!
It was lovely to see old friends and speak to new people, but the weather was a huge negative today. Not epically bad enough to inspire a blitz spirit, just a constant drizzle and limited visibility. I can't fault the organisation, or the enthusiasm of the On The Whistle team - it isn't every race you go to where one of the organisers comes up to you with your own personal bag of Tangfastics -surely the crack cocaine of the sweetie world! The medals and aid station were fabulous, the marshals friendly and enthusiastic, I just wasn't enjoying the rain! Still as a training run for Paris and London, it is all good! Hoping to get to my Treloar's Trust/London fundraising total before I run the race!