What a fantastic weekend! After an awesome evening watching my favourite band at the Download Festival with my brother we zoomed down the M1 and arrived in Southend on sea Essex in the very early hours of Sunday morning. You would think that it is not ideal prep for a Half Marathon to spend the day/evening before at a festival eating and drinking rubbish and being on your feet all day. Also not good is to then drive three hours in the early morning and not sleep in your own bed but bear with me as this could now be the magical training tip you have all been waiting for!
The reason we took the decision to drive straight to Southend was my parents live about 5 minutes from Shoebury East Beach where the Southend Half was taking place, so it was worth the pain of driving late to enjoy a fraction more sleep and not have any stress getting to the event in the morning. This is my second year racing the Southend Half and I am glad I returned. It is such a well organised local event with an easy registration process, it isn’t too expensive (money goes to charity #awesome), the organisation is fantastic and the course is flat and fast. We arrived nice and early and I made a dash for the toilet as usual. My brother went and met up with some of the Fordy Runs Facebook crew. We had I think around 10 of us running this year, it would have been more but unfortunately some of the guys got injured or last minute issues meant they couldn’t run BUT we were well represented! After hanging out we made our way to the start. It was a FRESH morning but the sun was predicated to come out and say hello. The great thing about running along the seafront is you get a lovely breeze so even if it is roasting you get that lovely sea breeze, you just have to make sure you are wearing sunscreen! We set off our through the Garrison and then down to the seafront. The course takes you up to the Sealife Centre and you loop back. It was lovely seeing so many supporters that early on a Sunday and especially nice to see the kids handing out the sweets. We then ran back upto the park and looped back again. I hear some runners complaining that it is a looped circuit and I can understand that but I think you sacrifice the course uniqueness for the PB opportunity. Like I said I was running with the Fordy Runs crew. We had some of the team at the 2hr mark and some of us aiming for a bit faster. Chris from Here We Are Running (check his YouTube Channel out) ditched us at about 7k I think as he was looking to go a bit faster. At 13k I was feeling good so I kicked on and set about trying to catch Chris. As the course was flat I could kind of see him all the way along the last loop and as we turned left up the only hill I caught him up. I still had life in the legs so I cracked on and left Chris for the last 2.5k. The course takes you back through the Park where they hold the weekly Southend Parkrun and then back to the finish. I got a bit held up near the end as the course gets a pinch narrow for a bit but then once I cleared those guys I was able to sprint the last 200 metres. I came in at 1:45 so a new PB for me! I probably could have gone faster to be honest and I was no way expecting a PB especially as it wasn’t ideal prep the night before but maybe that’s the answer…a Guns n Roses concert and 3 hours sleep…you are guaranteed a PB!! I was really helped by the Fordy Runs crew, not just the guys I was running with but having all of them there! Having people to meet and run with at these events is a special thing and without them yesterday I would have never have been able to achieve one half of my PB challenge so thanks guys!
Next on the list is the 10k PB and I have three attempts coming up back to back in July where again I will be running with some of the crew so I have every confidence I will smash it! See you soon Fordy!