Specsavers Hastings half marathon (13 April 2014)

With the first of our back-to-back 21s in the bag, we were looking forward to the next one which should give us a good indication of where we are with our training for the marathon in three weeks time.

We woke up in a drizzly dark cold windy Palmy at around 5am. Still feeling a little sleep deprived from the night before, I found it hard to get out of bed on the suddenly wintery morning on an already knackered body. Gerry made us breakfast and coffee for the road, before we headed off for the two hour drive to Hastings. The road looked dreary from the drizzle and low clouds as the dark night made way for the day ahead. All along I felt weak and cold, and couldn’t fathom the thought of running another half marathon. To top it off, I pulled a hamstring muscle at the Great Forest run which I’ve iced and nursed the night before in the hope that it will be okey.

We arrived at the start/finish venue at Anderson Park, Havelock North shortly before 8am. The recent change of venue, from the City of Hastings to the more scenic Anderson Park in Havelock North, is partially for the safety of runners. As I dragged my stiff, sore body out the car, it was still a little drizzly. We fetched our race numbers and timing chips before making the final decision as to what to wear on the run. Always a tricky one that. As someone who’s more or less always cold (blame it on the warm country I come from), I opted for three layers, none of which were wind or rain proof… I figured that with rain proof clothing you sweat so much that you are soaking wet anyway, and with only a light breeze at that point, going for warm clothes seemed like the rational option. I must say that probably everybody who saw me must have thought me mad, for sure.

With race briefing done, the organisers started counting down: “10 – 9 – … – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 – oops”! Hehe. With a chuckle from the running crowd (of about 174) we were off while the organiser was still trying to get the firing device to go off. A few seconds later when all the runners were past the start, the hooter finally sounded. Quite a fun and happy moment to set us off to a good start in great spirits.

We started right at the back and were very pleased to see that not everybody, as is often the case, sped off like a pack of lions were chasing them. We could ease into a comfortable trot and still have a few runners around, even some behind us. Although I felt (and probably looked!) as if I was running on eggs (being over cautious not to strain anything), I felt reasonably good. The drizzle had us fairly wet early on but the scenery more than made up for it.

We covered the first 10km in about 68 minutes, which was still faster than the planned 7min/km pace. I wasn’t expecting to cope so well, so we picked up the pace a little over the next 11.1km to finish in 2:19.30.

The course is reasonably flat or maybe slightly undulating, except for one little hill called Horseshoe bend that slowed quite a few people down and forced others to a walk. But the downhill afterwards made up for it. A nice feature of this event is that marshals call out your time as you pass at two spots en route, and if you’re running without a watch like we do, it is very helpful. In the final kilometres we still managed to pass a few other runners and some of the walkers that started earlier. Always better to pass other runners in the last few kms of a run than being passed! 🙂

Although the drizzle cleared in the second half, the wind picked up a wee bit and it was very cold. Is it possible that winter arrived overnight?

The Hastings Half is a lovely run in the country off the main roads, well organised and a fairly easy course. Great sponsors which means wonderful spot prizes – well worth waiting for prize-giving.

Happy with our second attempt for the weekend, we drove back to Palmy for a hot shower and a glass or two to celebrate.

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