The Southend half marathon
Well the day had finally arrived. I’d been building up to this for a while now. Yesterday’s short easy run with Rob had relieved a little nervous energy and I felt relatively relaxed.
Although like most race days I was eager to leave and head to the race venue in good time. I didn’t want to leave it too late incase we got caught up in traffic or delayed somehow. I’d been training for this day and missing it or arriving late was not an option.
The Weston clan with Rob in tow headed off, we were due to meet up with Crispy and his clan before the race. Turned out he was as keen as me to get there and arrived some 20 minutes before we did.
The race atmosphere
We got there and parked up. Hundreds of people were already milling about. Some spectators but the majority were runners. All adorned with their individual race numbers, all either warming up, stretching or gentle jogging.
The atmosphere was buzzing. Me and Crispy kissed our respective loved ones farewell, got a pat on the back and words of encouragement from Rob, and headed on the direction of the start/ finish line.
We did our stretches and warmed up. Although we were already pretty warm: the forecast had been cloudy with some rain showers today yet the skies were blue and temperature was already rising. I hoped the heat wouldn’t have too much of an affect on us. We just needed to be sensible and run at a steady pace.
On your marks
Crispy and I huddled in amongst the other runners, everyone chatting or doing last minute stretches. The start time was 10:00am. We had a few minutes to go.
I was pretty much relaxed. I’d been in couple of races before, Crispy hadn’t though and I wondered how he was feeling.
The klaxon sounded on the stroke of 10:00 and everyone bottle necked to get under the inflatable start. It took us a couple of minutes to get through, as we crossed the line (which then activated our chip strapped to our ankle) I caught a glimpse of Wifey Rob and the boys to my left all waving and cheering. Today I would do them proud.
My targets for today’s race were a) finish in the top half and b) finish in under 2 hours. Crispy and I thought we could finish around 1h 50m mark but we hadn’t banked on such warm weather.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing
We started well, and the first couple of miles took us through a bit of a residential area before dropping down onto Shoebury front and heading towards Southend. We were to complete two laps up to the Sealife centre and back and them back up to the park where we started.
Between miles 2 and 3 people around us were already dropping off. It was very warm. I was a little concerned, we were running around 8m30s miles and I think we should of slowed a little. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Thankfully there were plenty of water and sponge stations but I was carrying my own bottle filled with water. I didn’t need water stations. I am a fool. Still people were dropping out. Still the temperature rose.
Mile 8 was my nemesis. We’d completed one loop and were a third through the second. I was busting for a wee. I felt dizzy and sick and my legs felt like jelly. I told Crispy that I may have to stop and for him to keep going. I didn’t want to hold him up.
I took water at the next station, followed it with some segments of orange a spectator was handing out, an energy gel I had with me and a jelly baby that another spectator was handing out. Before I reached mile 9 I was right as rain and re charged. I took water at every station from then in.
I felt good but I’d lost Crispy. I kept glancing over my shoulder trying to find him. I wasn’t sure if he was ok? Or if he’d stopped or what!? Just after mile 10 we all turned left and ran up a short hill. Turn right at the top and through residential area. My legs feel like lead. I stopped at a water station and looked out for Crispy as I caught my breath. No sign of him.
I carried on.
Crossing the line
I ran slowly on. The crowds cheering and clapping was great encouragement. We turned onto some parkland and ran along the sea wall. I stopped again. We were less than a mile from the finish line and I had intended on crossing the line with Crispy, yet I couldn’t see him anywhere.
I had to carry on without him, I ran as hard and as I could to get to the line, my legs were heavy, and my heart was pounding inside my chest. Wifey, Rob and the boys were all at the line cheering and clapping, I crossed the line and pressed stop on the GPS.
I fell into the line of people collecting bottles of water and a finishers medal, continually looking out for Crispy. There he was coming in through the line behind me, looking a little dazed and knackered but he’d finished! I was both relieved and pleased for him!
We’d completed the Southend half marathon, I was very pleased, I crossed the line in around 1h 58 minutes (could of been quicker) and position 716 out of 1493.
Here is the very hot half marathon info!