Well the Met Office website was promising awful weather for the race. Freezing temperatures, huge winds and rain/sleet/hail downpours. Luckily none of that happened, at least not until I'd finished anyway.
I set off at 8am to pick up my clubmate Sally and drive the 90mins to Seaton. We arrived almost dead on 9:30 and followed the queue of cars around the town to find a carpark. Once we were parked up I rummaged through my huge bag of running gear deciding what to wear and take with me. The forecast was BAD but pre race was actually quite mild and after a week of slacking (only 1 run) I felt quite fresh so I opted for a thin long sleeved technical tee and my Tri Club Gillet. I also decided to leave my camera etc in the car to give me a better chance of a decent race.
I headed to the Start line and once there decided that the traditional toilet break was in order, so with less than 5mins to the start I went sprinting off to find the loos which were of course devoid of people because everybody else was waiting to start. A quick pit stop and sprint back had me back 'near' the start line in plenty of time albeit with around 1800 people in front of me. Ah well, nothing new there then.
So as normal I started near the back of the field and took a couple of mins just to reach the start line. The first mile along the prom and beach was a slow walk/jog/walk effort and the second mile wasn't a lot faster but I was gradually getting into things. After the poor start miles I developed a cunning plan. Using the HRM on my Garmin I'd run comfortable mid 140's on the flatter sections of the course and let my HR climb into the 150's on the hills. If I hit 160bpm though I'd back off. That should get me round easily enough while picking people off and then I could hammer the last 2 miles as normal and make up those extra few places. The plan went well enough and I was told I'd got up to 50th place at 16miles when we hit Branscombe beach for the 2nd time, then for some unknown reason I just imploded. I was running along quite happily working my way slowly through the field and then as soon as I hit those damn pebbles it was as if someone shut my motor off. The last 4 miles were tough going, far from making ground I went backwards and lost a bucket load of time, the 'Stairway to Heaven' which is never more than a power walk was more of a casual stroll, my only saving grace was that nobody I knew came past me - phew!
The final beach and road stretch were torturous. My left quad was cramping up and I needed to stop and stretch it, you can't though when you're in the finishing straight. Then 20m from the Finish Line somebody came storming past me, his legs flying everywhere in a full on sprint - I let him go! As he crossed the line he pretty much collapsed as his legs totally locked up with cramp, quads, hamstrings, calfs all together. I crossed the line, leaned against the wall to stretch my quad and walked off, he was lying on the floor in agony surrounded by medics. Worth the sprint finish???? I don't think so!
That's about it really, unless you want to know about how my fingers went white and lost all feeling for the next two hours or how I queued almost 20mins for sausage and chips which were awful. After thawing out and changing I headed back to the finish just in time to catch Sally romping in, looking far better than I had.
Finished eventually in 79th place in 2:57@56.
Back in 2010???? Of course!
Since the race I've had 3 days full of the lurgie which could explain my sudden failings, it's either that or my lack of training and preperation. Either excuse is quite possible ;-)
(I'm writing this in a McD's so I'll edit and add some extra gubbins when I get home).