Beat the Tide – A Tale of Two Halves
This week saw 500ish people take to the foreshore of Worthing seafront to run a 10k race against Mother Nature. I’ve had a lifelong love affair with the coast and the water in general; it’s beautiful, calming, unruly, and free! A race alongside my favourite element did not disappoint, I had an absolute blast.
The route takes you out on the sand towards Lancing, where you run up a shingle bank (so tough), and on to the promenade alongside the widewater lagoon. Before turning and running the same route back to the finish.
The first three miles were an utter joy. The wind was on my side and I felt unstoppable, I was easily hitting 8:25 minute miles and was well on for a PB. Running on sand is hard work on your legs, and I hadn’t quite appreciated how tough the terrain would be. Whether it was dodging large stones and rock pools or transitioning from wet sand to dry sand to shingle, oh yeah and avoiding running into kitesurfers. There was a lot to focus on.
I passed my sister at about a mile in and she took this awesome shot of us running. We all know that seeing your people along the route, no matter what distance, gives you a major boost! So after seeing Ems and then my run club leader Shelley, I felt like I was flying!
We came to the aforementioned shingle bank and people started to walk (running on pebbles is really really tough). Luckily for me we do this occasionally as practice in run club and so I was ready. I must have overtaken a fair few runners on this tiny stretch.
On the promenade things got a little congested as the speedsters were on the home straight. We all had to share the narrow pavement, and overtaking was a bit of a non-event. At the halfway turning point the water station was even more congested. It was a hot night and I needed some water. I scrapped around for a plastic cup, probably incurring a 20 second delay, but who cares I’d been running so well.
As I started the run back I hit the wind wall. I knew there was going to be some wind on the way back, but it had picked up quite a bit since we started. Along the prom things weren’t too bad as you’re mildly protected by beach huts. I slipped in to my more normal running pace of around 8:50/9.
Back on the foreshore I had no protection from the wind, the runners had all spread out by now, and there were big gaps between us. It was so apparent how tough the second leg was going to be. My pace was slipping and I was really struggling to keep it even in my easy pace range of 9:30/9:50. Head dropped, heart sank as the 10k PB slipped away from me once again.
I readjusted my focus, I was running really well, on sand and stones and in tough hot one way, windy the other way conditions. “Enjoy This” I started to say to myself out loud “just enjoy this”. Does anyone else talk to themselves out loud during races?
I got my breathing under control settled into a pace that I could maintain and looked out to sea. Man this could be the most beautiful race I’d ever done. I didn’t want to lose sight of that, amongst the shiny allure of a PB. My brain settled and I took the race for what it was, utterly beautiful and yet a tad challenging.
As I saw the familiar sites of my home town come in to view, the pier, the seagulls, and hoards of people standing on the beach I knew I was home. I picked up my pace for the final 400m, spotted the camera man and gave him a good wave, and smiled as I crossed the finish line.
That felt good, I’d beaten the tide.
unofficial Race time 56:06, not quite a PB but one very happy little runner.
Huge thanks to Sussex Trail Events for a great event, it’s already in the race calendar for next year.