Finally, it was time for Beachy Head. We set out from Weymouth on Thursday, to break up the journey and stay a night in Brighton, but also to make the most of our weekend away. The last few days the temperature had gone up and I found myself rather overdressed and needed to open a couple of air vents in my riding gear – I do not complain, we had lovely riding both ways although some stretches had to be done on rather tedious dual carriageway. Other bits, though, were done on small picturesque roads, such as the area of Swanage and Beachy Head itself. We did some reconnaissance on Beachy Head and had coffee on the beach. It was exciting to see the race markers and get a feel for the hills, oh yes, they were steep.
In Eastbourne, we met with the Sudbury Court mob and went for Italian, pasta is a good call before a long run and most of the others were there for the full marathon so we needed a solid meal. In addition, we needed a good night’s sleep so our social evening was kept short and we went to bed early. For me, I never sleep much before a race. Regardless of when I go to sleep, I just never sleep much, I’m always too excited. Of course, this event was no different.
Saturday offered excellent running conditions, grey sky and sprinkles of rain – my favourite running weather. It was still quite warm and no wind so I realised that I was extremely overdressed in my woollen top – it had to go after 4k.
The race start was at the edge of the city, uphill and it continued uphill for about 1km followed by a few kilometres of slight downhill and returning over “the sisters”, the undulating hills along the coasts. Quite steeply undulating I must add, about 4 kilometres of that J before returning down the same hill and finishing at the start. I had Christopher and Sue waiting and cheering me on before the downhill and it was an extremely happy me that flew down the hill and clocked 1h 6min 41sec – a good ten minutes or so faster than estimated. Alternative training had helped; I had managed to recover both my foot and my fitness and to a level near my pre-injury self. Well done me!
One perk of “only” running the 10k was that I could go for lunch and then shower and come back to cheer for my mates as they were finishing the full marathon. I was deeply impressed by their efforts and I know that there have been many hours of training in preparation for this day so it was fantastic to see how well they all did. After this we all needed a rest and then heaps of food and drink – a grand celebration was in order. And some solid sleep.
After this fantastic running weekend, Christopher and I had some good riding awaiting us. First up to Wessons biker café in Horam to meet Sue and then onwards to meet up with a couple of WIMA-Londoners who were out for a Sunday ride. After another good night’s sleep, we had a stroll in Brighton and lunch in Arundel before getting back to Weymouth. As for the actual birthday, on the first of November, we made a somewhat smaller outing this time to the Tout Quarry in Portland, where we had coffee in the sculpture park and picked blackberries for a birthday crumble. If only I could turn 40 every year!
I want to extend my deepest appreciations to all of you who have donated to Pikilily on behalf of my birthday (I traced £380 worth of donations on the JustGiving page and a further £550 from offline donations) – it is an important project which will make a difference for the local community in Mwanza with regards to traffic safety, as well as providing job opportunities for women, and help making the motorbikes last longer and therefore be more environmentally friendly – among other things. Latest news from Claire concerns some derelict ambulance motorbikes which she hopes being able to bring back to life. You can hear about it in the Pikilily video diary number 11.