Monthly Archives: October 2010

Cardiff Half Marathon

So, it turns out that I didn’t blog about the half marathon!

I did it! Took me 2 hours 12 minutes and 39 seconds according to the timing chip. Not as quick as I’d expected, but I got round!

I was very excited before it began. Here I am with my wife sporting her rather fetching ‘Team Aled’ hoodie:

She even manages to make that look hot!

Being as I’d never run a race with this many people before (around 12,500!), I had no idea what to expect at the start. It turns out that people start queuing for the start early! I was well behind where people who run at ‘my pace’ should have started. I knew then, that I was going out to enjoy it, rather than go for a time.

The first few miles were a lot slower than I wanted to do, but there were a lot of people to get round! The trouble was that I was then running at other people’s pace, rather than my own. This, in turn, made me run slower and more flat-footed.

I got into my stride around the 4 mile mark, having already seen my parents and my sister cheering along in the Hayes. This was where I first spotted my friend who was going to try and see me in a few places (he’d brought his bike along!). As we ran down through Bute Park, past Sophia Gardens, I felt really good. Thoroughly enjoying running through town, with plenty of people lining the roads to cheer us all on.

As I passed the halfway point, I spotted a big group of my friends who had got out of bed uncharactaristically early for a Sunday to watch. They’d even made a banner!

I made a brief detour to give them all High Fives!

It was after this that I realised that not keeping my form and pace from the start was going to hurt. My little bursts of speed as I went past people I knew started to twinge at my calves. But I figured if I was sensible and stopped to stretch I’d be ok.

The other problem I’d envisioned before the race also came to the fore. Toilet break. I’d been ignoring it since mile 3! As we got past 8 miles I spotted portaloos. Brilliant. There were even ‘porta-urinals’ (this is a word I may have made up, but they were excellent. No doors to slow you down, run in one end, do your business in the trough, and run out the other end! I’d never seen such an invention before, but they’re a great idea!

Penarth passed really quickly, despite having to stop to stretch. I also saw another banner up for me (I’d had a text the night before from a friend saying that she probably wouldn’t be up in time to watch as she’d had a few drinks, but they’d made a poster and put it up in the window of their kitchen which I was to run past!). This made me smile as I went by, and I could see people looking at me as if I was special, running past apartment blocks and grinning!

I got to the barrage and, thankfully, it wasn’t too windy! I donated my half-eaten bag of haribo to a lady who was telling her friend next to her that she was struggling. She seemed to appreciate it!

Miles 11 and 12 went by. Then came Lloyd George Avenue. From the route beforehand it looked as if we went almost halfway up, then doubled back to the finish. But we had to go almost all of the way up! I could hear people panting, swearing, asking where the turning point was!

Here I am heading AWAY from the finish line!

 

My legs were permanently cramped by this point, but I’d promised myself a good ‘sprint’ finish! So I locked my ankles and gave it my best. I was pumping my fists and grinning like a nutter! I was so happy. I’d finished my first half-marathon!

P.s. It turns out that the actual distance of the race was 211 yards short of a half marathon due to a last minute change of route because of scaffolding. It did annoy some people, but I know I started much further back than that behind the start line, so I definitely covered the distance! And I thoroughly enjoyed it anyway!

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Half Marathon

This Sunday is the Cardiff Half Marathon, which I am running in aid of The British Heart Foundation (you can sponsor me here!). I’ve never run 13.1 miles before, so this is really exciting!

I started out with the sole aim of being able to complete the race. That is obviously still my base aim! When I signed up, after being inspired by two close friends who ran it last year, it asked for a predicted time. I put 2 hours 45 minutes. After training for a bit, being able to string more than 1 mile together, and figuring out how to run ‘properly’, I adjusted this to 2 hours 15 minutes. My last big run was 12.6 miles and took me 1 hour 59 minutes. So now, of course, my aim is 2 hours (chip time – start to finish, not race time – gun time to finish). I haven’t really told anyone this and, believe me, I will not be disappointed if it takes longer than this! It’s going to be really difficult to tell how the race is going to go on the day. I still can’t figure out how they are planning on getting 15,000 (I know!) people round Cardiff! So I’m hoping that the adrenalin on the day will balance out the slow start & jostling and I won’t be far off. I think, realistically, that I should be done somewhere in the 2 hours – 2 hours 10 minutes region.

My longest run has been the 12.6 miles one mentioned earlier. I wanted the race to be my first half marathon, so I haven’t covered the full distance yet. But I’m only half a mile short, so the distance shouldn’t be an issue.

I do have a few worries (not really worries, but things that are occupying my thoughts that I probably won’t know until race day):

  • How long will it take me to get accross the start line?! There are 14,999 other runners!
  • Will the drinks stations have cups or bottles?
  • What if I really need a wee (TMI?)?!
  • Should I wear a hat (pros – keeps sweat out of my eyes; cons – might be too warm)?
  • When should we leave the house? Sounds stupid, but last year it was bedlam in town and runners had to jump out of their car a mile from the start and run to get there in time!

along with various other silly things!

I’m figuring that the best thing will just be to enjoy it. Which is my motto for most things in life. So come Sunday morning, I shall put my running kit on, get into town, smile, and run!

Catch up

Well, hello there! It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

it’s been almost a month since my last post so, to make up for it, I shall post two of them today!

This will just be a catch up post.

There’s been a wedding (not mine, sober); a borthday (my wife’s, relatively drunken); and an anniversary (Mine & my wife’s, very drunken).

During this time I:

  • Danced to a Beatles tribute band, which was rather good (the band, not the dancing. The dancing was awesome!).
  • Saw Michael Jordan, the actual Michael Jordan, best ever basketball player in the history of basketball. Ever. Didn’t say anything to him, I would not have been cool.
  • Arranged a brunch for 15 people. Most of whom, it has to be said, weren’t all that hungry.
  • Took a major role in polishing off leftovers from said brunch.
  • Laughed at my friend’s outburst in Pizza Express (‘I HAVE NEVER EVEN BEEN TO HOOTERS!’). Guess you had to be there.
  • Generally got excited about my half- marathon which is coming up this weekend (more on this to follow).

So all in all, not a bad month! how about you guys?