Cardiff Half Marathon Race T-Shirt & Medal

IAAF Cardiff University World Half Marathon Championships.

When it was announced that there was a masses race on as part of the IAAF World Half Marathon Championshipsย in Cardiff, I signed up quickly. Who doesn’t want to run in the World Championships!!?? So, here’s what I thought about them:

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Date: Saturday 26th March 2016. When I originally booked this race, I didn’t actually realise it was Easter weekend, and I know I wasn’t the only one that kept thinking it was on the Sunday! It’s seems weird running on a Saturday!

Time: 2:10pm. Most races take place in the morning, so I felt a little bit lost all morning. I kept worrying I had got the time wrong and was missing it all. I always find it difficult to know what to eat when it is a later start too. I had breakfast, but then only managed to have a banana an hour before we started, which was not ideal.

Weather: Hideous! The day before had been gorgeous, but #StormKatie decided that she wanted in on the World Championships too. The rain started at the same time as the women’s race! The sideways rain, hail and gale force winds really kicked in just after mile 4 for me, which was just as I was going across the Cardiff Bay barrage, so we were totally exposed and it hurt when it hit my face. The wind was pushing me sideways and it was hard work!

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Course: The course was fairly flat, and mostly on tarmac. The short sharp hill just after mile 12 was a bit of a shock, but the downhill stretch between mile 11 and 12 was a welcome break. I think the course would have been really pretty had the weather been better. The start had the Cardiff castle as a back drop, the lovely Cardiff Bay area, running past the Millennium Centre and finishing around lakeside would have been lovely on a sunny day! There were water stations every 3 miles, they did get crowded, and I’m sure that I saw some stations were handing out High 5 gels, but I didn’t use any of these as I had my torq gels.

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My race: I felt quite nervous about this race, as Silverstone had felt so hard and I hadn’t really enjoyed it. I had enjoyed my 20 mile run the following week though, so really didn’t know what to expect from this one. It is becoming tradition to not sleep well the night before and this was no exception. I had thought with the late start, I could have enjoyed a lay in too – no such luck. Before the race, my race plan was to run a lot of the race at marathon pace, so I was thinking around 10:20 – 10:30 pace. When I clocked the first mile at 9:42, I could feel myself getting annoyed and I tried to slow down, yet still clocked a 9:42 for the 2nd mile too! My lack of pacing was stressing me, so I decided to stop looking at my watch, and then when the horrendous weather started at mile 4, I just wanted to get the race over and done with, so all pacing went out the window. Every inch of me was soaked through, and my wet trainers did make me feel as though I lifting weights with every step. Around mile 9, I had a little dark patch, where I just wanted it to be over, but the support around Lakeside was amazing and really kept me going. Considering the weather, the volunteers and roadside support was amazing. My name was shouted so many times, and there was music being played, people offering jelly babies etc. The final stretch was quite crowded, but I still managed to up my speed to cross the line. After finishing we were given our medal, t-shirt, water, High 5 Gel and a banana. ย I finished in 2:08: 32, which is what it is. I’m not really happy or disappointed with it.

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Lesson learned: I really need to learn my marathon pace. Starting too quickly at London will be a disaster. Also, I think I need to take a packed lunch with me, as I am sure I would have performed better had I got my nutrition better pre race.

Pros

  • I took part in the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!!
  • Flat course.
  • Amazing support and event organisation.
  • Lovely medal and T-shirt.

Cons

  • Weather – I know the event organisers can’t do anything about this, but …
  • Start time – I know this was probably because of tv broadcasting across the globe, but I personally find an afternoon start difficult.
  • Expensive race photos.

As always I ran in my MNDA vest, raising awareness and running for my dad.

If you would like to donate funds to support MNDA you can do here: www.virginmoneygiving.com/ruthwebb10

Anyone else run in Cardiff? Also, what do you think of my new race recap layout? Have a missed any information that you would like adding? Please comment below and let me know what you think.

#VMLM2016 training – Week 11

Monday – I went to club and my group were doing mile reps! My legs told me, I was NOT doing mile reps, so I joined the group below and chatted my way around a recovery run. My legs were tired and at times this run felt hard, and I was averaging 11:45 pace! I completed 3.5 miles and it was just what I needed.

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – 10 miles. I met 2 of the ladies from club to complete our usually 5 mile loop. My legs still felt quite heavy, and about 2 miles in I thought I was going to be lucky to make it to 10! For my second 5 miles, I was running with one of the men from club, and during mile 3 I was really worried that I was going to slow him down too much and struggle. Then, just after 5 mile mark, my legs seemed to switch on. It was as though they had warmed up and realised that they needed to run. The second 5 miles was really nice; we picked up the pace and I actually felt quite comfortable. The route finished almost right outside my house, yet I felt I could have kept going easily!

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Thursday – 400 reps. Everyone at club was pushing the pace, but our coach suggested myself and a few others that were racing this weekend, should just jog the reps. We ended up running for around 2/3 minutes and resting for the same amount of time. Even though I was running very easy, my shoulders were very tight. I was told to run, imaging that I was holding a crisp between my thumb and finger, that I was not to break. As soon as I adopted this position, my shoulders did relax, so I need to remember this.

Friday – Sports massage – I was lucky to get an extra appointment in this morning, to work on my shoulders, ready for tomorrow!

Saturday – 20 MILES! My amazing team mates at club helped me organise a route, and then come out to run with me. It was a bit of a tag team. I ran 5.5 miles with Rachel and Tracie, then 0.5 of a mile on my own, to meet Sam, Keith and Andy. They then took me on their normal 10 mile route, which was a little undulating, but I felt pretty strong throughout, and the hills that had previously annoyed me on this route, didn’t feel too bad. Finally, Tina met me to run my last 4 miles. It was amazing, they were all so supportive, all could have run much quicker than I was running, but stuck with my pace to help me. I had planned to run around 10:30 pace, but I ended up averaging a 10:21 pace. The only negative was that when my watch flashed up 20 miles, I stopped and saved it straight away. I don’t usually do this, but for some reason, I was worried that I would delete it. Once it was saved, I noticed the watch said 19.9 miles!! WHAT….. As I had saved it, I couldn’t just add it on the last 0.1 of a mile!!

Sunday – Rest day – although I have to report that I am so surprised how good my legs feel today, I think the football my daughter made me play yesterday afternoon, and the game of tag this morning, really helped my legs recover! Let’s see how they are tomorrow!

This time in FIVE weeks it will all be over!!!! I can’t believe how close it is!

#VMLM2016 training – Week 10

Monday – 1200’s – these were hard tonight. The 18 miles were still in my legs, and I could feel it towards the end of this session.

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – A ridiculous long day at work, meant that I had to have another rest day today! I was grumpy, as I would have rather been running!

Thursday – Hills, hills and more hills. That is all!

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Rest

Sunday – Silverstone Half Marathon – Not my finest performance, but I will write a race report and give you the full story in the week.

Overall not the best week of training, but I’m now putting that behind me and next week will be better!

Anyone else race this weekend? How did you get on?

#VMLM2016 training – Week 9

Monday – 400’s with club. My legs were still pretty heavy from Brighton Half so this was not going to be much of a speed session for me! Luckily, one of our club members is coming back from injury, so we stuck together and chatted throughout our 400 metre lap. I think I managed 5 in total.

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – 8 miles. My legs still felt very heavy and tired, and I really had to work hard on this run, so I was shocked when I looked down at my watch and I was doing 10:15 pace. I really felt as though it should have at least started with a 9:xx! Another 8 miles banked, so happy with that.

Thursday -800’s tonight and it felt like I was running in treacle. My legs felt like they did not belong to me and this was hard. I even gave up and missed the final lap. Dare I say it, I am actually looking forward to my 18 miles this weekend, so I can plod. Everything in this last week has been about running as fast as I could, and I’m hoping I am going to feel the difference on Saturday!

Friday – Sports Massage – glad to report, no injuries, just tired legs that have now been renewed (I hope).

Friday night was our club awards night, and I only went and won an award!

Saturday – 18 miles – This was a tough one. The logistics of this run meant that I was going solo! Considering I haven’t run on my own for AGES, I was not sure how I felt about 18 miles solo. I procrastinated all morning, but knew I just had to get out! The first few miles went ok, although I knew I was going too fast. At mile 7, the heavens opened, but I was feeling ok. From mile 10, the pace dropped and I was over it, but I did complete the full 18 miles. I took some walk breaks, as I knew today wasn’t about pace, it was just time on my feet. My quads felt heavy, but I know marathon training is about learning to run on tired legs, so today was mission accomplished. I have 18 again next week and I’m hoping I will have learnt from this, and pace it much better!

I used my Torq gels again today. I love that they are so easy to open, the whole top comes off easily, without it going all over my hands. The flavour is nice, I did worry that it was too sweet, but today I had three and I didn’t really notice the sweetness. I will definitely buying more, and using these for London.

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Mmmmm…

Sunday – Rest

This week I have felt really tired. Marathon training is tough, and I think I need to up my game with nutrition and hydration this week. I think these were not good last week and that contributed to my tiredness.

Next week I am running Silverstone Half as part of my long run. Anyone else running Silverstone?

 

 

 

 

#VMLM2016 training – Week 8

Half way point!!! It’s all down hill from here…. (I hope not!)

Monday – 5k time trial at club. I was slightly disappointed with my run at Parkrun. All this training I am doing, I expect to be a little closer to my PB, but when I keep fading in the final mile, It’s frustrating! And as much as I whine about running 5K’s, as they are HARD, I was surprisingly pleased when I arrived at club and was told we were running a 5K time trial.

I was determined to run my own race, and NOT fade at the end, and I did. I managed a 26:54, with pretty consistent splits; 8:24, 8:39, 8:39 ๐Ÿ™‚

Tuesday – Rest

Wednesday – 10 Miles – The sun was out, and I headed out to meet friends when it was still light! 3 miles to meet them, 5 miles nattering all the way round – well not nattering, but moaning about being cold! For my final 2 miles, I headed home but cranking up the pace. I think my final mile was my fastest, it felt good.

Thursday – Hills with club – My legs were destroyed from last nights run, and I have Brighton half Sunday, so I took this one EASY! (A little lazy really!)

Friday – Rest

Saturday – Rest

SundayBrighton Half Marathon – I LOVE this race. This is my third year in a row, and I really enjoyed it again. I completed it in 2:02:11 – my second fastest time ever! A full report will follow later.

It was great to get my first race of 2016 completed. 2 weeks until Silverstone and 4 weeks until Cardiff ๐Ÿ™‚

Hope training is going well for everyone. What races have you got lined up?

 

 

 

#VMLM2016 training – Week 7

Can you believe that we are now in to single digits for the weekly countdown!! That’s just a little bit scary – 9 weeks to go….

Monday – As I said last week, I am away this week, so I messaged my club coach to ask what the session was, so I could complete the same session on my own. I had all day to complete the session, but as always everything else got in the way, so I finally headed out just as it was getting dark! Luckily my club session was a pyramid session, so I picked a road next to my hotel and ran up and down, and up and down, and up and down… 5 miles in total! I think the locals must have thought I was mad! The session was 2, 4, 6, 8, 6, 4, 2 minutes tempo with half the time recovery. I was pleased that I managed to complete it and all efforts started with an 8: xx pace, but I wasn’t very consistent. I ranged from 8:00 to 8:54! It was a tough session, but I enjoyed it once I had completed it!

This picture was obviously taken earlier in the day, but I didn’t think you’d want to see a black picture!

Tuesday – Rest day – well in terms of running, but having a 4-year-old who is very active means you’re pretty much on the go all day!

Wednesday – My plan said that I needed to complete 10 miles today. I am always very conscious of how much time I spend away for my family when training, so thought it would be a good idea, to get up early and use the hotel treadmill. So whilst they were sleeping, I headed downstairs. I knew I was going to have to be mentally tough to complete the 10 miles, but it was worse than I could imagine! This was my view:

Pretty predictable, but I didn’t complete the 10 miles, after 1 hour and 20 I had just about had enough, so gave up. I headed back upstairs to find both my daughter and husband still fast asleep! How did Susie Chan ever manage to stay on a treadmill for 12 hours! Respect!

Thursday – Today was our day to travel home, so 9 hours in the car, meant this really was a rest day!

Friday – I completed some of the hip exercises I spoke about in week 3. They are really making a difference, the niggleย I was getting in my knee has not reared its head for the last couple of weeks!

SaturdayBedford Park run – I always dread 5k – I just haven’t really run them enough. Also, I always think I should be quicker than I actually am! They are hard, I set off too fast and then die at the end. I tried to warm up a little this time, as last time I just walked to the start, and then wondered why it was so hard! Doh! It still wasn’t enough, but next time I WILL get there earlier enough to warm up properly.

I did the usual and started too fast, so faded at the end, but it didn’t feel as horrendous as last time, so that made me feel a little better. The text that came through said it was a PB of 27:31. It isn’t actually, but it was better than the last month so I am happy with that!

Sunday – Strength and Conditioning – I really need to do more of this!

I am really looking forward to getting back to a routine and getting a good weeks worth of training in. I have Brighton Half marathon next weekend, which I have done for the last 2 years. (Read 2014 report here, obviously didn’t do one for 2015?!?) I really like this race. I love running by the sea, and it’s an out and back, so I spend most of my race watching the speedy ones on the other side!

I like running half marathons! I think I need a year concentrating on just halves, and try to gain myself that elusive sub 2 hour time that I so want!

Which distance do you prefer to run?