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Monday, 1 October 2018

C25K & Cheltenham Half Marathon reports

The latest Newport C45K course began three weeks ago, so every Saturday I have been at Tredegar House and Thursdays at Caerleon RC HQ to assist with this course. Last Saturday we completed day 1 on week 4 where the group tags on to the parkrun.

Group 3 beginning the session
Normally the groups wouldn't be completing the full parkrun route, (with a mixture of running and walking) until week 5 I think.
This week I was assisting with group 3 and as we came to the end of the planned schedule for this run, I asked the group if they were up for completing the course by doing 90 seconds running and 90 seconds walking consecutively until we finished, and they unanimously voted yes. I am very happy to say that they all completed the 5km route running into the finishing funnel. Hooray 😃

Sunday 30th September I took part in the Cheltenham half marathon, my first of four half marathons that I am running in four consecutive weeks.

Because I have had a niggly pelvis ligament injury, I haven't been able to get out and do any longer runs recently so I was going to have to wing this one and treat it as a training run before Cardiff next week, so I wasn't too bothered about my finishing time as long as I finished under 2 hours and 5 minutes but, I had also told myself that if my injury began to bother me then I would either have to walk some of it or not finish at all. I would prefer to be able to finish Cardiff than Cheltenham if it came to the crunch.

I had a terrible nights sleep on Saturday, it just seemed to take me ages to drop off and then I kept waking up. My alarm went off at 5:30 AM and I got into my usual pre race routine, shower, get dressed, porridge for breakfast, (C25K groups please note), a large cup of tea and make sure that I had everything in my bag that I needed, and that the baggage label was attached. One final trip to the toilet and I was off at 6:30.

I had to stop at Gloucester Services for a toilet stop, and I can't even say that it was down to pre race nerves because I wasn't at all nervous. My satnav guide me into Cheltenham city centre but then I began to find that the roads were closed and so I was trying desperately to find another way to the race course, but at every turn was another road closure. I saw another car who looked like he was heading to the race and trying also to find another route, so I followed him, like a lost sheep.  We came to another closed road but this time he decided to bypass the cones blocking the road by driving up onto the pavement and driving up the closed road. There was no one around so I thought, "what the hell", and I followed him. Bingo! Finally I saw a sign guiding me to a car park. Phew! I thought I was going to be driving around for hours.

I parked the car, grabbed my kit and headed towards the race village, which was a nice, warm theatre type room within the racecourse complex, and guess what? Yep, I needed the toilet again. There were proper toilets there, as well as extra portaloos and no queues loos for the guys either 😊.

Half an hour later I began to make my way to the start line, via the loo again, and had a warm up before entering my starting pen, and soon enough I was on my way.

The race began much as any other race with competitors bunched up, but it opened up after the first mile and we headed into Cheltenham city centre.

I kept an eye on my watch time and as usual for a race I had it set up to show me my estimated finishing time, a function I find very useful, and it was flitting back and forth between 1:55 to 2:02, but was on 2:02 more of the time. By mile 10 I was beginning to feel tired, probably due to the lack of longer training runs, possibly because of my lack of sleep the night before, but maybe also because I ran 6 miles on the club run on Thursday evening, which was more than I thought we would be doing and I hadn't recovered fully from that.

I left the road as I entered the racecourse again with just a couple of miles left to run around the course itself before coming into the finishing line just behind the grandstand, my final and official chip time was 02:03:26 .
Polar watch time

Did I enjoy the race? It was OK. Would I do it again? Probably not. But then I've now run so many road half marathons that I'm beginning to become a bit bored with them, which is why I'm looking to run more trail races next year and only run a few road races.
So next Sunday is the Cardiff half marathon where I was hoping I might break the 2 hour barrier, but I'm doubtful that will happen now, unless I have a seriously strong wind blowing me along and that hill going up the right side of Roath Park lake is leveled out 😂

I know lots of you will be there so I look forward to seeing you.

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