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Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Race 4 of 4 - Stroud half marathon

Sunday morning was a bit chilly at 7 am as I got into my car to drive to Caerleon for my 4th half marathon in 4 weeks where I was meeting with Michelle C, her daughter Maddy and Chris. Michelle had offered to drive us to Stroud and, if we were good, home again also 😃

Upon our arrival in Stroud our usual final preparations took place and we walked up to the leisure centre to join the usual queues for the toilets and meet up with our fellow CRC club mates.
Chris, Michelle, Maddy & Me
Then before long it was time to make our way to the start line where I positioned myself just behind the 2 hour pace runner. This is the part of the race that I dislike the most, the standing around waiting for the start when I'm itching to go.

The start was a few minutes late but we did get on our way and as usual I just kept to my own plan and let everyone else follow theirs. I dare not try to keep up with others who hare off at a vast rate of knots or I'd burn myself out too early, but if I stick to my pace plan I'll be OK. Having said that, there were times when I glanced at my watch and I was running much faster than I should have been, and I overtook the 2 hour pace runner also but, I just found it so difficult to slow down when the pace felt comfortable, so I thought I'd just go with it and the pace would probably slow down naturally as the race progressed and I became more tired.

The half way mark was approaching as we ran along the A38 into the village of Whitminster and a gentle but longish climb up to the pub where we turned off the main road and back into the country lanes.

By 8 miles my legs were beginning to feel tired, which I guess wasn't surprising as I had completed 3 half marathons in the previous 3 weeks, and my pace had slowed a little, and the 2 hour pace runner had caught me but I pushed on as hard as I dare, keeping the pacer in easy sight. My PB at Stroud last year was 01:58:14 and I was looking at a similar time as long as my pace didn't slow but, I wasn't particularly after breaking this time but anything under 2 hours would be good.

We got back onto the main road into Stroud where I finally caught up with another couple of purple vests, but those last 3 miles were on very tired legs now and I just had to grit my teeth and not let the pacer get away from me.

We came to the final roundabout in the road where we turned right and ran up that final incline to the finish line and, with 200 metres to go, I made one final push, swinging my arms hard to help propel myself up that incline as hard as I could without my calf's cramping up and I crossed the line in 01:58:48.
The finish line just metres away

A well deserved roast lunch
That was hard work, but I did enjoy it and I did feel a great sense of achievement, but now it was time to relax and recover, which was beginning immediately as the 27 of us from Caerleon headed to the pub for a well deserved roast dinner. Yummy 😋

So what is next? Well, this Sunday I am running in the Royal British Legion Poppy Run, which isn't a timed event but more of a fun, cross country run with obstacles, mud and river crossings. Then on the 17th of November I'm running in my first trail half marathon near Carmarthen. I shall be writing a report on that one after the event and let you know how I got on.

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