Part 2 of my blog hijack from rich…
The dreaded weekend of our half marathon was upon us and we were in high spirits that we would complete it and complete it within our estimated time of 2 hours 30 minutes (based on our training runs).
After waking up relatively early (way to early for a Sunday anyway) we had our breakfast of porridge & made our way into the centre. It was surprisingly chilly although not a cloud in the sky could only mean one thing – it’ll be a hot one & it was.
After posing for the obligatory pre race photos, Hannah and I ventured into our pen and Hannah’s dad, Chris ventured off to his. Chris was expecting to be close to the 2 hour mark(!!) so started further down towards the starting line.
Our race got off to an interesting start, running over the line with a bloke dressed in full armour – yes medieval style armour!! Unfortunately 2 miles in my calf & hip started to hurt, luckily I’ve experienced this before in our training but this time it wouldn’t go. Fortunately with a lot of encouraging words from Hannah I pushed on and it seemed to ease just before we got to mile 3. As we turned the corner, we saw something we weren’t expecting to see… a hill.
Now for anyone that tells you the Cardiff Half is flat are fibbing, well and truly fibbing. Yes I suppose it is relatively flat compared to other courses but there’s still a hill and one that we now have to run up. Surprisingly by the time we got to the top all my aches were gone.
From our relatively newness to marathons, we saw the pacers for 2 hours 15 in the distance and thought if we could stay with them we could be within a chance of improving our time. As the miles disappeared we had all of a sudden not only caught the pacers but overtook them by mile 9!?!? Yes we were very surprised by this too. (Unfortunately,the pacers were no where near that pace, they were more likely on a 2 hour 20 minutes.) This gave us a huge boost and we pushed on, even after a guy dressed as a dinosaur ran past us.
As we hit mile 10 we were now running into the unknown. We had both got this far once before but never crossed it. After a high five we pushed on only to be confronted by another hill (!!!!). Yes it wasn’t steep but it was still an incline that we wasn’t expecting. I reminded Hannah that what goes up must come down – although at this point she looked as though she wanted to punch me. Eventually we got to the top, turned the corner and there was the hill (more of a slight slope) back down. At this point we thought we were on the final leg & nothing stood between us and the finishing line 1 mile away.
Unfortunately as we got to the bottom of the hill we now came face to face with what can only be described as the Travelator from Gladiators… In reality it was a short, shape slope of no more than 15/20 metres but it certainly didn’t feel like it at the time! Spurred on by a guy in the crowd shouting ‘come on smash it’ we made it to the top and onto the final leg. As we rounded the final corner and saw the finish line, grabbed hands and sprinted towards the line – you know the saying Those who train together…
And that was it our first marathon was over, completed in 2 hours 21 minutes. Yes it was 9 minutes faster than we were expecting but we were disappointed not to break the 2 hours 20 mark. Upon meeting up with Chris again, our efforts were put to shame as he completed it in 1 hour 51 – a cracking job!
All in all we were delighted, we have both ran our first half marathon, finished it ahead of our expected time & finished it together *mini fist pump*.
I think our entire journey can be summed up by this:
Would I say it was hard – yes. Would I say motivating yourself to train is hard – yes. Did we cry, shout & throw tantrums whilst training – yes. Did we pick injuries & go through pain – yes. Would we do it all over again – ABSOLUTELY!
Oh and a final shout out to the crowd. They were amazing!! If you ever go and watch a marathon make sure to cheer – it really does spur you on.