I know it’s been a while and I haven’t really been writing here.. Just been busy and it hasn’t been my priority unfortunately. But I did want to come and report about the half marathon yesterday because I like looking back on the race recaps and compare then.
So yesterday was the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff. My aim was to break my pb and ideally I wanted a time of 1:35, that’s what I’ve been aiming for and trained for. But to come up with excuses (haha) I was ill not long ago with a very chesty cough and had to take two weeks off. I’m still suffering from that cough a little bit and I guess it did affect my running because in the first runs back I had to take a break after 2km because I was so exhausted. Also, last week I did the 5km race missing a pb, and really struggled to keep the pace I thought I was capable of which really didn’t fill me with confidence for the half. Then again, I managed a 12km tempo in 4:30 pace couple of weeks before and it didn’t feel too bad. It’s the pace I was aiming to get 1:35. Before my last half in August I managed a 10km run in 4:30 and it was sooo hard yet I still ran a 1:37ish for the half. So even though part of me wasn’t believing that 1:35 was achievable at Cardiff yesterday the other part was convinced it was doable. Does that make sense?
But then the weather… Wales really showed itself in all its glory yesterday. It was cold,windy and rainy. I mean I don’t mind running in the cold, and rain isn’t that bad either but they were forecasting winds of 40miles/hour and running in that isn’t great. When I saw the weather I started to seriously doubt my chances of a pb.
In the morning yesterday (race didn’t start til 2pm) everything was hurting, I had weird niggles and pains in my knee, achilles, foot.. I wasn’t sure if I was being paranoid or if I was actually in pain. Typical race day morning I guess. The women’s elite field started first and then the mass race started same time as the men’s elite race.
I made sure to stick with the 4:30 pace from the very start and not get carried away with the atmosphere. I have definitely learnt from my last half (here). Usually the pace feels really easy from the start but I found it quite hard from the very beginning. I guess you’ll know from quite early if you’re going to have a great race or not. By the time we’d ran about 5km I knew it was going to be hard.. it wasn’t even that windy yet but it really felt like I had to work for that pace. I occasionally went slower than the 4:30 but I told myself I’d just negative split and catch up on the second half so didn’t worry too much. By the time we hit half way I did the maths and knew that 1:35 was still doable if I made sure not to drop the pace. At some time around 12-13km a torrential downpour started with horrandeous wind and I was just conveniently crossing a bridge. I didn’t know whether to cry or laugh it was sooo bad. Everyone pretty much turned their heads to the side because the rain/hail was so painful coming from the side. It only lasted for about a minute or two but it made sure that I was completely drenched from head to toe. My shoes felt so much heavier after all the rain had got in them it was ridiculous. At that point I really regretted having shorts and top on as well because it was so cold.
Anyway I survived and then the wind and rain calmed down a bit again. I saw JP around 14km. I was feeling okay at this point and even smiled at him although in the below photo I look like a crazy person 😀
After that I thought well it’s only 6km and all I need to do is keep the 4:30 pace to make it 1:35. How hard can it be? Well the wind picked up again and my legs started to feel heavy and suddenly when I felt like I was running 4:30 pace (the effort was definitely there) to my annoyance I saw I was running 4:45 pace. It was so frustrating. I swear my legs were going the same pace and it felt so hard but I just couldn’t pick up the pace. I guess the wind had an effect. We looped around Roath park and this is where I’ve been doing all my runs basically so I kept trying to push because it was such familiar grounds but for some reason my body just wasn’t doing what my brain told it to do. The next few km’s were so much slower that I knew 1:35 had slipped away. My only focus was to make sure I can get 1:36. There’s a bit of downhill in the last few kilometers as well which I was so thankful for, however the wind was against us at that point which made the downhill running slower too. Anyhow, I got to the last bridge just before you turn to the finish and realised how close I am to not getting 1:36 time so the last bit of the course was definitely my fastest bit. I made it in 1:36:48.
My splits were: 4:29,4:31,4:32,4:31,4:32,4:35,4:28,4:30,4:29,4:33,4:31,4:32,4:33,4:34,4:32,4:39,4:41,4:39,4:34,4:42,4:24 and then 4:11 pace for the last 300meters.
It’s a small pb, exactly 34 seconds from my last half marathon pb that I set in Cardiff at that exact same course in October 2014 (in a lot better weather though!!) I’ve been trying to break that pb many times in 2015 and never managed so even though yesterday’s time wasn’t what I wanted, it’s still proved me that the 1:37:22 time wasn’t unbreakable 🙂