Tag Archives: cardiff half 2016

Cardiff World Half Marathon Race Recap

Helloooo!!

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.ย  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.

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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.

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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 ๐Ÿ˜€

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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.

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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My “A”-race for spring half marathon

It’s that time again to start thinking about spring half marathons.. or it probably has been that time for a while.. I’ve put a lot of thought into my spring half for this year anyway.

I’ve posted about half marathons in general here, it’s always been a special distance for me and one of my favourites. It’s also always been one where I’ve wanted to improve and get a pb. I hold a pb from a half marathon from 2014 and I spent all last year trying to improve that time. You can read about the attempts nr 2 and 3,ย  here, and here, for the first race last year I hadn’t started my blog yet.

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Anyhow, I’ve gone to these races with the attitude that I need a pb and if I can’t get it I consider it a bad unsuccessful race. I have, however, really wanted to run a half marathon where I just enjoy the run without worrying about the pace. I see a lot of people who I follow on instagrams/blogs running so many races a year and a lot of the timeย  they just run to enjoy them. Some of them are run with friends pacing their slower friends to good times, or sometimes people just take them as training runs enjoying the atmosphere.ย  This is something I’ve been really jealous of since all my half marathons have been just serious pb-chasing attempts with some funย  in there (but not even always that). So at the end of last year I decided I wanted to change this and run more half marathons with the frame of mind that only one/two of them will be the main “A” races and others I can just run to enjoy.

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What is the “A” race for me then?

I have considered a lot of half marathons for the spring and my main race was going to be the Reading half. It just seemed to be at a nice time and a nice relatively fast course. Also, something new as I’ve done a Bath half twice now around the same time.

But, there are the world half marathon championships in Cardiff a week before Reading. This is a race that is on our doorstep and it means that the likes of Mo Farah and Florence Kiplagat will be running there. Obviously I wouldn’t see them myself or run with them but hey ho, still running the same race ๐Ÿ™‚

Sooo I couldn’t resist but sign up for that race. I know some people can race in two consecutive weekends but knowing me and my injury-history I really don’t think that’s a wise idea. The initial plan I had was that I’d run the Cardiff World Half marathon championships as a steady training run just enjoying the atmosphere. I even thought I’d maybe add a couple of kilometers before it to make it a proper long run (the mass race doesn’t start til 2pm) and run it in a marathon pace instead.ย  And then I could race the Reading half the following weekend and aim for a pb there.

BUT having thought about this for a while now I’ve realised there is no way that when I soak up that atmosphere and stand on that start line I would want to casually jog that race. I know myself and my competitiveness and I know that it’s inevitable that I’d race it anyway. Which then means I would possibly ruin my chances of a pb in Reading the following weekend. The conclusion is that I may as well make it my goal race for the spring as it’s a prime opportunity to push myself. The course itself is the same Cardiff half course that I actually ran my pb in 2014 so it’s an excellent chance to try and improve that time.

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Definitely happy about the pb back in 2014 ๐Ÿ˜€

One of the doubts I had was that this mass race has 25 000 runners, and even in half marathons with 15 000 people I’ve really struggled for space. I always end up spending loads of unnecessary energy jumping side to side finding gaps to get past people. This is not so much of a problem at a full marathon because the pace I run isn’t that fast but in a half marathon it gets really tiring and frustrating running that bit of extra and losing time. That’s why I had a smaller half marathon planned as my main race initially but never mind.

They even list the top 10 reasons to run the worlds here, my personal favourite: “because Paula says so”. I mean I’ll do anything what my idol Paula Radcliffe tells me to ๐Ÿ˜‰

I seriously can’t wait to train for and run the Cardiff race now. Fingers crossed my knee will let me train and have a go at a pb. I will talk about my goals for the race closer to the time. Meanwhile, I’ll try to come up with some half marathons that I can run for fun instead because those have to be included this year, too ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you like racing for fun or only for pbs? Anyone reading running the worlds this year?