Race 9 of 12–Cardiff Half Marathon 2011

Where to begin? Not really too sure. I could start with tired legs from Liverpool Marathon the week before. I could also start with a secret hope for running sub 1hr 45m for a half marathon at some point this year – something that changed from a hope to a possibility after the Great North Run some 4 weeks back (completed in 1hr 47m). I could also start with food and drink with some very good friends parents just outside Cardiff on Saturday night.

So turning up just in time to make the start but not actually make it to my pen the race got under way. Meanwhile Rox and Mel were enjoying the atmosphere along with the other runners.

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Upon starting I decided I’d just go for it and try and get that elusive sub 1hr 45m half marathon. The first mile though had other ideas as I struggled to find any room at all. I couldn’t even weave in amongst people. It eventually spread out a little in mile 2, but needing sub 8 minute miles for 13 miles, and the first being around 8m 30s didn’t bode well.

Then at mile 3, with the temperatures rising, my legs just turned empty. I had no idea why, and then I remembered the little matter of the marathon the week before. I decided to run sub 8 miles for next the 3 miles and then at half way I’d just back off and enjoy the scenery. By mile 7 I was just talking myself into running the next mile at sub 8 minute pace, and this continued for the next 6 miles.

At mile 9 I worked out I had 30 minutes to do the last 4 miles and I’d actually be getting a sub 1hr 40m. Motoring for the next half mile just to turn a corner and see a great big climb, hope along with pace vanished.

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Crossing the line in 1hr 42m 54s I completed an unofficial aim for this season. And even came away knowing that with a flatter course and a faster start, a sub 1hr 40m might be on the cards.

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