The 2014 Cardiff Half Marathon fell on possibly the last nice day of the year. Although it did began a bit drizzle which was pretty good conditions for running. I fuelled up on Bagels and coffee before I left the house and left my stuff at the Hilton gym. Where once there had been NATO sponsored steel fences were hundreds and hundreds of runners. Despite this being my fifth (maybe sixth?) Cardiff half and lord knows what it contributed to the total amount of half's I've done I was still nervous. I was feeling good but you never know what's going to happen on the day and I've never seen so many people get ready to run it before, My Garmin took its own sweet time to find a signal and then we were off!
I normally run the first few miles thinking "How am I feeling? Do I feel good at this pace? Can I run faster?" I had looked around for a 1:35 pace setter but there was no sign. So I just span the wheels and it was at around mile 4 that I thought: "Yeah I'm feeling good."
There was a lot of support and I saw some friends on the way round, which is always an advantage when you're doing a race in your own town. At now point during the race did I hit my target pace of 7:10 (which was a bit ambitious) but the worse I did 7:53 at mile 11. I remember having a second wind around then as I passed Roath Park Lake. I ate bits of an energy bar throughout mile 6 to give me a boost for the second half of the run, and I did begin to lose the pace at mile 9 but instead of resigning myself to it I dug deep and found that I had an pocket of energy and managed to pick up the speed again.
As I came up to the last bend coming past Woodvile Street up to the Welsh College of Music and Drama an announcer said that we were on for 1:36. Now I took that as that if I kept up the pace that was what I was going to get, not that people crossing the line at that moment were getting 1:36, so I stepped up the pace and even managed a sprint finished. There was more in the tank after the finish line, but I was slightly disappointed when I checked my Garmin and it told me 1:39, 1:36 would have been a PB and the conditions were good for it. Still it’s the fastest I've run Cardiff and the fastest I've run a Half this year. I had a quick swim in the Hilton to cool off my legs before meeting up with a group of friends in the City Arms, some of whom had ran the race as well. I'd been off the booze for a bit so a well-timed PieMinister Pie saved me from early doors, which is good as I was off to Bristol to see the brilliant Besnard Lakes.