The Cardiff Half Marathon roles around again. I think this is my sixth or seventh, but it'll be a bit different for me this time as I'll be running side by side with my mate James Gent. It's his first Half and I've been helping him train. I've enjoyed running James and the improvement in him has been amazing, we're not aiming for a time, we'll be happy to get round.
In the last few years the organisers have really got their arse into gear. The Cardiff Half would tend to get something wrong every year, whether it was not enough water stations, or screwing up the bag reclaim. Their most notorious screw up was when they got the course too short a few years ago. They've kept the route pretty much the same for the last few years and it's a nice flat one. The two exceptions are the hill going up to Penarth/Penarth at around mile 4 and the hill up to the Magic Roundabout/Splott at around mile 6. The course is mostly wide and within the first 2 miles running up Penarth road it opens up and you can find your own space to run. Support from my fellow Cardiffians has ramped up a lot in the last few years and it really helps out on the road.
Off all the runs I've done Cardiff is the worse for people just turning up and having a pop. Rolling up with their knackered Daps, the smell of last night's curry still lingering and a cheeky smile on their lips. I admire the ambition but you do see them at the side of the road after the first mile gasping air and floundering like a fish out of water and sweating pure Balti. Still over the last few years there's been a real sense of occassion in the capital when the race is on. Cardiff seems to have recognised what an asset the race is to the City.
It shouldn't surprise me but it has that this week leading up to the start line I've been feeling bloaty and exhausted. Exhausted despite not getting up early three mornings to go swimming. I've been amazed at how tired I've been. My training is really going to ramp up after the Half when the Tokyo Marathon comes into sharper focus.
I'm going to be really proud of James when he crosses the Finish line and I'm looking forward to the now traditional pints in the City Arms and Pies in Pie Minister!