I was surprised when I got to the Hilton yesterday prior to the Cardiff half marathon. It was heaving! I thought it was my crafty little secret to nip in pre-start, visit the toilet a few dozen times, get a coffee, visit the toilet again etc. Many many people had cottoned on to the fact but I still had enough time for a coffee (fourth of the morning) and a toilet visit. Of course that didn’t stop me needing a slash as I walked to the start pen. Waiting for the off some chancers climbed over the barrier and – accidentally – elbowed me in the face. No harm done though. Also as people disguarded clothes ahead of the start gun an asthma inhaler flew over and a bottle of yellow liquid. I exchanged a look with the runner next to me exchanged a look. With the customary flames outside the castle we were off, and blow me if I didn’t need another slash in the first mile! I was joined by another four lads of a similar age. IOtr’s a shame about having to stop cause I was pretty pacey at that point. I don’t think they’ve changed the course in five years which is good as it’s a great route and I knew what to expect. I felt good for the first four miles and even the hill up to Penarth wasn’t too bad. It was a gorgeous sunny day which meant that I was sweating like a pig, but I was wearing my drinks utility belt (like motherfunking Batman, but – errr – for like running?) so could take sips when the mood and thirst took me.
The first five miles were pretty pacey hovering just under 7 minute miles. It did get a bit wobbly around Cardiff Bay where I give my traditional middle finger salute to the WNOhno! The stretch from there to the Magic Roundabout was just grinding the gears and seeing my friend Charlotte – who’d just got the second volume of the Brett Anderson memoir signed for me – was a boost. When I ran up Richmond Road around mile 9 into my manor of Roath I actually sped up. I saw Sian and a few other friends and maybe showboated a bit by putting a spurt on, but I paid for it with a wobble at mile 10.
Roath Park lake always seems to go on forever, I suppose cause you know you’re into the last stretch. i was feeling good but lordy lord the hill at mile 12 bit hard this year. The last mile was a pretty decent pace of 7:31 and with a last sprint it was all over for another year. As I say every year it was over before it had begun.
Initially i was disappoint with my time of 1:35 as I thought I was slower than last year but when I looked at last year I was actually 30 seconds quicker overall, my overall pace was 2 seconds quicker and I’d forgotten that I actually hadn’t stopped for a piss last year, so that added a minute and a bit to my time. Of course the only person who gives a shit etc etc…I was feeling pretty strong this year and in my training on the run up to the race I hadn’t hit the pace. It was good overall. I’m sure I’ve got a sub 1:30 half in me blah blah blah…if I can I’m going to hire a running coach for both the Newport marathon and the Cardiff half next year.