Cardiff Half Marathon

cardiff-half-marathon-773416937Since tri season finished I’ve been pretty focused on the running.  Going out 3 times a week for distances of between 8 and 16K and managing to steadily improve my average speed.

I agreed to enter the Marathon back after Kathryn and Ian did Bath but I didn’t initially sign up as I wanted to be sure my ankle could cope with it.  My target time was initially 2h15 but then I dropped that to 2h05, 2h, 1h55 and then in the week or so before decided that provided I didn’t blow up in the extra distance 1h50 was achievable.

To be honest from training it was suggesting that even 1h45 might be possible but would be a push and require me to maintain 5 minute kilometers for the entire duration of the race.  Chris was more confident in my ability to do it than I was but then at the same time I said he should be aiming between 1h50 and 1h55 whereas he was aiming for 2h.

We got their nice and early thanks to K getting us a great space nearby and moved ourselves up the field to start with people with similar targets.  There were 9000 runners in total all lined up by the City Hall.  The race started and I put in my usual couple of quicker KMs which would be needed if I was to stay anywhere near a 5minute average.  6K in and I was a minute and a half up on a 1h45 schedule and for much of the trip along the barrage had the 1h40 pacemaker in sight.

I felt strong on the slopes there were, often taking several people as soon as we hit any sort of incline – the advantages of training round here!  At around the 8 mile mark I started to feel a pain in my knee which was to get worse as the race went on but being still ahead of schedule I kept going and going and trying to block it out.  K was buzzing around town to try to see us as often as she could (and she did it much better than I did in Bath) and that always helped.  What didn’t help was being run down by Batman, Robin and a giant Champagne Bottle!

Coming into the last kilometre and a bit I knew 1h45 was on but was going to be tight so I digged in and upped the pace reasoning that I could worry about the pain soon enough, as it was as I approached the finishing straight I realised that my Garmin had under measured so when I thought I had another 150m to go I actually didn’t – final time 1h44:09.

Must admit to being over the moon with that time as I did think 1h45 was a little optimistic – Chris also came in not far behind pretty much bang on 1h48.   I knew he could do 1h50 if he pushed it but to beat that by another 2 minutes is good going – I’ll have to watch myself when he sorts out his chesty-coughy-cold-phlegmy-mystery illness.

A great event, course was really good, and my shiny new freebie oakley’s got their racing debut!  Do I want to do another – not just yet.  It’s taken 3 days for my knee to settle down again – seems it was some sort of inflamed ligament.

Survival of the Fittest 2009

Not the Darwinian sense this one but a “high-octane urban-based running event with obstacles designed to keep you on your toes” as the organizers put it.  Supposed to be 10K but actually more like 14K the race started and finished at the Millenium Centre via the Millenium Stadium but by way of a pile of hay bales, a construction site, some fire hoses, an army assault course, two trips into the Taff, a Parkour section, up and down steps in the stadium, a wind, rain and heat elements challenge and and 8 foot ball to finish!  There were other bits too but I can’t remember them all.

Chris and I did it as a team and it was great fun, apart from when Chris left me the wrong side of a wall I couldn’t climb and then an 8 minute queue at the penultimate obstacle just due to sheer number of people. I’ll get some pictures up soon.

Sporting Life

It’s all been going on in the last few weeks.    Been training well and also been doing quite a few different events – started with the Gower Bike Ride on the 5th July which was 29 miles of undulating roads starting and ending in Swansea and taking in a good section of the Gower – wasn’t easy but I did pretty well (Ian beat me though) considering it was the first time I’d even sat on my bike since doing the Duathlon in March.  Weather was lovely for it too but I must admit there was a climb at the end where I had to get off for a 100 yards  as my legs wouldn’t go round any more.

On the 11th July I took part in my first Parkrun –  a free 5KM time trial around Blackweir Park (22:51) a very well organised event and I’m sure I’ll do more.  14th July was the next of the Rose Inn series and Chris pulled out due to his illness so I was doing it solo.   I set the previous Rose Inn race as a virtual partner on my Garmin and effectively raced myself around the course, I was well up on the first lap and kept it going well giving myself a chance at sub 30 minutes.  A big effort in the last 400 metres got me home in 29:49– a time I wouldn’t have thought possible a few months ago.  Shame I’m not going to be able to get the 3rd one done to qualify for the series competition as we’re on holiday but I don’t think I’d have won anyway!

19th July was the Hereford Triathlon – 400M swim (freezing outdoor pool), 16K bike, 5K run.  A nice early drive up there to Chris’ in-laws and a nice ride over to the venue we were due to go off just before 10am.  I started off a minute behind Chris and this lead grew to about 3 minutes after the swim.  I made up a minute on him on the bike and then caught him about half way round the run.  We stayed together from there ending up a minute apart on the final times.

25th July was the Cardiff Triples event held at Maindy Pool/Velodrome.  A crazy event which involves teams of four completing 3 short triathlons one after the other with only 5 minutes break in between each.  Chris, Ian myself and Gareth McNamee (an old friend of Chris’) comprised team Fat Chance and considering that 2 of them had never done a Tri before I think we did pretty well.  In our wave we were among the best on the bike stages  (legal drafting) but let down on the Swim (mainly me) and the Run legs.  Official results show us dead last but our final leg time was wrong and we did 11 laps on one of the cycles so we’re hoping the results get amended (moving us from last to second, but not, last).

That sums up July events but this coming weekend I’m debating doing another Parkrun and am entered in the Cardiff International Pool Aquathlon.  Unique for a pool swim wetsuits are allowed (chance for me to debut mine) and rather than swimming lengths we will be swimming around a triangular shaped course – 5 laps of 100m.  I must admit to being a bit worried but we’ll see how it goes.  The run after is 6.5K around the bay back and forth over the flyover a couple of times and then up and down the river.

All good prep for the upcoming Tuska Triathlon where I’ll have to do a 750m sea swim in Porthcawl followed by a 22K hilly bike ride and then a 5K run.  Going to be a tough one.

Last two event of the season (apart from maybe more free Parkruns) are the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest event, see the link and watch the video to do it justice, and then the Cardiff Half Marathon.  These are both in October so September looks fairly quiet unless Kathryn decides we should do the Cardiff 10K too.

Rose Inn 4 Race Series Race 2

On Tuesday Chris and I entered this 4 mile race around the village of Redwick.   I’d set myself a target of 33 minutes with 32 minutes being an optimistic bonus and I ended up coming in in 31:27 which was, for me, a great time and about the fastest pace I’ve run any sort of distance in a good while.  Chris and I went round the first of the 2 laps together and then I pushed on for the second lap and finished just under a minute ahead but most of that was probably down to Chris’ ongoing asthma issues.

We missed the first race of the 4 race series but you only need to do 3 of the 4 to get an overall ranking so I’ll try to do that although one of them clashes with cricket.

We’ve actually been doing quite a lot of running recently including some off road, on Friday after work for example we got lost and ran the wrong way a few times before completing a respectable 10.5K in just over an hour.  To aid my running I went along today for a foot assessment (my first since the op) at the excellent Run and Become in Cardiff and after much searching and testing it turns out that my current Asics Gel Cumulus are actually about the best for me even though my two feet are now markedly different.

Must throw in a thanks to Kathryn for driving us both down and supporting and roll on the 14th July when we get to do it all again!

First Event of the Season

On Sunday I did the Pembrokeshire Duathlon – also known as the Welsh Duathlon Championships.

As I’m not long over the op I’d set this as a target for myself and I must admit I did wonder if I’d bitten off more than I could chew.

We travelled up the day before staying in the Cleddau Bridge hotel (who incidentally were very accommodating regarding my bike and my request for a late checkout so I could pop back after the event).   Went over on Saturday for a reccy (signs were going up as I was driving it) and to preregister.

However not being out on the bike other than on a turbo and not having used my clipless pedals before I was a little nervous about being able to complete the initial climb and following a sleepless night worrying I was almost on the verge of pulling out. So glad in the end that I didn’t!

Really enjoyed the atmosphere and had lots of people chatting to me and my nerves were soon settled.   Did well on the run and managed a decent enough time for me especially as I was taking it easy knowing the hill was to come.  The cycle was well marshalled given the numbers out on the track and as usual the support around the course, although limited, always helps you get around.  Traffic was well behaved on the fast section at the top and I think I only had one car pass me on the hilly section.   The long downhill at the end could have been smoother – I think I rattled half my teeth loose on the way back down!

In the end I came 30th in the Open Male category, which to be honest sounds more impressive than it actually is.

I’ll get some photos up shortly.


Yes it’s as sore as it looks.

A life less interesting

Since I last blogged a few things have happened.

Kathryn and her mum completely redecorated the living room but alongside that I have removed my fishtank.  The fish were all succesfully rehomed – albeit following a stressful weekend of fish capture, tank draining and heavy lifting.  The tank itself and everything else has been put into storage until I decide what to do with it.

To go with the new room we bought a new sofa using some of our wedding money which arrived about half an hour ago.  Now normally I wouldn’t be around to receive it as I’d be in work but at the moment I am one week into an, as yet undetermined, time off work.  This is because it turns out my troublesome ankle needed reconstructive surgery of the peronial tendons.

So I find myself up to my knee in a plaster cast and I’m confined to the sofa.  Sounds good you’d think but it’s not the most exciting.  I’ve got plenty to do  – books, TV, magazines – but I find myself putting them off for a moment when I’m really bored.  This moment might be days or weeks down the line but I’m prepared.  Not sure its the best way to do it but there you go.

One plus point – it’s enabled me to get most of my Christmas shopping done and many other people’s it seems.  I seem to have become a present research and procurement service.  You all know who you are!!

Must mention my beloved wife though – she’s very busy in work and taking care of me each day can’t be anyone’s idea of fun.  Having to safely transport me and my various pillows, medicines, crutches and so on to the sofa in the morning and then back to bed in the evening is not an enjoyable activity but she’s doing it anyway.  On top of being busy in work and doing lots of other things besides.

PS She’s entered in the RNLI Reindeer Run 10K on Sunday so wish her luck.

Nike Human Race Update

Just a quick entry to follow up on the Nike organised Human Race we entered.  Although it wasn’t announced when we entered Nike contacted everyone doing it’s Human Race 10K just before the event to say there was a free tshirt in it for all participants.

Kathryn is particularly keen on the race Tshirt so this was an added bonus just before we had to do it.  It was also extra incentive for me while I was whinging about my sore ankle.  I’ll be honest though I expected a) the tshirt to be a bit cheap, not rubbish cheap as Nike have a reputation to uphold, but not great; and b) to probably have to pay a fiver postage or something.

Post race 2 weeks or so went on and I thought the free tshirt dream was over until they sent an email allowing each finisher to claim a tshirt and for proper free – no postage or anything.  I was quite pleased.  Even more pleased today when they both arrived today and they are very very good.  Each has your own unique race number on it and it’s a very good drifit type tshirt.  It even matches K’s running kit so she’ll be especially pleased.

Big thumbs up from me for Nike – the entire event must have cost a few bob and was for some great causes.

Minor updates

Two quick updates to my last two posts.

We did the Human Race along with many thousands of others and despite what I said about an injury I managed a new PB – 49 minutes 25 seconds is almost another 2 minutes off my previous best.  I guess the rest I’d had did me good.  Waiting to find out about how we claim our Tshirts!

Also – as predicted Palace sold one player, released another and signed no-one.  Good luck to Tom Soares and Dougie Freedman though.  Tom deserves a crack at the higher level and Dougie deserves more games that we could give him.  And Robinho to Man City! What was that all about!?

The Human Race

Tomorrow both Kathryn and myself have entered Nike’s Human Race Event.  Nike have organised 10K events in 25 different countries around the world where you can run or equally anyone with a Nike+ can enter.

We considered going to the London event at Wembley but decided that we’d do it from home instead due to the travel costs involved.  At the venues there is live music and all sorts going on so it seems like it would have been good fun.

There are 3 charities benefitting from the event namely, Livestrong, UNHCR and WWF.  I’d always targetted setting a PB during the event but following my new record of 51.23 the other week and the fact that I’ve had a bad leg since that isn’t going to be possible.  That said we’re going to enjoy it and apparently you get a Tshirt if you complete it so Kathryn is plenty happy.