6 WEEK UPDATE

THE JOYS OF THE KNEE

The lovely knee is still hurting at times but NOT when I’m training, only at random times which is probably more annoying than if it was an actual injury. I’ve only been running 2-3 miles a few times a week to make sure that I don’t cause any more damage (if there is any already). Going to try and see a physiotherapist this coming week and if that fails and there is still some pain I will go to the doctors. Still taking anti-inflammatories and icing when it’s hurting.

NEXT 6 WEEK PLAN

The plan is to slowly build the miles up and run on alternative days to give a break between sessions. From next week I’m going to try and add a longer run each week between 4 to 5 miles. I will keep with this plan until December. Once the amazing month of December arrives (CHISTMASSSS), I’m going to increase the amount of days I’m running while slowly increasing the amount of miles I’m running. I’ll do 3 to 4 miles most days with a 6 to 7 mile run for the first 2 weeks then a 8 to 9 mile run the last 2 weeks of December. I will see how everything goes at this point and re-assess my training plan from there.

2020 RACE PLAN SO FAR

Although my knee hasn’t been in the best condition, it hasn’t stopped me from signed up to some new races for next year (oops). Other than the 3 ultra-marathons I’ve already signed up to, I’ve added some 10K races to the mix. After my 100 miles I’m going to do smaller races like the 5K and 10K to ease off a little bit.

BRECON TO CARDIFF – 44 MILES – 9TH FEBRUARY

VALE ULTRA MARATHON – 32 MILES – 28TH MARCH

CARDIFF BAY 10K – 29TH MARCH

NEWPORT 10K – 19TH APRIL

DRAGON 100 – 100 MILES – 2 & 3RD MAY

PORTHCAWL 10K – 5TH JULY

BARRY ISLAND 10K – 2ND AUGUST

NEXT UPDATE WILL BE UP ON 22ND DECEMBER!

CARDIFF HALF MARATHON REVIEW

ABOUT THE CARDIFF HALF

The Cardiff Half Marathon is one of Cardiff’s biggest races of the year. It’s been running for 16 years and has hosted the world and commonwealth half marathon. The flat route follows Cardiff’s most iconic landmarks including Cardiff Castle, the Principality Stadium, Civic Centre and stunning Cardiff Bay.

MY EXPERIENCE

Before the race I met up with the amazing club which is the ‘Llantwit Major Milers’ running club of Llantwit Major. We got our pre-race photo shoot done and made our way to the start line. For once I actually ate well and hydrated enough that I didn’t feel dehydrated as I waited the 30 minutes for the race to start (first time for everything!). I had a few of the club members starting in my pen with me, which again is a rare occurrence, so more snaps taken and motivational words spoken to each other.

The start was incredible as always male voice choirs, fires burning and a great atmosphere from the 27,000 other runners. I kept telling myself that as great as it is, and as pumped as I am, I need to keep the pace steady. Which really was the plan. This was supposed to be a training run rather than a race. I think we can all guess how it went.

My first mile was steady as it always is due to the crowds, you just tend to go with the flow for the first mile and try and get ahead of those who are slower than you until the crowds separate. I then got into the second mile and the plan of going steady went out the window. I was averaging 7:30 to 8:00 minutes per mile. Oops. I felt great at this pace and surprisingly didn’t feel too out of breath with no part of my body was struggling. I should have known it was too good to be true.

It started with a slight stinging, turned into burning and then turned into stabbing pains. My knee was in agony and this pain then went into my hip because I was running with a slight limp. I managed to run slowly through mile 4 and then my knee could not hack it anymore. I decided to walk for a little but even that was hurting. My thoughts at this point were heading towards a DNF (Did Not Finish – for those non-runners).

 I’m used to being in this position now so it would have been the easy option for me. As I thought about it I realised I would have to walk to equivalent distance to the finish anyway, so why would I DNF when I’ll get to the finish in the same amount of time? Also my mind went to all the amazing people who were walking the half marathon anyway. Those people who did not care that they weren’t running it and were just enjoying the experience. I couldn’t give up now.

I pushed on and walked for the majority of the race. I jogged when my knee felt to some extent ‘OK’ but this was in 30 second spurts. I decided on 4 minutes of walking then 30 seconds of running for 9 miles. It was hard. More mentally than physically. The crowds were amazing but as they spurred me on and told me to keep running, the more it got to me that I couldn’t fulfil this. However, I stayed strong and stuck with the plan to only run when I felt I could, and to not let peer pressure get to me. I needed to at least not cause any more damage than I felt there was already.

Once I reached the last mile of the race, I could feel myself welling up. I’d made it. I hadn’t given up. The crowds got louder and more enthusiastic, so I ran it home (by ran, I mean a jog that felt fast considering my race pace). I crossed that line proud but for completely different reasons to what I would usually be proud of. I actually think I gained more from this experience than any race I’ve done before

I’m obviously very upset over a poorly knee which means a break from my 100 mile training plan BUT I won’t let it stop me. I’m going to look after it, rest, rehab and recover and get myself in a good position to train again. I’m still staying strong, not pushing through anything I shouldn’t and work with what I can each week.

SUMMARY

HIGHLIGHT: Breaking the DNF mindset. I’ve DNF so many races within the past 2 years and it becomes easier just to give up with every race. During this race I managed to put my pride aside and finish a not so perfect race and be proud of what I did achieve.

LOWLIGHT: Being injured (Booo). I now have to deal with a poorly knee and put my 100 mile ultra marathon training plan on hold for a while.

CARDIFF 10K: A Review

A little bit about the race….

The Cardiff 10K is a running event organised by the Kidney Wales charity who support patients and families who are living with renal conditions, and promote excellence in renal research.

The 10K course is a flat all road and tarmac route, which goes through the main city centre passing Cardiff Castle and the Principality Stadium (The Millennium Stadium to us true South Walians). It then passes through two beautiful parks: Llandaff Fields and Pontcanna Fields, with a finish passing Cardiff Castle.

This race is suited to all abilities whether you are aiming for a 10K personal best or doing you’re first ever 10K and just want to survive the run! As said above it’s a flat on road course so an easy one for beginners and a quick route for more advanced runners.

The end goodies were a lovely 10K T-shirt, which is actually one of my favourite race shirts I have ever had from the race. Alongside this I got a nice shiny medal, a packet of crisps and a bottle of water. I used to find many races used to give a goodie bag with loads of different goodies/leaflets, but I used to end up throwing half the stuff away. It’s actually nice to get less, more useful items with less waste!

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My experience…

My own experience of the Cardiff 10K was an extremely positive one. I arrived at the race village two hours early to get my morning coffee down me, and to have a look around the stalls for some bargains. I then found some members of my running club for a few photos and a natter before heading over to the start line. I was at the start line around 10 minutes early, which is always the killer waiting for it to start. I always need a wee and get hungry when waiting for a race to start!

The first half of the race was great I was running at an 8 minute/mile pace for the first 2.5 miles. Coming up to the half way water station I knew I couldn’t keep up the pace, so slowed it down to 8.5minute/mile pace and walked for a minute when I got the water in my hand (I have no idea how people can run and drink water at the same time?!). The last 3 miles I felt comfortable in a steady pace, nothing too quick as I knew I wasn’t getting a 10K personal best. I did my usual stop for a walk with 0.5 miles to go. I have no idea why I do it but I do it in every race, it’s as if I need to get a walk in every time whether I’m tired or not.

Regardless of the walk, I managed to get a personal best for the Cardiff 10K with a time of 53:32, which I couldn’t be more happy with. Maybe next year I can at least level my 10K personal best. At the finish we were given our goodies and then the long wait at the bag drop! The worst part of any large race, having to queue for half an hour+ for my bag! It’s no fault of the organisers as there isn’t really a way around it. However, at the end of a race you just want to grab your bags and get to the grub! My advice is if you can manage without taking a bag or have supporters then don’t bother leaving anything in a bag drop.

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Highlights: The atmosphere on the streets of Cardiff City Centre. That’s one thing you can’t experience with many ultra-marathons! Can’t beat the crowds cheering everyone on.

Lowlights: My usual 0.5 mile towards the end walk. Not really race associated but more personal, I need to learn how to keep it going at the point!

Cardiff 10K 2020 places are now open if you do fancy giving this one a go!

LLANTWIT MAJOR 10K – A REVIEW

Little bit about the race….

The Llantwit Major 5K & 10K is a mainly off road run along the Welsh Coastal Path. The race was created in 2015 to honour the memory of David Synan from Llantwit Major, who had a big passion for running. The course is a trail run along the welsh coastal path with a few different trail terrains (grass, rocky, muddy), with the final 1.5 mile being on the road through llantwit major, for those who like people cheering you on during a race! There are two big hills involved, one steep short hill at the beginning of the race and one around 2 miles in which a longer less steep incline. Both the 5K and 10K started together so the atmosphere was brilliant. I will say however, if you are running this race for a personal best, start right at the front and try and run the road to the coast at a faster pace. This is to avoid being stuck behind someone slower on the cliffs, as a lot of it was single file running.

Bonus; At the end everyone got a medal, a llantwit 10K buff and a free session at llantwit major leisure centre. I was quite happy not to get a tech t-shirt for once (I have so many from over the years!), it was nice to have something different for my running stash.

I would say this race is for eveyone from the skilled trail runner, to the first timer to trail running! Remember there is also a 5K option for those not quite ready to tackle a 10K off road race just yet.

My Experience…

For me it did not go great. The first 5K I was on track for a personal best on the course. However during the last 5k the sun hit me hard. It was an extremely hot day and I had not hydrated during the days leading up to the race. I felt dizzy and sick, which meant I found it hard to keep running, so i lot of walking done during the last stage. I ended up running across the line in tears, feeling like I was going to throw up and extremely dizzy. I sat at the end of the course for a while trying to get myself back to normal. I finished 3 minutes slower than last year which was gutting but at the same time I could not have pushed harder.

Highlight: The views of the coast from the run were beautiful, especially on such a sunny day. Being able to run in my home town is also a plus as there isn’t many shorter distance races that are ran through Llantwit Major.

Lowlight: The heatstroke. I have never felt so ill during and after a run. It was my own fault for not preparing better for the day but it did take the pleasure out of the run.