My running mojo is back with a vengeance.
I’ve missed a couple of races the last 18 months or so. I pulled out of the Bath Half last March, didn’t run a step for a few months, then spent the summer building back up to the Cardiff 10K only for R to break his ankle literally the day before. In hindsight, I could have been a bit more sympathetic.
10K is my favourite distance; I can get up to 10K without too much fuss. A half marathon on the other hand is more of a push for me. I’ve got to really train for a half. 10K is only 6-ish miles; a half is more than double that. And the bit between 6 and 10 miles can feel a bit of a no man’s land. You’re running more than a 10K, which is a race in itself, and you’re running it just casually, on a Wednesday, in the rain, and you need to get home to put the dinner on and hang the washing out. It’s different for everyone but, for me, a half is hard!
But… since the Great North Run (2015) I’ve just felt I’ve got another half in me. I think part of it is that I know it’s something I’ve got to really prioritise, and I’m aware that next year we might well have family and kids and things on the horizon, and I’ll have less time to commit to things that are just for me, and just for fun. I’m not saying it’s now or never – just that I feel like the time is now!
So I signed up for the Cardiff Half on the 7th October. Then we decided we were going to move to New Zealand on the 5th September. Hmm.
One slightly overexcited Google search later, and I’m running the Auckland Half Marathon. On 28th October. A.k.a the day after my 30th birthday. Pretty bloody good way to celebrate, right!?!
I asked the running Facebook group I’m a member of if anyone else had run it, and what it was like. The common themes I got in response were “hot” and “undulating”. For those who haven’t been to NZ, an important thing to know is that Kiwis have a totally different definition of what constitutes a “hill”.
They understand heat though – which is why the race starts at 7am. STARTS. As in, air horn sounds, off you go. I haven’t even worked out what time that means we need to be there… or what time that means I’ll have to get up. Told you I got a bit overexcited!!
So it’s going to be hot, hilly and I’ll probably be half asleep. But hey… It’s best not to overthink things, right? There’s always a reason not to do something. I don’t need to smash it all the way round, I can even walk some of it if I need to (I tell myself this now, but I know how competitive I am with myself and I’ll want to beat my GNR time…). We’ll have a birthday weekend in Auckland, I’m going to wear a Birthday Girl badge and make friends with everyone on my way around, and generally have a blast. They have a big Expo the day before, like the London Marathon – it sounds like the city really gets involved! I have even ordered a #RunTheCity hat (running is ALL about the #merch).
I’m up to 7K (I tend to train in KM until I get up to about 8 – 9 miles; I think because it makes you feel like you’ve run further!!) and feeling good about it. I feel like I’m rediscovering how much I love Cardiff, through running – I have spent most of this year so far Not Here, and now that I’ve got a bit more time to myself, I feel like I’m falling in love with it again. And when you get views like this while you’re running, wouldn’t you?
I’ve even started going to Parkrun on Saturdays – guys, Parkrun is ace! Why didn’t I do that before? It’s a 5K and it’s timed, so you can give it a bit of a competitive edge if you want to, but it’s just fun to run with other people. I’ve only been twice so far but I’m really loving it. I’m away this weekend and am actually a bit miffed to be missing it.
I got a bit overexcited after work today (this seems to be a bit of a theme with me and running) after spending most of the morning chatting to our photographer about running clubs and trail versus road running and running the Wales Coast Path (why haven’t I done that yet either?) and ended up doing 4.5K this evening. I don’t think my legs had quite recovered from 7K yesterday – they are pretty sore now!! I had to get the foam roller out when I got in (haven’t missed that guy). I’ve had problems with my hip before, so I need to watch it really and not go too hard too soon. But Christ it feels good to be running again.
7K down. 14 to go!….