My training for the Conwy Half Marathon was not what I’d hoped it would be. I was not at 100% and I’d been pushing myself too hard and fell into the trap of overtraining. Anyway, I was still going to do the race no matter what, I just wasn’t sure what time I was going to be able to do and if I’d be able to run the whole way. But if I needed to stop and walk, I was ok with that, I knew I’d get round!
It’s been a long time since I’ve run in a proper race and it was great fun to be out there once again, with other runners. I always love looking around at the start line and seeing the types of people who enter the half marathon, you have your professional runners, the fun runners, the ones doing it for themselves as well as the ones raising money for charity. Everyone has a reason and a purpose for being there and I think it’s fantastic.
Running 13.1 miles is a challenge, and it’s a way to push your body and to test your limits. I can still remember my first half marathon and how nervous I felt. Each time you do something you think you couldn’t do, you get stronger, you build confidence and you expand your comfort zone.
I wasn’t nervous, I’d run plenty of races before, but you do get excited, you check to make sure you have everything. There’s always a lot of noise with the music playing, the buzz from the competitors and the general excitement in the air at the start line. The main thing is to keep moving and to not get cold while you wait for the buzzer to go off.
When you spend a lot of time running/walking long distances on your own, it can make quite a change to suddenly be amongst hundreds of other people. I always find it strange at the start when you’re packed in waiting to go and then suddenly the buzzer goes off, and you slowly start to shuffle towards the start line, gradually picking up the pace until you’re away. The beginning of any race can be tricky as you try to navigate by side stepping around slower runners; it’s always difficult to get your rhythm right and to run at an even pace. After the first mile of so, the crowds thin out and then you’re able to run your own race.
Some of the stunning views on the course.
The Conwy Half Marathon has been described by many runners as “probably the most scenic Half Marathon you will run”. The start and finish line is right in front of the 700 year old Conwy Castle. You run alongside the beautiful Conwy River as it carries on towards Deganwy Beach and the West Shore heading out towards Llandudno for about three miles. It’s then back onto the road leading up Church Walk in the direction of Llandudno Pier. It was then onto the Great Orme, where the route slowly started to climb as you headed up and around the Great Orme. This was one on my favourite parts of the whole race, you had stunning views looking out over to the Isle of Anglesey, Puffin Island and the surrounding North Wales coastline. We were so lucky with the weather, the sun was shining and the skies were blue, with just a few clouds in the sky. For the end of November, it was just amazing.
The 13.1 mile Route
Heading up and around the Great Orme was a challenge, as I live by the coast, most of my runs have been completely flat with no hills whatsoever, so to spend a few miles just climbing was really hard work on the legs. I ended up power walking most of the steep hill sections.
I was ok until about mile nine when I really started to feel exhausted, my body was just not in a good place. As I know my own body I knew I needed to walk. For me there was no point in pushing myself at this point as it would take me far longer to recovery, and I don’t have that time spare. So I stared a run-walk pattern. Run for twenty metres; walk for twenty meters and I carried this on till mile twelve and for the last mile I did a very gentle jog and then a sprint finish!
Not one of my best runs, but it was a gorgeous day out; it was great to be running with other people and to do some hill work. I always think you need to take the positives out of any situation. Yes I could be annoyed and angry at myself for over training before hand and for not running the best time I could do, but I still did the race, I still enjoyed it and I got the miles under my belt. I could also now take some time out to recover and get back to feeling like myself.
If you’re looking for a new challenge, then a half marathon is a great goal to aim for. The key with any challenge is to get it booked in! Work backwards from that date and set up your training plan. You can start to build up your walking and running now as you’ve plenty of time to train before the next Conwy Half – which is on Sunday 22nd November 2015. It’s a fantastic run, well worth doing. It’s very well organized and the stunning views make it all worth while.
Why not get out of your comfort zone and get yourself booked in for 2015?
Check out their website and enter online: www.runwales.com/events/conwy-half-marathon