Hold on. I’m not talking class A type. Drugs are baaaaad, mmmkay? I’m talking energy gels. On a half marathon. Oh yeah, it’s still all about the running. And today I did the Conwy Half Marathon. Then I wrote a race report, which is a novelty for me in itself.
So, here goes… I arrived at 1030 since I had to pick up my race bib (I registered late) and it was a cold crisp morning, light cloud, but no where near as cold as it could have been. Stormageddon that had been predicted miraculously had not materialised. The location is on the tip of Wales, so you have the Irish Sea which can be brutal, but today it was flat as a funeral director’s patter. Not even a breath of wind in the air. Well, not at sea level.
Picked up the race bib and had an hour before the gun time, so we went back to the car (The Husband, The Dog and me) to relax and take in some fuel. Well, The Dog took the opportunity to curl one out in Wales, as he was still annoyed about the holiday that got cancelled. He’s still bitter. I sat nervously in the car wondering whether the race was a good idea. Or, more specifically whether the cocktails I had the night before were a good idea. Anyway, I went back to the race area, queued to use the portaloos and then said bye to my support team who were going for a coastal walk to kill time. Told them I would be back in a couple of hours, meet me at one of the tents.
I stood in the start area where, ridiculously, non racers were also standing. Annoying to have to navigate past them, but whatever. First mile, over a bridge and past a castle, all good. Then we wind down towards the shore and it’s a narrow track, on sand. Huh? Thought it was a bit slow going but maybe it was a good thing to pace myself.
The course turned inland and through a cute village on a headland, where the coast on the other side awaited us. As well as a three mile climb up a hill. I knew it was coming and inhaled some gel for the very first time and waited for it to kick in and see whether I could tell the difference. Reminded me of my uni days and experimenting with certain banned substances. The climb up the hill went fine, I just plodded along silently agreeing with myself that plodding was fine, stopping was definitely fucking not. Besides I wasn’t in any pain of any kind so I had no reason to stop. I eventually reached the top and though it was hard going it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. I don’t know whether it was the gel, the hill work training, or both. But. I knew I wasn’t going to set any records. And that was okay because frankly it was the beautiful coastline with the turquoise waters slapping gently on the rocks way below me that was making my day. I felt alive (possibly euphoric, might have punched the air) and was thoroughly enjoying it. Rounding the headland the big decline came and it felt fast, but good. I kept up a decent comfortable pace back along the coastline, over the bridge past the castle and over the finish line.
The funniest thing was seeing the surprised look on The Husband’s face. Why? Because…
I finished in 1 hr 51 minutes. Whoa. And I placed 19th in my category. WT mother fucking F? He said he walked up to the finish early to cheer on the racers but did not expect to see me so soon. Trust me, we were like two startled gazelles staring at each other when my timing chip hit the finish line.
And there you have it: my very first half marathon. Bloody loved it. Will do another before Paris Marathon. Well, once I peel myself off the sofa. And sober up. The Husband being optimistic or practical saw fit to place a fine grand cru champagne in the fridge.
Here, for your viewing pleasure..
..the headland (and not even the steep bit, trust me)…
…and yours truly. Sans make up, avec medal. Boo ya. With about 1600 calories to make up.