Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Wales Half Marathon 09/07/17

So I realised I had told you all how I was running my 3 half marathons all within 2 weeks as a challenge to raise money for SPANA (the working animals abroad charity) https://spana.org then never actually written about
my final race. Now whether this is because it caused such trauma to my emotional wellbeing that I've erased it from memory I'm not sure... only joking. But wow it was tough!

I headed off on the 6 hour car journey with my mum 2 days before as we had planned to make the last race into a weeks vacation in Tenby, Wales since it was summer and I had time booked off from lifeguarding. We were also major in need of some quality girl time <3. So we eventually arrived at the cute little coastal cottage we had booked after 4 of said 6 hours singing along very badly to Ed Sheeran. It was 5 mins walk form the beach which was AMAZING (I love the sea more than I love baked beans and that's going some trust me). I started going over my mental checklist for raceday; trainers, safety pins, number, vest etc...everything was there. Time to head off grocery shopping and start the obsessing over what was best to eat for dinner the night before (runners will get this) which I stuck to the same each time because if it's served you well once it'll do the same again. For me this is black pudding, pasta and veggies :)

The next day we set off on our mini adventure to discover how beautiful Tenby is, and that we did! Watching the other 30,000 athletes completing the other events of the long course weekend (it was a whole big event weekend for triathlon athletes) built up my nerves a little but there's nothing like adrenaline to get you rearing to go!

Look how PRETTY = Tenby

After a long nights sleep in preparation you could say I wasn't quite as motivated by morning. It was raining buckets when I looked out the window, so I'm ashamed to say my mum was the receiver of rather a few complaints in the 3 hours from waking up to the start of the race. The rain however did eventually cease and she managed to shuffle me to the event area at Pembroke Castle, the start of the race. All the 'fit kids' as my dad likes to call anyone who knows the concept of exercise, were lining up to collect their pre-ordered race merch (like why did you even sign up if you're not bragging about it through your clothing??) and race numbers.

I then learnt that my new record for needing to pee in the space of 30 minutes is FIVE TIMES. And the queue only got longer each time. I swear I only had the one coffee what's wrong with me. About 10 minutes later is when my hell began. We were accompanied by a marching band to the start line, which was actually pretty fun because everyone was getting into the spirit by that point. So it was all great and dandy until around mile 4 where I overheard a woman behind me discussing how this was the hilliest race in the country. IN THE COUNTRY. Why had no one mentioned this when I signed up??! Why hadn't I done my research? Looking at the course map afterwards I realise that there were a few clues, but I was still a novice at that point.


However I had chosen this location because it looked like a fun event to take part in, so fun I would make it. Two brothers dressed in superheroes jogged past me at one point, sweat pouring from their costumes in the midday sun, but they were cheery as anything, chatting to people as they passed. They reminded me of one of the reasons I was doing this. I raised over £800 from friends and family wanting to see me suffer for animals who deserved the care they were receiving from that money and what on Earth did I think I was doing getting upset over some sore feet and a stitch when I knew who I was running for. After the last 8 miles sat back and enjoying the scenery at a very modest pace but having a pretty decent time I arrived at the finish line with a rather grumpy face but all in one piece.

So all in all this was not my favourite race, but the feeling you get on competition is worth ten times the pain of the distance and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. The people you meet and the places you see are well worth any running adventure, so get out there and have fun!

Approximately 28 minutes before the pain hit

Peace out lovelies, and merry Christmas :)
Love Helen xx

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