If you run, or known someone that does, then I imagine you’ll have heard the term the ‘hitting the Wall’ (yes that capital W is not a typo). Basically, it’s when your brain tells your body that enough’s enough and you need to slow down. The idea of continuing with said run seems preposterous and sitting down in a pile of sweat and tears seems like a preference.
Here’s the rub, sometimes your body really has had enough and other times your body has more in it than your mind believes. But how do you tell and what can you do about it? Erm, well I’ll be honest this is still something I’m learning, even after having given birth twice!
Today I, along with nearly 600 others, ran from Caerphilly Castle to Cardiff Castle to raise money for Velindre Cancer Centre.
The route was lovely, 11.4 miles mostly along the Taff Trail, which follows the River Taff down to the estuary. It’s really picturesque and there are some stunning views. The marshals were fab and supported everyone along the way. Thank you to them, as without marshals races just couldn’t happen.
I ran with some of the lovely ladies from This Mum Runs. I honestly can’t believe it, but the This Mum Runs crew made up about a twelfth of the total number of runners.
We started strong, and fast (I’m sure some of you can already see where this is going). We powered up the first few hills and I was thinking that it all felt comfortable. I’ll be honest, given that we were running down the route of the river, I’d anticipated the run being slightly more downhill than it felt! I wasn’t really paying attention to my pace as I was feeling good.
But as we kept going I was starting to feel the pace in my legs. The mental battle began. Then, at 8 miles I hit the dreaded Wall. Hard!
From mile 8 to the end it was a real battle. I almost gave up so many times but every time I started to try to walk Sian and Gina, who I ran with, convinced me to carry on. I’m so glad they did. They were right. If I’d have given in I’d have been really cross with myself.
It was with mixed emotions that I finished. Relief that it was over but annoyance that I couldn’t beat my mind this time. By rights I should be over the moon with my time. I was aiming for under 2 hours and smashed it as I finished in 1:51.
Running really is as challenging mentally as it is physically. Who knows what would have happened if I’d paced myself properly. It’s not worth dwelling on as what’s done is done. But there’s a lesson to be learned.
The Cardiff Half is coming up in a month so I’ve got some thinking to do. Do I train hard and still try to get as close to two hours as possible or do I take it a bit easier and try to soak up the atmosphere? I’m still undecided.
However, here’s a few things I’ve learned, or that have been cemented in my mind, after today:
1) The This Mum Runs ladies are AWESOME. Without Sian and Gina I’d never have finished in the time I did. I know they weren’t aiming for a time but I held them back from what they were capable of just to make sure I was ok. It wasn’t just Sian and Gina though. There was so much support between all the TMR runners, especially at the finish line.
2) That I am capable of running 11.4 miles, even if it hurts. It’s the furthest I’ve run since the boys were born when I ran the Cardiff Half 6 years ago.
3) DO NOT go off too fast. A rookie mistake, which I should have been more aware off having made it before when I last ran the Cardiff Half Marathon. You can see when I hit the Wall!
4) I really should go and see a physio about my tight calves, especially as it gave me a few issues on the run.
5) I must follow the instructions on my TMR hoodie and eat cake after running miles! I mean I burnt over one thousand calories according to my app.
Today’s run was in order to raise for Velindre Cancer Centre. If you would like to sponsor me my Just Giving page is still open. I know Velindre woud be hugely grateful.