And just like that somehow I reached my marathon length training run.
It was a run I was unsure about. Unsure if I could do the distance and unsure how long it would take me.
It turns out I shouldn’t have been worried at all. I never thought I’d see myself saying that about running a marathon!
I planned my route, badly as it happens, packed my food and drink and off I went with a bit of support at the start and a lot more at the end.
Gemma joined me for the first mile and a bit, then I was on my own. Music on and just putting one foot in front of the other.
I wound my way from Cardiff to Barry, via Dinas Powys, as it turns out down some of the Wales Coast Path. There was a slightly fly by the seat of your pants moment when I realised I needed to be heading down a road with a tiny verge where the cars were going 40 miles an hour. Thank goodness it was earlyish Sunday morning and therefore quiet! Definitely not one to repeat. If I do a similar route again I’ll find a different way.
Once I reached Barry I headed across to the island and a run along the sea front before heading back to find a trail along the coast back to Cardiff.
Again I thought I’d plotted my route well but found myself at the end of a road on an industrial estate unable to get through to the road I wanted to and a man sat there with a table outside his lorry eating his lunch. He indicated I needed to turn around. I was already at 14 miles so this was a bit of a pain as I now needed to think on my feet and reroute. Thank goodness for Footpath app. I was really conscious I was meeting Gruby just after mile 16 so I messaged to let her know. My little detour meant that I was a mile out from where I should have been on my route.
I lost faith in what I plotted so as soon as I saw the Wales Coast Path markers I just followed them. There were a couple of twitchy moments when I wasn’t sure if I’d lost them or not but by that point I had a rough idea about where I was and kept the odd eye on my Footpath app to get to my meeting place with Gruby. Fortunately she had her car so wasn’t out in the cold waiting for me.
We then worked our way from Sully along the coast path to Penarth and then on to Cardiff. The views over the Channel are stunning and the sun really lit up the water so it was a delight to be out.
Due to my little route mishap instead of finishing at home I had the glorious finish line on a random road in Cardiff. It didn’t really matter and actually I think was for the best as we then walked back to mine, which on reflection was still another half a mile away or so.
I’m so proud that I got round in one piece but even more impressed that at the end I could have carried on. I think that was the most reassuring part. Had Gruby said we were going to carry on up to 30 miles I could have done that I think.
There are definitely some lessons learned from yesterday’s run.
Firstly, take more care when plotting routes. Because I’m a novice and get a bit over excited I didn’t do my research properly.
Secondly, my pacing was pretty good. To get to the end of a marathon run and feel like I could go further was not what I was expecting. Far from it, I thought I’d be spent by mile 20!
I got my nutrition about right. I took 1.5 litres of water and Tailwind mix with me and finished it just as I got home. I also took a naked bar, three gels, some salt sticks tablets and a bag of pom bear (my bag with too small to take the big bag of hula hoops I had). My husband also made me a massive cheese and ham sandwich. When I say massive I mean massive! It was a big chiabatta sub with cheese and ham. Great but perhaps a little heavy during the run. It disappeared very quickly on the walk home though!
My route had public toilets on it so I didn’t need to go for a wild wee. Always a bonus!
I have spent a bit of time worrying about my pace compared to others on race day. I am much slower than a lot of my friends who are running the race as well. But the realisation is slowly dawning that I might be slow but I can keep going and I’m building confidence now I’m out on the coast path. Onwards and upwards.
I’ve got a quiet week this week with a couple of one hour runs on the weekend along with strength training and one run in the week to remand then the next build section is coming.