First race of the year!

It’s going to be a fun, action-packed 2013, with Isca Duathlon, Blaenavon Triathlon, the Grafman Half-Iron distance, and then Ironman UK.  Following that, the small matter of Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest, the Cardiff Half Marathon, and the Snowdonia Marathon.  So I started off the year’s racing with a nice gentle 10k.

And what a great race!  350 entrants, including lots of runners from local clubs.  A nice route … a mile along a busy main road, but other than that scenic views through Pontypool Park and along the Monmouthshire/Brecon Canal.  I went along with my friend Michelle, and it was only as we waited at the start line that … I realised I’d forgotten my watch!  If this had happened a year ago I’d have panicked, but I just thought, ‘Oh well, won’t have to worry about pace and heart rate’.  And you know what?  It was a blessing.

I felt good from the off, strong, and felt that I was going at a pretty decent pace.  Having started around the middle of the pack, it wasn’t long before I started to overtake people.  Climbing the hill towards the Star Inn, I passed  a few more, then it was a lovely 3 mile jaunt back along the canal to the park.  Passed my mate Pete with a mile to go (to be fair I’d seen him earlier and he did admit to having had a few the night before!)

Great to see my wife, kids, and friend Mark (Michelle’s hubby) there to cheer us in.  Can you do a Mexican wave with 4 people?  I can answer, definitively, ‘Yes!’.  I asked one of the guys I finished with the time, and he reckoned about 46 minutes.

Hot chocolate, toasted tea cake (please, Pontypool Leisure Centre, don’t pre-toast those bastards….) and then home for a couple of beers. Sunday has turned into the one day of the week when I’ll have a couple of drinks, as Monday is rest day.

And … the results came in, and I was 77th out of 344 runners.  My time was 47 minutes, which is about 7:30 per mile. I’m pretty stunned at that … the race was full of club runners, and usually on a run like that I’d be happy being in the top half.  But the top 25%?  That has made me a happy puppy, and it’s also given me a real confidence boost.  It seems the Fink Ironman plan I’m following is working.  I had some doubts, as most of the run workouts are at a reasonably steady pace.  none of my training involves running as fast as I did yesterday, but I guess the proof’s in the pudding.  Or the running.

Great race, efficiently organised, and it raised loads of money for St David’s Hospice, too (incidentally the charity I’m raising money for with Ironman).

Oh, and one other big milestone yesterday … it was my first race wearing Pirate colours!  I had a couple of shouts of ‘Go, pirates!’ along the route, and that felt pretty bloody good.  Nice one.

Thinking about entering the Forest of Dean Half Marathon in April!

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