Good to see you starting out! I ran my first half a couple of weeks back and I've already signed up to run the Cardiff half in October too.
If you are in cardiff there are some brilliant routes, my girlfriend studies there and I've run a lot of it. A few laps of Roath Park (Its about a mile around the lake) and theres a park run on a saturday mornings going through Bute Park, starting by Tesco opposite Cardiff Met Llandaff campus.
3 miles 3 times a week is pretty much how I started. In training for the half you need to run a Long Slow Run once a week, increasing your distance in the lead up to the event. So start off with 4 miles (slowly) then 5, 6 etc. After a few weeks up it to 3 x 3.5m, then 3 x 4, all whilst still incorporating a long slow run (LSR) at the weekend building it up to 12 or more miles.
Yesterday was the third staging of the Yeovil Half Marathon, and my first race of any sort ever.
There were 1000 registered, but it was chuffing freezing cold and there are about 150 no shows. Organisationally it was managed very well in my limited experience! Registration was fast and the course was really well signposted and marshalled, especially at the road crossings where when I ran through them the traffic was always stopped for us.
The "Entertainment" consisted of music at the start/finish line, and singlers in 2 locations which wasn'tquite as described but provided a much needed "pick me up". There were 4 water stops where you could get water and jelly babies - no sports drinks that I saw but I may have missed them.
The goody back was a medal, a cereal bar, a licorice bar, some shampoo/conditioner and some deep heat along with coupons and flyers.
All in all, great value for £22.
From a personal point of view, it was my first race of any kind. I was really nervous and cold at the start line, and I saw people I knew from school many years ago. All I could think about was avoiding being embarrassed. I made my way to the 2:15 - 2:30 start section (I had hoped to do it in less than 2:20) and waited patiently for the off. Took about a minute to cross the start line.
I had family and friends in various parts of the course - some a surprise, which felt great, and the marshals were very encouraging throughout the route; as were the spectators! I had my name on my vest and I had so many people cheering me on, It really was a fantastic feeling!
After about mile 3 I looked at my watch (I don't have a fancy garmin) and after some quick maths noticed I was ahead of where I should have been. And I had to make a decision - Slow down to make sure I completed or stick at this pace and see how I got on. The arrogant side of me won.
Because of where I started, I spent most of the race overtaking people. What a fantastic feeling that was! On the flip side I was only passed by 6 people after the race thinned out (I kept count ha ha). There was a section called the "King of the Hill" (between 6-7 miles) which is a steep incline thats about half a mile long. I passed so many people up there because I'd practised it and knew it was coming. I was exhausted at the top but kept going. I'd noticed I had a shadow runner using me for pace - she was quite attractive though so I didn't mind. Unfortunately I lost her at the hill!
I then spent the rest of the race picking out someone and focussing on getting past them. And it worked. I just ate them up. By mile 12 everyone was flagging, but I was still going. I passed many walkers and I was determined not to be one. As we turned into Yeovil Town Football Club, it was the last 200 yeards and I sprinted it home - I was leaving nothing out there. I passed friends and family cheering me on, and I was the only one on the home straight at the time so the crowd were cheering for me - such a rush!
Emotional and exhausted I collected my goody back. I'd completed in 2:06:41 on my watch - which was the exact measurement the chip to chip time gave me.
Looking at the results I beat who I wanted to and more importantly went a lot faster than I thought I could.
My new target is to get under the 2h mark at either Cardiff or Run to the Beat and going to be doing some 10k races in the mean time.
I've well and truly caught the running bug now.
No, I didn;t finish in the top half, but I am still keeping my medal, because I earned it