Posted: 26/06/2016 at 21:41
As for me, I was up in Swansea for the weekend. Main reason was the Swansea Half Marathon, but also a chance to return to the city where I did my degree for the first time since about 2000.
Lovely weekend, got sunburnt on the Gower, and ate far too much.
Fortunately, my 1:11 from last year saw me sneak into a free "elite" entry, meaning I got to hang out in the elite tent with internationals like Dewi Griffiths and ... well, just Dewi Griffiths really. Course is pancake flat along the seafront, a straightforward out and backer, so hopes were high for a PB, calling upon my marathon mileage.
However, after a 5:23 first mile, it became clear it wasn't going to happen. First half was largely into the breeze, and soon found myself in no-man's land, and the pace needed for a PB was just too hot to handle. Just knew deep down it wasn't on, so resolved to stop worrying about the watch and try to run relaxed. For that reason, as well as the lovely route, past all my old familiar areas, I really enjoyed much of the race, despite being on my own and not running as well as I'd have liked. Support was really good.
At the turnaround, I was able to calculate that I was about 11th - despite there being about 8,000 entrants, the front end is somewhat light - and this kept me honest. Overtook someone who was in some trouble to move up to top 10, and thus it stayed to the end. A solo run really, although I had someone in view ahead the whole way. Started suffering the last couple of miles and the pace dropped but by then I knew it'd be 1:13:xx regardless. Some irritating uphill cobbles sapped the momentum, but with less than a mile to the finish it wasn't the end of the world, and ended up 10th in 1:13:27.
Definitely recommend the race, decent organisation, great course (if it isn't windy), good support. I will certainly want to return at some point.
Whilst I enjoyed much of the race, I am a little disheartened by how I can't seem to get close to that 1:11 again. Maybe that race was just a one-off, one of those rare events where everything came together on the day. Hard to imagine being able to run 2 minutes faster than today again, and 70 minutes is starting to look like a pipe-dream.
May also need to accept that I've well and truly plateaued, and that, if I want to improve again I will need to do something different - maybe more mileage, but more particularly all the things I cheerfully ignore, like strength training, eating sensibly and actually getting enough sleep. Something to ponder.