Race Report from Adam Johnson.
Quick preamble – two years ago, I ran around Cardiff Bay for 5 miles and bumped into some running lunatics. Now I am one of those lunatics, writing a race report for CDF Runners. How weird is that?!
There are only a few races that guarantee a great CDF showing, such as Cardiff Half Marathon, the Rose Inn Relays and Cosmeston. This event, now it’s back on the Calendar, is definitely up there too. Having said that, I’m sure they somehow made the course longer than last time out…
The forecast was for a beautiful sunny day… almost too beautiful, in fact. With an 11am start, there’d be plenty of time for pre-race faffing (a few guys still managed to miss the team photo though!), but come race start it was already getting properly warm.
My morning race prep had been, frankly, awful. After the worst night’s sleep in a long time, I decided to replace my usual race-day breakfast with just a cup of tea and a nap. For the race itself, I went hardcore and wolfed down a banana and a gel before even starting. Ugh – outside the parameters of a race, gels are pretty disgusting!
Usually I get serious pre-race jitters, but today wasn’t that bad. Everything went smoothly – the bag drop, the obligatory porta-loo visit, and even finding a good spot in the pens (I was in the “cocky” green pen). And then the race started…
I’d done a bad thing earlier that morning – I’d looked up my time from the old 5 mile course. I wanted to be “a whole mile quicker”, but I had no strategy for how to do it. It’d have to be two pretty speedy parkruns, back-to-back. The course might help, as we have home advantage for Lloyd George Avenue and the Barrage, but as soon as the gun went my pacing was all over the shop!
I’d negotiated around 4k in around 18 minutes, but then I had a couple of really sharp twinges in my right knee, reminding me that this was not OK! I’d have to stop and shake it off to get going again. I suppose I could’ve dropped my pace to keep the damage at bay (no pun intended) thereafter, but no – I had race blinkers on…
The second half of the race was really frustrating. As well as the warmth to contend with, there was no let up in the knee. I stopped pretty much after every k marker for a quick shake down just to keep at it. Seeing the 45 minute pacer in the distance, edging closer to them, and then having to stop was the suckiest suck that ever sucked!
By 9k I was ready to give up completely, but then I had a tap on the shoulder from Holly, who said she’d been tailing me the whole way around. This changed everything. It suddenly became one of our “normal” CDF runs. I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone, I just had to be there. I remembered how I’d started my journey with CDF Runners by tailing one of them around Cardiff Bay, and now it was my turn.
As I mentioned on Facebook that morning, my running strength comes from being part of an incredible group of people. I’d like to think that last k was my fastest on the course, but as my phone GPS decided to go AWOL, I guess we’ll never know.
But enough about my troubles, you guys really represented! It was awesome to see so many of you out there going for it! There were at least 16 PBs today, as well as some really impressive times for those new to the 10k distance. It just goes to show that it’s not just a catchy hashtag for social media – we really do run Cardiff!
P.S. One last tiny grump – that bag collection at the end! Ugh! That was the second worst bag collection in all my time racing. I’d tell you the worst, but that would just spoil the “fun” for you…
Screw Flanders. Screw Flanders. Screw Flanders.