You can't see it, but I actually jumped for joy then. Because I can still jump! Yippee, look at me go!
My finishing time was 2hrs, 37mins. About the speed I usually do a half in, give or take a few minutes. Far from breaking any records but for once, I didn't care. Like, at all. My happy-go-lucky shamble (or if the official photos are anything to go by, 13 mile chimp impersonation). Posture, Becky! Posture!!) meant that I got through the event unscathed, and that I wasn't pushing myself hard enough to allow it to suck. Why throw my money dollars at an event if I'm going to be wheezing, stressing and suffering through the whole thing? I'd rather have actual, nice memories of things I've seen. Not PTSD.
So, memories... Imagine you're a 5-foot-and-a-fart, pasty twenty something in shorts (with a case of mild chub rub between the thighs because Papa Johns exists) and come see the event through my eyes.. *mysterious hand waving*
I'm chuffed that my first ever longer distance running event back in 2013 was the Cardiff Half. It properly set the tone for what I should expect from a race. The buzzy energy is freaking magical. There are so many entrants that it's not unlike a festival. Something ridiculous like 27,000 of us squished together to run Cardiff's streets together. With all that lycra and plastic gear, I wouldn't be surprised if we gave off a lovely static glow.
Suppose that's why the energy was so...electric...
Haw haw. Anyway, look at our excited little faces!
Oo-eer, lookit all 'em knees!
Owners of said knees, left to right:
Gareth: Shaved off approx 15mins of personal best. Threw up an army of WHOLE ENTIRE jelly babies at end of race, all with a smile on his face. Warrior!
Sam: Ran her first ever half in a ridiculous time and left the rest of us trailing in her dust.
Me: I do have forearms. Picture just makes me look like an uncooked chicken.
James: Eats half marathons for breakfast. Possibly because they don't have carbs (heehee sorry, James. Couldn't resist).
Arwel: Beast moded it through the half, setting the pace for Gareth (hence jelly baby incident), immediately disappeared after race for a cheeky Nandos. Fair one.
Ready, steady, AAAAAAAGH!!!
The Bloody Rowing Boat
When you're a long distance shuffler like myself, you get used to running alongside the people in fancy dress. You can look at in in two different ways:
1. You are the same speed as, or slower than someone who is overheating in a Tigger onesie/breathing in 13 miles of their own hot breath in a plastic Darth Vadar Mask/wearing full cricket gear; including the bat, helmet, shin pads and knitted jumper (all of the above and more have whooshed by me in the past). This is depressing as shit and you wind up deciding that you are not a real runner.
2. All the racers up at the front are only seeing other people clad in lycra, huffing and puffing after their PB or position on a pedestal. You, however are in a fantasy land where Mario and Luigi are running right alongside a hot dog and bottle of mustard with legs, and people are sharing their sweets with you. No hallucinogenics required. It's all getting a bit Alice in Wonderland up the back, and it's awesome!
I don't know about you, but I prefer outlook #2. However...these two guys in one costume did take the biscuit (speaking of biscuit, I got through the whole race on a single digestive biscuit kindly donated by some church folk because the race ran out of energy gels. No idea what was in that biscuit, but I think I'm using biccies for fuel from now on. Mmm Hobnobs). Look:
Not content with passing by me just the once like most people, I counted at least...At least four times that this pair sailed (sorry, rowed) past me. They kept being asked to stop for photos, which they politely did, all before picking the pace back up and cruising on by, like they do everything in tandem in their normal lives. Seriously?? Fair play to them, though. Running that far with an actual boat strapped to the pair of them must have taken some co-ordination!
Saw an article about this guy after the race. Apparently they stopped him from doing this at the London Marathon this year, and this isn't the first time he's wheeled a MASSIVE crucifix over a ridiculous distance. I'm not 100% whether he was doing it for charity or his own personal reasons, but just...wow! I don't like carrying a bottle of water when I'm running, let alone a ruddy great big cross. Applause to you, crucifix dude!
Never seen a cross wearing a bum bag before.
Anyone who has run the Cardiff Half would probably tell you the same thing. The best thing about the day is the fact that the city's residents come out in droves to offer cheers and refreshments. I nearly fell over with glee when I saw that the same retirement home as the one I saw in 2013 were sat in a big row outside their building waving signs again this year. Best. Supporters. Ever. Again, I enjoyed high-fiving small children as I went. The home made signs were top notch this year too. Couple of my favourites:
RUN LIKE YOU JUST CALLED SOMEONE A JOGGER
THIS IS A MOTIVATIONAL SIGN.
Got through 3 story "missions" (one which was a tad emotional and almost had me having a little cry in public. Did the British thing by swallowing my feelings and buggering on) on my wonderful app. Had to turn the zombie chases off after a point because there were just too many people around to get much of a sprint on. Not worth clothes lining myself over, or trampling a poor unsuspecting runner. The story mode alone made the race fly by.