It didn't take much convincing from my friend Michael when he asked if I would join him on the Cardiff Half Marathon. I was well up for the challenge, but with only 6 weeks before the big event I was going to have to put some serious training in if I was to run just over 13 miles. I have never run seriously in my life, an odd 10-20 mins after a gym workout is all I've ever managed. Even so I didn't just want to finish the race, I wanted to push myself and get a good time also.
I started straight away and tallied up 16.84 miles over 4 sessions in my first week. I felt great, my timings were looking good as well, I felt I could go on and on. I was starting to enjoy running. The following week I only managed a 3.23 mile run early in the week. As time dragged on I realised I had to put more of an effort in so planned a 10 mile run for the weekend. I managed 13.38 miles, just over the half marathon distance in just over two hours. Again I felt amazing and felt like I could keep going.
My legs however didn't agree...that evening I couldn't put any pressure on my right knee (my good one). This pain continued for the following two weeks. I tried a run around my estate but didn't even get to the end of my street. My hopes of doing the run looked doubtful. I followed a routine of ice, heat, stretching and light weights and finally managed a short 3.25 mile run. It hurt and my time had dropped considerably. Three days later and only four days before the event I ran 5.17 miles before giving in to the pain and calling my wife for a lift. I now had three days rest before the event and decided to give it a go even if I end up walking most of it.
This was my track on the day. Well I did it but it wasn't easy. It was a perfect day for it, the sun was out, it was nice an cool. I met my Michael after jumping out of the car leaving Hannah in gridlock traffic. We ran to join over 18,000 runners at the start line just in time, not the best thing to do before a run. We were off at a brisk walk, it was really hard to get a good pace going but I finally managed to get going, winding in and out of the crowd.
I felt great at the 5 mile mark crossing the Cardiff Bay barrage. At the 6 mile marker my knee started to give. By the time I got to roughly 9 miles I was seriously struggling.
I slowed right down hardly able to bend my right knee. Everyone was over taking me. It was so frustrating, people were soaked in sweat, panting, really looking like they were struggling but still they were passing me. I hadn't even broken into a sweat and felt I had so much more to give. I was practically running at walking pace and the limp was starting to take it's toll on my left knee. I considered giving in, limping to the finish. I thought as long as I keep moving my leg wont seize up.
The crowd was amazing all the way around and really kept you going. Sounds a bit soppy but you actually get a bit emotional in the last few miles. The last mile was carnage, people falling over, lying on the side of the road, throwing up, paramedics everywhere.
I ran over the finish line with huge relief. My official time was 02hrs08min24sec, which I was actually quite surprised with, I was expecting a lot worse. Michael finished ahead of me just short of 2hrs.
I knew I would pay for it if I kept going. I'm taking a bit of time off work, gardening isn't exactly easy on the knees either. It was definitely worth it though, and maybe if I can sort out my knees I may even run it next year, but for now I'm taking a well earned rest from running.