Race morning arrived and our journey to Conwy from the mountains of Snowdonia was accompanied by rain. This did not bode well, especially given I’d gone with the forecast when planning what to wear.
It turned out, as I successfully parked in the middle of a puddle, that this was a mistake. So I donned waterproof jacket and my leggings plus a hat. Conwy was wet.
Walking under the walls of this incredible castle and queuing up in a long line of runners who were waiting for their numbers the scale of the race was starting to dawn on me, there were over 2500 people ready to line up and run today, this was a big race.
Conwy has been on the race calendar for a few years and has become a popular event drawing people in from a reasonable distance, I bumped into one of the guys from my Coach in running fitness Course with British Athletics and we chatted about how things were looking today.
As we all moved towards the starting line up, quite incredibly the rain cleared and things looked much brighter, this was good news, especially as I’d shed my extra layers and was down to wearing a shirt and shorts, overheating was no longer an issue.
A slight delay in the start to let the lead car arrive, and we were off. Things were slow to start, although at least my personal delay was relatively short, @narcmuffin was slightly further back and had a 4 minute 40 second delay between his time and chip time!
The route took us directly underneath the walls of the castle then out over the river following the coast before the path narrowed sharply into single file just as we reached the sands of the West Shore. Runners bunched up with no one wanting to really run on the sand so I pushed out, it was harder to run on this un-compacted surface but with a little effort I could pass a group of tightly packed runners then nipped back in.
Through the streets of Llandudno next and then following Marine Drive the first main climb started, around me the speeds of different people changed, some slowed, others started to move faster, others concentrated on their breathing, from research the previous weekend I knew there was a much larger climb to follow, so I kept to a manageable pace.
Later, I heard one runner commenting that he hadn’t realised there was a second climb and pushed himself on the first. This drove home to me the usefulness of pre-race research – check out my blog in the near future for more tips and strategies on planning out a successful race.
The descent was a relief, although it still took effort not to run too fast, I’d worked out a race pacing strategy and was trying to keep to it – although the temptation to push ahead faster was hard to resist!
The final 3 miles were hard, keeping on pace and keeping moving, but the spectators really helped, a few times people called out my name, which was a surprise when I realised I hadn’t a clue who they were, then of course I was running along with a name badge right on the front of my shirt!
The final straight back along the embankment towards the castle and across the finish line held a slight sting in the tail with a final mini climb but I pushed on and crossed the line in 1:38, I was really pleased to have come in at that time, especially given I hadn’t trained in the last month.