25 November 2022

Conwy half Marathon 2022

 I would finally run another race! My last race had been the World’s Steepest Street race in March. After that, I had had to miss two races! One because it clashed with a visit from my sister, and another one because I was ill on the day. And I had somehow missed the Bangor 10k.

I had registered a bit late, but I was looking forward to it. And I had devised a cunning plan: I would drive to the very first parking lot on the outskirts of Conwy I would encounter after leaving the dual carriageway, and then do the rest on bike. It would only be some 10 minutes. That would leave the stress out of trying to negotiate a congested little town. The organisers had been warning against it! And advised everyone to be there by 8AM, even though the start wouldn't be until 9:30. I don't like that sort of shenanigans.

On the day, I attached my race number to my leg, and got into the car, together with the bike. It was 8:30. The plan worked marvellously! And I was at the start a few minutes beforehand. I made a final call on what I would wear. It was a rather cold day, but if you run you tend to stay warm! I decided on a T-shirt and a jumper. The jumper could come off if needed. I also had a jacket, a hairband and gloves with me, but I left these with the bike.

On the beach by the car park; the Great Orme in the background

I started manoeuvering my way through the crowd. They were approximately 2000 runners, so it is important you don't start all too far to the front or the back. There were pacers, so I knew I should ideally start with the 1:45h pacers, as that was the time I expected to run it in. But the crowd was too dense! I ended up with the 2:00h pacers. But that was okay. And just before the start, of course, ‘Yma o Hyd’ was played. That's how you motivate a Welsh crowd!

At the start 

I first spent 4 miles running at a leisurely pace. A half marathon is long enough for you to need to play the long game! No need to throw all your energy away at the start. And it was a nice day! The entire route went over the road. I remembered some bits on a path by the beach last time. And that had been scenic, but logistically challenging. And the sun came out just before the 4 mile sign!

Sun and pompous buildings!

Between the 4 mile sign and the 7 mile sign it steadily went up, on the road that circles the Great Orme. The top of the road is on the far end of the Orme. And to be honest, I was glad to get there! Running a few miles back down on the other side was, of course, easy. But when I got to the 10 mile sign I was starting to show signs of wear. Not surprising, I suppose! But I accepted some skittles from someone in the crowd, and dutifully trundled on through Llandudno and Deganwy. 

Ascending the Orme

If I feel like I can, I speed up in the last mile. But I was actually quite tired so I didn't! Only in the last few 10th of meters to die accelerate again. And I saw I indeed had to finish at about 1:45! Not bad. In 2015, it had taken me 1:52. But that was pre-lockdown. I knew I was faster now! I had managed the Anglesey Half Marathon in 1:42. But that race is a lot less hilly. 

I knew I had somewhere to go, so I basically took the medal and the T-shirt and left. I got on my bike, and comfortably got back to the car. I was barely inside the car and it started raining! My timing had been excellent. And I went home, had a shower, threw some food and drink in a bag, and left the house again. I had things to do!


I later found out my exact time: 1:44:54. I was happy with that! And I was both within the 10% fastest women in general, and the 10% fastest women of my age category. Again, happy with that! I also saw that my colleague David had been as fast as I had thought he would be. He had only needed 1:35! And I could be faster: I saw the first mile had taken me 13 minutes, due to congestion. Next time I should spend a few minutes getting to the correct pacers!

This will be it for a while now; I'm not aware of any convenient races in the coming months. The next one I know of is a 10k version of this race in February. And after that it is already March! With the Anglesey Half Marathon and the Steepest Street in the World race. I am already registered for the latter…

No comments: