The first race of 2015 and the first since the birth of yet another daughter. I say yet another, it's only two in total with the new arrival meaning, inevitably that since 29th December, running has taken a major back seat.
I entered this race as its on the outlaws doorstep. I say entered but I actually forgot. Maybe we think about races so much that we assume we've entered them and then after this self assurance, we spend the next few weeks training in the belief that we are about to pin a number on.
After 'booking' the weekend and driving the family north, I luckily decided to log on to the race website and for some reason, checked the 'am i in' page, mainly to see if any other Aber AC runners were coming. To my horror, my name didn't appear under C for Blimey Charley...
Panic set in but I calmed enough to send an email, leave an answer message to which none were replied to on the eve of the race. There was absolutely no entry on the day permitted and so I had to make a decision. Did I admit the error to the family or plod on and see if I could wing an entry. I decided on the latter and parked up in a grassy layby near the HQ and pleaded ignorance that I had definately entered online and couldn't understand why i wasn't showing on the entry list. This was all played out just 40 minutes before start time.
To be fair, the staff were great, and I was convinced that I'd spent a lazy Sunday morning entering on my phone a few weeks prior. They soon sorted me a number, T-Shirt and numerous freebies and I was on the way to the start line on Menai Bridge.
With a poor number of miles in the legs, i decided to go for a 6.30 pacing which would give a 1.26 time. Having done the race in 2014, i now respected it as a hilly, windy half marathon rather than one that a PB could be achieved on. I was just happy to be there.
The start was very picturesque, going over the famous bridge and onto the island of Anglesey on an out and back course along the Menai straights from Menai Bridge to Beaumaris and back.
Having done the race and crashing/burning in 2014, i now knew the hills and windy sections that would knock the stuffing out of all but the toughest of runners. I spotted Lauren on the start line and after her narrow victory over me at the Aber 10k, i wandered if revenge could be gained today?
The gun sounded and a mass of runners headed off on the largely downhill first mile. A zillion runners seemed to be ahead of me but i was running to pace and so didn't worry too much about this. As mile two and three came along, i felt a bit rough due to that lack of a run in the three days leading up to the race. At one point, I felt that it wasn't my day and decided to look for a place to stop, such was the lactic acid build up in the legs...!
As the course flattened out at around 5 miles, my legs came to and I was still hitting target pace and feeling better, decided to plow on.
Miles 6-9 were my best of the race. Despite the hills in these miles, and the turn into a block headwind, I'd passed numerous runners and was catching a group of Eryri Harriers, running a negative split. Maybe Lauren was in among them?
Unfortunately my lack of miles meant that by mile 10, i slowed a tad as we hit the climb out of Beaumaris. I didn't crack, but i was no longer gaining on group Eryri and footsteps behind were becoming louder.
The last three miles were tough but I knew that i was on a good time and at the line I scraped in under 1.27 (despite what the clock says in the picture!), for an improvement of over three minutes on 2014.
Happy with that, i chatted to Lauren at the finish to find that she had 1.23'd to which she wasn't very happy with!
I was very happy that despite a slow start to the year, I'd still improved and it gave some hope for the rest of the year.
I now await the clocks to change so that late evening runs do not seem so depressing!