Run In The Dark! 5k

16/11: Cardiff Run In The Dark!

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the hi-vis CDF Runners group!

My first night race! Despite having a few issues, I really enjoyed this one!

Run In The Dark is a global race 5/10k with 5 official locations: Dublin, Cork, Belfast, London and Manchester, with many ‘pop-up’ locations worldwide. Proceeds from the race go to the Mark Pollock Trust, which is a charity set up for funding research to battle paralysis. There main website is here: https://www.runinthedark.org/

Cardiff was one of the mini pop-up events. I think this was the second time it had been held in the city. The run was not officially timed: it was a fun run, so chill out! The routes were either a little over or under, with the 5k measuring as 5.28k and the 10k as 9.65k. I think most people were running this mainly for the experience of running across the Cardiff Bay barrage in the dark, so the times and distances weren’t really an issue.

I turned up at 7.30 for an 8pm start, and darkness had already fallen. I signed up and picked up my flashing arm light and glowsticks, and tried to keep warm. The race fee also included a ‘Run In The Dark’ buff, which great for keeping my ears warm. (Side note: why are  they called ‘Buffs’? Seems an odd choice of name to me…)

I had signed up for the 5k race, many more runners had opted for the 10k. I’m glad I went for the shorter run as I had completed the Morunning 10k the Sunday before. The race organisers hadn’t specified the need to run with a head torch, but I was glad CDF Runner Stewart had lent me his. (I was glad for the buff too, it was a good head cushion for the torch straps.)

I didn’t take many photos, but here’s some snaps from me and CDF:

 

 

I really enjoyed the run. Once we were off, I was glad to get moving to get warm again. As it wasn’t a big group in the 5k I was on my own from about the half mile mark, but I enjoyed the solitude. (Running is possibly the only time I’m content to be alone…)

The 5k route was a simple out-and-back across the barrage. The barrage isn’t lit by street lamps, so when they say Run In The Dark, they ain’t kidding. The head torch came in handy. I found running in the dark to be very peaceful. The darkness makes you feel as though you’re running in a bubble, it’s just you, the sound of your breathing, the puff of your breath in the cold air. Once I was halfway across the barrage the sound of the sea permeated my bubble, and if I looked to my right the bright lights of the bay could be seen, mirrored in the water. It was tough work, but most of the run I was feeling good, concentrating on the even pace of my footfalls and deep but controlled breathing. I always wax poetic about that feeling in running when you feel your body is working hard, but in a good rhythm. As long as you keep that rhythm you can keep going. (You know, before the pain and grumpiness sets in.) I love that little window of feeling like your body is doing a good job of moving. I had that going across the barrage; it was nice.

The last half a mile was a bit more sticky and a lot less enlightened, but I managed to hang on until the end. some CDF runners had formed a little Cheer Squad near the Welsh Assembly. They clapped and hollered and rang a cow bell as I ran past.

There was no official finish line, so I ran down Roald Dahl Plas and asked the people at the registration tent “Is this the end?” to which they nodded and handed me a snack and a bottle of water. I went to meet the cheer squad and was delighted to find out I was the third lady back from the 5k. Another CDF runner had come in first lady, we’re such an awesome squad. I felt happy and cheered the other 5k-ers in, and waited a bit longer for the first of the 10k runners to arrive.

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The 10k route was a full loop of the barrage, not an out-and-back, and reportedly had some problems. I’m not sure if it was down to lack of marshalls along the course or lack of high-vis signs, but the race organisers have noted this in the feedback of the race and I’m sure more will be done to signpost the route next year. However, it seems everyone made it back in one piece and for me it was one of the most enjoyable and unique races I’ve done this year.

Next time, I’ll take on the 10k.

GK.

MoRun 10k!

13/11/2016

Movember normally means two things: around the nation, dodgy moustaches are carefully being cultivated, and people gear up for a 5 or 10k Morun.

 

I do quite like race days now. They have a bubbly atmosphere which is quite infectious. This one was no different.

The Morun was my fouth 10k race since I started up as Grumpyjogger. I’d managed to hit my sub 1-hour goal during my previous race, the Cardiff 10k, so I wasn’t super anxious about trying to hit a time or anything like that. Also, I hadn’t run any distance above 5k since the half marathon, another reason to not put too much pressure on myself. It was the most relaxed I’ve ever been before a race…

I felt the Morun had a more chilled vibe to it compared to some other races. It’s not an officially measured 10k route so a lot of runners wouldn’t use it as a PB course. I’m no super athlete though, and I haven’t quite got sick of running around Bute Park just yet, so I was happy to give it a go. As well as an unusual curved ‘Mo’ medal, the race fee also included a bright orange headband, which would come in handy for a fairly sweaty runner like me. (No one likes sweat in the eyes. Sting-y.)

A sneaky email said the registration tent would close an hour before the race, so I turned up for 9.30, which was faaaar too early. I arrived like, before the toilets were forming queues early. I ended up waiting around. The registration didn’t close at 10.15, and I glared at the people who got an extra hour in bed before swanning over. A lesson learned for next time, don’t believe what emails tell you…

As it was Remembrance Sunday there was a 2 minute silence just before the runners set off. It was humbling to hear the hush fall quickly over the crowd of excited people and to pay our respects, only marred by the barking of a dog who got a bit weirded out by the sudden change in the crowd volume.

Then, the usual excited queuing at the start, bumping into people from the CDF run club, taking quick pre-race photos, and then OFF!

The 10k route was all within Bute Park, two laps which started near the Welsh Royal College of Music and Drama, then towards the castle, across the river and then up towards Blackweir. It was a very similar route to the Women’s Running 10k I did a few months earlier. As I was feeling chill about this race I started off near the back, and it took a few miles before I’d settled in with people who were running at roughly my pace.

I didn’t really mind about stopping for little walk breaks this time around, so when the crowd got too congested and slowed at the narrower parts of the course I was happy for a little breather.

I made sure to high five the kids who were out offering their adorable support, and I loved the kid who was complaining that his arm hurt around mile 5. High fives are powerful magic, you know, hang in there kid!

Some CDF Runners were positioned as Cheer Squad near the finish line, shouting, waving, taking photos. Below, please see the BEST run photo of me ever taken. Look at the pain and resentment etched in stone on my sweaty face:

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(I like that you can see my Nike + clocking in at 6.11 miles in that photo. No fakin’.)

Once it was over, I got a medal and a mo, and my time was 59’01” , which I was happy with. My first ever 10k was around 1hr 12 minutes I think, so feels great to be able to get under an hour now without too much training beforehand. Next year’s goal will be a sub 56 minute… heck.

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GK.