Cardiff 10k Race Report!

The Cardiff 10k: 11/09/2016

The Cardiff 10k was a race I entered way back, when I first saw a banner pop up for it somewhere around Cardiff. After having a great time at the Bristol 10k, I was really looking forward to another big (ish) event, and as 10ks are still quite a new experience for me, I was excited and nervous leading up to race day.

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My Bristol Great Run time was 1 hr 4 mins. My Women’s Running 10k time was 1 hr 3 mins. My goal was set for a sub 1 hour 10k. I was hoping after the recent Bute Town mile race I had proved to myself I could speed up my overall mile time quite a bit and more importantly hang on when things started to get painful.

On the lead up to this 10k I had been going to the CDF Runners Speed sessions, and also completed some longer (6+ mile) runs as part of the Cardiff Half Marathon training. I felt like I had more fitness since the Women’s Running 10k, however anxiety, hot weather and overthinking things had been my enemies before.

The Cardiff 10k has been going for 30 years, and is described as a flat, fast course perfect for achieving new PB’s. I didn’t know about fast, but I could get onboard with flat. It had sold out a few weeks prior to the event- 6000 runners total. The race pack arrived within two weeks of the race date, and although at first I was a bit skeptical of the white technical tee design I decided the black and red motif worked well on it. Some people have commented the tees were too short, but the Medium size fit me okay, if a little bit baggy.

There was one thing about the race that was filling me with dread though. A ruling that had been announced a few weeks before:

NO HEADPHONES.

No music? NO MUSIC?!? No steady paced, calmly assured Clubbed To Death by Rob Dougan? No unapologetic cheese Try Everything from Zootopia? NO ROCKY 2 THEME TUNE?!?!?!

My run training was now No Headphones Training. I went out and ran a 10k in 1hour 5 minutes. Alright, but no closer to my goal. I started running all run club sessions without headphones. I soon learnt that listening to fellow runners conversations on steady runs is just as good as music, even better if I had enough breath to join in. Headphones are pointless on the speed sessions. I couldn’t register music or much of anything else after 200m sprints.

Race Day

The start of the race was outside the museum, an easy walk from my house, so I showed up, dropped my bag off and posed with CDF for this great photo:

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It was very crowded, so I found a small side street around the back of the museum to warm up before the race. I learnt a powerful lesson that day.

Don’t run races in new untested clothing.

I had bought some new, colourful leggings on sale, and whilst I had run in them before, never a 10k, and more pressingly, I hadn’t worn them since their first wash. I remember the horror, the drop of cold dead weight in my stomach when I started doing some high knees during my warm up and the leggings immediately started sinking to the floor. I hitched them up, I did more high knees, they fell. I sprinted to one end of the street, they nearly took my pants with them. Less than 10 minutes before the race. Oh shit. I wildly searched around for a pair of running tights that someone might have casually discarded nearby, of course there were none. The thought of trying to do a 10k race whilst continuously holding up my waistband was scaring me. Was getting a new PB out the window now? Should I call it a day? Should I just let them fall down and penguin waddle the whole damn thing?

No. Of course not. I hitched them up HIGH, I folded the waist band DOWN, I peeled the bottom part of the leggings up over my knees. I warmed up. I got sweaty. They started to stick to the sweat glue, the folded over waistband acted like a kind of belt. That seemed to be holding them in place. Time was up anyway. It was time to run!

The waiting in line bit just before a race is always exciting, nerve-wracking and pee-needing. Luckily after the legging debacle there wasn’t much time to process all of that before the klaxon had sounded. I was much positioned quite near the front and it didn’t seem long before I was over the start line and off.

The first 2k I let the excitement get the better of me, and I set off too fast. But once I was out of the main crowd I felt myself slow down, and I concentrated on running at  pace where my breathing wasn’t getting ahead of me. One of the CDF runners had told me for races she uses a trick borrowed from Paula Radcliffe: Count to 100, not in time with your breathing or anything, just count, and when you get there, start from 0 and count up to 100 again. I started counting at around the 4k mark, although I wasn’t feeling too bad I welcomed something to focus on.

The route was flat, as promised, and the crowds were spread pretty evenly throughout the whole race. I was so focused on the counting that I didn’t really register much of the crowd encouragement, though of course it was very appreciated. A runner behind me was whooping and yelling and cheering much more than the crowd, almost bullying them if she spotted anyone not clapping. It made me smile and kept my spirits up.

I started to hate running about 7k in. 7k is when it gets tough for me. We went past the castle, and although the spectator crowd was thickening on the way to the end of the race, so was the pain. (Pain thickening? I don’t know, go with it.) Once we got back into Bute Park for the last 2k I was holding on to the count-to-100 method for dear life, but messing it up and forgetting how to count a lot.

The last stretch I hoped I would have some gas left in the tank to go full speed over the finish line, but when I turned the corner the finish line was SO far away. I had started speeding up but soon pulled back a bit, so I could get a good speed across the finish line later down the road.

As I entered that last jubliant 0.10k of the race, my face fell ever so slightly as I saw the clock as I passed the finish line. 1:00:20 . So close, yet so far! Still, a new 10k record, and without the mental buoyancy aid of music.

Here’s some photos of the race, courtesy of me and fellow CDF runners:

 

I headed off with my goody bag, ate a massive burrito, and gave myself a well done.

Then:

A few hours later, the race results were published and I gave a whoop: I’d got a chip time of 00:58:20 !

My first sub hour after all! I’ll take that. I was super happy. 😀

Thanks Cardiff 10k! I had a great run, despite the wardrobe malfunction at the start.

GK.

 

The Butetown Mile Race Report!

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28/08- The Butetown mile! 

It’s only a mile, right? How hard can one mile be? Answer: really darn hard…

Hasty research: The Butetown Mile started in the 1980s but stopped in the ’90s. It started up again in 2014 as a way to raise money for Cancer Research UK. It is one of only three places in the world to host a straight mile road race alongside Fifth Avenue, New York and the Champs-Élysées, Paris! Isn’t that awesome? NEW YORK! PARIS! CARDIFF!

I bought my ticket for this race way back in April. Then life happened and I couldn’t make it, so I gave my ticket to run bud Jake, and then life happened again and I was suddenly free so I bought another ticket. (This did mean I was entered into the race twice with wildly varying times…)

I also managed to convince run buds Christina, Rob and Gregg to come along too! A whole Grump Team! (See above pic.)

I’d not really given the mile distance much thought before, either opting for 5k/10k runs or speed sessions which never went over 500m. The Thursday before Rob and I went out for a test run, a mile lap of Atlantic Wharf to see how it would be. It wasn’t fun, but doable; uncomfortable but over fairly quickly. We ran past some bemused fishermen, then got drenched in a downpour. I missed my mile PB by 10 seconds, but I figured Race Day would sort that out.

RACE DAY. I both nervous and excited. We arrived at the tent and signed in without hassle. I think about 200 people took part in the race. A few of the lovely folks from my run club- CDF Runners– were there, some in the Elite (sub 7 minute) race and some in the Fun Run race.

I warmed up more than my practice mile on Thursday, a half mile jog, some squats/lunges, and lots of stretching. I remember it being muggy so I was sweating a lot. (An awkward moment when I didn’t shake someone’s hand because I had just run it through my very sweaty hair…)

We watched the elites start and quickly disappear down Bute Street, then nervously waited for the start of our race.

Things I remember from the mile:

  • A klaxon noise started the race
  • A poor girl took a tumble at the start of the race (an adult was there immediately to assist)
  • Lots of cheering along Bute Street (I couldn’t remember anything they said but I assume it was all good)
  • Mile breakdown: 0.25 miles felt great, 0.5 miles felt challenged, 0.75 miles deeply, deeply upset

Then just as I was starting to hate the whole business of running the finish line was upon me and it was over, thank goodness. That last bit of a mile race really slaps you in the face and legs and lungs. I couldn’t summon much up for a sprint finish. Still my hard work paid off and I was rewarded with a mile PB of 7’48”! I was over the moon, as I was hoping to beat my 8’24” time, I had no idea I would have the beans to get under 8 minutes! Running elevation swept over me, once I could breathe properly again.

With all of us over the finish line, Jake was suddenly accosted by a BBC news reporter and had to be a talking head about an issue about the Welsh Assembly. I really hope he answered all the questions with metaphors about his mile race. That would have been awesome. (“Yeah I’m really happy with it…Started out strong… Put in the training… Pushed through the pain at the end… Breathing felt steady…I’m sorry, what about the government!?”)

We all got a coveted Bute Town Mile tee and posed for a grumpy post-race photo. Can you see the contrast from the Before photo?

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CDF Runner @stukulele also filmed the whole thing on a go pro- so you can see the whole race in speedy glory HERE! 

Overall it was an awesome event. It was cheap, fun (well…) and most importantly right outside my house. I will definitely be back to beat my time next year.

GK.

July/August Runs!

Prepare for bullet points and a dump of post-run photos. Here’s a bunch of run stuff I got done these last two months:

  • New 10k PB! 1’00″58 – getting closer to under an hour, my current goal.
  • CELEBRITY HILL DEATHMATCH – the name my run bud Kat has given her hellish hilly/step-filled 5k route in Pontypridd. It’s truly horrible. We ran past some kind of obelisk, looked down upon Ponty, and Rob hurt his knee. (Poor Rob.)
  • Half marathon training progresses! My longest run is currently 7.75 miles. I ran it with run bud Jake the day after I went to a wedding. I learnt champagne and wine are not good pre-run fuel, but at least I made it through despite the pain. (Let’s ignore the times of the last two miles…)
  • I have now survived the last few Wednesday Speed Run sessions with CDF Runners. Last week was 20 minutes of Burpee-tastic circuits and it took my arms about 4 days to recover.
  • My uni friends and I went camping! It was super wet and windy, but the second there was a break in the weather I dragged them all out for a 2.5 mile run in lovely scenic Pembrokeshire.

 

I have a few races coming up! The Butetown Mile on Aug 28th & The Cardiff 10k on Sep 11th. Wish me luck!

GK x

Physio, Cardiff Half Training + Shopping

23/07/16

It happened. The thing that everyone says will happen to you when you start running.

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No! Not the knee!

KNEE PAIN. D:

I’m almost annoyed. Knee pain! So cliché!

I thought I was doing things right- I went for a gait analysis at Moti and was fitted for running shoes, I built up my mileage gradually, I generally (cough) stretch after a run.  I’ve read a few articles recently about ‘running injury myths’ (article here) and how running is actually beneficial for you bones and joints. I thought I was invincible. So far I’ve been injury free, so I would always scoff at people who would try to give me cryptic warnings about runners knee/ self inflicted arthritis/ knee caps falling off/ [insert horror story here] … but alas! The knee pain has got me.

I’ve had a sore/achey knee for the last few weeks, and the feeling wasn’t going away after running, I could feel it sat at my desk and lying down. I asked the CDF Runners group what to do, and they told me to stop hysterically googling symptoms on Web MD and go to a physio. So I booked myself an appointment with Seary Physio.

Back in 2013, I rarely exercised. Before I would have only gone to a physio if I had broken something… I’m sure if I told a past version of myself I’d booked a physio appointment because I had irritated my knee from running too much she would have laughed before going back to a humongous plate of nachos. (Note: now in 2016, I exercise regularly but I still eat nachos with gusto.)  So, the knee hurty is annoying but I do feel a teeny bit badass.

Seary Physio are in Whitchurch , Cardiff, in a cute little building just off the main road. It was easy enough to catch a bus and find them . My initial assessment appointment with them was pretty cool. Physios are like human body wizards. (I’m sure they don’t like to be called that.) They can, just by looking at you, tell if you over pronate or not. I’m sure the physio I saw today knows more about my knee than I ever will.  I was instructed to do a few squats/steps/move about a bit, then my knee and legs were moved around and massaged, and my knee cap was subjected to much scrutiny. It turns out my knee is being pulled too much to the left and is slightly coming out of its groove, irritating the inside of my knee. (I believe this can be a common occurrence in lady runners.) There was a moment when the physio was moving something around in my knee, and I could feel a part of it clunking around unnaturally in there, almost like when you have a massage and there is a knot in your shoulders that is  bit crunchy. It didn’t hurt, but made me feel a bit gross. I can’t describe it well, I do not know all the knee-related words. :B

I got some sport tape applied to my knee which will be gently pulling it back over to the right for a day or so. Again, if I think about it too much I get weak at the knees, which is already my weak point. I also have to do some exercises to strengthen up specific leg and butt muscles. Exercises to help you do more exercise. What a world we live in. As fellow runner Gregg puts it:

I’ve been told it’s still cool to run on my leg, so I will be going for an easy 5k today as per my Nike+ Half Marathon Coach’s instructions. Which brings me to…

 

I SIGNED UP FOR THE CARDIFF HALF MARATHON!

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So this is scary. 13 miles is a ridiculous distance to run. Luckily I won’t be doing it alone, there is a group from my choir -City Sirens- who will be running it too. I went out for a 4 mile training run with a fellow siren last week, and it was lovely. I enjoy the thought of us tackling the scary distance as a big pack! If the route is similar to the last half, through the bay and up to Roath park, it’s going to be lovely and scenic. I am secretly quite excited.

 

SHOPPING!

I went a bit overboard today. I got some compensation from Easy Jet recently (They paid up because it took me 14 hours to get to France due to a technical fault with the plane) so the second that cheque cleared I went out and bought this impressive haul:

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I really need to find some sportswear with animals on them. I’m a big fan of printed animal things. Not animal print per se, like leopard print, just pictures of animals on things. Animals are cool. If anyone sees any zebras or sharks or lions or foxes or owls or anything fauna-related on a piece of run kit, let me know and I will throw all my money at it.

I will leave with an assortment of grumpy after-run pics from this last month (Some special guest appearances from Rob):

 

GK.

Running in Annecy!

I went to the Annecy International Animation Film Festival recently, oh my it was good. If this was an animation blog I would write pages and pages on the films I saw, the people I met, the sneaky bits of films in progress I glimpsed and the inspiring talks I heard. But I’m just going to write about the bit of running I did during my week over there instead.


Annecy is a lovely little town on the edge of a humongous freshwater lake, so I was looking forward to some very picturesque outings. Sadly, the weather was VERY rainy and crappy for the time of year, but whenever there was a sneaky bit of respite from the rain I tried to go out for a jog. There was one sunny day, but it was super hot and muggy and stormed almost immediately after I got home.  I also managed to bully Rob out for one run, but he got ill the very next day. (He’s trying to convince me he’s allergic to running.)

The most important thing I learnt about running on holiday is this: don’t expect a good time. After all the bread, meat, cheese, boozy late nights and ill-advised, drunkenly bought packs of cigarettes none of my run outings were anything more than ‘whoa-there-let’s-take-it-steady’ endeavours. But I still got out and ran! The backdrop was stunning, and  it was nice to see a whole bunch of people in Annecy go running everyday- from athletes in training to steady plodders to whole families with young children on little push scooters.

I miss Annecy a lot. =[
Running in France was cool.

An Unplanned Almost 10k.

16/03/2015

True story: I set off for a 5k and accidentally ran nearly 10k like an idiot champ.

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I was planning to do a nice easy 5k, to the barrage and back. I’ve had two days off running and had yet to try out my brand new pair of running shoes so this was my original plan: take it easy, enjoy being outside, don’t push it too hard. I don’t know what happened. Whilst I was on the barrage I thought, let’s go a bit further- to the bridge where boats can pass through (nearer the Penarth side) and do a 4 miler. Yeah. Sounds good. Then I got to the bridge and thought, let’s do a big circle of the Bay. It’ll be an adventure. It’ll be fun. Never mind the fact that I hadn’t route planned any of this and had no idea how far this would be. It was a weird experience to have nike+ lady congratulate me on my 5k and then feel as though my run was just starting…

OH MY WORD, THE STUFF I FOUND ON THIS ADVENTURE. THE AMOUNT OF STUFF THAT HAS BEEN SQUISHED INTO THIS PART OF CARDIFF IS RIDICULOUS.

I ran past a marina. I ran past a boat yard where some dudes were fixing up boats. I ran past a TOY R US. I ran past two big supermarkets. I ran past a WHITE WATER RAFTING PLACE WITH SOME KIND OF COOL ZIP LINE ASSAULT COURSE. (The most exciting discovery.) I ran past lots of sculpture and ART. I ran along two different kinds of bridges; a pedestrian one and a massive dual carriageway bridge with a footpath alongside. (Not a fun thing to run over; very loud and windy.) I ran past TECHNIQUEST. I ran past a school. I ran along a road called  OLYMPIAN DRIVE which made me feel mighty.

I wish I had stopped and photographed more of it, but maybe next time. I have since looked up where I went on Google Maps and I think I could plan a nicer route too, more time along the waterfront. Anyway here’s the photos I did take on my adventure:

In the last shot I stopped to take a photo of a massively reflective ball because I thought it was cool. It reminded me of The Bean in Chicago but on a much less grand scale. (Cultural note: The Bean is actually called Cloud Gate.)

After taking that photo I noticed my phone was on 2% battery so I finished my workout on nike+ so I would have some miles to upload. I didn’t want to run all this way and not have any record of it if my phone conked out, which it did exactly a minute later. So although I got a trophy for Farthest Run for 4.14 miles, I actually ran 5.8 miles which is not so far off of a 10k. Wahey! Also check out the calories burned. 474 cals. I get to eat all the chocolate I want today.

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I had to wait until my phone had charged back up enough to get this post run selfie. I’m actually slightly peeved my battery didn’t last the whole journey, I would have been interested to see how much I slowed down from mile 4 onwards. I definitely felt a new kind of fatigue set in, not really a cardio based fatigue, more of a joint and tired limbs sort of fatigue. Also may have got my first running blister. It’s a very proud moment.

GK.

A paper Grumpy Jogger!

Because sometimes… Writing about it is not enough. You’ve got to draw the struggle too. Had a lot of fun making this little mini grump. Might venture outside for some action shots! Or even add a little paper entourage of joggers! 😀

 

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11.01.16

3 miles today, got to Bute Park and it was misty, so that was nice and distracting.

Look at my glasses! Steamed up like a pro today, turning me into a blind, stumbling jog-weapon. Nearly took out a few commuters.

grumpykate

 

GK.

Photo Dump #1!

Runs from Oct 2015- Jan 2016:

Nothing crushes that teeny glimmer of achievement at the end of the run like a photo of yourself looking real nasty and sweeeaaaaty. On Nike+ I tend to write a brief description of the torture jog session. I’ll be doing that for each run as this blog gets off the ground, but for this Photo Dump I’ll just give you the highlights:

19/10/15: Dog poop! Overtaken by a yellow top wearing man! Not very fun.

07/11/15: WINDY AS SHIT, BITCH.

22/11/15: Hangover run, hot, shit.

23/11/15: Jog to Yoga with a Samurai sword. (I wore my yoga mat like a sword and felt like a video game character.)

14/12/15: You’ve gone back to being fatty and slowy WHAT GIVES

17/12/15: I GOT TOATS LOST BUT THEN HUMAN SAT-NAVVED HOME AND FOUND A COOL NEW ROUTE WITH A LAKE HOOO! (True story.)

18/12/15: Windy… stitch at start, plod plod plod red red red.

30/12/15: Advice for jogging when it’s windy: don’t.

02/01/15: Bit rainy… I swear this phone made me run extra… 0.5mile to go my butts!

Bam! Photos:

 

That’s it for now. I’m out.

Grumpy Kate.