Swansea was a HM experience I won’t ever forget! Not for the right reasons too I hasten to add… or should I say they were the right reasons as it’s made me reevaluate what I am doing in terms of training for this year which has taken a whole heap of stress of my shoulders.
The lead up to the half marathon was entirely stressful for personal reasons, my husband suddenly had his course dates changed (for an upcoming job) and they fell slap bang into the Swansea HM date. This caused a lot of stress to sort out babysitting, none of my friends locally could help at such late notice etc etc etc…. it resulted in £75 worth of baby sitters over the weekend alone, not counting the additional travel costs. On top of that I had an email from my Air BnB digs to say that she wouldn’t be at the property but to find the key under a chair in the back garden, and a side note to lock the door connecting to the kitchen as there were other guests staying in her house. At this stage I knew I should’ve just cancelled going to Swansea, but I had a done a whole heap of training in the lead up and felt after finally sorting out all the other stress factors just to go and enjoy the damn thing.
The Saturday day time was full of Mia with terrible two tantrums and me running about the place trying to get last minute bits together, which I managed in time for the first of the two babysitters to turn up.
Train connections were fine FOR ONCE, and I arrived at Swansea for 7pm and believed the instructions that the house was 15 mins from the city centre, it wasn’t, it was 36 mins precisely up a 2 mile hill, in which I arrived in a sweaty mess, starving….
I dumped my stuff off and headed out promptly to meet Kimberley in the city centre for a bite to eat and catch up, we only had about an hour and I had to shoot off again to get my kit laid out and sorted for the next day. I then had to ensure that my car parking at Kemble train station was covered as that was running out at midnight that night, and I had to ensure I wasn’t going to get ticketed the next day! Thankfully, got all that sorted.
A crap nights sleep ensued and the house cat ‘Milo’ woke me up at 6am to be let in for his brekkie. That was fine, I was up anyway. However I am allergic to cats and had to take a Piriton tablet pronto, however the allergy stayed heavy on my chest.
Got to race village and bumped into the lovely Karen and Kimberley, while I was waiting for a wee. Oh and just to add to the crappy weekend someone tried to get into my toilet while I was going for a wee believing I was locked in! Thankfully I was spared any embarrassment on that one. For godsake! Unfortunately I had missed some other of my VRF friends at race village, another time for sure!
Off to the pens we went and I secured a place by the 2:20 pacer, seeing that I had ran Bath Half at 2:25, I wanted to see if I could push myself to 2:20, well that didn’t happen either, the pacer FLEW OFF. In fact he was so fast that the 2 hour 15 mins one had to catch him up! Don’t know what happened there at all – but he must’ve finished well ahead of his projected time.
The course in itself was VERY DULL for VERY long periods of time I found, not much crowd support and I think there was a serious lack of water stations (thankfully I had my hydration vest on) plus unclear mile markers aggravated me. Didn’t realise that the lack of crowd support would affect me in this way… but it really did, by mile 7.5 I was totally bored of the race and considering actually just leaving it but glad I didn’t. I did a run/walk combo back to the end, mostly running! But once the momentum had gone at 7.5 it had really gone…by mile 12 I saw my friend Karen who saw me into the finish and I can’t thank her enough. Lovely lady!
Would do I do this race again? No…. Why? i wouldn’t do any race again in which I am experiencing huge amounts of stress prior to just to get to the race, its not just worth it.. My focus was rubbish as all I kept thinking about was getting back for Mia and the pain of not having her at the finish line with my husband was a killer.
So, after this race it’s allowed me to reassess what I am doing. I have a few 10k’s to focus on this year, and that’s ALL I am going to focus on this year. I have to be realistic in terms of expectations for myself and being a working Mum on the amount of training I can do… I never want to start hating running, which is where I am falling into – to commit to 2 hours plus training on a LSR and leave my daughter at home isn’t fair on her or my husband who has the lion share in childcare, due to my job, his situation and my training. This decision has made me much happier…
My time at Swansea was 2:27, only 2 minutes behind my PB. A lot of people would want that time I know and it’s not the time that bothers me, just the actual performance, breath, pace etc. My body could go longer for sure, it was just my stress head that wouldn’t allow me! We learn something from everything we do, and I feel Swansea has taught me to slow down a bit and make my training more manageable.
Well done to the other Swansea runners, Jon, Kimberley, Steve and Karen.. you all did GREAT!
Till next time… BBx