As outdoors looms it’s a chance to look back at the last few months which have presented me with some great opportunities and experiences on the road. First up was the IAAF/Cardiff University World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff at the end of March. Having decided to run this as a ‘bit of fun’ post indoors it ultimately highlighted that my strength looks to be to the longer distances. The whole event was incredible and the atmosphere around the course certainly helped push me round and battle through the horrendous weather. I absolutely loved it and couldn’t have asked for better result, finishing first female in the mass race, good enough for 30th in the elite women’s race and 2nd scoring Brit. Having not trained specifically for the half and after relatively low mileage through indoors it was a pleasant surprise to have run the time I did. As the race progressed I was convinced the pace was going to catch up with me and I was going to ‘hit the wall’, however much to my surprise I kept clipping off the miles and it wasn’t until mile 10 that it really got tough – with a grueling last 3 miles battling the elements which certainly tested my mental and physical strength. The sense of achievement crossing the line was amazing. The build up to the event was also something which certainly added to the whole experience. Through work at Cardiff University, I was lucky enough to attend a Q&A with Paula Radcliffe on the Thursday and the IAAF Welcome Dinner the evening before the race, setting the scene nicely for Saturday. All in all a great weekend!
I didn’t think I’d be running another half marathon as soon after Cardiff as I did. However when the opportunity to pace a group in the elite female field at the London Marathon arose, it was certainly an opportunity I could not turn down. It was extra special pacing the elite British women with some who were still shooting for the Rio qualifying time. The whole experience was incredible. I thought the crowd in Cardiff was good, well London was on another level. Having agreed to pace to half way in 74 minutes it only really dawned on me in the days leading up to the race that I had to get the pacing spot on. In Cardiff I didn’t run with a garmin so had little idea what pace I was going, to the complete opposite in London where I was relying on the garmin throughout the race to check I was on pace. Thankfully I was helped out by Caryl Jones which certainly eased the pressure of pacing. We soon got into a rhythm and clipped the miles off, passing through 10km on pace in 35.05. The British women dropped off the pace around mile eight, however I still had two athletes with me who reassured me I was still on pace and I took them through half way in 74.13 – my job was done. I absolutely loved it and one day will certainly look to run the full 26.2 miles, but for now I feel I have unfinished business in the “shorter” distances of the half and 10km. It was also great to have the New Mexico crew out on course and to see me finish at half way. A quick jog back to Tower Hotel for a shower and I was back out on course to watch the elite men and the thousands of runners in the mass race – an incredible sight seeing so many runners all with different motivations and reasons for running the marathon.
I can’t believe it’s been a year since leaving the states, and having moved back to Cardiff in September I have achieved more than I could have asked for in the last eight months which certainly couldn’t have been done without the coaching and support of James, and the amazing Team Thie group. It’s one hell of a group and I’m excited to see what the next few months bring. Next up is Highgate in less than two weeks for my 10,000m debut – bring on the 25 laps!!