Yesterday Gideon and I completed our first 10k race – The Caerphilly 10k and it was actually a lot of fun! The race starts and ends in the shadow of Caerphilly castle, and comprises of a rather hilly 10km around Caerphilly town.
We were up at 6:40am (far to early for a Sunday) and had a light breakfast of toast with Jam for me and Peanut butter for Gideon. The weather was humid but overcast. We were on the road just after 7:30 and got to Caerphilly at around 8:30. We got a little lost trying to find the carpark I was aiming for – i’m still not sure we actually did end up in the one I wanted – but we managed to find a space and then proceeded to walk the 5 minutes to the race starting area.
There was a really fun atmosphere during the build up to the race. There were lots of people competing and lots of spectators. We bumped into a fellow blogger – Kerry – which was really nice. It’s always nice to meet other runners/bloggers! Before we knew it it was time for the warm up (by doing some funky group dancing and stretches to music) and then time to get to the start line!
We stayed near the back of the start line so we could pace ourselves properly and not start out too fast, and then all of a sudden we were crossing the start line and on our way up the first hilly part of the course and around Caerphilly town centre.
We stayed together and ran the first 3.5km without stopping to walk. We passed a makeshift water station at around 2.5km which some nice church volunteers had set up, and which i’m sure proved a life saver for some (if you read on you may understand why).
At around 3.5km I decided to walk a bit as I was getting extremely warm (it was a very humid day) so Gideon ran on a ahead for a while. There was supposed to be water stop at 4km but by the time we passed it there was no water left – just empty bottles strewn around on the ground. Thankfully Gideon and I had decided to take our hand held water bottles along with us so we were ok, but you can probably see why some people would have been very grateful for taking some water at the impromptu water station a few km’s back.
I managed to catch back up to Gideon at around 6km and we ran and walked the rest of the course together as Gid’s calf muscle was playing up a bit and I was super warm. We were making good time all things considered and were enjoying the support and entertainment along the course (including a brass band and a drum band).
There was supposed to be another water station at 8km, but when we got there this was also out of water! Again, not a problem for us, but I would have been fuming if I hadn’t carried my own water. The nice part was that as this station was located on an out and back section of the course, runners who had already passed and were on their way back were passing their water bottles over to those who hadn’t made it to the water station yet – a true show of sportsmanship right there!
Before we knew it, we were at 9km and running the final part of the course back down to Caerphilly castle and the finish line. We crossed the line together in 1 hour 13 minutes and 5 seconds and set our first PB for a 10km race. It was the kind of time we were expecting given the fact that we had been unwell before and that the course was more hilly than where we have trained, so we were quite pleased.
We collected a lovely medal and nice quality draw-string goodie bag which included a snack bar and a handheld Caerphilly 10k water bottle (ironic). We gobbled up some jelly beans which I had been carrying and then sat and drank a well earned bottle of chocolate milk so that Gid felt alive enough to drive home!
Overall, we really enjoyed our first 10k experience. It was a well organised race, with a nice goodie bag and medal and with lots of spectator support. Our only complaint is obviously regarding the water, which I really think is pretty inexcusable considering the organisers would have known how many people would be running and considering the race takes place in the middle of June. I’m glad we decided to take our own water bottles with us.
It was an enjoyable first 10k experience, and i’m pleased we have an official time which we can submit to be placed in a starting corral for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon. Hopefully thanks to this we will be surrounded by runners who are the same pace as us which will make pacing the half marathon a little bit easier.
And the best part…. my legs don’t hurt that much today!!