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I did it! The Castleward Half Marathon


Saturday, April 12, 2014



My time was 2.05.09, which I'm incredibly happy with as it was an off-road course which meant that if you weren't going up a hill you were going down one! So, not a course to set a personal best, but definitely one for outstanding scenery and endurace testing.

The grounds of Castleward are amazing. We ran past farmland, through forests and along the Strangford Lough, with the race starting and ending at the main house (Think Downton Abbey, although this estate is in Northern Ireland). The first half of the race consisted almost entirely of windy pathways that seemed to go up one half of a hill and then down another. Runners were moving in single file up these hills surrounded by forests, which looked like tinsel on a Christmas tree. It does slow one down because it's hard to overtake, but people were polite and moved out of the way if you needed them to. Then there were the muddy paths, which felt more like an obstacle course than a run! Fortunately those were few and far between. After about 6 miles, the course opened out onto wider pathways and gorgeous views. The final mile was a killer, though. Just after the 12 mile marker, I turned a bend, and there was a hill steeper than any of the others we had had so far. I kept running up it, but acknowledged quickly that I was going to have to slow down my pace. I probably lost a minute or two making my way up the hill, but I didn't have the strength to go any faster.

Although I was very tired by the end, one big difference between this and previous runs is that I have absolutely no IT band pain! My legs are stiff, but I'm not limping and I'm not feeling worried that I'll need to take a few days off running next week.

So, I think that this has persuaded me that the training method I used this time has really helped keep me injury free. I was a bit daunted having not completed a 21km distance whilst training, but the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. I managed to combine the speed of my shorter runs with the distance of the longer ones without much trouble. No, it was not my fastest pace, but off-road races have more hills, more mud and some paths that require runners to go in single-file. I now know that going forward I need to take my shorter runs more seriously in order to increase my pace and strengthen my muscles and keep doing what I have been with the longer runs, which is to keep a slower pace, but longer time. I'm completely converted to this method.

I would like to complete one half marathon in under 2hours. I feel confident I can achieve this by the end of this year. Now to find the next race!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
MOBYCARP 4/13/2014 6:20PM

    Fast times are nice, but remaining uninjured and smooth recovery seems more important to me. I have to keep reminding myself of this, because the noise in the training program is about getting stronger and faster; but slowing down on most runs and all long runs is really important.

My first half is in two weeks. I'm confident I can finish, less confident I can finish in the time some of the experienced runners think I can, and not at all sure I should try to be that fast.

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ZOSBOS 4/13/2014 2:20AM

    Many thanks for sharing your race report, it sounds like a fantastic run.
We share a common goal in aiming for a sub-2 half, best of luck with your training, I am sure you'll do it!
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MANDELOVICH 4/12/2014 7:25PM

    Bravo!! It sounds like a gorgeous race and that's a great time! I can't believe it ended with a hill!

My half tomorrow is twice around Central Park-not as scenic as yours but lovely nonetheless and very hilly! First half without icy cold or rain!

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JDOWM62 4/12/2014 5:50PM

    You are emoticon Good Job!!!


emoticon It was a pleasure to read your blog post. No misspellings or grammar mistakes in the whole thing. Thank you!!!

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THETURTLEBEAR 4/12/2014 4:47PM

    Wow - great time!!

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KRISZTA11 4/12/2014 1:52PM

    Congrats to your race, you are amazing!
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WORKNPROGRESS49 4/12/2014 1:25PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MJREIMERS 4/12/2014 12:48PM

    As a fellow runner that has battled IT band issues, this was a great one. Remaining pain free always makes for a success run! Your time was great with all those hills! I personally can't run the hills or my IT bands will start complaining, so I power walk them.

You should be so proud of yourself! What an emoticon time for your emoticon !

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KIWIANN 4/12/2014 11:58AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KSITAR 4/12/2014 11:53AM

    Way to go !!

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JAMBABY0 4/12/2014 11:50AM

    Awesome, be very proud!

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ONMYMEDS 4/12/2014 11:49AM

    Outstanding job!!

emoticon emoticon

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FITWITHIN 4/12/2014 11:48AM

    Congratulations on your emoticon . Your completion time is amazing. emoticon emoticon

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