A little of this...
Saturday was sightseeing day, so I drove the rental car while Theresa navigated. Getting out of Cardiff took forever and a day (come on, people, put some goddamn signs up on the roundabouts...preferably not in Welsh), but then we got to visit Caerleon, Raglan Castle and Tintern Abbey.
Caerleon has the remains of a Roman legionary fortress. The bits you can currently see are part of the bath complex, the barracks and the amphitheater. The amphitheater was awesome! But then again that’s the assessment of an ancient architecture nerd, so take that as you will. The only thing that affected our enjoyment of the site was that right next door behind a line of trees was a cow farm. The tractor noises and wild bovine cries sounded like a cross between Caerleon’s own version of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Jurassic Park. Basically, it was kind of amusing in a very creepy, deeply disturbing way.
Caerleon amphitheater - none of my ground level photos did the structure any justice so I
stole borrowed this aerial shot from the interwebs. Note aforementioned cow farm in lower right corner.
Raglan Castle and Tintern Abbey were simply a-freaking-mazing. We got to run all around the ruins and explore every nook and cranny. I took more photos of Raglan than any of the Roman stuff in Caerleon. I just love me some crenellation.
All we got to see was a small corner of southwest Wales, but it was enough to make me want to go back as soon as possible. All I need to do is find myself some willing navigators because this weekend made it quite clear that I cannot drive and direct myself at the same time. I urge you all to spend what little you have in your savings and retirement funds to go to Wales immediately. It’s just too beautiful a place to pass up.
A little of that...
Sunday was race day. All the walking and stair-action on Saturday had me waking with sore legs on race day. Not the best beginning, but eh, it was worth it. To soothe all you worry-warts, I did promise Theresa that if my legs hurt at all during the 5K, I would DNS the 10K. Thankfully, there was no pain, so I got to run both. As per all your advice, I ran the 5K as a race and treated the 10K as a regular training run.
The races were held in Bute Park which is essentially the grounds of Cardiff Castle.
The park land was very tranquil and the day ended up being gorgeous with a temperature of about 50 F and sunny skies. The only two things to mar the perfection of race day were the lack of ladies toilets (Seriously, only three for a couple hundred women? You can so tell men organized this race) and no chip timing. We’re stuck with gun times which is a bit of a bummer but whatcha gonna do, huh.
All right, here’s how the races went down.
The entire time I felt like I was going so incredibly slow. It didn’t help that after the 1 km mark, I got prammed. That would translate to strollered for you North Americans. A guy about my age was pushing a baby no more than a few months old in a tricked-out pram. As he came level with me, he turned to me and smiled. I smiled back and then proceeded to laugh at the absurdity of my situation. Eh, it could have been worse. At least I wasn’t midgeted.
Halfway through the 5K, I was debating whether or not to even attempt the 10K mostly because my lungs were working like bellows on speed and I wasn’t liking it. At this point I even started to consider pulling out of my half marathon in two weeks. My mental state was pretty sad to say the least. I was just hoping for a 32 minute finish time by this point. After the 3 km mark, I started to feel a bit better and promised myself to pick up the pace at the 4 km mark. It was taking me so long to reach the 4 km sign that I was beginning to really worry about my pace. That’s when I turned a corner and noticed the finish line only about 300 meters away. I later found out there wasn’t a 4 km sign for some reason. Strange.
Anyhoo, when I saw the finish in the distance, I busted ass. According to the official clock, I crossed the finish at about 30:31, but my watch read 30:16. Either way, it’s a PR. Yay!
I totally took this easy. I made sure to stay in the back and take my time. Sadly, the 5K took a lot out of me, so this wasn’t a problem. The lazy pace allowed me to take in the scenery and enjoy the day. The race organizers had some great volunteers who made sure I never went off course which would have been so easy for me to do had they not been there. I could have done without all the other non-runners on the path (it wasn’t a closed course), but all in all, it was a great run. There was still enough left in my tank for a strong kick to the finish too which made me happy.
All in all it was not only a great day, but a fabulous weekend. I don't think I want to run two races in the same day again (I was freaking exhausted the rest of the day), but I’ll definitely look into more destination runs in the UK in future. It’s well worth it.
As for the train ride home....well, no one seemed to be bothered or aroused by my stanky sweaty self, but we did end up seeing a young guy wearing only a pink tutu, torn fishnet stockings and a smile walking through the carriages. They have some interesting people over here, let me tell you.
All right, that’s more than enough from me. Hope you all have a great week. Catch you later.