Counting Down to the Cardiff Half Marathon

Saturday 4 September.
With six weeks to go until the Cardiff Half Marathon, my running shoes have had enough. At £50 - £60 a pop, I do have to take a deep breath when the time comes to renew them, but, hey, they do a pretty good job of pounding the roads round here. The internet, once again, seems to have run out of Asics 1150s in my size so we head for the wilds of Sports Direct at Haverfordwest. Inside it’s complete havoc; mountains of shoeboxes, zillions of mum and small daughter combos, forlorn single shoes abandoned by their other halves. I am not hopeful. With sinking heart I nab the nearest assistant, who happens to be up a ladder. To my immense surprise there is some sort of order and efficiency behind the chaos and two minutes later I’m standing at the till with my new shoes. Well done Sports Direct and a big thank you to a very helpful assistant.

When I get home I’m slightly freaked out to find that the route for the Cardiff Half Marathon is a new one this year. I tweet my distress and @Cadrieu responds out the blue with a reassuring message. How kind people can be.

Sunday 5 September.
Decide to run a practise half marathon – but not in my new shoes. All goes well until mile nine when I accidentally swallow a bug. Whilst it can’t be much fun for the bug to be sucked into an enormous black hole, it certainly doesn’t do much for me – especially when the bug fights back and flutters around in my throat – aaarrrghh! There is a tussle by the side of the road after which both of us emerge slightly worse for wear.

So whilst training has taught me that bugs are definitely not good to eat, Haribo Gold Bears are amazing – just the right size and long lasting! However something called a ‘Wild Mouse’ from Lidl is truly horrid – like eating an alien with a huge foamy body and a nasty jelly tail – nearly as bad as the fly.

Wednesday 8 September.
Take my new shoes for a six mile spin – I realise how flat my previous pair are when I set off and feel as if I’m running in platforms. Absolutely rubbish run, but at least I beat the rain and manage not to eat a bug. 38 days to go...

And finally...
A couple of thanks. Thanks for your good wishes to Rose, who has started her new job. After three years of diligently working in a silent, formal office where hardly anyone knew her, it’s now jeans, Macs, music and enthusiasm. Great – long may it last.

And thanks from me for supporting Turning the Tide. I’m very grateful to all of you who’ve bought the book or said nice things about it. Getting too hung about Amazon rankings is a very dangerous game to play – but it doesn’t half make my day when the book gets a boost. Thank you!


Miss Write said…
WILD MOUSE! I remember stocking up on sweeties for a road trip in the Cardiff Lidl and they had such excellent Germanic names as this.
HelenMHunt said…
Those Gold bears sound nice. But the Wild Mouse and the insect - not so much!
Frances said…
Hello Chris,

I liked your shoe search tale, and glad it had a happy ending. I'm sure your feet are already loving their new cushions.

Interesting that the marathon route was changed...does this happen often? Hoping that the new route will be reasonably dog-free for the practice runs, and will have gorgeous weather on race day.

Best wishes to you! xo
Pauline Barclay said…
Glad you have got your new trainers run in! I do admire you, we used to do marathons, but on our roller blades...loved it! As soon as it cools down a bit here, we'll be out again on the blades.
Watch out for the bugs, don't want a modern version of the woman that swallowed a fly! Hugs xx
Respect! I can't even walk up the stairs without half dying so I've no idea how you do it! I'm sure the Gold Bears help though, I love those. You've made me want to go and buy some now ... :)
Debs said…
I could eat those sweets, but could never attempt a marathon.

I'm so pleased Rose is enjoying her new job. It makes all the difference when you're happy at work.

Congratulations on TTT doing so well, then again it's a fab book and deserves to.
Flowerpot said…
That bug sounds horrible Chris! But best of luck with the training and the real thing - everything crossed for you! Great that TTT is doing so well! x
Fennie said…
£60 for running shoes (and the cost of getting to Haverfordwest!); then there's the bug and the sore throat and the awful sweets from Lidl and the dogs that pursue you and bite you and the rain and the pain barriers and everything else. Don't you think someone is trying to tell you something? That it might be cheaper and warmer to tuck yourself up at home with a good book and spend the £60 on other sorts of shoes - like the red ones that you regale us with every now and then! But I don't suppose I shall ever persuade you.
Fran said…
I am full of admiration.
Reflections said…
The sweets are my downfall - used to be chocolate until I developed an allergy to it (respiratory). The shoe search sounds like a fun time and really good assistance from the workeer.

Good luck with your training.
Posie Rosie said…
Good luck with the half marathon Chris. Almost impossible to run with your mouth closed....I too have supplemented my diet with the various bugs that have been hoovered in as I run through the fields....ugh
Lane said…
I have always admired your dedication to running. After the bug - more so.

Good luck with your training m'dear and I'm glad Rose is now in an office which sounds much more fun.
Irish Eyes said…
I bow to your energy! Lord knows I thought I was doing well with my rambles, but you really are a champion. Bug a la mode eh? Probably full of protein but not tasty, washed down with some Lidl sweets...definitely punishment from some bug deity.

Good luck with the marathon and I am sure the new shoes will bring about some extra speed to make things easier for you. Love TTT, got it as a present from a friend. Great friend with great taste!
Preseli Mags said…
I've just had to get new shoes too (ouch!). Haribo Gold Bears are definitely better than bugs (except my children keep eating mine.) I had a quick, terrified look at the new route - at least I'll have the comfort on the day of knowing that you'll be in front of me, finding the way!
Pondside said…
How did I miss this post???? I'll have to have my eyes checked.
Haribo Bears - they were my kids' favorites and I even came to like them. I admire you so much for the running - and for braving the inside of a sports equipment store. While I love shoes I detest the sports shoes shopping experience.
Chris Stovell said…
Miss Write - the Peach Loops I ran on last year were memorable too! Soon you'll be rediscovering the Lidl sweetie experience for the next series of road trips. Good luck with the course.

Helen, no I wouldn't recommend the last two!

Frances, I haven't run the same Cardiff half course yet - although this year feels as if it's going the 'wrong' way! The good thing is that it doesn't include grass-crete, a cobble-like surface to preserve areas of hard wear in parks. That nearly killed me the first year!

Pauline - roller blades! Amazing! We want to see the photos!

Christina, perhaps we should take Gold Bears to sustain ourselves on our Girls Night In at Waterstones on 21 October?!

Debs, - aw thank you! I'm pleased for Rose too. And thanks for your kind words about TTT.

Fp, thank you!

Fennie, try it - you might like it!
Truly there is a good side... although, yes, there are times when I struggle to think what it is!

Fran - I shall treasure those words!

Reflections - oooh, shame about the sweets, but best avoided in that case. Yes, was very well served by the assistant at Sports Direct.

Posie - it's disgusting isn't it? - but this was the worst so far!!

Lane, thank you for all - I'm very pleased for Rose though.

Irish Eyes, welcome and thank you. Yes, the Wild Mouse did add insult to injury! Will try to avoid both in future. And many thanks for you kind words about TTT - well done that friend!

Mags, I'm not so sure about being in front of you! But that new route does look scary, doesn't it? It just feels as if we'll be running the wrong way... hmm, but is there a right way for a long-distance race?!

Pondside - I wish I'd discovered the Haribo Bears sooner - I've been missing a treat! As for sports shoes - I think I'm just lucky that I'm a standard fit so at least all I have to worry about is whether or not my size is in stock.

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