Recovery is the key to a PB!!

Helen Watkinson reports from the Llanelli Half Marathon:
Last Sunday was the Llanelli Half Marathon which was perfectly placed in my training schedule for the forthcoming London Marathon.
My training for both had been going really well until 2 weeks before the race when I came down with a cold.  This combined with working away from home meant I only managed a total of 4 easy hour long runs in the whole 3 weeks before the race.
Hence, I didn’t have any great expectations and went with the mindset that I’d just take part and try to enjoy it!
This year was a new course and although still taking in some of the beautiful coastal path, it started at Parc y Scarlets, the home of Llanelli Scarlets Rugby Team.  It was very much appreciated as a starting venue as we could use the ‘facilities’ beforehand and it was also somewhere warmer to wait until the start.
It was a cold icy morning but with the potential of sunshine on the horizon which would later appear through the frost once the race got underway.
After the first 2-3 miles on road we made our way along the scenic flat coastline to the turnaround point at about halfway.  There was a sneaky hill over a railway line just before the turnaround point which meant we had to face it 400meters or so later on the way back!
I was ahead of my previous PB at this point and felt pretty comfortable with my pace.  On the way back and following the same course, there where a few difficult sections along the coast with a strong icy headwind.  This was completely energy zapping.  I tried tucking in behind other runners but that didn’t seem to work as I was getting blown away from all directions.  I lost a bit of pace here but soon managed to pick it up again once the wind dropped.  This happened a few times on the way back along the coast but I kept managing to keep on my target pace when the wind dropped.  We eventually left the coastal path around mile 10 before the last couple of miles on the road back to the stadium.  There where another few undualtions in the road on the way back, which I hadn’t noticed on the way out and I found these so tough, but really trying hard to focus on getting to the end, which at about mile 12 and a half I thought was never going to come!  I eventually crossed the line in 1hr 40min 21 secs, 2 and a half mins quicker that my last half marathon!!
I spent the rest of the day in shock, as I couldn’t believe it was possible and content with my rewards of a very large heavy medal and woolly hat as a goodies!
I manage to meet up with other club runners Ian Fiddes and Ruth Newman before the race and Cédric and I also met Ian at the end. 
Cédric also did well and got a new PB of 1.28.27 which is an amazing achievement as he ran the Llanelli 40mile race only last Saturday.  A great achievement for Team DAVID, our first event as a married couple – lets hope there are many more to come!!
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