It has been, in many ways, a weekend of wins. The girls came over on Saturday and we cooked a massive chinese meal, with B and M on springroll duty and Emily doing a fantastic job of the egg fried rice whilst I dealt with the stirfried beef. The springrolls were (mostly) uniform and extremely tasty, the rice was perfect and the beef went down a treat (I wasn't so successful with the steamed pakchoi and mangetout, but you can't win at everything).
Sunday was a very early rise to get to Cardiff, and it was great to meet and hang out with more of Emily's friends (who were all lovely, especially little Ollie) over a pub roast lunch.
It was back to Emily's where I helped B with her homework, got her and M all sorted and ready to go to their dad's with hardly any strife whilst Emily was busy on the phone and generally had a great time with them.
And in the midst of all of that I managed to run the Cardiff Half, all the way, running every step.
And how did it go?
I was pretty comfortable up to mile 10, although certain areas were aching and pulling slightly. After mile 11 I really started to struggle. I felt woozy, light-headed and my speed dropped considerably. I almost came to a complete halt at one point, only to have Emily shout at me, grab my arm and pull me back into the run. I staggered the rest of the way, and managed a hand-in-hand sprint finish over the last 0.1 of a mile.
When I started this the furthest I had ever run (on a treadmill) up to this point was six miles. I weighed over 15 stone (down from 16 st 5 lbs). I was unfit, unhealthy and rarely completed or accomplished anything I set my mind to.
At mile 10.51 I was running further than I had run ever before. At timestamp 1:56:44 I was running for longer than I had ever run before.
And, with Emily's encouragement (then and in the preceding two months) I made it. 13.1 miles. In 2 hours, 14 minutes and 9 seconds. And I had a ball. The atmosphere was great, the spectators brilliant and so many of the other runners were funny, supportive and entertaining.
At mile 10 Emily gave me a little pep-talk. A large chap running beside me asked me if it was my first half and gave me lots of encouragement and then confided that I would want to do more, that it was addictive. And he is right. It is. I do want to do more. I want to do another one, and another, and so on and so forth, and maybe, in the future, something more.
It has been a weekend of wins, on so many levels, and in so many ways. I don't think I could dare hope for anything more.