Friday, August 22, 2014

That Worked Quite Well...

A tasty vegetable stir fry for tea. Lacking soy sauce I gambled with balsamic vinegar with a little more salt than normal and a drizzle of sesame oil. Worked really well. Who needs soy sauce?

I've decided not to run the Brecon Beacons. I'm just not fast enough. Going to go for a long run in the heart of the forest instead - keeping away from the Caddihoe out of bounds area of course...

Up Sunday, I'll be 'trooping' over to the Severn Bridge for marshalling duty at the half marathon. Monday? Well, I've no plans at the moment.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Blimey, That Was Odd

I actually went to club training tonight! [pinches self] Ouch! Yes, I really did. It was just the steady run night but I enjoyed it. I put in a reasonable effort. Certainly more than a plod. Twelve and a half kilometres clocked.

I must make more effort to get along much more often. Once in a blue moon is not good enough....

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tuna Mornay Tonight

Crepes filled with tuna mornay, topped with cheese and baked till crispy for tea tonight - but is it right? It was flipping lush but can this be sustained? The main flavour isn't the tuna... it acts as just a source of protein... I find myself questioning...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Almost Stuck Up A Mountain...

Twice, yes twice, I almost ended up stuck up a mountain. The weather was good - claggy on the tops - but otherwise good, so I braved the north ridge of Tryfan. I wasn't going for anything fancy just your bog standard north ridge.

For the main part there are fairly obvious paths to follow. Lots in fact. Once or twice they led me to the precipice, meaning a bit of back tracking. On a couple of the times the back tracking was not so easy - and I was reminded as to why I don't like heights - twas a long way down.....

In a couple of places there was no option to scramble. To say I was slow would've been an understatement and at one point I ended up attempting to be a contortionist but eventually I found myself on the summit of Tryfan. I think it's safe to say rock climb is not ever going to be my thing.

The southern descent wasn't as straightforward as it could've been on account of the low visibility but before long I found the col and made my way up to Glyder Fach. I managed a little bit of wandering on the flat summit, almost coming back round on myself before I decided I best get my compass out. After that it was an easy crossing to get to Glyder Fawr.

As I descended from Glyder Fawr the sun very threatened to break through the mist - but it was only a threat and in the end it didn't. Then I followed the gentle ascent to Y Garn before taking a new path - new to me, not an actual new path - back down to Lyn Ogwen following a north easterly path skirting the edge of Llyn Idwal.

Before long I was back to the van feeling thoroughly knackered. I didn't cover as much ground today as yesterday - and I took an hour longer to not cover it...

Yesterday's Carneddau

It looked like being a really bad one. I arrived just gone midday and promptly started hammering it down. I watched a couple of brave souls - or should that be fools - setting out. Me? I climbed in the back of the van for a nap, hoping that the forecasters where going to get it right for once and that it would brighten through the afternoon.

Fortunately for me they got it right and by 2pm I was hitting the trail. It was far from warm on the ascent of Pen yr Ole Wen mainly on account of strong, cold winds but it was dry and I was happy with that.

The summit was in the clag but as I headed to Dafydd even that lifted. It was still bloody cold though. By the time I reached there the sun was out. I then headed to Llywellyn before taking the east descent back down to the A5 but not before tagging on the minor scramble up Helgi and a lovely, grassy run off.

The only minor disappointment was that last two mile slog along the road. It was always on the cards though. Today, provided conditions permit, I'm looking to head up the north ridge of Tryfan, across the Glyders and then make something up on the return to the van...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Reminisce The Steam Bunny

Well here it is. My little video from Saturday's Steam Bunny Bluff. Been years since I took the ol' video camera out for a run...

Oh, and I've been looking at routes for tomorrow and beyond. Staying with the Carneddau tomorrow and the Crib Lem scramble to Carnedd Dafydd. Friday, the weather 'should' be improving, the north ridge of Tryfan and then Saturday, no scrambling, just a loop up to Snowdon following Bwlch Main and back over Lliwedd.

Obviously all this might change based on conditions on the ground - as they say in the trade...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Been Reading The Cicerone.

Still have no idea what Snowdonia routes to follow this weekend. Am thinking a day on the Glyders. A day on the Carneddau and a pootle over the big one. That, of course, assumes the weather is not totally pants. Friday/Saturday looks alright. At the moment the plan is drive up early Thursday to Ogwen for Glyders or Carneddau. Stay there Friday and then over to Snowdon Saturday and home. All I need to do now is find a couple of scrambles. Nothing too testing - I'm not good with heights - but something I've not done before...

Monday, August 11, 2014

That Almost Went Wrong

I'm off to Snowdonia this weekend. Been a while since I've summited the big one and friends. Was planning on running The Four Fans race on the way back home. The only problem with that plan - and it's only a small problem - is the race isn't this Sunday. I'm really not sure how it ended up in the calendar for this Sunday since it's actually at the end of the month. I am just glad I checked things out before heading away. It would not have been a good end to what I hope will be a good few days in the mountains to be hanging around the Storey Arms car park waiting for no one else to arrive... I've arrived an hour late before, I even missed one race a whole day late but never have I been two weeks early. That would've been a new one on me. Disaster averted.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

What A Cracking Day

An early start and a long one but good. I arrived in Hay just as the race briefing for the inaugural Steam Bunny Bluff fell race was ending but then I wasn't really needed for that anyway. My job for the day, together with fellow sweeper Paul, was to run slowly at the back - not a problem. Fast at the front would've been an issue but slow at the back, easy peasy lemon squeezy. Having said that, I feel like I've been run over by a bus. My legs are aching more now than after my recce, some 90 minutes faster.

Conditions were pretty much as perfect as they could be for a 24 mile fell race. It looked like being a tad too hot for a moment there but as the race got under way the cloud came over a bit to give a little shade. The wind was pretty calm all though it blew a bit more strongly on Pen y Gadir Fawr across to Waun Fach. Not entirely unwelcome. There was even a little rain as we approached the last few check points - again not entirely unwelcome. In all we were out there for just about 6 hours and 30 minutes and I am now feeling pretty knackered. That's the longest time on feet for some considerable time.

Well done to Wheeze and all the marshals for making it all possible and well done to the runners for well, running. I think things went off pretty much without a hitch on the day. This is a good race, following a lovely route and deserves to become a permanent fixture in the calendar. Let's get the advertising campaign under way for next years race....

Friday, August 08, 2014

Looking Forward To A Bit Of Sweeping

I think I'm all set for tomorrow's Steam Bunny fell race. Okay, I've not readied anything but then I only need my standard race kit plus a few bits and bobs. Should be fun, a weighty seven hours in the sunny Black Mountains. Looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Been A Bit Of A Lazy Week

I decided I needed a recuperational week - and I really haven't done much. I've prepped myself for sweeping duties in South Wales' newest long fell race, the Steam Bunny Bluff, though. It is definitely going to be a looong day. The race starts at 10am and I reckon I'll not be back to Hay till at least 5pm! Might try and find myself a race for Sunday - but not if the threatened storm hits...

Sunday, August 03, 2014

My Legs Feel Okay

Perhaps I didnt run fast enough yesterday. My quads are a little sore though and I found a cut on my right ankle. I whacked it - sssh, stop it - on the drop off Bessy Boot yesterday but didn't think I'd cut the surface. No permanent damage though. Should be fit to run embarrassingly slowly at the LCL race on Tuesday.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

1st Place!

Oh, um, typo, 201st place. I had a mare. Conditions were terrible and I was out there battling Borrowdale for far too long. Way outside my target. 4:55. I'm not impressed. Having said that, it was a tad more challenging than I was expecting. With driving rain for three hours, drizzle for an hour and the bonus of an hour without rain it was not hugely fun. Add with strong winds and stormy gusts, pleasant it was not.

I set off mid pack and started okay. I got to Bessy Boot in good shape just a minute outside my target. From there to Esk Hause was were it all started to unravel. Running head long into driving rain and rough, boggy terrain pretty much destroyed me. By the time I reached Esk Hause I was ten minutes down.

By the time I hit Scafell Pike, with more battling against the wind and rain I was further adrift. And don't mention the rocks. I nearly came to disaster a few times. It was like they were made of ice and after those few times I slowed to a crawl across the rocks from then on. Better to survive in one piece to run another day. Then after the scree descent off Scafell Pike my shoes were full of bloody grit. I ran on for a time before I had to stop, struggled to undo my double knots, but eventually managed to get them emptied.

The corridor wasn't the speedy descent I was hoping for. I just had to take it steady in order not to kill myself or worse, break a leg, on the slippery stones. Half way up the Great Gable ascent I was reaching sense of humour failure. I just wanted it to end.

The run to Honister didn't improving things much and by Dalehead I was down to a slow crawl. The ascent took forever - and then with my legs drained, so did the descent. I still managed to overtake a few people though - obviously suffering more than me. Possibly the worst part was when the car park came into view and knowing it was still over two agonising miles away.

The silver lining was that at least I showed how soft us 'southern softies' are - not very. I was the only person I saw who didn't at some point put their waterproof jacket on. There just wasn't any point really. It wasn't cold, a bit cooler on the tops but let's face it you didn't hang around there long and with the rain the way it was, a light weight waterproof wasn't going to keep it out for that length time.

The final insult, and I kid you not. Literally - and I can use it here as it's been redefined by the OED - the moment I crossed the line the bloody sun came out. I kid you not. I entered the finish tent to drizzle, exited, all of ten seconds later and the sun was shining. Impressed I was not.

Didn't hang around long, got some food in me and then headed home on the five hour drive, hitting some pretty scary lightning storms on the M6. Home safe in the end though...

Friday, August 01, 2014

It's Looking Decidedly Damp

I'm all packed just need to hop in the van later and set sail for the north for tomorrow's Borrowdale fell swim - er, I mean fell race. Have you seen the forecast? It looks grimmer than the reaper himself. I don't know whether to wear my shorts or a pair of swimming trunks. At least it doesn't look like it's going to be cold, so that's a silver lining.

To the race itself, I've worked out some splits. How accurate they'll be is anyone's guess. Starting from the premise that I don't really know how fit or otherwise I am at the moment, I've picked a 4 hour 10 minute target - where the hell did I get that from? No, I don't know either. Anyway, that's the target. Trying to work that into splits is even more random considering the terrain. So for the record, here they are;

Bessy Boot 00:45
Esk Hause 1:30 (0:45)
Scafell Pike 2:00 (0:30)
Styhead 2:20 (0:20)
Clark Gable 2:50 (0:30)
Honister Pass 3:15 (0:25)
Dalehead 3:45 (0:30)
Finish 4:10 (0:25)

I've got my maps printed and have a feeling I might be needing them. It's going to be low visibility so it'll be a good test of navigation. I've run bits of the route before. Bessy Boot to Esk Hause will be new to me as will be Honister to Dalehead and down. It's only 17 miles with 6,500 feet over some of the best rugged bits the Lakes have to offer. Should be fun...