Thursday, February 10, 2011

Didn't Want To Take My Shoe Off

Because I knew what I'd find... But I did and I found what I knew would be there - a f&$king great blister - Aaaaaaaaahhhhh!

Well, as you can tell, I made it over to recce stage one of the South Wales Traverse. I parked up in a lay by at the end of the stage and ran to the start, turned around and ran back. Except I didn't quite get to the start on account of my self imposed cut-off time - two and a half hours. I didn't want to get caught on the Mountain in the dark so once I hit the cut-off I did an about face and ran back.

I have to say that despite there being zero visibility and the terrain being amongst some of the roughest the Black Mountains has to offer it was a thoroughly splendid way to spend four hours and fifty minutes. In terms of a recce it wasn't great on account of the low visibility. The cloud was down for pretty much the entire run so I couldn't really get a feel for where I was running. I'm pretty sure I hit all the peaks I was supposed to but can't say absolutely.

But by god was it ever rough going and from the moment I had to make a river crossing in the first couple of miles I knew I was going to head into blister territory - and as was written in the prophecy, it came pass. The wetness never really let up. It was pretty boggy running across most of the stage. The sustained damp softened the skin on my feet and over the last five or so miles I could feel the attack of the killer blister edging upon me. And, back at the car, once I built up the courage to take my socks off, there she was on my heel, the size of a ten pence piece, red raw and smiling up at me - aaaaaaahhhhh.

What a stage though. It will probably seem easier with some visibility but I reckon it's going to be the toughest of the traverse. There wasn't much good running. The section down from Garreg Las was a kind of rocky version of hell. It was really energy sapping and I'm glad it's stage one of the traverse because I wouldn't want to tackle it when tired. There's no doubt I need to get back over there to recce it a few more times because I'm sure my route choice was far from optimal - I bloody hope it was far from optimal the length of time it took me to cover the distance! It took way too long but then again navigation was tricky to say the least. Still, need to speed it up next time.

In all I covered almost exactly twenty miles and 5,200 feet of ascent. I am, as they say in the trade, a bit knackered. Time to put my feet up - and eat the last of my curry.