Friday, April 29, 2011

Disaster Almost Struck

As it was, I had to limp home on impulse engines, cutting the route short in the process as operation 'damage limitation' kicked into action.

The day started slowly. I enjoyed a bit of a lie in for once. Only running - or intending to run - 25 miles means less of an early start and I took advantage. Eventually I set off for the mountains and arrived at my allotted start location just before eleven and then I was into the run.

I had the split times to hand and I was going to try and really pace myself. That, however, went out the window once I got up on the hill. It was blowing a bloody gale, visibility was pants and I was freezing. So having stopped to put on a few more clothes, hat and gloves I decided to speed up. Throw the splits out the window and just get round the route without error.

Up to Pen Cerrig Calch and around the ridge to Waun Fach was uneventful other than the fact for once there were bloody loads of people up there. Normally if you see three or four people you'd call it busy. Today there must have been two dozen - guess there's quite a few people who don't like the Royal Wedding. Anyway, not that it really mattered, I was 37 minutes inside the schedule but as I said I was running to keep out the cold rather than pootle at traverse pace - which it has to be said, won't feel like a pootle in the real thing.

I had a real eureka moment from Waun Fach to Pen-y-Gadair Fawr though. From Waun Fach my route is to veer slightly further to the right than the 'direct' line and, in fact, the line most people go but hell, when did I ever follow the crowd. I find dropping just below the top and contouring around gets a 'dry run' as opposed to the boggy hell across the top. Today though, it was something special, I found another 'holy trail' - like the holy grail but in running route form. About 150m out from Waun Fach summit, heading slightly further right than normal, I picked up a trod that followed the contour and took me all the way to the main path. It was superb. I shall be extremely lucky to find it again, especially in the real thing, but at least I know it's there so I will at least try for it on 28th May. It made the run off Waun Fach almost enjoyable for once.

The rest of the run across the top was uneventful, preferring the main, slightly longer route from Pen-y-Gadair Fawr on the main path it wasn't long before I was dropping down into the forest. And it started well. I found the small, hidden path and got down into the wooded section and then near disaster struck - and I do mean disaster. Just as I was about to pop out - stop it - onto one of the main track crossing time slowed. I was going 'not slow' through the trees and as I planted my left foot I caught sight of a wire, about ankle high, right in front of where my foot hand landed. I was going too quick to respond and as my foot lifted it hooked the wire and like a plane landing on an aircraft carrier I came to a pretty sudden full stop. Cue lots and lots of swearing. As I burst - no, not into tears - as I burst out onto the track and scraped myself off the ground, I stopped to take stock.

The ankle was throbbing and painful but it didn't feel 'bust'. It was, however, painful to run and despite not having reached to the bottom of the forest, or indeed up the other side to the ridge I did the sensible thing and headed home. To be fair, even then, I still had somewhere near ten miles to go to get back to the car but if I had done something bad I wanted to get back by the quickest route.

Fortunately as I jogged the throbbing eased and after perhaps twenty minutes it seemed to be ok. In hindsight I would have been ok to carry on but I think I did the right thing because it could have been worse. Where that god damn bit of wire came from I'll never know. I'm sure it wasn't there the other times I've come down that way. Anyway, looks like no harm done.

The rest of the run was thankfully incident free and having run through Llanbedr and back up to Pen Cerrig Calch I got back to the car having completed just shy of 24 miles. Despite cutting it short I was only a mile or so short of the planned 25 - but probably a thousand feet less ascent though - what a shame.

So despite the near disaster moment it was a good days training. I was out there 4 hours 52 and put in a mere 5,500 feet of ascent. Guess I need to cross my fingers and hope there's no after-shocks from the ankle. Fingers crossed...

Today's route:-