Saturday, April 16, 2011

Now That's What I Call A Run

52km across the Brecon Beacons. I am, to say the least, slightly f*&ked right about now. In all there was about 9,000 feet of ascent. Conditions were ideal for a long one - ooh err. It was warm but not overly so and there wasn't much wind - fnah. Pretty much perfect.

I started out from the Tal-y-bont reservoir at just gone eight and mostly followed the route of the Brecon Beacons fell race - coming up later in the year for those interested, it's a corking twenty mile race. I digress. Once I reached Duwynt I dropped down to the Storey Arms to start my pacing practice. I ran the first part of today's recce too fast. I got to Storey Arms too quickly which was a bit of a school boy error. I really wanted to try and simulate 'real' conditions on the approach to where I was going to time my splits so I'd feel like I will in the real thing - fail. My main aim for the days run was to run easy and at the target pace I've set myself for the real traverse attempt. On that front things didn't go to well.

I got the absolute perfect line to Y Gyrn, found all the paths, walked all the ascent, held myself back but sadly got there five minutes too quick. OK, I steadied the ship and ran the loop around and back up to Duwynt - seven minutes too quick. I eased all of the up hill sections but still got there too quick.

Corn Du, Pen-y-Fan and Cribyn all passed in a similar vein - 2 minutes too quick a piece. The biggest fail was the run over to Waen Rydd. I decided to add an extra summit that isn't even included in the real thing, Fan-y-Big - stop it, it really is called that - but still got round to Waen Rydd nine minutes too bloody quick. I was better across to Alt Llywd - only three minutes up - and I got the drop to Abercynafon almost perfect on account of the drop off Alt Llywd is tortuous and I took it like a snail, and even walked bits - walking downhill? almost a sin - but I still got there with a minute to spare.

From there things got tough. The target time across to YStrad is an hour. Sounds like a lot. Felt like nowhere near enough. The climb out of the valley was killer. I took it really steady to conserve as much energy as I could but it felt too slow, far too slow. I thought I was going to need an hour just to get to the top ridge let alone the run across a few miles of wild country to YStrad. As it turned out my fears were unfounded, once I got to the top the run across was al-right and I arrived at YStrad with eight minutes to spare.

The drop through the quarry to Pyrgad farm went almost perfect. With Pat's magic route you save loads of time without needing to break into a sweat - another four minutes.

That was the end of the pacing section and I basically made my way back over the ridge, back to my car at Tal-y-bont reservoir. Yawn - that wasn't boring then - NOT.

As I type this the after effects of the run are beginning to kick in. All in all, though, it's been another bloody good day. I'm going to hop on the bike later for 30 very easy minutes to ease out the muscles if I'm to have any chance of running half decently at Chepstow Harriers 20km Offa's Orra race tomorrow. And then tomorrow afternoon I've the delight that is 'cutting the grass'...

Today's route: