Saturday, February 16, 2013

Yep, As I Suspected

I'm not very fit at the moment. In toss up of short race verses long run, the long run won. A short sharp race will do me some good once I've attained a basic level of fitness. At the moment that's lacking so that's where I need to focus. Perhaps though, running the reverse route of the Black Mountains race wasn't quite the right choice. Not, that is, when your previous longest for a while was last week's Dursley Dozen. Bumping the distance another five miles and almost trebling the ascent in the mountains of South Wales probably was a mite silly - some might even say mad...

I survived - but only just. Conditions were fantastic. It was pleasantly cool and no wind - shut it, I made sure I didn't eat any beans yesterday. I set off from the forest car park below Bal Mawr at about 11am. It's surprising how different the route is running it in the wrong direction. That said, I've finally nailed the perfect route to said, Bal Mawr.

I took in the views across to Chwarel-y-fan and down into the valley - scaring a couple of walkers as I shot down the descent almost silently before offering a 'good morning' to make them jump a foot off the ground - oops. Once into the valley I took the diversion down the road to use the foot bridge rather cross the river at the normal point. It's never good to go deeper than the length of your water proof socks - they hold the water in just as well as they keep it out and I didn't fancy carrying the weight the rest of the way round.

The climb to Pen-y-Gadir was pretty 'bog' standard and once to the summit I decided to descend down into the next valley taking a route further south than I'd normally use. There seemed to be a track and although not massively firm it was pretty tussock free. I kept on the track a little too long but I think there might well be some mileage in it for the race. Basically, race direction, you follow the forest line up a ways from the stream crossing and then spot out the grassy patch amongst all the crap. It needs a recce but I think it has possibilities...

I made it up out of the valley past Pen Twyn Glas in good shape and across and up Pen Allt Mawr before the gentle plateau'ed run to Pen Cerrig Calch. I was reckoning on and 3:40 for the journey but it was on the descent from there I began to feel the strain and by the time I headed out of Lanbedr into the final sections of ascent I was, to use the technical term, f*&%ed. The climb back up on the mountain through the woods was mental agony. My legs just didn't have anything to give. Time moved ever onwards - but I didn't.

Eventually, after what seemed like forever, I did espy the final trig point of Crug Mawr in the far far distance, and with those bloody terrible words scarring into my subconscious, 'come on, we can run this bit...', I pushed on with what little I had left. Eventually past that last summit it actually was all down hill from there. Finally making back to the van in a slightly sad 3 hours and 57 minutes. I need to make a lot of improvement. Still, it's good to have got the 28km and 1,500 metres of ascent under the belt. The journey to the Welsh 1000s starts here...

Not sure I've done my Compass Sport orienteering chances much good though...