Saturday, April 05, 2014

Better Than Expected

I got myself up and over to Blaenavon with plenty of time to spare. I never like leaving it to the last minute. With lifts arranged it was over to Llanbedr for the start - after a little compulsory chatting of course.

I set off steadily mid pack. For me this is one of those races where to go off too quick can be disastrous. I had my splits for three hours stored in my head and ideally was hoping to chip a few minutes off those as I ran without being over ambitious. I was to Crug Mawr spot on the 29 minute target. From there I managed to edge a minute or two  inside on the comfortably fast run off down to the road.

From there it's a bit of a slog around to the main climb up to Sugar Loaf. A long split with plenty of opportunity to drift off the target time, or worse get to wound up racing someone and chip too much off. As it turned out I felt quite good and managed to run - or jog, some might have called my pace - a goodly amount. Hitting the top six minutes inside the target, having picked up a few more minutes. Feeling good I wasn't overly concerned that I'd chipped off too much..

The descent was good if a little foggy. There was good probability that some of the runners may have taken a wrong turn in the low visibility. There are a few paths and unless you know exactly the route it can be difficult in those conditions. My legs felt good and I pushed a little on the descent and also the road section through Abergavenny. I hit the bridge - not actually 'hit' the bridge, I should add - still six minutes inside but I was feeling pretty certain the three hour target was mine at that point. I was confident I wasn't going to die on the Blorenge climb as I felt full of running.

I took my normal route through Llanfoist, picked up a few places and then began the climb... I wouldn't say I flew up but I got into a nice rhythm of four steps and just pounded my way to the top. Picking up five places in the process - although I wasn't really concerned about that. I hit the climb top (as opposed the actually top which is half a kilometre further across the top) in 2:20, a fairly significant fifteen minutes inside the target. I knew I was home and dry from there and for the first time in, well, pretty much ever, I found myself not entirely despising of the Blorenge.

Across the top I had a little tussle with a couple of runners but my heart wasn't in it. I had more gears in the gearbox - and it's been a bloody long time since I've felt like that - but I just didn't have my race head on today. For me it was all about the time and gauging how my comeback is progressing. Having run metronomically for nearly two and a half hours I just couldn't switch my head into race mode. I finished the 25km with 1350m ascent of the Llanbedr to Blaenavon fell race in a respectable 2 hours and 47 minutes.

It's been a good day, chatted with some nice people and now I go to bake bread.