Friday, May 31, 2013

Once More Unto The Breach

Back up to Snowdonia again. This time for the real thing. No more training recce's. This is it. The forecast is still holding. tomorrow looks to be cooler than today and I'd be happy with that. I'm not the greatest hot weather runner. That should really read, I struggle even more when it's hot. Who really knows though?

I'm all packed. Got that job out the way early so I've been able to chill this afternoon. It's been nice to just sit in the garden and do nothing. Made some pesto pasta for lunch, using some of the mass of basil I have growing. Think I might have slightly over done the garlic though.

Now it's just the little task of driving north, Welsh 1000s here I come...

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Not Quite All Set

But I'm getting there. My plans are all made. In my head, at least. My race game plan is decided - don't go at it too hard to soon - ooh, sssh, no, stop it. I'm thinking of saving myself for the jog down from Snowdon after the finish! Right now it's just a case of making sure I pack everything I might need and then chilling. Shouldn't be too big a problem, I've got all day tomorrow to get ready - yes, day off - back of the net. I'm looking to head up in the evening to get there 9:30-10:00 and then register Saturday morning before the race rather than Friday night. I'm still feeling positive. The forecast is looking acceptable. Almost more than acceptable. Never say never with mountain weather - ooh, that rhymes. Think that I've found my catch phrase!

It will be so ace if the weather holds... but remember, never say never with mountain weather.....

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Easing Along

A three day week... Bank holiday and a day off Friday - result. Chilling from hence forth. It was an easy 90 minutes on the static bike tonight - you won't see me getting drenched in this lovely summer weather. I'm all set for the big one on Saturday. My kit is all but checked. I know where I'm going. I know where I've been - but I'm not tellin'. Twenty miles doesn't hold any fear for me. As Barney would say, it's going to be Legen.. wait for it, wait for it, ... dary....

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Settled That Quickly

The question, speed session and then ease back or skip straight to the easing back?... Yep, I think we all know which option I went with in light of this lovely early summer weather. To be honest I'm hoping the rains keep on coming until, say, Friday morning, then would be a bloody good time for it to bugger orf for a few days.

I've decided I'm going to head up to Snowdonia early Friday evening and go for registration early Saturday before the bus leaves for the start at 8:00. That gives me all day to plan and pack my kit, read all the rules and regulations and generally ease myself towards the torture I'm going to put myself through. With regard to said torture, I've given myself a nice surprise. I've just realised the race is actually only 20 miles not 25 - result and with only 8,000 feet of ascent it really be that much worse that last weekend. I'm well up for it now. I'm not going to be quick but come on, only 20 miles? The Mad Runner laughs in the face of a mere 20 miles. That said you do still have to run down from Snowdon after he finish and that's a few miles but I can take my time over that. Still, I'm well ready for it now. The Mad Runner Rebooted is on the come back trail....

Monday, May 27, 2013

Time To Rest

My arms are aching almost more than my legs today from all that scrambling over Ugain and Crib Goch. You don't realise at the time how strenuous lowering yourself down with your hands and arms can be - and there was a fair amount yesterday. I'm never particularly happy when you have to hold on with your hands with both feet free from the surface, like you're playing at being a gymnast on the parallel bars - only at the top of a mountain. There's always that 'shit, do I need to lower myself just a little bit more than my arms will allow before my feet touch back to terra-firma' moment. Then of course there are those twister moments where you need to put you right foot where you left hand is to be able to make the next move. Yes, I guess that's why my arms are aching...

With just five days till the first big one I need to make sure I am fully rested. And so it's been a day of rest which started with a bloody good lie in - 10am, result. Then I had a bit of a potter in the garden. A spot of baking in the afternoon before a bit of a fry up for tea - healthy? Well not actually that unhealthy. Oven chips with veggie sausages accompanied by red onions and peppers lightly fried with fresh chilli, sage, parsley (from the garden) and garlic (not from the garden), a fried egg and my homemade pickled red cabbage. My portion size went a bit wrong though...

And now it's operation feet up watching Sky Fall and the then The Tourist. Film fest. Just what the doctor ordered. Up tomorrow, do I squeeze in Chepstow training and then rest or should I been into light training only? I guess I'll see how things feel tomorrow...

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Wam Bam Thank You Snowdonia

My tour of Wales completed in 30 hours. I set out from home at eleven am for the Cwmdu Fell Race and just got back at five pm today. A bit of a whirl wind and I do officially declare my legs broken - not actually broken but I think they might require some sort of resuscitation.

It was bloody marvellous up in Snowdonia. I arrived by about 8pm to the most fantastic evening sunshine and this morning was even better. As I drew back the curtains - yes, the van has curtains - there was not a cloud in the sky (except that fluffy white stuff hanging over Llywedd). Snowdon - once she came into view - was probably the most spectacular I've ever seen her.

Anyway, I set off just before eight and jogged along the road and up to Pen-y-Pass. To say the mountain was busy was an understatement. Even at such a relatively early hour there were hundreds of people out there for me to hunt down and pass. I didn't actually go over Snowdon today, climbing the Pyg Track to the top but turning right to Ugain rather than left to Snowdon. The most surprising thing was that I reached there just after nine and as I was on the last stages of the Pyg track walkers were already on their way down! What time did they get up!

So I headed over Ugain - and what a leg wobbler that was. I wasn't expecting there to be so much possibility of instant death from one slip of the foot. I really don't like heights and there were one or two points when I was hugging the rock face. After pooing my pants once or twice it was time to go up Crib Goch. Cue more pooing of pants. I didn't go over the ridge you only need to get to the summit and then back-track to the col before dropping down to Lyn Glas. I think I had an okay line down and making a mental snapshot of what I saw I think I will follow the same route in the race.

By the time I eventually got down from CG my legs were fair trashed. Having already ascended 3,000 feet up I have pretty much the same straight down and my legs were paying for yesterdays race. The jog down the road and then up to Glyder Fawr was enough. That climb was pretty close to 3,000 feet without respite. From the road to GF is pretty much just goes up and then up some more.

I decided to miss Tryfan. As I got to Glyder Fach, in the heat of the day gnawing at my reserves, I called it a day and dropped down to the Miners Track as directly as I could and then followed that down - and that wasn't easy. It was a rough old track, all several thousand feet of descent. It's surprising how hard going down hill can be sometimes.

All in all been a good couple of days. A 10 mile race and 3,000 feet of ascent and then 15 miles today with 6,000 feet of ascent. That's close to the highest ratio of distance to ascent I think I've ever done - bearing in mind that the last three miles were all down hill so the ascent was racked up in just 12 miles. I think I might sleep well tonight.....

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Been a good day. I didn't run too shit in today's Cwmdu Fell Race. I was round the 10 miles with its 3000 feet of ascent in 1 hour 38 minutes. Now I know that sounds a long time but it was a little mountainous... It was good enough for 20th place and I'm happy with that.

Then after a bit of lingering I hopped in the van for the journey north to Snowdonia. I took a bit of a scenic route to make the most of the spring sunshine - that was a bit of a novelty - the sunshine not the scenic route. I finally arrived and found my spot just gone half seven, cooked supper - yum - and now it's time to sit and watch the sun go down...

Up tomorrow is the Goch, Crib Goch - although I'm not going all the way - matron. I've a 25k route planned with 6000ft of ascent - I like to mix my units. All being well that'll be the Vegan Welsh 3000s fully reccied.

Just A Quickie

Hopefully I will have live tracking on the blog page (second tab at the top) today and tomorrow - subject to it not turning itself off!

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Plan Is Set

The forecast for Saturday and Sunday look similar. It's always going to be a bit of a gamble but because it's bloody freezing today I'm thinking it can't get any colder for tomorrow or Sunday can it? So I've decided I'm going to head up to Snowdonia tomorrow afternoon after I kick ass in the Cwmdu Fell - okay, there won't really be ass kicking, well, not by me anyway. Cwmdu is a replacement for the Myndd Troed fell race. Covering much of the same route but starting and finishing, funnily enough, at Cwmdu and only going up Myndd Troed once. At ten miles and 3,000 feet of ascent it'll be a good test.

This is pretty much my last chance to recce the route off Crib Goch for the Welsh 3000s before the race. I'm planning to head up the Pyg Track, over Ugain and to the summit of Crib Goch. Then I'll retrace my steps to Bwlch Coch and down....... Then it'll be a case of finding a way down to the road before heading up to Glyder Fawr, across to Glyder Fach and back down. I might throw in a loop of Tryfan down the scree from GF but I'll see how I feel at the time.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Rise

And so it continues. I once again left the comfort of the sofa far far behind as I made the arduous journey to Chepstow for more training. I'm not really too concerned about quality at the moment. Right now I am happy to muster for a bit of quantity. It's all about getting out the door. Third day in row. Barely believable, I know, but true. After a long time falling comes the rise....

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Does it Get Any Better Than This?

Not only did I manage to haul my ass out of the office for a lunch run with Martin but after a whopping eight months, only five late, Morgan 'We Couldn't Organise A Piss Up At A Brewery' Sindall have finally finished digging up the A40 at Huntley. Halle-bloody-lujah. Now I say finished but there still looks to be some finishing off going on at the side of the road but so long as they keep the f*(& off my road I don't mind how long they take to complete - and by their standards it could be another two months.... So I think I've probably just about hit the pinnacle. Not sure I there can be anything better for me to look forward to now - I'm kidding. Or am I?

So anyway, I managed some more training today. It wasn't the greatest but my legs felt a bit weak after yesterday. I'm just pleased I got out and if I can gather my strength of will I will be heading down to Chepstow for training tomorrow night. Will the miracle continue? Tune in tomorrow.......

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I Actually Made It!

Yes, I can't believe it either!!! I gathered my kit together the night before so I had no excuses today. Nor did I need an excuse. I got home in good time. Watched a bit of Neighbours - as you do. I now but I can't help it and apparantly there's no cure but I digress. I bid the cat farewell, doffed my cap and then headed down to Chepstow for the LCL race - that's Leisure Centre League for those not in the know - and that includes me.

I knew it would be tough tonight but it exceeded expectation. The old me would have thought it was a good course. Less than the regulation 10k, weighing in at 8.8km but it was decently hilly, including an uphill finish.... The new me thought it was shit and it had a f$(%ing uphill finish. Only joking - or am I? No, I am...

Anyway, I set off way, way, way back in the field - and it was a BIG field - I wasn't expecting that! Infact, I was so far back I was practically in next weeks race.

The first kilometre saw me taking things easy on the downhill section. I wanted to ease myself into it having not raced on the road for who knows how long. Then into the first climb I made my move and started edging through the field as my speed remained constant while those around me slowed. Me? I'm a one pace donkey these days. Ahead, dead slow...

After a few more kilometres the gains slowed but I kept plugging away. As we hit the final climb I was beginning to struggle. I wasn't going fast, averaging just 4mins 29s per kilometre, but that, it appears, is as fast as I go these days. It wasn't all bad though. I managed to force myself beyond the limit on the first section of that final climb to gain a couple of places and then had to stop for a spot of puking - they over took me - doh! I got going again and managed to keep myself just the right side of vomit this time - until the finish, but that's allowed - and more importantly managed to get back those two places. Probably made sh!t all difference to the club result but the fact I can still race hard gives me hope I've not gone soft....

I am hopeful this can be the start of a beautiful relationship with my club, Chepstow Harriers (the best club in all Wales, coincidently). One where I can get down to some regular training - get down as in travel to Chepstow as opposed to some James Brown style soul singing/dancing. Maybe I might even get a little speed in my now ancient legs- yeah, maybe not.

And you know what? Best of all? I didn't even miss the sofa tonight. That's got to be some kind of omen.....

Blimey, this blog post almost has a tinge of the old Mad Runner madness - one swallow does not a summer make but am I ever hoping to see the return of the Mad Runner........

And another thing, there seems to have been and awful lot of dot dot dotting tonight..........

Monday, May 20, 2013

Where Did My Mojo Go?

I need to train. I used to be quite good. Not great. Can't claim that but I was half okay. I want to think I will go and get slapped at tomorrow's LCL race in Chepstow. Whether I get thrashed would not be in question. What will be in question is whether I can motivate myself to rise from the sofa and go run. I am so without mojo these days. Long gone are the days I got home from work, donned my kit and headed out. I want it back....

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Confidence Boost On Black Hill

In the end I decided to stay on the east of the Black Mountains today. In fact, I started so far east I set out from England - I packed my passport just in case I was stopped at the border! I parked up in the Black Hill car park. I've never run over Black Hill so thought I tick it off today. With sun block applied - yes, I actually needed sun block! In fact the weather was pretty darn tooting fantastic. There was a bit of wind - not coming from me, I hasten to add - and a few clouds but I was pretty sure it wasn't going to rain. T-shirt it was then...

For the first twenty minutes I struggled to get going. It was pretty much straight into climb and that's never the easiest. I took my time and admired the views - they were worth admiring. By the time I reached the trig it had flattened out and from there across to Hay Bluff I started to find a reasonable pace - I even managed to claim a top spot Strava, knocking the great Tom Gibb off top spot! (I'm guessing he was probably walking backwards while carrying a 40lb pack). In fact I claimed top spot on all seven climbs today - so I'm guessing it's not a popular route for runners...

It was on that section I realised something was up but not in a bad way. I'm pretty sure the Big Black Mountains Challenge must have been going down because there were hundreds of people out there and several official looking check points manned - and in some cases, womanned - by the Longtown Mountain Rescue. It appeared to be a different route to the one I followed when I did it a few years ago.

So I continued along. Over Twmpa and Rhos Dirion. I forgot how annoying that boggy bit across to Chwarel y fan is. Wasn't as bad as it could have been though - I'm thankful for small mercies. I continued along the ridge to Bal Mawr before dropping down to Llanthony and confirming my Big Black Mountains Challenge suspicions. If I'd have known I might well have done it although it would possibly have been a few miles too far at this stage on the knife edge that is my training for the Welsh 1000s.

As I the climb back up to Offa's Dyke I began to blow a little. The couple of kilometres along the top back northwards wasn't so pacey as before. Eventually it was time to head cross country, due north, and down into the Olchan Valley to pick up the footpath that would take me back to the van. The final climb out of the valley pretty much finished me off but I have to say the footpath was very well way-marked, top marks Mr Land-Owner.

The total tally was 31km and 1,100m of ascent completed in a thoroughly pleasing 3 hours and 45 minutes. Before I set out I was thinking it would take me between four and a half and five so I'm really pleased. I certainly didn't push like I was racing but neither was it a pootle. I tried pretty hard. All in all my confidence is boosted ahead of the Welsh 1000s. I'm now thoroughly convinced I can do myself justice. I'm not going to win but I'm reasonably confident that I can a) complete it and b) not claim the wooden spoon. Happy days...

Friday, May 17, 2013

Decisions, decisions

Where to run tomorrow? The Brecons forecast has improved - a lot - from that predicted mid-week. It almost looks like it could be a nice day - but I don't want to say it in case Karma kicks me where it hurts..

I had half a thought of heading to Snowdonia tonight but I feel pretty tired. By the time I'd got there, and then run wherever the heck I would have run and then driven back home I think I'd have been finished. I've decided it will be far more sensible to go for a long run in the Brecons tomorrow instead. I'm thinking over to the far west. I have an inkling that the big P will be a mite busy tomorrow if the forecast holds. Alternatively I might travel closer to home and run along Offa's Dyke on the eastern side of the Black Mountains. That would save me two hours of driving. Decisions, decisions...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sailed Through

Back on four wheels again without issue - result. So, having fought my way through the traffic I finally got to the garage, checked the old banger in and took to foot. Having completely failed to prepare for the run to work, my sack was full - snigger. I refer, of course, to my running ruck-sack which was jammed with everything I needed for the day. I even needed to pack my PPE for the days site visits. It probably weighed in at around 7lb's. Not a lot but enough.

The run itself was uneventful and not especially fast but pleasant. Probably just about normal I reckon. It was a funny day at work. Mostly meetings but it was all surprising tiring. The return was a minute and a half quicker but it felt laboured throughout.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

MOT Time

Yes, it's that time of year again. That expensive time when mysteriously all those little light bulbs on you car break... Happily for me the ABS fault light that lit up on Saturday and remained throughout Sunday and Monday has gone back put again. I say happily, do I still have the ABS fault but the light has burnt out or did it cure itself? I don't know but if the ABS doesn't kick in I can always do it old school style by pumping - ooh er misses - the break pedal...

Anyway, that's all beside the side - where did that phrase come from anyway? Tomorrow I shall be double running from the garage to work and then back again at the end of play. Hopefully the c'eed will pass muster...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Despite The Rain...

...we didn't get too wet. Yes, Martin and I finally managed to be in the office at the same time and got out there and ran. The view out of the window had looked grim all morning but there wasn't the faintest hint we wouldn't go do it. When the time came we just got out there and got wet. It wasn't really raining that hard - it was just that rain that gets you wet, drizzle, I believe they call it.

Our speed wasn't amazing and despite trying to stride out my stride length got shorter through the run. We ran the Malago loop today, fearing Dundry would be too much for us to handle. I felt slow and by the finish felt even slower but despite it feeling so laboured we were around in a fairly reasonably time. Not the fastest but, at 30:52, it was far from the slowest. I think I've dipped inside 30 minutes just once before so I can't really grumble about today's showing on the 7.2km course.

Monday, May 13, 2013

And So To Another Week

Rain, heavy down pours, gusting winds. Yes, it's not really what I was expecting for May. Even by British standards this year is looking like a poor one. I am intending to get soaked tomorrow, out on the lunch run but it'll be good to go run it. Haven't done Dundry for a while. Tonight I couldn't be arsed. I finally got home just before eight and having started out sub six, that was enough for me. I'm really rather looking forward to get soaked tomorrow....

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Well That Went Alright

Not brilliant but definitely better that total pants. I do, of course, refer to the Mallards Pike orienteering today. I got myself over to Brierly ahead of time and ran the 6km across to Russell's Enclosure - oooh, matron. Then after a brief chat - as you do - it was time to head out into the wild green yonder.

I only made one bad error today. There was slight mitigation but we'll some to that in a minute. Once or twice I got my bearings a bit confused, hitting the wrong path while emerging from the undergrowth but after recourse to the compass I got myself back on the right track, so to speak - more haste less speed, or something like that. The rain didn't help either, made reading the map tricky but it was only a brief shower and my glasses soon dried.

So as I said, the only really disappointing control was number three. I didn't know the symbol - a fallen tree root clump thing, cross in a circle - that's the my excuse. Some might say that's no excuse and that would be fair comment. Rest I assured a cross in a circle is now firmly ensconced in my memory banks. By itself I might have found it but coupled with a poor route choice meant I ended up running far to far. Hitting the path, followed by a loss of sense for a few seconds before I eventually took a bearing and found the damn thing. Have to say it was fairly school boy but after that things picked up.

With my newly acquired skill of locating fallen trump stump thingies, I made solid progress around the rest of the course. Eventually finishing in 1:04. I'll take that - to be fair, I don't have a lot of choice, they don't let you upgrade after you'ved finished.

Any then, after another little chat it was time to return from when I came and as I set off after a few minutes the heavens opened and I was drenched in seconds - doh. And now, safely back all that's left to do is put the feet up and relax. Happy day.
alas for the squiggle top right...

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Plan

I've decided the weather is going to be rubbish - fact. So I've decided I'm going...... orienteering - but with my normal twist. I'm going to park up five or so miles away and run there and back with a spot of pootling around the forest like a headless chicken in the middle. Should be fun - if a little wet. And from the sound of the rain bashing down on the conservatory it's going to be very wet underfoot at best.

Had a few details of the Welsh 3000's come through on email tonight. It's a 5am start!!!! Yes, FIVE and AM!!!!! I suppose at 35 miles and loads of ascent - 15,000 feet - I probably need to start at that time to get round in the daylight. Happy day. Really looking forward to it now. I feel so up for it - ooh err misses, haven't had one of those for a while - I almost feel like entering Ennerdale for the middle week between the 1000s and 3000s....

Thursday, May 09, 2013

That Was All Very Damp...

Oh I enjoyed that - not. Drizzle. The kind of drizzle that gets you wet right through to your very soul. Have to admit I cut it short and headed indoors for half an hour on the bike. Isn't it great now autumn starts in May and lasts until November.

The big decision though, is how will the weather be on the weekend? Will it be pants? In which case I'll be orienteering at Mallards Pike on Saturday. Will it be half decent? Then I'll be off to the Brecons unless Sunday looks better and then I'll be back orienteering and visiting the beacons on Sunday. Or will it be decent? In which case I could well be tempted back to North Wales. There's a lot of pressure riding on the MET Office's competency for this weekend.....

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

What Training?

Been a rubbish couple of days on the training front. The long weekend, long forgotten. No enthusiasm for it tonight. Ho hum. Tomorrow I shall be stealing myself to a) get home at a reasonable time and b) be arsed for training. Going to be a tough call. Oh, the highs and lows of training - or lack of it. I need to advertise for a running buddy near home...

Monday, May 06, 2013

It Can't Be True...

I spent the morning, wait for it, 'pottering' in the garden. Oh god, shoot me. Shoot me now. Has it come to this? To be fair I had to stay in for the Autoglass man to come and replace my windscreen so I busied myself tending the grounds - also know as the garden.

First off I finished prepping the second raised bed and then set about planting the red barons - cool veg name. Can you guess what colour them onions are going to be? Then I sat in the sunshine watching the bees bumble around in this big yellow planty thing wot they seem to really like. It was good to see a fair number of honey bees along with the bumblebees. The humble honey bee is currently having the fight of its life and if we don't watch out we'll lose them. Rest assured there's no pesticides happening on my watch. Almost got me thinking about trying bee keeping... but no, I can see that would be a step too far. Still, I'm happy to do my bit to keep the bee numbers up by sowing some wild flower seeds. All in all it was surprising how much time I lost doing not a lot. Anyway, the Autoglass man came and went so I'm now back roadworthy.

Yellow plant that the bees like...

So after a spot of gardening it was into the kitchen for a spot of pickling - spicy red cabbage. Followed by some baking - a crusty herb loaf and then some prepping for tonight's feast, paella. Oh and then I went for a run in Flaxley wood.
Back from the run and showered - oh how I needed the shower. Sweaty bastard doesn't quite do it justice. Despite the heat of the day fading it was still damn sticky out there. The paella wasn't too bad either. I didn't use quite enough saffron for the quantity of stock so it didn't go particularly yellow but for a first crack it tasted okay. Job done. Time to relax before the rat race resumes tomorrow morning...

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Lazy Dayz

Been chilling in the mid-summer like day. First thing I headed into the garden to cut the grass - after the obligatory cup of super strength black coffee of course - but then you know that by now. The only worrying thing about that - not the coffee - is the fact that we are now into May and that was the first of the year! And as Rod Stewart well knows, - yep, we all know where this is going - the first cut is the deepest... da dum dum, ching. Still, May? First cut of the lawn? I say lawn, really it's just scraggy grass with lots of weeds, dandelions, primroses, weeds, nettles, weeds. May? It's worry.

Next up was digging the second of my two raised beds. The first is well on the way, the potato plants are almost ready to be re-covered again. There are worrying loads though. Think I might have over done it on the tatties front. After a hour breaking my back digging up the grass, pulling stones and in some cases bricks! I was finally ready to fill with fresh compost. Need another trip to the garden centre tomorrow to get a few more bags and then I'll be ready to plant out my onions - ooh, matron.

Then it was into the conservatory to tend the herbs, chillies and tomatoes. I split the cherries - ssh, no, stop it - and transferred half of the tomatoes to a couple of hanging baskets! Yes, this year I'm trying some Tumbling Tom in hanging baskets. All being well I will be giving away tomatoes left,right and centre. So far everything is looking good.

My hamstring is feeling much improved but I decided to give it an extra day. No point in risking things at this stage. So after chilling in the sunshine out front, watching the birds flutter in the trees and the bees pollinate my black currents - ooh, err. I finished off the day by sowing a wild flower mix in the front garden. I like the wild look. I've planted up a mix of typical countryside wild flowers from cowslip to buttercups. Just need to keep the birds fed so they don't go pecking at my seeds - no comment. Well that's me done. Pip pip.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Confession Time

No Grib Goch for me today. In fact, no running at all. The howling gales rocked the van from side to side all night - ssh, no, stop it, that's sadly the only thing that makes the van rock from side to side. Then from the early hours before dawn the rains came and then came some more. I arose at six feeling tired. One look out the van and I wasn't pleased. Yesterday's view was just rain and fog. There was no sign of the mountain. To be fair, that in itself would probably have put me off. The forecast said sunshine by midday but it wasn't really in the plan to stay up there that long. It was only once I stepped out of the van for the early morning call of nature that I realised my left hamstring wasn't feeling too good. Coupled with the cold and rain there was no way I was heading into the hills to get myself injured. I would have happily walked the route in the dry but I wasn't prepared to put myself through that in the cold, cold rain. I decided to take the drive home and save myself for another day...

I still need that Crib Goch recce though and maybe another crack at Glyder Fach and Tryfan. I fiddled around yesterday and I'm happy I know better the direct lines over those two bad boys but I'd be happier proving it. I'm happy with the rest of the route. The Carnedds section, from what I reccied, seemed fairly straight forward - famous last words. Taking a silver lining from today, I've learnt that I can fit in the drive up and back and two long runs over two days so even if I'm not able to book the Thursday and Friday off I can still get back to the mountains on the weekend of 18th/19th May. If I can take the holiday then I can possibly squeeze in the Cadir Idris race on the Saturday on the way home...

Overall, I'm happy with how things have gone. I feel pretty optimistic that I can give a reasonable showing in the Welsh one and three thousands now. Another couple of decent runs and I'll be there.The hamstring doesn't feel too bad right now. I can still feel a twinge but it isn't too bad and I reckon with a good day tomorrow I might be fit to have a pootle at the Devauden 10K on Bank Holiday Monday.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Not One For Those With A Fear Of Heights

Namely me!

But I'm jumping ahead. After a hearty camping breakfast favourite, (veggie) sausage, egg and beans and a strong black cafetiere coffee, I set off back into the mountains. I knew pretty much from the gun that I was going to have to walk most of the route today. There wasn't going to be any pushing the pace. I could feel yesterday's mileage coming back to haunt me. With a proper route planned for tomorrow I had no choice than to give myself a chance of recovery and spend the day as a pure recce.

The first section from the road to the unnamed lake at the start of Y Gribin was a bit rubbish. I think I need to go again and head further up the road before I cut onto the hill. Once onto Gribin the wind started to really pick up, and with it the temperature dropped - what a difference a day makes. Towards the end of Gribin things started to get interesting. I wasn't expecting the Spanish inquisition, err, I mean a scramble! If there was a path I missed it.

Did I tell you I don't like heights? I was shitting myself as I climbed. Looking down - as you do - I don't reckon you'd be feeling too food if you slipped. Finally I broke the summit and could relax a little.

From there I pootled over to Glyder Fawr before a swift 180 and back towards Glyder Fach. The route to G Fach isn't the most simple. It's not that difficult it's just that there are lots of sub-tracks tempting off piste. All good practice though and I shall make a better job in the race.

The drop down from G Fach was via the scree to the right of Bristly Ridge - that's out of bounds in the race (3000s). From the saddle the fun really began.

After following the path to Tryfan for a stretch before long it turned time to climb. With the wind whistling through the urals it was time once again for a spot of cacking it. On the very summit I thought the wind was going to do for me - but it didn't. And then it was time to drop off to the west before turning north down the steeeeeep scree slope - shortest distance to the road. Looking up from the road it looked too steep so I thought I'd try it. As it turned out wasn't that bad really.

So in today's route was just over 9km with close to 1000m of ascent - but it took me long enough! All systems go for Crib Goch tomorrow.....

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Cracking Recce

Cracking day. The sun shon like it had a point to prove. Dare I say it, it was almost too much for me but I'd applied factor 50 and had a tank full of water - not to mention some cheese sarnies for lunch. It was very nearly perfect.

The early morning drive up here went without issue other than the odd slow moving lorry or two. And as I'd made such good progress I decided to call into a cafe for breaky. A massive scone with oodles of jam and even more clotted cream -oh the waist line. Washed down with a decent cup of strong black coffee.

Anyway, I finally arrived at Llyn Ogwen and after about half an hour of kit selection I was off...

I followed the way marked path just north of the lake at the eastern end that follows Afon Lloer before reaching Ffynnon Lloer I turned west for a spot of scrambling before it becomes more of a path to Pen yr Ole Wen. I made surprisingly good time considering I really wasn't pushing. Sure I was out pacing the walkers but there wasn't any hands on legs hill climbing going on.

From there it got runnable. The uppy downy ridge run past Carnedd Fach and Dafydd was fantastic. Again I didn't flog myself. The drop from Dafydd was rough in places but runnable.

Two thirds of the way to Carnedd Llwelyn I turned west off the ridge to contour at about 950m towards Yr Elen and my cheese sarnie. Yes Yr Elen was the chosen one. I managed to pick a little extra height but overall I had a pretty good nav.

After consuming lunch and having had a little dabble on Facebook it was time to get going again. I returned back down from YE the same way I'd gone up but eventually took the path to Llwelyn.

From there I had a simple out and back section to Carnedd Gwellian and with it views of the start of the 1000s race to the northwest and northeast the end of the 3000s. Nothing of any major worry there.

Then it was back to Llwelyn and the eastern descent down past Ffynnon Llugwy and a couple miles of road running. All in a flipping successful recce. I don't feel that tired and I was much quicker than I expected considering how easy I took things. In all I took just over four hours for the 23km with 1300m of ascent. Happy with that.

It's the Glyders and Tryfan tomorrow...

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

All Set

But I've decided to travel up at first light tomorrow. It would all have been a bit busy. I'm packed though. Just took longer than I thought it would - practically moved the contents of the house into the van - doh. All that's left to do now is grab a few things out of the fridge when I head off in the morning. Tomorrow's route should only take me five, steady hours - even allowing for an extended lunch atop one of the summits - just made the cheese sarnie - I'll struggle to be out there six hours. That gives me plenty of time for the drive up. I won't be rushing - Vera doesn't do rushing.

For those with no life you'll be able to track my progress in the mountains in real time (subject to phone reception and the software working, not tried this one before) here:- One Touch Location.

Well that's it for now, all's left to do is to hit the sack early and get my head down...