As I drove across to Abergavenny, the Blorenge and Sugar Loaf were shrouded in low cloud. Oh well, I thought, I'm still doing it. By the time I got to the leisure centre the cloud had lifted and there was a glimmer of hope that the sun might make an appearance... There was also a glut of bicyclists filling the car park - I surmised that there must have been an event going down - just call me Sherlock.
Anyway, I donned my fell shoes and headed out just gone twelve. The plan - forsooth there was one - was to take it relativity hard all the way to Sugar Loaf which, from the leisure centre, is pretty much a 5k climb with 510m ascent, of varying steepness and only the merest hint of flat. It felt hard work and my heart rate was up at 170+ but it actually felt like I was going quite well - first time in a long while and the sun came out!
The second part of the plan was to keep running the Llanbedr to Blaenavon fell route in reverse until I clocked up enough outbound distance so that by the time I got back to Abergavenny leisure centre I would have covered about the same distance as if I'd run from the race start point - are you with me?
Both the race route as it reaches Abergavenny and my route today had almost identical overall ascent (880m), similar shaped climbs and 15.8km distance. Today's run was designed so as to be able to compare today's run against my times to reach Abergavenny in races past - are you still with me? I should add the plan, on the inbound section, was to try and keep up - or surpass - the racers. Which I did for the most part, catching five or six. Only the half man, half mountain goat that is the Lawsonator significantly whooped me on the climb to Sugar Loaf. The man is an unstoppable beast once he hits the mountain...
My Strava stats for today hold up against those from a bygone age (2012).... I achieved a VAM of 850 on a section of the first ascent - whatever the hell that is, but it's the highest I've recorded during the training so far. My time for the run was 1hr42 (which includes a bit of stopping to chat with a few people) holds up well against 2012s 1hr37 for the similar distance etc..
Finally, I must admit that there would have been no way I could have run the race distance of 25km today as I was tired in the last few kilometres. The comparisons, therefore, aren't entirely fair but they hint at improvement. So there is still work to do but I do feel somewhat buoyed by today's run - and let's not forget I still have two more months of training before The Comeback...
Oh, and I finished with 35 minutes on the exercise bike when I got home.