Archive for the ‘Uncatagorized’ Category
This week has been great.
Apart from catching up with Helen at The Elephant Valley Project which is great as I haven’t seen her for over a month, I have had a week of volunteer labouring at the project, early nights, great running and some amazing elephant experiences.
I am beginning to see such a lot more of Cambodia, and lots of things that are going on here, with loads of great people and unusually interesting landscapes.
Here’s some of stuff I have found out this week:-
The Elephant Valley Project is doing incredible work
- To look after and liberate abused domestic elephants, so they can be elephants again
- Protect wild elephant population in and around the Mondulkiri
- Educate elephant owners and workers in the Mondulkiri area of Cambodia about how to look after elephants more humanely, and identifying other vulnerable elephants in captivity/labouring, and trying to get the owners to rent them long term to the project instead of working them too hard
- Supporting the local Banong tribes / villages in their struggle to have their land ownership recognised and protect it from illegal / unauthorised land grabbing and degradation through deforestation / illegal logging etc
- Provide local employment year round to local people to lessen the dependence on commercial timber extraction
- Support communities with health care where necessary to stop villagers having to sell off land to pay for medical bills
- There is loads more these guys are doing, and to come and visit this project is to support an amazing project, with a great vision.
So to this week’s running:-
4 great runs:
- A very hot and sweaty 10km, early in the morning on the streets and river bank in Phnom Penh, along the Mekong, amidst the daily workout locals on the river front – 42 min.
- A wickedly overheated 28km bash out along a very rolling ridge from the EVP (Elephant Valley Project) base camp towards Sen Monorom and out along a parallel ridge and back, 1000m ascent and boiling hot, I was near dizzy on the final few km as I underestimated my water needs and the heat/humidity – 2.5hrs.
- An Ace 15 km blast from Sen Monorom back to the EVP base camp late morning, feeling better in the heat amd finished the run off with a couple of reps on the steep steep track up from the project to the dirt road and back to work the legs. Felt really good 1hr 18min.
- A cracking 8.5km loop featuring a 500m climb out from the centre of Sen Monorom across the airstrip and out past the second lake, stiff climb u round the back of the communications towers , great views and then a cracking descent back to town before a flat blast along the airstrip (abandoned) back into town – 38min.
Shoes of choice this week and very good they were too :=
- Adidas Adizero Boston 3
Super light and feel great even in the heat, they hold no moisture and keep dry when the rest of me is drenched in sweat. I like these more every time I use them. The cushioning is great but seems minimal at first until you put them into action – supportive and firm and great on descents, where often one takes a battering, they just make me want to run quickly..
- La Sportiva Vertical K.
I love the lightness and flex of these shoes but I prefer them on steep rockier terrain; On the 28km spin out I had I felt as though I needed a bit more heel to toe drop to keep me rolling on the dirt roads. These shoes are suited ( I think to steeper single track moments). Still They did great and are lasting very well…
- Adidas Adizero XT4 Trail shoes
Great and great and great – super light and super comfy still, they hold my feet still and like the Boston’s, no matter how wet my feet get , they hold firm and the cushioning is great. Good on these dirt roads and for the forays onto the hillsides and steep stuff, they are so versatile and still feel good on tarmac. These dry super-fast and due to the artificial fibres everywhere simply refuse to fester and stink no matter how much sweat I put into them (same as the Adizero Boston’s – amazingly fresh still)
So what else have I thought about / learned this week?
- Elephants are great, and Asian elephants are just so amazing – some great moments spent in their company
- Cambodia is more humid than Uganda currently
- I am having a great time working and achieving stuff practically instead of cerebrally for a change.
- Feeling really well and fit again and I reckon I am acclimatizing to the heat fully now; living without fans and aircon is a great way of achieving this when interspersed with a lot of hard physical graft in stifling heat and humidity, whilst marching up and down steps…
- Khmer food is healthy and great tasting
- Helen is enjoying the project and working hard.
- Renting scooters for $7 per day is bonkers. A great way to see the area and Helen is a great scooter pilot. We are planning more adventures…
- Cambodian kids are crazy – watching them jump off the top of the waterfall in Sen Monorom – about 40ft…. excellent. I plan a run from the project to here for a swim one day too that should be a good 24km round trip…
- There are some great waterfalls and scenery around and about the area..
- The whole of this area is under threat from illegal logging, land theft from the Banong and due to the fact that unscrupulous government departments give land away on spurious 99yr leases to big companies that have no right to the land, rubber plantations for the Chinese, poaching and from general farming that does not take into account the traditional sustainable practices of the local Banong and other peoples of the area
- We (volunteers at the project) did a good job in overloading a Mad Max style truck under instruction from the driver, long after we would have stopped loading it ( with reclaimed timber for the EVP) – We demolished an old house to avoid cutting new timber from the forest , but only after the house had some rituals carried out to appease its spririts as the Banong are Animist in their beliefs generally). Amazingly the truck made it back to the project and the wood stayed on the truck…..
Well here I am in Uganda. A new job in a new place, and all very interesting , hectic and challenging. Every new project brings a whole set of different challenges.
Running wise the first challenge for me is that I can’t actually leave my camp to go running!! Shock horror!!
I am reduced to pounding a creaky running machine and working with some rattly weights. This is going to be interesting when I finally go on leave in late March as I am now super keen to run again, and my health feels back to robustness again….
Running for a couple of hours at a time will be a new thing again after a couple of months break…I am well excited. My red blood cell count should be back to normal now after the malaria, thats the bit that takes atime to recover apparently, hence my lack of energy for a month or two. |I am now back on it I reckon, feeling great….
My next leave, I am heading out to Cambodia to join my wife who is working on an Elephant Sanctuary, more about this in a later post. I am really excited to be mixing up looking after elephants with days out running wild and free in a totally new place, exploring and building some fitness.
So here in Uganda I am reduced to sessions on the running machines and am building up length and intensity, mixing it up a bit whilst ipod tunes stop me goinng daft. So far I am sort of enjoying the torture of the treadmill, but only managed an hour so far. It seems to require a certain mental approach that I am trying to develop.. It seems to produce fast turn over of the legs but I am sure the speed settings are wrong.. I mainly judge my eforts by heart rate. I alternate with episodes of Talk Ultra, which actually is quite a motivator, hearing of races and exploits from around the globe, plus insights into training, racing, nutrition etc…Anything to keep me sane on the treadmill.
The heat is good, its around 35 to 40 degrees c currently so time spent sweating on the treadmill is good. I am sure you get more value for effort the hotter and more humid it is….. We shall see…
My Adidas Adizero Boston3 shoes are feeling great, I really like them – good cushioning and neutral they hold my feet really firm and even when i am bogging in sweat they feel positive and there is no slippage / squelching. They are wearing well and are so light you hardly notice them on the foot, but the foremotion thing built into them and seems to make on feel whippy / fast…..
After failing on the Paddy Buckley due to rubbish weather, and then running ot oof time and weather to organise another attempt , I was keen to have a crack at this challenge. The 3000ft peaks of Wales are a classic fell walking challenge, and have actually been run in around 4hrs 20 mins, the current record… The route covers the Snowdon Massif, the Glyderau and the Carneddau and the timings are done from first summit to last summit. I chose to start on Crib Goch, with Duncan who had volunteered to have an early morning run with me, and Big Gaz Aston, who was on the filming and logistics support mission along with Molli Aston who was supporting us all with lifts, bags and more filming….
Feeling good over Garnedd Ugain ans Snowdon we passed a group raising money for Motor Neurone Disease, walking the 15×3000′ers who were in great spirits, I hope they got on OK..
Here’s a spot of video that Duncan shot of our descent through cloud breaks off the summit of Snowdon down towardfs Cwm Hetiau. The light was fantastic and legs were feeling good. There was a bit of tumbling and slipping on Cwm Hetiau but nothing severe. Its so steep, grassy and wet that its inevitable…. You have to take care particularly at the top where the small path is well hidden and quite precipitous…
At Nant Peris Duncan had to head off for family stuff , so afterstocking up on water and gels from Molli, I headed off up the long slog to the top of Elidir, basically a solid hour of power walking up a steep bog… This actually was OK and then a great run/power walk along the Glyders , where I bumped into Gaz on Glyder Fawr, where he was filming.
The descent to Tryfan down the side of Bristly ridge was fine as I kept well to the Western edge of the scree / talus, but I lost time one the ascent to the North Summit of Tryfan by breaking a trail across a fine jumble of tangly rocks.(Reminder to self to stick to paths that I know next time..)
Down the gully just to the North of the summit and death by 1500 mini steps, the descent would be fast on fresh legs – the record for this descent is around 9.5 minutes!!
The ascnet up Pen Yr Ole Wen from Ogwen Cottage is harsh but at least its the last big climb, although the Carneddau roll up and down a lot more than I remembered them, once my legs were tired….
The low travers around to Yr Elen to avoid visiting the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn twice , was difficult due to a loose and mossy rock field I had to travers due to taking the wrong line across the hillside. The terrain today seeme particularly rocky and slow going as the balls of my feet felt totally battered, so I ran where I could and hobbled otherwise. There are a few lovely sections of singletrack and some nice grass track as you move over the Carneddau.
In a rush to finish under 7 hours I pushed onto to finish in 6hours and 45 minutes and very happy with my efforts. My feet seemed to feel this all more than my legs, but as usual, once one has reached goal, the tiredness seems to be more noticeable.
The descent to the col between Drum and Foel Fras was lovely and soft underfoot, and then I followed a sheep/pony/goat track down the back of the Cwm to meet Gaz and Molli at the reservoir to walk out, after texting Helen to let her know all was well.
A great day out all told and thanks to everyone for helping out..
I had some great gear too, including thermals from Mammut and Odlo bothe awesome and so comfortable, poles by Black Diamond (superlight carbon ones) some compressport thigh and calf guards plus Salomon shorts and top, along with my Innov8 fell shoes, although I would have been happy to change into my Vertical K ( La Sportiva) at Ogwen for better cushioned feel for the Carneddau..The Salomon S-Lab 12 vest pack was great, although I am really looking forward to getting my hands on the Mammut running pack soon – Mammut always have such good products that its got to be a winner
The weeekend just gone has probably been the wettest for years around here and the amount of water falling from the sky was almost biblical in quantity! I was preparing for a drenching during the 1000m race and prepared appropriately, ready for a battle over the Carneddau, Glyder Fawr and Snowdon in amazing weather!!
As it turned out the organisers were very busy due to this unseasonally poor weather and had to re-route the race twice overnight before the event, as marshalls and competitors alike would have had a shocking time on the Carneddau particularly in the high winds and rain..Noot a place to be sitting about waiting for people to pass all day during the event!!
The other route change was that the race would not summit Glyder Fawr via the Gribin ridge.
So what indeed was the race we may ask ourselves…
Well the organisers did a great job and the revised route would follow the N. Wales Coast Path from above Abergwyngregyn, along to Gerlan and Bethesda, before descending into the Nant Ffrancon valley and heading up the cycle track and old road as far as Ogwen Cottage, then head up from there to Llyn Bochlwyd and Bwlch Tryfan before traversing across onto the old Miners Track over the shoulder of the Glyders, heading down to the Pen Y Gyryd ( again the river crossing to get to Pen Y Pass had to be abandoned) then up the road to Pen Y Pass and the PYG track to finish on Garnedd Ugain and Snowdon last of all… Not exactly all the 1000m peaks but a great route as a compromise.
It would be 32 km all told, plus the descent back onto Llanberis at the end, a further 8km.
150 people lined up to start the event and from start to finish for most of us it was absolutely banging it down with rain.
The scenery when it showed was fantastic with rivers to capacity and bursting their banks, every water course in the mountains was full and overflowing and the River Ogwen looked like the Dudh Kosi in the Himalayas!! Roads and tracks , in fact everything as awash and this must have contirbuted to the 60 people who retired from the race before the finish.
The race was fantastic, and I found that the weather added to the adventure and excitement of the event, with loads of stuff to see and plenty of water to wash ones shoes !! It was like a river climb!!
A fast start and climb up to the coat path started to split up the field and the gaps grew as the race progressed, I ran alongside Ashley Wager and Andrea Rowlands for the first part of the race to Ogwen Cottage and only just managed to keep up with them on the flatter sections. However at Ogwen, I found my form and pulled away from them , begining to pass people on the climb out of the valley as I felt better and better – all the winter runs in the rain were definitely doing the trick!
I passed a load more people on the descent to PYG as they went off course a little , and I know the track down …..
I had no idea how far ahead the leaders were but realised I was never going to catch them ( nor even thought it in the first place either to be honest).
Munching on Haribbo, dried fruit and energy gels kept me going and on the climb up the PYG track from Pen Y Pass I felt great and managed to hop and skip past a few more folks again, finally completing the race in 3hrs and 51 minutes, with a position of 9th overall, something I was well happy about for sure!! Totally surprising really!! ALso a surprise is that there were 4 other Male 40Vets and 1 male vet 50 ahead of me…
The mens race was won by Richard Roberts of Eryri Harriers fame in 3hrs 30 minutes. Andrea Rowlands also of Eryri Harriers won the womens race by 30 minutes in 4 hrs and 2 minutes a great injury comeback!! In total there were 6 Eryri runners in the top 10
In summary I loved the race and the weather and a huge thanks must go to the marshalls who looked out for everyone, runners and walkers alike during the day. How they managed to hang out in such epic conditions I will never know! They all deserve medals!
My Inov8 shoes ( Roclite’s) were great, as was my Salomon S-Lab skin set rucsac , my TNF Triumph Jacket and my Odlo Evolution Thermal top ( The cold weather version) . The Odlo Evolution Thermal really kept me cosy warm , even when drenched through with sweat and rain that had run down my neck and blown up my arms. The Triumph Jacket worked brilliantly too, with the hood and high neck closure, plus fast adjust draw cords helping me regulate my temperature brilliantly during the day. Great stuff all of it .
Well I have been busy with some work, but also busy with some running and as I write, I am preparing for Saturday’s Welsh 1000m race.
This is a classic but more about this later, first a summary of activity:-
Last week although I was in Tunis, I was firtunate to be working and staying next to the lake ( Lac de Tunis) at Les Berges Du Lac, so on a couple of evenings, I managed to have a couple of 13km blasts at about 4min 13 sec km pace, sort of a tempo / speed endurance pace for me, very hot and sweaty but great to get fresh air after days in the office, plus sunshine!!!
A return to Llanberis in time for the weekend led to a camping trip over in Nant Gwyant, and not wanting to miss an opportunity for a run in a different valley, I headed off with Duncan for a varied and brilliant little circuit of around 9km:-
Starting at the campsite by the lake it headed along the North of the lake on a great path then slate track,, hilly in places early on, as far as the botttom of the Watkin Path, then crossing the road and heading up a path from the Watkin Path car Patk, past the Plas Gwynant outdoor centre, before joining a steep tarmac road up past Byrn Bedd, before turning left on a great track, alternately rooty, boggy, grassy and with board walk, through fields and trees (the Rhododendrons were in flower) until a great descent behind the youth hostel brings one out on the road by the lake to finish. Excellent and variedd and a good hilly workout. My Sportiva Raptors (btw V12 have got these in the shop but not yet up on the website) were ace for this one, with great descending grip, and also brilliant support through the tree root section and on the tarmac.
Back over in Llanberis I fancied a good steep struggle and opted for a run down to Nant Peris then a climb up over Pen Dinas – the route of a great midweek fell race – to Y Garn, possible the harshest way up nto the hill, but strangely enjoyable. I am trying to build up my power walking speed and Pen Dinas is the place for that!! Again my Sportiva Raptors were awesome for this climb, I am testing them in as many diffferent places and footing conditions as possible. They are still a bit too stiff in the sole to be my favourite shoes, but I enjoy wearing them and they are wearing well and have a good all round grip. …
Once on Pen Dinas, then the gradient eases and the climb upto Y Garn is more run-able and after 1hr 10 mins from Llanberis I toppped out before heading off towards Elidir Fawr, Elidir Fach and descending through the quarries to the village in a total time of 2.5 hrs, a great run.
Another good run with Duncan was over Clegir, after cutting up through Cwm Y Glo, starting at the Caban in Brynrefail, then heading down through Llanberis and following the lake circuit route to finish down fachwen, a fine and speedy run, again with mixed terrain, great views, and wearing the ubiquitous La Sportiva Raptors.
The day after this myself and Duncan had a morning run up Snowdon on the Llanberis path , in the wind and rain, with thick cloud cover on top. This did however add to the sense of achievement on topping out, where Sam the Dog got in on our summit photo!! It was well cold but a good spin out on tired legs. For this run I had my TNF Hayasa’s on, and I still intend to run the Snowdon Race in these as they are awesome . The grip on the wet descent was absolutely brilliant and they felt so light and fast again (unlike myself….)
So to round the week off yesterday, I and Helen along with Huw and Ursula had a great mountain bike trip , heading up from Croesor, over to Tan y Grisiau, with some quality riding and bike carrrying, before a blast down to Maentwrog and some harsh steep tarmac to return over the tops via th Rhyd Road and a moorland road to Croesor, and only got a spot of rain or two!! Great stuff.
Next mission / adventure is planned for Saturday, The Welsh 1000m Race and I am so looking forward to this one. The legs will hurt no doubt but I am so keen to get out over the hills and this race is a nice journey across the mountains to finish on the summit of Snowdon, after 30 hard km of mountain tracks… Having missed a race or two due to work and other things, I am super psyched to enjoy this one, navigating and travelling in the hills.
So having arrived back from Kurdistan, and still feeling tired a few days later, what have I been upto?
A Snowdon run on my first afternoon back, its always hard no matter when you do it or how fit you feel. I headed up with Duncan, in my fairly well worn Salomon XA 3D runners. We missed out on the rain showers and the view of the cloud rolling up the trinity face in thick threads looked brilliant, although a bit baltic around for hanging around too long. We retraced our steps from the finger stone and did a few intervals on the descent, in preparation for the actual race. Felt pretty good and great to be back in the hills again after only 1 short interval session and some jumping about / plyometric exercise.
Had a good blast to Nant Peris and up into Dinorwic quarry via the old access path that heads up from opposite the Vaynol arms, and heads left across the fields before climbing up steps between giant slate heaps, a great path. Through the quarries and descending down through the woods I felt light and fast, and my Sportiva Raptors provided plenty of cushioning and grip, even across damp slate slabs that are usually treacherous. I ran the route as a hard Fartlek session and was suitably out of breath on the climbs and flat fast sections.
A bike ride around Snowdon via Beddgelert and a spin around the lake with Duncan, via the classic loop in reverse – up Fachwen, cut right down into the woods by the telephone box and weave along quality single track down to the quarry hospital, before crossing the fields by the lake and some speed intervals along the Lon Las Peris back to the bottom of Fachwen. The TNF Hayasa’s were as ever fantastic on this run, and just make me want to move quickly despite lacklustre heavy legs. I actually felt better by the end of the run, and fingers crossed I will be ready for the Wednesday night blast (see below)
Reckon I am still feeling the effects of work, and the Lleyn run, so day off today in advance of the Rhostryfan 10Km tomorrow. This kicks off at 1900hrs from the school there, so arrive in plenty of time for a chin wag and to sign on for the race. Its a hilly one, so it will be a challenge to get a good time. Not a PB type of course I think….. The weather should be OK, not too windy , and if it rains then it will keep things cool!
This weekend coming its the Anglesey Half Marathon and really looking forward to that one, I hope to knock a couple of minutes off my PB as its fast and flat, but you never know with these things.
Dont forget that this weekend s the Moel Eilio Race, a classic fell race too, on the Saturday, if you fancy that instead of a road race!! Its entry on the line for £5 and a bargain for such a good race.
On the 26th May, there is the Welsh Ultra, a 100km coastal path out and back run from Valley to Traeth Lligwy on the North Coast . This should be a good event, and will no doubt involve some sore legs, so looking forward to that… Not sure how long its likely to take but I could well be running into the dark. More about that later.
Well I can safely say that yesterday was a really fun, long and challenging day.
Starting at 0415hrs at Trefor and arriving at Criccieth at 1930hrs, 16.25 hours after setting off and with approx 109 km put into my legs, with 2500m ascent, I was relieved and pleased to finally finish .
The Llyn Coast Path was officially opened in 2006 but has been walked for 100’s of years, for fun and pilgrimage alike. It is such a stunning place it is hard as a runner not to feel inspired to run around it. It is geographically begging to be run around in my opinion, but I thought it was too much of a long undertaking to be practical…
The tour of the coast path was something I conceived as a project a few months back, thinking of doing it in 2 days, but having postponed the Paddy Buckley attempt due to weather and having work commitments looming I thought that there is no time like the present to have a go at the whole thing. Carpe Diem as they say….As work loomed large I wanted to make sure I could recover before travelling so in the end brought forward my attempt and with a couple of days notice, both Gareth and my wife Helen agreed to help out and support the endeavour.
Gaz turned up at 0310hrs yesterday morning ready for action and was a star throughout the day providing psychological and material (food and water) help as well as photo and film stuff that kept him well busy. Helen turned up in the early afternoon to lend motivation which was great too… A thousand thanks to them both, Gaz particularly deserves a medal of honour for effort ( both in fact need a medal for putting up with me in a state all day!!!)
So back to the running. Sitting in Trefor car park in the dark in the howling wind and rain, it was a matter of just getting out and getting moving. with the Petzl Nao Headtorch to light the way and my new La Sportiva Raptors on my feet I set off into the dark and winding my way up the first climb through the old granite quarry. Fortunately the rain had stopped but I was very aware of the looming cloud and the enormity of the route ahead so tried to maintain a steady pace.
Gareth sped off and kept meeting me in strategic places whilst I battled with route finding and the odd charging bull, as well as marvelling at the great scenery. Early on, one particular section was fantastic, and this was the path going from Nant Gwrtheyrn towards Nefyn. It was a fantastic desolate hillside with windblown scrub oaks creating a mystical quality , with the ever present sea below and the track was great if not a bit steep in places.
The whole of the North coast was fantastic, passing Porth Dinllaen, Porth Ysgaden and Porth Colmon, the swell and waves building all the way to Colmon and Porth Oer, as a back drop to lovely single track paths, sometimes muddy, sometimes grassy or rocky but always great.
Aching lower abdomen issues started pretty early on in the endeavour for me, so by the time I was at Porth Colmon and my dad met me along with Gaz ( He had brought sausage rolls, coffee and a pie – awesome!!) I was suffering. However oddly as the day went on and my legs hurt more, I seemed to run through this abdomen pain until it reduced and levelled out. I get this pain a lot but I am sure it is to do with using muscles that haven’t been used in 40 yrs plus, as I have only just been able to manage a sit up without my feet under something!! My running posture is better than it ever was and I think demands more of different muscle groups and as a result my abdominal muscles suffer.
The route along the North coast is a mixture of everything from road to mud and beach and fantastic, and the climb up from Porth Oer towards Uwchmynydd over the hills and perched above Atlantic swell cliffs and sea birds is just brilliant.
Aberdaron was a big psychological barrier broken once I reached it, having suffered about 1.5km worth of “hitting the wall” mentally, before pulling myself together, and with Big Gaz on hand with sandwiches and more coffee plus a meat pie from my Pa, I was fortified and pressed on.
My legs suffered from here on in , but I still found that on the flat I could maintain a reasonable pace and the views constantly egged me on. Hells Mouth (Porth Neigwl) was beautiful, surf rollig in and a near deserted beach with the tide out meant the running was great – around 5.5 km of flat wide beach and great underfoot.
Climbing up and over Cilan was a hard effort and I had to spend a lot of time route finding as I am sure the signs have been messed with and barbed wire put up (I have seen this a lot in the lowland areas around where I live). I was also flagging substantially here, and my brain was not fully operational, and after being rescued by Gareth and Helen who shouted directions to me across a field, I got back on track and headed towards Abersoch. A light head and a disconnected thought process in my head made me realize i had to have solid food and I flagged Gareth down for a ham and cheese butty, to supplement my gels, which really helped me pull round.
I was properly thinking of sacking it off in Abersoch and I think G and H suspected this, so they suggested a cafe stop to refuel, which was a great idea, I so needed this, and as the scotch egg and the cappucino went down I felt revitalised, and decided to focus on short goals rather than the whole picture.
H and G really helped me on over the next few hours to Criccieth, which featured some great beach running and some of the worst beach running I have come across; loose sand and gravel for about 3 km which nearly sapped my resolve.
However I could not at this stage contemplate really stopping after all the effort everyone had put in, and had to play games with my head to keep moving and motivated. It is amazing what we can ask our bodies to do for us just by will power. I was at some stages telling my self out loud “right time to run, just keep moving forwards” to make sure i didn’t grind to a stop.
Small inputs of food had noticeable effects rapidly as time went on and my body seemed to become a bit random at temperature control too, I guess the rigours of hours of moving forward cause our bodies to adjust in strange ways. I can assume that the more one does of this stuff the more the body adapts and can burn fat better / recover better . Concentrating on my running form helped me onwards too and the lightness that came from this was great and reminded me of how important a part of the equation this is – Trying to ensure one’s body works well bio mechanically is a great meditation, combined with visualisation of actually finishing the run helps towards a successful completion of one’s endeavour.
Suffice to say that by the time I was entering Criccieth, afte a particularly mind bending section of road which seemed to last forever, the final path down by a river then along the coast was wonderful, as the sun was setting, Criccieth castle looming ever larger, and G and H there to wave me in to the finish. I managed run (sloth like) up the final hill to the castle and that was me done for.
Wow!! Elation, pain, tiredness, relief and wonder kind of flowed through me all at once as I finished, and remarkably all the suffering and mental battling along the way became part of the whole fun adventure, and it all seemed like a dream. Trefor 16.25 hours previously seemed like a lifetime ago…..
A quick note on my gear for the day:-
I will review the La Sportiva Raptors later but for the moment suffice to say they were brilliant, straight out of the box, i wore them for around 5 hours and they worked great – comfort, stability and grip especially in the dark sections and also good on tarmac, I am impressed, especially as these are more substantial than shoes I am used to running in of late. I actually put them back on for the final few miles as my feet felt battered, and they were great
My TNF Hayasa’s got about 8 hours of pounding too and were brilliant on the drier South coast feeling lively light and responsive, after a burst of a few hours in my Inov8 Roclites over the Uwchmynydd section of the run.
My Salomon S-Lab Skin set bag was amazing, and felt like a second skin for the entire journey, so good and comfortable, pockets in just the right place, easy to fill water bladder and easy access zips, just amazing….
All these can be ordered through V12 by the way.
I hope to post some pictures shortly of the whole adventure courtesy of Gaz… Watch this space…
Had some great running this week despite iffy weather.
A good 2.5 hour long run over the hills and some fast stuff including a track session, using my North Face Hayasa’s. These are definitely my favourite shoe currently and are just great! over 250km run in them so far and still feeling good. I will upload some runs soon.
Monday morning and feeling pretty good after the race on Saturday.
After a very wet Friday , the cloud was down low and the wind was up on the moors above Haworth so it was always going to be quite a bleak day, despite the forecast being pretty good previously…
Tooled up in my TNF Triumph Jacket I kept warm and cosy despite hideous headwinds, although I did sweat a fair bit early on, due to my excessive gusto and pace in the early part of the day.
The Jacket has been great so far, I am really impressed, although I would sugggest for future improvements a small velcro tab coud be fitted to the hood to allow it to be tucked down out of the way when not using it. However even without the velcro, you can tuck it down into your back, and it doesnt flap about if you just leave it hanging about.When the rain is really lashing down and the hood is pulled up, then one finds it has really effective, simple and bomb proof toggle things to keep it on your head in the worst weather. This I was really impressed with, along with the peak on it to keep rain off your face more.. Excellent indeed so far..
I actually ran the event in my Inov8’s because of the potential muddy sections (of which there were plenty) but something with a little more cushioning would have perhaps been better as there is also a lot of hard pack green lane and gritstone single track. Had it been drier I would definitely have run in the TNF Hayasa as I think they would have spared my feet a bit of pounding.
Anyway as ever, setting off too quick, I soon backed off to a sensible pace after mile 4 and shortly afterwards aother local guy caught me up, Ashley Wager who is competing in the Marathon de Sables in a few weeks time. He has also completed the UTMB, an awesome non stop ultra marathon 100mile race around Mont Blanc back in 2005 in 43 hours….
We actually ran the race together for the rest of the day and chatted our way round which was great. We even went off course on the way down to Hebden Bridge and ended up running possible a couple of extra Km along the canal towpath to get back on track. Still all part of the fun…
Around the 23 mile mark our steady pace began to pay dividends and we began to pass groups here and there, especially on steep sections or long uphills. As the race wore on the sun even showed its face which was great, although the wind persisted all the way round.
The climb back from Hebden Bridge and Heptonstall to Penistone Hill above Haworth is a long battle on tired legs…
The race is brilliantly organised, but requires ones own navigation at times ( obviously mine was crap for a km or two – too busy yacking) as its unmarked. The Checkpoints are awesome and there were even doughnuts and hot dogs in at least one of them-thanks very much they were most appreciated.
At Mankinholes Youth Hostel there was even a bottle of single malt whisky should you be desperate enough..This I did not fancy, but nice thought nevertheless!!
Thanks very much to all the Keighley A&C club folks who organised it, it was the second year for me, and always a good event
We finished the event in 5hrs and 40 minutes which was 18 minutes slower than last year and 6 places worse!! However I had done 35 miles last week already before the race, so a bit of an inadequate taper to really get a better performance so I am happy with the result and it hopefully prepares me for stuff later in the year..
My legs feel pretty good today, after a 4 mile recovery run on Sunday after our return home, and as the weather is good I will head out later this afternoon for a blast on the hills .