What goes up


Something different for this year as I’ve joined the WFRA (Welsh Rell Running Assocaiation) and decided to run some fell races this year. Not just the long ones I’ve already done such as Preseli but the short ones too. To see what it’s like as much as anything. i’ve never run a race less than 11 miles so I have no idea how to pace myself in races such as the one I did yesterday up in the Brecon Beacons near Llangorse. It was 3 miles and pretty much straight up and down – around 1000ft of climbing and descent.

Up and down this one – Mynydd Llangorse

As seems to be the case with races when you turn up everyone looks extremely fit and serious and in the majority of cases younger. Everyones got the kit and does stretching and stuff and looks like they know what theyre doing so instead I went and bought a coffee and sat with Murph (Everyone needs a co-pilot for map reading) in the van until the start time.

Lining up I considered my options (never plan too early it brings on self doubts) and as the start was literally stright uphill through fields at some crazy angle I decided the best plan was to go full gas until the wheels came off. I figured that 3 miles is a short run for me and it would be worth going nuts to see what happened. So off we went and to my surprise I found myself able to hang with the lead group as they charged off at some suicidal pace straight up. After a while it levelled out into a flatter climb and I found I could hang on there too.  Then came a bastard of the main climb as per the image above and I dropped back a bit as eventually the wheels started to come off and although the legs felt really good I simply couldnt get enough oxygen in to keep up full speed. This is what comes of long long training with little speedwork I guess.

Up at the top it was foggy, windy and mercifully not as steep, we hit the trig point (kudos to the marshall up there!) and started the steep and in places slippery descent.  By now I was running alone and was guessing the best lines to take (fell running allows you to pick a route in many sections) but made it down as fast as I could without blowing out my ankles. I did miss one turn slightly which cost me 20 seconds or so and 2 places but finally the line was in sight and its a joyous (yeah right) bound through the line.

Me bounding joyously through the line – Thats as joyous as I get

I didnt really have a clue what time I’d done or where I’d placed, there were the serious looking runners milling around the finish so more coffee, went to watch the presentations and then off out with Murph to give him some time.

And here’s the mad bit – when I saw the results later on their website – I was 17th in a time of 28′ 06′ – Which I’m utterly astounded by.  I had no idea how to run the race and out of 70 odd runners came in the top 20.

So what did I learn about short races – go full gas and redline it until the wheels fall off and then pray that no-one catches you on the descent.  I really enjoyed it as a change to the longer stuff, less time to think and more time to really hurt – for a shorter time.  Mynydd Ddu who organised it did a superb job and it was a great event to kick off the year, I’ll see what happenes next – Might even do some speedwork in training …. or not


Something different

I didn’t run the beach. Today was a different plan, my friends run a football club in Llantwit which is around five miles away and they were playing home so I decided a road run to go and watch and then a few pints and catch the bus home. So I packed up some clothes and crammed them into my pack so I could change there and off I set.

First time in ages I’ve run any distance on the road and I quite enjoyed the change. Luckily I have a pair of road shoes too I bought before the trails became an obsession. Nike Air Pegasus or some such thing. I’ve only run a mile in them though and the journey there caused me some pain in my left foot. I put it down to running on a different surface and new shoes.  However I managed to keep up a nice pace and had fun keeping an eye on my stride, pace and form. It’s much easier looking at such things when you’re not constantly leaping rocks and looking for the best path through trails.

The routes – yes routes as my Garmin decided to split the run into two. And why did it do this? Because when I got to the football ground there was no-one there. Not a soul. Either I was misinformed and they were playing away (most likely) or the game had been called off (a possibility with the amount of rain we’ve had lately)

So now I was getting cold pondering what to do next. I nearly headed for a nearby pub with a plan to catch the bus back but of course I decided to run straight back. The old me would have gone for this – hell the old me wouldn’t have run here anyway. So as I type this I’m proud I chose the harder path. Runnings more fun right now anyway!

The good news was that the Nikes felt fine on the way back although I did notice the impact of running on the road did aggravate my knee more and I felt my achilles starting to pull so I don’t think i’ll make longer distances on the road too much of a habit.

I was surprised to see that combined I ran around a 9.30 per mile pace. And this included getting lost on a housing estate on my way there (I must have looked a bit of an odd sight with my yellow running jacket and pack running through the estate looking confused). Hence why the route out is slightly longer than the route back!

Route out

Route back

Mainly though the route was through scenic countryside anyway as it shadows the Btistol Channel and I only took the one photo …. which now I’ve checked is as blurry as hell.

So have some archive images anyway as its saturday!


Soaks with her favourite thing – A piece of wood to chew on
Trail ends at Cwm Nash beach (spot the dog)
One of my favourite beach photos