Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Black Mountains

Ran a steady one this year alongside Rich from work.  We turned in a 3.45 which was respectable enough in view of fitness levels.  Rich got a monster heel blister.
I have a number of favourite races and this is definitely one of them.  In the past I've reccied the route a lot and have a got a few choice lines that are well rehearsed. Little things please little minds...
The fourth time of racing and my times are getting slower.  I justify this to myself with the thought that I'm getting more value out of the very reasonable entry fee. 
Also enjoyed lying about on the grass afterwards  chatting with other runners that I've got to know from races like the Cleevewold.
Got recommended to try the Llanbedr to Blaenavon race, the Blorenge and the Wrekin Wrecker - top tips. 
Here's to next year....

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Sugar Loaf expedition

We escaped for the afternoon and headed out off up the Loaf.

Reverting to type, equipped with new BIG compass I took the wrong path.

We laboured through the bracken and onto the steps to the top before running back around the side.

We hoyed some stones at a pond, counted dung beetles and found a dead shrew. 

The sound of wind through tree tops flicked a switch to another time and place.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Brecon Beacons race

Ran this race with Richard from work. The gameplan was to run the best race we could given pretty low levels of fitness.

The 19m BM course was being run clockwise this year.  We were numbers 33 and 34 - there were 35 runners in total.

All went quite well until we hauled ourselves up onto the main Fans horseshoe. The climb took quite a lot out of Rich and we eased up for a bit of a recovery.

There was a shower which was quite numbing for me in my vest. Over Corn Du and through the crowds on Pen y Fan.  Had a sit down before descending to the col and hauling back up to Cribyn.  On the diagonal ascent past Fan y Big we were slowing up a bit but enjoying the lovely sunshine and fine views.

I took a bearing before heading up through the peat hags to Waun Rydd.  Laughable how i'd managed to get lost here during the last time I'd run the race. We teamed up with some other tail enders including a Dutch couple for a bit and made our way round to Carn Pica and back down to the dam.

We weren't last, but then there could have been some retirements. ..

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Solva round

Out early on the dew sodden paths.  Over the nature reserve and through confusing complexes of farm buildings.
Past the old quarry and around to the back of Carn Pembury, a scab of rock in the heather gorse and backthorn. Then back down to the coast path before climbing again to Carn xx and over a series of more rocky outcrops. 
Past the youth hostel, its occupants outside breakfasting, and a sprint up Carn Llidi with a final scramble up to the highest point of the run. Below the tides raced and the warming landscape steamed and dried out.
An epic run six mile run back with two abortive forrays down choked footpaths. My legs were scratched painfully all over. Bonked badly on the final miles. Snuck into a garden to drink greedily from a hosepipe.
Spent the rest of the day on the beach, cooling legs in the sea.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Gilwern Hill

Fortified by pizza and with the strong incentive to get out of an overheated cottage besieged by rain, I ran out along the lanes.  The river was spating and brown, the canal was brown and soup like.

The roads became narrower and the hedgebanks lining them taller as the climb went on.  Birdsong carried through the wet air and drips patted solidly onto leathery tree leaves. 

Out on the hill was clear. Old quarries nibbed into the contours.  The comms mast looked as though it would rather be somewhere else.

I flashed the torch for the kids, but the cloud had filled up the valley. 

One of those good runs made all the better for lack of forethought.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Sugar Loaf race

Two minutes over the hour, but not a bad race overall. A great day out with Jamie, Mark and Tara.  Beer was good too.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Use your loaf

We went to recce the Sugar Loaf race, which is coming up soon.

It's a really good circuit of seven miles or so and I found it a longer than expected pull up to the top.  The descent is a steady gradient and with strong legs could be done with a fair amount of pace.

Brilliant to get a short and much needed burst of time out amongst the hills.   The panorama was expansive and the views up the Usk valley towards the Beacons were dramatic as the sun dropped below the clouds.