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Better finish that report, and then can get into the final build up to SNOD chat. How many more marathons are you doing between now and then, brer?
I think I was at the Storey Arms at the foot of the central Beacons. This place is a mountain centre, not a pub, which disappointed many.
The organisers wanted us back markers to finish the course as a group. There were about eight or so of us and we more or less did this but spread out over at least half a mile.
The slog up the tourist trail to Corn Du seemed to take forever but the conditions were good with stars out. Corn Du wasn't one of our official summits and could be bypassed which the others did while I went up there, scrambling up some giant blocks which i don't remember being there before (Peak 10, 2252).
Crossing over to Pen y Fan the cloud came down and rain set in, with a cold wind (Peak 11, 2305). Some of the others waited for me kindly, or perhaps they were less sure of the navigation than I was.
Next up Cribyn which we could just about see looming up in the darkness (Peak 12, 2343). The weather started to get foul as we descended and did another hard climb up to Fan y Big. Getting to the top we couldn't find where we supposed to dib. The dibbing device wasn't on the summit and I advised the six of us or so to fan out and look for it, but don't fan out too far because we are surrounded on three sides by steep drops! The way down also looked like a steep drop, not looking much different to the others in this poor visibility.
No optiion - had to ring HQ to ask for location of the dibber. No-one there seemed to know and advised they would call back. Hanging around like this we were all getting very cold. I still only had shorts on since I had put my waterproof trousers in my drop bag. I was regretting that decision. Eventually had a call back - it was tied to a stone shelter a little bit down from the summit. OK, we scoured around and soon found the shelter. It would be pretty obvious to find in the daylight but in the dark and cloud with only about 3m visibility it wasn't particularly.
I was still talking to HQ giving a status report on the group and was the last to dib (Peak 13, 0041). I then fumbled around putting my phone back in its waterproof case and turned to descend, to find ...
... I was completely alone. No sight or sound of the others. Headtorches don't shine more than a few metres when you're in the cloud - the light just diffuses and is lost. They probably weren't all that far away but to me it was that apocalyptic feeling of being the last person alive on the planet.
Navigation became deadly serious now. There is a path off this mountain which curls around a steep drop to the north, but it was really hard to discern what was the path and what wasn't. It was head down, eyes glued to the compass, and keeping calm.
I learned a lot about myself here. This was possibly one of the most adverse situations I had ever been in in my life, and yet I was feeling confident.
After about two miles I emeged out of the cloud to see a line of head torches ahead. There they are! One of them had realised old T rex had dropped off the back of the group and was actually coming back towards me. We soon passed Peak 14 Bwlch y Ddwyallt (0157) and then had the long descent over the shoulder of Waun Rydd again, retracing our steps from many hours ago, back to the finish.
This section wasn't easy at all but in a group (that seemed to have whittled down to four) we had a great leader who knew the route well and led brilliantly without use of compass or GPS device. I thought I might as well fall in with him now. The other two were practically out of it and had got to the stage where they couldn't be bothered to do anything other than follow someone. I know that feeling but I hadn't quite got to that stage. Our 'leader' was pushing ahead hard and almost going out of sight and the other two falling back badly.
It had been my plan to make a 15th and last peak, the Waun Rydd actual summit, at this point, but it was so wet, and my shoes weren't gripping and I knew it was very boggy and pathless up there. I also felt a sense of loyalty to to the two behind not to suddenly deviate off the course but to give a lead. Whether this sense of loyalty is misplaced or not during a race I haven't yet worked out, but it was a powerful force, enough to make me leave Waun Rydd for another occasion.
Eventually got down to civilisation, crossed the Talybont Res dam in a kind of maniacal running style, possibly even shouting to myself, down the YH drive and into the finish tent where the two ROs were kindly waiting and politely clapping. I was in almost a state of collapse. It was 0318. 74th finisher. Off to the showers, washed all my kit and myself and head down in the tent soon after 0500.
There were four more finishers after me, and two more who didn't make the 24-hr cut off. There were 22 DNFs and an unknown number who dropped down to the short course at the one CP where it was permitted to do so.
A great event, but not one I'd recommend to any of you for your first ultra.
I need to be a lot faster of course, and I think I could be if I had been more rested at the start line, had had more grippy shoes, had been more mercenary about moving ahead of people I met, and not made those two mistakes in the first few hours. Kit and nutrition had worked out well.
So, I will be entering next year, when I will be looking to cover 18 or even 19 peaks over 2000' - which will involve a few miles of extension to the route - as long as I can make the 24-hour and intermediate cut offs.
I can settle down with some beverage and read the whole report TRex I need to see it all and picture the ups and downs as they happen, however it appears you had a thought-provoking time. Well done buddy
Oh, and to answer your question
Birmingham Canter, Robin Hood, Goyt Valley Striders marathon, Abingdon...and then...SNOWDON
Just a heads up re a cracking race taking place on Sunday - Ras 4 Llyn, which incorporates the Rhyd Ddu to Waunfawr section of the marathon course - great/ideal preparation therefore for the marathon. Very well organised, stunning scenery and a couple of challenging climbs (notably the one from Waunfawr back to Rhosgadfan. Entries available on the day - more details:
My first Great North Run completed. Was aiming for a sub 1.50.
The weather forecast altered my thoughts - i aimed to just plod through and just finish.
On the day , however, the weather was not as bad as i expected. Despite feeling a bit queasy after 3 miles (i think i over did it on the pre-race water) and what felt like running up a ramp for 12 miles i managed to cross the line in 1.49.02.
I didn't think i would enjoy this event- too large a field and a tougher then expected course along a motorway (my calfs are still sore) but i thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend.
Great organisation and support along the course, fabulours atmosphere amongst the runners and very polite, happy and helpful people in the Newcastle/Gateshead area.
Good workout for my dodgy calfs. Looking forward, sort of, to going out for a very slow jog later.
well done Steve! nicely inside your target time.
On the subject of dodgy calf muscles, mine are really complaining now with the increased mileage/hills. I have a foam roller which I find good, but does anyone have any favorite stretches? or any other advice? Ta
Just been out for a 5 mile recovery run in the wind and pouring rain. Loved it. Jogged through in just under 47 mins. Calfs felt good. Felt as if i could have gone on but will save something for the club run tomorrow, hills on Thursday, 5k Saturday and long hilly run on Sunday.
I use the foam roller. I am also finding heel drops on the stairs helpful.
Congratulations TRex on your news and on completing your ultra (need to be extra careful now you have granddad responsibilities ).
Brer - brilliant result again! Not wishing to take away from your achievements, but at the Yorkie I was talking to a man whose wife was doing 52 ultra's this year to celebrate her 52nd birthday She had done Hardmoors 100, so you may have met her? Anyway, it seems that her times were improving, so maybe that's the way forward for us all (says she, who struggles to get in 30 miles of running a week!).
Starting to wibble here jenf, so you're in good company Needing to up my mileage quite significantly if I'm to survive Snod. Still did a 5 mile pb on Sunday - does that count? AGTFSNOD13
Hey Team, thought I'd lost the thread...we were on page2!!
Yes SD, a 5mile PB gives you lots of anti-wibble points!
I'm just ticking along with my mileage now, and doing daily foam rollering on my calf muscles, which seems to be working.
So T Rex, how does 'the list' look?
Cougie..you'll be fine Panad, get that last 20 miler done for self confidence and you will be rocking! Off to do LDWA Birmingham Canal canter marathon tomorrow but have a cold so this one will have to be a real bimble and enjoy the checkpoints. CP 3 has cake tasting competition, yeh!
Jenf...glad to hear all is well on mojo front
So, is someone going to tell cougie that that is not THE hill? Lol!
Swansea 10k for me tomorrow as a last hurrah before Chester in a fortnight. Could do with a confidence boosting run after Lake Vyrnwy....Parkjog this morning
steve well done at gnr.
jd good luck in swansea
brer hope youve made it past the cake checkpoint that would be my race over.
i ran our clubs new 9 mile trail race today lots of steep ups and downs with a few flat sectoins to really mess with your head. finished alongside my friend in 1 hr 46. knackered now.
Hi gang, good luck tomorrow Jason, you'll storm it
Ace going Chrissi, enjoy the chill out time.
Back from my LDWA Birmingham Canal Canter marathon...had planned to do it in about 5 -6 hours to allow for checkpoints, cake tasting etc...but bumbled forward in 3hr 57 mins. Lush tea and cakes at the end..good old LDWA!
Yes, I know I'm a bit behind with the list. That's one of next week's jobs.
Where are we all staying? Who's going to be camping apart from me?
Leave me off the list Trex, I'm on a survival strategy by then
Last long run before Leicester, really comfortable 24-miler in 3:47. Pretty much even paced throughout, except the parkrun between 15-18 miles whcih was completed in 27:20. So Leicester Marathon is the target for a 'fast' marathon for me. Love to sqeak a sub-4 for the third consecutive year at Snowdonia but not fussed. Just going to have fun
I'm definitely not camping!.. big hotel for me
Crashed n burned in my 10k race today, just couldn't hold my split for a PB, but was still an ok time. Got one mega sore calf now though .
Cougie, I'm just not looking at the route, I thought it best...
Not as fast as I would have liked in Swansea 10k today, but will settle for a 9 sec PB after last week's fiasco! 93rd in 36.45
Good going FR, you can join me in the 'let's have a jolly' camp! Hve you done Leicester before?
Caravan for me in Waunfawr.
Jenf..hope calf better soon.
JD..are you still confident for your Chester smasher? You must be!
Brer- confident of 2.48-2.50, not of sub 2.45.
still going to go for it though! Better to crash and burn than think, "If only...."
Nice run, FR Best of luck with Leicester
Wow, some good running going on here this weekend TRex - don't listen to Brer - we all know her idea of 'survival strategy'
17 very warm miles for me today - what's happened to the autumn weather? This is no good for our Snod preparations Oh, and Black Boy Inn in Caerfarfon for me ...