Well after last week’s pretty shitty week this one has been much better. I’m definitely less miserable. Thanks to everyone for your support and messages, it meant a lot.
I realised at the start of this week that I got my dates wrong, and I actually had two weeks of proper training left, and not one. Yes, that’s right, I still have another week of proper training left. Then I can begin my taper. One of my friends said to me that come taper I’d be going mad and begging to go and run for three hours. Right now I can’t see that happening, so let’s see in a couple of week hey?
This week I’ve felt less mentally exhausted and more physically exhausted. At the start of the week I’d just racked up over 50 miles last week and that took it’s toll I think. Trying to run at a decent pace for some 1km intervals on Tuesday was quite a challenge. I felt like I was just starting to run again. Legs wouldn’t go, and if they did, lungs didn’t want to play ball. Honestly, it’s like my body is rebelling and saying “nope, nope, nope, sod off Paps”.
This week though my favourite £2 training plan run so far was a Litter Pick run. 5 of us (Bev, Toby, Sue, Alex and me) had a gentle bimble around Pittville Park in Cheltenham armed with gloves, bags (and for Bev, a grabber which turned out to be a Good Choice) and an appetite to get down and dirty and rid the park of litter.
We ended up having an hour of lots of laughing, some questionable items (top finds were the used condom and a knife) and everyone’s competitive spirit soon came through. Who knew you could get so excited about seeing pieces of rubbish?!
This is no mean feat; it’s a tough challenge and one I think we all underestimated. It’s a 30-ish mile route taking in the top of all 15 mountains in Wales over 3000ft that has to be completed within 24 hours. We arrived to torrential rain. Oh YAY. 24 hours walking in torrential rain? Can’t say that appeals much. Luckily, the rain held off and up at 5am we headed off to Pen y Pass car park to head up to Snowdon via Crib Goch. If you’re not sure what this is, it’s a grade 1 scramble described as a ‘knife-edged’ arête and is the most challenging route up Snowdon. Not for the fainthearted, it’s not to be tackled in inclement weather. Luckily we had great views, hardly any wind and no rain, although the rocks were wet and slightly slippy from the rain the day before.
I’m not ashamed to admit it was a bit scary up there, mainly because I am so much more aware of the risk of injury so close to the ultramarathon now and I was just so nervous of slipping or falling.
So after doing this and a steep grassy descent where I nearly fell a few times I decided to call it a day after about 9 hours, 10 miles and 3 peaks, deciding the risk was just a bit too much. Sensible head kicked in, and what I’d done so far was all still good training and I could finish with all my limbs still intact – especially given there were many more peaks to go and more scrambling, only then it would be in the wet and dark.
Hats off to the rest of the group who ended up doing around 22 hours and 8 peaks, not quite the whole route but the conditions just became too much. It’s a beast that will be beaten, and plans are already in place to do it again next year.