A week afetr running the ultrabeast in Preseli I went back with Claire and the dogs to walk in the hills. To be honest I dont think i’d get bored of that place. Was strange in a way to walk the paths I’d run the week before and a damn sight easier. We actually ended up doing the Beast Bach 11 mile route with a bit tacked on so we could reach a rocky outcrop so a 12 mile walk in the hills on a sunny day – cant fault it. The dogs had a whale of a time plus (and this was intended) we didnt have to endure a single second of anything royal wedding related – Win Win!
I also realised yesterday Im doubly blessed – I loved running the ultra (Yes once again a week later I’m no longer saying never again and I’ve forgotten all the pain) and I loved walking up there with the dogs. I can do either happily and not miss the other. Thats lucky
Today I felt like running again, the legs have been a bit wrecked this week – monday was horrendous/hilarious depending on whether you were me or watching me. But today although they are still a little tired I could feel the spring is back and I can drive again rather than shuffle. Murph loves running – well he trots at a gentle pace, I think he’ll make a pretty good training partner.
Yesterday was Preseli Ultrabeast day. 2 years ago I ran the Beast Bach 11 mile race linky and last year I ran the Preseli Beast 24 miler linky and yesterday I completed the hat trick with the Ultrabeast. I was to be honest a little concerned about it as although training has gone well and I feel in good form, breaking a toe on a baby gate 2 weeks ago was going to make it a different proposition plus I know what the course is like – as Carwyn the organiser puts it “As if the original wasn’t hard enough for you! And if the 32mile route doesn’t grab you enough, then what about the 6,000ft of ascent it now has! Be warned this is no easy walk in the park. This is proper hardcore fell running terrain. This route really does take it to the extreme and those thinking of running this one really must be physically and mentally prepared.”
32 miles, 6000 feet of ascent (and the quad shredding descents which by the end are worse) through fell country, not much of this is run on any sort of trail and most is barely a sheep track. It had pissed down constantly during the day before and there was a lot of mud, the evil black sucky mud you only seem to get on the beacons (Preseli is the westernmost end of the Brecon beacons). There were moments when you went up to your knees in it, at one point up to the groin. You just could tell until you hit it. All part of the fun but it just sucks and sucks at your legs.
For the sake of the marshalls (who were superb as ever here – especially the one dressed as a lobster) the ultra started the same time as the 24 miler. This made pacing tricky as everyone set off around the same lick and it was hard to judge what the extra 8 miles would be like.
The option was also there around 20 miles to skip the 8 mile extra loop out into the wilds and still get a qualifying finish in the 24 miler. You make this decision at the top of the longest steepest hillside there is and apparently quite a few took it and I cant blame them. By then things were really hurting and the thought crossed my mind but not for long. Those extra 8 miles were beautiful singletrack and took us out to parts i’d not seen before including a monolithic hillfort. There were more climbs, more descents and more pain than I care to think about now but by then I had grouped with 3 other lads who were in a similar boat and were happy for me to tag along and for once I was happy for the company. Sometimes its ok to suffer in silence and sometimes misery loves company. When its not just you stepping into knee deep freezing mud for the hundredth time it makes it easier to bear.
The last peak was finally done and all that was left was a 3 or 4 mile descent on busted up everything – Sometimes its that last drop that kills. But finish I did in 7 hours which I’m well pleased with considering the toe and the terrain.
Dunno where to go next …. who cares
Anyway if you read all that you get the photos – Beauty of ultras with fuckoff big mountains is you feel better about stopping occassionally for a photo op.
So how do you do this taper thing anyway? I’m doing more milage now I have Murphy but its mainly walking at the moment. Though we did run to the beach and back earlier we’re covering at least 5 miles a day just in walks – he’s loving it, I’m loving it. Whats not to love. He’s getting better at recall too and really settling in.
He’s a bit of an early riser – As in as soon as the birds start he’s awake and that means so am I so we were at the beach by 6 this morning. However this has its advantages – We get first dibs on beach salvage and also going twice a day means I can shift more plastics off the beach.
Had a few things going on lately so only a few runs this week. At the moment it feels fine and the body can probably use the lessened milage. Its only three weeks to the Preseli Ultrabeast and in a way I feel like I peaked in the last few weeks so it’s more a case of just keeping the sharpness there. I don’t want an injury. Though I have noticed that despite not running for 3 days the fankles still hurt as normal. I guess they’re just damaged in general although the amount of time I spend on my feet at work doesnt probably help much.
Hill sprints yesterday at Cwm Nash. I never quite know how many I’ve done so I used nature to help me count. Sprint up, jog down and pick a buttercup on the way, drop it in a pile at the bottom of the climb, I think it’s 20 its kinda hard to tell. Whatever the exact it’s almost inconceivable that I can run around 20 of these, 2 or 3 used to kill me not so long ago. Plus I ran back home at pretty much full beans. Feeling good. Please body hold out a month like this :p
I was down in West Wales yesterday and as you do figured I could add an hour or two to my journey to get to the Preselis and have a bit of a practice ready for the Ultra there in May. I know most of the course and only intended on running the Beast Bach course which is around 11 miles and I was fairly sure I could navigate that. By the time I got there around half two I noticed that the clouds were covering the peaks. Ah well let’s go up and see what happens.