Dec 2005

Wales and some more hill running

I went down to Wales for a few days to visit my very good friend Kate the weekend before last and had a wicked time. She was at work on Friday which gave me a chance to get out on the bike. Unfortunately, Thursday night saw a dump of snow that was heavy enough to prevent me getting anywhere other than Penmachno, a purpose built 22km loop. It was a warm day so, although there was fair bit of snow, it was melting and the views were great but the trails managed the remarkable task of being like Glentress red but even more boring. In the evening we went to a Chinese for a meal with some of Kate’s pals who all seemed pretty cool. Much cooler than me: being the food hoover that I am, I managed to eat something with nuts in it which made me go home and feel ill for a few hours – boo.

Kate and me on Llandudno pier

Saturday and Sunday we hung about, drove round Snowdonia, looked at cool castles, watched the whole of Family Guy season one in one sitting, drank wine and ate nice food. Ace. Kate’s posh new house made me quite jealous though.

Kate was back to work on Monday and I managed to sneak a run in before my train back up north. Snowdon lived up to its name, but was still do-able in running gear despite pish visibility and me not having a map… Got some pretty strange looks from ice-axe and crampon equiped hill-walkers on the summit and then met another runner, as surprised to see me as I was to see him, who turned out to be a local policeman and general nice guy called Tom. If you’re going to get into crime, probably don’t do it in Wales – they have police hill-running teams and races down there! He was going back via a different, slightly longer route (we both came up the Llanberis path – but hadn’t seen each other!), so I decided to join him. Running downhill on snow was a pleasure and Tom gave me some useful hill running advice. Tom got a couple of cracking looking photos on the way down, which I’m hoping he’ll e-mail me. I got back to the car feeling pretty fresh, although it was a fairly relaxed pace. Guess not drinking vodka and Red Bull until 3am the night before (like the last time I went hill running) really does help.

Last weekend, Mike Tweedley and I went running up Schiehallion. The surprisingly steep ascent was over pretty quick. There was the expected snow and mist at the top, which made running over the jagged rocks of the summit ridge a hit and miss broken ankle affair, so we didn’t. Then we dropped down the (steep) back side of the ridge aiming for the summit of Geal Charn. After ages of squelching through bog in the mist we gave up, declared the map “pish” (although I’m sure we were to blame) and headed into Gleann Mor for the tough heathery run back to the car. Hard work, much harder than the 15km suggests, and not a recommended run, but we learned a fair bit and I’m super-psyched for some more running in the mountains. I really want to do some longer runs, but I don’t think this is the time of year to start pushing myself like that.

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