Paul’s Blog – 04/10/16

Another blink, another month & a busy one be it work or play ahead so briefer blog than normal you’ll be delighted to hear.

Firstly Thanks to everyone involved with Porthmadog’s trailfest the weekend before last & particularly to Sian & Dyfi the race organisers. Despite a shocking forecast the sun mostly shone & the wind stayed at bay at least until we reached the finish along the cob (almost blown onto the road by the sidewind). My hopes of winning the O.50’s were dashed by a combination of poor training & superior runners. The training was a stupidly fast 10 miler just 36 hours before race day (I had one/two eyes on the Chester Marathon), less than a mile in to Trailfest I knew my legs didn’t have it & it would be a long hard trail ahead. The superior runners were Emlyn Roberts my nemesis from Keswick & category winner Mark Liptrot who I wouldn’t have been anywhere close to even on a good day! My time, 6 minutes down on last year was still good enough for 3rd in category, great course so still very pleased to have entered it just a few days earlier.

Last Thursday saw more excited nerves as Kean & I were used as Guinea Pigs by an aspirant IML prior to her forthcoming assessment on what turned out to be a great days scramble on Tryfan. It’s the first time I’ve been up the Pinnacle scramble on it’s Eastern face but what a Grade 3+ route it was. My ‘Skye’ approach shoes again worked well (aka La Sportiva’s) as we moved slowly together practicing the leaders techniques thoroughly. The funniest moment was when she got her boot well & truly stuck in a crack, even removing her foot didn’t help release it, so eventually Kean stepped up to use his builders muscle. With an increasing sense of panic (thought process no doubt was I can’t let Hodges have the chance of succeeding if I fail) written over his forced grin he eventually freed the boot, we laughed a sigh of relief & moved on. Topping out at Adam & Eve followed by a ‘new’ Grade 1 scramble decent, again close roped for practice, put the icing on our cake. Hopefully we helped towards a successful assessment, if she can get an old timer & a young 50 year old (Kean & me respectively for those in any doubt) up & down Tryfan without injury surely she’ll pass an easier test! Thank you nameless aspirant for a great day.

Sunday saw me heading to that little marathon in Chester. I knew I was poorly trained, almost didn’t show but under clear & cool skies was glad I did. Ever the idiot I decided not to simply use it as training for a sub 3 hour time at some point in my imaginary future & simply went for broke. Twelve more-or-less 7 minute miles later I was going well, broke stride to grab a drink before the next stride broke me. Suddenly the guy I’d been running with edged away, reality struck, splits went up, this was going to be a very long 14 mile ‘run-in’. The thought processes alone, when you are suffering are long, deep & almost unbearable but now I can look back with pride, somehow I kept running. Top 250 out of almost 2,500 was not bad & given my poor prep 6 minutes outside my pb was a fair reward for the one strength I had on the day, mind over matter.

This weekend sees the return of the Trefriw Mill race, good luck to all taking part, Doug Scott’s presentation will be my excuse for not joining you although in truth my ‘tarmac tightened calves’ would kill me if I reached for my running shoes anytime soon.

Hard to believe Doug’s presentation is now upon us, very excited & a little nervous, now where have I felt those emotions before?

Did I say brief? Now where are those running shoes you idiot?

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