Paul’s Blog – Excitement after a storm.

Well the wished for abating of those winds needed a bit of patience over the weekend didn’t it. Coming over the Crimea at 7:00 am on Saturday it was clear there would be trouble ahead. Clearly the rain had been lashing down through the night as the roads were the worse we’d seen them since Boxing Day 2015 & that’s saying something. Arriving at the Café it took me a minute or two just to open the car door & sprint to the protection of the café. The afon Llugwy was already in full Speight & still rising, un-like the weather we knew we were in for a quiet day, only mad dogs & rugby players go out in weather like that.

Not exactly correct, we did have a steady trickle of customers but not enough to stop me putting of the inevitable ‘I must go to see Swallow Falls’ (I have ‘form’ here from 2015 but this time made the decision to avoid the knee deep water of the back road at least in favour of the ankle deep water of the A.5). With running gear donned & camera in hand I went out into Hannah’s arms & got joyously soaked, I even smiled as the odd lunatic driver sprayed me from head to foot, in fairness a fool was getting what he was asking for!

Into the safety of the woods the trees swayed but thankfully weren’t creaking much & I soon reached my goal, camera clicked, battery died, s…, s…, s… but then un-like most un-prepared non-photographers the grey matter kicked in ‘there’s a spare battery in the case, it could even be charged?’. My plan was saved & if asked I can show you the proof of my adventure & some biblical weather in Capel.

For the first time in our history (almost 7 years to the day) we closed the café earlier than planned as we had homes to go to, apologies if anyone did try to use us after 6:00 pm, but our two & a quarter hour journey home proved the call to be a good one.

Sunday dawned brighter & saw Dorina & I head off for the Wrexham running festival. My Half Marathon was the last race underway at 10:30 so I had more time than usual to make my kit decision, wrong again, as we set of under sunny skies but an icy wind. I knew I wasn’t in condition to run a pb or anything close but as ever the red mist had by now descended so I latched onto the 1:30 pacer despite him setting a decidedly 1:27 pace, clever that!

One by one runners alongside me tailed off until with only two left it was duly my turn at about the 9K mark. Only runners will truly appreciate how (at times) the remaining 12K felt, fading energy, try to quicken but get slower, pain, ‘I’ll never make it to the end’ but this one had an extra twist of fate. Every hill on the 2nd half had a full on headwind which just added to the bloody frustration of it all.

You may ask why, well eventually, as ever, it dawned ‘I am going to make it’ & my spirits began to rise. With 4K to go I saw him, I can catch him, maybe not, yes I can, yes I did, my race was run. Shortly before the end I saw Kean’s encouraging face urging me on & moments later Dorina’s smiling ‘well done my darling’ greeted me across the line.

Lets not talk about time, well lets, 1:35:04, an annoying 4 seconds for sure but at the top end of my pre-race expectations albeit well down on a pb & my early pace. Race de-brief with Kean & Dorina in a Costa outlet, ‘it was the wind lad’ came from Kean’s mature mouth, partly true but speed work or the complete lack of it tells the true story.

As we headed off for another coffee back at Kean’s & Sandra’s we walked past the prize giving, it was cold ‘no lets back to the car Dorina’.

But (& my apologies for this, not) that’s not quite the end of the story. Monday morning saw me out in the drizzle doing an 8 mile ‘recovery’ run, as I pressed the safe button on my watch it did something new & flashed 3 medals at me. Fastest 5K, 20.19, fastest 10K, 42.05, fastest HM, all brought a smile to my weary face despite the stats being only true to the watch & not the man. But there’s more, the afternoon saw me look for the results, I’d won my age category & the sweetest bit of all was I am sure the guy I honed in on 4K out was ‘my’ runner up.

Thanks to the organiser’s for keeping the races on track, their nerves must have been on edge throughout Saturday’s visit from Hannah & for hopefully keeping my address to post me my prize, next year I promise not to walk on by, Hypothermia will hopefully be worth the risk.

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