Paul’s Blog – Running to Catch Up

The Sheep tracks race is long gone but was a great route tackled in that glorious weather of late February. My recce with Steve the week before paid great dividends but still saw me make one howler between Checkpoints 11 & 12 which saw me waist deep in the dreaded gorse with no path to turn to. Over two weeks on & despite wearing leggings to protect me from such an eventuality I am still easing bits of thorns out of my scarred legs. Earlier in the race I was almost in splendid isolation between CP3 & CP7, having not recced this it would have been anything but splendid had I not been running to catch up with a guy from Buckley (local knowledge & a Kean & Steve tip) & his mate. By keeping them in sight I was just able to follow them & the racing line rather than target the Gorse even earlier.

Of course it was seriously hot (in those leggings) for a fell race in February, CP15 saw me demand water from Borne’e (well he did call me Chris or some other insult) before I tackled the last major climb. From here things went well with me picking up about 5 places over the latter stages, who needs speed when you have stamina, well me of course, nothing new there!

I finished 49th out of 106 starters in 3:37:51 & was 4th O.50’s qualifier in the Welsh Champs class, could this be my first year to target a respectable Championship place? Irrespective the main thing it was a great route & race & being part of it was a late but very good call.

Moving on, last week saw me again ‘running to catch up’ after putting household duties ahead of enjoyment. I awoke on Friday morning with a grand weekly mileage total to date of absolute Zero (if you discount running into Tesco’s in Prthmadog from the car park with icy rain slicing into my face). So a plan was needed, watching the weather forecast, ‘shit more rain by 10:00, move Paul, move!’

30 minutes later I was moving in a running motion as I headed from home out towards the Mawdach for some speed spurts on the flat. The ‘speed’ word failed to inspire so as the spots of rain began to fall ‘no Paul, don’t run too far from home, U-turn at the Abbey & get back to the forest & it’s waterfalls’. Good decision, mojo levels soared & after waterfalls viewed (on the run) in spate, a drenching to boot I arrived home some 15.7 miles later, the catch up had begun.

Next day saw a repeat of my 20 miler route where I’d been accosted by Ellie a few weeks before. It was tough but part 2 of a 3 part plan had been grittily nailed despite a temporary delay due to the morning gales (well done to Craig Jones who got an excellent turn out for the Pipedream race, trainer Kean had talked me out of it, possibly for his own purposes but I won’t go there).

Sunday dawned, snow on the hills, wind & rain in Capel, part 3 of plan again delayed but after an easyish day in the café part 3 finally came, a 10 miler to Swallow Falls & around Capel. 2 Miles from home two late ‘walkers’ with two sheep dogs descended towards me, the ‘mad’ woman begun to run, held out her arms & gave me a hug & a kiss, Ellie you are forgiven your sins but what were the chances of that? Ellie & Adrian had traversed the Gylderrau from PyG braving the deep snow & fiercely cold winds, we had all clearly won. From here my erstwhile heavy legs shed their weight, I felt powerful & light, I had been ‘running to catch up’, I had caught up & I was on a high.

The previous evening Dorina & I caught up with many friends & acquaintances at the Eryri annual awards, great job done by Jennifer & Ellie. Russel Bentley’s (& kids) humorous & open presentation will be one to talk about in the coming years. I used my 20 miler as an excuse to dodge giving a summary of Bronwen Jenkinson’s achievements but did summon enough energy to pick up her award for best Overall Athlete on her behalf(3rd year in a row, now that’s a proper runner for you). Bronwen the trophy awaits you at the café but bring help, as you know, it takes a lot of carrying!

I am now tapering for the Wrexham half this Sunday, with my current high still lingering that tapering could prove hard to maintain but in Paul’s world lessons don’t need learning all the time that would be very boring & far too intelligent.

Whether it’s Moel Winion on Saturday, Wrexham HM, Park runs etc. etc. hope your plans go well this weekend & lets hope the winds abate.

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