Mega Welsh Warm Up

This week was the first week of the Easter holidays.  We’d booked into some cheap family accommodation in North Wales in the hope of a good outdoor holiday with some training in the margins.     

Week 7: 8 – 14 Apr 19
Mileage: 54.9 miles (plus 8 miles for Snowdon walking)
Ascent: 5095 m
Rest: Tue, Thu, Sat(?)
Weight: 77.6kg with clothes on when I got back home

IMG_3771After completing Snowdon via Crib Goch on Sun night I completed day 1a on Monday morning.  19 miles from the walls on Conwy Castle to Ogwen Valley with nearly 2000m of climb.  An excellent day’s training.  I set off too fast and nearly got caught out. 

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Beating Jez Bragg and Marcus Scotney (DBR record holder) over a 4 minute strava segment probably isn’t a smart way to start a 315km stage race!  The first 10k are fast.  There are a few choke points but nothing too bad.  The climb to Drum and then on to Feel Fras is soul destroying!  I didn’t carry enough energy and really suffered.  I carried a litre of water which was borderline but I might be able to make that work.  

The descent from Pen Yr Ole Wen was tricky and in my sugar deprived state I really had to focus.  I ate lots of delicious treats from the Ogwen cottage cafe (known affectionately as CP5 in our household after the GB Ultras CP from the Snowdon Ultra).  We never actually met each other there after various CP name changes and a lack of tracking or control meant we were never in the same place at the same time.  Anyway, they had had a nice day out at Conwy Castle and surrounds.

On Tuesday, I had a rest and we explored the Llyn Peninsula with help from the Wild Guide Wales.  It was a fun trip to some lesser explored areas and old haunts.  Black Rock Sands was revisited for the first time in years.  We had an amazing lunch at a local cafe in Aberdaron.  

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Wednesday, temperatures had dropped but I got up at 0530 and was at the base of Tryfan before 0630.  I wasn’t first out the car but I think I was first to the top.  The inov8s gave great grip and I felt really confident.  The ascent to the Glyders was far easier than last year – part route/part fitness? 

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Up on the plateau it was pretty harsh and I was glad I was wearing my buffalo jacket.  It was frosty and there was poor visibility.  I even used my compass!  Incredibly, I saw someone else!  I realised I was moving slowly (with the night before’s curry bubbling away) and chose to descend into the Devil’s Kitchen and the CP5 toilets before getting back to the car.  I enjoyed listening to the family that turned up, very well attired in a nice premium fast estate car; the father remarked “I think I’ve been up the gliders before…”. I thought “Mate, if your calling them the gliders you probably haven’t!”

We were out exploring south Anglesey by 1030 and went to Beaumaris and Penmon Point before buying some fresh mussels.  We satisfied the kids’ desire to visit the local climbing wall before dinner.  I had a strong fever by now and hoped to recover by the morning.

I slept okay and awoke refreshed on Thursday to news of the Brextension.  We spent the day exploring waterfalls and gorges of the Conwy Falls and Betws y Coed region.  A delicious salad (buddah) bowl in Caffi Gwynant preceded a visit to Tryfan Fach (Little Tryfan) and a quick top rope session for Andrew.  He sped up the 10m ‘diff’ route I’d very carefully and nervously soloed to set up a belay!  

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Charged up with cough drugs I went bed happy after a great day of dadventures!   

Friday dawned and after some consideration we decided on a way to allow me to explore the end of day 2.  We drove down the very narrow farm track to the day 2 support point.  From there I left the boys to explore Harlech while I headed south.  I charged up the Roman Steps beating some of the top times again.  I had a great time and think I have the descent from Rhinog Fawr nailed after trying to walk off a cliff.  There is probably a quicker route down if you are confident but following the path is safe and 80% quick.  I have to confess that from an orienteering, scrambling, mountain background I wasn’t too concerned by the terrain although I hadn’t just run 20 miles or done day 1!  We’ll see how long it takes in May.

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I finished in under 4 hours, had a lovely ice cream at the George III pub at Penmaenpool and awaited pick up.  

Saturday was meant to be a trip to Holyhead but when Andrew saw that the 9 year old at our accommodation was going up Snowdon his eyes lit up.  Gentle teasing established a change of plan was needed and the two of us set off up the Pyg Track towards snowdon.  We got up and down in good time (under 5 hours) and he was extremely pleased with his accomplishment.  It was a chilly day but the blue skies meant it was very busy.   Sadly, the cafe and shop were closed but we got down fuelled on our sandwiches and had a post walk feed in Pete’s Eats.  I could feel my legs (and feet) after the effort and would like to rest on Sunday but need the Llangollen fell race to be able to take part in the Yorkshire 3 Peaks fell race in 2 weeks’ time.  

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We woke early and drove the 90min from Anglesey to Llangollen.  Arriving early I got my number and the kids played football in the sports hall.  After a quick brief we set off at 0900 on a 17 mile route around the Llangollen hills.  It was a great route with 1000m of hills.  I started slowly, it feels wrong to walk within the first Km, and this helped me conserve energy.  I was overtaking all the way until I ran out of steam a few Km away from home.  I spectacularly face-planted descending one of the hills.  I managed to get up and continue without losing a place.  I finished in 8th in 2:21 which was a lot faster than the 2:50 I expected.  It was very runnable and fast.  I was quite tired after the week in the hills and am glad it’s over.  

Sunday to Sunday I’ve managed 70 miles including walking Snowdon. 

I saw a post from someone on FB that they were planning an 8000m week.  I had been working towards a 6000m month but actually this week (Sun to Sun) won’t be far off.

Sun 7: 8 miles/900m

Mon 8: 19 miles/2000m

Tue 9: Rest

Wed 10: 6 miles/1000m

Thu 11: Rest 

Fri 12: 12 miles/1500m

Sat 13: 8 miles/900m (walk)

Sun 14: 17 miles/1000m

Total: 70 miles/7300m

I watched a video by the Dragon’s Back Race with 4-time finisher Joe Faulkner giving some solid advice on completing the DBR.  I couldn’t agree more.  An easier week coming up and a chance to sort some admin out.

5 weeks to go…

Week Focus Race? Risks
1 – 7 Apr 19 30+ miles Easy No Last week of work
8 – 14 Apr 19 Week in Wales Llangollen Fell Race (14th) Injury
15 – 21 Apr 19 Long and easy with hills then Jk JK Orienteering 

21 – 22 Apr 19

22 – 28 Apr 19 Recovery then 2x long Three Peaks Fell Race Back to work
29 Apr – 6 May 19 GL3D last hard week! GL3D 4 – 6 May 19

One last thing and inov8 still don’t pay me, but after posting praise for the Terraultra G 260’s last week the sole came away from the upper!  Doh!  Super glued they were fine for today’s race – I might need a new pair for this Dragon thing!

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