Well its the 2nd of April and I’ve ventured up to have a look at Pen Y Fan for the first time. All I can say is that looks are deceiving. After arriving at the Storey arms and seeing the red telephone box I knew I was at the right place. I headed straight up towards Y Gyrn on the track. Its steep but certainly worth a gentle run up to see what the legs are made of.
The stone track makes for uneven ground, not easy to keep a simple paFeet you have to watch every step for foot placement to avoid turning over your ankle. So far so good though. OK, those who have been here know I’m only around 500m into the start, BUT I feel good as James Brown once sung. At this stage I’m thinking “I’m up for this, it’s not too bad”. I continue up the hill and down the other side, cross the stream, through the gate and up towards Corn Du. The views are just starting to pan out, snow up high, grass down low, sun in the blue sky and a bit of wind hope pep things fresh.
Doesn’t look to bad so far, although the snow is more like solid ice under foot. After a bit of tabbing it’s time for a Run,TAB,Run,TAB approach as a good friend advised me over the weekend.
My heart is pumping now, time for a walk. My calves burn, lungs burn and the wind has picked up; it must be around 30-40 mph but the sun is keeping spirits high. Can’t be that bad can it?. I’ve been training for the Para’10 challenges for the last 6 months, but despite seeing the ridge line of Corn Du for a while it I finally get the the bottom of it.
You have got to be kidding !. Whilst the Para’10 challenges are bloody hard work in part due to the time and speed of the run, my legs haven’t done anything like this type of incline hill work for years. I look up and think, “right ya B*@!&%D” bring it on. The snow is no longer snow but layers and layers of melted and refrozen ice. Too hard for crampons and too slippery for any form of quick push, so gently does it. I’ll have to remember to order that pair of “Yak Trax” when I get home if I have a hope of completing this course three times as a Winter edition of the Fan Dance. I head on up, and up and up and finally crest the top of Corn Du with the view of Pen Y Fan.
I have to say it is one of THE best views I have had for a long long time and vow to come back at least once per month to start the pressure training of the legs and lungs.
I will complete the summer edition of the Fan Dance Race event within the time to get access to the winter edition. After doing this training session today I really want it.
I have to say though, I take my hat of to those competitors who have done it already, the snow and ice bring a completely new challenge to the TAB, so much harder and the cold ( If the wind is there on the day) is bitter.
No Time to waste now, I run off down the Beacons way back to the car (4.8 mile circuit) for a well-earned hot drink and back home for a nice hot shower ready for another training session on Thursday. I learn a lot on the way down. Foot placement in the snow and ice whilst running is very difficult. I have to think 5+ meters ahead all the time to make sure I can slow down to change direction or if the surface changes. The mind has to be constantly alert.
I’m completely knackered. 5 miles of a fast pace on this terrain is hard work. Harder than I’ve trained for so far. 10 weeks time I’ll be completing 15 miles over this area so I’ll need to increase the intensity and distance of my training.
Keep those donations coming if you haven’t already done so. I have two more Para’10 challenges and the Summer fan Dance ( 3x longer than todays training), all the money raised will be going to the only Charity providing free home from home accommodation for parents of critically ill Children in the South West.