Well, its been 3 weekends since I ventured up Pen Y Fan for the first time and promised that I needed to come back and start raising my game. So it was with some level of trepidation as I stood lacing up my boots, checking my Bergen and water looking at the now infamous red telephone box at the storey arms outdoor centre.
The weather was significantly better than the last time, no snow or ice this time but it was time to go for an 8 mile session from the storey arms up Corn Du, across to Pen Y Fan, and down the beacons way, then do the same thing in reverse.
As usual the first part of the climb was intense, legs burning and the additional weight in the Bergen challenging the neck and back muscles, but with the iPod in I settled into a steady rhythm. The climb is a real burner and something I need to get sorted and shorten the time to complete. This time the view to Corn Du was more visible and certainly a little more imposing. By the time I got to the base my lungs were hurting, my heart rate was 5 beats off my max and the legs feeling like jelly. Still only another 6 miles to go.
Up and over Corn Du onto Pen Y Fan and it was clear there was an exercise on adding a little to the mental reality that this was going to be tough again. The views were breath-taking as usual, literally. As quick stop at the top of the fan and it was time to run down to the left of Corn Du down the Beacon Way.
For the first time on the training I felt good, passing two Soldiers on the way down who got balled out by their Sergeant for letting a civilian pass them, must have been recruits. About 50 yards further on my boot caught a stone and I stumbled then fell, luckily completing a perfect break fall and straight onto my feet without missing a beat. There was no way I was going to look a complete prat in front of the military guys. My ankle hurt and my knee hurt like hell, then I felt a warm trickle on my right knee, getting more and more wet. My heart stopped for a second and I thought here we go, training over. I put my hand down to my knee and it came up really sticky, not a good sign… I looked and breathed a sigh of relief as I realised that I had only gone and burst one of my energy gel packs on the rock during my fall, the rest of the run was going to be a little uncomfortable when that dried to the skin but other than some pain in the knee I was fine and took a warped sense of pleasure as I continued running down to the bottom the hill and prepared to turn around and do the whole thing again.
The run back was uneventful albeit probably the hardest thing I have done to date. The run from Pen Y Fan over Corn Du and then onto Storey arms in nearly impossible to run. The steep decent and the Rocky path makes the feeling under foot very unstable and you think you’ll turn your ankle over any time. One last climb back up the hill once the stream has been traversed on I crest the final ascent and back down the phone box.
Tired and achy I was pleased with my time of 21:38 per mile. Just about on 5 hour pace for the challenge coming at the end of July. Target is 5h30 or better for the 24km and if I can get up the fan every other weekend until then I may have a fighting chance.
I’m sure the legs and back will feel it tomorrow, but all in all a good day 🙂