Pen Y Fan Training Update June 30th

Well, one week to go before the Para’s 10 in Colchester. I have to say I’m a little nervous. I haven’t had the time to put in as many longer distance runs over the last 6 weeks or so but the hill reps have improved :-).

Three weeks to go before my first Summer Fan dance event and booked the hog roast after. if nothing else pushes me along it will be to get back in time before all the other hungry buggers eat my portion of pork.

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The weather up Pen Y Fan today  was the usual changeable story. Left home at 18’C sunshine, arrive at the Storey arms an hour later and its 13.5’C and covered in low cloud and wind about 20mph. Very few people on this side of the hill so it left you with a slightly isolated feeling but also one of me and the elements. Very different to the lovely sunshine two weeks ago this week visibility at for the first hour was down to about 100yds.

The good thing though with the wind was the body regulated itself well. Still pushing out an enormous amount of heat but cooled by the wind and moisture from the cloud. I had to remind myself a few time though that despite the weather I would still be sweating loads and needed to take some water onboard.

I have to say the climb up Corn Du and Pen Y Fan doesn’t get any easier the more I do it. It gets slightly quicker ( a whole minute quicker this week ) but doesn’t feel you full of the flat running joy of having an easier 10k run then go out and walk the dog after as if I hadn’t been out training at all.

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View of Corn Du

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Cloud blowing across path at the base of Jacobs ladder

Heading Down Jacob’s ladder was full of its usual hazards. With the ground getting hards the rocks are looser under foot and made for under foot instability. I decided to go to the right of the track to run down until after a couple of near misses with rabbit holes and water gullies covered with heather i decided to cut back on the track. With no give on the track it certainly makes for uncomfortable feed on the run. The arches get a real pounding and you had to really pick you feet up to avoid going over ( which I did for the second time in three training sessions on hill ).

Roman road isn’t much better but with the slight decline over the next 3 miles I was able to get into a steady jog ( if you call it that, I guess it was more a shuffle) but I made time up, although I occasionally had to get out of the way of mountain bikers who were deciding to hog their position coming up the track avoid the same protruding rocks that I was also desperately trying to avoid. I see them doing that when theres as few hundred of us in three weeks time :-).

I ran down past the woods, and through the gate for another mile to the car park, turned around and did the whole thing in Reverse. The most painful bit it on Jacob’s ladder on the way up. Every time you go up that incline it hurts. Legs, back, lower abs and lungs are screaming at you by the time you are half way up, let alone the near vertical block shaped rocks that feel as if you are taking five stairs at a time. Once you crest the top its exhilarating in the knowledge that the next 256 minutes or so is down hill. The legs still hurt, the lungs still shout but its the homeward stretch and you know there are no more inclines to complete today.

All in all a good session. Very happy with the result. 12.5 miles completed at an average pace of 18m 35s. a full minute and a half quicker than 6 weeks ago.

A few more pictures of today below for enjoyment. Next instalment after the Para’s 10 then you’ll have to wait two weeks until the summer edition of the Fan Dance is complete.

View back to Crybin and Pen Y fan

View back to Crybin and Pen Y fan

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View along track from Car park heading back to Pen Y Fan

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Last incline up the trail to the car park before turing around and heading back

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Pen Y Fan Training 2nd June 2013

Well back up Pen Y Fan again this week. Target was 2 miles further ( 10 miles in all) full kit and back pack and between 19 and 20 minutes.

The route would follow more of the Fan Dance test heading down to the right of Pen Y Fan but this week heading up Fan Y Big. Then continuing down to pick up the stone track around the reservoir. Hit 5 Miles then turn around and return back to the Storey Arms car  park.

When we started at 9am, the top of Corn Du was in the clouds and just about holding 11’C. After the first 20 minutes past the cloud rolled over and we were met with glorious sunshine with intermittent cloud cover.  I hit Pen Y Fan at 50m12s. Not the fasted climb but a full minute quicker than two weeks ago.

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It didn’t take long to see that the decent off Pen Y Fan and up-to Fan Y big wasn’t going to be easy. The stone path is very uneven easily lending itself to causing a severely twisted ankle at best. It was impossible to get any steam up going down and the quads had to did in to keep pulling the rate of decent back. It felt good though seeing around 40 troops on exercise all sweating and looking bloody knackered. All their faces were set with grim determination and an expression of why the hell am I having to do this, it hurst like hell.

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At the fork in the path at the bottom we turned left up Fan Y Big. What a bitch she is. Having gone the hard way up Corn Du, cracked on up Pen Y Fan I thought we would have a little easier route, but no…this was as much a leg sapping section as I felt on the other two.  When the summit was reached the stone path I was looking for seemed a long was off, so headed on down and passed a few straggling troops and a pissed off looking PTI, who smiled at me and said “Its good to see someone digging in and gritting their bloody teeth”. It made me smile but felt a a real empathy for the troops that came past, they looked like they had already done twice my distance and for a number of days, that said they were not a 46 year old asthmatic.

I carried on along the stone path for about 1.3 miles until at my relief the watch showed 5.0 miles covered. Quick water stop, turn around and head back on up.

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Then the reality of what I had chosen do do on a lovely sunny Sunday hit me as I stared up to Pen Y Fan from the base of Jacobs ladder. This looked relatively easy on the way down, but on the way up !.

After a horribly painful climb up Jacobs ladder I crested over the top onto Pen Y Fan, a physical wreck. I needed a few decent lung full’s of air to slow the heart rate down before heading down the left hand side of Corn du. My legs were jelly, no energy left in them at all, only 2 miles to run down to the car park and another half mile to the storey arms car park.

I arrived back at the car with nothing left in the tank 20 minutes and 0 seconds per mile, absolutely no energy left. Mind you the Mr Whippy ice cream once again revived me with a milky tea and two sugars. And before you say it, I’m not bloody sunbathing, I absolutely trashed, need some recovery before driving an hour or so to get home.

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Only a week or two before I come again for another injection of pain but again add another 1 to 2 miles and keep it under 20 minutes a mile. Still 5 miles at least to add before I get to the prerequisite  15 miles minimum.