Back up Pen Y Fan Training – Sunday 17th November

Finally after 8 weeks off without any form of training due to an ankle injury, it was good to start training and where better than on Pen Y Fan to test the old foot out.

Weather was 6’C at the bottom near Storey arms, misty but otherwise dry. Clearly a good day on the mountain because we saw to separate groups of soldiers on exercise.

I have to say I can’t believe how much fitness I have lost in the 8 weeks. It took me an hour to get to the top of Pen Y Fan compared to 50 minutes 8 weeks ago. The rowing and squats helped maintain some of the leg strength that I needed but the cardio was shocking. Very little time to get the fitness back before the 18th January when I have the last of my charity fund raising runs by taking part in the Fan Dance endurance event hosted by Avalanche Endurance. http://www.thefandancerace.com

The ground as expected was wet and the rocks slippery making the decent harder than it is usually but all in all a good 5 miles in 1h 46m. I’ll be back up there every weekend from the 8th December onwards to get the fitness levels up to do the fan dance justice.

One final area needing improvement… Hard skin on ankles. The skin has softened without use and I have the first blisters on both ankles in over twelve months of load bearing events and training, clearly need to get some training in to avoid these on the day. Blisters after 5 miles is one thing, but continuing on over another 10 miles would be just bloody painfull.

Don’t forget there is still time to sponsor me for the RMHB house based in Bristol, who provide free home from home accommodation for families of seriously ill children for the South West. I’m not greedy anything from £1 upwards would be great.

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/HaydnMann

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Pen Y Fan – 21st August

Well pretty much a month gone by since the Fan Dance so I thought its about time to venture back up the old lady. Having done a quick up and down I really wish I had come back sooner. 4 weeks off the hills can certainly be felt in the Achilles, calfs and buttocks so I’ll have to start getting back up here on a regular basis. Despite the cloud cover its was a wonderful day, not too many people, cool enough and running with our dogs. Cant get better than that 🙂

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Pen Y Fan Training

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.

red telephone

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.

corn du to pen y fanarmy trainingview from pen y fan

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.

back to storey arms

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 🙂