Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sleepwalker 26th November 2011 - Night Run

 'strictly hard core - one for those who like a challenge. And if you do - you will love this'.

Just by its nature, I knew that it was going to be tough - running across the Brecon Beacons at night for 20 miles wasn't going to be a 'walk in the park'.
Scene just before sun down - the sky
is a nice brown and grey mix.
But what could go wrong? Well apart from turning up at the registration desk and finding out that they did not have a record of my booking, losing my contact details (do you know your mobile number??) and then finding out that 'one had to buy a map from the local shop before the run' ( as they weren't going to give any out!)....  set the run up very well I thought!  

With a momentary consideration that I was the number 1 muppet, I was assured through discussions with others that I was not alone apart from that fact that everyone else  a) seemed to be local and b) knew the area well c) had a running buddy.

Nae matter I thought, my Garmin was loaded and even after the Garmin drama of Trans Britain, I had light, legs and knowledge of how to get back on course when lost/ off course. There was a little wish that I had spent a little bit more time and care with plotting the route ..... and just hoped that I hadn't put too many 'crow flying'  legs that had no appreciation of elevation lines.

6pm - we were off .... a nice flat trot by the canal with the main body for about 400m .... things were looking promising. 401m suddenly I was looking up  ... into the racing shoes of those just in front.  The hills were here and everyone was running as though they were still by the canal. Ooops I thought!

The  torch-light of the pack quickly disappeared into the distance and I was left trying to get my night eyes.... CARROTS - I should eat more - lots more! I can't explain how difficult it is to run on an unfamiliar, uneven surface that has loose rock, puddles and mud - in massive proportions. Perhaps it would be easier if there was a moon? Instead there was rain, fog, more rain with plenty of lashings of wind. Perfect!

So, there it was, I trotted, slipped, slided and waded through the mud, puddles and streams.  9.30pm the organisers wanted to pull me off the course as the rest of the pack who were clearly 7 mile an hour in the dark runners were near to the finish.  After a little set to and rearing of my stubbornness it was agreed that I could sign a waver and carry on, under my own steam. I should say that I was only able to do this because of my experience of trotting in the Scottish hills on my own, full water bladder on my back and full safety gear in my pack. That said it is always more risky to make a fuss and carry on - because if there is any time that things will go wrong it is when you state that everything will be fine.

After a few more 'off courses' - I wracked up a few more miles beyond the expected 20 miles.  I couldn't believe it when one of the 'as the crow fly lines' happened on the blinkin hill. I went up one side ... then down the other before the Garmin told me that I was 'off course' and directed me back up the hill again. With the howling wind, steep sides (at mile 15) .... this was hard... really hard! I did it, I got to the end and I was so pleased that I carried on even if it did cost me a couple of toe nails and a pulled muscle!  A total of 2650ft elevation gain (and matched loss) .... in the dark, rain, wind and across the hills.

I don't think that I will be allowed to do it again but it was one for the record.  If nothing else, it has taught me that I need to do more night runs and get used to running with a torch.  I did improve / read the land better as the run progressed - so I just need to go out and do more.... ohhh and eat carrots... lots of carrots! ;o)))

Sunday, 20 November 2011

20/11/11 Abseiling to raise money for the Stroke Association.

Woooohoooo today I can declare that I am over my fear of heights. 6 months ago I was crawling on my hands and knees on top of a mountain but today I popped over the lip at Battersea Power Station without a second glance or hesitation.  Love it. Now I want to go higher .... much much higher ..... with much more danger... perhaps a tight rope crossing between two cliffs ;o))))) Great fun!