On the 22nd of April 2023, I walked 23km across the Brecons taking in Pen Y Fan etc.
About 25 of us were in a group, and it took 6 hours with a few stops.
I decided that day I was going to run that route or run walk it as Jacob’s ladder is pretty darn steep.
Over the last few months, I have run sections of the route and walked sections of the route. I have timed the running sections breaking them down into segments.
I knew the 4 hours was possible even for this 51-year-old.
Yesterday, Saturday 26th August I had the urge to enter the pain cave. 5 months after the walk.
I was not ready on paper but I knew I was ready.
So off I went to Pen Y Fan.
I started at approx 4 pm.
From the phone box up to the right turn is actually pretty tough as a starter for 10, but then it settles and the run to the top of Pen Y fan is good. Going down Jacobs’s ladder is a ball of fun. I used the grass on the left side this time.
Then it is a good 8 km ish to the turning point, mostly downhill. The views are spectacular.
I knew the route back up to my first stop point below Fan Y Big was 37 minutes running and 48 walking. I ran back up in 38. Blooming happy with this. The gradient is slight but it is an incline. This 38 mins was after the previous 15km ish as well.
Underfoot is tough as it is all stones and cobbles and you have to switch on. No cuts this time from tripping up. That was a win.
The traverse across to the base of Jacobs ladder was decent with the horses there as well. Jacobs ladder – -well what can one say…Brutal. It is literally one foot in front of the other and head down.
I knew I could hit my 4 hours. It was going to be tight though. Running downhill on grass, mud and cobbles is never fun. But it was fun.
I walked the last hill from the stream and ran down to the start finish at the phone box. I did drop my water bottle at one point. Stopping to pick this up was fun on the quads. The brakes were not working. . . .
I could see the end and I literally had 2 minutes before my chosen cut-off.
Well – 3 hours, 59 minutes and 53 seconds… Bosh.
I was pretty blown though.
Today the recovery has been food and sleep. Although I have just managed the gym for some weights and a good 30-minute stretch, then a cold plunge for 10 mins.
I can taste the fitness coming back. For this is have the gaffer at the men’s health clinic to thank. Thanks Doc.
On that day back in April I ran in my walking boots for a good 3km. I felt alive. The memories of running the TMBT race in Borneo shouting at me. I decided then at that point I would run it in 4 hours.
With some solid effort for another few months, I could knock a lot more from that. . . However…..
The next challenge is Feb 4th 2024. My first ultra in a few years. I shall run from Brecon to Cardiff, taking in the hills of Brecon and the Taffs trail to Cardiff. It is not a silly distance, it is 70km and I feel I am going be rocking for this.
I will not be breaking any records, I no doubt will be close to the back but this is a major milestone on the journey of testing the soul again. I love the journey to these goals. I am always a bit under-excited when I finish them.
I love the journey and live the outcome on the journey and the finish line is always great but has always never been truly bouncing. Almost an anti-climax.
This time it is different. Yesterday felt like my first real test. It was great.
Wind and rain.
Seen along the way:
Plenty of people.
Sheep, the black sheep said hello again, always in roughly the same place as well.
Horses / Ponies and loads of birds soaring high in the Sky.
What an amazing 4 hours in the Brecons I had.
The best thing was I did this on my own, no race, no medal, just me testing my soul again.
Remember – No one cares. I love that fact. No one cares what you do.
So do what makes you happy. Whatever that is.