We are not too far away from a couple of big running events. In training for the 3 Peaks Challenge and the Ultraks Matterhorn 30k Run in August. It is coming up on us like a snake in the grass and we are feeling underprepared. A training weekend was needed.
James found a few hills in Wales, the Brecon Beacons and together with Becky booked accommodation. Tom and Lex organised a van. We just came along for the ride.
We didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves in for leaving early on a Sunday morning. Turned out the Brecon Beacons was actually more of a mountain range. In terms of training, several army soldiers died there in 2013 from heat exhaustion in a training run. To add to that, two separate incidents of lightning strikes the week before, one pair unfortunately dying. Not the kind of news to look forward to.
Coming into the valleys we found the conditions had packed in quite a bit. On the ascent, the mist developing into a thick cold haze. The peak of the climb was Pen y Fan and the view was decent, despite little visibility; would be good to come on a clear day. Descending down the other side and back up the other side of the horseshoe we could really feel the lungs heaving and legs aching, feeling muscles that are usually in reserve for the biggest challenges.
On descent back to our small backpackers in Bwlch (a Welsh name with no consonants) we settled into a doze. The pub attached was great value. A stag party threatened to get into the swing of things, but failed to build up much steam. We were probably the most rowdy of the place, asking for the bartender to turn up the volume. A few pints and a massive feed of beef pies and fish and chips weighed us down and we were out pretty quick.
Another run from the backpackers was begrudgingly started by some, with the muscles still stiff and sore. James the drill instructor timekeeper would only be happy if we did an hour return of running (no walking included). Running up to the closest trig we saw a few “badgers” that turned out to be sheep with black and white markings hiding in the ferns.
Another run done and even more sore than before, with Tom in control of the van we set off back to London, in time to catch the Wimbledon final. Comparing the weekend runs to the runs we were about to attempt was some shock, but in all we still felt somewhat a bit more relaxed and hopefully fitter than the week before…