Tag Archives: Trail Marathon Wales

Post Ultra Blues


Its been a couple of weeks since my weekend of ‘running’ and I still don’t feel fully recovered from it. I ran to work on the 28th May after taking the whole of the previous week off and still felt sluggish and just seemed to tire really quickly. I managed to cycle to and from work the following day and cycled again yesterday but my legs are just not in it.

With the Trail Half Marathon Wales fast approaching I need to get a few runs in just to make sure I don’t fall in a heap on race day, I am not going to be flying around the course but it would be nice not to be last.

Plans are forming in my head about what I would like to do in 2015, I have a score to settle with a certain 100 mile race and some other ultra distance events I would like to do as well.

For now I am going to enjoy the THMW in a couple of weeks and start formulating a proper training plan.

Oh, and I have a new theme for my website which I hope you like (Mobile devices might just show the standard mobile theme)

 

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Race Review: Trail Marathon Wales 2013


This was a race which wasn’t a race, I was going into this one having not run more than 4 miles in the last six weeks due to spraining my ankle at the beginning of May.

Set in Coed Y Brenin Forest Park it is one of the most spectacular runs I have done, hence why this is my second year participating.

A Google Earth Image giving an idea of the terrain
A Google Earth Image giving an idea of the terrain
The route from above with the hill profile
The route from above with the hill profile
Another take on the hill profile along with my pacing
Another take on the hill profile along with my pacing

Last year when I took part it was my first official marathon and I wanted to do my best, setting (a then) PB for a marathon distance race. Although I didn’t blaze along last year I did push myself as best I could, missing much of the views due to my head being down and me focusing on the next step and I knew that this year would be different.

This year was about getting round the course, using the opportunity to get back running, testing some kit and mentally checking if the NDW100 is still on the cards.

Waking up on the Saturday morning (we had stayed locally at the same place as last year, Heulwen Guest House which is a fantastic place to stay by the way) the forecast was for rain, not just drizzle but full on heavy rain.  This didn’t bother me a great deal as I was basically equipped for an Ultra so had everything I could need for any weather conditions.

Kit ready for the morning
Kit ready for the morning

The reason I had so much stuff was because not being able to run at any great pace I took the decision to treat the marathon as a training run, enjoying the views and experience as much as possible. With this in my head, it made the fact that I would struggle on the uneven terrain easier to deal with.

At the start line I was full of anticipation, Gareth had just left as he wasn’t due to start the half for another 30 minutes or so. With a gunshot the run started.

The runners gather for the start
The runners gather for the start

The first couple of miles is a gradual uphill so there is no real time to warm up and ease your legs into it, I have to say I felt this. My legs were tight and my ankle was letting me know it still wasn’t fully healed, happily though things level out (as much as they can) from 2-4 miles until the first big climb.

At mile 4 there is a climb, starting at about 800ft elevation and peaking a couple of miles later at 1,160ft. As this was the first proper walking hill (for me anyway) this was a good test of how cycling has helped, as ascending I felt strong and passed other people who were feeling the gradient. This changed as soon as we hit the descent and I realised the real impact of my injury, I couldn’t run steep downhills at all.

And now we go downhill
And now we go downhill

Mile 6 to about mile 7 you lose the height gained and quickly have another climb just before  mile 8. Climbing back up to about 1,120ft from mile 8 to 10 it’s all downhill, ending up at 480ft elevation and straight into another climb to get back all that hight over the next 4 miles, peaking at around 1,345ft.

Heading on up into the trees
Heading on up into the trees

The trend continued, feeling strong on the hills and gaining places back only to lose them on the downhills, particularly the technical trails. I would give way to people coming down and let them pass as I knew that I would just hold them up and I didn’t want to ruin anyones race.

Can't argue with the views, my Camera doesn't do it justice
Can’t argue with the views, my Camera doesn’t do it justice

I have to say that from about mile 14 onwards I was starting to get very tired and the thought did pop into my head saying “You should have dropped to the half” but I was here now so had to plod on (didn’t want to prove Gareth right anyway!)

This is pretty steep, both the marathon runners and half marathon runners had to tackle this beast
This is pretty steep, both the marathon runners and half marathon runners had to tackle this beast

I eventually crossed the line in 05:53:05 which is 30 minutes slower than last year (albeit the route is different) but I have to say overall I enjoyed it a lot more, partially because it meant more to actually finish but also I just enjoyed myself. Yes it was hard and more training prior to the run would have made it a bit more comfortable towards the end but I stopped to take photos when I wanted, took in the views and chatted to other runners and overall just absorbed the experience a whole lot more.

Just stopping to take a photo and absorb the beauty of the surroundings
Just stopping to take a photo and absorb the beauty of the surroundings
Another shot of the surroundings
Another shot of the surroundings
Should I sign up for this race?

If you are reading this and asking this question then I can whole heartedly say “yes you should”, be it the half or the full marathon you need to have done this at least once, the views alone make it worth it.

The organisation is very good, aid stations well stocked, marshalls encouraging and to top it off the goody bag is really good as well (Salomon Trail Access socks, T-Shirt, Magazine, Energy Bar, plus a water bottle at the end and an awesome finishers coaster).

The welcome sight of the aid station, gels, water, isotonic drink and jelly babies are the order of the day
The welcome sight of the aid station, gels, water, Isotonic drink and jelly babies are the order of the day

Matt Ward and his team have put on another fantastic event which I can only see getting better and better, the dates for 2014 are already out and we have already emailed Heulwen Guest House to book our accomodation, that’s how much I love this event!

Me plodding along. Photo taken by sportspicturescymru
Me plodding along. Photo taken by sportspicturescymru
Links

www.trailmarathonwales.com

www.sportpicturescymru.co.uk

www.forestry.gov.uk/coedybrenin

www.heulwen.co.uk

garethdaviespt.com/2013/06/24/trail-marathon-wales-2013

2 days to go….Trail Marathon Wales


With 2 days to go, I am hopeful. My ankle has been steadily improving and although it is probably a bit silly to run a marathon I need to do it, I need to know that I can still run a reasonable distance if I am going to keep with the planned 100 in August.

We are heading up tomorrow morning so packing has started tonight and the picture below may look like a bit overkill (I hope I don’t end up needing a compass!) but the plan for this marathon is to run it Ultra Equipped, in fact the only thing I don’t have with me is the headtorch, back up light and maps.

Getting my kit ready for the Trail Marathon Wales
Getting my kit ready for the Trail Marathon Wales

The place we are staying has WiFi if I remember correctly so hopefully I will be able to upload some pictures that night. The forecast is for heavy rain so my new Montane jacket is going to get a thorough test.

Another Run Last Night


Continuing from my semi successful run last week I added a further run to my continued rehab this week, running Wednesday evening. It was only 2.3 miles but the terrain wasn’t straightforward road, it was across a “cycle” path which is in a pretty poor state of repair so in some places had a distinct hard packed trail feel to it.

What I gained from this run was the knowledge that I am not 100% recovered but it is getting there, I did get some soreness in the ankle which eased off uphill and worsened on the decent but it wasn’t an acute pain, just an overall ache. I also noticed my right calf getting tight which is possibly me compensating for the left ankle and landing a bit heaver on the right side, not sure though I will need to monitor that. 

A Marathon in just over a week! Probably not the most sensible things to do, but I am not going to have another DNS (even if it does mean a DNF instead). On the plus side I am hoping to get a load of photos and really take in the views on the Trail Marathon Wales, it’s all about enjoying it this year and as long as I get to mile 21 under the cut off (5 ½ hours I think) I am happy, I could finish last and it genuinely wouldn’t bother me.