Monday, 23 November 2009
Snowdon 2009 - PB time!
Vince - my training partner for the HP-40. He knackered his achilles and couldn't do it or Snowdon - But he was still up there shouting me on!
Third time and 4th Marathon. Prepared on the back of a loose conversation with the mighty T-Rex'(Vegetarian?) Why do I die on Waunfawr Hill? Answer - It comes at 22 miles when you've been pushing hard?, or you haven't eaten correctly?, or you're completely psyched out?, or you ain't got the hill miles in you're legs sonny?, or...or...or? Whatever the reason all you can do is try something different the next time. So it was that I sat in the bar of a Llanberis pub indulging in some post race analysis with T'Rex and Collie Dave of the RW Snowdon forum. Mr. Rex convinced me that all I needed to do was do a couple Ultras during 09 and get the legs sorted for hills. At the time I thought I'd done enough climbing work although only short distances. So the day came with two Ultras under the belt and the miles from the long days out during the training up to them. I didn't do too much in the 4 or 5 week gap between HP-40 and Snowdon. I did however put a few track sessions in and 1 x 16m road session the week before Snowdon itself. I needed to get use to road shoes! The plan was to rely on the hill miles and distance I'd already put in up to HP-40 staying in my legs - and run Snowdon fairly rested. I traveled to the race on my own this year which allowed me to get ready at my own pace, Which in turn ensured I'd be late. The weather on the day was pretty much as it has been each time I've done it. Grim. Still, this brings with it a certain challenging atmosphere which ads to the experience. I set off steady not wanting a repeat performance of last year's disastrous start. The steady climb out of the pass was controlled. It was a relief to reach the top with breath to spare. The wind was directly behind and made running the decent side of Llanberis pass great fun - with long strides being made easy. At the bottom where you make an about turn directly into the wind the stride became shorter! I found a nice pace and stuck to it enjoying the weather and feeling good. Before I knew it I was climbing out of Beddgelert and was heading up the middle climb. The freshness had worn off by now and it was time to do some work. I wanted as much time under the belt as possible for Waunfawr Hill. Upon reaching the hill I won the first mental battle and didn't stop on the approach to the right turn that puts you on the narrow lane which takes you to the top. A few hundred yards along that lane I decided that I'd walk just the steepest crests in the road and run everything else. The trade off would be getting to the off-road section with strong enough legs to make up any lost time. The plan worked. Once I reached the off-road section I was away passing runner's who were struggling with muddy decent and foul weather. During the decent I knew I was on a PB and it was just a matter of how much by. I even found strength to push on around the back lane and then to sprint finish to nick a place or two at the line. I knocked 16 minutes off last year's time with a Marathon PB of 3hr 49min 20sec-ish which was beyond my expectations by some way. This was a great result for me and a great end to my long race season.