Today (Good Friday) dawned bright and sunny and we were looking forward to doing the Goldrush Trail at Coed y Brenin… 8.5 miles with 420 metres of ascent. But first, a lie in with hot cross buns in bed and a good book, and then some shopping!
I’ve had trouble slipping on muddy trails with my Asics trail shoes, although they’re good on firm tracks and roads, and my new Salomon Speedcross 3s are great on very wet and muddy trails, but using them on hard trails will wear the tread out fast. I’d heard that Run Coed y Brenin offered excellent advice and the opportunity to try out demo Salomon shoes before you buy, and noticed that they had a sale on, which was just too tempting!
Unfortunately, none of the sale shoes were available in our sizes. However, this might have been a blessing in disguise because they may not have been the most suitable shoes for our purposes. Having explained the sort of running we have planned and listened to the differences between all the bright, shiny shoes, we were each measured for S-Lab Wings… Of course, they were one of the most expensive options, but incredibly light and expected to do what we asked of them. We laced our bright red demo shoes, left a credit card behind the counter as security and hit the trail.
The weather was perfect for running and the trail was beautiful… undulating though the forest dappled with sunshine, rising to far reaching views across the hill and dropping to cross rivers bouncing over rocks. The terrain varied from forest roads and gravel trails to single track with sections of peaty mud and puddles, and rocks and root waiting to trip us up… The perfect test for our shoes! I fell in love with mine. They fitted like gloves and gripped well, giving me confidence to try and run faster where previously I’d have slowed.
I was thoroughly enjoying myself, managing to run up the all the hills (apart from one) without stopping… albeit at snails’ pace… and trying to keep up with John as he skipped down the technical rocky descents. Then about 1.5 miles from the end I began to struggle. We were now on forest road and I thought ‘just keep plodding’, and ‘take your time… You’re here to enjoy this’.
This worked for a while, but the hills kept coming, and my calves, hips and back were aching. This may have been because the trail was harder than we’ve done before, the route was longer, or because I had new shoes with a firmer sole than I’m used to. I’d also eaten some flapjack and drunk some electrolyte solution as part of my new tactic to keep my energy up in longer runs, and I felt a bit sick. Whatever the reason, when the mile 8 marker appeared, at the bottom of yet another hill, I’d had enough. John sped off up the hill into the distance as I stood and sulked at the bottom. I wondered how long it’d be until he missed me and, when he didn’t come back, I decided I’d better stop feeling sorry for myself and start walking
Eventually, I was relieved to see John running back towards me. Then, smiling, he passed me and continued down the hill. That did it! I felt completely useless. I couldn’t even finish the race without walking and he was doing the hill twice! With ease! Why do I even bother? I’ll never be any good at this! And when he reached me, I let him know how he’d made me feel, in no uncertain terms <blushes>.
I soon calmed down and apologised and, after another drink and piece of flapjack and a quick wash, I was smiling again.Then we returned to the shop to buy my trainers. Unfortunately, although he liked how the shoes performed, John’s didn’t fit well. We’re going to return for another run so he can try another size. We’d thoroughly recommend Run Coed y Brenin for buying trail shoes… What could be better than advice followed by try before you buy?
As for the tantrum… I knew these races wouldn’t be easy, and I’m sure that tantrum won’t be the last. But I don’t back out of challenges. I’m trying my best, knowing that, on my journey, the highs will outweigh the lows, and that on the 24th July I will reach the top of Snowdon as fast as I can.
By running Excalibur and Snowdonia Trail Half Marathon, I am hoping to raise money for Claire House Hospice and Mountain Rescue. If you would like to help me support these great charities, and motivate me through the low times when I’m training and racing, please click on the links to the charities in this paragraph. Even a pound would be appreciated. Thank you very much