I’ve had some moments of serious self doubt this week about my ability to run hilly half marathons, wondering what on earth I am doing, and why.
Firstly, we hiked the Scott Snowdonia trail half marathon route on Thursday, which proved to be tougher than I expected, even walking. As you would probably expect, the route starts off uphill, but that part wasn’t as bad as I expected and I was thinking about which bits I’d walk and which bits I’d attempt to run.
We soon left the road and a beautiful path wound steadily upwards before dropping down slightly to meet the Snowdon Ranger path, rising from the next valley. It was hard work but I kept thinking that I still have a few months before the event to improve my fitness.
After about 7.5 kilometres, the path became much steeper and rockier and the next 2.5 kilometres to the top were a hard slog. It was at this point that I began to doubt my ability to run the route. Even walking my leg muscles were screaming at me to stop, and my breathing was laboured. John reassured me by pointing out that we’d powered to the top, passing other people, and very few people will run that section in the race. The ascent was also made more difficult by the snow on the path, although the weather was otherwise good. Who knows what it will decide to do on the day! At least I won’t be carrying a huge pack with crampons, ice axe, 2 litres of water etc.
We then started back down via the Llanberis path, which unexpectedly turned out to be another worry for me. I’d expected to enjoy this part of the route. However, unlike the nice smooth trail we’d initially followed on the way up, this one was rough and rocky, and John and I talked about how it will be difficult to get into a rhythm and run it, particularly where there are steep steps and boulders, waiting to trip tired, aching legs, and with hikers and tourists getting in the way. And when we’re back in Llanberis, we’ll still have to run around the mines on the other side of the lake! Anyway… I decided to put my fears and worries aside and continue training hard. I can only do my best.
Our next run was today. I was looking forward to it. John had planned a route over Conwy mountain to Foel Lus, above Penmaenmawr, roughly following the North Wales coastal path. We’ve run and walked in this area lots of times before and love it. Today, however, I hated it at times.
We parked on the Sychnant Pass and set off. Immediately, as we ran my legs felt heavy and it seemed a battle to get up the hills, willing myself not to stop. We’d also forgotten the map and took a few wrong turns, which didn’t help my mood!
I was glad when we had some sections of downhill or flat trail and I could admire the view and enjoy the beautiful weather. However, I never managed to get into my stride, not helped by taking the wrong path again and ending up having to walk over a heather strewn mountain, getting my legs scratched and shoes and socks full of bits! We also ended up dropping right down into the valley at Capelulo and having to climb steeply all the way back up to the coastal path again. Note to selves… remember the map! Poor John had a bit of a hard time. Sorry John! xx
So it was a very slow run today. Almost 14 kilometres over 2 hours. I had wanted to do 16 kilometres but the amount of ascent we ended up doing meant the run was tougher than we’d planned, and my aching legs meant I’d had enough. I’m not sure why I found it so tough. Maybe my body was protesting because it hadn’t had enough recovery after Snowdon, not helped by half a day scrubbing the patio yesterday! Hopefully, the next run will be better. I’d like to try doing some of the Excalibur route over Moel Famau. I still have bags of determination and, hopefully, my self confidence will return soon.