A running roller coaster

On Friday, John and I were aching after a weights session… the sort of aching that means you crawl up the stairs and struggle to sit on the toilet! As I sat on the train back from working in Manchester, I was tired and really hoped he wouldn’t reply to my text about meeting me to run, so I could bail out and go home. However, just as I arrived in Prestatyn, he said he’d be there.

We had a 14.5k run planned, along the Offa’s Dyke footpath to Rhuallt and back through Cwm forest and Dyserth. We decided to take it steadily, and hoped our tight, sore muscles would loosen. Climbing over the stiles was particularly painful! Who knew there were so many along Offa’s Dyke?!

I was glad we’d made the effort though. The run went well, if a little slower than we’d expect for the amount of ascent (about 400m). The route was great, with the majority off road, and the views were far reaching. It did start to rain when we were halfway, but not too heavily and it was quite refreshing.

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Our next run was on Sunday… after a late night out in Liverpool with friends, and more gin than I intended! Thankfully, because we drank slowly over a long period, we didn’t have hangovers. Unlike Friday, I was really looking forward to this run, particularly as the weather was sunny but cold. Perfect for running!

Unfortunately, it turned out to be a struggle for both of us. As well as still having very achy legs, John’s new trainers made his toe sore and, as we got further, every step became painful. I think tiredness and dehydration affected me, and unfortunately we didn’t carry enough water and couldn’t find anywhere to fill up our bottle en route.

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We were following the Sandstone Trail and returning on the Delamere Way, but the waymarkers were hit and miss and we had to keep stopping to get the map out. Also, some sections of the route were very muddy and slippery, particularly where they were churned up by horses and cyclists, slowing our progress and stopping us getting into a rhythm. Then, to top it all off, towards the end of the run, I tripped on a tree root and face planted! Luckily I wasn’t really hurt and to John’s relief, I laughed it off. I was relieved that I didn’t land on the barbed wire fence or in a patch of sticky, smelly mud, and that nobody witnessed my dented pride!

In spite of all the problems, we did it. We successfully completed another training run and made progress with our plan, which will end with the Snowdonia trail half marathon. In spite of finding it tough, it was good to be out in the fresh air, exploring lovely scenery, and to have the sense of achievement for completing what we set out to do. The long, hot bath afterwards felt good too!

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As I came to add some photos to this blog, I realised that I haven’t written about our Moel Famau run. This was a high point after my previous blog, Self doubt, in which I was doubting my ability to run a half marathon as difficult as Snowdon. The Moel Famau run was a recce of the Excalibur half marathon, which we’re doing in May, and it went really well.

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We didn’t run the whole half marathon route, but we were only 3k (and a big hill!) short. It was the longest and highest run we’ve done so far but I enjoyed it. I was tired at the end, and my legs were like jelly, but I was buzzing for hours afterwards! What a difference from my struggle the previous Sunday. The message for myself appears to be not to get disheartened after a after a tough run… the next run might be great. Or maybe it’s that I shouldn’t run on Sundays because runs on other days of the week seem to go better 😉

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

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