Where did the time go?

My last blog was April 28th. Time seemed to do a Stephen Hawking stretchy, shrinky disappearing thing.

So, I meant to do a quick update on two things:

  1. Snowdonia Half, I finished 34th. I’m really pleased with that. Nice to know that I can run shorter distances at a reasonable pace. Also the sense of achievement has been a really good motivator for me.
  2. 2013 miles in 2013 April mileage got me another 382km, so switching into miles, at the end of April I’ve logged 930 miles. This puts me 259 miles ahead of schedule.

The May Massive on Strava started well, but I lost 4 days round the Tryweryn Festival so have slipped out of the top runners for mileage. I hope I’ll get that back a little way at least.

I heard that I didn’t make it into the TORQ Trail Team. Yes, I’m disappointed, but at least it means I’m in the UK for Trail Marathon Wales. So properly bittersweet. Running in Chamonix would have been brilliant, but I really like running in Coed y Brenin too.

GoPro on Go Pole for trail running
GoPro on Go Pole for trail running

I’d been hoping to get out and shoot some more footage in Coed y Brenin, play with some new angles and generally have another go of making a shorter, snappier video of trail running in the forest. 

I’d been playing around with a pole for the GoPro for a while and thought I might be able to get some interesting angles with it. It seems weird to set the camera up, upside down, but the results are pretty reasonable. I don’t think I can do away with a tripod completely, it’s a quick substitute  but there is some camera movement I don’t like. The best set up I can get is like this.

I was lucky enough to be joined by Arfon Hughes and Alex Lanz from Meirionnydd Running Club. This was great as it meant that I could slog round behind the guys, and get the footage rather than running twice as far, setting, filming, and then collecting the gear.

Arfon running in Coed y Brenin
Arfon running in Coed y Brenin

Both Alex and Arfon had been racing the day before. Alex had collected two medals, one Silver and one Gold and when we were filming he wasn’t quite sure what they were for. Turns out that one of them was where he had just won the title of Welsh Junior Trail Running Champion (U20). Alex has a really inspirational personality and his running style is effortless. It was a real pleasure to spend some time running with these guys, and a real honour to spend some time with an athlete who will no doubt collect more and more metalware as his running progresses.

Arfon is clearly passionate about the environment and his running. There is a lot of work that he puts into the running club, and as he also Wardens a big area of the Berwyn for Natural Resources Wales, he knows his onions (amongst other things) about the flora and fauna in the area.

So the video is beneath, it is shorter than the one I made before, I definitely want to get out onto some open trails in sunshine as I think the footage would be spectacular. I won’t leave the next update so long next time!

Trail Running in Coed y Brenin from Ashley Charlwood on Vimeo.

Best foot forward

March has been a bit of a weird month, lots of positives, a few disappointments, some good achievements and some hope for the future.

I started slowly with running in March, I was keen to check my leg was completely healed. Apart from a tight calf (the other one) all is good and I managed to get a couple of longer runs in and although my running fitness has fallen off a bit, I can still get some miles under my belt with no discomfort.

I received an email in the last week, inviting me to assessment on the 13th April to joing the TORQ Trail Running Team. I’m a realist, I’m no elite athlete and I suspect my chances of getting a supported place on the team is relatively minimal. However, I think just going along will teach me lots. Although the chances are small, there is a chance and so I’m off to Church Stretton to run in a new place, meet some new people and learn lots. With some sessions being taken by Stuart Mills, there is some serious expertise on offer. Stuart has a great blog – UltraStu, definitely worth a nose around!

I had my first ever sports massage. I’d had a nagging worry about my calves and wanted to get them rubbed down. I headed up to Plas y Brenin for a session with Bodhi Movement. First up, an induction of all the things I’ve broken, when and what I was doing training wise, and an assessment of how I plant my feet from my trainers. Then it was some elbow needling tight bits, but generally ok. A few tight spots on my right leg, but it seems stretching, foam rollering and wobble boarding are doing some good things. I’ll go back for another session to try and get my legs free of knots (though I know now that this isn’t the technical term). The day after I’d been warned that I might feel a bit fragile. Wow, I felt pretty assaulted on the morning after, but with fluids and some light exercise it all passed quickly and my legs felt terrific.

Twisted ankle
Twisted ankle

I had planned to do a few longer runs back to back over the Easter weekend, but a game of squash on the Thursday night put that out of possibility. On game 2 of 9 games I turned my ankle over. The result was a lot of swelling and a good bit of discomfort.

This gave me a bit of an opportunity to see how much mental strength I’d have. After working on Good Friday I decided to see how the injury would cope on a rowing machine-limited range of motion but not too painful. This meant I was going to be okay to ride. Friday, Saturday and Sunday totaled 296km. So despite not getting lots of running in I definitely managed a bit of mind training. The mind is such a fundamental bit of endurance sports it never hurts to train it.

A quick round up of my human powered miles for March and a tune up towards 2013miles in 2013. March reads:

  1. Rowing 81.6 km
  2. Running 128.8 km
  3. Cycling 316.2 km

This gives a total of 526.6 km or 329.1 miles. (monthly target is 167.8 miles). So a solid month. 691.4 miles year to date so well ahead of the 503.3 miles I was aiming for.

I didn’t get much chance to snap any activity pictures so it’s just a few pictures from being out and about.

Oh, and there was an excellent game of rugby on 16th March !

What a run!

Coming down from Mynydd Penrhos
Coming down from Mynydd Penrhos

I’ve waited patiently for my leg to heal before going for a run. 6 weeks has felt like a long time.

Couldn’t help but enjoy the descent off Mynydd Penrhos, above Tyn y Groes in Coed y Brenin.

It felt so good!

A bit of an update on human powered miles… February was going to be lower than I expected after an injury and a bit of a virus in the middle of the month.

I managed to cycle 187km and row 88.7km so that gives 275.7km for February.

Year to date- 579.7km which is still slightly ahead of schedule. Looking forward to running some more this month

Running along the ridge of Mynydd Penrhos
Running along the ridge of Mynydd Penrhos