After reading blogs about it for three years on the bounce and finding nothing but positive accounts from both runners and spectators alike, I decided to do some research into the Realbuzz marathon-of-choice that is Snowdonia.
A few Buzzers have been egging me on to give it a whirl and I like the idea of trying an alternative to the traditional road races that have made up all four of my marathons to date.
One of the first things I identified was how popular this event is and how limited places are. So on launch day I snuck into work a little earlier than normal, joined the virtual queue and endured a nervous 40 minute wait before I could start filling out my application.
Fortunately it completed without a hitch and my entry was confirmed – just as well, because about half an hour later the whole thing was sold out.
And so next year I’ll be able to join in the Snowdon party and meet up with many members of Realbuzz royalty, which is something to look forward to in itself. Add to the mix a scenic marathon in a part of the country I love and remember fondly from childhood family holidays and October 2018 can’t come soon enough.
What appealed about Snowdon was that I can approach it with a totally different mind-set. If you’ve followed my blog this year you’ll know it’s been a tough one, physically and mentally. I’ve had two disappointing marathons where races haven’t gone to plan. The goal for both was four hours and I didn’t even come close thanks to injury.
But while signing up for another road race will inevitably leave me chasing that elusive target yet again, an event like Snowdon takes me back to where I was pre-London in 2015. The excitement of trying something new, of not quite knowing what the day has in-store for you and, above all, only focusing on getting the job done.
I’ll be respecting the challenge that Snowdon presents, I’ll train well and be as strong as I can to tackle the climbs. But I won’t be running for a time, just trying to do my best and enjoying sharing the experience with like-minded people from this great community. For the love of running, nothing more.
In other news, there hasn’t actually been much running since my last update. I picked up a nasty virus early in December that forced me to take a couple of weeks off. Since then, just a few short outings of between three and five miles a time (where there hasn’t been snow and ice on the ground).
Having an extended rest has probably been a good thing – some more recovery time for my adductors and my dodgy ankle, both of which feel fine at the moment.
Christmas itself was always going to be a tricky one given that it’s the first on my own for many, many years. In the build-up I found myself in a pretty dark place, but managed to shake myself out of it after an honest chat with a good friend. With her help I realised it was down to me to set the tone – be miserable and self-pitying if you want to, or dig deep and make the most of what you have.
So I did get to spend some time with my daughter on Christmas morning, then made a detour to Cannock Chase to do their Christmas Day parkun as a little treat for myself. It was terrific – over 200 ran, many in fancy dress, and the atmosphere was really friendly and welcoming.
My run was pretty respectable too – 22:25, p31 overall and (would you believe it) first in my age category. I’ll still smarting though at missing out on a top 30 finish after being overtaken by a man and his Dalmatian in the final quarter of a mile!
Obviously Snowdon is next year’s big ticket event for me, but I can also look forward to a trip to London in May. Knowing I’d missed out on a place in the marathon, my brother signed us both up for the Vitality 10,000 run as a Christmas gift, which takes in many of the same landmarks. As far as presents go, that beats a pair of socks – even running socks – any day of the week.
Merry Christmas fellow Buzzers, thanks for your continued support and encouragement and here’s to a great year of running in 2018.
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