And you thought the trains ran late!

Posted on: 23 Aug 2019

I'm going backwards I think.

Not actually going backwards, just writing about the last thing first and the first thing last. 

I wasn't really going to write about the last thing at all to begin with but then, on reflection, it seems to have grown more significant somehow than the first thing.

If you're still here thank you for bearing with me. I hate the way my hands just have to blog whatever is in my muddled mind at times.

Wednesday, yup wednesday. The midweek hump, and a bigger hump than most wednesdays, because somewhere along the line I actually started being a little bit more serious about trying to prepare my body for what is going to be thrown at it come October's end, and I started doing training runs midweek. Actual training. Running longer than I normally would run and still turning out for it even if I don't feel like it.

I didn't feel like it. Cursed by my own genius (a good idea, not so much a great one) I worked a couple of hours over on Wednesday night, to try and get that idea implemented and fully functioning by the next day. Partial success was achieved. One extra hour required on Thursday, and one part of the warehouse has been revolutionised (moderately improved) forevermore.

I'll never be any good at this management speak - I have to put the truth in brackets 😂.

Anyway, 7:30pm, I thought I would feel tired. Not eaten since hours ago, I thought I would be hungry. Uphill the first 5 or 6 miles, I thought I would be struggling. 

It clicked. Just everything clicked, and for the first time since I smashed that knee in 2016, I actually felt like I can properly run 😊. I felt strong. It felt easy, despite the long steady climb. My feet were hitting the floor right, people infront kept jumping 'cause they hadn't heard me coming. It was a lovely run, and even downhill I couldn't feel the impact like I have been for the last couple of years.

I hope there will be more runs like this one.

Race The Train was a good ‘un Saturday, I had a good run there, but that was different reasons - and that is what I was really going to blog about.

It starts off in the little seaside town of Tywyn (you can see it in the background here):

14 miles of mostly trail, with some gorgeous views it has to be said, run alongside the Tal-y-Llyn railway line, and yes, racing against the train. It's quite a big and well known event round these parts.

Re-wind to the summer of 2007, the year I made that all important decision; "If I don't run the London marathon this next year I'll never get it done".

Well I did get it done, and I did follow all the advice about how to train, how to prepare along the way; including entering some other races so you get a feel for the big event.

The very first race I looked at, in the listings at the back of Runner's World, that I actually thought "yeah, I wanna do that", was this race. This race at Tywyn. This 14 miles against the train.

It was too late for me that year, the race had already gone. So here we are in 2019 - 97 different race venues in, a bucket load of injuries, 20 something marathons, 167 events in all, and finally, FINALLY, I have made it to the very first race (other than London) that I wanted to do 😊! 

Only 12 years late 😳!

I told you I was going backwards 😃.

Actually, the first time I heard of the Tal-y-Llyn railway line, was as a wee bairn reading my very favourite books - The Railway Series by Rev. W. Awdrey (thanks to re-marketing for television, undoubtedly better known now as “Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends”.

He wrote one of his books about these Four Little Engines, his fictional characters based on his fictional island of Sodor, but the real engines that inspired him (for the miniature railways at least), were up here in North Wales, shuttling folks about between the seaside and the lovely lake at Tal-y-Llyn (there's lovely views down onto that lake from my spot up on Cadair 😍).

I recognised some of the engines!

Honestly, do a quick comparison for yourself and see if you can't see what I mean 😃:

Anyway, I'm digressing. The point of what I'm saying is that after 12 years of waiting, the inner child was very happy and excited to be there 😊.

My actual child was there too 😊, well, one of 'em. The other one's an adult now though so that's technically correct 😀. I was really excited at the prospect of seeing him on the train. Gave him strict instructions to shout maximum abuse at me out of the train window, and I think he quite liked the idea. Molly was equally under orders to be "encouraging".

They run 2 trains. You beat the train only if you beat the first one. I guessed with it being trails that I'd be at least 2 hours over 14 miles. Tried to work out the timings of everything, and figured my boy would be better on the 2nd train, as it would pull back into the station at Tywyn about 2 hours after the start.

It was a good run 😊. I think the best part of it was about 15 minutes in, having come off the roads and into the fields, turning a corner and there suddenly was this spectacular view along the valley in this picture, bathing in beautiful sunshine 😍.

I'd been told the second half is harder than the first; headwind for the last 3 miles saw to it that it was true. I remember reading a few years ago that after the turnaround point (it's an out and back but you change sides of the track for a while) you go up a bank and then its single file for a bit; it was.

But there was woodland, and a stream crossing, and steps, and "the bog of doom", and it was all very engaging and interesting, and fun 😊.

I didn't get to see my boy on the train, and he was a bit disappointed not to see me run, but I had a strong finish into that wind, I'd paced myself well, and they were my fastest miles of the whole race. Crossed the finish line, headed straight to the station, and their train came in literally 30 seconds after I got onto the platform.

Good day out, and one of the best medals I've seen 😊. In the boy’s mind, I beat the train, the train he was on. I hope one day he might draw some inspiration from that.

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