Hi all you lovely people! 😊
That sentence relates to my serious lack of blogging for what seems like years and years! I've had trouble getting signed back in but after what seemed like an age fighting with passwords (I think I currently have seventy billion different ones and can't remember which one opens the secret key for each thing I log in to - work can be a trial every day!! 😂) I'm finally back on and now I guess it's my turn to try and sum up nearly 3 weeks ago (all of you have moved me to tears with your descriptions of that unforgettable weekend up a big bloody mountain (oh and back down again!) in Wales!
My journey started last December when the entries opened in December, I'd left my job of 12 years and started a new one which I'd been in for a few weeks and the horrifying realisation that I hated it, it was making me unwell - and I needed a focus to try and help me get to the end of the year and hopefully settle into a job I detested with a woman who was the worst human being I'd ever met. So dutifully I got up - entered my bank details and got the "yes, you are in" email and thought that's an age away - no problem! 😂 We've all done it I'm sure!
Tried the run every day in December - failed. Tried to focus on new job - failed. Tried please evil witch lady - big huge fail! By the end of the year I had no focus, a buggered achilles and no job - I wasn't anticipating that. 😞 So 2019 wasn't looking good - and I first said I'm selling my place in Snowdon in February (daughter said absolutely not)
So I got rehabbing my dodgy achilles, got out looking wherever I could for a job that was much more my mindset - I'd walked away from the NHS after 12 years - would I be able to get back? Would they have me? Would I be able to do the job any more after having any confidence I had left kicked out of me by that woman in my new job? Thankfully I'm happy to say that I did get back in, and it's taken a while, but I'm back doing the job I love in a different place, but it is NHS and I do feel extremely lucky to have been given a second chance somewhere new 😊
So, serious training began for that big Welsh mountain started! Everyone who I told said I was mad - people looked at me sideways but I did the training - I plodded around in rain in shorts and t shirt - I trailed around Sundays for the obligatory 3-4 hours (big thanks to my Mr H and if course my daughter, who followed me both on foot and on bike to keep me company) and I found an amazing physio who use not only massage (which made me swear some if the worst swear words - out loud - in her face! And acupuncture - also much foul language!) We also booked a chalet in caeathro - which was about 6-7 miles away from the start!
Fast forward to Friday 25 October - wedged in the back of the car with 2 smelly wet poodles and and dodgy sat-nav - a bumpy, wet, windy, winding 6 hour journey where the little mountains of South Wales became huge, windswept uppy downy mountains covered in mist of north Wales - it really was very imposing! It was then the worm of doubt started to wiggle its way in (a case of holy sh#t - you can't back out of this now but how the hell are you going to get through it!!)
We followed the mile marker truck as he was putting up mile 15 (felt sick!) and on to our chalet - which was beautiful by a little lake which had a serious waterfall the one end! Oh and the rain was bouncing off everything!! 😂
Pasta for tea that evening and everything went down in lumps - fairly early night (why for gods sake!? You aren't going to sleep much!!) and then suddenly it was here. A coffee, some porridge (which bounced! 😳) and an absolutely gut wrenching, couldn't stop, for gods sake stop, no I can't stop cry - my family honestly thought I was on the verge of pulling out - and if I could have I would have! A few deep breaths, kit check (post race note to self, you can always take off clothing if you have too much, but once you make the decision to wear less if you get cold you get BLOODY cold!) quick poodle walk (in the rain) the bundled into the car and chucked out in Llanberis (no spaces left) and the family hot footed it back to the chalet to finish watching the England Rugby (Mr H is English!)
I bumped into someone From Chepstow (what are the odds!) her hubby was running the race and she was babysitting their beautiful lab puppy! Made my way to the registration tent and sent out a buzzer plea to try and find you! Max very kindly pointed me in the direction of the coffee pot where in a sea of unknown faces I spotted Gaelle (to see a friendly face through my misted up glasses was such a relief!!) Pretty soon, we had all arrived and you could feel the excitement in the atmosphere and the nervousness!! (on my part anyway!) it's such a treat to meet up with all of you, we all have that same goal! Then we made our way to the start (with Jim and Dave getting regular rugger updates!! 😂)
We all lined up, ready to go - I had to fight the urge to cry again (I never realised how much of a big baby I am!) just before we took off I got a tap on the shoulder and it was Rob 🙂 quick hug (sorry I didn't say much if I'd opened my mouth I probably would've blubbed!!) then after a few oggy oggy oggies we were off!
I took my bin bag off and tucked it into my belt (and promptly forgot I had until the finish!) The first few miles went well - oh those views, the water, the rainfall - the chit chatting while we all got into our strides - I saw Chairman Jim and followed him a bit of the way, then began the climb to Pen-y-pass - I'd been told at the start to take it easy but I felt so good and I do love a hill (yes, a hill, not a big huge bloody mountain!) so I trotted off, far too quick, looking at the waterfalls, bomping up and up - thinking oh yes, this is fab, not far now (I must have been delerious!) I saw hobs and said hi - before I knew it we were at the top and the realisation that what goes up must come down - Jim shot past me and I slowed for a bite of my peanut bar - a, lady to the right of me said oh my god that path is going to be treacherous today in all this rain (panic now! Path? What path?) down and down and down and round the bend and oh my god a scree path narrow, many nutters much braver than me striding down it making me feel like I was going to trip, go over the edge and bounce all the way to the bottom never to be seen or heard of again!!) At this point a gentle, quiet voice behind me called my name - it was Nick! I've never been so pleased to see a familiar face, he quietly talked me down the path, letting me know when there were turns, hills and generally just being there and listening while I babbled on trying to keep going - I am so grateful to you for those miles - I wish I'd had the strength to keep up but you were in the zone, and I knew you were going to do so well 😊 I watched the clock, I took on water at the stations, I stopped for some jelly babies from some lovely spectators, I rummaged through a tin of quality for a chocolate coconut (blue wrapper, loads left! 😂) and watched as the sun gently poked through the clouds - so far, so good. It was a bit chilly but nothing too much to worry about, and the scenery more than took my mind off the job in hand!
Jump ahead to mile 19 and by now I was getting quite cold - I'd done a couple of walks but jogged through the water station and got a drink - not knowing my family had followed the tracker and were there! I ran straight past them!! 😂 They got in the car and pulled alongside just as I'd started a walk break - cue tears and kisses and waves - then it was head down and onwards. From there on it got tough, no it didn't it got bloody tough, no it didn't it got I can't do this I'm never going to get there tough! The sickness set in, the fear set in and the minutes began to tick away - from 22 miles onwards I remember only 2 things, Jenny and Dave at the top of that hill (I have never needed a hug more in my life!) - I'm so sorry what happened with your wrist - after all of the lovely support and just getting up there in those conditions was amazing - I truly hope you heal quickly and well and karma pays you back lovely lady!
The second memory was the mad hatters tea party - there, on top of a cold, wet, windy mountain was a caravan filled with the most friendly, lovely, loonies I've ever seen - tea, HOT tea! Flapjacks, words of encouragement - it was surreal!
From there on it was a wet, blistery (my feet, definitely not my speed! 😂) to mile 25 - all of us who were there knows what happened and mile 25 bone crunching splats and falls - I saw an older chap who went face first right under a mud puddle) everyone was slipping and falling. For my sins I lifted up my petticoats and minced one foot over another down the grass - it took forever people overtook me slipped, didn't slip and got to the bottom but by now I didnt care - I was getting to the bottom in one piece!! Except when you get off that mud it's not the bottom! It's quad busting tippy toeing into Llanberis! The last photographer shouted nearly there and I shouted thank god!! 😂
And suddenly it flattened out! My blistered, wet cold feet were determined to sprint that last bit and by jove I did!! I forgot to pose for the finish shot (didnt care at the time - wish I had now!) was wrapped in a silver blanket and handed my welsh slate - then the tears came again - for my dad, my big man, the reason I'd done it, I blew a kiss to him in the sky - I hope he caught it! 😍
I couldn't find anyone (except the chap who gone over in the mud - he was thankfully fine, if a bit mud packed) and the my phone beeped with my time 5:15 and then a message from my daughter - we are here - I looked up and there they were! More tears, then feeling very cold. I was bundled back in the car and back to the chalet for a hot bath and all I wanted was a cup of tea!
I'm sorry I didn't make it to the meet up later - it had all got too much I was tired and I think I had no excess energy left - but was gutted to have missed that most special catch up 😊 I truly hope there will be more.
The next day we journeyed home - the sun shone, the huge mountains winked in the sunshine and slowly became the smaller ones of South Wales as I made my way home.
Nearly three weeks on now, I felt I had to write it all down before it becomes a fantastic but brutal memory! I did it yes, I'm glad I got round without braining myself, yes. But (there's always a but!) there's always that could've done better if I'd just done this, or just tried that! That said, my slate has pride of place now, I'm showing everyone it who wants to see it (even if they dont want to! 😂)
But running is an itch with me, it's an itch that has to be scratched - I'm not sure what's next, I feel very glad that I did it and got round in one piece - but it's not the last race, I'm not (definitely not) saying I'll run up there in the mountains again - I'd love to go back up to walk (and run) at my pace without the pressure of a race-but I need another big something next year - so I'm on the case now! 😉 Oh and I'm driving everyone mad saying "rain? Call that rain??"!! 😂😂
So there it is in all its glory - it was an extreme honour to toe that start line with you bunch of amazing and really lovely people, I hope I get to meet up with you all again, next year!
Happy Running everyone!! 😊😊
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