If I've learnt nothing else from my first two utras I now know I really need to get some hill work in. To that end, a couple of weeks ago I swapped my Sunday morning long run from the Sandstone Trail in Cheshire (high point Raw Head 227m) to a far more challenging route covering the Clywdian Range in Wales (high point Moel Famau 554m).
Although it was a little ambitious to double the climbing and keep the same 20+ miles distance, the beautiful views over the Vale of Clywd as I ran along the ridge from Moel Famau to Moel Arthur made it more than worthwhile. It took a bit longer than planned but at least I felt it was some 'proper' ultra practice.
Looking to repeat the trick last week I soon discovered that Summer is fast turning into Autumn. After about three miles a few spots of rain appeared and by the time I started the ascent I was in the middle of a full blown storm with visibility down to about 10m! Once I made it to the top and the rain had turned into hailstones I decided the most sensible option was to get back down pronto as I'd left the canoe back at the car...
The last week has been a real mixed bag training wise. On Monday I ran 15 miles in around 1:50 - amazing how much energy you have if you cut your long run in half! On Wednesday I ran into work then in the afternoon had an hour intensive squash coaching followed by a session on the step machine. I felt pretty pleased with myself at the time but by Friday was running in a whole new (painful) style!
Yesterday I met up with some friends to do the Yorkshire Three Peaks. Although we only walked it I'm hoping that by now my quads are getting some idea of what's expected of them. The route itself was a very enjoyable 25 miles taking in Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-Y-Ghent. Next April I might have a go at the Three Peaks Race just to see how fast I can do it although I think the incredible winning time of under three hours will be a long way off.
Good luck to everyone running the Pumlumon next week!