The appearance of Grandson Ethan, which transcends anything else.
I'm in love again 💓
Hazel had a pretty rough time, but thankfully nothing too serious and Ethan made his appearance on the very first day of the month.
So now I am a running Grandma! The start of a new chapter in all our lives.
Despite the excitement and the distraction of the lovely Ethan I manage to fit in an 18 mile run (felt like another ultra though I must say) and the following week ran part of the Invader Half route, running out to meet Jenny partway and run back with her to the finish. Took the dogs too. It was very very hot.
The Snowdonia Trail marathon loomed ahead at the end of the month. I was running this with my friend Lesley (well I say 'with' but as she is much faster than me perhaps its more accurate to say I was 'attending' with Lesley!)
We travelled to Wales on the day before, and stayed not far away at a hotel in Caernarfon, overlooking Anglesey. It was windy and cold when we collected our numbers and we had been warned beforehand if the weather was bad we would have to bring full body cover as part of the minimum kit. This was confirmed when we picked up our numbers - waterproof jacket and trousers both required.
This meant that I would have to wear my only just newly broken in Salomon vest as the waist pack I had also brought in wouldn't fit everything in. Decision made!
Next day we got to the start and took nervous pre-race photos!
Countdown by the RD - then we were off - obviously I soon lost track of Lesley as she forged ahead.
The first couple of km were on tarmac as we wended our way through the streets of Llanberis, then hit the trails through a caravan park and onto the hills, hitting nearly 500m of elevation in the first 5km before heading down again and meeting the Snowdon Ranger path. As we zig-zagged down towards the road you could pick up quite a bit of speed!
There followed a short road section then back onto the trails at Rhyd Dhu, and a relatively 'flat'-ish section till we reached Beddgelert
the comparatively flatter section continued to just over halfway (some technical difficult to run bits though, given the mud and rocks)
then after crossing the road again we entered into a very muddy and slippy section through woodland before hitting gravel paths again at around 28km
Then the real elevation started. A couple of km of what felt like straight up before the cut off at the bottom of the Pyg track at the base of Snowdon. I reached this point with time to spare but had to get someone to help me refill my bottles as my hands were really not working!
If you've not been up the Pyg Track before let me tell you its not like just climbing a hill - there are large boulders to get up and over and much scrambling required. Someone offered to take my picture at halfway up, you might not be able to tell but it was very cold and damp.
I was very glad to reach the 'zig-zags' as to me they signalled the approach to the highest point we would have to reach - we didn't quite go to the top but at the gap in the ridge where the Pyg track meets the Llanberis path we would start to descend. Not having walked the Llanberis path before (as I had the Pyg track) I did not know what to expect.
5km of non-stop down was not what I had in mind! But I did take a little quiet pleasure in going past some runners that had gone past me on the way up.
On leaving the trail the descending did not let up, but just became downwards tarmac for another km before what you would think was a little bit of respite running down through a wood. However the ground was so muddy and slippy it was difficult with tired legs to make fast headway.
More tarmac plus a confusing loop round a little castle, then heading away from the finish area, then turning back to cross the river before the stagger to the finish making a total of 44km in 7 hours 48 minutes, with a total elevation of over 1600m, making this possibly the toughest race I have done to date!
Lesley had predictably finished way before me in just over 6 hours and was waiting to cheer me over the line. Sadly I didn't even get a medal as they had run out! (they did promise to post them to us though)
The stagger back to the car felt almost as hard as the race itself, and as I struggled to get changed in the car park (how many of us have done that before?) I reflected that this might take a little while to recover from...
Eventually when the medal arrived it was a little bit of an anticlimax! - I'm sure it ought to have been bigger for all that effort....
and so onto August which brings a new distance (not what you'd expect though!)
and lots of laps.....