It has been a genuinely unbelievable year for me and my little hobby of running about. I have covered around 3,000 miles just using my feet, raised over £3,500 for various charities and discovered so many gems we have in the UK as places to visit and run through.
North Cornwall coast
The year, like many others before it, started in January. I had about a week to try and lose what I could of the Christmas beer gut and get myself back to fitness before my first event. There were a lot of big races booked ahead of me, and the first one was a 45 mile ultra, second week in January.
My series of ‘Frodo goes to Wales’, now in its second installment is like an idiots guide to running around. I say that because I would certainly not call myself an expert on it; I just do it a lot and make loads of mistakes. So much so, my new mantra these days is that if an adventure goes completely according to plan, it is not a successful adventure.
Just to explain that, I think it’s always a good idea to have a plan, however loose. It’s just that when things go wrong it’s also nice to just be able to roll with the punches.
OBJECTIVE: Go to Wales – Let the public decide your route – See where you end up at the end of the weekend. Simple.
One of the best things about running is that in theory, you only need a pair of half decent trainers to go out and do it, and with the rise of the concept of ‘barefoot’ running, it could be argued that we don’t even need that.
How come then, that as the years have gone on (I’m in my 4th year of running now), my running expenses seem to have gone up and up? Haven’t I got everything I need now?
My series “Frodo in Wales” takes a look at running and travelling on a budget. Part 1 took me from Chester, across to Conway along the coast, then down to Betws-y-Coed and finally to the summit of Moel Siobod and back.
View getting down again
Summit of Moel Siobod
Just so we’re clear, I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing. Part 1 taught me a lot of safety elements, and as a result, part 2 will be a lot more safety orientated; certainly when it comes to the mountain ranges. These deserve at least a little bit of respect and I don’t really want to get the mountain rescue involved if at all possible.
Retracing my steps from LEJOG. I remember stopping for a coffee here one evening before the final 15 miles to Exeter.
This weekend I was at a best mate’s wedding, down in Exeter; an event I certainly wasn’t going to miss after all the great times from our school years. It would have cost a small fortune to travel by train, and flying wouldn’t have been a lot cheaper. In the end, I elected to rent a car. The beauty of renting a car is that it can double up as accommodation if you’re not too bothered about a comfortable nights sleep, so when I woke up at 6:30am in the middle of Dartmoor, along the very road I ran up earlier in the year for LEJOG, it seemed remiss of me if I didn’t go out for a run on the moors again, in a county that happened to very good to me.
What do you do when you find out you don’t get PB’s from just simply running anymore?
I started running in 2010; labouring through 10k’s and struggling through injuries all the way up to marathon distance by 2011. All the while however, if I was fit and uninjured, I would ALWAYS run a PB. That went without saying.
Absolutely no training plan attached to this run. I ran fast when I felt like it; if I felt like stopping to take a few photographs, I did that instead.
Not a great idea to do this all the time, but every now and then, especially if you’re trying to get a little bit of motivation back, this feels great to do.
This was an off-road and country lane route through Macclesfield Forest, Shutlingsloe and Wildboarclough in Cheshire. A pleasant Autumn day, and possibly the last we’ll get for a while. Can’t miss this sort of opportunity.
Earlier in the year, some of you may remember when I ran to North Wales and then with no planning, or thought attached, proceeded to run all through Wales, including one mountain, just using directions from locals I met on the way.
Summit of Moel Siobod
Well Part II is going to be more of the same, but bigger, better, colder and more mountains hopefully. Starting from Pembrokeshire in South Wales; I plan to run up through Snowdonia, into North Wales and back home again in Cheshire.
For everyone that competes on a semi-regular basis; that first DNF (did not finish) is always on the cards; it is waiting in the wind like an inevitable pride killer.
As the old saying goes: ‘Finishing dead last is better than DNF, and DNF is better than DNS’. I think this is a great expression, which gives an order of merit to these otherwise difficult outcomes, but surely sometimes there are reasonable scenarios where DNF and DNS are actually the more sensible options…
It’s psychological turmoil, running in a race and having to come to terms with the idea of pulling out, and one which I have now experienced twice inside three weeks.