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After our annual summer holiday, I always feel like i'm going back to school for another year. I work in education so it's not surprising, but I feel like September is my New Year - time to make changes, train harder, get fitter and find new challenges.
Today was my first proper mountain run of the new year (use the link above to have a look at the route) - a revisit of a regular run I have done over the last year while training for the UTLD last July - I ran the Lakeland 50.
What I love about running on the mountains is the people you meet along the way. People like to say hello on the mountain, exchange a few friendly words about where they've come from and where they are going, the weather and stuff - it's nice. I love those brief exchanges.
I'm training for a marathon at the moment so I'm doing a fair amount of road running too and have made it my mission to give everyone I pass a wave and a 'hello' when I'm out on the roads. The response rate is mixed, the minority look at me like I'm a mentalist, but more runners than I expect give a wave back. Come on road runners! Lets all give a wave!
Today, as I reached 'the gap' with about 10 foot of visibility, I could hear a lot of voices, and descending from Fan y Big was a group of around 30 soldiers. Lots of hello's! Hooray!
They contoured around Cribin before summitting Pen Y fan, but I took the tough route up both peaks and rejoined them on the decent to Storey Arms. It was a great couple of miles chatting with them on the way down the hill. They were a group of Corporals on Sergeant training with the Brecon Army School - apologies if my ranks are out of order, I think that's what they said. They were each carrying 45 pound packs and weapons. I nearly joined up! But we parted at Storey Arms.
I stuffed my face with a cheese and ham pasty and continued on towards LLanfrynych. The sun came out as I ran through the lanes back towards the path that would return me to the pass and back over the gap to complete the loop and get back to the car.
I loved this return to the hills. My legs felt strong from the marathon training and, having lost my GPS signal up on top, I made an early decision not to worry about time and pace, so it felt very relaxed. I also avoided 'bonking' around mile 16 (hate that word, but it fits the bill).
Love Fridays! Must try to add photo's now (please note: I never said they would be any good :0)