Pen Y Fan

Pen Y Fan is the highest peak in South Wales and according to Wikipedia the highest British peak south of Cadair Idris in Snowdonia.  Not only that, it is also No 88 on my Day Zero List πŸ˜‰ I’ve wanted to climb it for a while but I’ve never got around to it. So when one of my running club posted that he was thinking of running up Pen y Fan I over eagerly said I’d join him 😳

The day before I was so nervous about going. There would be 5 of us altogether and all of them faster than me. I thought about pulling out but I knew how disappointed I would be if I did. So I decided instead of putting too much pressure on myself to make it to the top as fast as the others, I would set myself a different challenge. If I let them run off, make the top and start coming back down then, as they passed me, I would turn around and follow them to the bottom. My challenge was to see how far up I could get before I had to turn around. 

On the day I dressed warmly but as it was pretty sunny out already I had hopes of stripping layers off. That was until the snow started to come down on the drive there!! There was a lot of nervous laughter in the car at this point. What on earth were we doing??? Then the guys started talking about going up one route and down another. That spoilt my plan. So I mentioned my challenge. I was going to keep it a secret so they didn’t think that I was wimping out by not making it to the top. As soon as I mentioned my plan G said that there was no way he was letting me come all this way and not make it to the top. They would wait for me! I can’t tell you how much this meant to me. πŸ’•

We parked up and could see the snow on the mountain 

 I’m starting to wonder what I’ve let my self into!!

We crossed the bridge and off we went. Wow! It was so much harder than I thought! My legs were screaming from both the cold and the exertion and I could barely catch my breath due to the wind. I struggled on run/walking as best as I could. I was so in awe of the others who just kept ploughing on. 

The higher we got, the less views we had as the fog was hiding the beautiful surroundings. 


We passed a few walkers and they took pride in telling us we were mad! Lol! Says them who were up earlier than us to start out πŸ˜‰

It got colder and colder and I did feel sorry for the guys who started out in shorts! Mrs C kept telling me “it’s just over the next ridge” except it wasn’t πŸ˜‚ but she kept saying it. As much as I took the mick out of her for being so wrong all the time, she did an excellent job of keeping my spirits up when I could easily have said “stuff it, I’m going back down”


It was very hard going and I could easily have stopped but between Mrs C and the little part of me that would have been gutted not to reach the top, I kept going. Then finally I could see the top. A walking group laughed as I ran past them shouting “yeeeeeeeesssssssss!!!!!!!!!!” 


It was an absolutely fantastic experience and probably the craziest thing I have ever done. I would love to do it again. Although maybe not in as much snow. 

In the Company of Wolves

*Disclaimer – I was given free tickets for this event but I wasn’t asked for anything in return. I am writing this post because I had such a good time I want to share it with you. As always all opinions are my own, however, the photos are publicity shots taken by Theo Moye (Burn the Curtain Theatre) that were provided by the company after I asked for them.*

Last week the Run Director from my local parkrun offered free tickets to an outdoor theatre production designed for runners. It was based at Cwmcarn Forest Drive and started at 7.30pm. A few of the girls from my running club asked for tickets and so I did too. Mainly because I do enjoy the theatre and I thought this would be a different experience. I lived the closest to the Run Director so I went and picked up all the tickets. During the 2 days that followed my emotions ranged from excitement of doing something new to bricking myself at the thought of running through a forest in the dark!

We were asked as runners to wear red and the walkers to wear blue. We were told to expect around 4-5miles of running (2.5miles for the walkers) but apart from that I really didn’t know what to expect.

Moye_Burn_the_Curtain_Wolves_13

Photo by Theo Moye 30/07/14 Burn the Curtain Theatre present a Company of Wolves.

We set off on the night clutching head torches and huddling together for warmth. We were welcomed and given hand stamps. We waited around til7.30pm when a man took us down towards the lake. There we met the priest and he was very excited that we were able to join him to witness the very special village wedding. He introduced us to the groom and told us that he would help us to warm up while we waited for the bride. What followed was the best warm up routine I have ever seen. He burst into song and had us doing all sorts of moves incuding squats and stretches as “actions” for the song lyrics. I have floated the idea that we should include the same warm up on club nightsπŸ˜‰

Moye_Burn_the_Curtain_Wolves_Totnes_20

Photo by Theo Moye 29/10/14 Burn the Curtain present ‘A Company of Wolves’ at Sharpham House, near Totnes.

After the warm up the Duke burst in shouting that the bride was missing and he was afraid she had been taken by wolves. It was at this point the runners and walkers were separated as the runners were tasked with finding the wolves and the walkers had to find the bride and return her to her groom.

Moye_BurnTheCurtain_Wolves_Haldon_51

Photo by Theo Moye 31/10/15 Burn the Curtain present ‘A Company of Wolves’ at the Forestry Commission’s Haldon Forest Park near Exeter.

As we split off I wondered if it was a good thing to chose the runner group as the faster runners all ran off and I was struggling to keep up with them especially as the paths were so steep. As it got darker however, everyone tended to stick together more and we ended up running more as “a pack” so to speak. Even though the faster runners ran off at first, the slower runners didn’t miss anything as nothing happened until the whole group was together which was obviously a bonus.

Moye_BurnTheCurtain_Wolves_Longleat_072

Photo by Theo Moye 29/05/15 Burn the Curtain present Company of Wolves at Longleat.

We met back up with the walkers at about half way, we were provided with hot chocolate and told to mingle and share any information we had learnt so far. The hot chocolate was very welcome as it was so cold at this point, although I was glad they had only given us half a cup when we started running again and it was sloshing around my insides!!

Peter The Priest walking with the Village

Photo by Theo Moye 29/08/14 Burn the Curtain’s A Company of Wolves, Riverside Valley Park, Exeter.

Once it was completely dark I have to admit I was quite nervous. We met a wolf lady who made us turn all our torches off and that was quite scary. It was weird. As much as I knew that nothing would happen to me/us, there were still a lot of things going around in my head. I’ve come to the conclusion that I have an over active imagination lol!

Runners Running in to the Night by Theo Moye

Photo by Theo Moye 30/08/14 Burn the Curtain’s A Company of Wolves, Riverside Valley Park, Exeter.

I won’t give away spoilers in case any one wants to go and see this production on one of the future dates but I will say that I didn’t expect it to take the path it did.

The Duke 2 by Theo Moye

Photo by Theo Moye 30/08/14 Burn the Curtain’s A Company of Wolves, Riverside Valley Park, Exeter.

Having said that, I enjoyed it immensly. I would definitely do it again. Some people said they would like to do it as a walker next time to see it from the other side but I could quite happily do it as a runner again.

The Duke Addressing the Village by Theo Moye

Photo by Theo Moye 29/08/14 Burn the Curtain’s A Company of Wolves, Riverside Valley Park, Exeter.

I did find the run get easier as we went along. Could be because the pace slowed as it got darker I don’t know. It was very cold though. Out in the forest at 10pm it gets pretty cold! I was shivering getting back in the car.

The actors were amazing. They kept in character the whole time and either ran with us or between our group and the walkers. They obviosly have a high fitness level and I’m pretty sure they have as much fun doing it as we did.

If you get chance to see something like this then definitely go for it. Even if you can’t run, pick up a walker ticket. Just wrap up warm and bring spare underpants (joking!)

It was the best fun I have had in ages! I can’t wait for the next one.:)

Flying through the air

I’m so excited to tell you what I did yesterday. It was so brave and so unlike me it was incredible! I went on the Air Trail at Cardiff International White Water centre. It was amazing. 

*In order to provide transparency to this post I will tell you that Hubby works at the centre but in all the years he’s worked there I haven’t tried out any of the activities. Mainly because I am terrified of water but still. *

Little lady went on a different air trail on Saturday at a bushcraft event we organised for our local Christian youth. I was hoping to have a go too but D was a bit sad and tired so I ended up sitting in the car with him listening to the radio, eating mini eggs and generally being silly. 

As I missed out, hubby said he’d see if he could fit me in on the CIWW Air Trail and as a man of his word he did!  

Me in harness

 

Picture courtesy of Little Lady hence the dodgy angle showing my double chin πŸ™ˆ

I was in a big group, none of which I knew and many of whom had never done it before either. So nerves were running pretty high. The strong winds didn’t help matters either. 

We were fitted with harnesses and helmets and given a safety briefing. Then we were attached to the wire and one by one were sent off down the course. 

The first obstacle is a cargo net to climb across to the first platform.  

It’s very high up here!


It’s pretty high up there I can tell you!! Then comes your first real test of trust as you jump off the platform down the zip wire to the next platform!

Over the white water course

All the water had been drained from the rafting course for cleaning so not the prettiest of views today. 

The course has 5 zip wires and other various obstacles to walk across high in the air. 

  
A (very) wobbly bridge  

Here I am just about to step out onto a balancing wire. I must admit I was absolutely terrified at this point. The wind seems so much stronger that high up. But once I had actually stepped out into the wire it was much easier. 

Everyone says that the zip wires are the best bit but I have to admit the harness had a tendency to cut into my lady bits!! Hubby just shrugged when I told him and said “that sometimes happens!” Thanks sweetie! I’m sure he’s more sympathetic to people who aren’t his wife lol!    

   
The Air Trail was a good experience. Not sure if I can use the word “enjoyed” to describe it as I was bricking myself the whole time and was very glad to see the end! But I would definitely consider doing it again. My nerves should be easier a second time don’t you think?

Have you ever done anything that pushed you out of your comfort zone?

IAAF World Championships

My third half marathon done and dusted. You can read more about my first and my second in their respective posts and you’ll find they are the same route. Although very different races for me personally. In the first I was relaxed and I enjoyed almost the whole run. The second? Well that was a nightmare from leaving the house! 

I swore I wouldn’t run the Cardiff half again after the disaster of HM #2 but was convinced to have another try by someone telling me I shouldn’t leave it on a downer. Which kind of made sense. I had a discount code for the IAAF World Championship Half Marathon which is basically the Cardiff Half with Mo Farah (other elite athletes also available πŸ˜‰) so I signed up. 

I was really dreading it but one of the girls from my running club said she would run with me and that made me feel a bit better. Although as the day got closer I started to worry that I would spoil her race. 

The race started at 2pm (what a stupid time that is!!) so a group of us caught the train into Cardiff and set about meeting up with the rest of our club. We dropped our bags off and queued for a wee (very important lol!) then waited around for the call to the pens.   

Once in the pens the rain came! And it rained off and on the whole race. We had rain the size of marbles, hail and sideways winds of over 20mph!! Nightmare! There was a point that I actually couldn’t see as the rain was hitting me in the face with such force and my feet got so wet they are still covered in blisters a week later!

The barrage was the worst as its open to the weather on both sides.

 Some of the faster runners in my club bragged of tail winds at this point. Unfortunately for me it had changed direction by the time we crossed over it. 

The run itself was quite pleasant. I seemed more relaxed this year and I even stopped to have my picture taken with this guy. 
   

He is amazing. He carries a full sized cross with him. It extends well behind him on a little wheel as he runs. He was very gracious to pose for photos with me. 

Roath Park tried to kill me off for the 3rd year running and the hill on the way out was worse than ever. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry at the comment on this mile marker half way up the hill!!

  
This hill defeats most of the runners! I don’t know whether it’s because it’s a pretty steep hill or whether it’s because you’ve just run 12miles before hand. Both probably!

At the top of this hill my running partner and I managed to find a second wind (we were nearly done!) and we picked up the pace. Strava was working in KM’s and the last km was our second fastest. We were on a mission! My legs were dead, I had pins and needles in my feet and I could see the blood coming out of my sock. We had to finish! 

The others had already de camped to a coffee shop as it was so cold and wet so we rang our order in as we crossed the line. Thank you Mrs C I owe you one (or is it two now??) We collected our medal, t shirt our bags and various other bits then made our way over to the coffee shop. I was soaked through. The plan was to strip the wet top off and change into the new one but I was wet right through so there was no point. We were given a poncho though so I wore that for warmth!  

Stunning isn’t it?? Hahahaha!!

It was horrible weather but overall I did enjoy the race. My time showed 1 minute slower than my best but 10minutes faster than my awful race last year. 

  
I’ve got another half booked for end of August and the Cardiff half booked again for October. I’m hoping to beat my PB in October so I’d best pull my finger out and keep up the training. Let’s hope I can keep it up. 

  

Pacing myself

A couple of weeks ago, I volunteered myself to pace 35minutes at the Pontypridd parkrun pacer day. I’ve taken part in pacer days twice before at Cardiff. The first time I got sub 32 and the second time I got my one and only sub 30. The Pontypridd organisers were looking for a 35minute pacer and I decided to give back and volunteer.

As soon as I had offered my services I started to doubt my ability to keep to the time. I still remember very vividly how hard a 35 minute 5k used to feel. This post shows how pleased I was to smash my PB and I still wasn’t near 35minutes!

The only way to put my mind to rest was to go out and run a 35minute 5k and I was really surprised by how easy it felt. I could see how far I’ve come and I prayed that it would still feel as easy on the day so that I could chat my way around and keep to the time.

I arrived earlier than normal so that I could attend the volunteer briefing and hopefully settle my nerves a little bit. This is the park that we run around.

Once I had identified myself to the Run Director I was given a lovely bib to wear and stood in a huddle with others wearing a similar bib with varying numbers between 21 and 35!

At 9am on the dot we set off and I was a bit disappointed that no one had wanted to run with me. I still kept to my 35min target though and ran the first smaller lap on my own and the start of the first bigger lap. Then I caught up with a friend who was struggling to get back after an injury. She had gone off in front of me but was struggling to keep up her pace. As I passed her I offered some encouragement and she decided to stick with me. Less than 200m further on I picked up Gemma who was also on a return to running after a break and was struggling. We ran on, me chatting and joking with both the ladies and a family who we kept bumping into.

The family consisted of a mum with 3 young boys. We had had a chat earlier in the run and the mum had said they would probably only do 2 laps as she didn’t think the little one would manage the whole course. Every time I saw them I offered encouragement to each of the boys as they were doing fantastically. There was no whinging or complaining. They were so focused, it was humbling to see on children so young. They were so determined.

As we rounded the last corner and the route drops down towards the finish line I pushed the ladies to sprint finish. As they set off in front of me, the young boys overtook me. They were flying! I shouted encouragement at them and the ladies as we came down the last straight and I was so proud when both ladies came in under 35 minutes! Perfect!

After the run I congratulated both ladies that had run with me and I also went over to speak to the boys to tell them how fantastic they had been. They seemed pretty pleased with their achievement and rightly so.

I then went home and showered and changed and later on in the afternoon I was browsing on Facebook when I saw this posted on the local parkrun page.

It really made me smile. Thank you to the mum who took time out to post this. It really made my day.:)

Build it and they will come

At the end of February the Toddler group I started last year was 1 year old. To be honest I couldn’t believe that it had lasted a year as numbers had been so low up until Christmas. I had started to doubt whether it should carry on past it’s first birthday. But thankfully God provided and for the past 3 months numbers have been increasing steadily.

In order to thank the faithful ones who had been coming since the beginning and to praise God for the increase in numbers I wanted to do something special for our birthday. I wanted it to be different and I wanted it to be fun. Then I had a crazy idea. The more I thought about it, the more the idea grew on me. I mentioned it to hubby in passing and raising his eyebrows he reminded me that I would need permission from the church elders. There’s always one party pooper isn’t there?? Lol!!

I cautiously broached the idea with the elders and all 4 of them saw no problem with it at all. I truly am so blessed to work with the people I do. So what was the plan? The plan was to hold a beach party. But it was February so it would have to be insideπŸ˜‰ I wanted to cover the floor of the vestry with sand and buckets and spades and let the kids build sandcastles.

Once it was approved by the elders I ordered almost a ton of play sand. Once ordered, I swayed between “A TON?? That’s way too much!!” and “ARGH!! I’ll need to buy more as it’ll never cover all the floor!”

It was due to arrive on the Thursday before so I cleared the room, swept and mopped and put down some tarpaulin. Then the delivery driver rang, he was 10 minutes away!! I couldn’t wait.Β I was lucky that the driver had a trolley to bring the pallet over the road and all the way up to the door. Hubby helped him push it up the small incline, (not that small when you are pushing a ton of sand up itπŸ˜‰ ) I signed for it and it was time for the hard work to begin.

We had borrowed a gorgeous pink wheelbarrow from a friend and we began shovelling sand into the wheelbarrow, which hubby then bumped over the door step and into the church.

The first barrow of sand going down:)

The “beach” slowly started to appear in the vestry.

We shovelled and shovelled until there was no more sand left in the bag.

Then came the fun bit. Making it look like a beach.We bought palm tree decals (seen stuck to the doors) from the party aisle at my local What! store, we put up an umbrella and the little play tents.

Once that was all done I needed to cross off number 33 from my Day Zero List – Build a Sandcastle. It was the perfect opportunity.:)

The kids had an absolutely fantastic time and we also had a record number of attendees. I absolutely loved seeing their faces as they walked through the door and saw the sand. For some of them it was the very first time they had seen sand. Even the parents enjoyed themselves. It was the best 2 hours we’ve ever had and no one wanted to leave.

Well until I mentioned tidying up of course!!!!!

Afternoon Tea

As I mentioned in my last post I treated my mum and my sister to afternoon tea last Monday. After the massive fuss I had trying to book it I really wasn’t looking forward to going but the others were so I had to suck it up. 

After my mishap at the gym, I had to call back home to redress myself before calling at my mum’s where they were waiting for me. 

My mum decided that she would prefer not to drive so gave me the keys to her car. My sister A and I then spent the 10 minute journey ignoring mam’s attempts at backseat driving! I did concede and parked in the street she asked me to which ironically turned out to be the wrong one πŸ˜‚ meaning we had a longer walk to the cafe. 

We arrived to find our table reserved for us with a tablecloth and place settings which none of the other tables had. They were extremely busy at that time with the lunch time rush and the poor waitress worked her butt off clearing tables and serving food/drinks. We ordered our drinks, which came and I was amazed at the size of my teapot.   

The photo just doesn’t do it justice. 

Then the food came. Oh my word!  

It filled the table! 

8 (I think) different types of sandwiches, 3 scones, 4 pieces of chocolate chip shortbread triangles, a bowl of salad, a bowl of crisps, a sundae glass each of jam and clotted cream for the scones, 3 cupcakes and 4 pieces of cake!

 
  
There was so much food that we brought quite a lot of it home.

 There was also a smaller box with some sandwiches and the shortbread in it. Needless to say hubby and the kids were very pleased to see me when I got home πŸ˜‚

Despite all the fuss I had trying to book it, the three of us had a lovely time and the food was fantastic. I would definitely go again. 

Have you ever had afternoon tea? What was it like?