Monday, 19 March 2012

Running up that hill - Olympic torch relay, try harder & Rhayader

It didn't come as a great surprise when the torchbearers for the Olympic 2012 'round Britain' relay were announced this morning, not to see my name amongst the chosen few.

Admittedly I didn't enter - which would have been a start. But anyway!

In the North West, we get two bites at the Olympic cherry.  The relay will be passing through our region between the 30th May & 2nd June, and again between 21st & 24th June (click here for details of the route). And for those of us in MancLand, we'll be on high patriotic alert on 23rd June where we'll be partying like Fatima Whitbread and The Cuban Brothers by Olympic torch light in Albert Square.

Not being selected as a torchbearer is probably no bad thing for me at the moment. At some point I'm convinced that it would have involved some running. For those of you who have been following my attempts to move from the couch to 5K - it's not been going very well.

I'm currently on my fourth attempt at week 1. I'd love to be able to tell you that I'm gliding effortlessly through my weekly schedule and am planning on winning the Manchester 10K this year. Unfortunately I keep getting bloody ill! 

Attempt 1 was thwarted by shingles.
Attempt 2 was thwarted by ........ apathy.
Attempt 3 was thwarted by a stinking rotten cold which I've had for two weeks now. 

I'm sick of blogging about week 1 (60 secs run / 90 secs walk for a total of 25 mins), and I'm sure you are sick of reading about it and my various false starts.

Time to dust off the trainers again 
Couch to 5K update
Couch to 5K week 1

So - I'm going to try again this week, but I'm not going to write about it again until I've finally made it to week 2! I'm starting to bore myself.

Anyway, I need to get much fitter for our Caledonian Canal canoeing adventure which we embark upon - three weeks today (yikes). Otherwise I'll be stuck sniveling, with a grumpy husband in the middle of Loch Ness!

My piffling attempts at running were overshadowed somewhat this weekend. My efforts are a mere speed bump compared to the large Welsh mountains conquered by Tris and his 'Dragons' running club pals this weekend at the Rhayader round the lakes 20 mile race in mid Wales.


359 bonkers runners found themselves at a loose end this weekend - so decided to run, initially in the pouring rain across the hills and around the reservoirs of the Elan Valley.

1hr and 59 mins later, the first runner home sprinted through the finish line.

After 4hrs and 13 mins the last runner had finished.

To say that it was a punishing course is an understatement. The first six miles alone were up hill.

To say it was the most beautiful race I've ever been to is also an understatement. Mid Wales, I think I'm a little bit in love with you!
Witnessed from the comfort of my car, it was spec-tac-u-lar!

Tris finished a fabulous 145th in a brilliant 2hrs and 47 minutes.

I feel I need to take some credit however. Having found a strategic lay by at the 8 mile mark, I cheered on the runners enthusiastically who by now were running through the bright Welsh sunshine. 

Up on the top, the only radio station able to cope with the altitude was Radio 2 with Tony Blackburn, who was very appropriately playing "I can see clearly now the rain has gone!" So I cranked up the volume and wound down the windows - adopting the role of 'mobile motivational disco'. Imagine my delight when "Things can only get better" by D-REAM followed. There was only one thing to do - turn up the volume another couple of notches and applaud and shout "WELL DONE" at this crazy band of people who clearly had more energy than sense.

And there he was, my little fella in orange running with the pack. His legs going like the clappers - he ran over to the car, gave me a smacking great big kiss before running off into the distance. That's my boy!

Here are some of my favourite photos from the day.

All the runners (bar one) seemed genuinely please to have a bit of encouragement, smiling and acknowledging me as they ran past. All bar one - who scowled and said something about I should be running and not in my car. 


In fact, when I Googled  Rhayader just now, it came up as 'Try Harder'. Hmmmm!

I'd love to be able to do a 20 mile race across the beautiful Welsh hills - "You don't know my story mate", I thought, before having a little girly blub. 

I just have to remember where I was two years ago, bald and barely able to make it to the toilet without help, and how far I've come since. 

I'll get there, maybe not 20 miles, but I'll get there. I'm determined not to waste time looking back ... unless of course the view looks something like this!

Well done to Tris, Nicole and Yasmin for a truly brilliant run. I take my hat off to all of you!


  1. I take my hat off to all the runners too (what a beautiful setting and great orange T-shirt) and to you too. I did week one over and over again at the beginning and it took me much (so much!) longer than the promised six weeks to get from couch to 5k. It's all worth it in the end (she says, fondly stroking three Cardiff half marathon medals...)

  2. Ahh - thank you. I look at runners and think - how come you can do it and I can't. I will get beyond this stage - it's either that or settling for being a lard arse for the rest of my days, and I don't fancy that much either! x