It's been a while since my first blog but I've been a very busy boy training for the UTSW 100 coming up on 21st June (that's only 1 month away!!!). As you can see the topic of this blog is the Love-Hate relationship between a trail runner and hills and mountains. I have used the phrase "trail runner" because I spent many years pounding the streets and racing on the road and I never had a Love-Hate relationship with hills, it was definitely just a HATE-HATE relationship!! This changed very quickly when I started to run off road. Whether I'm running on the beautiful Cornish coast path or the rugged sand dunes of the Towans, I find myself seeking out the toughest, meanest, steepest hills I can find and then run them twice!!
I know I'm not the only trail runner that feels this way, I'm pretty sure that every trail or fell runner I have met feels and trains the same way. So the question is why do we do it? Is it because we're all masochists and love to inflict pain and suffering on ourselfs or is it that we have to push as hard as we can, challenging our bodies and minds every step of the way, is there a better feeling in the world(well there's probably one!) than when you're pushing really hard up a hill or mountain, your lungs bursting, your quads burning like someone has set them on fire and your calf muscles feeling like they're going to explode at any minute, but when you get to the top and your legs finally start to work again the overwhelming sense of satisfaction is amazing!
My desire to run big hills and mountains is getting bigger and bigger by the day, in fact I think it's getting out of control. It's time I came out the closet (not that closet!!) "Hi, my name's Loyd and I'm addicted to running big hills and mountains!" My addiction has got so bad that the other week I packed the car up at 4am and in barked on a painstaking 8.5hr drive to sunny North Wales, arriving at the campsite at 1pm and quickly throwing up the tents, on went the trainers and off I went straight up the Rangers path to the summit of Mount Snowdon. The temperature drop from base to summit was about 15 degrees and I had lost all feeling in my hands by the time I got up there (even with gloves!) but I loved every second, the tough running and the stunning views make running in the mountains so so so inspirational. I spent 30 sec at the top and then straight back down and back to the campsite for some well deserved soup. After an early night to try and catch up on some very much needed sleep I was off again, trainers on and straight to the top of Snowdon again but this time I went up the Rangers path and down the P.Y.G. track and then back up the P.Y.G. track and down the Rangers path. The conditions were a lot worse on Sunday and visibility was down to 10 metres, this just made it even more of a challenge and we all know how much we love a challenge! So after 2 summits I was staight back to the campsite, tents down, car packed and back on the open road for another 8.5hrs of suffering behind the wheel! I arrived back home at 3am and had to be back into work at 6am!! Even with all the driving, the lack of sleep and the fact it took me all week to get over it, it was sooooooooooooo worth it!
I've come to the conclusion that I need mountain running in my life and plan on doing lots more in the near future. I gave this blog the title Love-Hate relationship but that's wrong because in my case it's definitely a LOVE-LOVE relationship between me and the mountains!!