Pre-Race Report: Brecon Beacons Half Marathon

After a delayed start to my racing year the first race of 2016 for me is on the horizon and approaching rapidly.

After withdrawing from Grizedale Trail Marathon in February with a chest infection and then from the Manchester Marathon in April due to overtraining and tiredness I went hunting for a race that would be challenging but not overly so! That is how I came to find the Brecon Beacons Half Marathon – it’s on mountain trails, in a beautiful part of Wales that I have not visited yet and the weather can be fairly unpredictable. Sounds wonderful!

With 644m of elevation gain I reckon I’m in with a chance of a pretty quick trail half marathon if my legs and my mind decide to work together on Sunday morning! Last year’s top 5 finishing times are really interesting:

Brecon Beacons Half Marathon 2015 - top 5 finishers

Brecon Beacons Half Marathon 2015 – top 5 finishers

I have no idea what the weather or trail conditions were like last year in Brecon but I have to say looking at finishing times alone, I have set my heart on a top 5 performance. I have been putting down some pretty quick times on the road and on canal path runs of late from 5km up to 18km so I am feeling quite confident in that sense and I do have a marker of how I might cope with the 600+m of ascent because on March 5th I ran 1:36 for 18.5km on a treadmill set at a constant gradient of 3.5% which resulted in 646m of ascent. Specificity it’s not but confidence building nonetheless.

So far this week I have done zero running. My usual phantom pains appeared on Monday morning emanating from their usual places which, as usual, forced me into a conservative taper! There is some tightness in my right calf and right hamstring and maybe a little in the left hamstring but yoga last night and tonight will go a long way to stretching those problem areas out. I plan to drive to Wales tomorrow morning and when I arrive I will likely set up my campsite and then head out on a short exploratory trail run to see what ground conditions are like for Sunday’s race.

On Saturday morning I intend to do a little yoga before setting off to run/hike around and possibly up Pen Y Fan – the highest peak in South Wales at 846m above sea level and only 10 miles from my camp site (I will drive there as I don’t think a 20 mile leg warmer the day before a race is advisable). When I return from there I’ll shower, practice some more yoga and then either heat up some vegan chilli on my camp stove or, if I’m feeling lazy, head to a local establishment to source some pre-race carbs!

So, my first race of the year will be the first half marathon I’ve raced since 2012 and only my second in total. It will also be the first race I’ve attended on my own for a very long time and the first time I have opted to camp in my tent instead of utilising a bed and breakfast, hotel or airBnB venue! I am really looking forward to getting out in the mountains, spending some time in peaceful surroundings and I am very much looking forward to getting my racing year underway.

For now though:

the-mountains-are-calling-and-i-must-go

Peace & Blessings

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