Up and down week for me, and not just because of the hills! I was really happy to run 100 miles ontop of all the effort it takes just to live out here. The runs are stunning and we are spoilt for breathtaking vistas that put a spring in your stride. I was surprised to get an England call up for a 10km race, which would have been great news if I didn’t find the email 3 months late, and with it the realisation that I had effectively blanked the England selectors, smooth Russell.
I was devastated to lose my wicked Silver Bullet running jacket. It was the most expensive garment I owned at £135, and even more valuable to me seeing as I had earnt it in a race a few months ago, and it was actually amazing at blocking the wind.
One great thing about living out here is that you can eat whatever the hell you want without a second thought, the cold weather seems to burn everything off. It is actually hard to get enough fuel in some days so we have a big bag of Lidl M&Ms in the car which we have been gobbling by the shovel load. Eating sweet food so liberally means we have to find new ways to treat ourselves. We develop photos taken from disposable cameras, we read papers by the fire, once a week we pay £1.60 to use the showers in leisure center and stand under the hot water until skin turns to jelly.
Best day of week for me was when we did 8x1km around a lake on Tuesday night. The hail and wind were so strong that we did the whole session soaked through and freezing. By the last reps it was hailing so hard it stopped being funny and the warm down jog could go straight to hell, instead we drove to nearest village and had sausage and chips and tea in the car with the steam lifting off us.
I have grown a beard which is actually really effective at keeping face and neck warm, although quite itchy and looks like ginger wire wool. I like to think of myself as a rugged animal, I have a beaten brow and have been doing this stuff forever. In contrast Nina’s fair complexion looks as synergetic to these conditions as a kangaroo to the Arctic. But, running along the ice capped ridge up to the summit of Snowdon, she was speeding along blissfully disaffected while I was chasing in her wake, acutely aware that the slightest slip could be very unfortunate. At the top I met two ex-marines who had arrived wearing full gore-tex gear, crampons and ice axes. They were quite impressed with me standing there in t-shirt and running shoes, and we did some masculine back slapping, proud of how tough we all were, until Nina breezed up behind me acting like she was out on a picnic and showed us all up!
In the meantime, we are getting to know as many locals as possible. Russell painted our lovely neighbour Anne’s wall today in exchange for her receiving our post (we have no address), teaching us Welsh, and the great dinner she made us last Sunday night.
Last week we ran up Snowdon, on a clear, windless day when the top was covered in the first of this year’s snow deluge. Sometimes I’m feeling unsure about things, hit a low point, and wonder why the hell I’m here…
and a moment jumps out of the endlessly dramatic landscape, hits me round the face, and says ‘this is why’:
Thanks everyone for all your love, send us more (below) as it keeps us warm! Hopefully see you all soon.