St Illtyd’s ultra race review

I’m not sure about you but I tend to enter races that capture my imagination. There can be many reasons why a race grabs me; a beautiful route, a unique challenge, great reviews, to compete with friends, perhaps no obvious reason at all, but there does need to be a motivation to take part, some sort of why. I don’t race for the sake of racing or for that matter enter many races at all.

St Illtyd’s ultra definitely grabbed me, there was a real buzz on social media after last years race with lots of those I follow on Instagram and Twitter having taking part and raving about it. Throw in the fact that the race start/finish was less than an hour from where we were moving to in Wales and would be a nice intro back into some longer trail races and I found myself clicking the enter button.

Event overview

The race concept is relatively simple, start next to Burry Port harbour just outside Llanelli, pick up the St Illtyd’s way just outside town and follow it for 25km. Turn around at half way and retrace your steps. Simple. The first/last 5km is super flat along a cycle path, the 40km in between however has 1200m of climbing, plenty to punish those who run the first half too fast.

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Getting a coach

I did something radical in November, something that I thought I’d never do because I just didn’t need to. I got a coach. Even now it feels a little odd saying that, after all I’m a qualified coach myself with plenty of experience, so why do I need a coach? Well let me explain.

I’m not one for cheesy motivational quotes or sharing inspirational words on Instagram but I do have a few personal mantras to help guide me through this crazy world and the following is in the top 3 – “stupidity is doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result”. Last summer I found myself writing weekly training plans and then consistently struggling to complete even 50% of the plan. Not because I physically couldn’t, but rather I wasn’t able to hold myself to account as I had in the past to be disciplined in getting the sessions done.

With this on my doorstep I wanted to be fit enough again to be able to go on adventures
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2018 in review – change, cycling and finding my mojo

The year started with so much promise, a trail race booked for mid January in an attempt to finally get over the post Ironman blues and rediscover my love for training. Almost a whole year later I’ve finished the year with my 2nd race of the year doing the Llandeilo New Years Eve 10 mile (race review to come). In between those 2 races there has been a lot of false starts with training, a protracted move to Wales where I found myself living a single persons life Monday to Friday in AirBnB’s and a rekindled love for cycling.

After the Naunton Nearly 19 in January I started making race plans for the year as you do in the post race endorphin high. Pencilling in revisiting the half ironman distance again for a crack at a PB, some longer trail races and maybe even a marathon PB attempt in the Autumn. A job offer in February that triggered our move to Wales and a realisation that stress at work and a house move weren’t a good combination meant all those plans were quickly shelved.

Instead the year has been about just enjoying being active again without the pressure of preparing for races. Learning to take a step out the front door in the mornings and simply move. Plus trying to get some adventures fitted in (although in June I got a bit more adventure than I planned!). What I hadn’t planned for was developing a real love for cycling (both road and more recently mountain biking).

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I’m not lost I’m having an adventure

There are many clichés about following your dreams “life’s too short” “this is not a rehearsal” etc, or my personal favourite “just fucking do it”. Well that’s exactly what we’re doing, I found myself a new job near Swansea and we’re in the throws of relocating from Wiltshire to the Brecon Beacons. Searching out a life lived more outside, in beautiful countryside and maybe even at some point in the future not involving an office (or at least not everyday). Right now the reality of that move is me living in an Airbnb Monday to Friday until our house move completes in the hopefully not too distant future. Let the adventure begin!

Fuelled by the adrenaline and excitement of being here and actually bloody doing what we’ve talked about for years I decided take advantage of not having family responsibilities in the evening and head into the Brecon Beacons for an evening run. I thought I’d keep it simple to begin with, a couple of hours post work in an area where I did my navigation course 2 years ago.

With map in hand and a pack full of the essentials for running in the hills I headed up the Beacons Way from the car full of the joys of a glorious summer evening. Not knowing at that point that it would be significantly more than a couple of hours before I’d be back there again. […]

Book review – Running up that hill, Vassos Alexander

I’m not a big reader. This may seem like an odd way to begin a book review but hear me out. I’m not good at sitting doing ‘nothing’, I either want to be productive and busy or asleep. The reality is that once I’ve been to work, done any training, spent time with the kids and completed normal life stuff there really isn’t much time left to sit and read. But I have been making an effort recently to take 15-20 minutes each evening before going to sleep to read. There’s been many studies done that show you sleep better when you haven’t been looking at a screen in the evening and let’s be honest aimlessly scrolling through Instagram isn’t really useful or productive is it? […]