So off I went up with Corn Du my first target. I’d heard that you pretty much red line it from the start, and it’s true. My heart rate shot up to the high 170’s bpm and I was already thinking about what gradient it needs to be before it’s faster to walk! Eventually I did walk the steeper bits but with Killian Jornet inspired hand pushing on the thighs to make myself feel like it was ok!
I plodded my way up Corn Du,then curved round and did the last 50m of climbing up to the peak of Pen y Fan. At this stage I was still buzzing from the amazing weather and views so I stopped and quickly took some photos for a few walkers then picked up my stuff and set off down Jacobs Ladder.
It was starting to dawn on me that the Fan Dance isn’t hard because of the distance, or even the 1000m of climbing, it’s because of the terrain. The rockiness means you have to watch your footing all the way and I had good conditions, if it had been wet it would be very tough. So you come down Jacobs Ladder which is pretty steep and head down the “Roman” track (apparently it has nothing to do with the Romans!) and it’s about here that I was really relaxing and enjoying myself, the direction of this was that I ended up stubbing my toe on a rock and landing on my face in the dirt. My first thought wasn’t “have I broken anything” as I went down pretty hard, no, my first thought was “did anyone see that?”. It’s embarrassing falling over in your thirties even if you think you’re being a hardy trail runner.
It’s quite a long descent down to the halfway point where you turn back around and do it all again in reverse. I stuffed some tasty lime flavoured sport beans down and off I went buzzing and amazed I’d made it half way. I prefer a circular route normally and going back on myself grated a little.
The way back was tough, particularly up to the summit of Pen y Fen but I loved every minute, and I’ll be doing it again. It took a little over 3 hours.
Chances are you’re into gear if you are on the Cotswold Community so here’s what I had on:
Shoes: Inov-8 X-Talon 212 (amazingly comfortable and grippy)
Socks: Smart Wool Phd running socks (the best socks I’ve ever had for running)
Shorts: Salomon Trail Short (comfy)
Top: Rab Meco 120 (Comfortable in pretty much any running conditions)
And…the big surprise for me was that I thought I’d try some of the Stride Out Foot Oil. I was skeptical, I must admit, but my feet have never felt so good after a tough run. I will definitely be using this again on rough ground trail runs. Amazing stuff.