Yorkshire Marathon Training: Week 3 – Wednesday – A Snowdonia Dog Run

Some days you just run and don’t give a damn about time, pace, speed or distance. Today was one of those days. A ‘dog run’ if you like but to me, it was just the purity of running and enjoying it.

My 5 am alarm rang from my phone. I stopped it. I went back to sleep.

My 6 am alarm rang from my phone. I stopped it. I went back to sleep.

I woke with a start at 6:30 and realised what I’d done. I should be running!

My mind tried to trick me.

“Your ankle is sore,” it said. “Best to take a rest day, don’t you think?”

I almost listened to it. ‘It’ being that voice on the side of staying in bed and not going for a run and knowing full well it would be a decision much regretted later in the day.

By 6:45 am I was stood in front of the hotel wondering where to run. I had put my Salomon Speedcros 5 trail shoes on so this dictated the type of surface I would be running on.

To the waterfall…

Yes, I would meander my way to the waterfall I had glimpsed yesterday on my way down from running up Moel Eilio.

Ceunant Mawr Waterfall, Llanberis
Ceunant Mawr Waterfall, Llanberis

I took the woodland path through Coed Victoria that starts near my hotel up the hill in the general direction of the waterfall. As I am spending more time in Wales with work the Welsh language is something I am grappling with. Coed means trees so Coed Victoria literally translates as “trees Victoria”, and in English, we’d probably call it Victoria Woods.

I could hear the rushing water through the trees, but I never got there. The hills and fells drew me in and I was just happy to zig-zag my way around. Learning the different paths and landmarks that will hopefully mean I can run in these places without constantly checking where I am on a map. I want to know it like I know my own patch back home.

Dipping my feet in Afon Arddu

I stopped at a beautiful spot to dip my feet and ankles into the cold waters of Afon Arddu (River Arddu). It was bliss. Whether this Snowdonian water has magic healing properties for my dicky left ankle remains to be seen but it sure felt great.

Sitting there, feet in the water, taking in the scenery and all before I’d started my work for the day was an amazing feeling.

Afon Arddu, Snowdonia

I was running on ancient sheep tracks below Hebron station on the Snowdon Mountain Railway. I could see walkers making their way up the Llanberis path and decided to take the path up there to join it.

Hebron station is a passing place on the railway and sits close to Calvinistic Methodist chapel. The chapel was built in 1797 and now lies in ruins on the foothills of Snowdon. Hebron station opened on 6th April 1896 – and closed again the very same day due to an accident. It re-opened again on the 9th April 1896 and, apart from during wartime, has been operational ever since.

Calvinistic Methodist chapel, Snowdon
Calvinistic Methodist chapel, Snowdon

It was not an insignificant little climb up to the Llanberis path from where I was and became steeper after crossing the railway line. I dug in and pushed to the stile that would take me over the fence and onto the path. I didn’t stop and as I reached my goal a family had stopped to take a breather and watch me. It’s nice to meet folk and have these brief chats. People come from all over to climb up Snowdon so you get a real mix of characters. There was an older lady with them that used to stile for a short sit down. I did wonder how she would make it to the top if she was struggling so early on. Maybe she jumped on a train later.

Coming down the path from there and back toward Llanberis I was picking up speeding and dodging the walkers heading up the mountain. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I was here coming down from my failed attempt at running up Snowdon. I reached the cafe and headed back into the woods.

At the start of the Llanberis Path on Snowdon / Yr Wyddfa

I was feeling good and thinking about the fact my ankle was holding up. Just at that moment, I went over on the bad ankle. I’d rolled my foot and the searing pain was excruciating. My immediate thought was “bugger, how am I going to drive home later?”. The pain subsided and I could walk. Then I could jog and run and it eased up. I did pick up some ibuprofen and paracetamol later though to just take the edge off.

I’d only covered 3.58 miles and my moving time was 39 minutes. But I’d been out an hour. Stopping to take in the scenery and take photos as well as stopping to have a dip in the stream meant that this was one of my slowest ever runs – but one that I shall remember for a long time.

Epic views wherever I looked

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