DIARY: The Glendalough Move

Great weekend from the Danish mountain runner: first Mark Ryan provided me another miracle treatment which seems to have largely fixed my injury. Knowing muscles well, Mark remarked that the muscle fibres were definitely damaged and the treatment was suitably excruciating. “We’re mad aren’t we? Being here on a Friday night when we could be out.”

We’re mad alright, the amount of sacrifice this sport requires for the brief glimpses of glory and fulfilment that may never come are staggering. Yet we persist undaunted perhaps pulled along by a strange longing for freedom from our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

Glendalough – The Irish Keswick

Second highlight was moving into Glendalough into the Glendasan Cottage my new command centre for the conquest of Wicklow. With direct access to the Wicklow Way and St. Kevin’s Way (both within 200m of the house) the countryside is laid open from the door where it began and my nearest and dearest neighbours are now several of my favourite mountains: Brockagh, Scarr, Camaderry, The Spink, Derrybawn and Mullacor.

Glendalough is, to me, the equivalent to Keswick in the Lake District. The fulcrum around which the landscape revolves, the starting and ending point of adventure and I have great plans for the future in the new house both on and off the running stage.

Races

With my injury healed I’ve been given permission by Mark to race if I promise to stay at 90-95% and “don’t go to the well” (here’s a great expression). Sorrell Hill is an old favourite I haven’t raced since 2007 and will serve as a good warm-up for the real priority of the week: The European Trial Race.

This is a race I believe any aspiring runner should set time aside to do. You need to be reminded just how high the level of competition is out there on the one side. On the other side, you will see that you can go out against top class opposition and not make a complete fool of yourself. This is priceless experience for the day when you do become a contender and personally I have had some of my best racing memories from these events, none more so than the epic duel with Jason Kehoe and Richie Healy in the 2008 European Trial in Crone where only the final few hundred metres separated us.

So back in the fray and 6.5 weeks to Snowdon. I need to get through this week and then tire myself out relentless with 3-4 heavy anaerobic weeks. This will give me about 2.5 weeks to build true speed and peak for the race. Less than hoped for but still a workable model.

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