The first four days after returning home from Llandudno were nothing short of stressful. I was straight back into work on a  Tuesday, underslept and at one point fell asleep on the bus. I woke up in unfamiliar territory and thought I’d missed my stop. In actual fact, it had taken a diversion, and subsequently, I was slightly late for work. This set the tone for a whole week struggling against tiredness, traffic congestion and worrying about getting to work on time. Even on marathon legs, I was pushed to actually walk a mile and a half to get to another stop because it was quicker than slowly making my way through treacle traffic. One night, I spent fourty minutes on a bus out of Leeds city centre and didn’t even leave the centre. I got off and dashed for a train. By Friday night, having done more running around to find a quicker way of getting home, I was at my wit’s end.

This wasn’t how marathon recovery was supposed to be. Aside from swimming, three days after Snowdonia, which felt absolutely amazing on my quads, it just felt like all I could do was rush and harry. I felt restless, and disappointed. The weekend couldn’t come soon enough.

If there was one thing keeping me sane, aside from my wonderful family, it was reminiscing about the events of Saturday 29th October. Looking back over a brilliant family holiday in Llandudno. I had the distraction of writing up my race report for this blog, and checking back to read comments on my Facebook posts, Instagram and Twitter feeds. Getting the odd congratulations in a busy work office.

To all of you who cheered me on, congratulated me and relived my arduous race with me, thank you all so much. I value everyone who comes to check out my page and reads what I have to say. Sometimes I read back over my posts and they’re practically a book in themselves. They seem so hard for myself to read at times, but its the only way I really know how! But you all seem to enjoy them and its brilliant to continue receiving the comments I got. And at least I also had my slate coaster to look at. I’m still mega proud of it now, and forever will be. To think back to the coaster, to the race, the incredible Pen-y-Pass, the magnificent descent into Llanberis, even that brutal final hill, brought a wry smile to my face for several days afterwards. 

Thankfully, things have settled down a little now – the commute remains busy, but has calmed down. My lowered immune system meant the cough I carried all holiday eventually bloomed into a full-blown cold, which laid me low for a few days. But I’m back in the pool, easing back into running, and I’m pleased to say I’ve come off well after the marathon, with no injuries, strains or quarrels to report.

And thank you to those same people who followed my training diary building to Snowdonia. Without question, it was my most daring, adventurous, and yet successful block of training yet. The comments left on my blog were greatly appreciated, and for every share, every retweet, just reaching one more person is another person to have had a small taste of the adventure. Looking back, it felt like a perfect story arc, building up to that day on Invalid’s Walk when I could see across the whole of Llandudno as the sun rose. A sight I initially hadn’t anticipated, but yet so lucky to see. But another chapter is now at an end, and so we move on in search of the next thrill. 

Full of cold but still standing

So what’s next?

Well, the next race is just around the corner, and its a return to one of my favourite races on the calendar. T’Great Yorkshire Pieathlon. This year, I aim to see if I can run the 6km course a bit quicker but of course, I want to just enjoy those rich, tasty pies!

Beyond that, I’ve nothing booked but I do have races I’d like to do in the pipeline. The big one is the 2017 Canalathon, on 26 March, taking part in the 50km option, which navigates the Rochdale Canal all the way from Great Ancotes in Manchester back to Sowerby Bridge. The only sticking point at present is the cost – I’m on a budget and close to Christmas its hard to prioritize a race over loved ones and day to day necessities. Entry is £50 until January 1st, 2017, but the optional extras for a medal (£6), post-race meal (£6) and transport to race start (£10) bump it up to £72. Now, it might not seem much in the grand scheme of things – I won’t need accommodation, for example, or spend too much on travel, but its the race the first half of my year hangs on at present, and affording it immediately is proving a little tricky. There’s still time and space to enter though.

I did want to do the Brass Monkey Half Marathon in York. The Brass Monkey is a hugely popular race that kicks off the calendar around mid-January on a fast, flat course, and it sells out within minutes. I got my times muddled up and woke up way too late to enter, by which time my hopes had gone kaput for another year. Right now the likely alternative is a little known race called the Sir Titus Trot, taking place on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal from Saltaire on January 28th, 2017. There’s a 32 mile, a standard marathon, a half marathon option and a 10K. I aim to enter the half, and its around £18 to enter. It seems a cracking little race and a good chance to actually have my first attempt at beating my half marathon PB, the 1:22:41 at Liversedge in February 2015. I find it hard to believe I’ve not raced half distance since!

Beyond those, I might take myself out on a jaunt somewhere across the country, but that depends on my money and where I feel my priorities lie. I certainly want to experience a few different locations and I can imagine wanting to try out a couple of fell races too.

2016 is nearing its end, but be assured I’ll be out on the roads and trails again soon, whatever the winter may bring.