Bah Flu Wah

Every time I feel like im getting into a groove something like flu kicks in. This week has been mainly a writeoff, to be fair the flu didnt properly kick in until later in the week but last weekend saturdays run was around 10 miles and I felt amazing. Then on sunday everything was broke. Just felt bleuuurgh from the off. So you know what, I walked a lot of it, we did 6 miles or so but half run half walk and normally I cant get away from that “cheating” feeling when I walk but I figure its better to be out there doing something than nothing at all. I know Murph would prefer it!

So with 3 months to the first ultra and with a few fell races in between I feel like I cant get a solid training block started … and then i realise I havent really stopped and the fitness is there anyway so whats the worry.

Technically I shouldnt go out and run today but y’know…. techincally we’re all dead one day so im gonna seize this one

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Great subject – terrible photography skills
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Nights are drawing out
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We had a bit of snow – Murph loves it!
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Frosty morning at Nash Point
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Waterfalls of course
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Our forest in between the showers
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Sepia tinged doggo

Just find the joy

We’re still out there. And we’re just enjoying being out and training. By training I just mean running when we feel like it – which for Murph would be every day if he could but for his old man it means when I know the body can take it. No matter because we can always walk anyway!

It really is such a joy to be out with a dog again, I think I’d forgotten how much pleasure you can get just by making an animal so happy. Gotta admit Soaks is probably up there watching and thinking Thank God he never made me run like that, she was definitely a walking dog. But Murphy was born to run (to be fair its his genetics) and watching him bounce around and be a general lunatic with a huge grin on his face is a simple way of making any hurt I’m feeling disappear.  It’s so easy to melt a mile away in his company.

We’ve seen some pretty cool sunsets recently too

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Giant dog!
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This is actually early morning not dusk
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First snowdrops!
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Looking handsome
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Last nights clouds – Looking a bit ominous with snow forecast
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Training partners

What goes up

 

Something different for this year as I’ve joined the WFRA (Welsh Rell Running Assocaiation) and decided to run some fell races this year. Not just the long ones I’ve already done such as Preseli but the short ones too. To see what it’s like as much as anything. i’ve never run a race less than 11 miles so I have no idea how to pace myself in races such as the one I did yesterday up in the Brecon Beacons near Llangorse. It was 3 miles and pretty much straight up and down – around 1000ft of climbing and descent.

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Up and down this one – Mynydd Llangorse

As seems to be the case with races when you turn up everyone looks extremely fit and serious and in the majority of cases younger. Everyones got the kit and does stretching and stuff and looks like they know what theyre doing so instead I went and bought a coffee and sat with Murph (Everyone needs a co-pilot for map reading) in the van until the start time.

Lining up I considered my options (never plan too early it brings on self doubts) and as the start was literally stright uphill through fields at some crazy angle I decided the best plan was to go full gas until the wheels came off. I figured that 3 miles is a short run for me and it would be worth going nuts to see what happened. So off we went and to my surprise I found myself able to hang with the lead group as they charged off at some suicidal pace straight up. After a while it levelled out into a flatter climb and I found I could hang on there too.  Then came a bastard of the main climb as per the image above and I dropped back a bit as eventually the wheels started to come off and although the legs felt really good I simply couldnt get enough oxygen in to keep up full speed. This is what comes of long long training with little speedwork I guess.

Up at the top it was foggy, windy and mercifully not as steep, we hit the trig point (kudos to the marshall up there!) and started the steep and in places slippery descent.  By now I was running alone and was guessing the best lines to take (fell running allows you to pick a route in many sections) but made it down as fast as I could without blowing out my ankles. I did miss one turn slightly which cost me 20 seconds or so and 2 places but finally the line was in sight and its a joyous (yeah right) bound through the line.

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Me bounding joyously through the line – Thats as joyous as I get

I didnt really have a clue what time I’d done or where I’d placed, there were the serious looking runners milling around the finish so more coffee, went to watch the presentations and then off out with Murph to give him some time.

And here’s the mad bit – when I saw the results later on their website – I was 17th in a time of 28′ 06′ – Which I’m utterly astounded by.  I had no idea how to run the race and out of 70 odd runners came in the top 20.

So what did I learn about short races – go full gas and redline it until the wheels fall off and then pray that no-one catches you on the descent.  I really enjoyed it as a change to the longer stuff, less time to think and more time to really hurt – for a shorter time.  Mynydd Ddu who organised it did a superb job and it was a great event to kick off the year, I’ll see what happenes next – Might even do some speedwork in training …. or not

 

Down week

I checked my mileage and it was 110 miles for the 2 weeks of xmas – oops no wonder things are a little achey so showing sense and in the spirit of trying to make it though 2019 without a major injury (touch wood etc) I took a week off running and just walked Murph instead. Admittedly we do around 6 miles a day at the lest but its not high impact and he has to have his walks or he goes mental

And we saw some stunning sunsets. Enjoy. We did.

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Might be one of my alltime favourites
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Murph failing to get in shot properly
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Twas rather relaxing down there
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Get ready the suns a setting
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There it goes
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Sand reflections
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Or maybe this one

Where we at?

So lets face it im a terrible blogger nowadays. I never seem to have the time – or is it inclination because I do have the time really its not like my life is 100mph. But I digress. The running is going well, things still hurt and ache but my new strategy (strategy number 108 Ive tried I believe) is to not worry about it, niggles will go away and they arent going to stop me getting out.

In fact I looked at my movescount stats page for the first time in ages and was surprised to see 140 miles since I came back from injury less than a month ago and 44 in the last week. I didnt mean to let the mileage stack up again quite so fast but hey ho if im out and enjoying it i find it very hard to stop and seeing murph loving it too makes it even harder. So I’ll don my kamikaze pants and just pray the body holds together for 2019.

Onto the photos – unsurprisingly all of beaches. I really do need to go further afield (Though to be fair A I like beaches and B one of them is of a different beach which we visited over new year)

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In reverse order – Ish – This was today – Murph keeps lookout while I hunt for fossils
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Sunrise  at Marcross
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Genius photography skills – get that sun blur thingy!
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Surveying from Witches Point
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Enough winter sun for a rainbow!
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Double sun
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Purty dog is purty
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Striking a pose at Newquay beach in Mid Wales
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Exploring the coastal path between Aberaeron and Newquay

 

 

So that was xmas

I’m not really a christmassy person. However I do find it a good reason to be outside and getting in some longer runs while I have the time off.  In the last week I’ve managed around 50 miles (not counting today – Im waiting on the tide) and have taken the days off as needed when I can feel that the legs need the rest.  If I was the type to do new years resolutions then ths years would be to try not to be injured half the time. Sometimes you cant do anything about it – Some times you can – I’ll at least try! I have plans for 2019 but everytime I announce plans something tends to get in the way so I’ll keep them to myself until they happen.

Until then I’m just going to enjoy being out with Murph and doing whatever miles I can.

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Murph loves the forests – I love them because he’s safe to hunt small furries (he never catches any)
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I think this was xmas day – they all blend into one. Just as I like it when the weather keeps people awy
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Sunnier runs and a poser
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Think we were out approaching dusk for this one – Running in the dark with a headtorch is something i’ve learned to love

Old places and friends

Went away to Newport in West Wales for a few days to stay with friends who had a cottage there. of course it pissed it down for the two days – apart from early Sunday morning whereupon Murph grabbed the chance to go run up Carningli which forms part of the Preseli beast route.  It was great to run up there without having already covered 13 or so miles but even on fresh legs its a killer.

It was also good to appreciate the area, when you’re racing you miss so much and so being able to take the time to stop and look was great.  We bounced off along the beast route and then cut back to follow the track back to Newport.  It’s odd how although I’ve only run this stretch twice in races it feels comfortable and familiar. I cant wait to get back out there in May to give the ultra another go. I’ve been toying with the idea of running the 24 mile version with Murph who would cope fine with the physical side but I don’t think would cope so well with other runners and bystanders.  We shall see May is still a fair way off.

 

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So we’re going up there right?
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Investigating rocks – This is the shallow gradient
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View of a murky Newport from halfway up
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View from the summit inland towards the rest of the preselis – The Beast route goes back along those hills in the distance. I never really thought about how far it looked until today
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Wild ponies!