Beware the fallen leaves you ride over
They may or may not
Be a dead rat instead
Gave the legs a refresher ride this morning, a few miles on road and then decided to take the offroad route back along the cliffs. I think it’s my new mantra. When given an option always take the harder route.
Sadly as it was impromptu I had no camera with me but luckily I had a bad of jelly beans provided by my mother (thats what mums are for) which I ate not because I particulary needed the fuel but because I like jelly beans.
So in lieu of cliff photos google provided me with an unexpected panorama of yesterdays run around Pen Y Fan
Yep by my admittedly vague calculations I’ve been running a year. I’ve gone from not being able to run 2 fields in a row to the beach to this……
Yep I woke up this morning and thought do something diffent today. So I ran up South Wales’ highest mountain Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons …. the hard way.
I did a bit of googling and found a few routes up it – the “motorway” as its known is an easier path from the A470 which is used by hundreds of walkers … not for me so I ended up at Cwm Gwdi on the other side of the mountain as it promised a much quieter and steeper route with more rugged terrain. Never ever take the easy option!
So after getting lost in the car as per usual (I’m quite used to this by now) I got there around half eleven and got changed. Chucked my hydration pack on with my nutrition and necessities (I actually took a whistle and foil blanket as I wasn’t sure exactly where I was headed except for up) and set off. Luckily they provide a route map!
The first climbs were brutal … I was immediately in the red and wondering what I was doing.
I had to settle into a powerhike for some of the next bit as it was virtually unrunnable for me without putting myself so far into the red I probably wouldn’t recover. Perhaps I’ve learned a few tricks in the last year and one is to hold back, this isn’t a race.
There were a series of false peaks at this poinmt which allowed some running in between but then as I reached the last of these I hit the ridgeline!
This was now runnable so off I set at a less than fearsome pace!
From Pen Y Fan its a short trip across the saddle to Corn Du – slightly lower but just as scenic.
I started descending on the other ridge and was enjoying the technical bits of the descent. There were only a few walkers who seemed to enjoy watching me hurtle past to my inevitable doom.
And then it started raining – just like that I was soaked, I went for my jacket from my pack and found I’d left it in the car …. Nevermind a bit of water never hurt anyone but I wanted to get down lower out of the wind.
At this point the rain stopped and although soaked through I was low enough to feel warm again just through running.
The descent continued a few miles down the valley and i was sure I would pop out near the carpark ….. which clearly wasn’t the case. I’d completely forgotten about the map I’d not so carefully studied at the start but luckily my trusty phone’s GPS told me I was in the wrong valley and a few miles away across another huge climb. Being the sensible being I am I declined freestyle rock climbing and simply followed the path down until I hit a road. From here it was a matter of a few miles up some nasty sodding hills to get back to my starting point.
I was wondering if it was worth a 120 mile round trip to do this but It was a great run of around 8 miles of constant climbing and descending with superb views. I was really pleased with how I felt throughout it and that I could even do it at all is something I’m proud of.
One day I’m going to do a run where nothing happens and I see nothing interesting. I thought for the first half of todasy 6 miles this would be the day. Weather calm, tide going out, felt good, foot not so bad …. and then ATTACK BY SEAGULL.
The chicks must have hatched or something because as soon as I reached the section of sand near the ladders I was divebombed by gulls until I ran a further 50 yards down the beach (then I ran back into the firing line for the photo op)
They were banking near the cliffs and coming in on a direct line for me before swooping past a few feet above my head. I figured I could stand my ground because if one was to hit me I reckon we’d be equal in a grapple on the sand.
I managed to take these photos which actually came out quite well considering I was using an ipod to catch a fast moving ball of winged fury.
Further down the beach I came across a far more chilled family of gulls
So yeah …. one day I’ll have a boring run …. one day
Have been taking it easy since last weds as I did this.
But yesterday I thought let’s go – tide was out around 4 and the blazing sun buggered off (I prefer to be cool, sun is not really my friend)
So when did 6 miles become a “short” run for me. This has happened really without me noticing. It used to be 2-3 but now I don’t even consider stopping at the beach and always go further. It’s lucky as today it took me towards Witches Point. In a cave near the waterfall I spotted something bright red. I’m like a magpie when it comes to pretty colours and thusly distracted off I went to investigate.
The red? Well that was a boring traffic bollard thingy but what’s this I spy …..
What the hell do you do with a 5ft inflatable shark apart from photograph it. Well what you do is to spend ages learning how to deflate it and then run home carrying it in your beachcombing paws. I have long since to ignore the stares of people on the beach (MY beach you tripper types) as I hurtle (cough cough) past holding my latest bit of booty.
So now I have a a deflated inflatable shark too. Not sure what I shall do with it but I will think of something I’m sure!
Sadly I didn’t have my proper camera as I can’t find my flipbelt but I took this dodgy photo for you scenery types
Summer has officially started – I am off work for 6 glorious weeks! Ok now I’ve rubbed that in I shall continue. Got home from work and immediately into gear for a early afternoon longish run. As I intended on being out for longer and although the weather was …. weird it was still humid so I needed hydration.
Luckily I had already bought a hydration bladder and hose online and tested it out in my racepak. Fits like an Altra! (slightly roomy and weird at first but when you’re used to it you don’t notice)
I also went left again. Look at me getting all adventurous. In fact I was heading fro uncharted territory! Loosen the mainbrace and splice the cat we’re setting sail!
For the first couple of miles or so it was plain sailing. The rocks were easy and plenty of sand, I knew that there were rocks lurking past Marcross so I was ready.
At this point I’d modestly like to step forward for a bravery award. I went inside. Basically I’m petrified of being in caves and underground. My mother took me to Big Pit once and I was terrified (to be fair we didn’t know I have this issue until we were down there)
But it was worth it – Take a look at the ceiling!
My route back was different in that I shifted myself a hundred yards inland and used the coastal path. I was actually glad to get off the rocks and so I could run with proper form and stuff – mainly uphill or so it felt
I was starting to tire now, I think the legs had taken rather a hammering on the rocks earlier and I was into a CBH (Complete Bastard Headwind)(TM). My hydration pack was working fantastically though. the only drawback being the sloshing noise behind me (Like being chased by a particulary aquatic Dr Who bad guy) but after a while I was used to that too. No biggie.
Altogether it was 11 miles in two and a half hours which seems slow but over that terrain (I wonder what its “worth” on road and with cave stops ‘m very happy with it =)
I thought I’d share a recipe I use for a trailrunning stew. It’s easy to make but requires exact ingredients, precision and timing.
Put a large pot of water on the stove and boil while adding any spices and herbs you have to hand. Measurements are based on how you feel at the time, whack it all in at this point. Add a healthy (in fact around half a dozen times whatever it says on the side of the tin) dose of gravy browning stuff ( vegetarian) . Chop up a few pieces of fresh tumeric and wang that in as well, good for you =)
Open the fridge. Take out everything vegetable. Chop up said vegetables into bitesize and smaller pieces. In this case I had cauliflower, potatoes, onions, peppers and mushrooms (mushrooms not chopped today as I like to see them bob about)
When water is boiling give it a stir and then chuck in all the veg and stir again.
Open your cupboards and find anything suitable from the bean family, in this case I used butter and borlotti beans. Bung those in as well.
Add some pasta until the pot is kinda full enough so your stirring implement of choice can stand up in it unaided. Add more gravy so its kinda sludgey and thick in there.
Give it a taste …. add some salt. Give it another taste and check the cupboards – pack of fajita mix will do, sprinkle the whole lot in and mix well.
I freestyled at this point and added chia and flax seeds mainly cos I wanted to see what would happen.
Try and find pot lid …. fail. Find old dogs bowl in cupboard and have a moment then remember her having an awesome life and smile.
Find pot lid where it shouldn’t be logically. Remove cat from kitchen where it is attempting to eat everything not nailed down while you hunted for lid.
Leave pot to boil then down to a simmer and slam lid on.
Timing is critical now, wait until you’re really hungry and then serve a gerneous portion and eat (minimum wait time around 30 mins)
Bit of a grey morning weatherwise but tide was out and I had a plan …Turn left!
I usually go right when I hit the beach, not sure why I just prefer it that way but today I was went left as I was looking for something …. but more of that later
Because today I had to use my quickness of feet to avoid the jellyfish invasion. A few jellyfish have been popping up on the beach of late but this morning there were hundreds nay thousands everywhere.
Now as all you trailrunners know your gaze gets nearer the more technical the terrain but usually on the sandy stretches of the beach I can look up and around without fear of tripping …. or stepping on a jellyblob. This morning I had to concentrate on not stepping on the little guys. I suppose if I was a complete git I could have splattered my way from one end of the beach to the other but no way was I crushing some of the worlds little marvels no matter how dumb and squidgey they are.
I therefore have decided to crown myself the world authority on trailrunning on technical jellyfish terrain. I fully expect my inbox to be bulging with such missives as “I have just got into trailrunning but find I have difficulty traversing jellyfish on rocky terrain, how can Improve my form in this situation?”
So hopping all over the place I found what i was looking for – rusty machinery! On the beach I hear you cry? If you know where to look and I do having spent years on this beach there are the rusted remains of an old shipwreck buried on the beach. Depending on the tide and coverage of sand and rocks you can find different sections.
I took photos of more pieces but as one rusty bit of metal looks very much like another i won’t post them all here :p