Recipe time!

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 =)

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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.

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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.

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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)

Bon Apetit

The true beauty of ultrarunning

This moment perfectly why I’ve fallen in love with running and especially trail and ultrarunning.

100 miles, 22 hours 59 minutes and 30 seconds for this moment

If anyones interested theres a great read on the origins of the Hardrock here

And for those interested in individuals take a look at what Kilian is currently doing with Summits of my Life

I would say that he must be the most talented endurance athlete or probably complete althete in the world right now

 

Transparent blob dodging plus tags

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.

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Jellyfish advance party!

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?”

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Note correct foot placement, not on but between jellyfish. This is known in the trade as a jellyparade where they all order themselves in a line. It is best if you can run perpendicular to jellyparades but if terrain forces you to run parallel then run with short dainty steps to avoid The Squish(tm)

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.

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Rusted ship part 1
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I was happy to find this as it often gets comepletely buried. Most of the parts are scattered and small but this seems to be a complete section of hull still intact and buried.
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You can still see the individual rivets
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This piece is actually loose and just about liftable but much as I’d love it I’m leaving it here. Many peple have lost their lives in wrecks on this coast and to my mind this is where the wrecks should stay.

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

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Also I round another fossil. Altra for scale

So it was a great 5 mile run alrogether and now I get to play the tagging game! (If you don’t know what i’m on about check out this post from Sergei)

Happy days kids!

 

 

 

 

Not lost …. Just misguided (with added beavers)

On Tuesday afternoons I work up in the valleys and I always look at the surrounding hills and wonder what it’s like to run them. This morning I actually remembered to throw some kit and shoes in the trailmobile(tm) so after work it was time to get some elevation!

Elevation, pace, breathing blah blah blah lets get on with the photos

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Starting point – Pontycymmer, home of houses hanging off 45 degree gradients
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Ok not so steep I can handle this
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Jesus H Christ in a chickenbasker did I just run up that?
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Which led to another dirtroad – Which climbed up and up and up and up forever. Still it was sooooo peaceful, not a single soul anywhere to be seen.
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Purty flowers (Any excuse to stop to take a photo while going uphill)
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Reached the top and the views were stunning – sadly my camera and skills do not reflect the mountainous majesty at all
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More hills with annoying tree right in shot
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Believe it or not this is not the same road as before …. By now I had passed lots of turnoffs and every road looked similar and the identical trees were giving nothing away ….
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After even more climbing a clue – However the little yellow arrow is clearly pointing to the treacherous path of death while the nice smooth track leads away upwards ….hmmmm
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Of course I took the treacherous path of certain death and found it led to …. Valley of the Beaver. Well maybe not but I like to imagine our furry woodchipping friends doing all this deforestation.
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In a not very surprising twist of events the Path of Ultimate Treachery led into the Spooky Forest of Doom
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Which had the worlds tallest and straightest trees
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And apparently the worlds tidiest beavers who stack logs in neat piles everywhere
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Emerging from the forest and by now wildly guessing at the way to go by just heading downhill I realised I was actually running on the old spoilheaps created by the coal mining industry years ago
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I also found some very tasty looking mushrooms disguising themselves as Cornish Pasties (note kids DO NOT eat random fungi no matter how well baked they look – you will die or at least go on a trip you are unlikely to forget for many years)
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I “think” the identical roads run through that forest … maybe.
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Aha! Saved – A trail marker …… of utterly no use whatsoever seeing as you could indeed go three directions from here not two.

In fact I just kept heading down down down until I found my bearings. It was close though! I didn’t fancy spending the night in the woods with the roaming OCD beavers

Actually it was only five and a half miles but a fun and challenging run

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Of runs and rocks

Nice easy 5 miles down to and around the beach today.  As I wasn’t pushing myself at all I stopped to do some fossil hunting and found these!

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Part of an ammonite I think
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A Devils Toenail – Or Gryphaea
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It’s not a fossil but its a cool little pebble  anyway
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Also found this rock with crystals on top of it – too heavy to carry back though
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Tides out lets hunt!
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Love these rock formations lying at a 45 degree angle. Almost like natural bricks

So only 5 miles (2 of which I had to carry the rocks for extra strngth work) but a cool beach trip anyway. Plus foots not hurting! Today has been a result!

Running and Realism

Last night I was off to the beach, covered six miles and was out for over an hour and it felt great … up to a point.  My foot was aching a bit. Probably been overdoing it a little since the injury I thought …. This morning it’s more swollen and painful to walk on.

Hmmmm so this is where the realism comes in I guess. Hard to admit but i think I may have jumped the gun signing up for the ultra in Cornwall in now only 5 weeks. Being realistic instead of blindly optimistic my spidey senses tell me I can’t train hard enough without screwing my foot again and I really don’t want months off running again.

I can defer the race til next year and I’m starting to think its the only sensible option. Which does indeed make me feel a bit of a fool for getting all excited about it and then postponing it almost immediately.  It’s not in my nature to give up and this feels a bit like giving up.

I’ve read back through my blog and this stood out – I wrote it just as the injury was healing “ I’ve spent some time considering things while off injured and have come to realise I can’t hammer my body at this age (which does makes me sound old) when it’s not really used to it. If I want to run at all I need to run smarter, lower impact and run slower.

Guess I may need to be smarter ….

Anyway yesterday was a lovely run in the sun! Apologies for the poor quality but i forgot my camera.

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Rocks! This is as far as I got as the tide was coming in and my new found sensible nature decided I didn’t want to get trapped
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Heading back – Still enough sand to run on!
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But wait – I’m hot and need cooling down – Run in the waves!
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Testing the drainage qualities of Altras – They drain really well but do let a bit of sand in too
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Just a beautiful view 

Long beach & cliff run plus news!

How do you keep an idiot in suspense goes the old joke. I’ll tell you later.

Anyway today it was time to see exactly how much fitness I’d lost through injury, there was a reason for this test but first the run. As I knew I was likely to be going at least 10 miles I knew I’d need water and fuel so I cracked out the salomon squishy bottles and made myself some new fuel – I hereby announce to the running world the invention of the Honey Bomb!

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Working on the principle that you don’t eat with your eyes I present the first batch of Honey Bombs. I swear they taste so much better than they look … honest

Ingredients – all chucked in a bowl with no measuring.

Raisins, dates, flax and chia seeds and a dollop of honey all mixed together and placed carefully in scientific manner on a baking tray and then wanged in the freezer.

Result? I have discovered purest energy! Well I ate three of them on my run and they certainly kept my energy levels topped up. The only drawback being their incredible stickiosity. I wrapped them in silver foil so when unwrapping them I must have looked like the worlds healthiest junkie.

I was also glad to have taken a litre of water too as it started to get hot towards the end although I did actually hydrate myself all the way through which I’m disproportionately proud of. All this I packed away in my Inov8 race pack 4 which is just so comfortable I don’t even notice it’s there. The salomon soft flasks work great as once you’ve had a gurgle out of them they fold up and can be carried in a pocket until empty.

Anyway I managed just over 12 miles which didn’t feel like a struggle until the hill into Wick to my folks (another shout out to the folks) near the end which just felt like it was going on forever, plus it was half road and as we all know I hate roads. My body felt fine above the waist, the legs simply haven’t got the miles back in them yet but I’m sure that will come.

The beach was as usual beautiful even though I was going into a headwind on the way out and I managed to remember to breathe through my nose pretty much for the whole thing. This is becoming second nature which I’m especially pleased with as I know I’m no longer blowing myslf to bits early on.

Enough text they cry! Where are the photos?

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Outward bound – I tried to capture the headwind but failed :p
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Cliff stack – I’m waiting for this one to come down (as long as I’m not under it at the time) Also spot my superb accidental capture of a seagull
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Green! I knew I’d get some green in for CeeJayKay. This is actually a very rare phenonemon called cliff snot
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View from the cliffs again plus some green
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WARNING! Rockpool ahead!
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View running back along the cliffs (more green plus fluffy clouds for SRG)
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Foresty bit (included for its greeniosity)
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Field of unripened corn – Note colour!

Oh yeah so the news ….

I’ve signed up for a race in August. In Cornwall! It’s a trail run along the Cornish coastal path. A friend of mine and I are going to camp down there for the weekend as there is a bar and DJ and stuff to entertain him while I run on the saturday.

Thing is … the 20 miler I was originally going to do was full so I kind of ….. signed up for the 32 mile option. I have 6 weeks to prepare. I may well die (note to parents this is a lighthearted throwaway line I won’t really die)

Ultra or bust! Probably bust but I’m going to give it my best.