Up early

Had a days work marshalling on saturday and so got up super early (for me) at half six to run. I was so glad I did, set me up nicely for the day!

The beach feels different at that time of day and it was a sheer pleasure to do seven miles along it and then up to the cliffs home.

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Sun peeking over the cliffs
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Early morning view from Witches Point
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Dawn on the rocks

Boat race!

Not the Oxford v Cambridge type but today included a race against a boat along the coast. The run started normally as per usual.  Down to the beach and along to Witches Point.

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Tide was right out so the reef was very exposed – Note the slanty photo angle ….
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The recent deluges means the waterfall is alive!

At Witches Point I stopped to turn to return home (around 3 and a half miles) and noticed a sailboat just coming around the point and headed with the wind in the direction homeards…..

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If you can spot the boat … youve got better eyesight than me – but I promise its there

I wonder if Im faster than a sailboat over 2 miles? Even better a boat that doesnt know its in a race. The course was set – me v boat to the headland in the photo below. I had some rocks to traverse but I reckoned I could do it

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So as the boat drew level I was off.  Boats actually go much quicker than they seem when you’re trying to keep level so for the 2 miles or so I was going pretty much flat out. I was pleasantly surprised that I could do the first mile over a lot of rocks at 7 minute pace but the boat was keeping level. The second mile was just wet sand and with some determination and complete disregard for my health I managed a 6 minute mile (probably the first and only in my life) to come in just ahead of the boat. Winner winner chicken dinner!

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Boat slightly behind!

Next up a speedboat ….. kidding …. Last risk taken before the ultra …. probably

Recovery run of a different kind

After a weekend at my friends place that involved little sleep, much Guinness and a hardcore punk festival I was tired by the time I got home from work yesterday and the chances seemed high I was sofa bound but it was a sunny day and I hadn’t run in what 3 or 4?  And having read about my blogging buddies getting up and going for it I decided to do the same – thanks for the inspiration guys and gals.

It was definitely worth it, I flew! On rested legs it all felt so easy, down in the 8’s for much of it and it felt sustainable. 7 miles in just over an hour for a Witches Point run is good going for me. Perhaps I’ll be more ready for Cornwall than I thought.

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Low tide on the “reef” – Slower progress but more fun
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Happy accidents – I managed to take this photo of my feet while changing music and liked it

Old to New

Time to semi-retire my Inov8 xtalon 200’s I think. They can go in the back of the van for impromptu runs.  I think probably the best recommendation for running shoes is that I bought exactly the same pair to replace them. I find them that comfortable (for a stripped down shoe) and wouldnt run in anything else if I know I’m doing technical stuff. The grip is utterly fantastic and I love that I can really feel the rocks under my feet. I feel confident in my foot placement so much more in the 200’s.

But after around 3-400 miles I can see materials starting to tear and I want to run Cornwall in them – or the same model at least so I’ve got a new pair to break in ready.

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This is what hundreds of miles of battering on all sorts of terrain does to a shoe. Im mystified as to how they appear to have shrunk but both old and new shoes fit me perfectly well (they are both size 11) Its a testament i think to the quality of Inov8 shoes that they have lasted this long and to be honest there are miles left in them.

To be honest the new ones don’t even take any breaking in, I did 7 miles in them yesterday and felt perfect from the off.

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We did seaweed and rocks
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We did more rocks and revelled in the grip
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We did sand in lovely patterns
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We did forest trails

Welcome to the world new shoes – I’m gonna wreck you!

 

 

The briefest training partner

A quick tempo run around the beach today, was feeling good and working hard seemed to make me feel better so I pushed a little and did 5 miles under 10 minute pace for the whole thing which by my calculations include 20 stile and gates and at least half a mile of tricky rock running.  Im trying to recover some form as its only 5 weeks to cornwall and I havent fitted in a long run for ages due to a suddenly mental social life! Still you cant really justify missing someones wedding for a long run …. can you?

And the post title? I was pushing back up the wooded path homewards bound and passed an older guy in hiking gear, walking stick and broad brimmed hat, I puffed a good afternoon and went past. Next thing I know he’s alongside going hell for leather “to give you someone to race against” he shouted. I had to laugh, theres me working hard and this guy is flailing along madly next to me. Fair play he managed around 100 metres before falling back with the cry of “I’ll let you have this one”  I gave him a cheery thumbs up and headed on bemused.

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Standard beach shot
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Standard cow shot

 

To the barrow and back

It’s so easy to forget how lucky you are sometimes. We blow insignificant issues out of all proportion. I was thinking this as I ran the clifftops to the burial mound, one of my favorite places to sit and watch the channel as a break.  The fields atop the cliffs are as beautiful as the beach itself I just forget to appreciate them. I guess having lived around here all my life I take much of the scenery for granted – and I shouldn’t. So this post is for the unappreciated parts of runs, the fields and lanes that piece it all together.

Run-wise it was a quick 5 miles, everything felt pretty good and I noticed my pace on the flat has naturally fallen back into the 8-9 min per mile pace that feels quite comfortable.  Still blowing too hard on hills but who doesnt!? (rhetorical question)

 

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Coastal path between Monknash and Cwm Mawr
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Blue skies over the Vale – Looking inland towards Wick
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Sat pondering on the barrow mound looking out across the channel
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View back from Cwm Mawr to Monknash

 

Hellimacopter!

Sunday was a five miler along the beach and up to Wick through the fields, the weather was glorious but the tide was on its way in so I couldn’t hang around.  But whats that i spy hovering in the distance over the rocks that break up the two sands?

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Spot it yet?
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Hovering right over my access to the next beach

I had to run literally right underneath it to get past onto the next section of beach and trust me, running under helicopters this low isnt easy. Running up to it is perfect resistance training but the wind just buffets you from side to side. Then once past the wind pushes you at a terrific speed away from it – meaning I was running olympic 100M pace over a tricky rock section! Luckily I stayed upright until the wind died and with a cheery thumbs up to the crew (who were probably wetting themselves laughing) i was on my way again

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Best close-up I could do!

It’s never dull down the beach eh?