Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!

Or happy St Davids Day!.  St David is the patron saint of Wales, however unlike St Patricks Day which appears to have been hijacked by Guinness to become a global green branding day, St Davids day is much more low key. To be honest you wouldn’t really know it was going on but luckily as I work in schools I got to watch the kids in their outfits performing their Welsh renditions of songs.  I also discovered in this afternoons school that the kids (and I suspect the work of their parents and grandparents in this) had made numerous welshcakes and various traditional Welsh dishes and brought them into school to be judged by the staff. And it was all up for tasting grabs!  Hey it’s my national day too, I’m allowed to shovel cake!

Sadly due to the climate of today I can’t show you any photos of the kids as its strictly forbidden under pain of death to take any so I present you with my last remaining cat Trouble patriotically draped in the Welsh flag.

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Not quite sure why he stayed still so long with a flag on him, I expected a fight to the death over this photo but it was actually very easy

So after all my cake it was lucky the sun came out this afternoon so a quick run to and around the beach was in order! Just a quick 4 and a half miles to get the legs moving again after the weekend. Hamstrings a bit tight but hey ho thats to be expected after a near 20 mile weekend.

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One day i’ll hold the camera level I promise

On the way back some colour amongst the rocks caught my eye so I investigated and found a buoy! Ok so I’m terrible for beachcombing, I love stuff that the sea gives me, usually driftwood and I really really really wanted this buoy! Look it’s orange! This is after I’d actually untied it from the rope and yes I ran back with it. God only knows what i’ll do with it now … Maybe one day i’ll find a whole boat and I’ll already have a buoy to go with it ….

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I so wanted the rope too!

My driftwood finds have at least been more practical. I cant remember if I posted this before but simply chopping up a length of driftwood and screwing it into the wall makes handy pegs for running gear! There you go today has been most educational :p

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Living alone means you can do stuff like this!

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Easy like a sunday morning …

Well today was going to be a rest day after yesterdays fifteen.  When I woke the sun was shining down and hey the legs weren’t feeling too bad at all! So on with the gear and out for a slow recovery run. Although the tide was in the beach was as ever beautiful this morning.

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Blue skies and little fluffy clouds

I didn’t bother with music today and it was great to hear the birds trilling away in the woods and the stream rushing by. I forget sound can be as important as sight when you’re taking in nature.

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Nature being taken in by me!

On the way back I did a detour through some fields – Just to see what was there really. What was there was some very soft marshland so I managed to get some resistance training done on my recovery run … ooops

It really is a beautiful place to live and run though and it was good to ease back and reflect on how lucky I am to have this and how far I’ve come. Seven months ago I could barely run across one field without having to walk the next. Now I can run 15 miles offroad and then get back out the next morning – purely because I want to not because I feel I have to.

I’d just like to say a big thanks to everyone who reads, comments and likes the posts on this blog. Originally it was intended for myself to keep a track of my runs and thoughts and I figured it would never get read and be lost in the sea of internet blogs. But the kind, thoughtful and encouraging words from people have both surprised and cheered me on. So yes a big thankyou to everyone!

And now for some rest and recovery …. I swear!

Pushing on a little further every day

After a good win for Wales over France last night (good not great, we seem to have difficulty crossing the line) I actually left the pub early, not that I wasn’t enjoying myself but I knew I wanted to run today. How times have changed!

I felt good today and planned to do a long run so took my pack (did I mention I love my Inov8 pack) with me. Lucky I did as I ended up doing 15 and a half miles!  Basically it was the half marathon I did before with a trip along the beach to Marcross tagged onto the end. I must admit I felt pretty damn good for all of it up to about mile 12.  At this point i came off the lovely smooth flat sandy stretch back onto rocks and found my legs were stiff and it was difficult to pick them up higher for the rocks.  This did abate after a while, I’m guessing that the low stride of the sand locked them a little.  Will have to remember this – pick those knees up on sand!

Speaking of knees I had very little trouble with them today.  I deliberately set a slower pace as I knew i’d be out longer (not that it was much slower according to the watch by the end) and concentrated on my form. I’ve been looking at chi running, as much because I try to keep an open mind and i’m currently devouring anything running related.  So I was trying to stop myself from leaning back which I tend to do on flat ground. This may have helped the knee or it might have been the slower place or the moon may be in Aquarius or something, all I know is it doesnt hurt.

I was feeling the distance in my legs by the end but I guess no pain no gain and all that malarkey. A good rest day tomorrow should help matters.  I also found a fuelling formula today that worked for me. Start fuelling 45 minutes in and every half hour after that. It seems to be about the right interval to keep me going steadily.

So all in all i’m really happy with today. The distance, the pace, my mood and it really feels like i’m progressing – albeit slowly – but at my own pace and in my own way. Enough burbling, to the photos!

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View from Witches Point – Yes I know i’ve posted similar photos before – I just love this view!
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Southerndown Beach
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Like a millpond as they say!
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Other side of the Ogmore river – Merthyr Mawr dunes – Now theres a thought ….. (Oh and pony trekking)
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I used to sit here for hours just throwing stones for Soak to fetch – She loved that game and would never tire of it.  I stopped here for a moment thinking about her today.
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And as I stopped and thought the sun poked through the smallest gap in the clouds and shone on me – I know i’m a sentimental bugger but I just get the feeling she’s letting me know she’s ok
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Decided to take the narrow route above the cliffs
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Kind of wish I hadn’t as this was the drop if I missed a step
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Twas a police helicopter hovering over the area today – Plus a few rescue boats, not sure if it was an exercise or they were actually looking for someone.
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Waterfalls on the return path home
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Not sure I can eat these….
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Aid station manned by horse – Nope shouldnt have eaten the mushrooms

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Spatial Awareness (i.e. The art of not decking it)

Noticed today that I had no niggles at all during the day and so of course that gave me the green light to run …. as if I needed an excuse.  The knee did start vaguely complaining after 3 or 4 miles but then I did give it a bit of hammering on the rocks at the beach.

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Rocky beach at Monknash

It always amazes me that I can run along rocks such as these and leap from one to another without falling or stopping. My brain can clearly process the information fast enough to just allow my legs to adjust in time but there’s no way i can do it consciously. In fact if I think about it while doing it I will slow and miss a step.  There’s a word for this which I did stumble across a while back and now I can’t find it again!  I used to watch Soaky on the beach doing the same thing but controlling four legs with ease. We are all the most incredible beings when you stop to think about it – Just don’t think about it while you’re doing it maybe

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Cloud front at Nash sands
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Rockpool at Traeth Mawr

So just a gentle run today – around 4 and a half miles. Figured I’d get it in as tomorrow night is Wales vs France (I need to take it easy as I fancy a longer run on saturday)

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Up & Down or Rather Down & Up

Gorgeous day today that had me thinking that perhaps … just perhaps spring is here …. and therefore watch it rain tomorrow.  I pondered whether I should be taking a rest day as I had a niggle in my left ankle to go with the usual dull and faint throb in my right knee. But the weather was just so fantastic I coudn’t do it, I couldn’t resist the run and with views like this can you blame me?

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Rest day – I’ll wait for a rainy day

The tide was rapidly coming in so I hot footed it to the sand and managed to competed Traeth Mawr and back before i got cut off (sounds dramatic, I was easily back in time)

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Sun starting to set at Traeth Mawr

So ok I had run when i probably should have rested so time to go home …. but wait it’s still lovely and warm and the sun hasn’t set ….. and I’ll just go up onto the cliffs …. and run to Marcross and back adding another 3 miles or so.  I’ll rest when it rains I swear!

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Marcross lighthouse at sunset

So a really enjoyable six and a half midweek miler. I’m a bit achey in the knee right now so maybe a rest day tomorrow ….

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Sunset over the Nash sandbank

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Cliff run and sunset

Was a beautiful evening and couldn’t wait to get home to run down to the beach, knew the tide was in and wanted to check on the legs before deciding to get up on top of those cliffs! In fact I felt just fine after the weekend and found myself pushing harder than I normally do for most of the run – especially the downhill bits. I decided on sunday that downhill miles are essentially “free” miles and so I need to learn to maximise their potential and save myself some energy. So today I practiced letting gravity take over and increasing the stride length. It can get a bit hairy at times, especially with the steepness of some of the hills coming down from the cliffs but it’s also great fun and a skill I want to improve.

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Tides in so up on the cliffs I go – Between Cwm Nash and Cwm Mawr
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Cwm Mawr – Thats a hill opposite I need to master
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The fields on the way home – I promised you sunsets slowrunnergirl and I do not let down :p
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More sunsets! (Ok so technically the same sunset from a different location)
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Sunset over the stream at the ruins of Monknash Monastory
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Bit close to the edge to be honest but the beach from the Cwm Mawr side
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Sunset as viewed from inside a prickly bush

 

Last trails and hills before the half

A beautiful day to get out today, had things to do this morning so had to run when tide was in (grrrrrrrr) but as I’m learning every cloud has a silver lining and all that. I decided to run along the cliffs so I could get a few hills under my belt.  It was so lovely I couldn’t resist taking my camera as well as my phone to see if I could get better resolution photos. I quite like the way some have turned out, feels much more natural than using phone filters.  As for the run it was just under 5 miles and at a steady pace for the terrain. I started in the usual place at Cmw Nash

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Blue skies at Cwm Nash – First hill done
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Looking from Cwm Nash to Marcross. Keep an eye on the cliffs at the far end of the bay – I shall appear there in a few photos time.
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Arriving at Marcross – The lighthouse is in the distance. I believe these are Iron Age barrow mounds. Great to run on and around.
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Here I am at the other end of the bay from photo 2! It’s a beautiful run along these cliffs but you need a head for heights to come up here to take this photo.
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Oh and to get up there to take the photo you have to climb this beast – I managed to run the whole thing, well sort of run, more of a powerhike
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Hey look at the amateur photographer with his shadow in the photo :p  Anyway thats the forest I get to run through on the way back. Much fun on a narrow slippery trail =)

So all in all a great run, everything felt fine so now some rest until sunday – To be honest I’m glad the forcast is for rain tomorrow otherwise I’d be itching to be back out there

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