Saturday morning was cold but bright and so I decided it was time to tackle a longer run again. I chose to head left towards Llantwit via Atlantic College along the cliffs so I got to see the sandbank.
At Atlantic College I kept up on the cliffs through the playing fields. Not sure why they are named after King George but they are …
I turned at Llantwit and headed back along the beach, I don’t normally do this as theres precious little sand and around 4 miles of non-stop wavecut platforms but I fancied something different and for those 4 miles my legs got a great workout due to the constant stepping up and down on the rocks.
I did find some rocks with numbers painted on – I’m guessing someones doing an experiment in tidal movement – And now I have to come back to check out the results myself
After that it was plain sailing as I worked my way back around towards Witches Point creating a 14 mile loop. Considering the terrain I was happy to get it done in under 3 hours though my glutes took a bit of a battering.
Some days it’s just great to spend time outside to clear the mind.
Sunday was time for a long run, haven’t done anything more than 10 miles for a few weeks and I’m very aware I now have less than 6 weeks to the Preseli Beast 24 mile fell race….
A lovely spring morning though so I strapped on my pack with a litre of water, homemade energy bars and headed out. It was a complete pleasure to get out and run and I felt great for the majority of it. I planned 13 miles to the rivermouth in Ogmore and back and ended up doing 15. The slow introduction of speedwork seems to be working as it feels like I can run further at the lower speeds now.
This morning it was long run time so I ran a circular route along the cliffs as far as St Donats then the beach back to Witches Point and then back along the cliffs home which works out at around 13 miles but the terrain is tricky for a fair bit of it. As I write this my legs are definitely feeling it!
So a painful run in some aspects but wouldn’t have missed it for the world!
So I need a new watch. Not because it’d not working (an update fixed that problem) but it seems like the battery life is limited to around 4 hours …. And yesterdays long run went over that. Yes indeed, probably closer to 5, sit back and I’ll tell you all about it.
I knew it would be a long run so I took my energy bars and hydration pack (Pro tip from a non-pro: If you’re also taking a lightweight jacket then wrap the bladder in the jacket which helps stop the water warming from your body heat)
The tide was right in so no choice but to run the cliffs which meant more climbs, in for a penny!
So the descents … and ascents are kinda scary, exhilarating and painful at the same time
Shot through Southerndown and Ogmore like a raisin fuelled rocket and normally I would turn here to return home making it 13 miles. Today I had bigger fish to fry, I was off to Porthcawl! Thing is when you get to Ogmore there’s a wide rivermouth and the only place to cross is a few miles up the road meaning I would be on a big detour. Ah well It was a nice day, detour me up baby!
The detour happily led me past some swans – One of whom clearly thought I had bread so sailed close before paddling off in disgust
I reached the stepping stones where I could finally cross the river next to Merthyr Mawr castle – Or what’s left of it
My detour now led me to Merthyr Mawr dunes which I’ve run before but only after driving to them.
Running through the sand was a leg killer, I could feel how much work my calves and hanstrings were doing to get me up these hills. Felt like running in glue. There were a class of youngsters there with some endurance school logo on the back being trained to sprint through sand – That should put them off endurance sports for life nicely
The dunes lasted around 3 miles and put a few dents into my previously unquenchable confidence. Should I turn back, I knew I was now going to be in previously uncharted distance territory by the time I got near to home so I obviously plugged on, I was determined to reach Porthcawl.
I got to Porthcawl – Where back in march I met up with my family for a day and we wondered how far it would be to run back along the coast to home – 12 miles (including detour)
Porthcawl had joy of joys an ice-cream van! I had a can of coke and huge icecream as I figured I needed all the help I could get on the return journey. I followed the beach back before turning back into the dunes for some more punishment
I found a sandy track back in case I wasn’t fed up of sand. This is now around 15 miles in and the legs were really starting to suffer. Nutritionally I was fine the muscles in my legs were just getting wasted by the sand. I knew from here on in it was just going to be a painful grit your teeth and guts it out effort to get home.
At this point the photos appear to have stopped being taken with any regularity. I think this was as much because I had to keep going as stopping and starting just hurt more. I followed the detour and then changed course to trevel up over St Brides common before dropping into St Brides itself. I was bringing myself back on the roads but knew that it was pretty much all uphill from here as I was headed to Wick which sadly for me is the highest point in the Vale of Glamorgan (Ok its not Everest but it felt like it yesterday)
By the 18th mile my legs were pretty much gone and I was walking most hills – It’s trail running we get to do this right! (Another pro tip form a non-pro to new trail runners – Walk the hills if they are going to leave you blown up. Everyone does it and its nothing to be ashamed of. Wish I’d known this at the start)
The rest of me was fine just the calves, hammies and glutes had very little bounce and just felt dead. Strangely I was still enjoying it, the foot was playing up but then again I had been out for over 4 hours and nearly 20 miles.
Then I had the watch battery warning which surprised me but at least I had the sense to note the time and distance it finally died – Which as it turned out wasn’t too far from the finish.
This rather boring photo though will always mean a lot to me – its where I was when I hit the 20 mile mark for the first time ever
At 21 miles I reached my destination – Not home for once, I had decided to reward myself …
I had a couple with some friends here who didn’t seem to mind the sweat and then finished off by running home – Amazing how the legs start to recover immediatley after cider 😉
So all in all a tough run. Proud of it though, my previous best was 15 miles and I did 21 miles (not including the jog home after pub) and over 4 and a half hours on my feet. Ran through a lot of oh crap moments and pulled it together.