A sad one

Please don’t read if you’re an animal lover. This one doesn’t have a happy ending.

I ran on saturday morning and planned at least a 10 miler so I set off eastwards along the cliffs to Nash Point, I dropped down onto the beach there and noticed a lot of blood on the rocks – Then I spotted a full grown stag among the rocks with a bleeding mouth. Ok not the usual sight on a beach.  I called a friend to contact the RSPCA for me as I was in and out of phone service.

I figured if I could get it up off the rocks and onto the grass above it would at least be safe from the tide. Sadly as I approached it it leapt up and scrambled up the short edge of the cliff itself – but on two broken front legs.  It had clearly fallen off the cliff during the night. It was so sad to see but it made it to the grassy bank above and lay down.  At least it was off the rocks.

In a bit of a dilemma now I decided to wait for the RSPCA – who never came – apparently too busy. I waited there with it for an hour and a half until the police and fire service came (not sure who called them but i was grateful as I was getting hypothermic by then in shorts and tshirt).  I spent the time keeping warm by keeping people away from it.  Even after explaining it was badly injured and going close would force it to move on broken legs they still wanted to see. I virtually forced people to take the other path around it, in fact I would have quite happily chucked some of them off the cliff.

The police asked me what condition it was in and the only honest one I could give was “fucked” and it was, it would have to be shot but by now there were people around and a busload of kids probably doing the Duke of Edinburgh. Shooting deer in sight of them wasnt the greatest idea and so he called a vet to cover himself – probably the right thing to do.

In the end I left them there before I really did get hypothermia, I couldnt do anymore for the poor creature and so I said goodbye to Cedric (I dunno why I named it – I talked to it across the valley for a while) and ran off home.  I’m sure Cedric wouldnt have survived much longer and I hope his suffering ended soon after.

This is a long range shot of him.  You dont want to see a closeup


Cold and wet = Gear testing

It was cold, windy and raining when I got home on Wednesday and I was actually happy about It! I got the chance to try out the rain jacket I had to buy for the kit requirements at the preseli beast five months ago. Seriously it’s wales and I haven’t needed once – I carried it at the roseland ultra too so I figured it had done 56 miles without being worn.

It’s a ronhill jacket (not sure of type) which is fully waterproof with taped seams to pass kit inspections and its actually great to wear, I thought it might get a bit hot but was just perfect, I was a little damp afterwards from sweat but not excessively so and it was so worth it to keep out the cold and wind which it did a brilliant job at.

I also wore full length running tights for the first time. They were actually an impulse purchase as we have a “designer outlet” near work which have some good running shops selling last years lines (I guess) and one of these is an Asics shop which does fantastic sales. I picked up the tights for £7 and have picked up loads of shirts for around a fiver and being asics (I like their clothing) its all great quality.

The tights at first felt a bit weird but by the ed of the run (around 7 miles) I was sold.  They kept the legs warm and did away with the annoying “drag and swish” of wider tracksuit bottoms (If youve ever run in them you know what I mean) plus they dont hold water like tracksuits.

So ok Ive now worn lycra shorts and full length tights …. Im guess im sold on this running thing. Luckily I gave up on careing what I looked like many moons ago!

Met some wet looking buddies too!




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.

Tide was right out so the reef was very exposed – Note the slanty photo angle ….
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…..

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


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!

Boat slightly behind!

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

Back in the groove

Got a run in before the impending storms … that never really happened – shame I was looking forward to some thunder and lightning.  It was humid though.

I appear to now only suffer from plantar fascitis when not running ….. once I’m running it seems fine but afterwards and in work it aches – go figure! I’ll live with that tradeoff to be honest … typical runners reaction I guess!

To the photos!

Moody lighting
Up the ladders and up the cliffs 
Along the cliffs and home

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.

Low tide on the “reef” – Slower progress but more fun
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.

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.

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

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



Barrow run number 2

You ever have one of those runs where everything feels like its clicking?  It was hot yesterday so I doubted I would really enjoy the run but a cooling breeze on the clifftops plus a pair of legs that were really up for it led to a tempo run for much of it. I’m still being careful not to push too hard but when it feels right then go for it!

First I had to get past the terrifying guardians of the bridge!
Then onwards along the cliffs to Nash Point and the second set of barrows or Iron Age hillfort or whatever it is.  Maybe both