We’re still out there. And we’re just enjoying being out and training. By training I just mean running when we feel like it – which for Murph would be every day if he could but for his old man it means when I know the body can take it. No matter because we can always walk anyway!
It really is such a joy to be out with a dog again, I think I’d forgotten how much pleasure you can get just by making an animal so happy. Gotta admit Soaks is probably up there watching and thinking Thank God he never made me run like that, she was definitely a walking dog. But Murphy was born to run (to be fair its his genetics) and watching him bounce around and be a general lunatic with a huge grin on his face is a simple way of making any hurt I’m feeling disappear. It’s so easy to melt a mile away in his company.
Something different for this year as I’ve joined the WFRA (Welsh Rell Running Assocaiation) and decided to run some fell races this year. Not just the long ones I’ve already done such as Preseli but the short ones too. To see what it’s like as much as anything. i’ve never run a race less than 11 miles so I have no idea how to pace myself in races such as the one I did yesterday up in the Brecon Beacons near Llangorse. It was 3 miles and pretty much straight up and down – around 1000ft of climbing and descent.
As seems to be the case with races when you turn up everyone looks extremely fit and serious and in the majority of cases younger. Everyones got the kit and does stretching and stuff and looks like they know what theyre doing so instead I went and bought a coffee and sat with Murph (Everyone needs a co-pilot for map reading) in the van until the start time.
Lining up I considered my options (never plan too early it brings on self doubts) and as the start was literally stright uphill through fields at some crazy angle I decided the best plan was to go full gas until the wheels came off. I figured that 3 miles is a short run for me and it would be worth going nuts to see what happened. So off we went and to my surprise I found myself able to hang with the lead group as they charged off at some suicidal pace straight up. After a while it levelled out into a flatter climb and I found I could hang on there too. Then came a bastard of the main climb as per the image above and I dropped back a bit as eventually the wheels started to come off and although the legs felt really good I simply couldnt get enough oxygen in to keep up full speed. This is what comes of long long training with little speedwork I guess.
Up at the top it was foggy, windy and mercifully not as steep, we hit the trig point (kudos to the marshall up there!) and started the steep and in places slippery descent. By now I was running alone and was guessing the best lines to take (fell running allows you to pick a route in many sections) but made it down as fast as I could without blowing out my ankles. I did miss one turn slightly which cost me 20 seconds or so and 2 places but finally the line was in sight and its a joyous (yeah right) bound through the line.
I didnt really have a clue what time I’d done or where I’d placed, there were the serious looking runners milling around the finish so more coffee, went to watch the presentations and then off out with Murph to give him some time.
And here’s the mad bit – when I saw the results later on their website – I was 17th in a time of 28′ 06′ – Which I’m utterly astounded by. I had no idea how to run the race and out of 70 odd runners came in the top 20.
So what did I learn about short races – go full gas and redline it until the wheels fall off and then pray that no-one catches you on the descent. I really enjoyed it as a change to the longer stuff, less time to think and more time to really hurt – for a shorter time. Mynydd Ddu who organised it did a superb job and it was a great event to kick off the year, I’ll see what happenes next – Might even do some speedwork in training …. or not
I checked my mileage and it was 110 miles for the 2 weeks of xmas – oops no wonder things are a little achey so showing sense and in the spirit of trying to make it though 2019 without a major injury (touch wood etc) I took a week off running and just walked Murph instead. Admittedly we do around 6 miles a day at the lest but its not high impact and he has to have his walks or he goes mental
So lets face it im a terrible blogger nowadays. I never seem to have the time – or is it inclination because I do have the time really its not like my life is 100mph. But I digress. The running is going well, things still hurt and ache but my new strategy (strategy number 108 Ive tried I believe) is to not worry about it, niggles will go away and they arent going to stop me getting out.
In fact I looked at my movescount stats page for the first time in ages and was surprised to see 140 miles since I came back from injury less than a month ago and 44 in the last week. I didnt mean to let the mileage stack up again quite so fast but hey ho if im out and enjoying it i find it very hard to stop and seeing murph loving it too makes it even harder. So I’ll don my kamikaze pants and just pray the body holds together for 2019.
Onto the photos – unsurprisingly all of beaches. I really do need to go further afield (Though to be fair A I like beaches and B one of them is of a different beach which we visited over new year)
I’m not really a christmassy person. However I do find it a good reason to be outside and getting in some longer runs while I have the time off. In the last week I’ve managed around 50 miles (not counting today – Im waiting on the tide) and have taken the days off as needed when I can feel that the legs need the rest. If I was the type to do new years resolutions then ths years would be to try not to be injured half the time. Sometimes you cant do anything about it – Some times you can – I’ll at least try! I have plans for 2019 but everytime I announce plans something tends to get in the way so I’ll keep them to myself until they happen.
Until then I’m just going to enjoy being out with Murph and doing whatever miles I can.
Went away to Newport in West Wales for a few days to stay with friends who had a cottage there. of course it pissed it down for the two days – apart from early Sunday morning whereupon Murph grabbed the chance to go run up Carningli which forms part of the Preseli beast route. It was great to run up there without having already covered 13 or so miles but even on fresh legs its a killer.
It was also good to appreciate the area, when you’re racing you miss so much and so being able to take the time to stop and look was great. We bounced off along the beast route and then cut back to follow the track back to Newport. It’s odd how although I’ve only run this stretch twice in races it feels comfortable and familiar. I cant wait to get back out there in May to give the ultra another go. I’ve been toying with the idea of running the 24 mile version with Murph who would cope fine with the physical side but I don’t think would cope so well with other runners and bystanders. We shall see May is still a fair way off.
And by no time I mean im not running with a watch at the moment. Its a concious decision rather than I forgot to wear it. I figure all it does really is encourage me to look at pace and distacne etc when that really doesnt matter as I come back from injury. A watch can make you feel guilty about walking and right now I need to walk every now and again to rest the soreness. Its actually surprising what a few minutes of walking can achieve in relaxing the muscles again. If I look back I had reached the point where because I could run anything and everything I just did and at faster and faster pace – because I could and it felt good. Then i’d look at the watch and think wow 7 min miles – thats awesome – as my body slowly broke apart.
Sounds so sensible but the newfound commonsense (we’ve been here before I know) isnt quite there yet as I did 10 miles or so this morning through the rain and mist – but I loved being out again and actually running. I guess Murph did too …