I didn’t mean to honest

Ran for the first time in 3 weeks on Saturday, I didn’t actually mean to but Murphy freaks when there are people around (only 3 fishermen to be fair at 7 in the morning) and so it was easier to manouvre him at pace as he’s happier at a run.  And so once we started we didn’t stop so an unexpected 6 miles to Witches and back with very little niggling from ankle. I’m no fan of the heat so keeping the mileage low is easy at the moment!

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Catching the early morning rays
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Happy doggo at Witches Point
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beautiful morning with tide right out for us
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More bale jumping
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Sunday evening stroll with Tilly

Always learning

You cant teach an old dog new tricks?  I dont believe in that or I wouldnt be running ultras right now and you can certainly teach a young dog lots of tricks.  What I am learning is that I don’t really need to batter my body to pieces in order to keep at a good level of fitness, my running milage is lower but the quality is higher and I am guessing my overall milage if you include walking has risen thanks to Murph.

I could be running more but it seems less important than just spending time on my feet  and making Murph happy, dont get me wrong he loves running too but sometimes its just nice to chill and enjoy watching him play especially when its hot.  I can judge how im feeling and turn up and down the intesity but Murph doesnt have that option, he’s flat out no matter how hot it is and its the responsible thing to do not to push him. Its a nice balance im finding at the moment. Plus I’m suffering less pain in the ankle and toe and figure it cant be a bad thing to let things heal a little, it was a long hard training block up to Preseli and although its hard to switch off from that mentally its the right thing to do.

So I havent run all week but have been to the beach a dozen times and only this morning we ran and it was a nice change and was nice to run pain free, only 3 miles but enough

As for young dogs learning new tricks – This week we nailed sit!

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Sit!
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See those teeth – do not stick your hand in his mouth even if its only playing – Im learning 😉
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Happy running
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Posing again

Lifes good

Murph and I ran another 6 miles yesterday – He loves it, puts me to shame, when im flagging and he gambols off into the distance its a good feeling though as I know he’s not even really putting any effort into it and clearly enjoys the whole thing. Today we just walked 4 as the ankle still plays up a bit. Its good to be able to do either as I feel. So yeah … lifes good!

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Taking a break
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Checking out the way ahead
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New rockfall – right where I warned the “geologist” to get from under the cliffs a few months ago. Would take a bit of digging to get him out from under there
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Chilling in the fields

Miles behind

I’m running but completely failing to post about it! Perhaps it’s because I’m not really measuring what I’m doing but in the last week or so we’ve done a few 7 milers to witches including today and a few shorter ones.

Everything’s feeling remarkably good considering what I did to it a few weeks ago, even the ankle isn’t protesting too much. I’ll continue in this new relaxed manner while I work out what murph can and can’t do. Well actually he’s a flying machine but I’m just erring on the cautious side especially in the heat. And now some photos!

Derp dog at Witches
Murph and Tilly at sunset
More murph n tilly
Happy to be out on the run
Extra dog – this is Jake, He doesn’t get to join in as much as he’s 18 but we took him out one cool morning and he joined in the stream fun
Chilling in a friends garden
Non dog photo of sunset at monknash

First steps

Last weekend I planned to camp near St Davids in West Wales with Murph, we packed the van and headed off. Things didnt go quite according to plan … First off I went to set the tent up and no tent poles – god knows where they are but they weren’t in the tent bag.  It was also clear that Murph wasnt very happy with the campsite, he’s very nervous anyway and new situations plus people meant I could tell he wasnt going to enjoy the whole thing as I had hoped.  So what do you do when life gives you lemons – go for a run!

We did around 9 or 10 miles (I’m not wearing a watch at the moment as the plan following the ultra is to just enjoy it again) along the coastal path and it was Murphs first “proper” run and he did fantastically.  I kept him on lead all the way as I dont know the area well enough but it wasnt a problem. He’s pretty good at judging pace (though he clearly doesnt notice hills like I do and doesnt slacken off) so I would imagine we knock along at 8 to 9 min/mile pace which he seems to enjoy best.  I even had his lead tied around my waist (its one of the fancy ones with a clip on the handle to accomodate this) and that works too.  The only problems we had were on technical sections where he tends to choose the best line (Ie the one I’ve also picked) a split second before me.

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Limbering up at the beach
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Its a beautiful path
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Even better when the sun comes out
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Some rocks and stuff
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tongue out = water stop
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Might even be the same rocks … who knows?
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Looking handsome

Returning

Returning to Preseli, returning to running.

A week afetr running the ultrabeast in Preseli I went back with Claire and the dogs to walk in the hills.  To be honest I dont think i’d get bored of that place. Was strange in a way to walk the paths I’d run the week before and a damn sight easier.  We actually ended up doing the Beast Bach 11 mile route with a bit tacked on so we could reach a rocky outcrop so a 12 mile walk in the hills on a sunny day – cant fault it.  The dogs had a whale of a time plus (and this was intended) we didnt have to endure a single second of anything royal wedding related – Win Win!

I also realised yesterday Im doubly blessed – I loved running the ultra (Yes once again a week later I’m no longer saying never again and I’ve forgotten all the pain) and I loved walking up there with the dogs.  I can do either happily and not miss the other. Thats lucky

Today I felt like running again, the legs have been a bit wrecked this week – monday was horrendous/hilarious depending on whether you were me or watching me.  But today although they are still a little tired I could feel the spring is back and I can drive again rather than shuffle. Murph loves running – well he trots at a gentle pace, I think he’ll make a pretty good training partner.

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Tilly loves water – Murph aint so sure
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See?  Thats the water rat fetching a stick and my rat being a wuss and only putting his paws in
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Reckon he’s happy – soft sod will let her do anything to him
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If dogs could talk – So you ran over that over there mountain right?  Idiot ….
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Awesome photo nose cut-off skills
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Till posing on a cairn as per
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Alert
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back of the van is now a dog chill out zone – Fully padded out with pillows, dog beds and sleeping bags – They slept the whole way home
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Handsome beasts … well one of us

 

Triple Crown at Preseli

Yesterday was Preseli Ultrabeast day. 2 years ago I ran the Beast Bach 11 mile race linky and last year I ran the Preseli Beast 24 miler linky and yesterday I completed the hat trick with the Ultrabeast.  I was to be honest a little concerned about it as although training has gone well and I feel in good form, breaking a toe on a baby gate 2 weeks ago was going to make it a different proposition plus I know what the course is like – as Carwyn the organiser puts it “As if the original wasn’t hard enough for you!  And if the 32mile route doesn’t grab you enough, then what about the 6,000ft of ascent it now has! Be warned this is no easy walk in the park. This is proper hardcore fell running terrain. This route really does take it to the extreme and those thinking of running this one really must be physically and mentally prepared.”

32 miles, 6000 feet of ascent (and the quad shredding descents which by the end are worse) through fell country, not much of this is run on any sort of trail and most is barely a sheep track.  It had pissed down constantly during the day before and there was a lot of mud, the evil black sucky mud you only seem to get on the beacons (Preseli is the westernmost end of the Brecon beacons).    There were moments when you went up to your knees in it, at one point up to the groin. You just could tell until you hit it. All part of the fun but it just sucks and sucks at your legs.

For the sake of the marshalls (who were superb as ever here – especially the one dressed as a lobster) the ultra started the same time as the 24 miler.  This made pacing tricky as everyone set off around the same lick and it was hard to judge what the extra 8 miles would be like.

The option was also there around 20 miles to skip the 8 mile extra loop out into the wilds and still get a qualifying finish in the 24 miler.  You make this decision at the top of the longest steepest hillside there is and apparently quite a few took it and I cant blame them. By then things were really hurting and the thought crossed my mind but not for long. Those extra 8 miles were beautiful singletrack and took us out to parts i’d not seen before including a monolithic hillfort.  There were more climbs, more descents and more pain than I care to think about now but by then I had grouped with 3 other lads who were in a similar boat and were happy for me to tag along and for once I was happy for the company. Sometimes its ok to suffer in silence and sometimes misery loves company. When its not just you stepping into knee deep freezing mud for the hundredth time it makes it easier to bear.

The last peak was finally done and all that was left was a 3 or 4 mile descent on busted up everything – Sometimes its that last drop that kills.  But finish I did in 7 hours which I’m well pleased with considering the toe and the terrain.

Dunno where to go next …. who cares

Anyway if you read all that you get the photos – Beauty of ultras with fuckoff big mountains is you feel better about stopping occassionally for a photo op.

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First up, spot the start of the bogs
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Climb to Carn Ingli – around 12 miles in, yep right up to those peaks
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View from Carn ingli
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Looking back towards Newport bay whence we came
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Marshalls on Carn Ingli
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Next point – yeah just run to that cairn on the horizon and go left
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See that peak – yeah we’ll probably cross that one too
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They all look the same after a while
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Somewhere in a field with mercifully no bogs to fall in
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The extra loop took us out into bluestone country – Apparently this is where the stones came from for Stonehenge. I cheerfully apprasied my fellow runners with this information – I was glad the correct retort was “Its a pile of fucking rocks”  Thank god we’re all in the same mental boat then i’d hate it to be just me
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Leading the way along the ridge – my newfound friends following
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Unmanned checkpoint (on a pile of fucking rocks) – here we had to draw a smiley face on our bibs to prove we came, saw and gasped for breath
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Checkpoint view
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Hey guess what – we get to go up there – its steeper and longer than it looks and after 20 odd miles its an utter bitch
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Mud. Bastard mud – Socks kept my feet clean tho!