The truth is we did it all for the biscuits

7.52AM on a dim sunday morning in October it was complete. 2000 miles in a calender year for the Murph and I. The murphometer is full.

292 days. 2000 miles. 1 packet of cheese biscuits to celebrate. And then we ran on. What else was there to do?

Coming and Going

Again it’s been a long time since i last posted, been busy busy busy, Well when I say more too lazy to post to the blog. If it’s a choice between writing about doing things or actually doing things its no choice at all. So we spent the summer running at dawn before the sun kicked in and then strolling through the fields once it did. It works well for us, neither of us particulary likes running in heat and I always feel its my choice if I do so but Murph would just follow me until he collapsed and thats not fair.

Between all that running and walking we’ve seen a bit of an increase on the old Murphometer.

Thats right we are around 1800 miles – which means I think we’re going to be done with 2000 miles this year a few months in advance – I’m sure we’ll keep it ticking over though. I’ve been pondering it and I think next year I’ll forget about logging mileage – it’s an interesting thing to do but I want to also just wander without having the numbers clicking through my brain. After all that the reason I don’t train with a watch anymore.

We also started exploring the Brecon beacons again now we can go back out there in preperation for some plans I have a long way down the line and of course it’s always great to get out there with murph for a day.

And some sad news is that we lost little Trouble the cat after 21 years. The little dude just got too old in the end. Weird to spend almost half your life with an animal and then he’s gone. I still look for him waddling about in his old routine and find myself still saying morning to him first thing as he headed for his food bowl.

However onwards and upwards. The sadness fades and there are always happy memories and many more memories to make with Murph. It just brings it more into focus.

And so on with the photos!

Doing it our way

Over the years I think I’ve read about, listened to and absorbed a vast amount of information about running. How to do this, how to get better at that, 2500 simple tips to improve your stride length etc etc and if I’m honest the vast majority of it has been meaningless waffle. Running clickbait in the main. Of course there have been many useful articles and books but how many can be applied to my very amateur level of running?

I think I’ve belaboured this point before but training plans don’t work for me – I’m sure they do for others who like the structure and like to see the metrics of progress. Having to do this or that on a certain day may well increase performance but to my mind it decreases enjoyment. I’m only revisiting this because I thought about it while running earlier.

The thought process went something like this. I was reading a book regarding the central governor theory and how the brain judges percieved effort based on how far you still have to go and regulates effort so you get to the end with something in reserve. Whether it’s scientific fact or not isn’t the point here but it got me thinking as we tootled along the beach that three times this week I have set out for a run with Murph and had no idea how far we would go and how long we would be out. The only determining factor being the weather as I don’t run murph when it get’s too hot.

I was musing that therefore my brain has no idea whether I have another mile, 3, 5, 7 or 10 miles to go and also has no clue how much longer I will have to maintain the effort for. So does that mean my central governor is off or muted. Who knows? It’s certainly a way of thinking that appeals to the way I train. I simply go out to have fun with Murph and before we know it we are a dozen miles into another adventure, tired and happy.

In the name of unstructured training we have expanded our lack of planning to include direction … thus

The pebble of chance – Get to the beach, flip a pebble and it determines whether we go left or right – either way is fine by us.

Lessons learned

Last few weeks have been a holding pattern – for much of the world I think. I was musing on the run the other day – last week was my birthday and that morning I planned to get up early and do a long run. I didn’t have much of a plan, it was more a case of throw some food and water in a pack and head out with Murph to enjoy the day before anyone else was awake.  As it turned out we did 17 miles and were out for 4 hours plus – which I was happy with, much of the route was beach and much of it was rocky so progress was slow but we loved every minute. Even when with an hour to go the heavens opened and the chill cut in.

I digress – I was musing about the lockdown and how I felt about it. I have friends who are frustrated, depressed and can’t wait until its over – Which is understandable. So I was trying to work out why I feel so relaxed about it all, of course I can get out with the dog that helps but I genuinely am content to sit and wait and sit and wait and sit and wait. You can’t rush this thing, you can’t fight it, you might as well punch fog. No point in being angry it just needs riding out.

And then I figured perhaps I cope because it’s similar in a way to ultrarunning. You grind through it, you chop it down to step by step, you don’t look at the ending, you can’t look at the ending because it’s so far away and that distance is overwhelming. So perhaps ultrarunning has taught me patience and how to deal with living in the moment and taking one step at a time. The goal will come, we will get through this, you can’t rush it, the finish line comes when it comes. You might as well do what you can to enjoy the ride. In last years 50 miler there were moments I wished for the end, 10 miles out I was praying for the line to come, it couldn’t come fast enough. I look back and I see the mistake I made. I concentrated on the end not the journey. It’s inconceviable to me now I did that, I would give anything to be out there right now 40 miles into a race but out in the mountains and in pain. To try to enjoy that last 10 miles instead of wishing them to end.

No those last 10 miles weren’t pretty but they could have been if I’d chosen to embrace them not hate them.  It might be a poor anology with people dying out there and losing jobs but times pass and we get one shot, embrace it all, even the shit bits.

IMG_20200414_073935076
Be Happy!

IMG_20200417_070450959
Dawn at the start of a long run on your birthday  … does it get any better

IMG_20200417_070452442
On the way home and hunting wabbits

IMG_20200417_075509837
We found new rockfalls

IMG_20200417_080835545
And we spent around 8 miles running up and down this stuff – blew my quads out

IMG_20200417_102454364
There were pretty forests too with bluebells

IMG_20200425_071338819_BURST024
And even crowds cheering us on

IMG_20200419_090647101
No dog is an island

IMG_20200417_105021016
For mum and dad – these are this years blooms on Trepit Road seeing as you cant get out there at the mo!

Keep on truckin’

I guess when the world goes a bit mad you just gotta hop on for the ride. So I figured what with my parents (hi mum and dad) self isolating I should get posting if nothing else to keep them up to date and entertain …yeah ok so maybe not entertain so much. But photos are always nice right!

So still running – cos its something I can do out here and see and have no contact with anyone (not gonna lie isolation is something I like) plus the dog needs to be out anyway.  And with everything thats going on its good to be outside away from it all for a while. The good news – good news – whats that? Is that the body is actually holding up ok, things hurt but it all pales into insignificance right now anyway. Preseli obviously got cancelled so no ultra and fell races and thats the right decison.

So I shall continue to work away at my latest project which I shall unveil here – you are indeed the first to know – i wasnt going to ever mention it as it was just for me but it’ll give mum and dad something to follow. This year’s project is “2020 2000” which is in a nutshell my attempt to both run and walk Murph 2000 miles in the calender year. It’s a bit of fun and provides me a goal and doesn’t allow me to ever get lazy. I include both runs and walks because my body cant cope with a 2000 mile running year plus we also love the walks too. So far I’d say the milage is about 2/3 running to a 1/3 walking and im more than happy with that.

My sketchy records tell me to date We’ve done 424 miles which is good going considering the winter start, dark mornings and evenings and the awful weather. I shall keep you all updated periodically – I bet you’re on the edge of your seats eh? The only “rules” are that we have to do the walk or run together – no dog no count and it has to be at least half a mile to count.

Ok photos!

IMG_20200314_103346414
Bit of a small fall in the chalk section of the cliffs – Above is where the path was

IMG_20200314_104109759
Snowdrops!

IMG_20200316_064014957_HDR
No matter whats going on in the world there will always be a sunrise – dont forget that

IMG_20200317_170238181
Heading into the mists

IMG_20200319_164430091
Nature making shapes – just as the sun always rises the tide will always turn

 

 

Perspective

I was out on the beach last week. It was cold, windy and raining. I had taken a fall and banged up my knee and elbow.  The way back was into the headwind and I was feeling like I hadn’t had enough calories for the run (which i admittedly hadn’t).  I was feeling kinda miserable and had the internal monologue of self pity going on at my suffering.

Then I thought this isntsuffering at all. What people are going through all over the world is suffering, losing, lives, loved ones, jobs, freedom. Thats suffering. My choice to run along a fucking beach in shit weather is hardly suffering on any scale and the only one who makes me do it anyway is me. And in that moment I realised I was being a complete self absorbed dickhead. I had the beauty of the beach, I had the company of my dog, I had health enough to run this and the freedom to do so. I am truly blessed and fortunate and its something I need to remember.

It’s made me realign a few things, go out and help people during this crisis, do what I can even in small ways, look after my parents, neighbours and community as much as I possibly can. Give something back for once, I can take what I need from nature on the run.

Time to step up and help others suffering because I’m fortunate enough to not be.  Take care out there people and if you can do something good then do it. Little things, little gestures might just go further than you think.

And now the photos!

IMG_20200303_165316597
Blessed just to be here

IMG_20200302_173902514_BURST000_COVER
Poser posing posingly

IMG_20200302_173848306
Sunsets

IMG_20200302_165322470
Shiny days

IMG_20200225_165043872_BURST000_COVER_TOP
Jesus Christ its a hailstorm! Why are we out in a hailstorm you idiot/ (said the dog)

A little bit of this …

A little bit of that.  Where does the time go? I swear it was only a week since I last posted and its more like 2 or 3.  In between we’ve been covering some miles – walking and running. I was being so careful this time to not rush back and just continue the injury cycle – and then i go and roll my ankle in a field anyway.  But one of the joys of owning a dog is that you don’t get to really rest up – you always get to do active recovery. So whatever the weather or how the body feels I make sure Murph gets his exercise. Injuries are frustrating but I’ve learned a lot about coping with them. Mainly by signing up for more races.  Well i couldn’t not sign up ofr the Preseli Ultrabeast – I had to reluctantly pass on it last year as I was just a little too injured with the 50 miler I had planned but this year I’m aiming to start a race uninjured (some hope)

IMG_20200126_102459038_HDR
Morning struts and a camouflaged dog

IMG_20200126_105627490_HDR
Like two ships passing in the … err afternoon

IMG_20200129_162722892
Just glad to be out – When i look back at the photos I cant even remember the day or whether we were running or walking.

IMG_20200129_170946840
The path back from the beach at dusk

IMG_20200201_083901358_HDR
These are our favourite fields – In winter they are muddy and kinda meh but we’ve made our own path around teh edges so we can keep going – In spring and summer they are the best place ever for zoomies

IMG_20200202_120356611_HDR
We headed off into the wilds – well it was a few miles from home but we know places where no-one else goes and we can get some hill training done without interruptions

IMG_20200202_121749978
Plus our secret riverbank is somewhere to get some play done

IMG_20200203_211135596_BURST003
X marks the dog – I aint moving my butt until you promise to take me with you – wherever it is

IMG_20200204_165929848_BURST010
Sunsets at the beach

IMG_20200204_170103369
Sunset sans dog

Zoomies

I wasnt intending to run much this weekend, y’know the old let things heal thing but it was just so glorious out what else could I do?  Those crisp mornings at dawn are irresistable and not just for me they seemed to entice Murph into a world consisting of zooming around like an idiot. I was happy for him to zoom while I plodded, 5 miles on saturday and 10 today and I feel fine. Sometimes all you need is zoomies (and a plod)

IMG_20200118_082906659_BURST003
Blurry zoom followed by charging leap – trick is to stand your ground and he will deviate at last second, if you move either side he will take you out without mercy

IMG_20200118_082918333_BURST002
Happy zoomies

IMG_20200118_082918333_BURST020
Still zooming

IMG_20200118_084258831_BURST015
Ok i’ve slowed down a bit but i could go mental at any second

IMG_20200119_080458702_BURST006
Hmmm day 2 of zoom? It’s still frosty

IMG_20200119_080755406_BURST015
When the stream floods we ound a new way of crossing – he does it so gracefully compared to me. No-one as fallen in … yet

IMG_20200119_084723030_BURST000_COVER
Getting ready to zoom – Fuel stop – 1 treat equals 10 minutes zoom

IMG_20200119_084728508_BURST015
Just trotting trying to look photogenic

IMG_20200119_084737577_BURST020
Prepare the zoomster!

IMG_20200119_084737577_BURST021
And go!

IMG_20200119_085415316_HDR
The usual views

IMG_20200119_093859566_HDR
Back inland and heading home through the lanes

IMG_20200119_152158333_BURST000_COVER
Chilling out on the afternoon cool-down walk (which unsurprisingly included zooming)

Perspective

I was planning to post again here a little more regularly  and then i didst because I never seem to find the time or inclination. maybe running doesn’t seem as important right now.  As long as I’m out with murph how quick we move doesn’t seem to matter so much.

And I think I’ve been right. Just reading up here and hearing others going through so much worse than the odd running injury puts things in perspective.  So yep we’ve been out putting in the miles ready for some big plans this year – assuming the body copes.  But at the end of the day what’s really important is just living life and enjoying it.

I got my fingers crossed for you Ceej!  Now enjoy some photos!

 

IMG_20191115_162558867
We’ve been out at dusk

IMG_20191207_081109923_BURST023
Early morning struts

IMG_20191208_114911144
Played in the foam with our little buddy

IMG_20191225_095125928_BURST020
Did out xmas day run and loved it!

IMG_20191225_100621420_HDR
Enjoyed the weather

IMG_20191229_130937140_BURST002
Of course we posed

IMG_20191230_094917419
Visited old haunts

IMG_20200103_145616677
Checked out waterfalls

IMG_20200105_093408486
Saw more sunrises

IMG_20191202_161752335_BURST019
And enjoyed more sunsets

IMG_20191225_094538486
And always climbed up so we could look back … before moving on

Always a pleasure

We rocked out this morning at dawn as I was under the impression it was going to be a really hot day (it wasn’t really) and I wanted to get a good run in with murph before it got too hot for him. I don;t mind a bit of sufefring in the heat but i wouldn’t want to inflict it on him, its just not fair.  So off we went on an adventure which as I am lazy i will recount in photo form. It was a great run, we were out for around 3 hours and it’s time on feet in innterested in these days not distance – plus im not wearing a watch but im guessing 11 or 12 miles over cliffs, fields, roads and forests ….

IMG_20190915_065957444
Dawn in the Grange – heading for the beach

IMG_20190915_072332002_HDR
On the lead due to big cliffs and idiot dog

IMG_20190915_072929379_BURST031
Happy runner – technically going the wrong way

IMG_20190915_083739469
We even did roads – well lanes – as you can see not used much

IMG_20190915_083800166
A filter here a filter there

IMG_20190915_084633372_BURST000_COVER
Happy up on the common as the temperature starts to rise – we actually ended up in the hottest part of the day anyway but it was never oo bad and we know where water is

IMG_20190915_085052070_BURST010
As evidenced by Murph crossing the giant stepping stones

IMG_20190915_090528239_HDR
More lanes – note designer grass growing through

IMG_20190915_091405535
I always love the views from up here

IMG_20190915_091415354
Yay! We are out and about!