A break in the weather and some advice

The rain has stopped! Yersterday was dreaful but today just the wind remains – I wasn’t intending on running as I have to play cricket later but felt so lazy for not getting out so I did a quick 6 1/2 miles on the beach where of course I spotted some things!

First up though some technical training advice. On many of my runs I have to “step” up onto different levels of rocks. This means using (I presume) the hamstrings and glutes. For example these rocks.

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Ok so the scenario is im approaching this step which is around 3 feet high I’d guess. When I’m fresh it’s not an issue as I have the strength to just pop myself up it but in the later stages of the run when fatigued I don’t have the upper leg strength to power myself up in one move or rather my leg muscles feel tighter and don’t allow me the range of movement to get up there easily. So what exercises are best to improve this sort of movement?

Onto the things I saw!

Someone made this …

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A throne!  Of course I sat on it and waited for my loyal subjects to swear fealty. After around 5 seconds of this I also noticed they had built it far too close to the cliffs for comfort so abdicated.
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Blue skies again – Admittedly they didn’t last long
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More blue skies and actually turned out I caught the best part of the morning
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Trail gear for horses!
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The Romeo and Juliette of the equine world – This gate cannot stop our love!

Seagulls, Rain and Mr Darcy

To be fair i’m amazed after a looooong weekend I got out at all today but fancied a qick trot – Which turned into 9 and a half miles and two and a quarter hours.

At the beach I went right …. view below. Cloudy but warm enough to run without a shirt  which is always nice.

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Right!

I got divebombed by the seagulls again – I thought I had gone far enough out to avoid them but I think rather than defending their turf this is just a game to them now.

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Incoming!

Got to the end of that section of the beach and felt fantastic – So I kept going, up over witches point and down to Southerdown beach.

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View from Witches Point
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Southerndown beach

I crossed the beach and found some quite cool rocks which were fun and challenging to run on.

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Asics today not Altras thanfully

And of course at the furthest point from home it started to rain and the wind picked up – A headwind of course. You know what though? Any day trailrunning is good no matter the weather so despite being wet and cold I wasn’t miserable. Especially as next up I met Mr Darcy!

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Mr Darcy (Awesome name for a dog) is a Newfoundland (I think thats what his owner said) and was completely cool about letting this drenched idiot give him a hug and take his photo.

Covered the remaining 3 miles back home in record time and now it’s feet up recovery time!

 

 

Todays Haiku

Beware the fallen leaves you ride over
They may or may not
Be a dead rat instead

Gave the legs a refresher ride this morning, a few miles on road and then decided to take the offroad route back along the cliffs. I think it’s my new mantra. When given an option always take the harder route.

Sadly as it was impromptu I had no camera with me but luckily I had a bad of jelly beans provided by my mother (thats what mums are for) which I ate not because I particulary needed the fuel but because I like jelly beans.

So in lieu of cliff photos google provided me with an unexpected panorama of yesterdays run around Pen Y Fan

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My first year of running ends on a high (literally)

Yep by my admittedly vague calculations I’ve been running a year. I’ve gone from not being able to run 2 fields in a row to the beach to this……

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Yep I woke up this morning and thought do something diffent today. So I ran up South Wales’ highest mountain Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons …. the hard way.

I did a bit of googling and found a few routes up it – the “motorway” as its known is an easier path from the A470 which is used by hundreds of walkers … not for me so I ended up at Cwm Gwdi on the other side of the mountain as it promised a much quieter and steeper route with more rugged terrain.  Never ever take the easy option!

So after getting lost in the car as per usual (I’m quite used to this by now) I got there around half eleven and got changed. Chucked my hydration pack on with my nutrition and necessities (I actually took a whistle and foil blanket as I wasn’t sure exactly where I was headed except for up) and set off. Luckily they provide a route map!

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I took note of the general direction and then promptly forgot about it. Up is up right?

The first climbs were brutal …  I was immediately in the red and wondering what I was doing.

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The view back towards Brecon. The forest in the middle was my starting point. The scenery was pretty amazing though even if I was blowing out of my ass at this point.

I had to settle into a powerhike for some of the next bit as it was virtually unrunnable for me without putting myself so far into the red I probably wouldn’t recover. Perhaps I’ve learned a few tricks in the last year and one is to hold back, this isn’t a race.

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Its steeper in reality than it looks
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Sheep leading the way.

There were a series of false peaks at this poinmt which allowed some running in between but then as I reached the last of these I hit the ridgeline!

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Target acquired! Nope not the one on the left – Pen Y Fan is the one to the right covered in cloud.

This was now runnable so off I set at a less than fearsome pace!

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View from the ridge to the right.
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Now I could see the peak and the cloud was clearing – Looking pretty steep there though.
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Ohhhh cool I get to do some mountaineering too! I forgot my crampons, at the top of this it’s literally rock climbing for the last 50 yards or so. I was wondering why I’d literally not seen a soul on this route …..
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The views from the top were worth it though!
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So yeah …. I ran up there.

From Pen Y Fan its a short trip across the saddle to Corn Du – slightly lower but just as scenic.

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The saddle to Corn Du
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View from Corn Du …  Note clouds ….

I started descending on the other ridge and was enjoying the technical bits of the descent. There were only a few walkers who seemed to enjoy watching me hurtle past to my inevitable doom.

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I was skirting this lake on the left hand side ridge.
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In fact the trail I was on wound right past it – You can see it above the lake in this photo

And then it started raining – just like that I was soaked, I went for my jacket from my pack and found I’d left it in the car …. Nevermind a bit of water never hurt anyone but I wanted to get down lower out of the wind.

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A sad moment as I passed the obelisk for Tommy Jones
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The view back to the two peaks. Basically I ran this ridge right across the photo.

At this point the rain stopped and although soaked through I was low enough to feel warm again just through running.

The descent continued a few miles down the valley and i was sure I would pop out near the carpark ….. which clearly wasn’t the case. I’d completely forgotten about the map I’d not so carefully studied at the start but luckily my trusty phone’s GPS told me I was in the wrong valley and a few miles away across another huge climb. Being the sensible being I am I declined freestyle rock climbing and simply followed the path down until I hit a road. From here it was a matter of a few miles up some nasty sodding hills to get back to my starting point.

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I came out here – Cwm Llwch – In Wales we don’t believe in vowels.

I was wondering if it was worth a 120 mile round trip to do this but It was a great run of around 8 miles of constant climbing and descending with superb views. I was really pleased with how I felt throughout it and that I could even do it at all is something I’m proud of.

EDIT: Just wanted to add this panorama

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Fly my Hawkmen! (NB No Hawkmen in this post)

One day I’m going to do a run where nothing happens and I see nothing interesting. I thought for the first half of todasy 6 miles this would be the day. Weather calm, tide going out, felt good, foot not so bad …. and then ATTACK BY SEAGULL.

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Argghhhhh death from the skies!

The chicks must have hatched or something because as soon as I reached the section of sand near the ladders I was divebombed by gulls until I ran a further 50 yards down the beach (then I ran back into the firing line for the photo op)

They were banking near the cliffs and coming in on a direct line for me before swooping past a few feet above my head. I figured I could stand my ground because if one was to hit me I reckon we’d be equal in a grapple on the sand.

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Coming in for the kill.
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SPARTA!

I managed to take these photos which actually came out quite well considering I was using an ipod to catch a fast moving ball of winged fury.

Further down the beach I came across a far more chilled family of gulls

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Who didn’t care as I ran past – two of these are babies but you can’t really tell. But it explains the air attacks.
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Oh I also met a far friendlier face!

So yeah …. one day I’ll have a boring run …. one day

We’re gonna need a bigger boat

Have been taking it easy since last weds as I did this.

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It’s still red but less swollen

But yesterday I thought let’s go – tide was out around 4 and the blazing sun buggered off (I prefer to be cool, sun is not really my friend)

So when did 6 miles become a “short” run for me. This has happened really without me noticing. It used to be 2-3 but now I don’t even consider stopping at the beach and always go further. It’s lucky as today it took me towards Witches Point. In a cave near the waterfall I spotted something bright red. I’m like a magpie when it comes to pretty colours and thusly distracted off I went to investigate.

The red? Well that was a boring traffic bollard thingy but what’s this I spy …..

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SHARK! Still inflated too. About 5 foot long and as if it had swum there.
What the hell do you do with a 5ft inflatable shark apart from photograph it. Well what you do is to spend ages learning how to deflate it and then run home carrying it in your beachcombing paws.  I have long since to ignore the stares of people on the beach (MY beach you tripper types) as I hurtle (cough cough) past holding my latest bit of booty.

So now I have a a deflated inflatable shark too. Not sure what I shall do with it but I will think of something I’m sure!

Sadly I didn’t have my proper camera as I can’t find my flipbelt but I took this dodgy photo for you scenery types

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Cloudy, moody and slightly out of focus