Or as technical as it will ever get with me! I was listening to a podcast earlier and the guest was Matt Fitzgerald (who I’d never heard of before admittedly) and the subject was about motivation and percieved effort in running. How can athletes push themselves further than they thought they could. It centres (it seems to me) around the old mind over matter theory, that it’s our minds ability to endure that snaps first not the body. I really enjoyed the podcast even though I guess its principally based on elite athletes or those looking for race wins or great times. I couldnt do it justice explaining it as I think i’ll have to give it another listen just to fully comprehend it. Its at this site anyway and called “How bad do you want it?”
This led to me thinking (not always a good thing) about what is motivating me with running right now? I’ve done a half marathon, I’ve run up to 15 miles off road so I guess its the full trail marathon next? I swear I never got into this “to do a marathon” it’s not a bucket list thing (I have no buckets or lists) but it seems the next natural progression. I probably haven’t really considered it before as it seemed completely impossible six months ago. But there we go, as long as I go at it all at my own pace so it doesn’t consume me or become a chore I’m happy to give it a go …. Is that enough motivation? I think it is for me, perhaps not for others. To try to do something just to see if you can seems a legitimate way to live to me.
So two days off and champing at the bit today after work. Had a few things I wanted to try, I knew the tide was in so it would have to be the cliffs – I say have to be, it’s hardly a chore to run anywhere around here.
I wanted to slightly modify my form again towards the chi running technique of leaning forward and getting away from my heel striking and had a good practice at it. It’s really hard though to change ingrained technique though because as soon as I stop concentrating my body slips back to its natural form. However I do think it’s worth persevering with because I swear the knee ache dimmed. A further complication is that front foot striking does lead to me increasing my pace which I’m sure many would argue is no bad thing but I do know that endurance is more important to me than speed and increased pace = decreased distance at my current level of fitness. Conclusion … I shall sleep on all this!
I did manage four and a half miles without exploding my ventricles or falling flat on my face and was surprised to see a near 10 minute pace – However this does include a mile or so of road running which is a bit like cheating in my rather weird little brain.
Saturday runs – I just love them. I was lying in bed last night and was actually excited about getting up and getting out there. Like a kid at xmas! The sun was shining and it was a beautiful morning to head out so I packed my rucksack and off I trotted. I decided to switch it up a little and at the beach headed left towards Marcross along the cliffs.
It was a pure joy to be outside, I removed the headphones and just enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors. My legs felt good and I felt good. At Marcross I stuck to the cliff path and went past the lighthouse (this is not the lighthouse – well it’s like a mini lighthouse – I duon’t actually know what it is)
Then I went past the foghorns
Then the lighthouse proper!
And onwads along the cliff path, down through the woods at Atlantic College until I reached slipway number one.
I turned here and retraced my steps back towards Monknash but this time on the beach – I say beach but it’s rocks from here to back past Marcross. I noticed a few runners approaching from the other way and heading for the cliff path. Despite being on the rocks I managed to keep pace with them to Marcross – I’m not that competitive but sometimes it’s good to take your mind off the miles with a little game eh?
I kept going along the beach and back towards Monknash, I could have turned for home up the Cwm but decided to keep going as I felt fine. Onwards with the sun occasionally popping out to warm me which was appreciated due to a biting headwind. By the time I reached Witches Point at Southerndown the rock hopping had taken some of the juice from my legs. Luckily I had remembered to hydrate and fuel at the right times (despite my Garmin going mental and stopping without me noticing) and I climbed up and onto the cliffs above Dunraven bay.
I turned here and headed back but this time along the cliffs until I reached Traeth Mawr. Normally i would keep going along the cliffs and then turn for home up the usual trail but today I headed inland across the fields and then a lane as I wanted to pop in to see my parents on the way home. They live in Wick and in fact live at the highest point in the Vale of Glamorgan (Not that its exactly a mountainous county to be fair) so the run there was all uphill from the coast which really made the legs ache. I was twinging in my ass (I think the technical term is glutes) but I made it back and when I pieced together my Garmin runs I had covered around twelve and a half miles which over all that terrain I’m very happy with!
Haven’t been out for a few days as I promised myself I would take a rest day or two when my body told me to. It’s quite amazing I listened to myself, I don’t normally. So off I trotted on a windfree evening for a quick spin of the legs. Sadly the tide was in so I couldn’t run along the beach … Or could I?
Indeed it was kind of runnable as in kind of not runnable too. And that is probably the worst sentence I have ever written … ever. I got around halfway with no major issues (I did know the tide was going out not coming in, I’m not that much of an idiot) but then the only option was swim or run on the bigger rocks.
While trying to not break an ankle I was also on the lookout for any interesting flotsam, jetsam or driftwood in the vincinity when this caught my eye.
Only problem being I was now around two miles from home in the middle of the rocky part of the beach with the entire route home being uphill. Was I going to lug this piece of wood that distance? Dear reader of course I was. I ran most of the way back with this awkward, top heavy and just plain heavy (I think it’s a bit waterlogged) piece of wood but you know what? It hurt more than a much longer run but I got a great sense of satisfaction from managing to get it back.
Now it will probably sit in the hallway for six months while I procrastinate.
Or happy St Davids Day!. St David is the patron saint of Wales, however unlike St Patricks Day which appears to have been hijacked by Guinness to become a global green branding day, St Davids day is much more low key. To be honest you wouldn’t really know it was going on but luckily as I work in schools I got to watch the kids in their outfits performing their Welsh renditions of songs. I also discovered in this afternoons school that the kids (and I suspect the work of their parents and grandparents in this) had made numerous welshcakes and various traditional Welsh dishes and brought them into school to be judged by the staff. And it was all up for tasting grabs! Hey it’s my national day too, I’m allowed to shovel cake!
Sadly due to the climate of today I can’t show you any photos of the kids as its strictly forbidden under pain of death to take any so I present you with my last remaining cat Trouble patriotically draped in the Welsh flag.
So after all my cake it was lucky the sun came out this afternoon so a quick run to and around the beach was in order! Just a quick 4 and a half miles to get the legs moving again after the weekend. Hamstrings a bit tight but hey ho thats to be expected after a near 20 mile weekend.
On the way back some colour amongst the rocks caught my eye so I investigated and found a buoy! Ok so I’m terrible for beachcombing, I love stuff that the sea gives me, usually driftwood and I really really really wanted this buoy! Look it’s orange! This is after I’d actually untied it from the rope and yes I ran back with it. God only knows what i’ll do with it now … Maybe one day i’ll find a whole boat and I’ll already have a buoy to go with it ….
My driftwood finds have at least been more practical. I cant remember if I posted this before but simply chopping up a length of driftwood and screwing it into the wall makes handy pegs for running gear! There you go today has been most educational :p
No it’s not my race calendar but some of the trail event’s I’ve stumbled across which local people might be interested in after someone nearby asked which races I’ve signed up for. For those not tuning in from the South Wales region you may want to look away now! I’m not signing up for all or even most of these – Just providing links to those I’ve found
Well today was going to be a rest day after yesterdays fifteen. When I woke the sun was shining down and hey the legs weren’t feeling too bad at all! So on with the gear and out for a slow recovery run. Although the tide was in the beach was as ever beautiful this morning.
I didn’t bother with music today and it was great to hear the birds trilling away in the woods and the stream rushing by. I forget sound can be as important as sight when you’re taking in nature.
On the way back I did a detour through some fields – Just to see what was there really. What was there was some very soft marshland so I managed to get some resistance training done on my recovery run … ooops
It really is a beautiful place to live and run though and it was good to ease back and reflect on how lucky I am to have this and how far I’ve come. Seven months ago I could barely run across one field without having to walk the next. Now I can run 15 miles offroad and then get back out the next morning – purely because I want to not because I feel I have to.
I’d just like to say a big thanks to everyone who reads, comments and likes the posts on this blog. Originally it was intended for myself to keep a track of my runs and thoughts and I figured it would never get read and be lost in the sea of internet blogs. But the kind, thoughtful and encouraging words from people have both surprised and cheered me on. So yes a big thankyou to everyone!
After a good win for Wales over France last night (good not great, we seem to have difficulty crossing the line) I actually left the pub early, not that I wasn’t enjoying myself but I knew I wanted to run today. How times have changed!
I felt good today and planned to do a long run so took my pack (did I mention I love my Inov8 pack) with me. Lucky I did as I ended up doing 15 and a half miles! Basically it was the half marathon I did before with a trip along the beach to Marcross tagged onto the end. I must admit I felt pretty damn good for all of it up to about mile 12. At this point i came off the lovely smooth flat sandy stretch back onto rocks and found my legs were stiff and it was difficult to pick them up higher for the rocks. This did abate after a while, I’m guessing that the low stride of the sand locked them a little. Will have to remember this – pick those knees up on sand!
Speaking of knees I had very little trouble with them today. I deliberately set a slower pace as I knew i’d be out longer (not that it was much slower according to the watch by the end) and concentrated on my form. I’ve been looking at chi running, as much because I try to keep an open mind and i’m currently devouring anything running related. So I was trying to stop myself from leaning back which I tend to do on flat ground. This may have helped the knee or it might have been the slower place or the moon may be in Aquarius or something, all I know is it doesnt hurt.
I was feeling the distance in my legs by the end but I guess no pain no gain and all that malarkey. A good rest day tomorrow should help matters. I also found a fuelling formula today that worked for me. Start fuelling 45 minutes in and every half hour after that. It seems to be about the right interval to keep me going steadily.
So all in all i’m really happy with today. The distance, the pace, my mood and it really feels like i’m progressing – albeit slowly – but at my own pace and in my own way. Enough burbling, to the photos!