I have an idea…..

I never actually think to myself “I have an idea” instead they just pop into my head and I do them. Today was a bit like that. I felt like some exercise after a day spent indoors at work and so headed out on my new steed for a quick jaunt to Marcross and then back along the cliffs ala saturday.

The wind was blowing pretty hard up top and it was quite hard going combined with the subtle hill along the clifftops. When I reached Monknash I took the secenic route down …

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For scenic route read suicidal route

Arriving at the bottom the adrenaline was flowing a little and with time on my hands and more energy to burn I figured that as the tide was out I could always take my bike on the beach couldn’t I?  I mean it’s an off road bike – a beach is offroad right?

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Not as easy to ride as they look – especially into the wind

The rocks were a pain and the steeper parts I had to carry the bike but eventually ….

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We made it to the sand!

And how much fun is riding a bike on soft wet sand?  Not a lot into the wind but on thew way back it was epic fun! Zig zagging and zag zigging all over the place, everyone should give it a go.

So although the ankle isn’t fixed and although I’d rather be running life is what you make it. I’m making it a bit o’fun!

Oh and it was also despite the wind a beautiful afternoon.

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Changing Up, Changing Down, Not falling off

Saturday mornings – How I miss running around in the sunshine with you. How I miss the views, the fresh air, the freedom, the sun, the sand, the rocks, the pain and exhaustion.

But no wallowing in ankle pity for me – I have a new toy to play with. Cheering myself up I ordered one of these through a work scheme.

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New toys make Gareth happy

I could have gone for a road bike or hybrid thingy but went for the full off road type as I figured if thats what I like running then thats what I will like cycling.

Off I went on a test run …. ride

Found myself at Marcross admiring the view…

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Marcross beach and oooh look a hill!
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And a new friend!
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And I thought …. hill sprints!  Half a dozen up here nearly killed me

So after my hill exercise I was going to turn and ride home on the road and the thought strck me … I have an offroad bike with like suspension and everything, why not ride the cliff path to Monknash and home that way. There are a few stiles to cross but how hard can it be to lift the bike over.

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No match for my powerlifting skills!
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Riding towards blue skies!
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The ride along the cliffs was beautiful and easy enough to do – I discovered why the gear ratios are so low on these bikes once I was off road
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At the Monknash end there was a tricky descent which I managed with superb braking control and a lot of luck.
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Looking back at the cliffs I rode

The route is all rocky and uphill from the beach to the road. I was about to ride the path I have run a hundred times but realised I could well do damage to the path on a bike, it might have only been slight if any at all but being a responsible adult (haha) and wanting to protect the environment I love and have the privilege to enjoy I walked the bike back up the path until I got to the road.

All in all a good mornings work-out. I came, I saw, I conquered and protected my ankle!

 

It’s the ups that hurt

Spring sun and a recovering foot = hill reps!  Yes indeed my new found way of screwing myself over without too much pain on the ankle. half a dozen or so fast sprints up and a slow descent was enough. Now it’s my calves and thighs hurting so thats ok right?  Still perhaps isn’t the most sensible to do too much on it as it’s still painful when I strike hard on flat ground so will lay off it now until at least the weekend. But today I just couldn’t resist.

Can you blame me?

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Tides in!
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How blue is that sky?
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Bring it on hill! – Oh yeah you’re a hill – you just sit there and hurt me then
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Spring flowers V2

Foolish, stubbornish, happyish

Woke up, the suns shining, the tides out – and i’m injured…. Sod it, the ankles been improving and recovery has hit a flat spot. I’m on my feet every day and there’s been no pain, more of an ache when I get home.

So off I went on an exploratory run to see where I’m at.  I didn’t run the quarter mile of road to get to the fields and started on grass – There was no pain just slight discomfort although I was running at a very low intensity with a very low stride height to minimise impact.  The fields felt fine and I was enjoying just being back out on the trail.

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Loving the morning sun

I sensibly didnt run the rocky path to the beach – go me for resisting!

And this is what I was looking for – low tide and wet sand – destination soft!

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Traeth Mawr – Let’s get on that sand!

Picked up the stride height and pace on the sand and it felt comfortable, I was experiencing what I believe they call in sporting circles – a niggle. Niggle away I thought, I’m enjoying this!  I got to the far end of the sand but went no further – I didn’t want to push too hard on my test run – Have I really learned patience?

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Worth it for views like this!

On the way back I had a thought – If the pain is in the ankle when the rear of my foot impacts – I could do hill repeats on my toes couldn’t I? Well it makes sense to me.

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So I did hill repeats up this little monkey! Full on hill sprints in fact and I was right being done completely on my toes meant no pain whatsoever If the worst comes to the worst I can at least do these!

After my hill test I ambled back up the path and across the fields. Admittedly I was limping slightly at this point and if not in pain then discomfort.  I may have pushed too far for today but I felt I needed to see where I was at with a few races approaching. I think next sunday is too soon to do an offroad half so sadly I’m letting the Offas Dyke half go but still hope to get down to West Wales in three weeks for the Preseli Beast (though the name is scaring the ankle already)

I’m writing this with my feet in a foot spa thingy I discovered in my spare room which I vaguely remember borrowing from someone years ago and never returned – I may be suffering karmic rebounds!

So far so good but the real test is now how it feels for the rest of the day and tomorrow morning (Which is my birthday! Best present I could have is an improving ankle)

And finally – Spring is here!

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Never forget to stop to breathe and enjoy the world

Sunday Update – No pain at all this morning – ankle feels good, resisting temptation to run today though, sense prevails!

 

 

 

 

Pedals and Pints

So yesterday I decided I needed to forget about the foot and go and do some training on the bike – See this post for the first bikeventure

The weather was most springlike so off I pedalled with a different sort of cross training in mind. As it was the final day of my holidays firstly I took it easy down to the Horseshoes in Marcross for pint 1

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Horsehoes Marcross

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It was nice to loll about in the garden and enjoy the sun and not have a care in the world. No-one knew where I was and no-one cared. I could go and do what I pleased!

Next I rode back up the hill to the Plough and Harrow in Monknash – Quite a familiar place to me – seeing as I lived there and ran it for 5 years between 2006 and 2011. I run past the back of this place every day when I’m mobile.

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I actually forgot to tajke a photo yesterday so this is one from a few years back – Note Soaky guarding the entrance

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At the Plough I had pint 2 – Happy Daze cider from Gwynt Y Ddraig.  The easiest going of their ciders at only 4.5%. This was not a day for Black Dragon.

Just the one and onwards – the legs were feeling great and I was feeling refreshed – Luckily I can ride around this area with barely a car in sight. Which was lucky as I was headed to the Fox and Hounds – Around 4 or 5 miles away in the next village. I took a circuitous backroad to avoid traffic and enjoy the scenery.

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Tiny weeny roads and plenty of fields

Time was on my side and I was in no rush.

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Fox and Hounds St Brides

I decided that I had enough cider for now and so switched to my staple diet – After all it was important to keep my strength up and as we all know Guinness is good for you!

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I checked over my vital signs for any sign of fatigue or dehydration. To be on the safe side I had another Guinness

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Guinness 2

I now had to get back to Wick for my next rendevouz but theres a fearsome hill in the way. Before that however I discovered that I could still ride with no hands!

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Look ma no hands!

At this point I was clearly in danger of face planting but decided I could take photos while riding. Today it doesn’t seem such a good idea.

I managed somehow to get to Wick in one piece and popped into the Star Inn to have a Strongbow in case my fluid levels were dropping

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Medicinal Strongbow

I had some friends in here having a post work pint so I felt it would have been rude to leave right away so I had another Guinness.

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Spot the peanuts in the back – I was sensibly taking on food and salt at this point.

I also at this point apparently stopped taking photos too. I next visited teh Lamb and Flag in Wick whereupon I kind of started to lose track of my calorie intake.

I suspect I had another 3 or 4 Guinness but remembered my trusty steed had no lights I was actually sensible enough to head home before dark! Luckily from Wick to my home is only a mile or so and all downhill.

All in all I’d call this a successful days training, I probably covered around 15 miles on the bike. My foot didn’t hurt at all and I had a super-relaxing time just enjoying doing what I liked.

Please don’t try this at home unless you A) live out in the sticks like me and have very small chance of being run over. B) Are able to ride a bike after 10 pints C) Dont have work the next day

 

 

Embracing the suck, reasons to be cheerful.

Haven’t posted in a while. Haven’t done any running in a while. Have achieved things instead though.  Foot doesn’t seem to be improving much but then again I haven’t been able to rest it as much as I’d have liked as I’ve been on a renovation spree.

I’ve been planning to refloor and redecorate my flat for a while. Hadn’t done it for a while and it needed it after the ravages of a series of eldery animals and I had it all planned for this easter holidays – and then the injury happened.

But rather than letting not being able to run get me down i”m learning to embrace that particular suckage and get on with things that still make me feel in control.

So I completely refloored the place with laminate flooring and decorated the walls with paint the subtle shade of wicker (yes yes its off white) and decided on a bit of not so subtle matt black for the woodwork.  I think it went rather well seeing as I’m no expert in DIY and did it all myself.

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Luckily from this distance you can’t see my cutting in skills on the paint edges
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Bonus points for spotting trouble sleeping on the pillow I was using as a footrest – he colonised it immediately
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The views I wake up to every morning – Another reason to feel lucky – The beach is a mile —> Thataway

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So yep although the foot doesn’t seem to be improving i’m determined not to let it get me down. I might have to cancel some races I had planned if it doesn’t happen soon – Which has taught me to sign up for races a little later – You never know what’s around the corner.

Plus I get to read all your blogs and live vicariously through your running without getting wet or cold – OK I admit i’d love to be wet and cold if it meant mobile but c’est la vie.

 

 

Needs Must – The Devils Driving!

Well not driving – riding!

After a visit to the doctors yesterday who reckons its a ligament strain not a fracture I decided bugger complete rest it’s impact that hurts so let’s try non impact – cycling! (For non impact I mean on the hfoot, impact may well occur into the front of a bus or over a hedge). So off I went this morning for a rummage and to dig out the old mountain bike I own.

It’s not the prettiest, in fact it’s built like some sort of bike-tank hybrid judging by the weight of it, if I do crash into any buses they may well be the ones to come off worse. I spent an hour or so fixing up the minor faults, ignoring others and smashing a few bits off it with a hammer (I reasoned it was making it lighter at least).  The gears dont work very well, if at all if I’m honest, it likes to stay between gear 7 and 12 and pretty much likes 10 best, any other and it clicks madly in protest and then slips back to 10 anyway. The brakes rub a bit as the wheels are slightly buckled – This is of course great resistance training! Every cloud has a silver lining and all that jazz.

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Here she is in all her half working glory! I’d like to get rid of the lock but don’t have the key or a hacksaw

The sun was shining, I put my new ankle supporty thing on and off I went. I found that the best way of dealing with unhappy gears is to give in, stay in 10th and when hills approach hammer up them in the same gear and pray my legs don’t buckle before the hill ends. I’m alive to write this post so my technique clearly works (I will studiously be avoiding any long hills)

First stop Marcross. It was weird cycling places where I run to normally. Almost felt like cheating.

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Marcross beach on a spring day – Opposite is the hill I train on – I’ll be back you bastard!

On my way to Llantwit I passed lots of other cyclists, they usually gave a friendly nod or greeting but I could see what they were thinking – What is that idiot riding and why doesn’t that idiot have a helmet on? Well guys you answered your own question – Idiot but an idiot with the wind blowing through his locks! Yes I may die but it will be stylish (For stylish read painful and splattered over the front of a bus)

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Llantwit beach at high tide
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LLantwit beach looking toward Atlantic College
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View of the Bristol Channel on the way home
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Awwwwwww fluffy lamb thinking “wear a helmet you dick”

Things I noticed –

Cycling uses some different muscles to running.
My foot and ankle felt fine so it seems cycling can be a substitute while I recover.
As nice as it was to exercise cycling is no substitute for running trails.
Pheasants crack me up when they run.