West Wales Weekender

I was lucky enough to be invited down to West Wales by a couple of friends who were renting a cottage for a week ( I say cottage, it was huge and could sleep 8) so off I went on friday straight after work , only a couple of hours drive but you forget the beauty of your own country sometimes.

The cottage was in a tiny village called Nolton Haven and it had the most perfect bay for learning to kayak, not much swell and some interesting coves and coastline to explore.

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Nolton Haven beach at low tide

But first things first I woke on saturday and my foot felt fine so I figured I’d go for a gentle run on the beach as the sand was super soft, of course I couldn’t actually stick to my plan and was soon off up the coastal path that runs either side of the bay. The views were fantastic and the foot felt fine. I’ve spent some time considering things while off injured and have come to realise I can’t hammer my body at this age (which does makes me sound old) when it’s not really used to it. If I want to run at all I need to run smarter, lower impact and run slower.

I’ve been serruptitiously reading about slow ruinning and heart rate training and I managed to keep my heartrate easily below 140 despite some extremely vertical terrain – not that I was really monitoring it to be fair as I didnt have my watch as I didnt expect to be running and anyway the watch doesn’t even do heart monitoring. So I simply took my pulse and timed it. Works for me!

I ran around 4 or 5 miles perhaps and as I say took it slowly, expecting my foot to start hurting but apart from near the end where it started to nag a little on the downhill to the beach it was fine and afterwards I felt no pain. I have an appointment at the doctors tomorrow to discuss the xray results ….. so I probably wont mention the run :p

I also had my Altras on and in my admittedly limited experience these are the most comfortable trainers I’ve ever worn. It’s like running in slippers and the grip is utterly fantastic. Some of the descents were on shale and they provided perfect footing with no slippage at all. To say I’m happy with them right now is an understatement.

Some photos from the run

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Overlooking the bay at Nolton Haven
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Cave!
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Headland which probably has some local name which I don’t know
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Close up of stack
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Looking down to Newgale
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I came across this just off the path – Turns out to be the remains of Trefane Colliery – a Mine! – more info if you’re interested here

 

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Beautifully weathered stones
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Mineshafty thing
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Mineshafty hole

So after the run it was time to test the kayak!

Absolutely loved it, spent a good few hours in the water self teaching various techniques – I think the hardest part was launching it! I also learned how not to panic when you ground yourself on a rock and nearly tip out and how to fend off a dead seagull with my paddle. I finished off with a lesson in how to get back on if I ever do actually fall off by mistake.

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I actually look like I know what i’m doing! Note the calm sea though

After kayaking it was chill out, bbq, beers and watching Wales win their opening game in the Euros! Oh and playing with Iolo the labrador puppy – Who had this face on after trying to eat my Altras

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Ummm we may have drunk one or two

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Well running and kayaking is thirsty work!

All in all a fantastic few days. So glad the foot held up and to get a few miles done was the best news plus the kayak is great and gives one hell of a workout to arms, legs and arse!

Hope everyone else had a good weekend too.

Biking ….. Brought By B

Buzzard, broken bough, bike, bovines, buttercups, blue.

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This buzzard just would not let me get close enough for a good photo, as soon as I approached he’d fly to the next post …. outwitted by a bird!
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Not entirely sure what happened to this tree. I kinda hope it was the work of a lightning strike as thats far more exciting than woodworm
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Bike – Need I say more
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Such a nice day even the cows are just chillin’
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They start with B – I was getting desperate
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Blue skies -beautiful day

If you can’t run ….bikestitute

Foot’s still semi-buggered. Time to rethink – and i’m rethinking it’s rest time …. as in no running at all.

So a quick jaunt along the cliffs and down to the beach on the bike (plus a few circuits of the sand =)

It felt good just to get out and get some exercise. Who woulda thought that cycling uses so many different muscles to running – they’re all in the legs but the aches are all different.

I must admit I like cycling but for me it’s just no competition to which I prefer. Cycling feels somehow artificial, somehow cheating (and before anyone leaps on me to tell me its not true and here are the facts to prove it this is entirely a personal statement – I’m not claiming superiority of one over ‘tother in general) On a bike I don’t feel connected to the land around me, I pass through it but at a distance, even off the road I feel like a tourist rather than a native. My feet aren’t feeling the ground. the effort doesn’t feel like it’s all mine.

It’s a substitute …. but so much better than nothing!  And next week I’m off all week and already planning a ride which will allow me to scout out more running spots when i’m recovered … and maybe a cheeky bike/pint escapade 😉

Anyway I managed to grab some nice photos. Days like this I feel I named the blog well

 

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Suck it up buttercup … or just plough straight through them
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Some sort of huge cargo ship in the Bristol Channel waiting for the tide to turn
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How green is my valley?
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Clear blue skies

 

 

Green! Purest Green!

So I got home early due to it chucking it down with rain. Perfect excuse to lounge around on the sofa and rest the foot and take it generally easy. So what do I do? Go for a run!

Running in the rain (when it’s not cold and windy too) is great, especially at this time of year. You can almost hear the vegetation growing and everythings so … so …. green!

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Greener than purest green!

The foot hurt but not too bad, I think I’m trying to protect it too much from impact and curling it so tried to relax and just enjoy the green!

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Even more green!

Got to the beach and it was grey, mizzle and all.

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Mizzle approacheth

The tide was just about far enough out to have a quick run on the rocks again which was great to be able to do even if it twinged a bit.

Then on the way back I saw it!

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200 yards of pure driftwood!

The tides had been kind, so much driftwood, so few arms and working legs :/  I did scout out a few nice pieces which I may come back for but I’ll leave that up to chance. What the sea giveth the sea taketh away.

The run back was much more tiring than I thought it would be. The break has done my fitness no good but I’m sure if I take it slow and steady i’ll get there.

SPeaking of slow and steady

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Ok so it includes my quarter mile warmup and a few breaks to ogle driftwood and then failing to stop my watch but i’m happy just to be moving again!

 

 

New shoes!

This one’s specially for slowrunnergirl

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Altra Lone Peak in bright yellow! I figured I deserved a treat after the last few months (Any excuse for new running shizz)

I specifically went for these after much reading and research as I was looking for the zero drop, midsole cushion and the wide toe box – especially the wide toebox. My long toe – index toe – wiggly toe next to big toe – whatever toe that is tends to arch up and then curl over the big toe – It doesnt look right and I’m pretty sure its not good for my foot. So I figured I needed to give them some breathing room down there when they get a good pounding on a run.

I’ve only worn them for a few miles so far but they are oh so comfortable – and thats on an injured foot, I cant wait to glide around in pure bliss once I’m healed (he said in blind optimism and pretending the rest of him doesnt hurt when he runs)

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Trail clogs!

‘Supdate

Figured it was time to keep peeps in the loop (he said pretending that peeps have time to care) so here goes!  Since the Preseli Beast I decided to rest the foot again. After all I figure that the pounding it took wasn’t the best for it.

In fact it recovered pretty well but still testing a run for a few steps was painful and it felt like back to square one so I bit the bullet and went to see a physio – luckily a friend of mine .- Yes yes I should have done it before but ….I dunno why I didn’t think of it earlier.

So the verdict is probable plantar fascititis (pf) although it’s a bit of a mystery why it’s not manifesting in heel, after rest and top of foot hurts. We think it’s tied into my old  aqchilles tendonitus. Having done some more reading I’m reckoning my tendons and joints are all on the wonk.

So it’s time to say bugger rest and hello physio – from my friend and from myself.  Stretching, rolling, much ice etc  Which to be fair I’ve been doing but time to ramp it up!

When I got home last night I fancied a test run, I had new shoes which should help with my feet issues! (Will post a pic later) And after manipulating it all day in work it felt good.  I only did the 2 and a half miles to the beach (and didn’t take watch and camera as I didn’t want to pressure myself into continuing if it felt bad – that’s kinda sense for me!)

It ached and felt sore underneath but that kind of gave way after a while and I could enjoy feeling how unfit I have become! It was wonderful to be out in the sun doing “my” run again though. I took the pace really slowly and made sure I was hitting the ground with as little impact as possible. I guess I’d better get used to this if A I want to stay uninjured and B I want to progress to longer distances .  See  Slowrunnergirl I do take some notice (By the way this is a great blog to read if you’re interested in the benefits of slow running) Anyway as I said no camera –  So I better give you a stock photo as I know you all miss them :p

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Panoramic photo of Monknash Beach

I iced and stretched and rolled upon my return and then a bit of rest and the news I feel is good. Although it throbbed a bit yesterday it’s feeling fine today. I’m tempted to run again tonight but the common sense demon (As I shall now refer to it) is telling me to rehab it and not go mental again for a while and exacerbate matters.

So all in all things are looking up, I feel like after over 2 months (Wow!) progress is being made. I’ve developed common sense and have learned and am still learning lessons.

I know injury posts are boooooring so kudos if you stuck it out this far!