From one slipway to another

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.

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Today is a lovely day to run (coyright Eels)

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)

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Mini lighthouse thingy

Then I went past the foghorns

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If these go off when you’re nearby it A) makes you leap out of your skin and B) deafens you for the next five minutes. I could hear these from my house when i was growing up. The sound of them in the far distance while I lay in bed was always comforting to me as a kid.

Then the lighthouse proper!

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It doesn’t actually lean, that’s my awesome camera work shining through yet again

And onwads along the cliff path, down through the woods at Atlantic College until I reached slipway number one.

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Slipway at Atlantic College used for launching lifeboats (not sure they still do though)

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?

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I call this the “pavement” – Its a smoothish stretch of rock you can pick pace up on – though you still have to have eyes down watching for the cracks
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The lighthouse from the beach. You know what? Perhaps it does lean, surely even I can’t take two photos on the wonk of the same thing can I? (Answers on a postcard but I think the answer is yes I can)
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Now this must have been a job and a half! Below the lighthouse the cliff has been shored up with stonework – I can only imagine how hard it is to do this kind of work between the tides with nary a cement mixer in sight plus the danger of falling rocks ever present – I tip my (hard) hat to whoever managed this!

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.

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From the cliff edge I could see slipway number two at Southerndown beach – Now you get the post title – See I do plan these things!

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!

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Bonus cloud photo for Slowrunnergirl!
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Part one of run
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Part two – the elevation gain at the end was the issue with my ass!

Beachcombing run part 2

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?

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That looks kind of runnable to me!

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.

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More of an obstacle course than a running track

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.

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Shiny and smooth and I could imagine making a bench or shelf or canoe for pygmys or anything!

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.

Tomorrow hopefully a long run!

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Had to lug it back from the far point of the run. Hence the sloooooooow time. Not that I was rushing anyway to be honest. You can’t rush a good beachcomb

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!

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.

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Not quite sure why he stayed still so long with a flag on him, I expected a fight to the death over this photo but it was actually very easy

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.

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One day i’ll hold the camera level I promise

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 ….

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I so wanted the rope too!

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

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Living alone means you can do stuff like this!

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Race Calender

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

March 28 – Gilwern Grunt 8 Miles

17 April – Brecon Half – £35! To be honest bit steep for me (as in price not terrain)

24 April – Offas Orror  – 20k

30 April – CTS Pembroke 10k, half, marathon or ultra 

2 May – Devauden 10k 

7 May – Preseli Beast (west wales) half or full

12 June – Chedder Gorge Half – Further away but looks like an interesting series of races

19 June – Offas Dyke 15

24 July – Monmouth 12k

28 August – Narbeth Knobbler half 

29 August – SW trail half Ponty

1st October – Hereford 8k 15k or 25k 

 

So far im signed up to the Preseli Beast and Narbeth Knobbler half marathons

Easy like a sunday morning …

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.

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Blue skies and little fluffy clouds

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.

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Nature being taken in by me!

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!

And now for some rest and recovery …. I swear!

Pushing on a little further every day

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!

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View from Witches Point – Yes I know i’ve posted similar photos before – I just love this view!
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Southerndown Beach
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Like a millpond as they say!
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Other side of the Ogmore river – Merthyr Mawr dunes – Now theres a thought ….. (Oh and pony trekking)
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I used to sit here for hours just throwing stones for Soak to fetch – She loved that game and would never tire of it.  I stopped here for a moment thinking about her today.
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And as I stopped and thought the sun poked through the smallest gap in the clouds and shone on me – I know i’m a sentimental bugger but I just get the feeling she’s letting me know she’s ok
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Decided to take the narrow route above the cliffs
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Kind of wish I hadn’t as this was the drop if I missed a step
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Twas a police helicopter hovering over the area today – Plus a few rescue boats, not sure if it was an exercise or they were actually looking for someone.
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Waterfalls on the return path home
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Not sure I can eat these….
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Aid station manned by horse – Nope shouldnt have eaten the mushrooms

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Spatial Awareness (i.e. The art of not decking it)

Noticed today that I had no niggles at all during the day and so of course that gave me the green light to run …. as if I needed an excuse.  The knee did start vaguely complaining after 3 or 4 miles but then I did give it a bit of hammering on the rocks at the beach.

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Rocky beach at Monknash

It always amazes me that I can run along rocks such as these and leap from one to another without falling or stopping. My brain can clearly process the information fast enough to just allow my legs to adjust in time but there’s no way i can do it consciously. In fact if I think about it while doing it I will slow and miss a step.  There’s a word for this which I did stumble across a while back and now I can’t find it again!  I used to watch Soaky on the beach doing the same thing but controlling four legs with ease. We are all the most incredible beings when you stop to think about it – Just don’t think about it while you’re doing it maybe

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Cloud front at Nash sands
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Rockpool at Traeth Mawr

So just a gentle run today – around 4 and a half miles. Figured I’d get it in as tomorrow night is Wales vs France (I need to take it easy as I fancy a longer run on saturday)

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