Well that could have gone better …

Got home from work on a dank and drizzly day but wanted to get out, I was late home yesterday and missed a good evening run. Is it only me that feels guilty if I don’t run. Even if I tell myself the rest will do me good too I just feel uneasy, like all my work is going to drain away … which is silly but thats my mind for ya!

So I figured a quick run to the beach and back, first half mile or so was fine and then just as I finished the fields and started on the path to the beach I suddenly felt awful. Less than a mile and I felt wasted – no energy, my vision was blurring slightly and felt light-headed. It felt like I was out of fuel but i’d travelled less than a mile! Plus I smashed my toes into a rock as I couldn’t focus on the path properly, at least that will act as a reminder!

All I can think of is that I didn’t eat enough today, I was busy in work all day and on my feet rushing around. I did eat fruit at various points during the day and had a smoothie (Yes I bought a blender thingy!)  but never felt hungry at all.  I did on the way back from the beach though which is why I’m guessing my body just needed food of some sort. I’ve equated the feeling before with a lack of sugar, I thought fruit would give me that!

Which all goes to show how little I really know about nutrition which makes me feel kind of stupid. Crashes like that shouldn’t happen, I should always carry something I can use for fuel, I keep making mistakes, I’ll keep learning I guess! I know I should eat breakfast but I really don’t feel hungry in the morning, i’ve tried and it almost makes me feel sick to try to swallow food first thing.

But enough of the moaning! Up and at ’em, one bad run does not mean a thing in the grander scheme.  In good news my achilles has been fine today!  I have started using a foam roller to see if it helps and I might be jumping the gun (just a little!) but any day with no pain is a good one.  As for the knee – a slight twinge but not too much. I’m wondering if the knee is in fact a by-product of the mud i’ve been sliding through. I noticed today that I turn my feet out slighly in slippery mud, rather like a cross country skier in order to maintain balance and provide traction. It could well be having a bearing on my knee, I shall watch for that.

Only the one photo today -This handsome chap whom I met before crash! (PS Running through muddy hoofprints as a pain in the ass but worth it to meet and greet these guys)

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Tuesday niggles and dusk run

After a few days rest I was back early enough for a quick run to the beach after work. No wind, crisp and cold so perfect. Except the legs haven’t been perfect. I’ve had a slightly achey right knee for a while. I think it’s from sprawling over some roots a few months ago and banging it and it occasionally gives me grief but tonight it was a dull ache the whole time. It was fine for 13 on sat but not 3 and a half today. I’m wondering if its simply because I had to go on my hands and knees to fix a computer today and aggravated it.

My secondry niggle is one i’ve feared the ruturn of – Achilles tendonitus. I suffered from it years ago when I ran a pub and was on my feet 18 hours a day and it was agony. Eventually it went after physio. I had wondered about it while running but nothing so far – until yesterday in work I sat down and my left achilles suddenly and from nowhere gave me a jolt I happily havent felt in years.  Then last night in bed I was getting lesser aches from it.  This makes me sad. However I was determined to run today – I wanted to get out but I also wanted to test my achilles – and it didnt murmer for the whole run.

I may be over-reacting – I’ll be honest i’m enjoying running so much and it’s helping me both physically and mentally so much i’m scared of now losing it to injuries. I guess it’s just a case of keep an eye on things and keep on rolling!

Todays run was again beautiful – I love running at dusk, watching my breath steam into the air and feeling the day draining away.

I played around with some filters on my phone

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Moon rising over Cwm Nash

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Fossils!

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What a difference a week makes

Proud to say I ran another 13 miles today, from home to Monknash beach to Ogmore by Sea and back. It’s a mixed route, maybe a quarter beach and the rest is coastal path with lots of undulations and hills. The route (runkeeper says just less than 13 which is odd as it got the data from my Garmin watch which said over 13)

Sun setting around mile 11 and feeling good =)

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The difference from last week? I didn’t crash near the end, in fact I felt pretty damn good for most of it. I had a wobble around 8 or 9 miles – I noticed this last week too. But I think the big difference today was that I was prepared. After last weeks wall slam I bought one of these Inov8 Race Pak 4

I wanted to ensure that if i’m running for longer I need to stay hydrated, carry nutrition with me and also extra gear in case I get too cold and wet again. This seemed a good way to do it. There’s only so much you can get in a flipbelt afterall!

I was a little concerned about running with a pack but I have to admit this was brilliant, its only 4L capacity but it seems more than that and I honestly didn’t even notice I was carrying it after a short while. It stayed snug and didn’t bounce around which was a concern. So a thumbs up for this idea!

As well as physically helping out by carrying my bottle and gels etc I found it gave me confidence too. I didn’t feel so isolated miles from home or people as I had supplies and clothing with me so even if the worst came to the worst I could always walk back in (relative) comfort. So a nice psychological crutch too.

I felt so good on the way back I kept up the same pace for the last few miles that I would on a 4 or 5 mile jaunt.  I decided to start fuelling around an hour in and take it from there with gels or chews if I started to flag but ensuring not to overdo them. As I said earlier I felt a bit ropey around 8 miles in but whacked some sugars into me and felt ok again after a while.

The run itself was beautiful today.

Southerndown beach

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Sunset and little fluffy clouds (for cloud lovers out there!)

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I’ll never get tired of running this beach – Witches Point at Southerndown looking to Cwm Nash in background

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The deeps at Ogmore by Sea

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The hill at Witches Point – Yep I run up that by choice (about 4 miles in)

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New cliffslide at Witches (good subject bad photo)

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Alone and loving it

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Just a quickie

Rushed home, rushed out, ran to beach, ran around beach, headed home.

This was the route

Familiar? Carbon copy of yesterday. Pace slightly quicker and it felt quicker – til I realised I was stopping to take photos yesterday! So what gives?  The wind gives! The wind gives me the screaming heebie jeebies when it springs up from nowhere and makes my dance (for dance read sprightly jog) across the sands of Traeth Mawr into a head down slog. Does the wind slow me down that much? I guess it does (and it makes my poor calfs hurt)

I also noticed that I had a few aches and twinges returning, im putting those down to the wind too – not to my complete disregard for a warmup today. Yes, i confess, my only warmup today was me running from the car, up the stairs, bouncing around energetically while I get my running kit on and then running down the stairs. Normally i supplement this with some admittedly half hearted leg swings and quick stretches but not today.

I really really need to start warming up properly or i’m gojng to injure myself and regret it. This is me warning me – sternly. The thing is right now with the timing of sunset I _just_ have enough time for a lowtide run if I rush home and get changed fast…. Ok its an excuse, I hate warming up. I will, I promise myself.

No camera, no phone today. So in order to bring some colour to this ratehr drab post I bring you pre-blog photos of Soak!

Same beach, awesome dog with her favourite thing – A log to chew!

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I just love this photo of her, taken just a couple of years ago at sunrise at the Deeps in Ogmore

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Midweek Run in the Sun…

Or what was left of it, the weather was perfect this afternoon. No rain, no wind, crisp and cold. I bought some running gloves at lunchtime as my hands were freezing yesterday and was looking forward to trying them out. I drove home watching a beautiful winters sun beginning to set and thought it would make some lovely photos at the beach …. And by the time I got there a bloody cloud had rolled in front of it.

However I took photos as the sun struggled to shine through. More because i’d taken the camera and was going to bloody well use it!  And what do you know? I’ve just looked and some of them have turned out ok!  I’ll post the better ones below – I’m no great photographer, in fact i’m an awful photographer – point, click, shoot, hope. Perhaps I should have a look at the camera settings sometime…

But I hear cries from the audience – How do you carry a camera, phone, headtorch, gels etc all at once?  Don’t your pockets bulge and bounce?  Nope I reply! I have one of these – a flipbelt

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Flipbelt

I must admit I was sceptical at first, how does it stay up? Doesn’t it squeeze your middle? Answers in order – magic and no. Its basically an elasticated belt with pocket access through slits all around it allowing you to slide items you want to carry into it. As I said I was sceptical but had a go anyway, mainly for somewhere for my phone as I hate anything bouncing in pockets – and I love it. It simply works. If you dont need to carry too much and nothing too bulky (You arent going to fit a waterbottle in it easily) its great, I did my half marathon over a rocky beach on saturday carrying a phone and camera in it (and one solitary gel – still an idiot) and didn’t even notice they were there. Recommended gear (Please note I have no affiliation with flipbelt manufacturers whatsoever – But if they do want to send free stuff my way at any time go ahead!)

Anyway – gear review over, todays 4.5 mile route – Monknash beach

I shake my fist at your clouds!

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Oh … Ok it looks kind of cool anyway

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Reflections in the clouds on Monknash beach at sunset – I’m truly fortunate to have this as my running playground

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Goals? Motivations? Or just the joy of running?

Took a few days off, my excuse is resting my legs but also its been cold, windy and raining when I’ve arrived home from work. Two of these in any combo I can hack but all 3 – Then it becomes a chore and thats something I dont want it to become.  In a similar vein runkeeper keeps nagging me – “Set a goal – people who set goals are more likely to achieve” etc etc and I was considering this. At the end of last year I set that I wanted to do 220 miles by the end of the year (I cracked 300 in the end) and I found that I was going running either when I shouldnt because of tired muscles and therefore risking injury or even when i didn’t want to – all to keep bumping up my totals.

So when runkeeper nags me to set a target I refuse – I refuse because I want to run to enjoy, to feel alive, to leave pain behind for a while, to remember the good. I want to run to get better in my own sweet time, I want to run for the joy of freedom and the feel of the ground skipping beneath my feet. I want to taste the air and take in the views. Live in the moment – my moment with every step I take. I want to stop to think, to ponder the beauty of where I am of who I am, to think how far I’ve come and to look forward to the journeys ahead. To forget my watch ticking away to itself, it can tick. I’m a minute slower because I stopped to smell the roses? Who cares? I don’t have a training plan, I have my own plans, I’ll get there. I’ll get there when I do. Don’t wait for me, i’m happy doing it my own way.  My running isn’t statistics. My running isn’t a job. Don’t get me wrong I love milestones too. The first time I ran a mile I smiled. Back from the beach? Smiles. 2 miles, 4, 6, 8, 10, 13 – They all meant and mean something to me but i’m not pushing for them. They will come if I am patient and I can enjoy them all the more – just like my running.

Todays route   Just to the beach at Monknash and back in the cold, wind and rain. The tide was out but  slogging through evil conditions was going to take any fun out of it. I can wait for sunnier days.

The body felt fantastic today too, I noticed in work today that there were no aches and pains at all. No tight muscles, nothing. Looks like a few days of rest (well sort of rest, I walk a lot in work) can do the world of good. Looks like I’ll need to look into tapering before any events and maybe a few days rest or only light running beforehand if it makes me feel like today!