Back to the trails!

After a few days break – work and weather enforced it was great to get back out running. Managed to fit in an hours run on the beach after work. Felt good today and pushed it a bit harder on the way back for an even split which isn’t bad considering its always uphill on the way home!

Todays route

I was glad to feel good today as yesterday I bumped into a teacher in work who I didn’t know runs and after telling her about what I was up to she told me about this trail half marathon virtually on my doorstep!  The hoka half at Margam Park

I’ve already got an event planned for that date in Avon and that was to be my first but thats only (I say only, I wouldn’t have said that few months ago) 12k not a half marathon  and having considered it for a day I’ve signed up for the half and will drop out of the 12k. I wasn’t planning to run a half until later in the year when I felt I would have the confidence to do it but having run the distance twice in the last few weeks over probably harder terrain than the event its something that I really want to do. I’m not worried about times but I am worried about finishing of course. But I believe that with just under a month to go I can do this! Time to put what i’ve been learning into practice. And i’m excited already!

Other things of note today – it appears that horses don’t suffer from vertigo judging by this lot happily grazing a few feet from a cliff edge with a couple of hundred foot drop right next to them! After taking the photo (poor quality im afraid, the camera hates long distance and ducky gloom it seems) I literally couldn’t watch them as I ran past. I’ve seen sheep doing this before and that was bad enough but the thought of a plummeting horse kept my heart in my mouth. I’m a complete animal lover and this scared me half to death. I’m sure it doesn’t concern them though and I’m glad I was on the beach not on the cliffs as it would break my heart if I was to startle one off the edge.

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Death defying stunt horses on Nash cliffs

Also of note were the first molehills. A sure sign of spring approaching as the earth has warmed up enough for our subterranean friends to start stirring. I can’t wait for spring. Winter running has taught me a lot and I’ve enjoyed running through the changing seasons but a little warmth would go down a treat around now

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First molehills of Spring!

 

Running guerilla in the mist

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Misty morning at Traeth Mawr

Quick post for what was suppiosed to be a quick run. Just under 7 miles but the beach was kinda fun this morning so I ran and explored so a slow time but who cares!  Felt good again today so all in all it’s been a good weekend, hasn’t felt like a strain at all and just the boost I needed after what was a quiet week running wise.

Wore a pair of Adidas Vigor trainers for the first time. Felt great and plenty of bounce and traction on rocks. Not so great in the slippery mud but I didn’t expect them to be. I’ve realised that for next winter I’m going to need inov8 mudtalons or something seriously luggy.

Spent a good 10 minutes just watching rocks tumble down a recent slide

Witness an incredibly tedious video of the odd rock falling! Joking aside it was a reminder to me that although I treat the beach as a fantastic training and recreational area it’s also a very dangerous playground.

 

 

 

Fantastic!

The sun was out as was the tide and off to the beach I went. I felt brilliant today, in my head and body. I loved running the fields,  I loved running the woods, the rocks, the sand, the cliffs. I did it all, I did it with a smile and I did it without feeling tired at any point. It was slow but it was to be savoured. Ok i’ll stop gushing!  I ran to Cwm Nash then across to Witches Point, up the cliff path and back along the clifftops all the way to Marcross then back down to the beach and back to Cwm Nash and then the mile back home through the woods and fields.

I must admit I love my pack, I really don’t notice it and it’s great to have water and fuels with me. When I felt too hot I could easily stash my jacket, on top of the cliffs where the wind was cold I simply popped it back on again. I took it quite slowly today, my toe was recovered and wore the Adidas Kanadia which are the easiest on my feet. I also stopped multiple times to take photos for a project i’m working on. So all in all a nice relaxed run of around 10 miles and felt like I could have done more. But why overdo today when there’s always tomorrow!

Todays route

 

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Sun rising over the Plough and Harrow in Monknash
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3 fields in – Best way of crossing the icy stream is plough straight through it at speed!
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Sun over the cliffs at Cwm Nash
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Mist rising from the sands – Those seagulls are soon going to shift!
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Sun on sand
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Beaufitful Welsh beaches – Looking from Witches Point at Southerndown to Cwm Nash
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The old beach “hut” at Cwm Nash. This was built on the cliffs for a lady of The Bruce Estate to watch the sea
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Looking from Cwm Nash to Marcross
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Nash Sands – High today – A sandbar out in the Bristol Channel that is visible at low tides. Has doomed plenty of shipping in its time, hence the lighthouse at Marcross
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Nash Sands – The swell was right today for waves and you could have surfed the sandbar

 

 

 

 

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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