Testing Route Mapping

Playing with maps

I did this route in google maps a while ago (and I think posted it agggges ago) and wanted to play around with it and see if it could be embedded in WP – which I think it can be it seems!

Might start doing a few more of there to geographically locate runs and things I come across … until I get bored of it :p

Running and Realism

Last night I was off to the beach, covered six miles and was out for over an hour and it felt great … up to a point.  My foot was aching a bit. Probably been overdoing it a little since the injury I thought …. This morning it’s more swollen and painful to walk on.

Hmmmm so this is where the realism comes in I guess. Hard to admit but i think I may have jumped the gun signing up for the ultra in Cornwall in now only 5 weeks. Being realistic instead of blindly optimistic my spidey senses tell me I can’t train hard enough without screwing my foot again and I really don’t want months off running again.

I can defer the race til next year and I’m starting to think its the only sensible option. Which does indeed make me feel a bit of a fool for getting all excited about it and then postponing it almost immediately.  It’s not in my nature to give up and this feels a bit like giving up.

I’ve read back through my blog and this stood out – I wrote it just as the injury was healing “ 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.

Guess I may need to be smarter ….

Anyway yesterday was a lovely run in the sun! Apologies for the poor quality but i forgot my camera.

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Rocks! This is as far as I got as the tide was coming in and my new found sensible nature decided I didn’t want to get trapped
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Heading back – Still enough sand to run on!
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But wait – I’m hot and need cooling down – Run in the waves!
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Testing the drainage qualities of Altras – They drain really well but do let a bit of sand in too
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Just a beautiful view 

Long beach & cliff run plus news!

How do you keep an idiot in suspense goes the old joke. I’ll tell you later.

Anyway today it was time to see exactly how much fitness I’d lost through injury, there was a reason for this test but first the run. As I knew I was likely to be going at least 10 miles I knew I’d need water and fuel so I cracked out the salomon squishy bottles and made myself some new fuel – I hereby announce to the running world the invention of the Honey Bomb!

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Working on the principle that you don’t eat with your eyes I present the first batch of Honey Bombs. I swear they taste so much better than they look … honest

Ingredients – all chucked in a bowl with no measuring.

Raisins, dates, flax and chia seeds and a dollop of honey all mixed together and placed carefully in scientific manner on a baking tray and then wanged in the freezer.

Result? I have discovered purest energy! Well I ate three of them on my run and they certainly kept my energy levels topped up. The only drawback being their incredible stickiosity. I wrapped them in silver foil so when unwrapping them I must have looked like the worlds healthiest junkie.

I was also glad to have taken a litre of water too as it started to get hot towards the end although I did actually hydrate myself all the way through which I’m disproportionately proud of. All this I packed away in my Inov8 race pack 4 which is just so comfortable I don’t even notice it’s there. The salomon soft flasks work great as once you’ve had a gurgle out of them they fold up and can be carried in a pocket until empty.

Anyway I managed just over 12 miles which didn’t feel like a struggle until the hill into Wick to my folks (another shout out to the folks) near the end which just felt like it was going on forever, plus it was half road and as we all know I hate roads. My body felt fine above the waist, the legs simply haven’t got the miles back in them yet but I’m sure that will come.

The beach was as usual beautiful even though I was going into a headwind on the way out and I managed to remember to breathe through my nose pretty much for the whole thing. This is becoming second nature which I’m especially pleased with as I know I’m no longer blowing myslf to bits early on.

Enough text they cry! Where are the photos?

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Outward bound – I tried to capture the headwind but failed :p
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Cliff stack – I’m waiting for this one to come down (as long as I’m not under it at the time) Also spot my superb accidental capture of a seagull
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Green! I knew I’d get some green in for CeeJayKay. This is actually a very rare phenonemon called cliff snot
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View from the cliffs again plus some green
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WARNING! Rockpool ahead!
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View running back along the cliffs (more green plus fluffy clouds for SRG)
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Foresty bit (included for its greeniosity)
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Field of unripened corn – Note colour!

Oh yeah so the news ….

I’ve signed up for a race in August. In Cornwall! It’s a trail run along the Cornish coastal path. A friend of mine and I are going to camp down there for the weekend as there is a bar and DJ and stuff to entertain him while I run on the saturday.

Thing is … the 20 miler I was originally going to do was full so I kind of ….. signed up for the 32 mile option. I have 6 weeks to prepare. I may well die (note to parents this is a lighthearted throwaway line I won’t really die)

Ultra or bust! Probably bust but I’m going to give it my best.

Getting back there … slowly

First run with only days rest in between yesterday but the sun was shining with a lovely breeze and the tide was out. I was a little concerned but it all worked out fine (was that a spoiler?)

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You can see why I wanted to get out – Low low low tide means big big big playground

I was determined to keep it slow and keep the heartrate below 140(ish) which isn’t as hard as it sounds if you’re not wearing a heart monitor as you can cheat a little – I think I might actually have to invest in a watch soon with one though. Any recommendations?

The hardest part at the moment is remembering that I’m keeping it slow. It’s easy on the sand and paths as I don’t have much else to think about but as soon as I hit technical sections I seem to revert back to how I used to run them – hard and taking too many risks – To be fair sometimes it’s actually necessary to take some of these at a higher pace. Doesn’t make sense? I’ll try to explain (which probably won’t make sense)

The rocks in the photo above aren’t a great example as they are more like a pavement anyway but if you imagine a long stretch like this but with fewer rocks and more gaps – ok got that?  Then at a slower pace you are limited to where you can land. You need rocks within a smaller area and when you come to a gap it halts you as you cant leap them so easily. At a quicker pace your potential landing area is larger and you can cross bigger gaps making for a smoother and less disjointed run.  Did I manage to explain?  Anyway I think I can cover rocks while keeping the heartrate reasonably low and can let it fall way back on sand.

SRG has been an invaluable source of information on slow running (It’s so much easier when someone does all the reading for you then condenses it so if you’re interested in it and for faaaar more insight from someone who actually knows what they’re talking about check her blog out)  and in a recent post talked about flow. I kind of understand what she means.  Slowing the pace down (and by slow I find thats 10.30-11 min per mile on the sand and 11-13 on technical sections (lets not talk about climbs, I need to learn to walk more)) I can feel that the running is not straining me at all, it’s easy to breathe and everything above the hips feels like it could go all day. Thats not the case for my legs at the moment which are the bit of me protesting. I think after basically 3 months out it’s going to take a while to get the conditioning back to where it was. Which is fine by me, I’m learning to take it all much more slowly.

Arghhhh wall of text – sorry guys

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More rocks!

I have finally found a flaw in the Altras – When it comes to sections with rock “steps” as in the photo above, sometimes you can’t leap the whole step and so I tend to look for a ledge half way up the step and hit that to propel myself up. Some of these ledges will be quite narrow and the width of the Altras caused me a problem yesterday. I landed on a ledge with the outer half of my foot (And i wondered how I got a foot injury) and pushed off but as the Altras are so wide there wasn’t enough of my foot on the ledge to push properly leading to me slipping down some lovely barnacles and taking the skin off my leg. Something else to remember!

Arrghhhh too much text again

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The changing seasons – In winter this is a waterfall. In summer the algae grow and it becomes quite a beautiful feature.

All in all I managed six and a half miles at around 13 minute pace. The foot felt good (though ached last night) and it felt great to be back out running the whole stetch of the beach down to witches point. I knew the conditions were perfect for a photo op of the beach so I did the climb up Witches (lets not talk about heartrate at this bit, I may have failed) as I knew just where I could get a good photo.

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Was definitely worth the climb. The far headland is my way back home.

So for anyone who has waded through this you get a bonus jellyfish!

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Badgers, bees and beheadings

Now before you get too excited I actually only saw one of these on my run today.  However I did get four and a half miles done in the dunes at Merthyr Mawr. We also had mizzle – which wasn’t as bad as it sounds as it was kind of cooling. I was taking the pace slow and today that felt a bit more natural. However this may be because running through soft and damp sand is much harder than i’d anticipated right now. I’m not sure how long it takes to recover from injury and get the fitness back but while the rest of my body was going wheeeeeeeeee! the legs were going fuuuuuuuuuck!

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Soft sand uphill is the leg killer

So badgers ……. If you’ve followed this post a little while you may remember my last visit to Merthy Mawr and the killer badgers

Which admittedly don’t exist but …. tracks!

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Badger or dog …. you decide!

Bees! Ok lose the plural

Bee!

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Big, buzzing bugger

Beheadings ….. Ok so you need a little imagination on this one. While running I came across this …

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Chopping block

Which reminded me of those blocks you see in medeavil films for chopping heads off etc and then I noticed the arrangement of logs creating a small semi circle facing the block.

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Log seating for the executions!

Ok so I admit I have a vivid imagination but it’s still kinda intriguing. They must have been placed here for a reason and the ground is worn in the area.

I moved on (as I was now scared of both badgers and axe murderers)

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View of the Bristol Channel from the top of the dunes – The chopping block is down there somewhere.
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Looking across to Ogmore by Sea

I was delighted to find the tide was out and so I managed a circuit of the very sandy beach here. And when i say sandy I mean soft and sandy!

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Altras make great footprints!
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Note the wide toebox :p

All in all a great run to ease back into it all. there was a small bit of niggle from the foot which is why I kept it short, slow and sensible (Not like me I know)

Finally Happy Birthday and Fathers Day to my dad who I think will read this at some point! In fact I’d like to say a huge thanks to both of my parents who have always backed me 100% in whatever I’ve done … even when they haven’t been sure its the right thing.

Cheers all! Happy sunday

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!