When Trail Running goes a bit Blair Witch

Thought I’d have a change of scenery today so I ran the trails around St Brides common (St Brides being the next village to us). I used to walk Soak up here a bit so I knew a little of the area but not that much, today was as much about getting out into different conditions, finding a few hills and just going where the trail took me.  It turned into an 8 mile jaunt which I didn’t really intend to do but I felt fresh and the way i’m feeling at the moment i’m not too worried about the legs for the half on sunday so while the weathers good why not do a little more?

So my journey in photos

 

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Nice easy trail to kick off with some sand to get the muscles working
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Looking down on the River Ogmore
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I ran floodplains
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And saw some geese (Possibly Canadian Geese I don’t know, I’m no avian expert)
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However I know a swan when I see one
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My phone kindly made a panorama for me without being asked
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Climbed a hill – ended up on a golf course. Variation is the spice of life and all that
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First lamb of the year spotted!
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Ok so when is a left turn not the right turn?  When the trail stops and you end up in the woods running along a 45 degree slant with no path.
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Still lost in the woods and it’s all going Blair Witch (Ok I’m using some poetic licence here, I sort of knew where I was I just couldn’t be sure. We used to play around here as kids but it looks different now)
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Success! This is where I was trying to find. the old quarry at Castle Upon Alun.  Scarily we used to happily climb these cliffs as kids with no safety gear whatsoever. Ahhh the feeling of being an indestrucible young un.
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It actually gave me chills realising how steep these things actually are
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Took the scenic route back – All uphill it seemed
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I pass this tree everyday on the way home from work. I call it the “fuck you tree” For some reason it was felled years ago but in defiance it is determined to sprout again and keeps growing year on year.  Can you draw inspiration from a tree?  I do, it reminds me that whenever life beats you down you don’t give up. You get up, dust yourself off, say “fuck you” and grow again.

So all in all a great run which put a smile on my face, especially the ending with my inspiring tree which i’ve wanted to take a photo of for a while and today serendipity happened.

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Blowing away the cobwebs

Well I awoke with a bit of a hangover, a legacy of celebrating the Welsh win against Scotland yesterday (Though the performance wasn’t great I fully admit). So I slothed around a bit until the tide went out and decided to go for a trot to make me feel better inside and out.  And around 10 miles and just under 2 hours later I got back.  Seems like I can run fine with a hangover, in fact it actually got rid of it, I feel fantastic while I write this. Plus on a bright sunny day I got fresh air at the top of cliffs like this.

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Also happily no knee pain today, I wore the Adidas Kanadia which I try to avoid doing in wet and muddy conditions because they’re not in any way, shape or form waterproof. I’m guessing that if it turns out they’re better for my knee then I’ll be sticking with them full time, watery feet or not.

So in a weeks time I will have completed my first trail half or will have perished in the attempt and today was a good confidence boost. Plus I decided to put in some hills for the practice. In particular this bugger which i’m proud to say I made it up in one go!

 

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Cwm Mawr hill training

 

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Looks even steeper from the bottom.

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Dem Bones

A lovely evening to run after work, managed to fit in around 7 miles all offroad by getting to Witches Point at Southerdown then returning. The tide was way out and the sun was setting making it quite the spectacular run down there.  I can’t believe I ignored this place of tranquility and beauty for so long, well at least I’ve rediscovered it now thanks to running.

I felt a bit off for the first 2 or 3 miles today as if something wasn’t clicking then as usual I felt fine afterwards and by mile 6 I felt like I could run forever. Does this ever happen to anyone else? Of course I always beat myself up for the first few miles that it’s going to be a bad run and it so very rarely is. I need to stop listening to my inner voices. Plus a week sunday i need more than ever to be confident and know that it will all come together by halfway!

Oh the title of the post yes …… Dem bones indeed. I mentioned in a post a while back about the bones of local 12th century monks being found buried in the soft part of the cliffs at Cwm Nash.  Well the latest storms have uncoverd more which I actually discovered yesterday but didn’t want to post about until I’d informed the local archeological authorities.  Well they responded to me today that they would investigate so i’m posting as the tide will remove them anyway very soon. Of course as its not the first set of bones found its not national news anymore but I was kinda excited to find them.

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Looks like a leg to me (I’m no doctor)

So yeah – 800 year old bones (or 4-500 year old depending if they’re monks or shipwrecked sailors)

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The storms completely eroded this soft chalk cliff back about 2 or 3 feet in one night by my reckoning
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Todays obligatory sunset photo
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Not Soaky and I making prints anymore but someone had passed this way and it made me feel happy inside that at some point this afternoon a dog has had the time of it’s life at the beach.  If you have a dog give them a cuddle right now – I command it! Every moment you have them is a gift.
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Todays Route

Midweek Rock Hop

Got home with plenty of time to run. Haven’t been out for a few days and felt fantastic , I think I shall take a few days off prior to the half if this is how I feel. Had so much energy, got to the beach and the tide wasn’t as high as I expected so managed a little sand running but couldn’t resist the lure of a bit of rock hopping. Technically it was a stupid thing to do as at speed it’s risking a broken ankle at worst and a sprain at best but I just couldn’t help myself. It was just one of those days, so a good half an hour spent bouncing around the beach for the joy of it plus some driftwood hunting. All in all a great way to finish off wednesdays daylight =)

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Sunset at Cwm Nash
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My rockhopping playground
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Cwm nash cliffs and pebbled beach
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Me lying in a rockpool
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Just ….. Sunset

Todays route

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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!