Yesterday I had planned another longish run of around 10 miles, I questioned why I was doing it – Or rather a friend questioned why I was doing it which in turn made me wonder. There’s always the small improvements each time I run which have led to a 20 mile run last week.
My next event won’t be until May next year though, I’m looking to move up from the Presceli Beast half to full race which will be tough as it’s part fellrunning. So what am I training for now? Perhaps I should be letting everything rest before a fresh assault in the new year? Perhaps I should just be enjoying running full stop? In fact I am so to hammer this point home to myself Sundays run wasn’t focused on anything but running all over the beach and enjoying the technical terrain.
And what better shoes than the Inov8 Xtalons for this, I’m amazed by how grippy these things are, the rubber cleats hang on to rocks like the Boston Strangler to a neck. Someone asked me for a closeup of the soles the other day and I forgot so here you go.
They also grip superbly on slippery mud too, the only drawback being that they can clog up if the mud mixes with grass and sheep shit which does bind up and cling to the soles like thus.
Overall though I’m absolutely loving these shoes and even better the foot is healing well now, I actually covered 8 miles on the beach just running about like a loon with no pain despite the rocks.
The run was of course beautiful, less beautiful I suspect was that it was so warm I had my top off :p Hey it’s Enjoy Yourself Sunday so I can do what I like!
So yeah, lifes short so find your rainbows wherever you can!
So I need a new watch. Not because it’d not working (an update fixed that problem) but it seems like the battery life is limited to around 4 hours …. And yesterdays long run went over that. Yes indeed, probably closer to 5, sit back and I’ll tell you all about it.
I knew it would be a long run so I took my energy bars and hydration pack (Pro tip from a non-pro: If you’re also taking a lightweight jacket then wrap the bladder in the jacket which helps stop the water warming from your body heat)
The tide was right in so no choice but to run the cliffs which meant more climbs, in for a penny!
So the descents … and ascents are kinda scary, exhilarating and painful at the same time
Shot through Southerndown and Ogmore like a raisin fuelled rocket and normally I would turn here to return home making it 13 miles. Today I had bigger fish to fry, I was off to Porthcawl! Thing is when you get to Ogmore there’s a wide rivermouth and the only place to cross is a few miles up the road meaning I would be on a big detour. Ah well It was a nice day, detour me up baby!
The detour happily led me past some swans – One of whom clearly thought I had bread so sailed close before paddling off in disgust
I reached the stepping stones where I could finally cross the river next to Merthyr Mawr castle – Or what’s left of it
My detour now led me to Merthyr Mawr dunes which I’ve run before but only after driving to them.
Running through the sand was a leg killer, I could feel how much work my calves and hanstrings were doing to get me up these hills. Felt like running in glue. There were a class of youngsters there with some endurance school logo on the back being trained to sprint through sand – That should put them off endurance sports for life nicely
The dunes lasted around 3 miles and put a few dents into my previously unquenchable confidence. Should I turn back, I knew I was now going to be in previously uncharted distance territory by the time I got near to home so I obviously plugged on, I was determined to reach Porthcawl.
I got to Porthcawl – Where back in march I met up with my family for a day and we wondered how far it would be to run back along the coast to home – 12 miles (including detour)
Porthcawl had joy of joys an ice-cream van! I had a can of coke and huge icecream as I figured I needed all the help I could get on the return journey. I followed the beach back before turning back into the dunes for some more punishment
I found a sandy track back in case I wasn’t fed up of sand. This is now around 15 miles in and the legs were really starting to suffer. Nutritionally I was fine the muscles in my legs were just getting wasted by the sand. I knew from here on in it was just going to be a painful grit your teeth and guts it out effort to get home.
At this point the photos appear to have stopped being taken with any regularity. I think this was as much because I had to keep going as stopping and starting just hurt more. I followed the detour and then changed course to trevel up over St Brides common before dropping into St Brides itself. I was bringing myself back on the roads but knew that it was pretty much all uphill from here as I was headed to Wick which sadly for me is the highest point in the Vale of Glamorgan (Ok its not Everest but it felt like it yesterday)
By the 18th mile my legs were pretty much gone and I was walking most hills – It’s trail running we get to do this right! (Another pro tip form a non-pro to new trail runners – Walk the hills if they are going to leave you blown up. Everyone does it and its nothing to be ashamed of. Wish I’d known this at the start)
The rest of me was fine just the calves, hammies and glutes had very little bounce and just felt dead. Strangely I was still enjoying it, the foot was playing up but then again I had been out for over 4 hours and nearly 20 miles.
Then I had the watch battery warning which surprised me but at least I had the sense to note the time and distance it finally died – Which as it turned out wasn’t too far from the finish.
This rather boring photo though will always mean a lot to me – its where I was when I hit the 20 mile mark for the first time ever
At 21 miles I reached my destination – Not home for once, I had decided to reward myself …
I had a couple with some friends here who didn’t seem to mind the sweat and then finished off by running home – Amazing how the legs start to recover immediatley after cider 😉
So all in all a tough run. Proud of it though, my previous best was 15 miles and I did 21 miles (not including the jog home after pub) and over 4 and a half hours on my feet. Ran through a lot of oh crap moments and pulled it together.
Found it down the back of the sofa, made it fix my Garmin which it kindly did then took them both to the beach. Seven and a half miles in around an hour and a half with plenty of rock hopping and general zooming around. Mojo and I are friends again and the sun came out to celebrate.
If ever you need a happy song try a dose of this. Plus they’re Welsh!
So a week off running and it wasn’t too bad, I must admit it was tricky to not go out when the sun shone on the way home but I stuck to it for a whole week. And today I got to try out my new shoes (I had to hide them this week in case my will broke)
First impressions – very comfy, at first they felt a little snug but they are so soft – like a baby deers furry ass – that they soon felt like they were already worn in.
The reason I got these was for better grip as the weather turns and I’m going to be spending much of the next six months sliding around in mud. I also wanted something for wet rocks on the beach, It’s not like I ask a lot or anything.
It’s been raining all week and so I was sure to find mud
So overall I’m more than pleased with the Xtalon 200 – They are definitely going to become my technical shoe of choice and I expect to give them a right hammering this winter. The grip is fantastci on mud and rock and they provide an immense feeling of confidence and stability. My only worry is the drainage but with some care there shouldnt be too much water getting in – basically it has to go in over the top anyway.
Oh and I have new shoes but this dude has a new coat – With chickens on! How cool is that (I was kinda jealous)
After taking four days off running with just some biking to keep fresh in order to let my body recover from the efforts of last week (Yes Sergei I showed common sense!) I waited today until a very low tide to get back out for a 9 mile run. Was out for around two hours but managed to do some rock scrambling at Witches Point and took a look around at the different features which can only be seen at the lowest tides.