Preseli recon and newfound common sense!

I was down in West Wales yesterday and as you do figured I could add an hour or two to my journey to get to the Preselis and have a bit of a practice ready for the Ultra there in May.  I know most of the course and only intended on running the Beast Bach course which is around 11 miles and I was fairly sure I could navigate that.  By the time I got there around half two I noticed that the clouds were covering the peaks. Ah well let’s go up and see what happens.

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Clouds – bastards
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One of the nice things about the Preseli races is the variety of terrain, it isnt all fell. At the start (and end) there are some lovely forestry parts
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And you get to run through and old slate quarry
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Then a right bastard of a drag up and up and up the neverending drag bastard hill
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So I got to the top of the bastard drag where the Beast and beast Bach split and this was the view – around 20 yards visibility and everything pretty damn boggy.  Now I don’t care about freezing cold bog water, In fact i kinda like it in an odd way but the fog? I know the route – I don’t know it well enough to navigate sheep tracks in order to follow the route safely. I know from being up here on fine days the place is massive and I was likely to end up lost.  So for once common sense kicked in and I took a route that followed a fence and bridleway. At least I could easily retrace my steps and had a landmark.
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A few miles later I was glad I did – This is a completely different section of the fells … note similarity to first photo. I would have been totally lost up here. It all looks identical in the fog
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Following the fence was one thing – running through the streams and marsh was loads of fun though.  I really do love it when it’s a path less trodden
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Out of the fog and the panorama google made me looks kinda cool
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On the way back down I passed the beautiful wild ponies I’ve seen a number of times.  The thing about training here yesterday was there was no rush, no other people and it was more of an explore.  When I race here there’s no time to take photos or just chill out.  I honestly couldn’t tell you which I prefer.  I only covered 9 or 10 miles but it was a breeze compared to the 32 to come.

 

It aint always pleasant….

But I always love it nonetheless.  After a day of fairly nice weatehr by the time I got home from work it was getting dark and raining, sometimes hard rain sometimes just mizzle. The temptation was to stay in and pretend to stretch or something but sometimes you just got to get out of the door.

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Was worth it to capture the only sunlight left in Wales (he exaggerated madly)

Up on the cliffs it was cold and wet and I still loved it. I said hi to all the sheep of course.

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Witches Point in the mizzle

I did the 4 or 5 mile trip around to the barrows at Wick beach and headed back. Once again negotiating the haunted woods ™ by headtorch

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Path to haunted woods at dusk – Fortunately I know pretty much every inch of ground here

So yeah its always worth getting out even if the weather says no the lesg say yeh!

And finally a big hello and hug for my mum who’s not been so well lately but hopefully on the road to recovery!

Rainy day greens

So the holidays started officially yesterday and so I ran despite the torrential rain. I mean it was stair-rod stuff, cats n dogs, pissing it down. You know the drill. So I only did the beach and back as by the time I got there I was like a drowned rat and didn’t fancy dying of hypothermia running along the exposed beach despite it being july – its still Wales!

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Wait whats that in the distance braving the storm
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#spottedthehelicopter – A chinook in fact. Just noticed you can see the rain falling in the photos
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The path to the beach becomes a river but everythings so so so green!

Old to New

Time to semi-retire my Inov8 xtalon 200’s I think. They can go in the back of the van for impromptu runs.  I think probably the best recommendation for running shoes is that I bought exactly the same pair to replace them. I find them that comfortable (for a stripped down shoe) and wouldnt run in anything else if I know I’m doing technical stuff. The grip is utterly fantastic and I love that I can really feel the rocks under my feet. I feel confident in my foot placement so much more in the 200’s.

But after around 3-400 miles I can see materials starting to tear and I want to run Cornwall in them – or the same model at least so I’ve got a new pair to break in ready.

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This is what hundreds of miles of battering on all sorts of terrain does to a shoe. Im mystified as to how they appear to have shrunk but both old and new shoes fit me perfectly well (they are both size 11) Its a testament i think to the quality of Inov8 shoes that they have lasted this long and to be honest there are miles left in them.

To be honest the new ones don’t even take any breaking in, I did 7 miles in them yesterday and felt perfect from the off.

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We did seaweed and rocks
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We did more rocks and revelled in the grip
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We did sand in lovely patterns
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We did forest trails

Welcome to the world new shoes – I’m gonna wreck you!