Wind sprints & leg wobbles

I’m caught up! Kinda – So this was thursday!

4 miles along the beach followed by some more hill work (4 not 6 this time as I’d already done a longer run) so plenty of leg wobbling!  The wind was giving it a good blow and made for some interesting training, wet sand and a headwind equal muscle tiredness.

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Always beautiful
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The wind was making cool swirling patterns in the sand which I’ve completely failed to capture here but you get the idea I’m sure
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Sea being chopped up by the wind – did I mention it was windy?

Valley of the wasps!

On tuesday I rolled down to the beach and the tide was in so I decided to do some hill work either side of the Cwm. I actually managed 3 repeats of 2 hills which doesnt sound much but they are hell steep, by the end I was spent and the legs were distinctly wobbly so I skittered like bambi on acid all the way home.  It’ll all be worth it next time I’m on a hilly course – thats what im telling myself anyway.

On the beginning of the right hand side climb wasps have colonised around 15 feet of the pathway, building nests with small entrances – It makes it a mad dash through so you dont get waspsaulted. Little buggers! Never seen them do this here before.

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Spot the wasp!

The views from the top of the cliffs when you get there are always worth it, just takes a while before it all comes back into focus to appreciate it.

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View from the right
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View from the left

 

Hey legs guess what? Its hurty time again

Saturday morning and the sun is shining so time to uncreak the legs and go and look for some hills. Ok I knew where they were but the spirot of exploration sounds so much more exciting.

The beach was of course beautiful (but had no hills)

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Just enough room to squeeze through
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At the top of the ladders is the Cwm – Just what I was looking for
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Up here and down to over there
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And then back over there again …. repeat

Rinse, repeat, flail about helplessly when the legs go wobbly and then speed off home quads hurting again – Which I think is leftovers from last weekends jaunt.

So I have short sharp hills – now I need long, long long hills to build up the quads.

Bonus photos!

Taken at the Preseli Beast by Robert at www.beerrunner.co.uk

Hop over and take a read!

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Rob caught me in the slate quarries around Rosebush. Guess which I am?
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Short sharp climbs
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Loved the different terrain here

Cheers for sending them Rob, thanks for not capturing my anguished expression!

 

A return to waterworld

After even more torrential rain yesterday and overnight it was time to don the flippers and get back out there to explore the new maritime environment and I for one welcome our new aquatic overlords.

Considering the road leading to the fields looked like this I was pretty sure I was gonna get soooo wet

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To the left is the stream ….
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Yep waterlogged fields ahoy

Thing is that once your feet and legs are wet and the initial shock is done and dusted you’re fine. In fact the water acts as an insulator once it’s up to body temperature. This is my theory and I’m sticking to it. So my advice to any budding trail runners is that you can’t avoid getting wet so don’t tiptoe around it just bang straight on in there at speed and embrace it!

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The waterfalls by the ruined mill were looking impressive today
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As were the ones running onto the beach itself

I was gonna make this a short run but was enjoying myself so much I went off to do some more water hunting

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But first I had to get past aggro cow and his “You looking at me?” expression
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And “Orangucow” Part Orangutan part cow
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A few miles on and the viws from the clifftops are great, especially when the sun breaks through. Thats one of the beaches I pebbleran yesterday
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Thar she blows!  This stream was more of a trickle yesterday – Now to slide down to it
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Clear as mud and quite strong but luckily jumpable
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Stream 2 is the source of the waterfall from yesterdays post
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And heres the top of it
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The sun was still giving me some beautiful views
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On a whim I detoured as it was still high tide and came across the old Watch House thingy in Derval Woods

The last 3 or 4 miles home were an uphill slog through completely waterlogged fields. I’m sure it’s building up strength in my legs but its a bloody killer at the time.

Even the cabbage field was a veritable stream, ankle deep freezing cabbage water anyone?

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They even smell cabbagey despite being tiny

I leave you with another photo of the cliffs in sunlight. Always remember that any run can be a bit of an adventure. Just let your mind go wild and the body will follow. Invent and imagine and nothings a chore.

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(Barely) Human Guinea Pig

First day back in work and I promised myself a run. If I promised myself anything in the past it would have been a pint or a takeaway – no more lol

Anyway off I went and it was beautiful at the beach but sadly the tide was on its way in so I sped around the rocks for a while and took some photos.

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Tide = In
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Sea = Beautiful

I was thinking this week about sunday and the start of the half marathon which – even though I hung around at the back still made me start off faster than I usually would alone and why when I pride myself in doing things my way (for better or worse I admit) I would change my pace just because others were doing different.

Although it was only a few minutes a mile faster than i would normally have run I definitely felt it throughout the morning. So today as I mentioned the tide was in so I decided to do hill sprints for a while … until I could no longer do hill sprints and basically deliberately set out to blow myself up.  I think I read or heard it somewhere about once you’ve gone too far into the red there’s no recovery. Not even if you rest for a long while it just doesn’t come back that easy. So today I donned my best lab coat and took one for science.

I sprinted this hill repeatedly.

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Ouch

Until I could run no more. Jelly legs – check.  Heaving chest and desire to heave in general – check.  Then I took a rest until everything felt back under control and normal. And ran home. And wow was I buggered. Even after the rest I was instantly back in trouble without doing anything more than a gentle jog.

I know you will all say – Ummm we knew this anyway so what did you do that for?

Well I knew it too, I’d heard it enough but now I will REMEMBER it. I’m going to call it Runners Pandoras Box. Burying yourself = opening the box  and once its open youre screwed because you cant shove it all back in.

PS I’m also a trained idiot. DO NOT try this at home

 

Snowdonia day 2

Sadly for you lot day 2 wasn’t as exciting as day 1 – mainly because I’d already run up Snowdon itself – see post here

However I got up bright and early (I was also touched to get an email from Sergei checking I was still alive as I hadn’t posted in a while – We have a great community going here and this nice touch brought that home to me – thanks SRG) and the legs needed a quick run to get moving so I did a bit of local exploring before going back for some food. Then drove up the Llanberis pass looking for likely spots to run.  The best thing about this area is that there are so many trails you can follow – spoilt for choice! I pulled up at a junction of three valleys and decided to just run a path and see where it led.

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At first it led up again! Oh my legs were loving me this morning – They protested for the first few miles – Hadn’t they been beaten eenough yesterday? As with yesterday the views made it all worthwhile.
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Then near the peak a path led back off downwards in another direction – It looked narrow, technical and fun – Of course I took it =)
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There were some fantastic drystone walls – Not sure why they are in this shape – Wall builders on the local mushrooms maybe?
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Crossed a babbling brook
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The valley bottomed out and eventually i reached this beautiful lake – Note the seagulls – Everywhere I go it’s seagulls – These weren’t attack seagulls like the ones at home though
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As we all know in this game what goes down must go back up and I crossed to the other side of the valley for a good few miles of constant ascent – Now my legs were really really loving me. What was great was that I wasn’t breathing hard or really putting out much effort – Just grinding happily along
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I did of course see “wildlife” #spotted the sheep
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Its sunny! Then cloudy …. then sunny!

I would thoroughly recommend coming to Snowdonia to run. There are just so many places you can go.  I hardly saw another soul for the whole of the second day and the views like the ones above were fantastic. There are a lot of walkers on the more popular routes so if you feel more comfortable in numbers around it’s ideal.  If you just want to get out on your own and challenge yourself – it’s ideal – win/win!  I did pack a whistle, foil blanket, phone, food and water too – I wouldn’t recommend running light up here on your own. There were a few rescues made by helicopter while I was up here and this happened on the other side of the mountain I was on

I saw the smoke but wasn’t aware of the situation, I see random smoke all the time in the countryside and assumed there was controlled burning going on. At least they all got out ok =)

I had a great few days, I could have happily spent another day running but I knew I couldn’t really do much more hard milage without risking injury. The foot was hurting and my toe wasn’t happy at being rebroke on Snowdon. My quads were trashed from the descents and my calves extremely tight from the climbs. At least I’ve learned to listen to my body and it was saying enough for now. I’ll be back!

Not lost …. Just misguided (with added beavers)

On Tuesday afternoons I work up in the valleys and I always look at the surrounding hills and wonder what it’s like to run them. This morning I actually remembered to throw some kit and shoes in the trailmobile(tm) so after work it was time to get some elevation!

Elevation, pace, breathing blah blah blah lets get on with the photos

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Starting point – Pontycymmer, home of houses hanging off 45 degree gradients
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Ok not so steep I can handle this
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Jesus H Christ in a chickenbasker did I just run up that?
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Which led to another dirtroad – Which climbed up and up and up and up forever. Still it was sooooo peaceful, not a single soul anywhere to be seen.
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Purty flowers (Any excuse to stop to take a photo while going uphill)
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Reached the top and the views were stunning – sadly my camera and skills do not reflect the mountainous majesty at all
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More hills with annoying tree right in shot
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Believe it or not this is not the same road as before …. By now I had passed lots of turnoffs and every road looked similar and the identical trees were giving nothing away ….
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After even more climbing a clue – However the little yellow arrow is clearly pointing to the treacherous path of death while the nice smooth track leads away upwards ….hmmmm
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Of course I took the treacherous path of certain death and found it led to …. Valley of the Beaver. Well maybe not but I like to imagine our furry woodchipping friends doing all this deforestation.
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In a not very surprising twist of events the Path of Ultimate Treachery led into the Spooky Forest of Doom
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Which had the worlds tallest and straightest trees
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And apparently the worlds tidiest beavers who stack logs in neat piles everywhere
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Emerging from the forest and by now wildly guessing at the way to go by just heading downhill I realised I was actually running on the old spoilheaps created by the coal mining industry years ago
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I also found some very tasty looking mushrooms disguising themselves as Cornish Pasties (note kids DO NOT eat random fungi no matter how well baked they look – you will die or at least go on a trip you are unlikely to forget for many years)
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I “think” the identical roads run through that forest … maybe.
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Aha! Saved – A trail marker …… of utterly no use whatsoever seeing as you could indeed go three directions from here not two.

In fact I just kept heading down down down until I found my bearings. It was close though! I didn’t fancy spending the night in the woods with the roaming OCD beavers

Actually it was only five and a half miles but a fun and challenging run

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