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
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!
I was gonna make this a short run but was enjoying myself so much I went off to do some more water hunting
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?
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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
It had recently come to my attention through the efforts of my personal training advisors (you know who you are) that by breathing through the nose will prevent going over the heartrate threshold (or something like that, at least it acts a a bit of a regulator) so I set off for the beach last night to try it out.
First impressions – felt a bit odd, I’m clearly an inveterate mouthbreather when I run, usually in some sort of gasping fish out of water style. After I while I got more used to it, I think I should have been counting steps and breaths or something but I’d forgotten what I was meant to count and how much I should be counting to anyway so I just made it up.
It does actually seem to work, if I was finding it hard to breathe through the nose and felt like I needed a gulp from my mouth then I knew I was pushing too hard. Mainly the uphill bits it seemed as I could happily cruise at around 10 min per mile pace on sand while nosebreathing. In fact the hardest part was remembering to do it once I got into the zone and started enjoying the scenery and terrain.
I actually covered seven and a half miles and it didn’t feel like I was putting out too much effort. Maybe this slow/chi/noserunning technique has plenty going for it. It was kind of a definite comeback run for me. Every day as I travel to work I pass at a distance the hill of Witches Point at Southerndown and I can just make out the wall on the side of it. Throughout my injury it has teased me with its presence and every time I’ve gone past I’ve sworn my revenge on it.
Yesterday that time came and when I reached the wall I took a photo of my vanquished foe, gave it the two fingered salute and pranced around it just to demonstrate my return and put this completely inanimate object back in its place – I’m king of the hill again!
Instead of the beach on the way back I ran the cliff route which means lots of hills to test out the nosebreathing. I have to admit to switching to my mouth a few times before remembering why I’m doing this in the first place. Gob shut I continued slower.
Once again for those that reached the end of the post I give you the brave … I don’t care that you are photographing me …. lamb
Woke up, the suns shining, the tides out – and i’m injured…. Sod it, the ankles been improving and recovery has hit a flat spot. I’m on my feet every day and there’s been no pain, more of an ache when I get home.
So off I went on an exploratory run to see where I’m at. I didn’t run the quarter mile of road to get to the fields and started on grass – There was no pain just slight discomfort although I was running at a very low intensity with a very low stride height to minimise impact. The fields felt fine and I was enjoying just being back out on the trail.
I sensibly didnt run the rocky path to the beach – go me for resisting!
And this is what I was looking for – low tide and wet sand – destination soft!
Picked up the stride height and pace on the sand and it felt comfortable, I was experiencing what I believe they call in sporting circles – a niggle. Niggle away I thought, I’m enjoying this! I got to the far end of the sand but went no further – I didn’t want to push too hard on my test run – Have I really learned patience?
On the way back I had a thought – If the pain is in the ankle when the rear of my foot impacts – I could do hill repeats on my toes couldn’t I? Well it makes sense to me.
After my hill test I ambled back up the path and across the fields. Admittedly I was limping slightly at this point and if not in pain then discomfort. I may have pushed too far for today but I felt I needed to see where I was at with a few races approaching. I think next sunday is too soon to do an offroad half so sadly I’m letting the Offas Dyke half go but still hope to get down to West Wales in three weeks for the Preseli Beast (though the name is scaring the ankle already)
I’m writing this with my feet in a foot spa thingy I discovered in my spare room which I vaguely remember borrowing from someone years ago and never returned – I may be suffering karmic rebounds!
So far so good but the real test is now how it feels for the rest of the day and tomorrow morning (Which is my birthday! Best present I could have is an improving ankle)
And finally – Spring is here!
Sunday Update – No pain at all this morning – ankle feels good, resisting temptation to run today though, sense prevails!
To be honest I know I’ll never catch normal but just throwing it out there as a thought. Why do I say this? I don’t seem to do normal things, or think normal things … But I guess normal is different for everyone. In this case I mean the vast majority of people I know or meet in work who do the same things day in day out, they bitch and moan about work, their kids, other peoples kids, their other halves, how expensive things are, what happened in some TV programme ad neauseum and it leaves me cold.
I’ve never been married, never had kids, never done this “normal” life thing, I tend to do things on a whim – Like leaving my super secure council desk job to run a pub. This summer I have the six weeks off as I work in schools now but I’m not planning a 2 week holiday on a beach somewhere or planning to grout my bathroom, I’m planning where I can go to do some scenic running on my own. Is that normal?
Anyway all that came from my run home today. I was knackered and thinking “Why am I doing this again?” Of course it didn’t help that I was carrying a huge driftwood branch back from the beach (yes more beachcombing). It didn’t help that a leisurely trot to the beach had turned into me beasting myself up steep steep hills six times in close succession for no good reason other than “I wanted to see if I could”
Then again I would imagine the vast majority of the population would think anyone reading this blog and thinking “Hey that could be me” is not normal.