Sundays for speedwork

Sort of … it was meant to be a recovery run after saturdays 14 miles but the legs felt really good and the tide was out and I felt like running quickly … so I did. Sod common sense I wanted to run for the joy of running and if that meant fast then fast it was!

Met some new friends

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And went out of my way to warn these people that walking right under the cliffs at this time of year is suicide – You can hear the rockfalls all the time.  I had to laugh as the older lady (who wasnt under the cliffs) replied with “well yes but he is a geologist” …. Like ok well at least he will know what kind of rock staved his head in then I guess.  To be fair I was more worried about the dog with them, splattered people I could cope with but not a dog. With a cheery cry of “Natural selection will out!” I sped on my way

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Cold and wet = Gear testing

It was cold, windy and raining when I got home on Wednesday and I was actually happy about It! I got the chance to try out the rain jacket I had to buy for the kit requirements at the preseli beast five months ago. Seriously it’s wales and I haven’t needed once – I carried it at the roseland ultra too so I figured it had done 56 miles without being worn.

It’s a ronhill jacket (not sure of type) which is fully waterproof with taped seams to pass kit inspections and its actually great to wear, I thought it might get a bit hot but was just perfect, I was a little damp afterwards from sweat but not excessively so and it was so worth it to keep out the cold and wind which it did a brilliant job at.

I also wore full length running tights for the first time. They were actually an impulse purchase as we have a “designer outlet” near work which have some good running shops selling last years lines (I guess) and one of these is an Asics shop which does fantastic sales. I picked up the tights for £7 and have picked up loads of shirts for around a fiver and being asics (I like their clothing) its all great quality.

The tights at first felt a bit weird but by the ed of the run (around 7 miles) I was sold.  They kept the legs warm and did away with the annoying “drag and swish” of wider tracksuit bottoms (If youve ever run in them you know what I mean) plus they dont hold water like tracksuits.

So ok Ive now worn lycra shorts and full length tights …. Im guess im sold on this running thing. Luckily I gave up on careing what I looked like many moons ago!

Met some wet looking buddies too!

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Catching up

I dont mean catching up with my form – That’s coming along nicely as it is – I mean catching up with the blogging!  This is sundays run – and I’ve run twice then, I’ve been slack – and busy to be fair.

It was my first “back to back” run for aaaaages and happy to report there were no extra pains from stressing the foot 2 days in a row. At the moment im alternating between the Hokas and the La Sportiva and it seems to be working – fingers crossed. So only 5 miles or so along the beach – was so good to get back out on it

And I met some old friends I havent seen in ages

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Welsh cobs I think – Love these!

Pebbling

I was out early on saturday morning to beat the heat of the day.  It meant that the tide wasnt quite right but I managed to get to the ladders just in time so I could come back along the clifftops.

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Met my buddies on the way
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The tide had just reached the pebbles so I got to walk along them in the shade for a while
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Pebbles and cliffs
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New buddies – Who wanted to come and see me and ran alongside for a field

Hungry horses and seagull spies

After a week off running to rest up I was up with the lark to test out the baddy leg. News it it still hurts afetr a few miles, its ok just a bit of pain which nags away. So I’ll just take it easy for a while I think, its too hot to batter myself anyway at the moment. The oddest thing though is that as soon as I stop running the pain goes instantly. I mean instantly, no limp nothing which makes it very hard to judge if its healing or if its fixed … until I run more than 2 miles …. so I could do lots of 2 miles … and string them together … Thats the way my mind works you see.

I managed to add extra miles as I met these guys on the way

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Got any food?

I promised them I would return with food soon. Then i thought nah I’ll run home, get food, come back and continue my run so I did so and returned with a bag of carrots and apples.

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Whats in the bag dude?
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A few miles later I discovered that nature was growing everything like crazy and the connector between two fields had gone mental and overgrown. I pushed on through and got scratched, bitten, stung and cut to bits – As I type this my legs are still on fire!

Oh and I had a visitor too – The seagulls have obviously been missing me at the beach this week so came to find me

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He’s alive guys!

 

Preseli Beast 2017

So having completed the Beast Bach last year which is the Beasts offspring at 11 miles yesterday it was the full Presesi Beast over 24 miles and 4500 feet of climbing.  Was to be a new challenge for me as I’ve only ever done 20 miles in training and the climbs on the beast are excruciatingly long and in parts steep. I’d trained for this for many months so determination was high but how the body would cope was the question.

I won’t do a blow by blow account here or go into depth, when I’ve had time to work out what happened I shall probably write a bit more.  I finished in a few minutes over 5 hours (as is tradition here I forgot to stop my watch on the line so I await official timings)  I think I probably would have gone under 5 easily had I not made some mistakes which I can now learn from.  Oh and the marshalls at this race who are utterly brilliant all seem to have the most beautiful dogs which meant stopping to stroke and chat with every one (dog not the marshall) including one staffie which reminded me of Soaky so much I could have cried. At that point I was in pain and a low point and seeing that particular dog reminded me how far I’ve come and the promise that brought me here – Perfect timing Soak!

I didn’t win – LOL like that was never a thought – The race was part of the Welsh Fell Running Championships this year so there were some seriously fast fell runners – Winner took 3h 5m apparently! Thats inconceviable considering the terrain. I dont think I came in the top half – No matter not why i was there.

I obviously didn’t come to win – I came to finish, learn and enjoy. I did all three.

As I say I’ll flesh out the thoughts below a little later

I learned a huge amount about longer races.
I learned that there is a huge step up from trail half to a long fell race.
I learned what works kitwise.
I learned more about pacing myself (though I’m very happy with my plan and how I pretty much stuck to it)
I learned how to fuel and hydrate sufficiently
I learned that in fell racing there is so much time to be made on quick descending, what you lose climbing you can easily haul back with quick feet and a lack of common sense
I learned that its true that climbing decides winners and descending decides DNF after I managed to blow out a quad after 9 miles
I learned that you do have to learn to cope and adapt physically and mentally as the race progresses.
I learned that with a determined and positive outlook physical issues can be overcome.

After all that you’ll also be glad to hear that I paused quickly to take a few photos this year – I couldn’t resist treating you guys who have been so supportive. Many came out a bit blurred as I wasn’t really stopping for long but I got some good ones. Enjoy.

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5 or so miles in – An easy one
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Probably the first of the steep ones but short
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The town is down in the bay at around the halfway point. I started to struggle on this downhill with my quad. No paths on some sections is fun but punishing on the legs.
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Its a long long drag out of town back to the peaks – This was the first killer – The Beast has a horrific second half.  The top section is pure scrambling up the rocks – Yep you climb to the very peak and over
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Looking back to the town
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The views are stunning once youre up there. As I noted to another runner though with no paths you spend the entire race looking at your feet.
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The Beast itself – just a case of running to the bottom left of the photo and then up to the lefthand peak then along the ridgeline to the second peak – By now it was 20 miles in …..
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Ponies!
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Homeward bound – Theres a half mile or so of forest – half boarded and half not – Issue here is picking your feet up over the roots
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Spot the flat bit – No? There isn’t one!

Its a fantastic race. I cant praise the organisation and marshalling highly enough.  The whole village is there to see you off and cheer you home with horns and drums. Every marshall is cheerful and supportive as were everyone we met on the course. A favourite part was the water station around 14 miles in which was 3 old farmers in a farmyard with water and jelly babies. They were obviously loving the day as much as we were.

Im very proud of achieving something I put my mind to. There were doubts in training, there were doubts in the race but 24 miles is just 24 miles, more important is how far I’ve come in the last 2 years. From being unable to run a single field to running in the Welsh Championship fell race over long course just shows what you can do when you put your mind to it.

One more for all the mist lovers!

I know some of you out there – Yes you CeejayKay – Seem to love mist. I gotta admit it has a charm all of its own and every now and again its kinda nice to run in for a change …. but this is getting ridiculous!

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Horsies! I think …. behind them is a looming medieval dove cote – i’ll need to remembe to photograph it in sunlight
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Ok so not as bad as wednesday but still …
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I did found these barnacle type things growing on some polystyrene. I utterly despise the rubbish in the sea and on the coast but at least these guys have made soemthing of it.

So 7 miles and it felt pretty easy so I as doing some speedwork on the sand. I feel like its time to shift emphasis slightly from the base building plod to subtly improving. Slowly and steadily of course, Im so so so wary of my bodys limits these days