Changing Up, Changing Down, Not falling off

Saturday mornings – How I miss running around in the sunshine with you. How I miss the views, the fresh air, the freedom, the sun, the sand, the rocks, the pain and exhaustion.

But no wallowing in ankle pity for me – I have a new toy to play with. Cheering myself up I ordered one of these through a work scheme.

New toys make Gareth happy

I could have gone for a road bike or hybrid thingy but went for the full off road type as I figured if thats what I like running then thats what I will like cycling.

Off I went on a test run …. ride

Found myself at Marcross admiring the view…

Marcross beach and oooh look a hill!
And a new friend!
And I thought …. hill sprints!  Half a dozen up here nearly killed me

So after my hill exercise I was going to turn and ride home on the road and the thought strck me … I have an offroad bike with like suspension and everything, why not ride the cliff path to Monknash and home that way. There are a few stiles to cross but how hard can it be to lift the bike over.

No match for my powerlifting skills!
Riding towards blue skies!
The ride along the cliffs was beautiful and easy enough to do – I discovered why the gear ratios are so low on these bikes once I was off road
At the Monknash end there was a tricky descent which I managed with superb braking control and a lot of luck.
Looking back at the cliffs I rode

The route is all rocky and uphill from the beach to the road. I was about to ride the path I have run a hundred times but realised I could well do damage to the path on a bike, it might have only been slight if any at all but being a responsible adult (haha) and wanting to protect the environment I love and have the privilege to enjoy I walked the bike back up the path until I got to the road.

All in all a good mornings work-out. I came, I saw, I conquered and protected my ankle!


It’s the ups that hurt

Spring sun and a recovering foot = hill reps!  Yes indeed my new found way of screwing myself over without too much pain on the ankle. half a dozen or so fast sprints up and a slow descent was enough. Now it’s my calves and thighs hurting so thats ok right?  Still perhaps isn’t the most sensible to do too much on it as it’s still painful when I strike hard on flat ground so will lay off it now until at least the weekend. But today I just couldn’t resist.

Can you blame me?

Tides in!
How blue is that sky?
Bring it on hill! – Oh yeah you’re a hill – you just sit there and hurt me then
Spring flowers V2

Foolish, stubbornish, happyish

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.

Loving the morning sun

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!

Traeth Mawr – Let’s get on that sand!

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?

Worth it for views like this!

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.

So I did hill repeats up this little monkey! Full on hill sprints in fact and I was right being done completely on my toes meant no pain whatsoever If the worst comes to the worst I can at least do these!

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!

Never forget to stop to breathe and enjoy the world

Sunday Update – No pain at all this morning – ankle feels good, resisting temptation to run today though, sense prevails!





Be like a palm tree – bend don’t break

I’m posting before 7 in the morning on a day off – why do I always wake up early when I’m off work! No matter, was lying there pondering my ankle (some good news, visited doctors yesterday and she thinks it’s more likely a ligament strain rather than fracture) and remembered something I must have read once upon a time which has always stayed with me.

When the storm hits be like a palm tree, you bend with the wind but never break then snap back hard in the lulls when the storms abate. I’ve used this before as a mental aid.  We all get periods in life when it seems that everything bad including the kitchen sink plus washing machine and cooker are thrown at us. It seems that woes don’t come alone so when they do recognise this and learn to bend not break. Accept bad things happen in life and that they will pass just don’t let them snap you. Bend for as long as it takes, hunker down, take stock of all the good things that are also going on and when you feel that the storm is passing -WHAM! Snap back hard. Enjoy standing up tall again and really enjoy giving the world a kicking back on your terms.

I’m currently doing this on a smaller level with my injury. I have to bend and accept I can’t run. If I ignore the pain and run I’ll do more harm and snap. I’m being a palm tree! (Can you tell I work in primary schools? Look I’m waving my fronds) I know the injury will pass and when it does I’ll be in a great place to really improve my running.

I did the same when my dog soaks died last year. I knew it was coming and when it did I didn’t put on the stiff upper lip and pretend it wasn’t happening. I recognised an emotional shitstorm was going to hit me and so I went with it, I bent, hunkered down, let my emotions have their way for a while, knew it would abate (it still is) but as time healed I snapped back a stronger person.

I’m not a great one for articulating the random thoughts in my head so I hope this makes sense, I just figured I’d share something that’s helped me. Apologies to any arborealologists (possibly a made up word) for any palm tree inconsistencies in this post.

Head 2 – Heart 1 (own goal)

I hadn’t run this week until today. I woke up on monday morning with a sore and painful ankle. I don’t remember damaging it on sunday and it didn’t hurt on sunday night at all. Weird, the ankle fairies must have been during the night and battered it with their anti-running hammers. I did vault a five bar gate to avoid a queue of walkers at a stile so that might have been it but there was no pain at the time. Then again I was running quickly and the adrenaline was flowing.

Anyway what’s done is done and I was so sensible and proud of myself on monday and tuesday for not running on it even though I could feel it improving. Then today the weather was just so perfect! I got home earlier than usual ….. and the heart won. In fairness I only did 4 miles! I could have done many more feeling the way I did. But it really started to pain me on way home and now its hurting much more … So I am officially stupid and learning another lesson the hard way =( Whats odd is that the pain is moving around the foot, it’s now more on the base and shin. There’s probably some sensible medical explanation for it but I think the main cause is me being a tool.

On the bright side the rest of me felt awesome today, I didn’t feel out of breath or even slightly tired, I know it’s only 4 miles but that used to kill me. I guess thats an indication of how far I’ve come. Mentally I’ve come to consider 4 miles as a short distance and I’m actually disappointed when I can’t go further. That I think is a good sign.

Plus more photos – The sun was shining on a lovely spring day =)

Sea at Monknash beach
Reflective rockpools
Traeth Mawr cliffs in spring sunshine
More cliffs
Running on thse rocks could be the culprit too
Same cliffs different angle
Crossing the stream on the way home