Of wavecut platforms and glute battering

Saturday morning was cold but bright and so I decided it was time to tackle a longer run again. I chose to head left towards Llantwit via Atlantic College along the cliffs so I got to see the sandbank.

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Nash Sands
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Past the lighthouse

At Atlantic College I kept up on the cliffs through the playing fields. Not sure why they are named after King George but they are …

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I turned at Llantwit and headed back along the beach, I don’t normally do this as theres precious little sand and around 4 miles of non-stop wavecut platforms but I fancied something different and for those 4 miles my legs got a great workout due to the constant stepping up and down on the rocks.

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The series of caves just past Llantwit
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Caves closer up
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4 miles of nonstop rocks does screw with your legs eventually

I did find some rocks with numbers painted on – I’m guessing someones doing an experiment in tidal movement – And now I have to come back to check out the results myself

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After that it was plain sailing as I worked my way back around towards Witches Point creating a 14 mile loop.  Considering the terrain I was happy to get it done in under 3 hours though my glutes took a bit of a battering.

Some days it’s just great to spend time outside to clear the mind.

Go Go Power Stations!

Well sunday was long run day and with spring unleashing its full range of blue skies and sun upon us I was looking forward to getting out and making all my bits hurt…. which I certainly achieved … more of that later.

But starting out I decided to head east not west for a change, I havent actually been more than 5 miles this way along the coast and have always stopped at Llantwit beach and returned so I planned to do a few more miles to see whats out there and then return.

The tide was high so it was all going to be a cliff run which is a pleasure all to its own when the weathers so good. The only drawback being the number of people walking the path later in the day. People aren’t so bad really but I just prefer to be alone while running.

So I was out by 9 – on a sunday!

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Looking inland its all green and blue! 
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Passed the lighthouse at 3 miles in and feeling awesome!
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Sun shining on the Bristol Channel at St Donats

I was happily cruising along at 8-9 minute miles and felt like it was very little effort, it was getting warmer but I had my pack on with a litre and half of water so I wasn’t too worried. I also had a range of food going from my homemade energy biscuits to boiled eggs and a new weapon – Minstrels. for those of you not acquainted with there they are small chocolates with a crunchy outside shell. Their selling point way back in the day was that “they melt in your mouth not in your hand”  and I figured that this was ideal for long distance running in heat – And it worked! No melty chocolate at all. Pro tip!

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Tides right in
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Nothing was hurting at all at around 5 miles in or so until I met this gate. Note the curved metal bar which stops it swinging open?  Well I was mid stride and pulled the gate open by grabbing the top of it without seeing the sticky out curved bit and slammed it straight into my nuts.  I had to take a few minutes to recover from the eye watering agony and so took a photo of the offending metalwork.

These things happen on long runs so I was soon off again!

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Looking back having gone several miles
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I had now covered around the distance needed to turn it into a 16 mile run but ahead I could see the power station at Aberthaw. Cant be too far!
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I passed hundreds of huge concrete cubes which were setup as tank defences in the war
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And finally I reached Aberthaw after 10 miles. 

So 10 miles out and feeling pretty good. I followed the same path on the return and it wasn’t until around 17 or 18 miles that the pain really started. Everything seemed to have a whinge and a moan but I guess we’re all in the pain game to some extent so despite seriously tired legs I pushed it home completing the full 20 miles.

24 miles over mountains in 5 weeks time is kinda scary but I can always walk the final uphill (it really is a beast) so right now I seem to have hit some sort of form at the right time. Now to avoid injury and keep things ticking for a while.

You just gotta love long runs in the sun!

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Runs, rocks, rainbows & robins

This morning it was long run time so I ran a circular route along the cliffs as far as St Donats then the beach back to Witches Point and then back along the cliffs home which works out at around 13 miles but the terrain is tricky for a fair bit of it. As I write this my legs are definitely feeling it!

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Rainbow one – From the cliffs, you can just about make it out
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View towards Nash Point Lighthouse
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Foghorn and lighthouse
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Rainbow two – Or other end of rainbow one I dunno
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St Donats slipway
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Lighthouse from the beach
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Brickwork holding cliff up preventing said lighthouse from ending up in the sea
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Rainbow three at the waterfall
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Met this little dude halfway up a cliff who wasnt fazed at all by me being right next to him
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He was just like “yeah move along”
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View from above the robin

So a painful run in some aspects but wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

Sometimes you don’t need words

10 beautiful miles along the cliffs in bright sunshine. No pain in foot tho chest still lurgied. Can’t complain about what running gives you …. except crap photographs …. I suck at photographs. These are the best of a blurry bunch.

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Monknash to Marcross
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Marcross Lighthouse in the distance
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Marcross lighthouse up close
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View from Atlantic College to Llantwit
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Unfotunately the roads are paved with leaves not gold

 

 

 

Start as you mean to go on

Summer has officially started – I am off work for 6 glorious weeks! Ok now I’ve rubbed that in I shall continue.  Got home from work and immediately into gear for a early afternoon longish run. As I intended on being out for longer and although the weather was …. weird it was still humid so I needed hydration.

Luckily I had already bought a hydration bladder and hose online and tested it out in my racepak. Fits like an Altra! (slightly roomy and weird at first but when you’re used to it you don’t notice)

I also went left again. Look at me getting all adventurous. In fact I was heading fro uncharted territory! Loosen the mainbrace and splice the cat we’re setting sail!

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First port of call – Sand – Lots of sand, enjoy it as it’s the last sand for miles in this direction!
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Rockfall! Looking pretty fresh. I now get to tag my post :p

For the first couple of miles or so it was plain sailing. The rocks were easy and plenty of sand, I knew that there were rocks lurking past Marcross so I was ready.

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It takes a lot more effort to run on this, all dainty foot placement (ish) and having to really concentrate on not tripping.
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Atlantic College sighted! Whereupon it was rocks 1 dainty footwork 0 as I sprawled in a heap. Luckily I got away with a few bruised toes which insisted on throbbing for the next few hours. Of course they were on my injured foot but another advantage of Altras is the wider toebox – At least they weren’t squeezed in.
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The slipway at Atlantic College is the furthest I’ve run left so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. What I found was tricky to run on without breakages. A chance to slow up and recover. Experience is teaching this old dog new tricks.
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Whats that? More tagging? Caves! Like they were put there for a strange community of semi-aquatic villagers (You never know around here)
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Now the beach changed to IBB’s or Individual Big Bastards (TM) which require exquisite skill to traverse at any pace. Despite not having this I managed to get across without a single limb snapped in twain.
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Cave – And it’s a big bugger. Like the village hall for the semi-aquatic locals.

At this point I’d modestly like to step forward for a bravery award. I went inside. Basically I’m petrified of being in caves and underground. My mother took me to Big Pit once and I was terrified (to be fair we didn’t know I have this issue until we were down there)

But it was worth it – Take a look at the ceiling!

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Nature is the greatest craftsman of all.  I was awestruck by its beauty … at least I would have been had I not been shitting myself at the thought of about 2 bajillion tonnes of rock above me. Intriguingly there are little birds that live in there which cheeped at my intrusion. I figured birds are infinitely more attuned to nature than me and as long as they were in there I was safe.
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You know what I did? Just for my loyal readers I went to the back and this was the view out. Either that or I just got crushed by 2 bajillion tonnes of rock and am walking into the light.
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On I went over the rocks past the awesome house that lives right in a small bay by the beach. I would love to live there but I bet its rough in winter!
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Final destination, Llantwit Beach – Note lifeguard hut – Note how far tide is out – Note tiny weeny dots that are people. If they are drowning he A doesn’t know this and B will take so long to get there the poor buggers are fishfood anyway

My route back was different in that I shifted myself a hundred yards inland and used the coastal path. I was actually glad to get off the rocks and so I could run with proper form and stuff – mainly uphill or so it felt

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I did find what I think is an old WWII pill box – tastefully repointed it seems
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The house I mentioned earlier? Oh it’s more like a mansion by the way. Look how close to the beach though! Bet it costs a few quid

I was starting to tire now, I think the legs had taken rather a hammering on the rocks earlier and I was into a CBH (Complete Bastard Headwind)(TM). My hydration pack was working fantastically though. the only drawback being the sloshing noise behind me (Like being chased by a particulary aquatic Dr Who bad guy) but after a while I was used to that too. No biggie.

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It’s always nice to see the beach you’ve just run over from above. Lends a kind of perspective.
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Marcross lighthouse. Looked like there was a wedding going on judging by the VW Beetle with flowers on outside. I ensured I blew a particulary long stream of snot out as I went past hoping to get in the photos.
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From the lighthouse it’s a not so bad 2 miles on a steady incline. That seemed to be about my limit today. I was tiring more and the foot was starting to hurt. All that was left was for me to put a spurt on for my adoring fans on the other side of the stream and head home.

Altogether it was 11 miles in two and a half hours which seems slow but over that terrain (I wonder what its “worth” on road and with cave stops ‘m very happy with it =)

From one slipway to another

Saturday runs – I just love them. I was lying in bed last night and was actually excited about getting up and getting out there. Like a kid at xmas! The sun was shining and it was a beautiful morning to head out so I packed my rucksack and off I trotted.  I decided to switch it up a little and at the beach headed left towards Marcross along the cliffs.

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Today is a lovely day to run (coyright Eels)

It was a pure joy to be outside, I removed the headphones and just enjoyed the sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors. My legs felt good and I felt good. At Marcross I stuck to the cliff path and went past the lighthouse (this is not the lighthouse – well it’s like a mini lighthouse – I duon’t actually know what it is)

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Mini lighthouse thingy

Then I went past the foghorns

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If these go off when you’re nearby it A) makes you leap out of your skin and B) deafens you for the next five minutes. I could hear these from my house when i was growing up. The sound of them in the far distance while I lay in bed was always comforting to me as a kid.

Then the lighthouse proper!

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It doesn’t actually lean, that’s my awesome camera work shining through yet again

And onwads along the cliff path, down through the woods at Atlantic College until I reached slipway number one.

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Slipway at Atlantic College used for launching lifeboats (not sure they still do though)

I turned here and retraced my steps back towards Monknash but this time on the beach – I say beach but it’s rocks from here to back past Marcross. I noticed a few runners approaching from the other way and heading for the cliff path. Despite being on the rocks I managed to keep pace with them to Marcross – I’m not that competitive but sometimes it’s good to take your mind off the miles with a little game eh?

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I call this the “pavement” – Its a smoothish stretch of rock you can pick pace up on – though you still have to have eyes down watching for the cracks
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The lighthouse from the beach. You know what? Perhaps it does lean, surely even I can’t take two photos on the wonk of the same thing can I? (Answers on a postcard but I think the answer is yes I can)
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Now this must have been a job and a half! Below the lighthouse the cliff has been shored up with stonework – I can only imagine how hard it is to do this kind of work between the tides with nary a cement mixer in sight plus the danger of falling rocks ever present – I tip my (hard) hat to whoever managed this!

I kept going along the beach and back towards Monknash, I could have turned for home up the Cwm but decided to keep going as I felt fine.  Onwards with the sun occasionally popping out to warm me which was appreciated due to a biting headwind. By the time I reached Witches Point at Southerndown the rock hopping had taken some of the juice from my legs. Luckily I had remembered to hydrate and fuel at the right times (despite my Garmin going mental and stopping without me noticing) and I climbed up and onto the cliffs above Dunraven bay.

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From the cliff edge I could see slipway number two at Southerndown beach – Now you get the post title – See I do plan these things!

I turned here and headed back but this time along the cliffs until I reached Traeth Mawr. Normally i would keep going along the cliffs and then turn for home up the usual trail but today I headed inland across the fields and then a lane as I wanted to pop in to see my parents on the way home. They live in Wick and in fact live at the highest point in the Vale of Glamorgan (Not that its exactly a mountainous county to be fair) so the run there was all uphill from the coast which really made the legs ache. I was twinging in my ass (I think the technical term is glutes) but I made it back and when I pieced together my Garmin runs I had covered around twelve and a half miles which over all that terrain I’m very happy with!

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Bonus cloud photo for Slowrunnergirl!
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Part one of run
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Part two – the elevation gain at the end was the issue with my ass!