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

 

 

 

Why grow up?

I ran to the beach today. I had my GPS watch on. I was thinking while I was running on the beach – Could I draw something on the beach with my GPS?

As I am 43 years old going on 12 I drew a giant penis – It starts where the lines bisect – The testicles are waaaay to small but I ran out of beach – not bad for a first effort though!

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I refuse to grow old gracefully!

Did 5 miles and really enjoyed it, hardly any foot pain anymore.

And I found a buoy!

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From Josies Pride – If you know a Josie who has lost her buoy then I know where it is and will retrieve it for a price!
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My canvas!

 

 

And this is why ….

I love trail running ….

grass, rocky path, grass, gravel, tarmac, grass, forest trail, tramac, grass, pebbles, rocks, sand, rocks, rock steps, grass, gravel, grass, earth track, grass, cornfield, grass, tarmac, grass tarmac

Were the different conditions underfoot on a 12 and a half mile run today to St Donats, Marcross, Monknash beach, Witches Point, Wick beach, parents house and home.

Or put it this way.

fields, paths, fields, road, fields, forest, roads, fields, paths, beach, fields, roads

Either way you look at it I had a great time just chilling for nearly 3 hours and doing my own thing. Legs still felt good at the end and heart can’t have gone much above 140 at a guess.  On days like this it almost (almost!) feels effortless.

Onto the photos!

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Way out – tide is in so clifftop time
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Haybale season – I love these, always reminds me that Soaky used to love jumping up on these when she was young.
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Early morning giant horn
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Look carefully for a surprise castle
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This is what we’re doing to our oceans – countless pieces of plastic have come ashore again. If this is a small microcosm of the oceans imagine the dreadful pollution worldwide killing sealife and destroying the marine environment. If we don’t do something soon there will be nothing left here for future generations.
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A view worth saving
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#spottedthebird – A kestrel (I think) just hovering effortlessly looking for prey
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This sheep is confused. This sheep thinks it is a dog and instead of running away like all its friends it allowed me to pat it – note stylish blade of grass  in mouth (which is how I knew it was a sheep)
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“There’s an idiot in our cornfield taking photos”  “Don’t worry it will just be Gareth from down the road being an idiot”  “Ok ok that explains it”
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#spottedthebird2 (at the back the front one looks more like a deformed squirrel

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 =)

Testing Route Mapping

Playing with maps

I did this route in google maps a while ago (and I think posted it agggges ago) and wanted to play around with it and see if it could be embedded in WP – which I think it can be it seems!

Might start doing a few more of there to geographically locate runs and things I come across … until I get bored of it :p

If you can’t run ….bikestitute

Foot’s still semi-buggered. Time to rethink – and i’m rethinking it’s rest time …. as in no running at all.

So a quick jaunt along the cliffs and down to the beach on the bike (plus a few circuits of the sand =)

It felt good just to get out and get some exercise. Who woulda thought that cycling uses so many different muscles to running – they’re all in the legs but the aches are all different.

I must admit I like cycling but for me it’s just no competition to which I prefer. Cycling feels somehow artificial, somehow cheating (and before anyone leaps on me to tell me its not true and here are the facts to prove it this is entirely a personal statement – I’m not claiming superiority of one over ‘tother in general) On a bike I don’t feel connected to the land around me, I pass through it but at a distance, even off the road I feel like a tourist rather than a native. My feet aren’t feeling the ground. the effort doesn’t feel like it’s all mine.

It’s a substitute …. but so much better than nothing!  And next week I’m off all week and already planning a ride which will allow me to scout out more running spots when i’m recovered … and maybe a cheeky bike/pint escapade 😉

Anyway I managed to grab some nice photos. Days like this I feel I named the blog well

 

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Suck it up buttercup … or just plough straight through them
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Some sort of huge cargo ship in the Bristol Channel waiting for the tide to turn
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How green is my valley?
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Clear blue skies

 

 

I have an idea…..

I never actually think to myself “I have an idea” instead they just pop into my head and I do them. Today was a bit like that. I felt like some exercise after a day spent indoors at work and so headed out on my new steed for a quick jaunt to Marcross and then back along the cliffs ala saturday.

The wind was blowing pretty hard up top and it was quite hard going combined with the subtle hill along the clifftops. When I reached Monknash I took the secenic route down …

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For scenic route read suicidal route

Arriving at the bottom the adrenaline was flowing a little and with time on my hands and more energy to burn I figured that as the tide was out I could always take my bike on the beach couldn’t I?  I mean it’s an off road bike – a beach is offroad right?

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Not as easy to ride as they look – especially into the wind

The rocks were a pain and the steeper parts I had to carry the bike but eventually ….

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We made it to the sand!

And how much fun is riding a bike on soft wet sand?  Not a lot into the wind but on thew way back it was epic fun! Zig zagging and zag zigging all over the place, everyone should give it a go.

So although the ankle isn’t fixed and although I’d rather be running life is what you make it. I’m making it a bit o’fun!

Oh and it was also despite the wind a beautiful afternoon.

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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.

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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…

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Marcross beach and oooh look a hill!
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And a new friend!
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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.

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No match for my powerlifting skills!
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Riding towards blue skies!
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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
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At the Monknash end there was a tricky descent which I managed with superb braking control and a lot of luck.
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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!

 

Needs Must – The Devils Driving!

Well not driving – riding!

After a visit to the doctors yesterday who reckons its a ligament strain not a fracture I decided bugger complete rest it’s impact that hurts so let’s try non impact – cycling! (For non impact I mean on the hfoot, impact may well occur into the front of a bus or over a hedge). So off I went this morning for a rummage and to dig out the old mountain bike I own.

It’s not the prettiest, in fact it’s built like some sort of bike-tank hybrid judging by the weight of it, if I do crash into any buses they may well be the ones to come off worse. I spent an hour or so fixing up the minor faults, ignoring others and smashing a few bits off it with a hammer (I reasoned it was making it lighter at least).  The gears dont work very well, if at all if I’m honest, it likes to stay between gear 7 and 12 and pretty much likes 10 best, any other and it clicks madly in protest and then slips back to 10 anyway. The brakes rub a bit as the wheels are slightly buckled – This is of course great resistance training! Every cloud has a silver lining and all that jazz.

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Here she is in all her half working glory! I’d like to get rid of the lock but don’t have the key or a hacksaw

The sun was shining, I put my new ankle supporty thing on and off I went. I found that the best way of dealing with unhappy gears is to give in, stay in 10th and when hills approach hammer up them in the same gear and pray my legs don’t buckle before the hill ends. I’m alive to write this post so my technique clearly works (I will studiously be avoiding any long hills)

First stop Marcross. It was weird cycling places where I run to normally. Almost felt like cheating.

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Marcross beach on a spring day – Opposite is the hill I train on – I’ll be back you bastard!

On my way to Llantwit I passed lots of other cyclists, they usually gave a friendly nod or greeting but I could see what they were thinking – What is that idiot riding and why doesn’t that idiot have a helmet on? Well guys you answered your own question – Idiot but an idiot with the wind blowing through his locks! Yes I may die but it will be stylish (For stylish read painful and splattered over the front of a bus)

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Llantwit beach at high tide
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LLantwit beach looking toward Atlantic College
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View of the Bristol Channel on the way home
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Awwwwwww fluffy lamb thinking “wear a helmet you dick”

Things I noticed –

Cycling uses some different muscles to running.
My foot and ankle felt fine so it seems cycling can be a substitute while I recover.
As nice as it was to exercise cycling is no substitute for running trails.
Pheasants crack me up when they run.