Seagulls, Rain and Mr Darcy

To be fair i’m amazed after a looooong weekend I got out at all today but fancied a qick trot – Which turned into 9 and a half miles and two and a quarter hours.

At the beach I went right …. view below. Cloudy but warm enough to run without a shirt  which is always nice.

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Right!

I got divebombed by the seagulls again – I thought I had gone far enough out to avoid them but I think rather than defending their turf this is just a game to them now.

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Incoming!

Got to the end of that section of the beach and felt fantastic – So I kept going, up over witches point and down to Southerdown beach.

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View from Witches Point
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Southerndown beach

I crossed the beach and found some quite cool rocks which were fun and challenging to run on.

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Asics today not Altras thanfully

And of course at the furthest point from home it started to rain and the wind picked up – A headwind of course. You know what though? Any day trailrunning is good no matter the weather so despite being wet and cold I wasn’t miserable. Especially as next up I met Mr Darcy!

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Mr Darcy (Awesome name for a dog) is a Newfoundland (I think thats what his owner said) and was completely cool about letting this drenched idiot give him a hug and take his photo.

Covered the remaining 3 miles back home in record time and now it’s feet up recovery time!

 

 

Of runs and rocks

Nice easy 5 miles down to and around the beach today.  As I wasn’t pushing myself at all I stopped to do some fossil hunting and found these!

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Part of an ammonite I think
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A Devils Toenail – Or Gryphaea
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It’s not a fossil but its a cool little pebble  anyway
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Also found this rock with crystals on top of it – too heavy to carry back though
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Tides out lets hunt!
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Love these rock formations lying at a 45 degree angle. Almost like natural bricks

So only 5 miles (2 of which I had to carry the rocks for extra strngth work) but a cool beach trip anyway. Plus foots not hurting! Today has been a result!

Getting back there … slowly

First run with only days rest in between yesterday but the sun was shining with a lovely breeze and the tide was out. I was a little concerned but it all worked out fine (was that a spoiler?)

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You can see why I wanted to get out – Low low low tide means big big big playground

I was determined to keep it slow and keep the heartrate below 140(ish) which isn’t as hard as it sounds if you’re not wearing a heart monitor as you can cheat a little – I think I might actually have to invest in a watch soon with one though. Any recommendations?

The hardest part at the moment is remembering that I’m keeping it slow. It’s easy on the sand and paths as I don’t have much else to think about but as soon as I hit technical sections I seem to revert back to how I used to run them – hard and taking too many risks – To be fair sometimes it’s actually necessary to take some of these at a higher pace. Doesn’t make sense? I’ll try to explain (which probably won’t make sense)

The rocks in the photo above aren’t a great example as they are more like a pavement anyway but if you imagine a long stretch like this but with fewer rocks and more gaps – ok got that?  Then at a slower pace you are limited to where you can land. You need rocks within a smaller area and when you come to a gap it halts you as you cant leap them so easily. At a quicker pace your potential landing area is larger and you can cross bigger gaps making for a smoother and less disjointed run.  Did I manage to explain?  Anyway I think I can cover rocks while keeping the heartrate reasonably low and can let it fall way back on sand.

SRG has been an invaluable source of information on slow running (It’s so much easier when someone does all the reading for you then condenses it so if you’re interested in it and for faaaar more insight from someone who actually knows what they’re talking about check her blog out)  and in a recent post talked about flow. I kind of understand what she means.  Slowing the pace down (and by slow I find thats 10.30-11 min per mile on the sand and 11-13 on technical sections (lets not talk about climbs, I need to learn to walk more)) I can feel that the running is not straining me at all, it’s easy to breathe and everything above the hips feels like it could go all day. Thats not the case for my legs at the moment which are the bit of me protesting. I think after basically 3 months out it’s going to take a while to get the conditioning back to where it was. Which is fine by me, I’m learning to take it all much more slowly.

Arghhhh wall of text – sorry guys

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More rocks!

I have finally found a flaw in the Altras – When it comes to sections with rock “steps” as in the photo above, sometimes you can’t leap the whole step and so I tend to look for a ledge half way up the step and hit that to propel myself up. Some of these ledges will be quite narrow and the width of the Altras caused me a problem yesterday. I landed on a ledge with the outer half of my foot (And i wondered how I got a foot injury) and pushed off but as the Altras are so wide there wasn’t enough of my foot on the ledge to push properly leading to me slipping down some lovely barnacles and taking the skin off my leg. Something else to remember!

Arrghhhh too much text again

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The changing seasons – In winter this is a waterfall. In summer the algae grow and it becomes quite a beautiful feature.

All in all I managed six and a half miles at around 13 minute pace. The foot felt good (though ached last night) and it felt great to be back out running the whole stetch of the beach down to witches point. I knew the conditions were perfect for a photo op of the beach so I did the climb up Witches (lets not talk about heartrate at this bit, I may have failed) as I knew just where I could get a good photo.

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Was definitely worth the climb. The far headland is my way back home.

So for anyone who has waded through this you get a bonus jellyfish!

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Altra Lone Peak 2- A coastal review

As you know I spend the vast majority of my runs on the coast or getting to and from the coast through fields and paths. As I felt my foot has improved enough and because it was low tide I felt like giving the Altras a proper test over all my favourite terrains. It turned out to be a five mile run which is the longest I’ve done since my injury so I’m really happy with that (excluding the 11 mile fell race I accidentally did)

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The Altra Lone Peak 2 – Before I got them muddy – So yellow!
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The paths are your usual dirt with various rocks, roots, mud and small streams. The Altras handle this kind of thing nicely feeling stable and the cushioning is great but you can still feel the trails nuances underfoot.
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Rocks – Its really important for me to have grip and lateral stability on the rocks as my feet are landing at different angles and gradients. I don’t want to be losing grip as often my foot lands at forty five degrees. The Altras actually surprised me with the grip, I use Adidas Kanadias if I’m planning on a lot of rock running because of the good feel on rock but I found the Altras held on just as well. I didn’t find them quite as stable laterally though, sometimes feeling that my foot was about to turn sideways. This might be something I need to adjust to due to the wider toebox and zero degree drop.
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These kind of rocks are an absolute bastard to run over as you have so few landing spots or margin for error. The Atras coped well and the extra cushioning lessened the impact thankfully.
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Sand – Awesome! Simply felt so comfortable and the cushioning felt great. Then again everything feels great on sand!
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Water – If you like dry feet then the Altras aren’t for you as they let in water easily but more importantly let it out just as easily. In this respect they tick the box for me as I don’t mind wet feet at all and would rather it drain than squish. Just as importantly they regain their yellowness (Is that even a word?) when you splash through water (Little things please little minds)

Overall I’ve been incredibly impressed by the Altra. It was a risk spending so much on a shoe I hadn’t even tried (sadly it’s hard to find stockists in the UK – Even the internet shops have limited range too) but having heard what the makes had to say and through some research I’m glad I convinced myself to take the punt. The show feels extremely comfortable and grips superbly. I think I haven’t done enough miles to really get used to them but I can safely say I’m going to enjoy learning to.

I can’t wait to do some longer runs to really test their comfort and durability. I’ll be sure to let you know.

And if you stuck it out and read this far then you get a bonus cuttlefish!

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Green! Purest Green!

So I got home early due to it chucking it down with rain. Perfect excuse to lounge around on the sofa and rest the foot and take it generally easy. So what do I do? Go for a run!

Running in the rain (when it’s not cold and windy too) is great, especially at this time of year. You can almost hear the vegetation growing and everythings so … so …. green!

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Greener than purest green!

The foot hurt but not too bad, I think I’m trying to protect it too much from impact and curling it so tried to relax and just enjoy the green!

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Even more green!

Got to the beach and it was grey, mizzle and all.

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Mizzle approacheth

The tide was just about far enough out to have a quick run on the rocks again which was great to be able to do even if it twinged a bit.

Then on the way back I saw it!

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200 yards of pure driftwood!

The tides had been kind, so much driftwood, so few arms and working legs :/  I did scout out a few nice pieces which I may come back for but I’ll leave that up to chance. What the sea giveth the sea taketh away.

The run back was much more tiring than I thought it would be. The break has done my fitness no good but I’m sure if I take it slow and steady i’ll get there.

SPeaking of slow and steady

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Ok so it includes my quarter mile warmup and a few breaks to ogle driftwood and then failing to stop my watch but i’m happy just to be moving again!

 

 

Spatial Awareness (i.e. The art of not decking it)

Noticed today that I had no niggles at all during the day and so of course that gave me the green light to run …. as if I needed an excuse.  The knee did start vaguely complaining after 3 or 4 miles but then I did give it a bit of hammering on the rocks at the beach.

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Rocky beach at Monknash

It always amazes me that I can run along rocks such as these and leap from one to another without falling or stopping. My brain can clearly process the information fast enough to just allow my legs to adjust in time but there’s no way i can do it consciously. In fact if I think about it while doing it I will slow and miss a step.  There’s a word for this which I did stumble across a while back and now I can’t find it again!  I used to watch Soaky on the beach doing the same thing but controlling four legs with ease. We are all the most incredible beings when you stop to think about it – Just don’t think about it while you’re doing it maybe

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Cloud front at Nash sands
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Rockpool at Traeth Mawr

So just a gentle run today – around 4 and a half miles. Figured I’d get it in as tomorrow night is Wales vs France (I need to take it easy as I fancy a longer run on saturday)

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Midweek Rock Hop

Got home with plenty of time to run. Haven’t been out for a few days and felt fantastic , I think I shall take a few days off prior to the half if this is how I feel. Had so much energy, got to the beach and the tide wasn’t as high as I expected so managed a little sand running but couldn’t resist the lure of a bit of rock hopping. Technically it was a stupid thing to do as at speed it’s risking a broken ankle at worst and a sprain at best but I just couldn’t help myself. It was just one of those days, so a good half an hour spent bouncing around the beach for the joy of it plus some driftwood hunting. All in all a great way to finish off wednesdays daylight =)

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Sunset at Cwm Nash
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My rockhopping playground
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Cwm nash cliffs and pebbled beach
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Me lying in a rockpool
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Just ….. Sunset

Todays route

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