Splendid Isolation

Once again I haven’t blogged in weeks. It’s not like I have nothing to blog about I just never seem to sit down to do it these days. Doesn’t help being back in work after the summer off, having a cold, a mental dog etc etc All excuses of course. Luckily I always have time to get out with Murph.  usually two big walks or runs a day, usually to the beach. I calculated last week I was up in the 60 mile range of walk/run so it’s no wonder my feet and ankles are feeling pretty battered.  Theres not much I can do about it though.

Take rest everyone screams in the running world when you feel injuries and those niggles. Rest it! Rest it!  I can’t, not out of stubborness and stupidity (Been there seen it done it) but because I have aforesaid mental dog who needs the exercise. So I really have no option but to hope things hold together!  Im sure they will, I stretch and roll my feet (Got a great foot massage roller thingy that looks a bit like a sex toy)

So splendid isolation?  Its that time of the year again which I love, I love Autumn not just for the season itself but because the beach empties and I have it pretty much to myself again until spring.  Being a rescue Murph has some difficulties with people and as his confidence has grown his defence mechanism has switched from running away from people to barking at them.  I know he’s fine and wont hurt people hes just saying “stay the fuck away from me” but hes quite large and scary if you dont know him so I almost (almost) feel sorry for people when he charges up to them baring his teeth and barking.  He is responding better to commands though and I can usually haul him off before kids cry.

So here are the latest batch of photos. A random mix of walks, runs and ….. well just see

20180903_070039
Dawn at the beach is always special
20180906_071048
Sunrise in the fields (awful photo technically but i like it)
20180907_065407
Little fluffy (pink) clouds – for you SRG
20180907_070337
Sunlight through the woods
20180903_173940
Splendid isolation in full swing
20180903_170131
Eerie evenings
20180905_173842
Then fun in the sun
20180905_173814
Stroll with friends
20180905_174125
If you’re digging a hole then i’m digging a hole
20180912_165102
Blue skies
20180907_165218
Random cat in a pot in neighbours garden
20180913_165831
poser

Rain and shine (and mist and stuff)

I’ve run everyday for the past week (except friday which was actually a rest day) but havent blogged any. Cos im lazy and its summer and Im not at the PC so much and a million reasons so you can have a smorgasbord of photos from the last week.  Ive looked at my movescount stats and Im still a abit scared but nothings broken or hurting too bad.  This morning it was beautiful out and we just kept purring along feeling good which turned into 12 and a half miles some of which was even tempo (which is around 7 min/mile pace these days which is shocking me).  Murph loves it as much as I do thankfully.

20180822_075613
Much of the week has been proper murk – rain too.  I dont care really as it just means its more likely I get the whole beach to myself
20180822_080829
The face in the cliffs – Found it works both ways as long as you get the angles right
20180822_080833
Pouty lips too!
20180823_084310
Derp dog derping along derpily
20180824_130818
Different beach, we ended up in ogmore and so I took Murph to where I used to throw stones for Soak a lot when she was getting on a bit
20180825_092403
Returning from yet another unsuccessful skyrat chase
20180825_092404(1)
Having fun? I think you might be
20180825_092441
Returning from unsuccessful skyrat chase number 293
20180825_100107
Just a beautiful morning, n o reason to go home so tack on some extra miles

 

Still alive and going up!

Still around, still running just never seem to have time to post!  Murph went on his first camping adventure this week, we went up with his therapy dog to Snowdonia to climb Cadair Idris.  He did so well too! He’s so nervous around people I wasn’t sure how he would settle but he did start to get used to it after a while and even slept right through the second night.  I invested in a tent with blackout tech so it was cooler, darker and he could use it as a refuge when he was a bit overwhelmed and it worked great.  We had an awesome few days climbing mountains and exploring.  Even tired him out!

20180801_083216
Murph Emerging from his cave
20180730_181516
Yes he wore a cape at the beach
20180730_182605
Yes Tilly had a cape too – This is the two superheroues digging a hole
20180730_165816
Forests to play in
20180730_172617
And a river right by the tents
20180731_070452
Early morning recce of the route up Cadair Idris – Its up there somewhere – was a little concerned about the visibility and weather but who wants easy adventures right?
20180731_070500
The mountain at dawn – The clouds roll in and out so fast you’ve just got to roll with it
20180731_095317
On our way up
20180731_101409
Halfway – mountains everywhere
20180731_113430
Murph looking enigmatic on a mountain
20180731_124544
Views for days
received_10160821605960553
Look at the bloody camera Murph while we can see anything at all
received_10160821606020553
At the peak, hanging on tight to the lead as its a long way down off this one.  Vertigo kicking in too
received_10160821605995553
On the way up or down – I dont remember
received_10160821606005553
Christ we almost look normal
received_10160821605910553
Timer photo actually worked!
20180730_104441
After all the exercise sometimes you just need a friend to sleep on

Just stuff

First off a happy birthday to my dad – Hope you’re having a good one (assuming you still read the blog that is)

Seven miles on Sunday thats disappointingly left me with a sore (more than usual) ankle – whats with this?  I drop the mileage and things get worse?

Anyway I’m kinda used to it by now but as long as I can keep walking Murph too all is good, at least I’m bound to be keeping some level of fitness walking 4 or 5 miles a day even if I’m not running right?

20180617_133741
Rock dog
20180618_171618
Just mooching – nice place to mooch mind you
20180617_141324
Haha you stinky little shit – bathtime – He wasnt so impressed with this bit

Triple Crown at Preseli

Yesterday was Preseli Ultrabeast day. 2 years ago I ran the Beast Bach 11 mile race linky and last year I ran the Preseli Beast 24 miler linky and yesterday I completed the hat trick with the Ultrabeast.  I was to be honest a little concerned about it as although training has gone well and I feel in good form, breaking a toe on a baby gate 2 weeks ago was going to make it a different proposition plus I know what the course is like – as Carwyn the organiser puts it “As if the original wasn’t hard enough for you!  And if the 32mile route doesn’t grab you enough, then what about the 6,000ft of ascent it now has! Be warned this is no easy walk in the park. This is proper hardcore fell running terrain. This route really does take it to the extreme and those thinking of running this one really must be physically and mentally prepared.”

32 miles, 6000 feet of ascent (and the quad shredding descents which by the end are worse) through fell country, not much of this is run on any sort of trail and most is barely a sheep track.  It had pissed down constantly during the day before and there was a lot of mud, the evil black sucky mud you only seem to get on the beacons (Preseli is the westernmost end of the Brecon beacons).    There were moments when you went up to your knees in it, at one point up to the groin. You just could tell until you hit it. All part of the fun but it just sucks and sucks at your legs.

For the sake of the marshalls (who were superb as ever here – especially the one dressed as a lobster) the ultra started the same time as the 24 miler.  This made pacing tricky as everyone set off around the same lick and it was hard to judge what the extra 8 miles would be like.

The option was also there around 20 miles to skip the 8 mile extra loop out into the wilds and still get a qualifying finish in the 24 miler.  You make this decision at the top of the longest steepest hillside there is and apparently quite a few took it and I cant blame them. By then things were really hurting and the thought crossed my mind but not for long. Those extra 8 miles were beautiful singletrack and took us out to parts i’d not seen before including a monolithic hillfort.  There were more climbs, more descents and more pain than I care to think about now but by then I had grouped with 3 other lads who were in a similar boat and were happy for me to tag along and for once I was happy for the company. Sometimes its ok to suffer in silence and sometimes misery loves company. When its not just you stepping into knee deep freezing mud for the hundredth time it makes it easier to bear.

The last peak was finally done and all that was left was a 3 or 4 mile descent on busted up everything – Sometimes its that last drop that kills.  But finish I did in 7 hours which I’m well pleased with considering the toe and the terrain.

Dunno where to go next …. who cares

Anyway if you read all that you get the photos – Beauty of ultras with fuckoff big mountains is you feel better about stopping occassionally for a photo op.

20180512_105408
First up, spot the start of the bogs
20180512_122613
Climb to Carn Ingli – around 12 miles in, yep right up to those peaks
20180512_123759
View from Carn ingli
20180512_123801
Looking back towards Newport bay whence we came
20180512_123803
Marshalls on Carn Ingli
20180512_123845
Next point – yeah just run to that cairn on the horizon and go left
20180512_123846
See that peak – yeah we’ll probably cross that one too
20180512_124742
They all look the same after a while
20180512_130746
Somewhere in a field with mercifully no bogs to fall in
20180512_143233
The extra loop took us out into bluestone country – Apparently this is where the stones came from for Stonehenge. I cheerfully apprasied my fellow runners with this information – I was glad the correct retort was “Its a pile of fucking rocks”  Thank god we’re all in the same mental boat then i’d hate it to be just me
20180512_143235
Leading the way along the ridge – my newfound friends following
20180512_144056
Unmanned checkpoint (on a pile of fucking rocks) – here we had to draw a smiley face on our bibs to prove we came, saw and gasped for breath
20180512_144505
Checkpoint view
20180512_145509
Hey guess what – we get to go up there – its steeper and longer than it looks and after 20 odd miles its an utter bitch
20180512_172051
Mud. Bastard mud – Socks kept my feet clean tho!

Karma

I believe in karma. Or essentially what goes around comes around. It works both ways, bad and good karma.  Learned the hard way and seen it happen thankfully to others who deserved it (Yes I have a mean streak a mile wide)

So yesterday I had to go out mid morning and decided to fit in a quick 4 mile or so run to the Barrow mound on the cliffs as the tide was in.  When I got there it was beautiful and sunny.

20180421_093648
Like this kinda sunny

So I headed back and passed coming the other way a group of kids doing their Duke of Edinburgh type stuff, all with their packs on etc  I met one group at a stile and the first two kids just ignored me stood there dripping with sweat and breathing hard and then a girl at the back said “wait everyone let the person through” (Im not sure that they knew what gender I was due to the long hair) and so I hopped over and thanked them and ran on.

A mile or so later I got to the beach and found one of them had dropped their sleeping mat.  So what do you do? I was in a rush as I had an appointment to keep, I had already run 3 or 4 miles hard pace and they were headed in the opposite direction and all uphill. You know what – the tipping point of making me grab it and run as hard as I could to catch them (they move fast these damn kids) over 2 miles or so at 6-7 minute uphill pace (good training hey) was that the girl had called out to let me through and they did.

So I caught them eventually utterly fucked and they were I think amazed that I had done that for one of them – all I could gasp was “Its a bastard sleeping out without a mat” and trotted off – thankfully downhill and home. Ok so I was a little late. So what – And thats karma.  Just the little things can come back to you. And maybe those kids saw a small  gesture from a stranger and might just try it themselves.

20180421_095406
Should have nicked it for myself it was a nice one too (Joking of course)

Brecon wander

Went up the Brecon beacons yesterday.  Out into the bits people don’t tend to go and just hiked around a bit with the dog.  It was pretty cold, then hot, then windy then not. Hey im a poet! We didn’t follow the paths mainly as there weren’t any. Its quite liberating and definitely fun to just go where you please. This did mean we spent a few hours or so falling in bogs, marshes and swamps (we havnt worked out which is which yet) but wet feet is a given these days.  Plus Tilly the dog loved every minute of it even if she couldnt see over the grass much of the time I guess.

20180223_114701
Pro tip – Park the car by a big obvious mountain like this one so you dont lose it
20180223_115821
Technically we should have been over there but I cannot tell a lie – my directions are shit
20180223_122029
Standing stone doing what it does best
20180223_124454
Waterfall – slightly on the wonk
20180223_125945
Frozen “waterfall” / trickle
20180223_131927
Is that the mountain by the car? Oh …
20180223_131942
Look I CAN take photos – Tilly in her snazzy coat
20180223_132122
Ok we put the dog with short legs on the rock for a photo shoot, she didnt leap there – tiny legs and all that. Though she did exceptionally well seeing as its not really short dog terrain
20180223_142913
Reservoir points to car (backup in case of loss of mountain)
20180223_144701
“Over there is bog…. over there is marsh ….. over there is swamp” ( I fell in most of them)