Low Tide – High Spirits

After taking four days off running with just some biking to keep fresh in order to let my body recover from the efforts of last week (Yes Sergei I showed common sense!) I waited today until a very low tide to get back out for a 9 mile run. Was out for around two hours but managed to do some rock scrambling at Witches Point and took a look around at the different features which can only be seen at the lowest tides.

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Low tide between Monknash and Wick Beach
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Thee rocks are covered much of the time – The erosion makes for interesting formations and a fun scramble
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More rocks!
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These slabs were fun to cross
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Rock!
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Low tide exposes …… sea stuff (TM)
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Im not saying the snails here are slow but they even have mini limpets growing on them!
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Coral type sea stuff (TM) – Not actually sure what it is – some sort of organisms building homes I think
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The usual gratuitous shot of my playground

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!

 

 

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

A journey into nosebreathing

It had recently come to my attention through the efforts of my personal training advisors  (you know who you are) that by breathing through the nose will prevent going over the heartrate threshold (or something like that, at least it acts a a bit of a regulator) so I set off for the beach last night to try it out.

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Gratuitous beach shot

First impressions – felt a bit odd, I’m clearly an inveterate mouthbreather when I run, usually in some sort of gasping fish out of water style. After I while I got more used to it, I think I should have been counting steps and breaths or something but I’d forgotten what I was meant to count and how much I should be counting to anyway so I just made it up.

It does actually seem to work, if I was finding it hard to breathe through the nose and felt like I needed a gulp from my mouth then I knew I was pushing too hard. Mainly the uphill bits it seemed as I could happily cruise at around 10 min per mile pace on sand while nosebreathing.  In fact the hardest part was remembering to do it once I got into the zone and started enjoying the scenery and terrain.

I actually covered seven and a half miles and it didn’t feel like I was putting out too much effort. Maybe this slow/chi/noserunning technique has plenty going for it. It was kind of a definite comeback run for me. Every day as I travel to work I pass at a distance the hill of Witches Point at Southerndown and I can just make out the wall on the side of it. Throughout my injury it has teased me with its presence and every time I’ve gone past I’ve sworn my revenge on it.

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Who’s in charge now then wall?

Yesterday that time came and when I reached the wall I took a photo of my vanquished foe, gave it the two fingered salute and pranced around it just to demonstrate my return and put this completely inanimate object back in its place – I’m king of the hill again!

Instead of the beach on the way back I ran the cliff route which means lots of hills to test out the nosebreathing. I have to admit to switching to my mouth a few times before remembering why I’m doing this in the first place.  Gob shut I continued slower.

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View from the clifftop

Once again for those that reached the end of the post I give you the brave … I don’t care that you are photographing me …. lamb

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I swear if that little face doesn’t make you vegetarian then I don’t know what would

Voyages of Discovery

I like discovering things. Hence my beachcombing sorties. This mornings run turned out to be one of discovery although it never gets planned that way.  I was up early – well half seven is early for me on a weekend – and decided today was the day to crack out my “new” running shoes. Why the “? Because technically they aren’t new. I’ve had them months but have never worn them as I’ve been waiting for better weather as they’re minimal – Inov8 Flite 240 – Which arent really trail shoes but I wanted to have a go with less cushioning.

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Inov8 Flite 240’s

Also they technically aren’t new because – And serious runner types look away now in horror – I do buy shoes on ebay. Yes I have a scheme. People often sell nearly new trail shoes on ebay which have been worn only once or a few times as they didnt fit. Now I’m not fussy, I’ll wear other barely used shoes once they’re disinfected and washed. And in this way I’ve picked up good bargains – These inov8s had been used once and the guy didnt like them- I picked them up for £12 – A quick google tells me they’re around £60 new.

Ok I hear you cry, but the fit – the fit is crucial!  Well yes I agree and as they say you have to kiss a lot of frogs.  The shoes I buy (And I set low limits to what I’ll spend – I’m looking for bargains and a way of testing as many brands and styles as I can cheaply) if they dont fit or they aren’t right I simply resell them – The most I lose is a few quid on shipping and I’ve turned over a profit on some. I’m honest in my ebaying, I say I bought them and they don’t fit and I say what the previous owner told me – as in they’ve done 10 miles or been worn twice.

It might be unusual and not to some peoples taste but in this way I’m learning what’s good for me and getting to try out different styles. Just like today. I had no idea what to expect from a more minimal shoe but I really enjoyed it.  The first thing I noticed was that you can really feel the trail underfoot – Not ideal on rocky patches or trails with pokey up stones (technical term there) but on grass and dirt track it was truly lovely to really feel the trail. Every small undulation was apparent, every foothold felt good. I came to hills – I was a little worried about this as the soles didn’t look grippy – Bugger how they look – These things grip like a gorilla holding the last banana! I was like a mountain goat – no a bloody ibex!

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The grip down and up these valley sides was fantastic

I did 10 miles in them this morning and felt comfortable all the way. I can’t wait to see how they perform on the beach and on rocks.  I can’t say I’ll definitely switch to more minimalist for good until I’ve done more testing but they aren’t being sold that’s for sure.

Back to the discoveries though.  At the top of this valley something caught my eye – rubbish. Who would drop litter here? My anger turned to curiousity though, the litter looked like a book in a bag and it turned out to be a geocache!

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Sadly water had got into the book so it was unreadable but I packed it all back as well as I could and left it for the next person

Next up was the top of the waterfall I go past on the beach, it’s a bit tricky to get to the top of it and there’s an easier route that I always take but today something made me scramble down to the cliff edge and I was delighted to find a pond

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I get the feeling the bright green vegetation is going to look great when spring really kicks in – at the moment they appear to be small rushes
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I also discovered I could dangle over the edge of the cliffs here to take photos – Mainly because I’m stupid
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But you get some nice photos of the tide fully in at Cwm Mawr. Strange to think I run here at low tide.

I kept going, enjoying the feel of the shoes, past Southerndown and turned at 5 miles to begin the journey back detouring slightly to take in Dunraven castle – I have run past this loads but never through it. I don’t know why as it’s so pretty and peaceful – I had the place to myself as I was so early.

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Dunraven Castle grounds
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Yeah you can kind of tell solicitors wrote it :p
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Pond!
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Dunraven Castle remains

I also discovered that my knee still hurts no matter what shoes I’m in. However I then discovered after 8 miles it hurts no more than the rest of me at that point so I don’t care!

Final discovery wasn’t really mine – It was these two discovering the world for the first time. I’m kinda glad I’ve moved to a plant based diet these days. Enjoy your weekends everyone!

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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!

Pushing on a little further every day

After a good win for Wales over France last night (good not great, we seem to have difficulty crossing the line) I actually left the pub early, not that I wasn’t enjoying myself but I knew I wanted to run today. How times have changed!

I felt good today and planned to do a long run so took my pack (did I mention I love my Inov8 pack) with me. Lucky I did as I ended up doing 15 and a half miles!  Basically it was the half marathon I did before with a trip along the beach to Marcross tagged onto the end. I must admit I felt pretty damn good for all of it up to about mile 12.  At this point i came off the lovely smooth flat sandy stretch back onto rocks and found my legs were stiff and it was difficult to pick them up higher for the rocks.  This did abate after a while, I’m guessing that the low stride of the sand locked them a little.  Will have to remember this – pick those knees up on sand!

Speaking of knees I had very little trouble with them today.  I deliberately set a slower pace as I knew i’d be out longer (not that it was much slower according to the watch by the end) and concentrated on my form. I’ve been looking at chi running, as much because I try to keep an open mind and i’m currently devouring anything running related.  So I was trying to stop myself from leaning back which I tend to do on flat ground. This may have helped the knee or it might have been the slower place or the moon may be in Aquarius or something, all I know is it doesnt hurt.

I was feeling the distance in my legs by the end but I guess no pain no gain and all that malarkey. A good rest day tomorrow should help matters.  I also found a fuelling formula today that worked for me. Start fuelling 45 minutes in and every half hour after that. It seems to be about the right interval to keep me going steadily.

So all in all i’m really happy with today. The distance, the pace, my mood and it really feels like i’m progressing – albeit slowly – but at my own pace and in my own way. Enough burbling, to the photos!

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View from Witches Point – Yes I know i’ve posted similar photos before – I just love this view!
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Southerndown Beach
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Like a millpond as they say!
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Other side of the Ogmore river – Merthyr Mawr dunes – Now theres a thought ….. (Oh and pony trekking)
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I used to sit here for hours just throwing stones for Soak to fetch – She loved that game and would never tire of it.  I stopped here for a moment thinking about her today.
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And as I stopped and thought the sun poked through the smallest gap in the clouds and shone on me – I know i’m a sentimental bugger but I just get the feeling she’s letting me know she’s ok
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Decided to take the narrow route above the cliffs
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Kind of wish I hadn’t as this was the drop if I missed a step
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Twas a police helicopter hovering over the area today – Plus a few rescue boats, not sure if it was an exercise or they were actually looking for someone.
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Waterfalls on the return path home
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Not sure I can eat these….
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Aid station manned by horse – Nope shouldnt have eaten the mushrooms

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