Friday after work it was time to head to the beach for a quick 5 miles or so with my friend Claire and her dog Tilly aka ratdog. Its good to see her improving slowly despite not being able to get out much lately. It does help shes about 7 stone soaking wet and many years younger than me – she wants to run a fellrace this summer and to be honest she’s a natural and gonna cruise it – well assuming I can actually get her to run uphill at some point.
Brought a couple of bin bags to clear some plastics too. This is why I need friends, Im not that bright it took her to point out the easiest way of hauling at all back. I never thought of this …
Decided to get out for a run last Sunday despite the torrential rain. I wanted a long run but wasn’t going to happen in these conditions. To be fair the seven miles I did were made harder by slogging through fields turned into streams. More resistance training. I look back and laugh now but at the time up to my calves in freezing cold water I certainly wasn’t laughing then
But I always love it nonetheless. After a day of fairly nice weatehr by the time I got home from work it was getting dark and raining, sometimes hard rain sometimes just mizzle. The temptation was to stay in and pretend to stretch or something but sometimes you just got to get out of the door.
Up on the cliffs it was cold and wet and I still loved it. I said hi to all the sheep of course.
I did the 4 or 5 mile trip around to the barrows at Wick beach and headed back. Once again negotiating the haunted woods ™ by headtorch
So yeah its always worth getting out even if the weather says no the lesg say yeh!
And finally a big hello and hug for my mum who’s not been so well lately but hopefully on the road to recovery!
So I need a new watch. Not because it’d not working (an update fixed that problem) but it seems like the battery life is limited to around 4 hours …. And yesterdays long run went over that. Yes indeed, probably closer to 5, sit back and I’ll tell you all about it.
I knew it would be a long run so I took my energy bars and hydration pack (Pro tip from a non-pro: If you’re also taking a lightweight jacket then wrap the bladder in the jacket which helps stop the water warming from your body heat)
The tide was right in so no choice but to run the cliffs which meant more climbs, in for a penny!
So the descents … and ascents are kinda scary, exhilarating and painful at the same time
Shot through Southerndown and Ogmore like a raisin fuelled rocket and normally I would turn here to return home making it 13 miles. Today I had bigger fish to fry, I was off to Porthcawl! Thing is when you get to Ogmore there’s a wide rivermouth and the only place to cross is a few miles up the road meaning I would be on a big detour. Ah well It was a nice day, detour me up baby!
The detour happily led me past some swans – One of whom clearly thought I had bread so sailed close before paddling off in disgust
I reached the stepping stones where I could finally cross the river next to Merthyr Mawr castle – Or what’s left of it
My detour now led me to Merthyr Mawr dunes which I’ve run before but only after driving to them.
Running through the sand was a leg killer, I could feel how much work my calves and hanstrings were doing to get me up these hills. Felt like running in glue. There were a class of youngsters there with some endurance school logo on the back being trained to sprint through sand – That should put them off endurance sports for life nicely
The dunes lasted around 3 miles and put a few dents into my previously unquenchable confidence. Should I turn back, I knew I was now going to be in previously uncharted distance territory by the time I got near to home so I obviously plugged on, I was determined to reach Porthcawl.
I got to Porthcawl – Where back in march I met up with my family for a day and we wondered how far it would be to run back along the coast to home – 12 miles (including detour)
Porthcawl had joy of joys an ice-cream van! I had a can of coke and huge icecream as I figured I needed all the help I could get on the return journey. I followed the beach back before turning back into the dunes for some more punishment
I found a sandy track back in case I wasn’t fed up of sand. This is now around 15 miles in and the legs were really starting to suffer. Nutritionally I was fine the muscles in my legs were just getting wasted by the sand. I knew from here on in it was just going to be a painful grit your teeth and guts it out effort to get home.
At this point the photos appear to have stopped being taken with any regularity. I think this was as much because I had to keep going as stopping and starting just hurt more. I followed the detour and then changed course to trevel up over St Brides common before dropping into St Brides itself. I was bringing myself back on the roads but knew that it was pretty much all uphill from here as I was headed to Wick which sadly for me is the highest point in the Vale of Glamorgan (Ok its not Everest but it felt like it yesterday)
By the 18th mile my legs were pretty much gone and I was walking most hills – It’s trail running we get to do this right! (Another pro tip form a non-pro to new trail runners – Walk the hills if they are going to leave you blown up. Everyone does it and its nothing to be ashamed of. Wish I’d known this at the start)
The rest of me was fine just the calves, hammies and glutes had very little bounce and just felt dead. Strangely I was still enjoying it, the foot was playing up but then again I had been out for over 4 hours and nearly 20 miles.
Then I had the watch battery warning which surprised me but at least I had the sense to note the time and distance it finally died – Which as it turned out wasn’t too far from the finish.
This rather boring photo though will always mean a lot to me – its where I was when I hit the 20 mile mark for the first time ever
At 21 miles I reached my destination – Not home for once, I had decided to reward myself …
I had a couple with some friends here who didn’t seem to mind the sweat and then finished off by running home – Amazing how the legs start to recover immediatley after cider 😉
So all in all a tough run. Proud of it though, my previous best was 15 miles and I did 21 miles (not including the jog home after pub) and over 4 and a half hours on my feet. Ran through a lot of oh crap moments and pulled it together.
Found it down the back of the sofa, made it fix my Garmin which it kindly did then took them both to the beach. Seven and a half miles in around an hour and a half with plenty of rock hopping and general zooming around. Mojo and I are friends again and the sun came out to celebrate.
If ever you need a happy song try a dose of this. Plus they’re Welsh!
On sunday it was a year since little Soaky died. I knew that as my main inspiration to run I wanted to mark it with a run to the beach but I didn’t want it to be a sad day or run, more just remembering how much fun she had there for so many years.
So I figured what better way to remember Soak than to give another dog an awesome afternoon out. Soak would have loved the day and at the end of it all making another dogs day was as close as I could get to making Soak happy. I know she’d have been looking down on us with love.
We ran for around 6 miles and then went for a pint or two.
So what could have been a sad day wasn’t and although I miss Soaky awfully even now after a year it does my heart good to spread a little happiness where I can. She taught me that lesson well =)
So a week off running and it wasn’t too bad, I must admit it was tricky to not go out when the sun shone on the way home but I stuck to it for a whole week. And today I got to try out my new shoes (I had to hide them this week in case my will broke)
First impressions – very comfy, at first they felt a little snug but they are so soft – like a baby deers furry ass – that they soon felt like they were already worn in.
The reason I got these was for better grip as the weather turns and I’m going to be spending much of the next six months sliding around in mud. I also wanted something for wet rocks on the beach, It’s not like I ask a lot or anything.
It’s been raining all week and so I was sure to find mud
So overall I’m more than pleased with the Xtalon 200 – They are definitely going to become my technical shoe of choice and I expect to give them a right hammering this winter. The grip is fantastci on mud and rock and they provide an immense feeling of confidence and stability. My only worry is the drainage but with some care there shouldnt be too much water getting in – basically it has to go in over the top anyway.
Oh and I have new shoes but this dude has a new coat – With chickens on! How cool is that (I was kinda jealous)