Lessons learned

Last few weeks have been a holding pattern – for much of the world I think. I was musing on the run the other day – last week was my birthday and that morning I planned to get up early and do a long run. I didn’t have much of a plan, it was more a case of throw some food and water in a pack and head out with Murph to enjoy the day before anyone else was awake.  As it turned out we did 17 miles and were out for 4 hours plus – which I was happy with, much of the route was beach and much of it was rocky so progress was slow but we loved every minute. Even when with an hour to go the heavens opened and the chill cut in.

I digress – I was musing about the lockdown and how I felt about it. I have friends who are frustrated, depressed and can’t wait until its over – Which is understandable. So I was trying to work out why I feel so relaxed about it all, of course I can get out with the dog that helps but I genuinely am content to sit and wait and sit and wait and sit and wait. You can’t rush this thing, you can’t fight it, you might as well punch fog. No point in being angry it just needs riding out.

And then I figured perhaps I cope because it’s similar in a way to ultrarunning. You grind through it, you chop it down to step by step, you don’t look at the ending, you can’t look at the ending because it’s so far away and that distance is overwhelming. So perhaps ultrarunning has taught me patience and how to deal with living in the moment and taking one step at a time. The goal will come, we will get through this, you can’t rush it, the finish line comes when it comes. You might as well do what you can to enjoy the ride. In last years 50 miler there were moments I wished for the end, 10 miles out I was praying for the line to come, it couldn’t come fast enough. I look back and I see the mistake I made. I concentrated on the end not the journey. It’s inconceviable to me now I did that, I would give anything to be out there right now 40 miles into a race but out in the mountains and in pain. To try to enjoy that last 10 miles instead of wishing them to end.

No those last 10 miles weren’t pretty but they could have been if I’d chosen to embrace them not hate them.  It might be a poor anology with people dying out there and losing jobs but times pass and we get one shot, embrace it all, even the shit bits.

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Be Happy!
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Dawn at the start of a long run on your birthday  … does it get any better
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On the way home and hunting wabbits
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We found new rockfalls
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And we spent around 8 miles running up and down this stuff – blew my quads out
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There were pretty forests too with bluebells
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And even crowds cheering us on
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No dog is an island
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For mum and dad – these are this years blooms on Trepit Road seeing as you cant get out there at the mo!

Today we proudly present …

murphometer500

The murphometer!  As mentioned in a previous post our goal this year is to walk and run 2000 miles. Progress has been steady and as you can see from the power of high-tec wizardry we have cracked the 500 miles mark!  After a 200 mile march – due in no small part to working from home and spring bringing lighter mornings and evenings we got there a few days ago.

Stay tuned for very infrequent updates when I actually remember to update!

Apart from that – obviously still running and walking while of course maintaining social distancing (It’s not hard to do while living out here to be fair)

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Be glad of the fence – this is actually top of the cliffs and theres a 200 foot drop a few feet to the left
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Dawn runs at the beach
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Dawn skies in the fields – and the rapeseed is suddenly shooting up and starting to flower – bring on the spring allergies!

 

 

All roads lead home

And so the clock ticks and the seasons turn, in this case thankfully from spring to winter and so we all adjust to a new way of living, for a while at least. But some things never change and that no matter where you’ve been, no matter how far or near the roads always lead home.  It doesn’t matter if you can’t do the distance you did, or be outside as long as you were you can always return home … and then do it over again … and again.

I know what im trying to say but am struggling to put the feeling into words. This photo though unspectacular struck a chord with me, it’s one of the many I take then forget about but this one stuck with me.

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This is the road home for us after we’ve been out training in the fields instead of the beach. It’s also the end of our route home after we’ve been up to see my parents in the next village. For me this is a journey from one home to another. I’ve never lived more than a mile from my parents (barring university) and where I was born and grew up, be it where I am now or when I ran the pub.  Some people find it strange that I’ve never lived anywhere else, I think some see it as almost sad. I find great comfort in it and the realisation for me is that simply I’ve never needed to be anywhere else. I love where I live, I’m exceedingly grateful to live here and the current climate is truly making me appreciate how lucky I am. I’m lucky that I have roads that lead to two homes.

I’m lucky that I consider the whole area my home, be it the fields, beach or woods. I know every inch locally like the back of my hand, I explored everywhere as a kid and I still can now through running and walking with a dog. Blessed is truly the word.

In these difficult times when people are told to stay home I have come to realise that for me that means everywhere. All these photos are taken within a mile and a quarter of home. Truly lucky and grateful.

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The crops are growing. Soon they’ll be above his head – enjoy the view while you can dude
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Met these guys on the way back from the beach – they came to say hi
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This is the face of a dog thinking – why are you playing with the horses not me
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The primroses are in full bloom
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Dawn and high tide
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Goes to show with enough love and patience you can do anything – no lead required anymore
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Sun sets – sun rises and so we go

 

Spring Sprung Sprong

Not sure what a sprong is but I like the sound of it. Well spring is here, been waiting for it for ages and now it feels a little anticlimatic due to viruses and lockdowns and the suchlike but nature stops for no-one.  Today I saw the first bee buzzing around and teh evidence is everywhere. Just take a look …

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The ferns have started to appear – I love the little alien dudes at this stage
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Leaves on a (deciduous) tree!
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Not really a sign of spring but a duck!
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Dawn walks to the beach are in order these days
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Spot the rainbow
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Never get tired of climbing up here
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Don’t remember this one – nor the shadow telling me I was running with a giraffe

 

 

Perspective

I was out on the beach last week. It was cold, windy and raining. I had taken a fall and banged up my knee and elbow.  The way back was into the headwind and I was feeling like I hadn’t had enough calories for the run (which i admittedly hadn’t).  I was feeling kinda miserable and had the internal monologue of self pity going on at my suffering.

Then I thought this isntsuffering at all. What people are going through all over the world is suffering, losing, lives, loved ones, jobs, freedom. Thats suffering. My choice to run along a fucking beach in shit weather is hardly suffering on any scale and the only one who makes me do it anyway is me. And in that moment I realised I was being a complete self absorbed dickhead. I had the beauty of the beach, I had the company of my dog, I had health enough to run this and the freedom to do so. I am truly blessed and fortunate and its something I need to remember.

It’s made me realign a few things, go out and help people during this crisis, do what I can even in small ways, look after my parents, neighbours and community as much as I possibly can. Give something back for once, I can take what I need from nature on the run.

Time to step up and help others suffering because I’m fortunate enough to not be.  Take care out there people and if you can do something good then do it. Little things, little gestures might just go further than you think.

And now the photos!

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Blessed just to be here
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Poser posing posingly
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Sunsets
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Shiny days
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Jesus Christ its a hailstorm! Why are we out in a hailstorm you idiot/ (said the dog)

A little bit of this …

A little bit of that.  Where does the time go? I swear it was only a week since I last posted and its more like 2 or 3.  In between we’ve been covering some miles – walking and running. I was being so careful this time to not rush back and just continue the injury cycle – and then i go and roll my ankle in a field anyway.  But one of the joys of owning a dog is that you don’t get to really rest up – you always get to do active recovery. So whatever the weather or how the body feels I make sure Murph gets his exercise. Injuries are frustrating but I’ve learned a lot about coping with them. Mainly by signing up for more races.  Well i couldn’t not sign up ofr the Preseli Ultrabeast – I had to reluctantly pass on it last year as I was just a little too injured with the 50 miler I had planned but this year I’m aiming to start a race uninjured (some hope)

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Morning struts and a camouflaged dog
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Like two ships passing in the … err afternoon
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Just glad to be out – When i look back at the photos I cant even remember the day or whether we were running or walking.
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The path back from the beach at dusk
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These are our favourite fields – In winter they are muddy and kinda meh but we’ve made our own path around teh edges so we can keep going – In spring and summer they are the best place ever for zoomies
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We headed off into the wilds – well it was a few miles from home but we know places where no-one else goes and we can get some hill training done without interruptions
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Plus our secret riverbank is somewhere to get some play done
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X marks the dog – I aint moving my butt until you promise to take me with you – wherever it is
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Sunsets at the beach
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Sunset sans dog

Zoomies

I wasnt intending to run much this weekend, y’know the old let things heal thing but it was just so glorious out what else could I do?  Those crisp mornings at dawn are irresistable and not just for me they seemed to entice Murph into a world consisting of zooming around like an idiot. I was happy for him to zoom while I plodded, 5 miles on saturday and 10 today and I feel fine. Sometimes all you need is zoomies (and a plod)

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Blurry zoom followed by charging leap – trick is to stand your ground and he will deviate at last second, if you move either side he will take you out without mercy
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Happy zoomies
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Still zooming
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Ok i’ve slowed down a bit but i could go mental at any second
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Hmmm day 2 of zoom? It’s still frosty
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When the stream floods we ound a new way of crossing – he does it so gracefully compared to me. No-one as fallen in … yet
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Getting ready to zoom – Fuel stop – 1 treat equals 10 minutes zoom
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Just trotting trying to look photogenic
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Prepare the zoomster!
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And go!
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The usual views
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Back inland and heading home through the lanes
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Chilling out on the afternoon cool-down walk (which unsurprisingly included zooming)