All the gear and no idea

I’m not sure I’m getting the idea of the HR monitor. At the moment I’m like a kid with a new toy which does lots of things but uses it the wrong way. Today at the beach I wanted to see how high I could make it go and then see how quickly I could bring it back down again. This may be called interval something or others (thanks SRG) but I shall call it arrghhghgh ooooohhhh.

This is me after the arghgrhrghghh stage

It’s probably not doing me much good but I like it and thats what counts to me. I don’t do it by increasing pace but instead by running harder on technical ground. I figure although I am increasing my chances of decking it I’m less likely to pull any muscles. Don’t worry I’ll get bored of looking at the watch again soon.

It’s easy to get it back to normal by fossil hunting too!  Found this today in a shale bed.

Perfectly formed fossilised mollusc
Can even see the muscles at the rear of the shell

Although it was wet and cold I loved being out alone on the beach for another 7 miles.

All mine

Data gathering day two

So off I went again to gather more running data from my new watch and hr monitor.  Well ok thats not why I went I just wanted to be out in the sun at the beach but a little data gathering cant hurt too.  It all looks very much like the first day only I managed to spike my heart at 180 something this time. Its the rocks I tells ya!

Did catch some sweet sunshine though!
And sunshine means rainbows

Boxing Day heart attacks

So for xmas I got a Suunto Ambit – cheers mum & dad! My Garmin was fine but the battery doesnt last more than 4 hours and this year I’m going to be out past that at least a few times. It also came with a heart rate monitor which of course I had to try out. I’ve never used one before but didnt notice it was there so I may use it again as the data is interesting. At this point all the heart rate based runners here might want to look away!


So I’m no data expert but I have a feeling I’m not meant to be spending the vast majority of the run in the hard and very hard categories and lets not talk about the 8 minutes running at max. I’m kinda sceptical as surely these are arbitrary categories and the watch has no clue what’s hard for me :p  I also noticed that where I’m working really hard has less to do with pace but rather the terrain so my HR climbs when I’m on the rocks.

I think it will all make more sense once I’ve got a wider base of data to terrify myself with. I’ll give the watch a review once I’ve used it for a while too.

As for the run it was a beautiful boxing day on the beach.

Suns out
Hot cross jellyfish!
Slices of rockfall


Just cliff stuff

Just a quick run today before the tide swallowed up the beach. Only a 5 mile run – I’m not sure when 5 miles became a short run but apparently it has in my mind so I’m happy to let things sit that way mentally.

Sand about to be swallowed

I don’t know why cliffs currently have my attention but they do.

Fossil hunting area, low and at an odd angle, I’m guessing faultline, then again my geology is sketchy at best despite doing a year of it at uni a long time ago
Millions of years all in layers
Prizes for spotting the seagulls just chilling at home

Sun, rain and stacks of climb

Back to the beach today … well no not the beach but the cliffs as the tide was in. No matetr it was time to practice some more hills. I’m slowly improving on climbing. Hills which would make me out of breath or get my heart pounding before are now climbed slightly easier. They still hurt but I can feel the effort I’m putting into them is lessening. This is good news for the incoming 2017 races. Another 8 miles which I’m sure is getting easier in tiny increments.

The sun was out as I began.

A beautiful winters day to run

I passed the stack and got a photo from above. Still amazes me it stays upright.

That has to be the most dangerous square metre of turf in Britain

Up and around Witches Point

This is the beach at high tide which is why i can’t run it … compare to ….
How it looks at low tide

As I reached Witches the weather came in so fast there was little I could do but run back in the rain. Not that I really minded its all part of the game. A little sun, a little rain, who cares when you can go out and see the things I saw today.

Incoming rain front



Summited – Just don’t know where

Took a jaunt up to the Brecon Beacons today to have a run up Pen Y Fan again. Closest we get to mountains in South Wales.  I took a different route this time from the south .  I parked up, got changed and headed off with a pack full of food, water and actual safety items such as a whistle and foil blanket.  I knew the weather was supposed to turn early afternoon so this was an up and downer fairly rapidly.

The best laid plans and all that.  My navigational skills are sketchy at best and the thing about the brecon beacons is that eveything looks the same, no wonder the SAS die out here in training.

I give you exhibit A – mountains are in there somewhere amongst the clouds

After a false start and sinking up to my calves in mud in a forest I found the route to the mountains – in the cloud somewhere. So I had a minds eye picture of where I was and where everything else was but it was meaningless if everything else was shrouded in mist.

Ok I think its that way ————>

Its uphill!

Following the sheep tracks was fun up the side of a mountain. Ocassionally my brain would say “ummm you dont know where you’re going” but I shut it off and ran a bit more. I figure there are two important directions on a mountain – up and down. So I followed what I could make out as a ridgeline upwards.

The wind was really picking up now and I packed on some more layers and kept going up and up and up. And then …. The summit!  Only it definitely wasn’t Pen Y Fan – I’d have recognised that even in fog but it was somewhere I’ve never been before.

It had one of these though and it was the highest point I could see (that being all of 30 feet) so I’m calling it a summit!

The view was …… well

If you look carefully you can see clouds

I had a choice now to either follow a path off the top but this would mean I was getting really, really lost now instead of just lost and I knew the weather would worsen so I took the sensible option of coming back down the way I came.

Once down in the visibility zone as I shall now call it I followed the tracks wherever they went as long as they headed in the vague direction of the car.  Which took me past the skunk sheep!

Weirdest looking sheep I ever saw

And then to a fantastic waterfall where I stopped to eat something. The whole run was only around 8 miles but I brought food so I was damn well eating it.


Back through the forest

And looking back on a great morning getting cold, wet, lost and tired.  I may not have found the mountain I was looking for but I found what I wanted in the end.


Tired legs & happy heart

Today is a rest day so time to catch up with the blog and mondays run. Timed the beach again for low tide and rolled out in the Altras for a change. Although I love the feeling of comfort in them the difference in grip and stability to the Inov8s is huge so I think no more rock runs in them, they can hang around for the days there’s little technical stuff.

Perfect timing – Tide going out and a few metres of sand to get from point to point.
First of todays fossils – Not actually sure what they are, a collection of plants and shells I think
One I ran home with – Ammonite in quartz
Another I couldnt run home with – the rock is way too big sadly
Met these two having a paddle
And this one pulling faces

Another 5 miles on tired legs hence the rest day today.  Always feels great to be out no matter how the legs feel though

Fields & cwms & ladders & rocks = fun

So sunday was a recovery run, why I seem to be posting every run a day late I have no idea. But still I was out there doing a slowish 5 miles.  I had to reverse a route starting with a hill up a road as I’d managed to leave the house without a key but luckily as I am used to doing this I have keys stashed with various friends and family all over the place. So I trotted to my friends house, gave his dog a cuddle which got it so excited it peed on the floor and then headed off to the beach via Wick ladders for once.

The beach is yonder! Past the distant sheep
Down the cwm – Welsh for valley
Now to get to the beach – Note the way the tides leave depressions in the pebbles – It does this a lot, I need to find out why!
Ladder one plus easy scramble down
View halfway up the cliff
Ladder two – Its easier going up these than down – note rusty securing bolts 😉

This reminds me, on saturdays run I passed 3 walkers at Monknash beach, by the time I had been round Witches etc they were stood on the beach near the ladders and flagged me down as they were panicing that this was the only way off the beach.  Ever the helpful I directed them the mile or so to the path up Witches point which they might stand a better chance at …. maybe. As I left with a cheery wave the lady called “and congratulations” which was odd, congratulations on not breaking any limbs maybe? Weird thing to say indeed.

Anyway I digress!  Back to sunday. As it was a recovery day I went looking for some fossils and found these two.  Enamoured with my finds I ran home with them – workout for the arms too!

More ammonites!

Altogether a 5 mile easy run and best of all had a lot of fun.  Who knew there was so much free entertainment just lying in wait out there – go find some!



6 metres and falling

Saturday morning and a new training cycle begins (yes I’m still calling it that as it sounds like I know what I’m doing) so a wait for the tides and off out again for a 10 miler along the coast. I’ve worked out (It’s only taken me 20 years of visiting this beach) that I can get out to run the whole thing if the tide is lower than 6 metres give or take.

6 Metres and the sand appears

It was a misty and cold which meant I had the beach to myself whch is the way I like it. Everything seemed to be ticking over nicely as far as the running went and I had great fun on the rocks pounding my legs. I know that doing this leads to fatigue around mile 7 or so. It’s got me to wondering when fatigue would kick in if I didn’t run on the rocks at all. But that would mean …. roads. Nahhhh i’ll keep wondering.

I notcied that at the point between Nash and Wick beaches that there are numerous quartz veins amongst the rocks. I’ve never really paid much notice before but noticed today how cool they are.

Quartz veins

Many of the rocks split along these veins.

More quartz

Sometimes it appears in very random patterns

No wait – Thats seagull shit!

After investigating the quartz and guano it was up and over Witches Point and around Southerndown


More ammonites for the fossil crew

Right on cue the legs started hurting around mile 7 so I switched into my run all day pace which means dropping the pace and expend less energy covering the rocks, picking lower lines and not leaping around like a fool.

Running across these takes it out of the legs but is so so fun – Until you fall

I planned around 10 miles and it was spot on. Let the cycle run on!