Now the nights are closing in I get to run at dusk which I do love (even if the haunted woods still give me the heebie jeebies in the dark) but with a headtorch (Remind me to get batteries) its a lot of fun and a nice change to see nature in different ways and states.
On my way to the beach though I noticed a bit of nature in trouble (do farm animals count as nature?) After a while you learn to tell when an animal isn’t just grazing and this one was definitely stuck in a fence – Like this one is obvious! Sheep are kinda stupid.
Well I could have left it for the farmer to sort as I know he does rounds on a quad checking the stock – But what if he missed this dude? To the rescue!
Pulling a sheep backwards out of a fence when it has its head rammed through a small square of wire is tougher than it sounds! Especially as the sheep is scared and pulling forward back into the fence. lets face it with me behind it pulling one way and it pulling the other from a distance I could have been arrested for indecency. Finally I got it free and off it ran as fast as it could without a word of thanks! It also managed to get stuck in the coldest, muddiest stream ever …
So off I continued to the beach and lo and behold what awaits me but more nature …
I had heard these were being washed up in West Wales and was hoping to find one – The little bugger was only around 8 inches long but a jellyfish is a jellyfish – size is immaterial!
This one I didn’t touch – I presume the small ones sting too
Oh yeah and I did some running – sometimes thats almost secondary!
I ran to the beach today in drimizzle which slowly turned to rain and then back again. Enough to thoroughly soak me. Though it felt much warmer than yesterday with no wind so it was almost enjoyable in a “well I’m out here better enjoy it” kind of way.
I bumped into an old buddy I havent seen in a while. I recognised him by his fluffy legs
Everything was drimizzly grey today
Then I stumbled upon another barrel jellyfish. If you read this blog regularly then you may remember me finding one a few weeks back but was unable to move it.
This one was near the waters edge and I figured I would have a go at refloating him. Neveradullbling asked if this could be done. I havent got a clue but despite the fact I was probably trying to save an already dead creature with no brain or nervous system I was gonna give it my best shot. Which is why anyone passing by (thankfully no-one) could have witnessed me up to my knees in the freezing cold Bristol Channel dragging a big jellyfish behind me.
I managed the refloat and he was off and away drifting with the tide. As it was turning theres a good chance he will go out rather than beach again but to be honest I’m not sure it even matters. At this point my legs and feet were going numb so I squelched off along the beach to warm up not looking back for fear of seeing it coming ashore again. It can take its bloody chances now!
I did get a photo of the underside before we hit the surf though! You can see the fronds.
Sometimes I think I take the animal lover thing a bit too far.
A 7 mile jaunt after work. It’s so good to see the evenings brightening up fast. Can get a nice longer feeling run in now and the sunsets are of course beautiful as per usual.
This dude was the biggest I’ve seen so far and mighty heavy from the feel of it. I’ve looked it up and its a barrel jellyfish. The tide was coming in but I wouldnt fancy its chances of not getting stranded again as they just float around a bit.
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.
Bit of a grey morning weatherwise but tide was out and I had a plan …Turn left!
I usually go right when I hit the beach, not sure why I just prefer it that way but today I was went left as I was looking for something …. but more of that later
Because today I had to use my quickness of feet to avoid the jellyfish invasion. A few jellyfish have been popping up on the beach of late but this morning there were hundreds nay thousands everywhere.
Now as all you trailrunners know your gaze gets nearer the more technical the terrain but usually on the sandy stretches of the beach I can look up and around without fear of tripping …. or stepping on a jellyblob. This morning I had to concentrate on not stepping on the little guys. I suppose if I was a complete git I could have splattered my way from one end of the beach to the other but no way was I crushing some of the worlds little marvels no matter how dumb and squidgey they are.
I therefore have decided to crown myself the world authority on trailrunning on technical jellyfish terrain. I fully expect my inbox to be bulging with such missives as “I have just got into trailrunning but find I have difficulty traversing jellyfish on rocky terrain, how can Improve my form in this situation?”
So hopping all over the place I found what i was looking for – rusty machinery! On the beach I hear you cry? If you know where to look and I do having spent years on this beach there are the rusted remains of an old shipwreck buried on the beach. Depending on the tide and coverage of sand and rocks you can find different sections.
I took photos of more pieces but as one rusty bit of metal looks very much like another i won’t post them all here :p
First run with only days rest in between yesterday but the sun was shining with a lovely breeze and the tide was out. I was a little concerned but it all worked out fine (was that a spoiler?)
I was determined to keep it slow and keep the heartrate below 140(ish) which isn’t as hard as it sounds if you’re not wearing a heart monitor as you can cheat a little – I think I might actually have to invest in a watch soon with one though. Any recommendations?
The hardest part at the moment is remembering that I’m keeping it slow. It’s easy on the sand and paths as I don’t have much else to think about but as soon as I hit technical sections I seem to revert back to how I used to run them – hard and taking too many risks – To be fair sometimes it’s actually necessary to take some of these at a higher pace. Doesn’t make sense? I’ll try to explain (which probably won’t make sense)
The rocks in the photo above aren’t a great example as they are more like a pavement anyway but if you imagine a long stretch like this but with fewer rocks and more gaps – ok got that? Then at a slower pace you are limited to where you can land. You need rocks within a smaller area and when you come to a gap it halts you as you cant leap them so easily. At a quicker pace your potential landing area is larger and you can cross bigger gaps making for a smoother and less disjointed run. Did I manage to explain? Anyway I think I can cover rocks while keeping the heartrate reasonably low and can let it fall way back on sand.
SRG has been an invaluable source of information on slow running (It’s so much easier when someone does all the reading for you then condenses it so if you’re interested in it and for faaaar more insight from someone who actually knows what they’re talking about check her blog out) and in a recent post talked about flow. I kind of understand what she means. Slowing the pace down (and by slow I find thats 10.30-11 min per mile on the sand and 11-13 on technical sections (lets not talk about climbs, I need to learn to walk more)) I can feel that the running is not straining me at all, it’s easy to breathe and everything above the hips feels like it could go all day. Thats not the case for my legs at the moment which are the bit of me protesting. I think after basically 3 months out it’s going to take a while to get the conditioning back to where it was. Which is fine by me, I’m learning to take it all much more slowly.
Arghhhh wall of text – sorry guys
I have finally found a flaw in the Altras – When it comes to sections with rock “steps” as in the photo above, sometimes you can’t leap the whole step and so I tend to look for a ledge half way up the step and hit that to propel myself up. Some of these ledges will be quite narrow and the width of the Altras caused me a problem yesterday. I landed on a ledge with the outer half of my foot (And i wondered how I got a foot injury) and pushed off but as the Altras are so wide there wasn’t enough of my foot on the ledge to push properly leading to me slipping down some lovely barnacles and taking the skin off my leg. Something else to remember!
Arrghhhh too much text again
All in all I managed six and a half miles at around 13 minute pace. The foot felt good (though ached last night) and it felt great to be back out running the whole stetch of the beach down to witches point. I knew the conditions were perfect for a photo op of the beach so I did the climb up Witches (lets not talk about heartrate at this bit, I may have failed) as I knew just where I could get a good photo.
So for anyone who has waded through this you get a bonus jellyfish!