Author Archives: ade
Sunday the 3rd of October. Cardiff Central. Scott from the Cardigan shop (4th from the right) Ruben our web guru (3rd from the right), Nathan our finance man (at home in bed ill) and me (the one not in red) stood at the start of 11km of running and obstacles.
It had started as an office challenge a few months ago, and here we were.
Go. Scott and Ruben are over the first straw wall and gone. I'm over and down and running. Pick up Scott, he said bye and I'm off after Ruben.
He's nipped into the top 5 of our group and I am one of two lone chasers.
We cover 1KM and I am falling back slightly, but warming into the fun of it.
2 km and I am running in the slipstream of a huge guy who is breaking the headwind and I am reigning Ruben in.
We do a group of obstacles and the blood is now hot and I know that I can do this thing. I target the fast guy down the road and chase him down. At the turn in the course I look back and I have 100 yrds on Ruben, and no Scott.
Up and over slippery ramp, past the start line and out to empty skips, nets, rope swings, Monkey bars, 3 6ft walls, step ups and walk the plank over the next 3 KM.
Then nightmare. A queue to get up from under a bridge. Panic. Rubens coming.
Up the back and along the river to the Millennium stadium. Up and down 4 flights of stairs by the pitch which let's me check on my chasers. No Ruben.
Out the stadium to another queue. 5 minutes later Ruben joins me.
I am so frustrated that all effort it wasted.
We queue for 10 minutes upto a huge bouncy castle which we jump through and run to another 10 minute queue for an inflatable wall.
Ruben is over first and the first 2 minutes of chasing him down hurt due to legs that have cooled and are now on a restart.
I run in his footsteps. I try and over take to push the pace, but he takes the lead.
We are ploughing through the field now at a going home pace.
We get to the last obstacles which we clear and head to the last obstacle.
The 10 ft wall. It's time to dig deep and I was feeling strong.
Great fun. Pity there was no lap 2.
We went to wait for Scott to come round to the wall. A few 10's of minutes later there he is looking muddy, dishevelled, tired and solo.
Simon from Cardigan was also running in the wave that started before us. Despite the queues, we had a great laugh.
Meni and me went for a sea paddle out to the witches cauldron. Before we left the beach a seal came and rolled in the waves before us. See it's little head, black dot, centre picture. What the picture does not show is the size of the waves.
I have never been out to sea in big wave in a small plastic boat. It was one of those situations where you can physically feel your life inside your chest. Your daily immortal self is stripped away and you know that you are fragile flesh and blood.
The phone was not coming out for pictures.
We paddled out straight into the sunset and big waves that broke over the boat and my face. Once safely out we turn back to land and skirted the coast till we found the boiling mouth of witches cauldron.
We got broadsided by a roller that dislodged me from my perch and into the sea. As soon as I was in all the pent up fear went. everything was fine. A wetsuit and a PFD worked.
We paddled round a big rock at the mouth of the cave that was catching the breakers and breaking them enough for us to paddle into the tunnel.
Once in the boat is rising and falling 3 to 4 meters in a 4 meter wide gulley, then into the archway and out into the cauldron.
What a place.
Took a swim. Stood under the water fall. Sat on the rocks and look at the sky. And after 5 minutes realised that we were sat next to these sleepy babies.
The big one snorted like a pig and blew snot out his nose so it was time to leave them to their peace.
We paddled hard out of the cave and had a touch and go moment when the sea sucked away from the rocks almost to the sea bed, and I thought we were going to Davey Jones' place, but we floated on and rode the waves back into the beach.
Meni made us sweet Israeli coffee on a burner back at the car.
The immortal shield returned and the stories of danger and fear flowed with the coffee.
I took the running workshops at the Do lectures over the weekend. I went to the lectures feeling the weight of responsibility to please all the runners. And a little worried about my billing as fastest man in Cardigan.
Asking the 12 runners if they ran regularly and how far everyone ran 5 miles nearly every day. Much more than me.
One was a triathlete, one ran 56km at the weekend and the last person I asked said he was an ultra marathon runner. So I explained that due to the Welsh national champion and a coastal path running record holder living in Cardigan I was officially downgrading my status to at least 3rd fastest man in Cardigan.
After making my excuses we left and hacked round the fforest loop along the trail to the Teifi river, to the 70 step warm up climb to the 100 step wheeze to the top of the valley, through the pine forest, back to the lectures then out again to the boardwalk round the wildlife park and then raced back at race pace in time for fresh bread cooked on the fire by Tom Herbert.
This run is our back yard. It's our lunch break run. Our run of the mill run. But of all the runs you can do on this earth, if you run it you will see it's magic. It's not just the beauty of the place but the beauty of the actual trail you run on. It makes you think of every step you place.
And everyone over the weekend saw it.
We did it again on the Saturday night but this time we swam in the river mid run. The cold was like jumping through glass and then your body being crushed, but we had over 20 people in the river at one time. Pictures later!
The last day we took a boiled down group of 4 to run the Preseli hills after hearing Brian John's talk on the place. It was a wild night in true Preseli style. Wind, low cloud, bog and lots and lots of water.
If you are in the area, and you have your shoes, I'll take you out to feel the magic.
He was upbeat, slim, brown and looked very healthy. I dropped him Cardigan for lunch before we rode over to the Do Lectures.
Nice to have him back safe and sound and full of stories which we can catch up on over a beer.
I read about the knife that he designed and then had made by Alan Wood, so I phoned to buy one. There was a three year wait.
I gave my howies e-mail address and could have sworn they had not written it down and I would never hear from them.
Nearly 7 years to the day I got an e-mail from Woodlore saying, "we got it, you want it"?
Yesterday I just took delivery of this beautiful tool. The quality of the materials and finish means I shall be passing it on to my kids and them to their kids.
If you order one today you will have to wait till at least 2020 for one!
As part of his first week we took him on our canoe to work down the Teifi. We got him to meet Scott get to the boats which was pairing the man who doesn't know how to get there with the bloke who is most likely to over sleep.
We were on the water just after 7am.
Our motley crew was Robin the warehouse manager and ruben our web geek in one canoe, Kim in operations on her sit on, David who lands the good stuff in a kayak, Mel who designs our clothes in her kayak, Peter and me in another canoe and Scott our Cardigan store manager in his own canoe.
As we came into Cardigan there were birds by the howies store making a racket in a riverside bush that turned out to be a pair of quarrelling kingfishers.
And a warm welcome to the howies family to Peter.