I went upto Aberystwyth this week to see Joe from Summit Cycles about the Dyfi Enduro. I was chatting to Jim about doing a lunchbreak run on the way home and he suggested the coastal path to Borth and a nice 8 miler. There and back.
It was real tough. Thigh bursting up's. Ankle busting downs. Slippy mud.
The path was void of people and once through the first few up's and downs the legs warmed and the pain dulled down.
I ran all the way upto the cliff top memorial then turned into forward motion stopping wind. 4 miles out, thirsty and at the bottom of a killer climb with a force 6 in my face.
Peanut Clif bar. The sun shone. The trail turned down. The carbs filtered in quickly and the legs retuned.
I broke for home.
The water in the car tasted just perfect.
My alarm went off at 7am. Not that early to some, maybe, but I just roll over and hit the off button. Back to dreaming.
I knew this would happen. I knew it last night when I set the alarm. So a minute later, another alarm.
At this point, I'm split in two. I want to run, but I want to sleep.
'Just 20 minutes more' says Hyde.
'Anyone can sleep' mocks Jekyll.
Jekyll wins this one and before Hyde knows it, I'm up. Shoes on, headphones in and running.
It's colder than I was expecting. I'm not dressed for sub zero. Beautiful morning, though.
'10 minutes and you'll get warmer' Jekyll tells me.
'Go back, this is madness' Hyde complains.
I run to the iPod on shuffle. It's serving up Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes. This works.
It's too cold to run slow, so I run fast. 10 minutes later I'm warm.
My lap takes me past 2 short-cut turnings, and as I pass the first I suffer another personality split.
'Why not take the short route?'
'Anyone can take the short route'
Jekyll wins again and I run on, warming up every minute.
Reaching the top of a hill and looking out to see the ocean spanning more than 180 degrees of the morning horizon, Hyde finally gives up and leaves me on my own.
By the 10k mark I feel like I could run all day, and that seems like a good place to stop.
Here's to Jekyll and many more morning runs in 2011.
I didn't expect many people to respond when I posted the call to arms for Strathpuffer last night, but I came in to an inbox full of messages from people wanting to join the team.
I'm amazed by the number of people who are crazy enough to put their name down for this. Thanks to you all!
We'll be tackling the task of picking someone from the list tonight. It's going to be hard work, as everyone seems great.
We'll be in touch soon - and don't worry, if you don't get to come along this time we will be planning more rides/events later in the year. (If this one goes well!)
P.S. Ade already got in with a blog about the coastal run we did yesterday, but here's my video of it.
We decided on a change of scenery for lunch today. The trail round Fforest is getting worn down, and the river is in raging flood. So we headed just out of Cardigan to Moyelgrove to run the Pembrokeshire coastal path towards Newport. The path was not too bad considering the battering we took last night but the change of terrain was a shocker.
The coastal path climbs and falls to every beach, every stream and every valley. It really climbs and falls. If you follow the path in the picture you will see Ruben on the start of the hardest climb of the run. After the steps there is a small rock face then a mud chute. I had to walk the last 100 feet as my lungs were too small to feed the oxygen required by my legs at that point in time.
Would love to have run on and on till dark.
Just a quick 10 km.
The music was set to shuffle and I got up enough speed to get into that red mist zone.
8km in, hot, looking down at the trail covered in autumns finest colours, sucking in air and listening to massive attacks karmacoma I fell into that running trance. No thoughts, unfocused vision on full auto pilot. Somewhere I rarely get to on the bike.
Then the calendar bleeped bringing me back to the 3pm meeting I should be at, it was 2.51pm and I was just just over 1.5km from work.
I arrived having bought banana chips 1 minute late cover in sweat, soaked to the skin looking fully flushed.
No one commented.
After work tonight, I went to run the long way home with Scott who manages our Cardigan shop.
As the clocks have gone back and we were setting off in the dark, I asked him if he had a light. "We don't need light" he assured me, and so we set off to run it blind. (Although I had a torch at the ready just in case).
A quick dash through town to warm up before turning onto the towpath and plunging into the darkness of the wildlife park. Then we ran 5km out along the old railway track into Cilgerran, where I left Scott before taking the off-road route the final 6km home.
The darkness gave the run a new dimension for me - once my eyes had adjusted and I'd found a speed I was comfortable with, I quickly I zoned out and entered my own little world. With no visual reference points, and the wind blocking all the sounds but my footfalls, it was like running in a sensory deprivation chamber. One of the most interesting runs of the year for me.
If you have a trail you know well enough to try this, give it a go.
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.