Tag Archives: off road

A new challenge 6 weeks to go

This is the first personal blog post I’ve written since Kona! Probably because I’ve been busy building my business up and I’ve been a bit less focussed on training this year. When I planned my season I didn’t want to repeat the same events that I took part in last year, as I knew I was at peak fitness last year, and thought I may get a bit demoralised by comparing past events. So I have done a few events that were similar, and some completely different stuff! I decided back in the winter to enter an Xterra event. I did one years ago, and enjoyed it, so I planned this one, mostly because it was at the end of the school term time, which meant I would be able to have a summer which didn’t involve me training too much! This is the event that I entered.

When I entered the event I didn’t really look at the profile much. I just thought it looked hard, but would get me out of my comfort zone a bit! So this year I have been able to do a bit more mountain biking and off road running to prepare me for the race, which I love!

I suggested the race to my friend Rachel, who has bravely chosen to join me in a trip to Italy, and I’m also looking forward to a mini break without children!

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Races I have done, are; The Wildflower duathlon, a couple of time trials and a couple of off road running races. This is me finishing the Beast Bach, a local off road event that I have done before. I was suffering at the end, as I was pushing hard to stay in 1st place! My time was pretty close to my PB on the course, so I was pretty happy with that.

We’ve been up to Snowdonia on a few family breaks where I ran, and enjoyed taking the boys on some climbing and scrambling adventures! As it gets closer to the race I’ve been looking at doing a couple more races, and one of these off road runs is definitely on the cards, along with the Cardiff Tri, which I entered a while back.

Its harder to find mountain bike events, as I’m trying to keep things low key and stay fairly local for events, so I’ve only done one off road cycle event in Builth Wells. It was a mud fest, very slippery. As Rachel keeps reminding me, its going to be hard! The bike route takes in over 4000ft of climbing over 30km, (a bit like riding up Snowdon) and the run is pretty undulating! Full course details are here

The countdown is on, and I’m looking forward to posting a race report when I get back.

 

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Pembrokeshire Coast Path final stage

Day 18  Moylegrove to Poppit Sands

5.6 miles. Elevation gain 1227ft.

Strava data

The final stage seemed like a bit of a short run. The plan was, to all go up North (my mum, Patrick, the boys, and myself) and have Sunday lunch afterwards. We arrived at Moylegrove to heavy rain, but it soon cleared, and I checked out the oystercatchers in the bay. The terrain on this section was hard going, as it has been raining practically non stop, the path was very wet and slippery. My pace was the slowest so far on the first 3 miles, (there are also a lot of short but steep up and downs)

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After 3 miles it started to get a bit easier underfoot with some more rock rather than field on the path, and the terrain levelled out to a lovely path where I could see Cardigan bay ahead.

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A flat bit!!

After turning the corner, the path turned to road for the last 15 minutes. As I was running down the hill to Poppit Sands I saw a familiar figure, in a hat, running uphill, it was Carwyn Phillips, who organises The Preseli Beast we stopped for a chat,  and I have just discovered that he has run the path in just over 4 days!!

I arrived at the car park and got a picture of the coast path sign, then met my family, and a friend on the beach who told me that the end was in St Dogmaels (ARGHH!) and sure enough as I returned to the car park to get changed I saw the sign one and a third miles to St Dogmaels. I decided not to run there as everyone was on the beach and I was getting changed. I may do the run the other way round some day, then I can complete the whole path!

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My driver.

It is great to have this path on our doorstep, and I really enjoyed running it. My mum and I had fun driving around Pembrokeshire, and she enjoyed running parts of the path too. I know there are some other people running it at the moment I hope they enjoy it as much as I did.

 

Pembrokeshire Coast Path November

Day 6 Pwllcrochan to Neyland

11.9 miles. Elevation gain 1017ft.

Strava data

I photographed the map for this section as it was through Pembroke, and I was sure I would miss some signs!

I was about to leave Pwllcrochan when a family started walking back to their car, it was a couple that we haven’t seen for about 5 years! We had a chat before I left, running through muddy fields and leafy paths, after about 10 minutes I turned my ankle over, which was pretty painful. I thought I would have to call Patrick and get picked up, but after walking fro a few minutes I lost the feeling of sickness and carried on. When I got to Hundleton I missed the first sign of the path but noticed quickly and got back on track. I missed another in Pembroke, and as I was approaching Asda I had a phone call from Patrick to let me know that they were on the roundabout.

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Meeting at Neyland was easy as there is the cycle track their for the kids to ride on, they had cycled over the bridge and I we went back over together until the coast path dropped off road on the left, and the cycle path went right. We met back at the car for soup, and welsh cakes, then sat in the sun at the cafe.

Day 7 Neyland to Sandy Haven

9.9 miles. Elevation gain 948ft.

Strava data

This was a really interesting part of the run, going past the refinery, wind turbines, and over unusual bridges before arriving back on the wild bit of coast path, I found my mum at Sandy Haven, she had enjoyed running along part of the path while waiting for me!

Day 8 Sandy Haven to West Dale

11.8 miles. Elevation gain 1063ft.

Strava data

The forecast was for 40mph winds and rain, and as we drove through Haverfordwest I was not looking forward to getting out of the car, the rain was lashing down on the windscreen, but as we approached Sandy Haven the sky cleared, and by the end of the run the sky was blue.

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There was lots to see along the way, the estuary, a little fort and lighthouse. I have walked the Dale headland with Patrick before, so remembered those times while running. When I arrived at West Dale the boys had done a mini beach clean and were waiting by the car.

Day 9 West Dale to St Brides bay

8.5 miles. Elevation gain 732ft.

Strava data

I had planned to run all the way to Broad Haven, but was a bit apprehensive as I had mapped it out as being more than 14 miles. As we drove towards Dale I made up my mind to just run to St Brides bay, as the weather wasn’t looking great and I was feeling quite tired, as I started running from West Dale, I was pleased that I wasn’t going all the way to Broad Haven, the wind was really strong and it was tough running. Spotted lots of mushrooms! and it was still very beautiful so I stopped to take a few snaps along the way. Met my mum in the car park at St Brides Bay, where she was pleased to tell me they had a defibrillator!

Day 10 St Brides bay to Newgale

11.5 miles. Elevation gain 1444ft.

Strava data

Weather was wild today,  but it wasn’t raining! The boys were very excited by the wind, and I left them with Patrick, in St Brides car park, climbing up a tree. I stopped to video some dramatic waves and turned around to find a lot of cows watching me, so I took their photo and moved on.

I got my timings wrong again, and found Patrick at the end of Newgale beach, so I had plenty of time to stretch and get dressed before heading to a cafe.

Day 11 Newgale to St Non’s

10.1 miles. Elevation gain 1355ft.

Strava data

The weather forecast was terrible again today, but I decided to go ahead with my run. I thought I was going to stay dry, but no such luck, within 20 minutes I was soaked through and running into strong winds, I enjoyed the run though, and it made me feel alive, really I’m so lucky to be able to do this!

Day 12  St Non’s to Whitesands

7.6 miles. Elevation gain 666ft.

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Urgh, is all I can say. The night before, my mum looked after the boys so we had a rare night to ourselves! We decided to try out the new restaurant in Narberth. We had a glass of wine at the bar and then a bottle with our meal. Afterwards we went to The Eagle for a rum, and we spotted a bargain offer on Prosecco £8.95. I was inspired when I saw the table next to us with a bottle, and I also saw someone drinking a pint of guiness. We ordered the same and mixed our own black velvets 😦

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Anyhow we had a fun time, and running was still enjoyable, the section was beautiful and interesting to see “the bitches” in full flow!

Day 13  Whitesands to Porthgain

9.5 miles. Elevation gain 1306ft.

Strava data

Lovely run today, if a bit windy. Managed to avoid getting soaked and then stopped for a cappuccino at The Sloop in Porthgain with my mum, not a bad way to spend the morning. I’m starting to feel a bit sad now I know I’m on the home straight! Maybe I should run it the other way round!!

Pembrokeshire coast path October

The Pembrokeshire coast path is stunning. I have really enjoyed running along parts of it this year, and I needed something to keep me a bit focussed during the off season. I didn’t want to be under pressure, but felt like I needed a goal, so I decided I would try and run sections of the coast path. I mentioned it to my mum and she offered to drop me off and pick me up along the route. I started to get excited about the idea, and checked out a few maps before I found this useful resource that breaks down the sections into distances. I got my notebook out and started planning!

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Day 1 Amroth to Tenby

7.7miles. Elevation gain 1132ft.

Strava data

We were meeting a friend in Tenby for a meal out, as it was her birthday, so I asked Patrick to drop me off in Amroth then I could run to Tenby and meet them. I took a picture of the starting point with its plaque, and started along the flat section of Amroth seafront. I chose to go South to North as I thought it would be easier to get to the Southern sections for me, and the terrain gets tougher as you get further North, and also prettier so I thought it would be nice to finish at the most dramatic point! The run was lovely, I had run it recently as an out and back in preparation for The Snowman, but its nice to run to a point and not have to retrace your route. There are some steep steps in the section from Saundersfoot but the view makes up for it! I arrived in Tenby quicker than I’d thought and had time for a shower at the leisure centre before enjoying pizza with the kids and my friends.

After dinner!

After dinner!

Day 2 Tenby to Manorbier

7.3miles. Elevation gain 719ft.

Strava data

I was not feeling great today, as my son has been off school with a cold. I woke up in the night a few times with a sore throat and headache but I was keen to run this section today as my mum will be away next week, she drove me to Tenby and then I said I’d meet her in about an hour and a quarter to an hour and a half in Manorbier. The weather was beautiful today and I loved the views again. When I was about a mile from Manorbier I spotted my mum having a chat with a couple who were out walking, they had been looking at some seals. I got the car keys and ran back for my stretch at the car.

Day 3 Manorbier to Broad Haven South

9.3miles. Elevation gain 1312ft.

Strava data

As it was the weekend I was dropped off in Manorbier by my husband, while he took the kids to Broad Haven South where they started walking towards Barafundle. It was a nice day again, but it was starting to get a bit chilly when I got to Broad haven, I spotted the boys and they wanted to run with me for a bit, so we ran up to a gate where Patrick took the boys, and I ran back to the car to get warm, and stretch.

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Day 4 Broad Haven South to Freshwater West

9.4 miles. Elevation gain 367ft.

Strava data

I had to delay the next section, as all of the off road section is closed when Castlemartin range is open for firing. I didn’t really fancy my chances so I waited until the weekend!

The mileage quoted online had been inaccurate so far, and this run was supposed to be 14 miles (it was 9!) Broad Haven South was wet and windy and I was running into the wind the whole way. This is not the most inspiring section as you run along a gravel track for part of the way along the coast and then turn off to run the rest of the route on the road to Fresh West.

I arrived at Fresh West after an hour and a quarter, so had plenty of time to get changed and stretch before the boys found me shivering in the car!

Day 5 Freshwater West to Pwllcrochan

14 miles. Elevation gain 1457ft.

Strava data

A long one today, and very windy, which was fine for the first hour as the wind was behind me, but when I got to Angle the wind blasted into me and it was hard work.

I haven’t run this far for a long time I was feeling it, and wishing that I’d gone with my original shorter route! I could also see where I had to go and it looked a long way, but it was all fine. I found my mum waiting at Pwllcrochan, she had been for a run too and we compared notes! Pwllcrochan was not the best spot to be picked up, as there is nothing much there, but I wanted to get the next section done in a couple of runs, as its though Pembroke, Neyland and Milford.

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Dyfi Enduro 2014, feeling tired.

Dyfi Enduro 2014

The Bank Holiday weekend was our annual trip to the Dyfi Enduro. I didn’t manage to take the camera, as I had enough to worry about, but I got a few snaps. There is a good write up of the event here, and my race report is here, I took it steady and was quite pleased that I was 2nd female in the distance that I did. (I did the shorter loop) Afterwards I also noticed that my neck, shoulders and back were not so stiff as usual, must be due to the strength and conditioning work that I have included in my training this year, its amazing what a few press ups will do. However I’m feeling the effects of staying up late, camping, and off roading, so have adapted my training for the week!

Time and result

Time and result

Comparison between this year and last years data

Comparison between this year and last years data

Back to it

I tried to do a tempo run on Tuesday but my legs were not feeling it, so I eased off and cancelled my swim plan hoping for a better session on Wednesday. My swim on Wednesday was pretty lethargic too!

If you are interested heres the data!

If you are interested heres the data!

My plan is for quality workouts, so I missed my long ride and opted for a shorter turbo session with focussed intervals instead, I spent most of the morning (when I should have been on the turbo) faffing about with the computer.

I decided to do a job that I had been putting off instead and went up to get an old bikes bottom bracket removed at AWP engineering. I watched two men struggle with my seat post for about half an hour, which was quite interesting, then got home to do my turbo, finally. I’m quite looking forward to doing up the bike though, its slowly getting there!

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Work in progress

The Preseli Beast

I’m very excited to have entered The Preseli Beast, well the beast bach anyway, I had a look at this race last year and thought it looked fun, but I haven’t been doing the run mileage to be able to do the long one, and I would also probably set myself up for an injury again! Will be a good run though 🙂