Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Quantocks run and a bad day by the sea!

27th February 2017
Friday [24th] was a rest day after a hard week, so lunch down in Sidmouth was a good way to relax. So Saturday had to be a long run day.

Saturday I was driving over to the Quantocks by 6:30 in the morning and kitted up to run from Lydyeard Hill car park by 7:15.
It was a chilly grey morning and drizzle was cleared by the wipers as I drove across. But t had stopped by the time I had parked up, although there was a very cool breeze!  I went for a short sleeve Helly vest and a long sleeve windproof front Karrimor top. I took my Salomon small rucksack with a litre of water in a bladder instead of bottles. I carried a Montane Pertex windproof as well as an energy bar, jelly babies and Dextrasol tablets.
I set off to try to complete at least 14 miles the furthest I have run since last Octobers half marathon. The ground underfoot wasn’t too bad, except where the horses were collected. I ran through the forest and out onto the slopes of Will Neck the highest point on the Quantocks. The wind was now even cooler here! Down the back end and down to Triscombe stone and along the Drift. I was the only car in the car park when I arrived and I had not seen anyone in the last 5 miles! The sky continued to be grey and threatening, but fortunately no rain. Along the ridge great views both sides,  Crowcombe Park gate it was up to Dead Womans ditch and time for my first snacks of the day. Before heading back to the ridge, at Hurley Beacon , 7 miles covered I now need to ensure I run far enough along the ridge to ensure on return I manage my 14 miles plus! Over Thorncombe Hill and onto Beacon Hill at the end of the ridge, here I saw my first person of the day a horse rider, the summit of the Beacon was very blowy!! And cold so waited until I was below the summit for another snack. 9 miles covered and now I was heading back along the ridge, at Hurley Beacon I turned left towards Dead Womans ditch before turning back again to Crowcombe Park gate again. Back along the ridge I noticed the ball of my right foot was becoming painful, especially when on hard ground, I was getting tired now, so more, energy snacks needed before I ascended Wills Neck again, I was now walking up the hill, and legs were feeling it as well as my foot! Last couple of miles down through the forest and back round Lydyeard Hill, A few more people around now as I had taken over three hours, and my final mileage was 14.8 miles so a few more nearer the nineteen for the Grizzly, but I was very tired and don’t feel I could have run much more, not a lot of height gained just over 1200ft less than half that of the Grizzly.

Sunday was intended to recover from the run as my legs ached and my feet felt battered, the weather forecast was poor, but after lunch I though a spin on the bike would help aching legs so 21 miles around the levels on a very, very windy day making the ride home a good challenge. As I got home the rain came down!!! So a lucky escape.  The ride helped the stiffness in my legs, so a good ride, but hard in the wind.

Monday is normally long run day, but the weather forecast was poor and I had to train a School Crossing Patrol [lolly pop lady] in the afternoon. As it happened the weather wasn’t quite as bad as they said so I sneaked a 6 mile run round the town, it seemed to take me ages to get into the run, and although foot was hurting a little it didn’t seem too bad. And again as I got home down came the rain. I was also lucky with my SCP training as it didn’t rain, helpful for her first day!

Tuesday 28th Weather forecast was good for the morning but wet later, I was scraping the very thick ice from the vans windscreen, as overnight rain had frozen solid. I drove down to Seaton to do my twelve miler as a long run. Parking again on the front there was big surf with waves crashing high up on the shingle, only a few dog walkers about as I set off Westwards once again on my well known route, almost automatic!! This time as the Quantocks I took a small Salomon rucsac with a bladder, I find this time of year carrying a jacket, food, phone etc a bit of a squash in my usual waist pack, particularly on the longer runs. I wore a short sleeve Helly vest with a long sleeve Karrimor top, useful as it has a windproof front. Hat and gloves were needed as it was very chilly in the breeze. I also used my Salomon Speedcross shoes as using my Fellcross on the Quantocks seem to have made my feet ache especially on the balls of my right foot, looking it up it seems I have mild ‘metatarsalgia’ the Speedcross seem to be a little softer on hard ground, the problem is they are tight I think a half size bigger would help, but I am not buying new at the moment! Even though the uppers have a hole in the usual place, where the toes bend.

Anyway back to the plot!!! I walked the first few hundred yards to warm up, determined to try to take it steady this morning. It was a lovely sunny day, but as I ascended the hill out of Beer up to Beer Head things didn’t seem quite right, I was struggling to run and was soon walking, I didn’t seem to have any energy. I ran past the coastguard on Beer Head and as I went down Seaside to Branscombe had my first snack, thinking it might help, even descending seemed hard work today. The path up through Branscombe I was at a slow pace, finding it hard to up the game. I walked up the steep road past the school before The path up through the woods at Hole House, the garlic was now starting to show big green shoots, up over the top and down to the Fountains feeling decidedly tired and lacking energy, I did wonder whether to cut my run short and go back down the road, mind games ensued, and I found myself climbing onto the ridge once again and continuing my usual route, I walked up through the woods, snacking as I went, there was a distinct aroma of garlic now, a wonderful smell, spring is on its way. I was pleased to be on the down to the beach, but not looking forward to the half mile run along the shingle, the tide was quite high and waves crashing over the shingle creating an ear splitting noise. As I ran I had to take care as the tide did keep getting very close, I managed to run about half was before succumbing to walking, the half mile took me a good ten minutes!! It was nice to get off the shingle and away from the noise, but it was up hill all the way up and over the stair way to heaven, I walked a lot, still not shifting the lethargy, have I overtrained??? Have I picked up a bug? If I can’t run 12 miles the 19 for the Grizzly will be very difficult!!! Down into Beer at a slow pace before the final big climb over to Seaton Hole, I walked much of this again, I was pleased to hit the final slope up to Seaton, pleased I had completed the route but worried that my time and pace was way over a normal run. The final half mile along the esplanade was never ending, I was pleased to sit on the step of the van to recover before a change of top to a dry one before driving home.  This was very disappointing today as I have been working hard to get fit to enjoy the Grizzly next week, it was a long hard 12.16miles, I will rest for a couple of days but need one more long run over the Quantocks before the event, perhaps Saturday or Sunday depending whether we go to see the grandchildren, next week is out as I have a busy week with Bikeability on four days, the only day free is Wednesday which is a little close to the event. I am also worried about my foot as it is quite painful on stony ground, I have also had a return of pain in my right calf, I assume this is all because of the increase in miles in the build-up, if I don’t feel right I may have to think about the shorter Cub run on the day!!!

The month of February I ran 139 miles and cycled 235 miles, more than the previous Februarys! I should be very fit, but, don't feel it at the moment.

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