Weekend 12: 11th & 12th June 2016

As a precursor to this blog, I recall being advised prior to the “run challenge” that I should “expect the unexpected”. This weekend certainly exemplified that statement, even though it is not always possible to expect the unexpected!! The weekend itself was also a paradox, which I explain later.

Saturday 11th June 2016: Pentraeth to Cemmaes (26 miles)

PAt start at Pentraethart of the wider challenge of the #MoonShadowWales challenge http://www.moonshadow.wales is the logistics of travel and accommodation. Certainly recent and forthcoming weekends will require us (Jackie {team Clio} and I {me the runner}) to travel several times from Cardiff to North Wales. Whilst we do pass through beautiful landscapes, it is nevertheless tiring (circa 5 – 6 hours depending on traffic). This combined with a “soft bed” on Friday night (I return to this latter point later) meant that on Saturday morning I was out of sorts.

My mood was not good, manifested by my intolerant and impatient remarks as Jackie was driving to the start point. Having spoken to Alex Jungmayr previously http://www.plasywern.co.uk/video/ , our mentor on this challenge, Jackie has come to understand that this is not my normal behaviour, it’s the nature of the challenge, the pressure, the foreboding……..because I know what’s coming!! I’m in my zone early mornings (I have to be) and only when I start running do I accept immediately that I’m beginning to eat away at the day’s marathon distance.

Pentraeth

Leaving Red Wharf Bay led to Benllech along Benlllech Sands. Prior to this point, I felt my left calve muscle go! It had been tweaked last weekend and gave way on Saturday morning. You can imagine what was going through my head. I paused for a moment, did some serious stretching and decided to “run through” the pain and the injury.

Arrival in CemmaesI texted Jackie who agreed to meet me at Moelfre with some “DeepHeat” spray and “roll-on”. Psychologically, this may have helped, as well as the fact that “DeepHeat” increases blood circulation to the damaged area. From here, I ran forward along the coastal path to Traeth Lligwy and Traeth Dulas. The latter inlet was impressive and because the sea was out (and I was in the mood), I traversed the Bay hugging the coast, passing Porth Bella, observing the silent outcrop of Ynys Dulas before re-joining the coastal footpath just beyond Trwyn Cwmrwg.

At end of marathon 26 - last run in red shoes
I cracked-on, heading workman-like towards Point Lynas, and then along the more rugged coastline towards Amlwch. From here the path edged Bull Bay before once again giving rise to more rugged coastline, especially onward from Porth Wen where the coastal footpath was certainly undulating. I arrived (with relief) in Cemmaes along Traeth Mawr beach.

 

Sunday 12th June 2016: Cemmaes to Holyhead (26 miles)

The alarm rang at 6.15am on Sunday morning (as per usual, 7 days per week since the Easter Bank Holiday weekend). The “soft-bed” I referred to at the very beginning of this weekend blog, maybe combined with the calve injury (affecting the disposition of my body), gave rise to my back being out of kilter on Sunday morning. As Jackie observed, I started running from Cemmaes with a very stiff gait. Some could say that I should not have started running, however, as was said by an ignominious sportsman “pain is temporary quitting is forever”.

Stretching calve muscles - day 2 of weekend 12

I ran out to Wylfa Head and then circumvented the Power Station before running on to Cemlyn Bay. I ran along the shale / pebbled beach that had been created, passing by the #Cemlyn Terns (@NTWelshCoast tweeted that 20% of Sandwich terns nest there). There was a cacophony of noise as I ran by. Running onwards, I knew that this would be relatively remote running today (compared with yesterday). And, before I forget, it was meant to rain yesterday (but was dry) but had been running non-stop today since I started (when it was meant to be dry). ‘‘Expect the unexpected’’!!!! For all that, I was enjoying the run, especially as I appeared to have overcome my “pulled calve muscle” problem and “stiff back”.

There is something about serendipity. I had run all morning and decided to call into the Wavecrest cafe at Church Bay https://www.facebook.com/Wavecrest-Cafe-319529728112875/?_fb_noscript=1 for a coffee (as is my wont). As I have explained in previous blogs, this gives me the chance to fuel-up, whilst mentioning the #MoonShadowWales challenge http://www.moonshadow.wales The cafe very kindly donated £10. My wife Jackie had arrived at the cafe by absolute pure chance and so we had a serendipitous meeting over coffee! Jackie was talking to a couple who expressed an interest in what I was doing. It transpired that they knew someone who had passed away as a result of MND http://www.mndassociation.org in his early 50s. They made a generous donation of £40. This was a “powerful stop” in many senses of the word because when I left I really motored on, uplifted by the support of the people in the cafe and their stories. The sea was out for this part of the run and so, yes, where I could I did full-on coastal trail running. It was fantastic and liberating. As I came round Cregiau Cliperau I was able to look across the water to Holyhead. In other words, I could see exactly where I was headed and that was a great spur. I enjoyed the sands at Traeth y Gribin and was able to cross the estuary prior to Y Fali. Running along the coast, the coastal path connected with the bridge (over the Stanley Embankment) leading me into Penrhos Nature Reserve, passing the “private beach” (as quoted by @AngleseyScMedia) before crossing playing fields leading me to Penrhos Beach, around Morawelon and into the town centre passed the station. Crossing the road bridge, and passing St Cybi’s Church, I ran to Marine Square where marathon 27 came to an end.

end of marathon 27 - joined Jackie in grounds of St Cybi s Church

This was an eventful weekend to say the least – but what of the paradox!! Well, despite the injury challenges, these two marathons were the most enjoyable so far!! Perhaps reflecting the intimacy, beauty, remoteness and friendliness of the place.

Also, for the athletic “geeks” amongst you, I ran my last marathon in my “red shoes” on Saturday – yes, my red Salomons – they’ve been on a journey from the start in Poppit Sands, Cardigan but it is now time to put them to one side because of wear-and-tear.

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