Sunday 15th June 2014

Workout Soundtrack: Slam Radio Podcast – ‘Forward Strategy Group – #87’ & Sven Vath – ‘Cocoon Classics’

13.18km 1:12:05 (Forest Five, session 14)

*This post was written on June 16th*

Today my run started from 162m and went right down to sea level and then back up again – most of the gain is over the final 3.2km so it was a pretty tough effort. A great run: beautiful scenery, sunshine and hard work! When I say sea level I mean it too – I went right down to where the waves were rolling in and ran along for about 300m at the end of my dune run.

Heading out for the downhill section of my run.

Heading out for the downhill section of my run.

The composition of the run consisted of 2.5km of gravel and hard packed dirt trail (and a tiny bit of tarmac), from there it was straight on to the beach for around 4km and then up onto the dunes of Woolacombe. The dunes have a soft sandy bridleway running from end to end and runs to about 3.5km, from here it was back onto a few hundred metres of tarmac and onto the beach again – as I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I went straight down to the water’s edge and ran along dodging between surfers and sunbathers as I went!

The dunes were a real test for me, the soft sand proved difficult to run on any quicker than 5:30 pace, whereas the hard packed sand of the beach allowed me to run between 4:10 and 4:50. I was the only person in the dunes until I got near the end of the bridleway and came across a few hikers and the loneliness and beauty of the scenery was awe inspiring but at the same time very different from what I’m used to. Predominantly I’m a road runner so I see lots of people on my runs and when I’m out on my local trails I always see people walking their dogs or hiking at quite regular intervals. The minute I climbed up into the dunes it was just me, the sun, the sand, the sky and the wind! I felt a real sense of achievement when I reached the trailhead out of the dunes and onto a small stretch of road leading to the beach – I thought my legs would be feeling the effort and I’d have difficulty getting them to respond to a request for picking up the pace but I was happily surprised to find I felt absolutely fine.

In my mind I knew I would be heading back up from whence I came and I had to steel myself for what I knew would be a very challenging and steep ascent after Gabrielle and I walked the route yesterday! The climb begins quite gently which is a comfort to legs that have been ploughing through various types of sand but then, all of a sudden, you’re greeted with inclines that certainly require a power hike – it’s the first time I’ve had to lean into a hill with hands on thighs, pushing hard to keep up the pace to something nearing respectable! I ran what I could but it was a certainly a lesson in the importance of mastering a good uphill run/power hike technique and I’m really looking forward to hitting Stanmore Hill for repeats a few times a month from now onwards as it’s about a 3 or 4km run from my house! By the time I finished the run I was feeling exhilarated but extremely hot and I thought, briefly, that I might throw up but instead I just took on lots of water and was soon feeling right as rain when Gabs informed me she had made Anzac biscuits for my return – awesome!

Feeling a bit warm and 'peaky' after my uphill effort!

Feeling a bit warm and ‘peaky’ after my uphill effort!

With that dear reader, I’m off to read the surf reports for tomorrow morning because that’s the plan before we head back to the south east corner of this island of ours! I hope the weekend has treated you all well 🙂

Peace & Blessings

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