I’ve been periodically been posting to Beer Runner for a few years but recently I thought I should start recording my running shenanigans throughout the week as I’m often encountering interesting things on runs so I figured I may as well share them, so here’s the first Weekly Roundup.
Tuesday: Moist Street Ticking
First run of the week and at first wasn’t sure what the plan would be. With the tired legs I didn’t want to commit to a longer run so opted to just head out and see what happens. There were a handful of streets in the centre of Cardiff that needed ticking off on CityStrides so opted to visit those.
Storm Christoph was rolling in so it was a very damp run but managed to tick off all the streets I was aiming for one of which was Queen Anne Square which is a private square of 1930s and 1950s detached houses just off North Road. The square’s layout was personally supervised by the Marquess of Bute and designed by the architect Howard Williams.
As usual when ticking off streets there’s the temptation to run a little bit further to tick off a street and then when there tick off some others nearby so in total ran 10k which I was happy with.
Thursday: Hailstones Sting!
I usually run on a Tuesday to Thursday but due to the leg issues I rested on the Wednesday and was unsure about running on the Thursday but was feeling ok so gave it a go. After two days of some pretty soggy weather the rain was receding so even though I was prepared for a soaking there was a chance I would stay dry.
I decided to tick off a few more Cardiff streets and selected uncharted territory in Caerau. I’ve run in the area before (Trelai Park during two Ghost Runs) but the two dozen streets I ticked off were new to me.
Coming to the end of the run it was still dark and one part of the sky appeared to be even darker than the rest. I soon found out why! Storm Christoph hadn’t completely gone and dumped a huge amount of hailstones just as my run was finishing soaking me. As I had ridden to the area on a NextBike I needed to cycle 3km along flooded roads. I couldn’t have been any wetter by the time I got back!
New Kit: Waterproof Jacket
I’ve been wanting a new jacket for some time partly because I fancy a change to the existing jacket (an Inov8 Ultrashell) but also because the inside coating of that jacket is starting to peel away. After getting the socking on the Thursday run I decided to take the plunge and buy one.
Up to this point I’d already done quite a bit of research so had my eye on a few different jackets. I was looking for an all round jacket that I could wear on both short runs as well as longer runs and be adequate for mandatory race kit on ultras.
Inov8 Ultrashell Pro Full Zip Jacket – SS21
A jacket that I had been fancying for some time was the pro version of the current jacket that I’ve been wearing. I sweat a LOT when running so the big attraction of this version of the jacket was the increased breathability rating of 40,000 B-1 compared to the 20,000 B-1 that I’ve been wearing. The jacket isn’t cheap at £224.99 on SportsShoes.com but I could get that down to just over £200 with SportsShoes.com discount. Unfortunately by the time I was ready to buy the jacket it was only available in XL.
Gore R7 Gore-Tex Shakedry Trail Hooded Running Jacket – SS21
The next jacket I looked at was the Gore R7 which was another not-so-cheap jacket at £259.99 on SportsShoes.com (£234 with discount) but like the Inov8 Ultrashell Pro boasted superior breathability plus Shakedry technology which allows for quick drying. I was very tempted by this jacket but due to the slim fit of it I wasn’t confident on which size to buy so decided against it.
Salomon S/Lab Motionfit 360 Gore-Tex Running Jacket – SS21
The Salomon jacket was the most expensive one I looked at £299.99 on SportsShoes.com (£270 with discount) but the reviews were good and it did have one nifty feature that other jackets didn’t and that was the ability for the easily take off the jacket without actually taking it off. The bottom of the jacket was worn like a belt so if you were on a run with changeable weather rather than stopping to remove the jacket you could unzip it and stow it away in the belt and then easily zip it back up when required. The jacket was also designed to be worn on top of a hydration vest which also allows aids in easily being able to take it off/put it on. As much as I like gimmicks, it was hard to justify spending that much.
Inov8 Stormshell Full Zip Running Jacket – SS21
The fourth jacket I looked at was the Inov8 Stormshell which was more ‘reasonable’ at £179.99 on SportsShoes.com (£162 with discount) and had good reviews. It’s a bit heavier than what I’m used to but still light at 175g and can easily be packed away. It has a breathability rating of 20,000 B-1 and a waterproof rating of 20,000 HH. It’s not as breathable as some of the others but has a popper at the top of the zip to allow you to unzip the jacket whilst the top in place which should help improve the breathability.
We Have a Winner
With the jacket ticking many of my requirements (fully waterproof, lightweight, decent breathability rating, suitable for mandatory race kits) at a price that was more reasonable than the others I opted to buy it.
Saturday: Long Run
I wasn’t sure how today’s run was going to go. I wanted a long run but wasn’t sure what I would be capable of so opted for a city run knowing that if I had enough I could just jump on a NextBike. Last Saturday I ran a 17 mile route and but probably ran a bit too quickly so intentionally slowed down a bit on this run.
Distance-wise I was hoping for 20 miles and around 14 miles in I made sure I started eating some of the food I took with me so that I could keep going. When I hit Roath at 15 miles I resisted the urge not to tick off some streets and did a few miles in the area completing streets as well as a few nearby ones that I missed. Things were feeling good so at this point I figured if I was going to get to 20 miles I may as well get to 26 miles.
Quite often on a long run I end up neglecting refuelling so for this run in addition to a few gels and fluid I ensured I took on some real food so tested out some new products. I’ve been impressed with the Spring gels which can pack up to 250 calories in a 50g gel and are made from real food and the Wolf Pack packed in 300 calories and could quickly be consumed in a few mouthfuls. For ultra distance runs I’d be tempted to pack a few of these into my pack.
I felt pretty good for most of the run although the last third I was feeling a bit nauseous which I’m putting down to losing too much salt which by the end of the run was clearly visible on my clothes. I took six Salt Stick tablets on the run but I clearly need to be taking more and considering other ways to replenish the salt loss.
Sunday: Snow Run
It’s not that often that we get a covering of snow in Newport so when I saw that there was a chance of snow overnight on Saturday I didn’t expect to see a couple of centimetres of the white stuff. The last time it snowed a few years back I headed to Allt-yr-yn Woods not far from the house so decided to start there and then head through Tredegar Park along a route I’d seen but never taken.
After yesterday’s long run the legs were really feeling it and running through snow really doesn’t help. It was a tough slog and was encountering a few issues with my right achilles heel. The section through Allt-yr-yn Woods is scenic but progress is usually slow, particularly with the snow covering the deep mud beneath. After the Allt-yr-yn I passed through High Cross and down to Golden Mile View where I would run through ‘Tredegar Bowl’ beneath the M4 and into Tredegar Park.
Snow is great for transforming places you are familiar with and making you appreciate them in a different way. I love taking photographs on a run and when there’s snow involved progress can be slow due to stopping so frequently, particularly if it’s a place in your home city that you’ve never been to.