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Tour de Newport Training: Week 9

The 9th week of the training block begins and I’m hoping it will be a better one for the legs and the knee. The plan is for 8/6/8 in the week and hopefully enough time to squeeze in a marathon before a trip to the pub with the running club.

Tuesday – 8 Miles

With Monday being a bank holiday I reassured the urge to go for a run and instead walk around some of the unknown areas of the Tour de Newport route and it was a worthwhile exercise with two paths being blocked either intentionally or by mud they didn’t look like it was going to dry out any time soon.

Today’s run was an 8 miler and I chose the usual Somerton route. Monday’s storm had passed over although I experienced the tail end of it with the strong headwinds. The legs didn’t feel too bad and I managed a sub-8:00 /mi run that felt comfortable.

Distance: 8 Miles

Wednesday – 6 Miles (Speed)

I never look forward to an early morning speed session probably because I enjoy the run-at-your-own-pace sessions on Tuesday and Thursday. Often as soon as I’m out I get into it and make a bit of an effort but today was a more half-arsed attempt mainly because I was so distracted by the stunning waning crescent moon which was large and glowing just above the horizon.

“This phase is best viewed an hour or 2 before the sunrise and can be quite beautiful if you’re willing to get up early.”

I couldn’t agree more with that statement and I just couldn’t help stopping mid-session to try and photograph it as it rose in the sky. These things always look better with your own eyes and never translate to a photograph, especially one taken with a phone in low light.

Whilst the session could have been better I got the distance in and did get some speed work completed.

Distance: 6.3 Miles

Thursday – 8 Miles

I always feel a sense of achievement, and relief, when the last early morning run is complete. The evening before was spent eating all-you-can-eat buffalo wings and drinking beer at BrewDog Cardiff (one of the reasons why I get the runs completed in the morning) so I wasn’t sure how the run would go. I still got to bed and woke up at the usual times and didn’t find it difficult getting out there.

The run went really well with almost negative splits throughout at a decent pace. Overall I’ve been with all three runs and I’m feeling good for the long run on Saturday although it looks like it’s going to be a right washout!

Distance: 8 Miles

Saturday – 26 Miles

Heavy rain has been forecast for today since the beginning of the week and usually when it’s forecast in advance and doesn’t change throughout the week, there’s little chance of the forecast being wrong.

Today’s plan was originally going to be to travel somewhere far enough away to be able to get in a 24+ mile run in and then finish at Tiny Rebel Brewery to spend the afternoon with running club friends. I had decided on my route and was determined to run it but the second part of the plan was understandably up in the air. The brewery has an amazing outdoor seating area but bizarrely hasn’t spent any money installing protection from the elements so with just a few seats under cover we couldn’t guarantee a dry seat.

Leaving the house at 6:30am a decision hadn’t yet been made when I was ready to leave in the morning so decided to stick to the plan and travel to Llantwit Major for the start of my run and head for Newport. At mile 20 if there were any brave souls willing to brave the elements I would spur off through the lanes to Rogerstone and the Brewery otherwise I’d keep going towards Newport. There is a mileage difference between the two so if I carry on towards Newport it’ll be up to 28 miles whereas the Brewery would be closer to 26 miles.

The route started at Llantwit Major station and I couldn’t resist taking a detour as soon as I started running so that pay a visit to Frampton Windmill which was built around 1820 and disused by 1846. It was converted into a house in the 1980s but running past it today it’s pretty derelict.

Beyond Llantwit Major I headed towards the A48 which I would join and would take me to Cardiff but along the way I passed Llantrithyd Place — a ruined house dating back to the 16th century and a place that is associated with the Bassetts, the Mansels and the Aubreys.

At this point the Tiny Rebel meet appeared to be on but just a couple of miles later the weather may have put too many people off so my route at this point may have been heading straight to Newport.

I was running through west Cardiff along Cowbridge Road and passing a few interesting historical items I’d never seen before and by the time I’d reached the centre of Cardiff the tables had turned and the Tiny Rebel meet was back on so at St Mellons I took a left instead of heading straight on.

The route throughout Cardiff and onto St Mellons is one I’ve done many times but it’s surprising the types of things you discover along the way when keeping an eye out such as milestones and markers related to Ordnance Survey.

I arrived at Tiny Rebel very soggy but I felt good including the legs which was great considering I’d run 27 miles. The total time was 4h 35m but I did stop for 10 minutes to change my colostomy bag, stopped to talk to a fellow runner and had to stop a couple of times to put on my coat, take off my cost, put on my coat. After a morning of running it was great to catch up with friends from the club for some Tiny Rebel beers.

Distance: 27 Miles

Sunday – 1h 45m

With the weather not looking too great this morning I decided to head east into England in search of the sun and headed to Wickwar. This is an area that I’d been to before but there’s always plenty to explore about a wood there that’s renowned for bluebells I decided to check it out.

The entire wood was full of bluebells and there are plenty of pathways throughout to explore. Near the edge of the wood is Sturt Bridge, an ancient packhorse bridge dating back to either late medieval or 16th/17th century.

The weather was perfect for a run and it was so peaceful running through woodlands, fields and d country lanes.

The run ended a 60 mile week (perhaps my first) and it’s probably been my best week yet feeling good after every run with no issues. Looking forward to week 10 of the training plan and a slightly lower mileage week.

Distance: 10.75 Miles (2h 15m)

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I once didn't run, then I started to run and got addicted. Then Crohn's Disease put a stop to my running adventures. Now I'm back with a new bum (colostomy) and starting to embark on new running adventures.

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