Monday, 27 February 2012

No Burger King and a smashing beach!

Committing to a fundraising challenge means that even when I go away on holiday I have to schedule in some runs.

This weekend I went away on a mini break to South Wales, Vale of Glamorgan. I really like going away in the UK as you always know you will find beautiful landscapes and great food.

On the drive down we made a stop at the services just before crossing the old Severn Bridge.
No I didn't grab a coffee, I didn't even scoff down a Burger King. But I did change into suitable running attire. Alongside the old Severn Bridge and the Wye Bridge runs Cycle Route 4. This route also has a footpath, taking you from England into Wales.

Above the tolls on the Old Severn Bridge (M48)
I felt incredibly small running on the bridge. I have no idea why, as structurally it doesn't make sense, but I thought bridges were fairly flat. I had the wrong image in my head. Our first section was pretty steep and against a really forceful side wind. With my eyes watering I couldn't really enjoy much of the view of the new Severn Bridge (M4) across the way. I did make a brief stop halfway across the bridge for a photo opportunity.....
Half way across, view of the new Severn Bridge (M4)
On reaching the other side we included a brief loop around a housing estate just outside the town of Chepstow, Wales. We then joined the footpath on the other side of the bridge and made our way back to England. Again a long section was uphill. It was on this return section we got a beep and a yell from a passing lorry driver...they must just have a real need to do to people about 20 times a day and I had fallen victim.
On finishing my little adventure across the bridge I saw I had run 9.36km, and it's not everyday that you get to run those km's across a big bridge. I was very glad I did it.

Now from bridges to beaches. When I think of beach territory in the UK my mind automatically goes to the South - Cornwall, Devon or Dorset. However this weekend I found a beach that beats anything you can find in these areas. Rhossili Bay on the Gower in Wales. The surfers were out in numbers on the huge waves, there were miles of pure white sand being lapped by clean and clear water.

I have always wanted to run on a beach and this weekend I was lucky to be able to do it on such an amazing one. The lesson I have learnt is that running on sand is a bit like running in custard. It's pretty tough going BUT the scenery and the weather were worth it. In total I ran 7.40km. Around 4km of that was on the beach itself, the other km's consisted of running to the point of Worm's Head just above the bay.
Worm's Head
The route back back down to the beach followed some very long and steep steps. Once I got down onto the beach I realised how warm I was. So for the first time this year my layers came down to my vest top.
Rhossili Bay, Gower, Wales
Within a matter of weeks I have gone from running in the freezing cold through snow and ice to running on a beach in mild and sunny weather. And that is why the UK is such an amazing place to live and of course to run in.


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