As preparation for my first triathlon of the season on Sunday, I thought it would be a good time to go away to Newquay for the bank holiday last weekend and spend most of it eating and drinking! To be fair it is only a sprint tri and I am hoping with the amount of training I have done so far this year it should go ok, but I did feel a bit guilty after the Cornish pasties, cider and ice creams, so decided to go for an early morning run to make up for it.
Despite an extremely painful 6 am alarm, it turned out to be a fantastic plan. Monday morning was the sunniest period of the week, and I managed to time my start at just after sunrise, making sure the views were as stunning as you would expect in this part of the country. It was also reasonably warm, and although I had a long sleeved top I could probably have coped in less, even with a bit of wind chill on the hills.
Those of you who read all my posts (all 3 of you!) might remember I did a similar run last year around Newquay, taking in a few beaches, gardens and even the zoo. But this year I though I would push it a bit more, and take myself from the centre of Newquay, and along the famous south west coastal path to nearby Watergate Bay.
At that time in the morning I had the town almost to myself for the start – a long way from the crowds of holidaymakers and stag parties that roam during the daytime – and after just a few minutes from my hotel I was already by the water’s edge at Tolcarne beach. A fairly gentle downhill from there took me past Lusty Glaze and onto Porth beach, the limit of my run in the previous year, where I managed to recreate some of my Rocky III beach running on the sand!
From there I faced a fairly steep hill, with a couple of k’s climb to the top of the cliffs. past various farmland, wind turbines and the local airport. This was fairly tough going as I am more used to road running, but this was proper trails with various obstacles and traps which seemed to have been put there to add to the challenge, and I am sure my ankles will forgive me in the long run for some of the toll this took on my feet along the way.
The top rewarded me with great views of Newquay and Watergate on either side, with the stunning cliffs and coastline just beneath me. By this point I had been going about 30 mins so was glad to see my halfway mark not too far away, and an equally steep downhill finally took me to Watergate Bay and onto the beach.
Part of the reason we had gone to Cornwall in the first place was that there was supposed to be a surf competition on, although in the end it turned out to be a lot smaller than we expected, but there were a few hardy souls in the water even at that time in the morning, who like me were making the most of having so much open space to themselves.
As you will see from my tracking map, the return route was almost a mirror image of the my out leg, although this time I was a bit more prepared for some of the rocks and holes to dodge on the way back. There were also a few more fellow runners by this time, who had also realised what a great opportunity this was. It was also when I had the low point of my run, where after getting a bit cocky towards the end I tried to vault over a wooden gate, but the soles of my trail shoes had got a bit wet on the grass and slipped on the top, leaving me to cling on upside down with my bare hands. Fortunately I don’t think anyone saw, so I managed to sprint away with only my palms and ego a bit bruised.
In the end the run was exactly 11 km (I did a bit extra at the end to make sure!), and although my time showed 75 minutes, in reality I must have stopped for around 10 of them as I could not prevent myself from taking photos and simply staring out to sea at the beautiful views. All in all a great morning’s work, and I hope it will help get me through Sunday!