Busy Days are the Best Days

Sunday was a nice busy day for us – just for a change!

As usual it started fairly early for me at around 6am when I got up, checked e-mails etc. and had some breakfast before heading off to Machynlleth in Anna’s Fiat 500 hire car for a run. My planned session was a fairly easy one for a Sunday morning, just a 45 minute run with 3x  6 mins harder efforts. I decided on a loop that I hadn’t run before, thought that twice around would be  about right and headed off.

It was a fairly easy loop. Out from Machynlleth to Penegoes, then up over the hill through Penrhosmawr Farm, into Forge and then through the golf course back to Mach. It wasn’t long before the 6 minute intervals were upon me and I’d set my Garmin Forerunner 910XT to beep at the beginning and end of each interval so that I knew when to start and stopp them. I also had it beeping at me during the interval to warn me if I strayed from my goal pace of 6:10-6:30 minutes per mile. Needless to say on the climbs it was ‘telling’ me to speed up and on the descents it was telling me to slow down. The first interval was a bit of a struggle as it started with the climb through Penrhosmawr but by the second interval I’d settled into it and managed to hold the pace where I wanted it.

The second loop went well and I was soon back in Mach with my run done and dusted. It was interesting to see that my time up over the Penrhosmawr climb was identical on both laps, despite the fact that first time around it was towards the beginning of one of my 6 minute harder intervals, whereas 2nd time around an interval finished halfway up so I eased off up over the top. Had I kept going for just a few more seconds up over the top 2nd time round I would have got the course record on Strava! Never mind, it’ll be there waiting for me next time and will give me something to aim for next time I’m running that loop.

Back at Machynlleth and it was time for a swim. For some reason though the pool water was ridiculously hot at 34°C. Now, I know I have to start some hot weather accilimatisation ready for my race in Turkey later in the year but this was silly, it was like swimming in a hot tub! Besides, in turkey the air temperature will be pretty high but the sea temperature is likely to be less than that of a usual swimming pool. The heat was energy sapping but I started my workout anyway and kept going as planned.

  • First with a 200m warm up
  • Then 500m of drills
  • Then a main set of 12x 200m Pull
  • All followed by a cool down – although cooling down in that water just wasn’t possible.

Apparently I looked as though I’d been on a sun-bed for hours when I emerged and I could see the cafe staff laughing at me as I did! I was quite pleased with myself for having completed the planned session though and after a 7 mile run and 3.5km of hot-water swimming I had well and truly earned the bacon sandwich and coffee that I had in the cafe.

I then headed home, had another coffee and some cake with Anna – The date cake that I had cooked the night before got the seal of approval from Anna so I was going to have to share it with her as well as Morgan now!

Morgan and I then headed out geocaching. Two new geocaches had been hidden in the hills behind Taliesin, just 3.5 miles from our house so we wanted to find them and had a chance of getting ‘FTF’s (first to find) on them as well. We also wanted to hide a cache that we had been planning for a while. It was pretty cold despite being nearly May so we wrapped up warm with jumpers, coats, hats and gloves and drive into Taliesin and began a walk along the networks of steep paths that criss-cross the hill. I hadn’t really been up here from this direction before and was surprised by the number of paths that were here. The hill itself is pretty steep and we tried to take the most direct route as rain looked imminent. There was quite some climbing involved but we were soon at the top and searching for the first cache near to the spoil heaps and dilapidated buildings of an old mine.

The views out over Borth Bog to Ynyslas and the Dovey Estuary are pretty impressive from here though and despite the grey, cold weather we could see well and even managed to pick out our house. We soon found the cache and were pleased to see that the log book was empty and we were therefore the first people to find it.

The next geocache was just a little further up the hill but we had to wait a while for a group of ramblers to move on before we retrieved it. Once again we were the ‘first to find’. We then headed back down the hill, chatting as we went and headed to Llancynfelyn where we wanted to hide another cache near to the Llancynfelyn Chimney. We’ve been meaning to check out this landmark for ages and weren’t disappointed when we got to it. It’s an 18m high chimney, the only visible remnants of a mine here and once upon it we were able to crawl inside and look up through it to the skies above. Morgan found this quite exciting and we got a little carried away decided to hide our cache right inside the chimney.

After finding a suitable spot and taking co-ordinates we headed into Borth for some supplies and then headed home. We logged our geocache finds online but then had second thoughts about the hide inside the chimney as it is on private, not public land so we thought we’d better not. I might try to contact the landowner for permission to place the cache though as it was good fun crawling into the chimney so it would be good to get other people doing it too!

Morgan and I then warmed up a little before heading off to the greenhouse to do some planting. We arranged the grow-bags and planted tomatoes and cucumbers in them and then potted up some thyme, peppers, chillies and beans too. It was actually quite nice in there with the rain pouring down and the wind blowing outside. It wasn’t warm and it wasn’t completely dry as every now and then a drip would leak through the roof and drip down our necks, but it was much nicer than it was outside and we had fun gardening despite the weather whilst chatting about all sorts of things.

The photos below were taken on Monday when the sun had come out, and there’s one of the spinach growing in our raised bed as well which seems to be doing well at the moment.

The greenhouse is looking good, we just have to remember that it isn’t ours. However, I’m sure Dave and Sarah won’t mind, especially if we manage to get lots of veg from it that we can share with them.

Anna had a nice afternoon of peace as well whilst we were busy geocaching and gardening, it’s the only time she does get any peace with me and Morgan around! So, once back in the house we left her in peace as best we could, played a few games on the computer with the log fire going and then I set to some household chores. Before we knew it dinner time was upon us. At least that was easy as I’d cooked enough oystermouth pie the day before to last us two days so we had that along with lots of roast parsnips, roast carrots and peas, followed by yet more of the delicious date cake.

Anna then informed me that she’d like to take muffins to work on Tuesday so I cleared up whilst Anna put Morgan to bed. She also cleaned out the guinea pigs wound which is causing a bit of concern. Bo (the guinea pig) has had a big lump on her rear end for a while but it causes no pain and seems OK. Apparently guinea pigs often have such lumps and they aren’t usually anything to worry about. A few days ago though Anna noticed that it had a little sore on it so took her to the vets. The vet said it was nothing to worry about either. Then, the next day, quite out of the blue it burst. Out came lots of oily, bur fairly clean ‘gunk’ and she now has a hole that we have started bathing and cleaning twice a day. It still doesn’t seem to bother her too much so we are keeping an eye on it and making sure it doesn’t get infected. Once this was sorted and Morgan was in bed I set to baking again – Not muffins this time though as I wanted to do some chocolate brownies instead.

Phew, time to sit down and chill for a bit before heading off to bed ourselves – after just one more slice of brownie of course!

I do enjoy busy days.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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