Thursday, 25 July 2013

Spainish Holiday and a return to Training

On the 3rd of July my family (wife, three girls aged 9, 11 and 14) and I all headed out to La Safor region in Spain for a two week holiday.  We stayed at my parents new house that they had bought this Spring, the house is nestled in small, traditional Spanish village of Alfuir (pronounced Al-four-wee) in the hills about 10 miles in from the coast.

The evening we arrived we went for a small walk below the local forested hill that has a ruin of small castle on top, as soon as I saw it I knew that I would have to run up to it the next morning, it just called out to me, overriding any notion of keeping up my rest period.  Since doing the Lochalsh Dirty 30 back at the start of June I had not run, instead resting my injured left foot that I've struggled with Metatasalgia (forefoot pain) since mid March.  The rest had marginally reduced the discomfort, but nearly four weeks of no running just hadn't fixed it.   I couldn't keep the rest up, I had the Devil O'Highlands 42 mile ultra to prepare for and only a month of training to cramp in before it, and oooh the hills and trails just begged to be explored.

The first morning I awoke at sunrise before the family awoke and headed out while the air was still a "cool", cool being 22 degrees, 10 degrees cooler than afternoon temperatures.   I was right away reward with a great view from the terrace on the roof, with a view of first part of the hill I'd be running up to right.
7am and sunrise from roof-top terrace in Alfuir
This first run in Spain was also my first run in my new F-Lite 232's, their colours with forever remind me of the sunrises and sunsets of Spain. Zero drop, super flexible, wide enough for my hobbit feet, and very light (6oz on my scales for UK size 6.5) but also just enough cushioning to take the string out of rocks underfoot, but still minimal enough to ensure that feel the ground underneath you so you have to pay attention to foot placement and form.  Shoes' to play in and enjoy.

F-Lite 232 in glorious sunrise colours, lit by the sunrise

The climb to the top was 800ft over 1 mile of technical trails weaving along the old moors terraces and through the trees.  Not far, nor particular high but provide a great vantage point looking back to Alfuir now just popping out from shade of the hill.

View from summit down to Alfuir in the foreground and Rotova in the foothills on the opposite side of the Valley

 The hill provides great 360 panoramic views, below I captured the view from the south, through to west and further inland and to the north. The largest mountain on the left side is La Safor a 3,000ft+ mountain that gives the region it's name.  Later in the holiday I was to run all the mountains in this view except for La Safor - this unfinished business will have to wait till me next holiday to Spain.

View looking south (left), west (middle) through to north (right) 

I descended the hill missing a path turning and ended up in the left side of hill amongst the orange groves that dominate the valley bottoms in this region. Once out of the woodland and on the country lanes in the valley I felt the heat first time and it wasn't even 8 am yet.

This first short run took just 30 minutes but gave a great taster of what treats I had in store.  My foot held up well and was only a little sorer after the run than before, pretty encouraging given just how minimal the F-Lite's are and how stony and unforgiving the trails was.  I was one very happy bunny to back running and to have new playground to explore.

I have plenty more photo's of the different routes I explored on my holiday, it's great looking back over these now that I'm home, there are too many to fit in just one post so I'll post over the next few days.

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