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Chasing the tide.

Where  I live, outdoor life is ruled by the tide and when the tide goes out -- as is its daily want -- it goes out a long way.

Only when the tide falls do we get our beach back.

This extra landscape is a wonderful resource. I walk the dogs upon it almost every day, but today was the first time I ran upon it.

I'm not into running as I'm a kickbiker by preference -- but of late the prospect of maybe getting into trail running has sparked my interest in setting the pace. 

I had thought that I'm still carrying too much weight to pound the pavement -- but running on sand -- wet sand -- is really something else altogether.

Coincidentally I got myself a new pair of sandals which -- wonders of wonders -- stay on my feet no matter how much suction there is from water and sand . So I can run with footwear upon my footsies. I could run barefoot but the shells here are brutally sharp and will gather in hollows in midden numbers.  Its' like negotiating razor blades. Even today I could feel their sharp edges through my sole.... such that running barefoot would be lacerating.

That and the stingrays in the shallows....!

So now with my new shoes I can leg it and the dogs have to keep up.

I ran in intervals for maybe 3 kilometres. Each burst of speed I ran until I fatigued. I'd then walk to recover and then would jog off again. 

Strangely no one else does it. Of all my time out and about here the only runners I see pound the pavement. Low tide running is not de rigueur. 

But then I'm a low tide aficionado -- the dogs and I. We chase the ebb tide around the clock. High tide means no beach and King Tide means the Pacific Ocean comes ashore. Low tide moves the shoreline boundary another half a kilometre eastward -- towards Latin America.

Kickbike running

Since low tidal sand flats are such a great surface to run upon it is easy to monitor your technique. 

I wrote earlier about kickbike walking. Since that meditation I've been considering the ways and means I deploy to move myself forward. And it is remarkable how much better I walk when in 'kickbike mode' than if I let myself default to bad habits. 

I'm straighter. My head and shoulders are several inches back. My eyes are cast upwards more.  My chin is horizontal. My footprints in the sand tell a tale of efficiency and ... grace. The weight of my tread doesn't fall on the heel.

And when I run I get the same properties working for me. It's as though I'm barefoot because the sands don't lie. 

Running on sand -- wet sand which is a firmer surface than dry --  with the sea to one side and mangroves to the other -- is my  version of running a trail. Of course there are no pathways. I navigate my route by choosing which shallow pools  I am going to run through and which exposed shoals I am going to mount.

For now I'm thinking: stingrays -- so I need to make sure that the water depth is too shallow  for them as the water here can be turbid -- and there is nothing so exciting as having a big Estuary Stingray a metre across rise  up in a whirl of sand and silt at your feet.

Always, always: let them know you're coming.


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