A cool, apres-run Blonde

This fantastic article http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/news/article.asp?UAN=3390  in Runners World says that drinking organic beer after running is a GOOD THING!


Blonde by Hepworths http://www.thebeerstation.co.uk/ is a non-gassy, organic lager beer, which comes in handy 330ml bottles AND is delicious even when it’s warm… the acid test of a great beer!  Having tested it on numerous friends over the years, I can vouch for its unswerving popularity and I heartily recommend it for the job!


Now you have a great reason to keep a case near your running shoes!

Cliff top run

Oh boy!  I really do have a tough time with technology sometimes.  I recently upgraded my various sites to WordPress 2.5, which completely wiped out one of them, which I then had to painstakingly re-create.  This is the first time I’ve tried to post with a photograph and talk about rubbish… it is so not intuitive.  I’ve actually given up!

Cliff and I set out this morning on a day that promised rain, but delivered increasingly warm sunshine.  We hit the hill, making the top in 24 minutes, which, bearing in mind it’s 500 feet of height gain in 2.45 miles, is pretty good going.

We then headed along the ridge, past Firle Beacon (just over 4 miles in 40 minutes) all the way to… well, I actually have no idea as I went off my map again… this time to the right!  Getting to be a bit of a habit these days!

At a certain point we headed South and down into a charming little village called Norton, which quite honestly must be a beautiful place to live.  I’d show you what it looks like, but I’d probably self destruct trying to upload the photos again.

As we dropped down into the village (around 8 miles in 1 hour 15 mins) we stopped running to amble and gawp at the houses… there was no need to do this ‘leg-wise’, yet when we started to run again my legs felt like they had been turned to lead.  Heavy to the point of having to stop to walk every five or ten minutes.  Very strange.

I blamed it on Cliff each time, of course… seeing as how he’s a whole lot older than me an’ all.  Poor old dear, kept needing to walk.  I had to keep him company, of course!

Anyways, eventually we arrived back at Chez Canine, where I gasped and groaned but eventually made it across the threshold and into a chair!  Just over 11 miles in 110 minutes is 6mph, but bearing in mind the terrain and the number of times we walked on the homeward stretch, that’s pretty good going.

Cliff had no Hepworths (I need to write a separate post about the fact that it is now accepted that runners should drink Hepworths Blonde organic beer to recover from a run) in the fridge so we made do with Twinings Earl Grey Tea and Bread Pudding.

PS The weather only improved as the day progressed, which is why I spent the whole afternoon sunning myself in the garden with Kim and Karen.  Wonnerful!

Snoozy tromping

When I started my last company, I would quite often feel tired during the day and developed the knack of having forty winks, sitting upright at my desk with my back to the office.  My staff quickly cottoned on to what I was doing and used to fire elastic bands at my head, but they were either too scared or too poor a shot to ever hit me!  Ten or twenty minutes would usually suffice to take the edge off a heavy-eyelid moment and I could then work on with a clear head.

This ability was very useful when commuting on busy trains as I could quickly escape from the journey and I was even able to zone out when standing up.

Thinking my alarm was about to go off, I leapt out of bed an hour early this morning and have been heavy-lidded ever since.  Even running!

My nose took me out around the south-west of the town this morning, running on gravel paths and largely baked-hard mud.  Despite the surface making for a more efficient run, my tiredness made it harder work and I merely tromped along and kept a steady pace.  At the half hour mark I emerged onto a deserted road and had to walk for five minutes, my heart not being completely in it.

From there, rather than be intrepid, I ran straight back through the middle of town, probably scaring the early morning commuters half to death in my shorts.  Despite inclement weather and a more than slight disinterest in running, it was an interesting run as I was able to look at all the lovely houses along the route.

I got back in 52 minutes, a few minutes before the torrential rain started and whilst normally the rain wouldn’t bother me, this morning I was glad… it would have just about finished me off!  I dozed my way through a couple of pieces of toast and a cup of tea and then measured my progress on the map.  6.1 miles.

It really is amazing how you get used to recording slow times when you run cross-country a lot… and surprising when you get back onto a hard surface.  Even including the very slow five minute walk, I managed an average speed of 7mph.  Take the walk out and I had run at 7.7mph.  And I had only been tromping.

No wonder I had to have a snooze at my desk before I started writing this!

Blisteringly hot new paths


I’m hoping that by sitting in the cool of my office, writing, my energy will return.  For two hours now I have been walking slowly about the house, shallow breath, eating gently, spending a long time in the shower.  The latter because I had too little energy to lift the soap.

It has been a beautiful morning, certainly ever since I rose at 7.30am.  This may have been a trifle early for a sunday but it gave me a chance to sit supping espresso in the garden, reading at my leisure.

I had made a mistake yesterday, twice walking into town in a pair of old boat shoes and creating, then destroying, the blisters that quickly formed on both heels.  I scoured the house for Compeed to no avail, but found some this morning in my depleted first aid kit.  What would we do without Compeed?

I set out with one of my vague notions to visit the Beacon, or at least notgo north off the map again!  My nose went south along Keymer Road, branching off left towards Oldland Mill and I dutifully followed.  I was merrily hoofing along on firm ground when my feet disappeared into a heavily disguised puddle of almost liquid mud and I had to stop to take the picture above.

Once past the mill, I dropped down towards Ditchling but skirted right and across to Keymer.  Here I aimed for Clayton and a very kind dog-walker pointed me in the direction of a boggy wood (with the delightful name of Lag Wood) at the point where I thought I was lost.  This turned out to be quite beautiful, with a stream meandering its way through and though I initially scoffed at the use of the word boggy, I did indeed manage to find a stretch of deeper mud to splosh through.

Somewhere along the way I passed a glorious house with a statue of a traveller sitting by a pond.  Overall quite idyllic.


Once through Clayton, there is a really (really!) steep path to Jack and Jill and I put my legs in low gear and made myself run the whole way…


… and then past and on to the very top of the hill.  I took the next photo because you can just see the bright white Oldland Mill facing the Downs, almost in the middle of the shot.  I thought it might give a sense of how far I had run.  Especially bearing in mind that I was really feeling it by this stage.


From the Beacon, I dropped directly down into Ditchling and back up the lane to Oldland Mill again, where a chap kindly explained the presence of a marquee and assorted paraphernalia.  It’s an open day today, so if you act fast, you might still be able to get there while the food lasts.  And if the wind blows, which seems remotely possible, they will be letting the sails turn.


 The stretch home from there was hard work, but I just kept the legs going, avoiding the odd squishy puddle and then avoiding the cars on Keymer Road.  As I stood gasping for air and stretching my muscles out at the front door, so my neighbour emerged, probably to take his family off somewhere for lunch dressed in their summer clothes.  They must have thought I was certifiable, standing there in my muddy trainers and shorts… and the recently removed and sweaty t-shirt that I had the dignity to put back on when they emerged!

Overall, it was just shy of a half marathon distance, at 20.5km or 12.8 miles, but I would have won no prizes for the two hours thirteen that it had taken me to complete.  Set against the slow pace (5.78mph or 10.4 minutes per mile) was the fact that I explored a whole new set of paths through some very pretty places, did a small chunk of the South Downs Way with its stunning views, had no pain whatsoever from my busted blisters and managed to keep going without the need to walk.

I’m feeling better already!

Fading memories

The combination of a particularly busy post-bank-holiday four-day week and the hard-drive on my desktop that decided to fail, meant that I didn’t get to write about the Thursday morning run.  And while your memory might be able to recall things from two days ago, mine seldom can, hence one reason for my writing!  But I’ll do my best.

Nick had forgotten to dry his trainers so he had brought his old (still sparkling clean) pair.  Based on his complaining about them most of the way round (like running with slabs of concrete strapped to his feet, apparently) I reckon they probably went in the bin when he got home.  After he cleaned them up one last time, of course.

Our run took us out past Ote Hall and then off the top of the map (I know, I know) as we crossed Rocky Lane at the sharp corner tunnel and headed back towards the mill ponds.  As we were strapped for time we headed back to Wivelsfield Station, cut up through the wood adjacent to it and made it back in 52 minutes.  Which was the same as last time.  I’m guessing that the distance was about the same too, maybe a little more at 5.5 miles… dunno.

Thankfully there was still enough mud to dirty Nick’s trainers, but the going was otherwise perfect.  In fact, everything was perfect: it was warm but not too warm, gorgeously sunny and Nick’s slabs held him back as I sprinted ahead in the last 100m.

Suffice to say that Completely PC were extremely helpful, enabling me to collect my repaired box at 11.30am this morning, having only dropped it off at nine!

It’s now beautiful outside again, but alas I have to repent for my sins and stay in to catch up with work… oh, and my memories!

Legs out

It is rare for me to get frustrated by something sufficiently to dis it online, but www.mapmyfitness.com has just spent half an hour winding me up.  I won’t go into all the gory details, but suffice to say that a site designed specifically for runners should have a map with footpaths on it.  This one doesn’t even have a reliable feed to a satellite map.  USELESS!

All I can tell you about yesterday’s run is that it took one hour 20 minutes and was probably longer than 8 miles.

Please can someone remind me to buy the two OS maps I need to see the land to the north of BH so that I never have to return to mapmyfitness?

Anyway, where was I before I was so rudely interrupted?

For the first time this year, my woolen Thurlo’s remained in the drawer, along with my longs and all my lovely cold weather gear.  In their place were Oakley’s, Pearl Izumi shorts and t-shirt and cotton Thurlo’s.  The warm weather had finally arrived.

I had lost track of time sitting relaxing and reading, so I had only a short window of opportunity to run, otherwise I would have sought to match a half marathon distance in lieu of not joining Cliff et al in Worthing (yes guys, I do feel guilty for not making it!).  Setting out, the going was initially hard work, but after twenty minutes or so I relaxed into the pace.

I had intended to stay within the confines of my map, but I get curious sometimes and so I found myself running north from Wivelsfield along the road to Haywards Heath looking for paths off to the right.  There were none, so I ended up on Colwell Lane again, where the mud was still in abundance, before dropping down through the woods and crossing to Spatham Lane… though I have no idea how, for the reasons mentioned above.

From there I ran south into Wivelsfield, straight down through the woods to the Royal Oak and on back to base.  Quite simply a glorious day to run and I look forward to hearing the times from the proper race.


Neither Nick nor I were in a mood to run this morning and we very nearly skipped it and went straight into breakfast but for two reasons:  Firstly, we had our running kit on and second, I had already skipped one run this week, with Daren on Tuesday, in favour of breakfast.  It seemed churlish not to go.

It was hard going though as we tramped off up the road, with both breathing and legs heavy.  We decided to keep the run short so approximately reversed a normal-ish route and cut some corners off. 

Spring was showing with the ground firmer under the surface but the impact of the recent April showers was apparent in a very slippery top layer of mud.  Quite frankly, we were all over the place and only the constant core stability workout from running off-road and a little luck saved us from any number of muddy falls.

Although I did run headlong into a small tree at one point as there was insufficient traction to turn around it!  For some reason Nick kept getting caught on the brambles along the side of the path, but that serves him right for being a wuss about keeping his trainers clean!

It was certainly a pretty little run that ended with Nick demonstrating, as per usual, just how much faster he is back along the home straight.

We covered a distance of 5.2 miles in 52 minutes (well, Nick in 51 minutes!) which is 6mph on the nose.  Not bad bearing in mind how many of our footfalls were taken off sideways by the conditions.