I knew it was a mistake to tell Clive about the recent article I had read, which said that being stung by stinging nettles cures hayfever.
Anyway, it is fair to say that after the late night before, there was a groggy start to the morning after. Still, despite the forecast of rain for the weekend, it was a beautiful & sunny day, so after the usual banana and quadruple espresso, I donned my ailing runners and got with it.
Aware that it was the day of the London to Brighton Bike Ride, I had devised a rough route that would enable me to enjoy the day, see the cyclists and get back without any real drama. Thus I headed out to Oldlands Mill and down towards Ditchling, hooking a right before I got there and dropping down to Keymer. From there I went straight across the fields to Clayton, arriving by a different path and thus discovering a new way up to the windmills.
Having run up the hill the whole way without stopping, I allowed myself a break to walk through the car park, before resuming my run up the track towards the Beacon. There were lots of walkers, but it was so far just another Sunday. I reached the Beacon in about one hour fifteen and the view was so beautiful that I stopped to take this video.
The London to Brighton Bike Ride crew had set up camp in the car park so I availed myself of the facilities before standing to watch the cyclists mount the last rise. I have a video of this too, but I can’t upload it.
I then set off down the track that I normally come up. An unusual noise alerted me to a cyclist coming down fast behind me and I stood out of the way to let him pass (he wouldn’t have been able to stop at the speed he was going!) and then I loosed off the brakes myself and hammered down. Suprisingly I caught him at the bottom where he had paused momentarily and we had a drag race up the road – I think we were both surprised how hearty my challenge was, although he kept accelerating when I had reached ‘sprint’.
Then it was down to Sporting Cars of Brighton, up East End Lane and north along the Sussex Border Path… where the conversation with Clive came back to haunt me. Waist high stinging nettles mixed with slippery mud and tricky styles soon had whatever hayfever I had left on the run… my legs are still itchy, but it’s not so bad really Clive. You should try it again!
I should mention that last night he recounted a tale of being flung, wearing only shorts, into a large nettle patch when he was young… ugh!
The Border Path is a really tiresome stretch, with its myriad gates and styles and as the two-hour marker passed my energy suddenly waned, like a light going out. I found myself thinking about not peanut butter on toast, but peanut butter and jam sandwiches… serious sugar craving!
I walked, then ran, walked then ran, walked then ran, each time getting nearer to home. I crossed the stream of cyclists again, feeling pretty sorry for these folk who had several miles to go before they even reached the bottom of the killer Beacon hill!
Then I was across the Common and crashing through the front door snarling for food! Not a spectacular time, but the distance was a whiff over a half marathon and out of the two hours 25 minutes, I had spent at least some time looking at the view and watching the cyclists.
The run did take its toll though. Having eaten and quenched my thirst, I fell asleep in a chair for a couple of hours and now, having washed the car (the only other thing I’ve managed to do all day), I’m ready for an early night.