As I headed out of the car park from Jack & Jill and up the hill, so my legs felt heavier than normal and the extreme heat of the day was really apparent.
It is 31 degrees C or 83 degrees F in the cool of my study as I write this and when I put the thermometer on the window sill outside in the sun a little while ago, it registered -40 degrees (both C and F). On my small thermometer, which only goes up to 50 degrees C, this must be a staggering 70 degrees C, or 160 degrees F.
So believe me when I say that it was WARM out there: especially as I hadn’t started at the said car park.
The first fifteen minutes of my run, starting from the house, were leaden-legged, partially due to the fact that I didn’t run midweek. That was due to a strained (what is less than strained? Stressed?) muscle from last Sunday and generally being busy… neither particularly good excuses, but hey. The muscle had healed well, but it was hard-going.
I started to get into the swing of it as I passed Oldlands Mill and dropped down into Keymer. Favouring the shade, I ran along the high street and took the track along the side of the railway to Clayton.
The cricket pitch was full of cars and there were apparently two races being run. In view of the weather, the 5.5 mile run starting at 11am seemed foolhardy, UNTIL I realised that the main event was already in progress. The main event being the one that Mark J has entered and that Cliff ran a couple of years ago… a 30 miler starting with Clayton Hill and stretching right across to Southease, to the north of Newhaven.
Oh boy! Those guys must be HOT!
The hill out of Clayton was hard work, but I engaged a low gear and made Jack & Jill car park without stopping. Here I walked & chatted to a Burgess Hill Runners marshall (who I think I’ve met before) before commencing my hot run up the hill again.
At the top I stopped to chat to Ray & Marian from Haywards Heath Harriers, marshalls for the short race. Ray seemed to be sporting a rather fetching yellow skirt, but this turned out to be the marshalls plastic vest… he would almost certainly have expired if he had put it on normally! I hope you guys had some water stashed somewhere… you’ll have fried up there otherwise!
As I ran on down the other side, so I passed a whole stream of Burgess Hill Runners out for their Sunday morning jaunt, including Kim’s friend Liz. I hit the Beacon, exhausted, in one hour 20 minutes and then dropped down the path under the road and into the shade.
By the time I reached Ditchling, the gradient was once again against me and I capitulated, walking up Lodge Hill from the church to my favourite house. I then ran along past the Mill again and across the the Keymer Road. Here I HAD to walk, run, walk, run, walk, as far as Folders Lane.
From Folders Lane I ran the rest of the way back, noting that it was NOT my legs that were any more tired than normal, but rather my mind that was the challenge. I had energy, but not the willpower to use it… although, to be fair, I had done pretty well considering the conditions.
It would normally take me 45 minutes to get back from the Beacon this route and today it took me and additional 6 minutes. Two hours, 11 minutes overall, 12.45 miles or 19.95km, makes for a slow slow 5.7mph speed. But if you take out the 5 or 6 minutes I stopped to chat to Marian & Ray, then it would make it 6mph.
And did I mention that it was warm out there today?