Pulling the stop cord

The running machine has a red cord that you attach to yourself in case you fall off the end… and having fallen off the end of a running machine once, I am an avid user!

Half way through my intervals today, I reached forward with both hands to reduce the speed from 9mph to 6mph at the same time as reducing the gradient from 3 to 2… and pulled the stop cord by mistake.  I must have looked like a cartoon character trying to stop before hitting a wall! BANG!!!

Actually I was fine, but it caused me considerable mental strain trying to work out what the time had been before the machine reset itself and thus how long I ran for in the entire session!

I’m still confused, but I’m certain I covered 3.5 miles and I think I did it in 30 minutes & 48 seconds.  (or 3.38 miles in 30 minutes).  As they say on the trains, only pull the stop cord in an emergency!


The weather this morning was almost springlike… not only was it quite mild, but it was also really changeable.  From welcome sunlight first thing, it quickly darkened for a band of heavy rain.  Fortunately I was still sitting inside with my espresso at the time, in no hurry whatsoever to get out.

When the weather cleared a little, I took it as my cue to leave.  My plan was to run down the pavement through Hassocks to Clayton, up past the windmills to the Beacon, down to Ditchling, along to Hassocks and back along the pavement.

After the initial ten minutes, when my mind did nothing but complain, I got into my stride and I reached Stonepound Crossroads in Hassocks at the 30 minute mark… average 6.5mph.

I then ran on to Clayton, up the crazy-steep track from the cricket pitch to Jack & Jill, with the wind full in my face and then on up to the summit where the tank tracks join from the left.  This second section took 28 minutes and I managed an average speed of 5.65mph… not bad bearing in mind the size of the hill in the middle.  It was pretty bleak on the top with a full wind and dark clouds threatening.


I then ran across to the Beacon and down into the calm of the track that leads down underneath the Beacon road… just in time to avoid some really sharp, wind-driven rain.  It really was magical down there, almost silent save for the slap of my feet and I tried to maintain my balance on the slippery, chalk-strewn uneven ground.

When my feet finally did slide out from under me, in a dramatic fashion, I was glad that I had left the sharp stones behind and that I landed, albeit heavily, on a smooth, hard, algae covered chalk bank.  I lay there, winded, for a couple of minutes, using the time to snap a couple of photos for you to smirk at.  Key contact points were my hip, elbow and shoulder… alas the photos don’t do justice to the quantity of durgy chalk marking these places!



Being so far from home, I was grateful that I could still run, so I did just that.  Firstly down into Ditchling, where a combination of rain and pain made me disinclined to run back via Hassocks.  I opted instead for the more direct route north along the road to Folders Lane, where I snuck through the houses back home in the most efficient way I could find.

The one hour 58 minutes final tally meant that, despite the fall, I had managed 6.35mph for the second hour and 6.1mph average overall across the 12 miles covered.  Not bad Foster!

Lunchtime intervals return

After a few weeks when work (or apathy) intervened, the lunchtime intervals made a welcome reappearance today.

Low recent mileage meant that I took it pretty easy, flipping between 6mph and 9mph once I was half warmed up, but towards the end I increased the faster intervals to 10mph until my heart rate increased to over 180bpm, then backed off to 9mph.

Overall I covered 3.53 miles in the 30 minute slot… just over 7mph average and I am reassured that I’m still fit, as I recovered really quickly afterwards.


Longs on 2009!

My hitherto shiny runners finally got an autumn dousing yesterday morning.  If anything, it was long overdue, since I bought them in August… the Bok would be amazed!

It had chucked it down with rain on the way to Falmer, but it was quite calm as I waited for the others to arrive.  I had chosen to wear several top layers, but was still sporting my summer shorts… until Andy & Paula arrived and I persuaded myself that maybe the longs were a better idea.

Cliff then arrived wearing pedal pushers (I shall say nothing) and then Nikki, who having recently spent a month in the Himalayas, was on top form.

The first hill out of Falmer is a little like the one up from Jack and Jill: for some reason I just have to race myself up it… so much for a warm-up.  The others caught up and from then on it was a much more congenial run.

We ran out to Newmarket copse, then up the hill and east along the path along the top.  We dropped down to Standean Bottom and then took the  l o n g  hill back up to the top of Woodingdean.  I remember running it before on the Brighton 20… it’s a hill that seems as if it will never reach the top.

The view from the top is pretty good though!

West from Woodingdean

From there we ran up to the radio mast, took the next path on the left and, in the absence of surplus energy, cut the corner off across the Access Land, dropping straight down to the path back to Falmer.  There was no racing down the final hill, just a gentle jog to the end.

8.45 miles in 1.33 is not especially fast, but bearing in mind I’d not run for two weeks and it was a particularly hilly route, it’s not bad.

The gang

Short run Sunday

The idea this morning was to drive to Bracknell to run with Phil, but he’s been trying in vain to shed a heavy cold all week and the forecast was not at all great, so we gave it a miss.

For a change the forecast was spot on and a weather front, replete with high gusts of wind and driving rain, slowly dragged it’s feet across overhead all through the morning.  By the time it passed and a weak sun peered through the rain-spattered glass into the house, the log burner was sizzling and we were tucked up horizontally on two sofas watching the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.  Man, what a circuit!

I was so wrapped in my work on Friday that I didn’t even manage to get a quick run in, so it was largely guilt that drove me to put my jacket on once the race was won and get out onto the freshly washed pavements this afternoon.

I merely re-ran the route of the 7th October, finding quickly that I didn’t need my jacket and then getting a few odd looks for running in t-shirt & shorts… it being November and all!

There’s not a whole lot else to report, mostly because I was only out for 39 minutes… but this in itself is worth a mention.  When I ran this route three and a half weeks ago it was a tough run and took me 42 minutes… 7.1mph.  Today I hardly tried yet ran at an average of 7.7mph, pretty much sprinting up the last hill by the station.

If I thought the 7th was progress, today I was practically flying!

Of course Kim opted for the machine and must have been running for almost two hours now… I suppose that I could have stayed out for longer, but it’s been dark outside for a while now, which would make any of my longer routes far too hazardous!