Bank Holiday Runday

After a wonderful long lunch for eight at Debbie & John’s yesterday, which lasted nine hours, running today was always going to be a little more difficult than normal.  On the plus side, it was a bright sunny day… although other people seemed to have twigged that as the car-park at Jack & Jill was rammed and the paths slightly congested!

By the time I had got half way to Ditchling Beacon I had already sussed that I was not on top form and at the Beacon there was a dissenting voice telling to turn back here!  I ran on, but not actually for very long.  By the 35 minute mark I had reached Streathill Farm and after a pee and a stretch, I turned for home.


One of the hindrances was the amount of clothing I had chosen to wear.  Thinking it to be cold outside, I had layered up like last week and though it was indeed very chilly, especially with a bracing breeze in my face, my body was actually too hot.

At the turn point I removed both pairs of gloves and one of the two beanie hats, the other coming off ten minutes later, and also unzipped the ankles of both pairs of running longs!  This helped, but I was already weary… either from the heat, or from the previous day’s indulgences.

Carrying this surplus clothing and with the breeze now behind me the return leg was easier, but I still felt heavy of body when I got back to the car-park.  A paltry 6.7 miles took me an hour and ten minutes… the 5.75mph probably also reflecting the absence of mid-week runs over the last few weeks.

Note to self… get with the programme!

Still, the views were lovely!


Jack and Jill

Crrrisp weather

The vista outside was beautiful this morning, with sun, crystal blue sky and glistening white snow.  Although at somewhere close to zero on the thermometer, it wasn’t really calling to me running-wise!

But having had a couple of weeks off, I thought I had better get out and do something, even if it was to get some fresh air in my lungs.

I got all my normal gear out and then found an additional layer to boot… extra track bottoms over my longs, extra t-shirt, extra beanie hat, extra gloves and my orange runners for both warmth and additional traction.  As I skated off down the road, I was prepared to be very chilly, but within 15 minutes I felt a little like a turkey… well stuffed and on a low heat.

Normally I would have unzipped or removed clothing, but this was not a day to mess around.  Despite the sunshine and the stillness, it was better to be slightly over-warm than let to the chill in.

I had decided to run my old default circuit… Royal Oak (which looks to have been refurbished, by the way) Wivelsfield, up through West Wood and back down the Magical Path & across the Common.  The going underfoot was largely crunchy with mini-puddles in the muddier areas, but anything that didn’t crunch was perilously slippery… not a surface I wanted to fall over on as any limb striking it directly would be a good candidate to break, so I probably looked like a real ninny crossing the road!

The temperature was such that the slight perspiration from running up the one gentle hill gave a considerable face ice-pack effect running along for five minutes afterwards.  But all was forgiven… it was gorgeous out there!

And despite the two-week break, I was running well… such that when I got back to the Common, I happily decided to go around the circuit a second time!

Ditchling CommonThe pond on the CommonSpectators whirring me onThe magical Magical Path: So good I ran it twice

Last time I ran this double loop was on 17th May and the time today did not compare favourably… but then I was concentrating quite hard on not sliding over in a number of places.  The first loop of 4.4 miles took me 47 minutes (against 39 minutes in May), whilst the second half was only slightly better at 45 minutes.  8.8 miles in one hour, 32 minutes, or 5.74mph.

From the state of my treasured socks, it’s clear that I haven’t been to Run for a while!  I really must put that to rights in the next couple of weeks!

I wish I had paid attention in those darned needlework lessons!

Two weeks off

I appear to have taken two weeks off running since running with Phil.  This started when I inadvertently managed to poison myself, probably with some blue cream-cheese, resulting in me being horizontal for 36 hours and effectively out of action for a good week.  Hence me not making it to a couple of the more boozy Christmas events which I was looking forward to.

And then there was the snow.  This is a poor excuse, as Cliff managed to run for a couple of hours in it yesterday, but someone had to take photos from the warmth of inside.  Here are a few of the resultant images:


And then last night there was a fab gathering at Clive & Nat’s where my photographic skills left much more to be desired, but great fun was had by all.  We’ve not had a 2am night for an age, but if there’s anything guaranteed to put your head straight, it’s an evening like that!  Thanks guys!

Lost in Bracknell

I arose slightly earlier than normal for a sleepy Sunday and was out in my running gear by 7.45am… in the car.  The weather was less than lovely, but I had a long overdue arrangement to run with Phil (Garmin-man) on his home turf.

When I say less than lovely, I had such torrential rain on my journey that the road actually disappeared a couple of times.  I saw one car which had just spun into the central reservation on the M3 and another which had morphed into a tree, deep in a ditch.  Needless to say that between the rain and the obligatory getting lost, my normally one-hour drive took 90 minutes.

I find a genuine challenge in navigating in the space between the M3 and the M4 and apparently do not need a car to feel this way… within minutes of starting our run I was once more completely disorientated.  The area really is stunning, but other than being able to say that we ran on some paths, some pretty back roads and occasionally along slightly larger roads, I have NO idea where we went.  Other than we ran around the edge of Ascot racecourse and up the High Street.

Phil & I in action... sorry, in Ascot

We had a good pace going from the start, but alas this started to tail off slightly as we progressed.  This despite me slowly taking off gloves, hat and jacket to stay cool.  Our average speed over a carefully designed 12 mile circuit was 6.3mph though… as reported by the aforementioned Garmin after which Phil is named.


This is faster than our 12 mile run in Sussex four months ago on August 9th and also faster than my 12 mile run on 22nd November… although to be fair, the latter did include running up onto Ditchling Beacon and falling down the other side!

Back at base I was gratefully refuelled by means of a huge egg, bacon and tomato roll, washed down by plenty of tea and coffee.

I then set out for the return journey and as per normal, pretty much instantly got lost, ending up driving back via… well actually I have no idea, other than the fact that I managed to cross the M3 without realising it and join the M25 at the Chertsey turn-off!

Maybe I should go there more often… invitations?

Slow posting

Events, which now seem to elude me, somehow conspired this week to prevent me posting last Sunday’s run.

Nikki was already at Falmer when I pitched up and we quickly decided to sit in the car to wait for Cliff, on account of it being COLD outside!  In reality it wasn’t that cold, but it really did feel that way, possibly on account of a sharp wind laden with occasional heavy rain!

Having finally extricated himself from a traffic jam and parked behind us, Cliff sent a text message to say ‘what we doing this for?’… the reply was ‘we’re not!’

Of course, we did, running up alongside the Falmer Road and across to Newmarket Copse, then down to the Houseman Farm bridge over the A27.  There are two long hills on the other side, with a sharp downhill in between and Cliff & I bullied Nikki into running just about every step… she actually didn’t take much persuading but pretending to be a sergeant major was fun nevertheless!

At the point above Balmer Down where we normally turn back down the hill to Falmer, some idiot suggested we carry on up the hill!  This took us up to the path I often run along on the top of the Downs near to Blackcap.

Heavy rain clouds...... best avoided!

Turning left and into the wind, we ran along the top as far as Streathill Farm, then south to Mary’s Farm, although if you look on the map you’ll find there are two ways to get there… of course, Cliff took us deliberately the less direct way!

Mary’s Farm lays in a lovely sheltered bowl and the road out towards Falmer starts by rising steeply for half a mile.  Cliff and I ran it side by side, virtually step for step, just slightly faster than would otherwise be sensible.  Fast enough that he had to resort to an old excuse to stop at the top… while I used him stopping as an excuse to stop too.

Nikki was more prudent, but just  far enough behind to not qualify for an old git’s break before we carried on down the other side to the cars!

9.65 tough miles were dispatched in one hour 40 minutes giving an average of 5.8mph.

Cliff, Nikki et moi dans un sunny moment

Nought has been done running-wise by yours truly since then, although I have a different run planned for tomorrow and I’ll try not to make you wait another week to hear about it!