This has been a really sociable weekend, at least by our recent standards!
Friday night we met Dai, Kath, Daren and Claire at Noori’s in Brighton for great conversation and delicious curry.
Last night we were treated to an adventurous dinner party by Grant & Karen… the food from all three courses was amazing, the portions generous and the Chateauneuf-du-Pape as rewarding as I remember when I could still afford it! And with 9 of us to cater for, Grant did a genuinely superb job, cocktails and all!
Of course, as with all good dinner parties, we ate late and when I finally made it to bed towards one o’clock, for the second night running, I rolled in rather like a barrel. And continued to roll around for some time on account of the diverse tastes and sheer quantity eaten.
Fortunately the food digested into weird dreams overnight and seven o’clock dawned bright and sunny, making it easy to arise, though it took a quadspresso to render me more fully awake.
I started my run just after nine, easing into the initial downhill section from Woodingdean with a view to a potentially huge training run. As I neared Rottingdean I stowed my gloves and almost stripped off a layer or two, but my decision to wait until I had felt the seafront temperature was validated when it was decidedly chilly. Spring is en-route, but had clearly not yet arrived.
Ahead I could see the distant chimney that was my halfway target…
… whilst the day was visually stunning.
At 54 minutes, I was a little slower than normal to the Palace Pier and it was 1.01 when I passed the Peace Memorial and continued Westwards.
1.20 saw me passing the point where I had turned round by Hove Lagoon on Valentine’s Day and then I was in to virgin territory, heading out onto the lower spit of Shoreham Harbour.
It’s quite a way along that last bit and when the road ahead was finally barred, it seemed rude not to join the back of another group of runners in running to the very end of the tiny breakwater. If for no other reason than to see how far I had to run back again!
The runners turned out to be really lovely and also in training for the Brighton Marathon.
I gently pulled ahead of the group coming back along the spit and was once more running on my own as I came back East…
… reaching the Peace Memorial at the 2.20 mark.
Further East I ran along Madeira Drive past the pre-1940’s motorcycle rally and then on past a vast collection of more modern bikes in the car-park, many probably capitalising on a fine and dry, Spring-like day. I stopped for five minutes at Martlet Kayak Club to chat to Graham, drink water and then briefly chat to Pete Graves on the phone about Table B’hote. This latter comes with a ‘highly recommended’ tag from me… they’re delicious and now you can even order them online for home delivery, all the way from gorgeous Cornwall!
My legs were starting to feel the distance by now, but I pressed on past the Marina along the top of the cliffs even as the clouds started to roll in.
At Rottingdean, with less than 3 miles to go, the power in my legs really was starting to fade and the cloud cover had dropped the temperature by a noticeable amount. This is where the mental muscle really carries you onward, in this case up the long hill of Falmer Road, placing one foot in front of the other, each step one nearer to the end.
As I rounded the last corner before the Downs Hotel the traffic was stationary to my left, backed up from the lights at the crossroad ahead and racing a Jenson Interceptor and a Police Car gave me a final goal to focus on. I beat both to the lights and jogged back lightly to my parents house.
The time: 3.39
The distance: 22.95 miles
The average speed, which felt terminally slow, was actually a respectable 6.29mph. Although this doesn’t quite get me to my marathon goal, it’s the same average speed as the Valentine Day run, which was only 18.35 miles long. And whilst my effort at the moment is in building muscle, on the big day I will have no qualms about being swept along with the flow and using every ounce of muscle available!
One final thing, courtesy of two young boys along by Hove Lagoon… they say a picture says a thousand words!