A Late Monday Run

It could be age creeping up on me, or just a heavy think-load, but I appear to have forgotten to record my early Monday morning mile this week.

So, it was, er… a mile and it took 9.05.

Plain English

Looking back on the day as I sit here towards the end of the evening, my run this morning seems like an age ago.

I had sat looking at a business challenge from a fresh perspective (anything rather than run) whilst I tried to coax myself out of sleep with a couple of quadspressos.  Ironically the reason for my eventual departure was that I got so high on the fumes from the marker pen I was using, that I had to get some air!

Extending the fresh perspective into my route, I headed down to Worlds End and out along Rocky Lane to the viaduct.

Passing underneath I ran to the fish ponds, with it’s fishing men and deep run-off area…

… and then on to the London Road at Fairplace Hill before running out around the ring road.

It never fails to amaze me that the ring road wasn’t designed to have a pavement, particularly as there is a sports centre half way around.  I ran on the verge, where there was one and otherwise on the road, until the point where the local council has installed a cinder track in the field adjacent to the road.

At the point where the ring road joins the London Road again, I continued straight on, across the fields…

… to the Keymer Road and a short run home again.

7.85 miles in 1.18 gives a speed just over 6mph.

Today was a normal Sunday chore day (not all of which are really chores, of course) but this evening we went to the Fountain in Plumpton to watch an awesome new band called Plain English.  A random guy, standing listening in front of us by the entrance to the packed pub, summed up how good they were in a really most eloquent way: ‘Plain English, you say?  They’re the dogs b*****ks!’

And you can’t say it plainer than that!

Good morning

I have a conference call scheduled for 9am and yet I am sitting here nursing my third quadspresso, showered, shaved, breakfasted (outside) and ready to go.

I’ve also spent about an hour reading, twenty minutes practising my guitar and have run an anti-lactose mile on the machine in 9 minutes 45.

A VERY good morning to you!

Aroma Sensation

Before I start, I’d just like to mention the beautiful aroma of honeysuckle and pinks in the garden at the moment.  In the evenings, when the air is still, it is simply magical to walk out there, as is sitting in the tea-house in the mornings.

I’ve had another one of those manic weekends.  You know the kind, where you seem to achieve a lot?  And this despite feeling so drained on Friday night that I did little but read and sleep.

Saturday I finished painting the outside of the house, putting a second coat on the upstairs back, the bit downstairs that I’d missed last weekend and a coat on the back of next door’s garage.  I’ve since realised that there are some silly window returns that could probably do with another coat, but to all intents & purposes, I have finished.

Then I trimmed the front hedge and cut the grass (Kim had already cut around all the edges) and painted a coat of white gloss on the garage door frame, before I started on…. the garage itself!

Clutter has gradually been building over the last few months, exacerbated by one or two DIY projects and the more recent arrival of Karen’s stuff while she’s away.

The beginning of the garage project started with my trying to find the white gloss paint amongst a hundred other pots… five deep and stacked three or four high on the bottom deck of the bench.  All whilst peering over the bags of stuff on the floor in front.

I speculatively eyed up the cabinets that sit on the bench and almost before I had a chance to think, the boxed contents were stacked on the floor and the tins of paint were being organised onto eye-level shelves.

The project paused last night, as we went to see Inception (Leonardo DiCaprio) – you can read about it via the link, but I have to report that it is truly excellent… a real mind-warper on a par with Vanilla Sky.

The combination of garage dust and widescreen cinema left me with really dry eyes this morning and I strained to be able to read as I sat in the tea-house with first one, then a second quadspresso.  The exertions of painting, hedge trimming etc also left me feeling stiff and I was sore tempted not to run… only the thought of an empty blog spurred me to action.

Intending to only run my normal short route, I left my water-bottle behind and set off, quickly finding myself at Ote Hall where people were emerging from the remnants of a wedding party.

At Slugwash Lane, after a brief chat to the Alpacas, I remembered seeing a modernist house (one of my passions) being constructed last year and so ran down past it to have a look, continuing on along a delightful wooded path which wove gradually back up the hill.

At the top there is a delightful place I have been before, or should I say, got lost at (at least) twice before.  Fortunately I now know which way to go!

And when I got back to the path I’d been on before I detoured, there was yet another pretty scene.

I dropped down into Wivelsfield and took the bridle path to Hundred Acre Lane that we raced up last week, then chose to continue on through the woods to Ditchling Common Industrial Estate.

Then it was back down the Magical Path & across the Common to home.

The convoluted circuit was 8.5 miles and I completed it in 1.22, a gentle speed of 6.2mph.

After breakfast and a snooze on the sun lounger, the garage task continued for much of the day.  I can now SEE my bench (well, the edge of it at any rate), whilst all my painting, tiling, plastering stuff is hidden away behind closed doors.  I’ll need some plastic boxes to neaten up the new contents of the lower level, but it’s okay.

I also mixed up some PVA & water to try to better seal the concrete floor, starting under the bench… thank goodness for those new painting pads on long sticks which are very effective.

Now I’m off to bed, but not before wandering back out into the garden for another aroma-sensation!

Wivelsfield Woodland Wobble results

The full results can be found here but the key data is as follows:

Foster came 136th out of 293 runners in a time of 38.14

Colin, who I met after the finish, beat me by just over two minutes and 36 places.

In first place was Louis Taub in a time of 26.41, whilst last place was taken by John Hay, from the same running club, in 64.22.  Incidentally, by all accounts John received a bigger round of applause than anyone else… sometimes it just pays to wait until there are more people to cheer you home!

One for the legs

Since last week’s short Monday run on the machine seemed good at negating the wobbly-walking after-effects of the previous day’s jaunt, I decided I had better do it again.  Especially in view of yesterday’s odyssey.  This time I remembered before breakfast… well, actually as I tried to negotiate my way down the stairs.. so I managed to get a whole mile in.  Barefoot again, as my inside shoes are now officially my outside shoes.

One mile in 10.54 (about 5.5mph) is never going to set the record books alight, but if it helps me to look relatively normal tomorrow (the second day after exercise is always the worst for me) then no-one need be the wiser.

Wivelsfield Woodland Wobble, part d’ugh

Somehow (don’t ask!), after a round of toast, a shower and another quadspresso, and with the weather now remarkably cloudy and cool, I found myself back in Wivelsfield on the start line of the 4.5-mile Wivelsfield Woodland Wobble.

The cooler turn of weather had been one of the reasons for me changing my mind, but as I stood waiting for the off, so the sun came back out and the temperature and humidity notched back up a gear.  Also, as I looked around me, there was a sea of different AC shirts… this was not going to be a walk in the park on any front.

The whistle sounded and we were off… in fact, about half the field just disappeared in a cloud of dust.  I settled into a more enjoyable pace, doing my best to shake loose of a girl listening to her iPlayer who clearly didn’t realise just, er, how shall we say this delicately… how laboured her breathing sounded.

Once clear I found an ideal carrot to follow – for those of you not in the Men’s Sussex Fitness League, this is generally a female bottom (or in the case of the paradoxical women members, a male one), although in my case a simple ponytail is a much better lure.

This particular Steyning Runners ponytail was perfect insofar that her pace was just faster than I wanted to go… I hung on as best I could, but she eventually got the better of me around the 4-mile mark.

In the dim and distant past, when I was younger and fitter, I would count down 3.5 minutes from the last mile marker and then start sprinting.  Being now more circumspect, older and definitely not as fit, I counted down two minutes from the last half-mile marker and then started merely to stretch my stride out a little.  With my long legs, this tactic enabled me to catch and pass the Steyning ponytail as she legged it down the final straight… sorry!

Even without a flat-out sprint I kind of just wanted to retch, but looking around at the gentile ensemble with their children milling around, I was persuaded that this was probably not a great idea.  Instead I spied a man with enough brains to sit on a covered bench, out of the now hot sun and I staggered across to join him.

Colin, it turned out, had only taken up running a couple of months ago having turned 50 and after a shoulder operation.  The fact that he had already taken up residence on the bench indicated that this injured newbie, four years my senior, had just beaten me round the course… curses!  But I forgave him on account of him turning out to be a bally nice chap!

It also turned out that he had joined the Burgess Hill Runners, which made me think that maybe I should cramp Kim’s style by joining up too.

So results to follow, but 4.5 miles in around 38 minutes… say 7mph.  Not fast, but not bad for my second wobble of the day!

Just one final mention in case you’re thinking that age or infirmity is some kind of barrier to getting out in the fresh air.  As I started my final charge to the line, so I left behind a guy from Haywards Heath Harriers who had pretty effortlessly kept up with me to that point.  I’ve run with him before (I think his name is Mark, but I’m not certain) and he is blind.  He was running with his own ponytail guide who was verbalising the course, which is largely off-road, as she went.  All I can say is Bravo!

Wivelsfield Woodland Wobble, part one

After a slightly more intense (not to mention hot, as their air conditioning had broken down) than normal 9-hour immersion session with a new client on Friday, followed by an almost 2-hour return rail journey, I did very little yesterday other than read, relax and, um, sleep.  And very restful it was too, laying on the recliner in the heat of the afternoon, imagining I could hear the swish of the waves gently lapping at the beach.

Until about 6pm when the heat dropped sufficiently for action-Foster to dash a second coat on most of the back wall of the house.

This morning, despite rising relatively early, I was captivated by my new book (Robin Dunbar is right when he says that we are fascinated by people and behaviour… this book is about the behaviour of the small number of people who drove the recent financial meltdown and it is riviting) and didn’t emerge to run until 7.40am, by which time it was already hot.  My intentions had been grandiose, but I soon realised, having run in the open as far as Ote Hall, that I needed to find some tree-cover lest I melt.

Thus I found myself running through Wivelsfield as the Burgess Hill Runners were setting up the course for this morning’s Wivelsfield Woodland Wobble.  It was a shame I didn’t know it was on as I might have run it, but starting at 11am it would surely be a scorcher and I was already feeling somewhat humid.

I headed for home through the cool shelter of the Magical Path, covering 6.2 miles in 1 hour exactly.

Small step

I’m not sure whether half a mile counts towards anything, but remembering that I had been exhibiting signs of silly walks after my previous two runs, I ran half a mile on the machine this morning.

I had inadvertently christened my ‘indoor’ running shoes in the mud yesterday (not strictly true, as I ran the marathon in them, although this was mainly on tarmac), so I decided to run barefoot.  I had intended to do a mile (in order to be worthy of mention) but after a quarter mile I remembered that I had just eaten breakfast and I decided that there was a balance between loosening my leg muscles and upsetting my digestion at the start of the day!

By the way, I have to report that, as hoped, the lethargy had indeed gone this morning leaving only a trace of tiredness.  However, after my active day yesterday I was to be found comfortably dozing on the sofa for 30 minutes around 9pm last night and after another 20 minutes reading, fast asleep there for a further hour!

One step at a time, huh?

Good & Early

I was due to help a neighbour move a concrete shower tray (double-size) at 8.40am this morning so I got out good and early for a short run.  I’ve not run for two weeks and I think that a combination of heat over that time and no exercise has been leading to a little unusual lethargy first thing in the morning… and also  to my eyes starting to shut around 9.30pm.

It was almost not a good start, as I managed to switch off my alarm without waking up and it was fortunate that Kim nudged me awake at 6.30am.  I sat and woke up with the usual quadspresso and the current book, which is about evolution and language… it’s not as dry as you might think and I was so engrossed that I almost ran out of time, only making it out the door at 7.20am.

I took my favourite little circuit (Royal Oak, Wivelsfield, West Wood, Magical Path) and it was a truly beautiful morning to be out and about, especially as it was still cool enough to run.  Nothing of any import occurred, although I did manage to get 47 minutes of good random thinking time over the 5.2 miles… not that I can now remember particularly what was going through my head, but it was very pleasant.

Having showered and helped move the (heavy!) tray, I set about putting a first coat of paint on the penultimate house wall… I had completed the previous wall on Saturday before we went out to a brilliant party in Hartfield.  With the wall drying, the brushes washed and the sun high and hot in the sky, I sat down to read in the tea-house… alas, not for long.

Somehow, Kim drew my attention to a blue trellis on the big final wall and I set about removing it with gusto… after which it was an easy step to get the paint back out.  I’ve no idea how long it took me to put the first coat on, but somewhere in the region of four hours and rather than a restful and relaxed afternoon I had planned, I spent it pumped up, basted and lightly grilled on gas mark 8.  Still, at least it’s a step closer to the end and it’s going to look great!