Monday mile

Quick mile this morning to relieve the build up of lactic acid after yesterday’s long’un.  After a quarter miles at 6mph I finished out the rest at 7mph.  1 mile, 9 minutes, 8 seconds.  On the machine, of course!

I feel just like a Time Lord

This morning was one of those mornings when I would quite happily have foregone my run.  Quite frankly I felt as if someone had already beaten me up, added to which I had a troubled night’s sleep, at one point being rudely awoken by both legs cramping at the same time!

The culprit was spending most of yesterday in the garden, trimming both hedges and a few other bushes to boot, cutting the grass and so on.  But Kim was even worse off this morning, as she had been scraping the moss out from between the brick pavers yesterday and could hardly stand up straight!

When I finally left the house around half eleven, it was with a little double-think going on.  On the one hand I thought I would go for a moderate run through the local woods (it was super windy out there), whilst on the other I planned to go to Blackcap… though with plenty of latitude to turn around at any point!

Even as I took the first strides down the road, the refrain of ‘I feel just like a Time Lord’ by Sisemore played through my head (in fact I had woken up with it in my head… Russell would be VERY happy with that, I’m sure, especially on his birthday!) and this tune followed my all the way to the end of my run!  I quite often complete long runs to one song and whilst this may seem somewhat irritating (which occasionally it is), most of the time it keeps part of my brain busy, maybe so it doesn’t notice the pain so much.

I headed out across the Common and past the Industrial Estate, then through Blackbrook Wood to the Westmeston path.  As you approach the South Downs you get a distant view of my route up past Queen Victoria’s V.

Despite telling myself that I could turn around at any point, my feet kept pulling me along… and then up to the top of the Downs.  I was surprised that the path up past the V did not seem to trouble me at all and I reached the top with no need to rest… except that I had to put my jacket and hat on because it was so windy.  I reached the top right on the hour.

Whilst I could have easily turned around right there, I thought I would carry on to the top of Blackcap (or maybe even to the gate to Lewes Racecourse) as this represented a more worthy goal… although I had forgotten how far along the top it was.  By the time I reached Blackcap I had run another 15 minutes which, whilst not a concern of itself, would mean that my total run would now be over 2.5 hours.

I turned round into the stiff wind pausing to take a photo of what looked like a band of rain making its way across my path home.

I made it back to the gate to the hill in about 16 minutes and then stretched out down the hill.  As it happened the sun came out, although there were some goodly dark clouds roaming around.

By the time I had passed the two hour mark I was starting to fade, with my pace slowing and the desire to stop growing.  But the song kept cycling and barring a couple of very brief pauses, my feet kept pushing on.

Despite tired legs (actually it was my back that was the epicentre of the pain, for some reason) I strode out along the final quarter mile of pavement, making the end in 2.33.  Two and a half hours on from this and I’m still feeling like I’ve only just stopped running, despite copious amounts of toast and tea, plus a shower… yes, cold shower on my legs, despite feeling somewhat chilled.  NB I should point out that I had considered wearing longs today, due to the temperature, but it seemed churlish as it was still September!

I made a self-satisfied (Kim said smug!) laugh when I realised that I had covered 6 miles in that first hour, including running up the scarp slope at the end!  I pretty much carried this pace for the rest of the run too, covering 15 miles in 2.33… 5.9mph.  I am VERY happy with that!

Good Monday Morning

Surprisingly, after my run yesterday, I awoke with no stiffness in my legs and managed to walk down the stairs without clinging on to the wall for support.

Rather than take a chance that I’d not be able to do the same tomorrow (the second day after a big run is always the worst) I clambered aboard the running machine in bare feet and boxers and ran to dislodge the lactic acid.

I ran one mile in 9.25, but now I’ve got to run off to prepare breakfast.  Have a GREAT week peops!

Duke of Edinburgh Award

I had the great privilege to pass and chat to a whole Dukedom of D 0f E teams this morning whilst out running, and lovely young people they were too… as were the team that claimed they had been trying to get the Award for forty years and were currently looking for the nearest pub!

One word of advice to those considering taking the award though.  Keep stepping forwards.  Teams have similar dynamics whatever their purpose and it is easy for one or two negatively inclined people to render the rest of the group literally immobile… one of the teams I passed had progressed but one mile by the time I ran back past them having completed ten miles.  Here, as with many things in life, it can pay just to keep moving, even when you’re knackered having had a bad night’s sleep in a leaky tent.  And don’t I just know that!

Apart from the bad night’s sleep in a leaky tent bit!

As I ran up the hill from Jack and Jill, I already felt pretty knackered, but after last week’s ten-miler, I knew that I had to run at least seven miles.

In direct contrast to the training runs along Brighton seafront at the start of the year, pretty much everyone was happy to engage today… and boy, were there ever a lot of people out to say good morning to!

Aside from the numerous D of E teams, there were cyclists (including one guy, Damian, who had a similar experience to me in the Brighton Marathon, coming in at 4.02 when he wanted a time with a three on the front of it), kite flyers (including a father who had just walked up the way-steep scarp slope with his children, including his three-year old son who didn’t even look tired) and walkers galore.  I must have said good morning to over a hundred people!

It was hard going on the white path as I neared Blackcap, but I was following the route that Mark and I did a few weeks back so I knew that there was a two-mile downhill section ahead.  Alas, the wind that had been spirited and behind me all the way along the top was now, with the gradient in my favour, full in my face so the going was still hard work!

Before you reach the A27 at Newmarket, there’s a sneaky and really sharp incline and I had to follow my own instructions to just keep going… despite tired legs.

And then there’s a long hill down to the road and those of you who know how it feels to turn around at the bottom to run back again probably know what I mean when I say that I really wished that my car had been there, rather than at Jack and Jill.

Rather bizarrely, it was.


I set off up the hill with the wind at my back and made surprisingly light work of the gradient, passing some young hikers sullenly edging northwards as if they were dragging a nation behind them.  It’s roughly a quarter of a mile to the first rise, the same again down the perilously steep section (fortunately it was dry) and then just over two miles to the next rise on the top of the Downs.  This section is a long slog and was fairly littered with D of E teams walking or reclining against their rucksacks, but they were generally in good spirits.

I reached the top in 28 minutes, which is actually a minute less than it took me to run down!  And then it was the long haul to Jack and Jill against the wind.

Unusually, my car was absent, my having left it at the other end for a change.

In case you’re still puzzling over what you have just read (and are familiar with Hobbits), this here is a tale of back and there again.

I turned at the windmills at the 1.11 mark and with seven miles to the car and t=with the big downhill section at the end, had great hopes of knocking at least five minutes off the time Mark and I took to do the run (the other way around) a few weeks ago.

Alas, as a result of my few short stops to chat to people, I managed only to beat it by a minute.  But there’s no shame in that, as I didn’t have the irrepressible Mark to drag me kicking and screaming along… even though he has completed the run a full ten minutes faster on at least one occasion.

So 14 miles in 2.24, 5.8 mph and a whole lot less sleepy afterwards than last time around.  All in all, a great day!

Painless and confusing

I awoke, relaxed and happy to a clear blue, eight o’clock in the morning sky and mussed around the house while two quadspressos and a banana politely took their turns to slide down my throat.

I was in no hurry to go running, in part because of a vague disinclination to experience pain and in part because I was I just relaxed… there are a lot of fascinating worky ideas in my head at the moment and I was enjoying just sitting and allowing them to mull around.

Eventually, when Kim had finally showed her face, I set off into the morning.

I seldom really know how easy the running will be until I’m out there and this morning it was only okay; nothing more fluid than that.  Soon after starting I realised that I had a twelve bar blues riff going around in my head… little did I know that pretty much the same notes would go around and around in my head like a washing machine on a spin cycle right up to the end of my run!

I had a vague desire to run to the Beacon, accepting that I might turn around before then, so I ran out past a gloriously bright Oldlands Mill and down into Ditchling.

Psychologically, Ditchling always seems like the low point in my circuits, mainly because there is a hill to run up whether you’re heading south or north.  Today the hill going south, Ditchling Beacon, seemed pretty straightforward, but when I reached the top I was intensely disappointed to see it had taken me 1.05 to get there.  I vaguely remember having reached there in 45 minutes on one occasion, so to take 20 minutes longer beggared belief.

But it was glorious up there and for a moment or two I had the certainty that, of all the people in Sussex who had their feet on the ground, mine was the highest head.

Confused by the time, I headed back, pausing at Oldlands on the way way to admire the view.

When I got back to Ockley Lane I started to run a  little harder than normal, based on the piteous time I had taken to get to the Beacon.  I was surprised how much energy I still had and I kept the pressure on right up until the end, hustling down the last quarter mile as if I had the Bok breathing down my neck.

And then I was really confused.  If it had taken me 1.05 to get to Ditchling Beacon, then it had just taken me 32 minutes to get back… something was clearly amiss!

Fortunately, with the aid of the time code on my photos, I was able to determine that I must had read my watch incorrectly, though goodness knows how.  I think the outbound leg actually took me 50 minutes and the return 47.  1.37 overall to do 10.2 miles… 6.3mph average and despite my pre-run fears, no pain whatsoever!

Monday morning, first thing

We had a great weekend, but the consequence of having a delicious meal at Philip & Isabelle’s in London on Saturday night, followed by an early morning drive home, was that I had no appetite for running on Sunday morning.

And once I had finished the novel I had been reading, I sat & read HBR instead… although it was not exactly Sunday reading!

Last thing last night I decided that, if the weather was clement this morning, I would go out for a run rather than sit & read (since I had already made a good start on HBR!).

It took me a few minutes to remember my plan when I got up at 6am, but by a quarter past I was running off down the road into a shepherds warning morning.

I took my default short route (Royal Oak, Wivelsfield, West Wood, Magical Path) to the accompaniment of six bars from the end of Stairway to Heaven which I’ve been driving Kim mad by playing repeatedly on my guitar… by the end of the run, I was going mad listening to it go around in my head too!

The sun made an appearance while I was running around, at one point vividly lighting up two or three trees in the relative gloom ahead of me.  I couldn’t help but smile!

Bearing in mind I had got up and gone out with nothing more than a banana for sustenance (no, no time even for a quadspresso!), I felt pretty good, butI knew I was not running especially quickly.

As I came across the backlit Common, I stretched out my stride a little, but soon returned to a more circumspect pace.

So 5.2 miles in 48 minutes is a great way to start the week and at 6.5mph, is not such a bad pace either.. especially for a pre-7am run!

An ‘on top of the world’ kinda day

Of the various ways that I could have spent my birthday morning, few could compare with going for a run on the South Downs with Daren, followed by a late breakfast with my parents.

Other than, perhaps, if Cliff had been able to come out to run as well!

We met at Jack & Jill and took the doubly downhill route down to Pyecombe, Wolstonbury, Clayton, the tank tracks and still further down to Jack & Jill again… a little like an MC Escher’ mobius strip.

It was a glorious morning, with laughter and stimulating conversation flowing freely all the way round… and beautiful views to boot!

To add to the ambience, each time we paused to soak up the view there seemed to be a new text or email from friends & family, wishing me a happy birthday.  Thank you very much, you wonderful people!

This additional distraction may have contributed to the time, which was slightly longer than the previous ‘slightly longer than the original time’ time… if you get my drift.

Anyway, it took us 1.15 to run 6.25 miles, which I make a paltry 5mph!  But who cares?  We had fun!