Sunshine and showers

First up… no it’s not Sunday yet, don’t worry!  But may I remind you that the clocks go back tonight… and for some reason, possibly inflation, they are due to change at 2am.

And it’s for this reason that I ran today rather than tomorrow… I was going to trim a hedge for some friends tomorrow afternoon, but they reminded me that, with the clocks changing, it would be dark by about 2pm so I’d better come earlier.

And it was lovely and sunny earlier so I got out and got going.  Being a Saturday I thought I would run somewhere different, so I decided I would stick to the roads and started by running down to Wivelsfield Station.

Here I realised that I’d left my drink in the kitchen, but rather than return I carried on along Leylands Road, where the skies opened for about 5 minutes and soaked me through.

It was warm enough that I was wearing shorts, and my two top layers kept my body warmth in so I didn’t feel the need to unfurl my Gore jacket… yet!

Fortunately I had remembered the last of Cliff’s orange energy beads, so I rationed these out all the way round to keep at least some energy flowing in.

I turned left, South, onto London Road and followed this all the way through and out of Burgess Hill to Hassocks.  As I nearer the Stone Pound crossroads, the heavens opened a second time, but with WAY more gusto!  On went the jacket and just in time for a serious soaking… in fact I was forced to swim through the air for several minutes otherwise I would have been sunk.

Although I had pondered about running on and up to Jack and Jill, the shower persuaded me otherwise… I’ve run down that next section or road in heavy rain a couple of times before and it hasn’t left me with fond memories!  So I turned left and ran through Hassocks, Keymer and Ditchling instead.

At the other side of Ditchling I turned left onto Spatham Lane, fully expecting the rain clouds to envelope me, but as it happens I managed to get away with it.  It did provide a lovely background for some autumnal colour though.

Meanwhile, I capitalised on a large puddle.

From there it was an easy run back across the Common and down Folders Lane to the town again…. and to my patiently waiting energy drink!

An easy 10.95 miles in 1.38, 6.7mph.  The sun is out again now and it’s still only the start of the weekend!

Longs On 2010

It was a gloriously sunny morning but I found it difficult to motivate myself into my running gear… such that it was 2 minutes to midday before I finally made it out.  Since there seemed to be a wide disparity in temperature between sun and shade, I reluctantly opted for my longs, thinking that I would probably only take a quick spin around the local woods.

Additionally I wore two layers plus my jacket, gloves, hat and, of course, for those of you who have seen me out running, my ubiquitous shades.  These latter are usually to keep low hanging twigs out of my eyes, but today they were needed for their proper purpose as the sun was strong and low in the sky.

I quickly realised how warm it was in the sun, but just when I was contemplating stripping off a little, I ran through a patch of shade and quickly changed my mind.

Unsure of where I was going, I chose a different path at the end of the road and ended up running out along Folders Lane and, using a dog leg to Fragbarrow Farm, ended up on the Sussex Border Path heading South.  Here, the jacket came off, but nothing else.

I opted to run down little twittens through Ditchling village and then, surprise surprise, found myself on the track to the Beacon.  It’s like a magnet to me!

As I ran up so I found a couple who were madder than I… they had their three sub-five-year-old children, including a two year old and they were slowly walking up the track.  This is not the steepest track I run up, but it’s not far off, so they were doing well indeed!

I made it to the top of the Beacon in 59 minutes and watched in awe as a glider made a steep turn and quietly whistled past overhead.

I started back and found the family group almost at the top… apparently, given a choice of what to do, the eldest boy had chosen to walk up the Beacon, possibly safe in the knowledge that there’s an ice-cream van at the top.  Either way… BRAVO!

I ran on down the hill to Sporting Cars of Brighton, turned right and then left onto Spatham Lane.  Despite the extra distance, this is quicker going and the houses are pretty enough to balance out running on the road.  By the time I had reached the other end I was wishing I lived nearer to the Downs!

I ran down through the country park and across the Common before making it home in 2.02.  11.1 miles, 5.45mph, knackered!  I can hear the sofa calling gently to me!

In amongst the Deans

This morning was bright enough for sunglasses, chilly enough for gloves and yet still mild enough for shorts… if any of that makes any sense!

And it’s my brother Nigel’s birthday today, so Happy Birthday Big Bro!  And as a result, what better place to run than on home territory… the Deans.

I started out at Woodingdean, running up the Falmer Road to the old bakery (long, long gone), and across the top of the village…

… before dropping all the way down the long and winding decline to Standean Bottom, where the hamlet of Balsdean used to sit.

From here I chose the path that went straight back up the hill, following it around until I came back to the side of Woodingdean again.  Today was clearly going to be a run of views.

Turning sharp left, I then ran down the Bostle, passing Balsdean reservoir, ‘Cottages and ‘Farm before reaching the top of Saltdean.

At Saltdean I snuck around the back of the houses to try to get a better view of Saltdean valley.

They I snuck back and from here I dropped gently down through the village of Rottindean, all the way to the sea, where the colour balance changed dramatically.

It was an easy run along the flat of the Undercliff Walk to the steps at Ovingdean, where I ran up the valley to the church, pausing to pay my respects to Ric.

From here I was going to take a quick detour into Roedean Bottom, but instead ran past and up to the Race Course at the Western end of Woodingdean.

Once at the top I ran along the Drove Road across the top of Woodingdean, looking down on Bevendean to my left, back to my starting point at the old bakery.

It was then an easy few minutes back down the Falmer Road to finish what had been a really pleasant run in two hours on the nose.

I had covered 11.45 miles at an average speed of 5.72mph, which is quite sedentary but I’ll forgive myself because of the terrain and the fact that I was very happy just moseying along, looking at the view and taking pictures.

I hope this is a nice trip down memory lane for your birthday Bro… I made sure that I went all the way around the village for you!

Sunny monday

Cutting the grass after running was okay yesterday, but for some reason it was my arms that really felt tired by the time I finished washing the cars.

This morning is beautifully sunny again and I completed my barefoot, anti-lactic mile in 9.05.

Have a great week!

Beautiful day!

Today is beautiful indeed, with clear blue sky and a gentle, warm breeze.  In fact it looked like a great day to be running on the Downs, so that’s what I did.

I started by running out towards Oldlands Mill, but I turned left before I got there and dropped down into Ditchling High Street.  Once south of the village I took the Beacon Road for a short distance before turning left onto my usual Beacon track… and then turning left again onto a path that took me further along Underhill Lane. And then turning left again to get to Westmeston.

From here I took the Westmeston Bostal to the top of the Downs and ran the short distance to Ditchling Beacon, which I reached in an hour.

Several years ago now, Cliff had given me some little orange Sport Beans and despite them being almost a year out of date (one of the downsides of having an overflowing gear draw), I now opened the packet and tried them.

The breeze was strong up here and since it was coming from a North-Easterly direction, I opted to run to Jack & Jill which I reached twenty minutes later.

Rather than running on down the hill towards home (via the white blob of Oldlands Mill in the last picture) I turned around and ran back up to the top of the hill before descending on the Burnhouse Bostal.

As I ran back towards Ditchling, I ran through the farmyard at Park Barn Farm.  Here there are two gates to go through and I took a direct line between, realising too late that this took me straight through a silage puddle with white mould on the top!  Anticipating that I was going to disappear into the depths, I yelped (which must have amused anyone watching) but fortunately it was no deeper than my trainer.  Nevertheless I stumbled and consequently ran straight through a second, adjacent puddle.  YUK!

From there I ran back through Ditchling, up Lodge Hill and along to Oldlands Mill, where there was a great view back to Jack & Jill.

The run back from here is straightforward and was quickly dispatched, with me even pushing harder along the final few hundred metres… I must be getting used to running longer distances again.

So a shade over 13.5 miles in 2.23, 5.66mph.  That’s the forth Sunday that I have run in excess of a half marathon distance, although it was also the slowest.

Cliff’s orange beans seemed to have helped though and I don’t feel as tired as normal… although that means that I now have to go and cut the grass and wash the cars!  At least it’s still a beautiful day out there!

Machine mile

Way back in the distant depths of this morning (it was only just light) I did a mile on the machine.  My calves were tight but my legs must otherwise be starting to get used to my increased Sunday mileage and I reckon the monday miles must be helping too.

So 1 mile in 9.08.

Sussex Festival of Tipples

I had originally planned to go to London with Kim today and run there, but on account of a late night helping BeerMatt tidy up after the Sussex Festival of Tipples Beer Festival, I managed to secure a pass and used it to go to Brighton instead.

If you’re curious about the beer festival, amongst other things it kind of involves drinking this lot:

And at the risk of using one or two of Karen’s shots that Beermatt hasn’t seen yet, ends up looking a little like this:

Photo by
Photo by
Photo by

It was a really amazing showcase for Sussex breweries (and for BeerMatt too!) and based on the turnout (in spite of truly torrential rain), I really don’t know why more local pubs don’t stock some of these ales!

With all the rain I thought I would go for an on-road run today so I drove to my parents and replicated my marathon training route out to the Peace Memorial in Hove and back.

Initially it was lovely out… well, okay, it was very windy and very grey, but it was also particularly warm.  I took my hat and jacket with me but ran comfortably in t-shirt and shorts.

Turning onto the seafront at Rottingdean I spied a runner ahead of me and in true Foster fashion, I set about reeling him in… it took me quite a while but I love chatting to other runners so the extra effort was worth it.

He turned out to be on a 22 mile training run ahead of the New York marathon and strangely for someone who had run from Shoreham, also lives in Burgess Hill.

As we passed the Palace Pier, the rain started in earnest and by the time I reached my turn at the peace memorial I thought it prudent to put on hat and jacket… especially as I was now going to be running into the wind.  Justin had chosen the better end to start, I reckon!

I reached the turn point in 1.05: a conversationally comfortable, gradient assisted, wind at your back 6.6mph.

The rain intensified as I returned, but the smile on my face could not be washed off… it was glorious out there.  Gloriously wet!  And I love the camaraderie of intense weather… my inane grin produced a reciprocal grin from most of the runners and cyclists I passed, as well as one old lady standing in a bus-stop.  You can’t beat that feeling!

The trek up from Rottingdean with the wind behind me was harder work that running into the wind without the gradient, but I felt on reasonable form and made it back in 1.12: a reasonable pace of 5.95mph given the circumstances.

So overall, 14.3 miles in 2.17, average 6.26mph.

Good luck to Justin in the New York Marathon!