It had been a strange week, with several of the days masquerading as others which, among other things, meant that I berated myself for missing an important anniversary… only to discover the following day that it had been the previous day… and that now I had.

Some less usual activities on Friday and Saturday, bending under rafters whilst carrying things in a loft, wielding the hedge trimmer at shoulder height etc, left me with knots in various muscles… particularly in my buttocks.  And before your mind goes into a tailspin, Mark has already cracked most of the possible jokes about that, believe me!

Sunday morning found Mark and I back at Jack and Jill for another 9am run… and it was going to be a hot one!  We ran the same route as last week, along the ridge almost to Blackcap and then right and down to the A27, following the route of the South Downs Way.  Once more conversation flowed freely, although this week I was finding the running to be way more difficult.

We passed a myriad of people en-route and as per normal, I hailed pretty much each one… people are much more sociable up there than they are on Brighton seafront and most people responded in kind.

One group of walkers quipped that they thought they themselves were mad until they saw us… I said to wait until we ran past them a second time going the other way before they decided just how mad we were!  Having turned around and run the two or so miles back up to the ridge, we eventually caught them up… the picture tells the story.

The caption should be what they shouted after us as we ran on: ‘you don’t have to be mad to do the South Downs Way… but it helps!’

A combination of heat, tight buttocks etc meant that I was struggling pretty much all the way around and particularly on the home stretch.  I was quite delighted therefore to learn that, although we were slower than last week, it was the outward leg that took longer, meaning that we must have returned at pretty much the same pace on both runs.

So 14 miles in 2.25, 5.8mph.

It’s the Three Forts Marathon next week… not that I have any intention whatsoever of joining Mark, Cliff & Andy in doing it!  I’m just hoping that I will have figured out what day of the week it is by then!

J&J 9am

A  text from Mini-me Mark on Saturday night settled any question about where I was running this morning.  Jack and Jill, 9am.  Alas, the balance of the text outlined how far we would be running: 14 miles.  Ho hum!

It was a beautiful Spring morning and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the London Marathoners who might be dehydrating if it stayed like this.  Mark & I had no complaints on the matter though!

Our run took us along the route of the South Downs Way as far a the A27 and back again, though as other runners and regular readers will know, there are a couple of challenging aspects to this route.  Somewhere after the six-mile mark, there is a steep hill that really belongs in the mountains… and it becomes a tortuously steep descent on the way back… though, mercifully it is relatively short.

Worse, is that the first two miles of the return leg, barring the aforementioned, is a draining uphill slog, after which there’s another 5 miles to complete.

Still, Mark is great company and the miles fairly whizzed by, especially as he agreed to let me practice a presentation on him, as best as I could remember without the slides, for work next week.  Despite helping the time pass more quickly, this actually makes for a harder run since the dialogue is controlling the exhalation… I had the stitch for quite a while early on.

Our discussion inevitably got around to marathons (for the avoidance of doubt Mark, NO!) and ultra marathons (DEFINITELY NO!).  Mark has completed about 44 marathons (including Ultras) so far and is thinking about a three-day event later in the year which would add three to that number… circa 35 miles each day.  C-R-A-Z-Y!  Count me OUT for that one too!

So our 14 mile run took us 2.20… a shade slower than the leading woman took to make it round the London marathon course… but hey, we had more hills, and probably more fun too!

Brighton Marathon day

It was the day of the second Brighton Marathon and a rare thing happened. Despite setting off running at the same time, I managed to get to the 26 mile marker ahead of Cliff, albeit only by a few minutes.

I’m not seeking to mislead you though, so I should ‘fess up that my run started from home and only lasted 108 minutes, after which I breakfasted, showered and caught the train to Brighton with Kim, finally reaching the afore mentioned marker not five minutes ahead of Cliff.

It was a glorious day, but at 9am it was still fresh as I ran off in my shorts and t-short. My route was circuitous to say the least, my aim being to cover ten miles without straying too far, if that makes sense. I took in Wivelsfield, Hundred Acre Lane, Streat church, Spatham Lane & home. Roughly 10.9 miles in 1.48 is about 6mph.

Hurrying through Brighton we bumped into Clive & Nat & stopped to chat for a few minutes. We then wove our way slowly through the crowds to find Penny standing aloft on a concrete ball and then we deafened the people in front of us as Cliff ran by.

A little later we managed to find Cliff again on the other side of the finish line, and then Mark Johnson too, both surprisingly mobile given the rigours of the day… Mark actually danced a jig!

Penny, Kim and I then set off for a gorgeous walk to Rottindean along the cliff top, almost reaching the village limits by the time Cliff picked us up, he having retrieved his car in the meantime.

We then supped beer and ate comprehensively in the White Hart before wending our ways home.

Aside from currently sporting the kind of headache that comes from being dehydrated, sunkissed and hayfevered, it was a most brilliant day!

Beacon and back

After visiting Wakehurst Place with Lucas and his daughter (and thanks to Steve for a brilliant mini-tour!) and then spending the rest of the afternoon tending the garden, my hayfever had a wild time last night and first thing this morning.  By the time I finally got my nose under control to get out running it was almost ten.

I ran to the Beacon and back, outbound via Ditchling Common and the chicken farms and inbound via Lodge Hill and Oldlands Mill.  It was the first proper t-shirt & shorts day and although it wasn’t really that warm, it was still quite pleasant.

5.75 miles to the Beacon took me one hour (er, 5.75mph), while the 5 miles back took me 50 minutes (6mph).  Overall 10.75 in 1.50 (average 5.86mph).  Really, very pleasant run.