On your Marks, get set, go

At the point that I met Mark this morning at 8am at Jack & Jill I was feeling a little jaded.  Kim and I had given Karen & Fergus a lift back to East London from an interesting dinner in North London and then driven back to Sussex to arrive very slightly after 3am.  Still, four hours sleep is not bad compared to the first night on the TMB a couple of weeks ago, so I shouldn’t really complain!

The reason for such an early start arrived moments later in the form of another Mark, his being required to work later on in the morning and thus get a run over with early.

We set out and it was quickly clear to me from Mark 2’s easy gait that it was going to be a fast run!  In fact, I reckon that he spells his name Mach!

Surprising then that this was only Mach’s third long run with Mark… although the fact that he is a sprint cyclist might go some way to help explain the obvious power in his legs!

We ran on in an affable way, admiring the scenery as we headed for Blackcap… or rather the path before Blackcap that runs down to Newmarket.

Having had to work hard to keep with the pace, the downhill section finally allowed me to stretch out my legs… but alas, neither of my colleagues was phased in the least by my increased pace.  In fact, when we got to the steep uphill section they continued going like it wasn’t there and disappeared on ahead.

One more downhill and we reached the halfway point in 1.04.

The return leg started as it continued, with Mach stretching out an easy lead up the first hill, Mark following not far behind.

Despite some ungentlemanly behaviour on my part further up the hill (closing a gate behind me and running on, rather than waiting for the Marks), they caught me easily… and again, every time they graciously let me get ahead!

Despite running (way?) more slowly than my companions, I was actually feeling on pretty good form and the dreaded lapse in energy never materialised.  Instead I just ran on (slowly) right to the very end.  I’m not sure whether this was a PB for the route, but it was certainly one of my fastest and I could have run on, which is always a good sign.

So 14 miles in 2.18, almost 6.1mph.  Not bad bearing in mind I’ve not run more than 10 miles for a month.  And a big thank you to the Marks for hanging around for me!

A return to Downland running

This time last week, BIG man Daren & I were returning from the Alps, where we completed the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) in 4 days and 20 hours.  This is fast compared to the numerous walkers who take a luxurious 11 days over the route, but nigh on 4 days longer than the winner of this years UTMB race!

There is an account of our trip on this site on the page menu above with pictures and a narrative for those who are interested.

Since returning, neither Daren nor I had run anywhere, so this morning was designed to get back into the swing of things and though we had thought we might do a vertical 1000m odyssey of cross stitch along the scarp face of the Downs, in the event we opted for a shorter route.

We met at Jack & Jill and headed down across Pyecombe golf course to the village.  From here the route to Wolstenbury Hill rises (though not by comparison to the Alps!) and we made good time.

The hill down again is steeper and eventually took us down to Clayton, where we followed Underhill Lane to the bottom of the tank tracks.  This is a steep hill in anyone’s books and we ran bottom to top without stopping (as usual) possibly gaining an admiring glance from a couple of runners coming down the hill past us.

The final mile is downhill back to Jack & Jill and we reached the end of 6.2 miles (it’s a perfect 10km route) in 1.12.  5.2mph is not fast, but as usual we had a great time and after a couple of weeks, er… ‘off’, it was great to be back running again!