Monday run-off

After I pointed out the extreme clemency of the season yesterday, the weather made a half-hearted effort at producing winter last night.

The sky was so clear that the stars shone like LED’s and there was already a frost on the deck when I went to bed.  Likewise this morning at 6am there was a heavy frost on the cars outside, but as I write two hours later it is melting fast, ahead of another week of mild weather and heavy rain… the latter albeit in all parts of the UK except here, where the water companies are already talking about a hosepipe ban!

Despite only running 10km yesterday, my legs had that tell-tale stiffness this morning that suggested that I’d be back to walking like a penguin tomorrow… which is exactly what happened for what felt like a week after my token short run three weeks ago.

The only antidote that I know is to get my legs moving again the morning after the run before, so I duly climbed aboard the machine this morning for a gentle jog.

It’s a good way to warm up on a cold day and I was reminded of the time two years ago when I ran 20 miles whilst staring inanely at the white wall in front of me and the leaves of the overgrown cheese plant!

My barefoot Monday run-off covered a mile and took just over ten minutes.

Have a GREAT week peops!

Back to the beach

It had been stormy overnight and I awoke to a wet, grey day… not an especially appealing prospect for a run.  Fortunately it was still unseasonally warm here, so at least I wasn’t going to get cold and wet.

I quite like running from my folks’ place in the winter and so it was 10am before I was there and ready to leave… into a most beautiful sunny day that had somehow emerged from the gloom!

So glorious in fact that I opted to wear the shorts and shades that I had somewhat ironically taken along for the drive!

My folks live in a village on a hill behind Brighton and most routes out involve going down… in this case two miles down to the Saxon settlement of Rottingdean.  It was an easy way to ease myself back into the running, but after a little gardening yesterday my back was still a little tender.

Rottingdean is such a pretty village, with its pond, windmill and mix of tiny cottages and grand houses… one of which housed Rudyard Kipling for five years at the turn of the previous century.

One of the reasons that I particularly wanted to come down this way was to see the sea after last night’s storm… I was not disappointed!  And I wasn’t the only one admiring the view of the whitecaps along towards Brighton.

A mile westwards from Rottingdean are the Ovingdean steps, which descend 25m to the Undercliff Walk below.  Originally constructed in the 1930’s as part of sea defences, this is still an impressive construction… though not quite as daunting as the vertiginous and more recently constructed steps at Peacehaven, which can be seen in my post earlier this year

Once down at sea level the power of the waves became apparent… I’m pretty sure that Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Eric Scigliano’s book Flotsametrics passes comment on just how much force each wave exerts (alas, I can’t locate my copy on my bookshelves right now) but the clap of sound as each wave hit home was thunderous.

Fortunately the wind was offshore (so the undercliff was sheltered) so whilst the waves breaking against the seawall below me were producing a curtain of water ten feet above my head, they were then dropping straight back down… otherwise I would have surely been drenched on numerous occasions as I ran along.

In the late sixties and early seventies when I was a child, we used to go down to Rottingdean and play on the beach and in the sheltered sitting areas.  I’ve not noticed these sitting areas for years, but now I ran up through them and the combination of this and the baking hot sun transported me back in time in a most delightful way.

Then all that was left to do was run the two or so miles back up the hill.  It’s not such a bad hill and it wasn’t as if I’d run the eight or nine miles to Shoreham harbour & then back again like I did last year, but after a few weeks off running it was still good workout.

I arrived back in 1.07 having completed 6.4 miles… a paltry 5.7mph, but a very enjoyable entrée back into the running world and I couldn’t have wished for a more glorious day to do it!

And now for something for those with a competitive streak!

Its competition time, although in this case you can compete from the comfort of your own home!


SportsBallShop have always been heavily involved with local sports clubs and teams, providing much-needed equipment and funding. Recently though they have expanded into the online world and started the Sponsor A Fitness Blog campaign to support passionate fitness advocates across the UK.  They have very kindly offered me a few vouchers to offer as competition prizes on!

Since I love interaction with readers, the competition is going to be for the most quirky, short story about running (max 250 words), ideally highlighting something funny that has happened to you (or your running partners) in the past and that everyone will enjoy.

I have created a separate ‘Competition stories‘ page above to publish all those that don’t need to be censored for a family audience and we will then have a public vote to find out which are our favourite stories.

The author of each of the top 3 stories will receive a generous £40 voucher to be used on equipment of their choice at one of the following sites which sell: balls of all types; sports bras; and trampolines

Whilst £40 is only a discount off the cost of a whole trampoline, there is plenty of great stuff that it will buy you on the other two sites… so get writing!

Competition Rules Are: Writers may submit more than one story but only one prize will be allocated per person.  Stories must be submitted by close of play on Saturday 17th December.  Voting will then run until Saturday 31st December and winners will be announced the following day, or thereabouts!  Voting will be via email and each voter will be able to identify their first, second and third favourite story.  There will be no cash alternative to the prize which is provided by SportsBallShop and will be sent direct.  I will be fair and equitable but will have the casting vote if required and my word will be final in any dispute!

The competition is now closed and the winners can be found HERE


Cliff’s offer of a run on Sunday morning was highly tempting, but my head presumably knew that I wasn’t yet ready for a long run so it didn’t wake me up until after he had started running… just in case!  Though if he had said there were going to be bacon butties afterwards, then I wonder if it might just have tipped the balance of my cognitive alarm clock!

But Cliff did plant a seed in my mind which germinated this morning with my first run in over three weeks.  Okay, so it was a short run on the running machine, but the poor thing hasn’t had much use lately either so it was probably good for both of us!

I started at a slow 5mph to see how painful it was going to be, but everything seemed to be working so I ramped up the speed to 6mph and then increased it each quarter-mile until I reached 8mph.  The three mile run left me sweating profusely but in all other respects my body took it in its stride.

3 miles in 26 minutes 53 is not exactly gazelle-like (thank you Russell… you know gazelles can hit 50mph?) but 6.8mph is not bad for me!  It may yet be a couple of weeks before I’m back on the Downs, but it’s entirely possible that there will be a couple more of these short runs in the meantime.