An absence of mince pies

We were at a FAB party at Clive & Nat’s last night, during which time Pete & Cliff reminded me about the Mince Pie ten mile race this morning. Though I remember saying that I ‘might’ see them there, even then I was somewhat doubtful… I could list the reasons for my doubt, but it will make no difference since they will still harangue me for not turning up to compete!

Suffice to say that I wasn’t there this morning: I made it only as far as my folks’ place by the start time.

It had been raining all morning north of the Downs as I sat re-reading Michael Apter’s Reversal Theory, both reading and raining being factors in my considerable prevarication. However, in sight of the sea to the south of the both the Downs and the coastal ridge, the day was chilly and overcast but dry and optimistic… sufficiently so that I opted to wear shorts.

I had a vague thought about running to the finish line in Peacehaven, but I honestly didn’t feel that energetic, so I sufficed by running down to Rottingdean and along the Undercliff Walk to its easterly end at Saltdean.

The sea was heaving magnificently and I paused several times to take photos and then to take a longer video… which I would share with you if Google hadn’t bought YouTube and messed up my passwords in the process.

I then simply retraced my steps back up the hill to Woodingdean, all the while feeling guilty thinking about Pete, who would have competed having already run from Brighton and then, in the absence of my car, may well have had to run home again afterwards! Heck, he’s the one who should be writing the running blog!

I notice from the results sheet that out of a record 327 entries, Cliff came 95th (average speed 7.4mph) and Pete 66th (7.7mph).  Good show boys!

For me, around 7 miles took me 1.17 (5.45mph), but this included all the pauses for 21 photos and an almost three-minute video, so I was running a smidge faster… and comfortably so, even though I took the Falmer Road in a relaxed fashion.  After all, it wasn’t the day for racing!

There are only a few days left to submit your humorous incidents for the competition ahead of the deadline!  Though if I hear one more person claim they’ve not had the time to spend five minutes writing a few words and sending them to me, I’ll be forced to, er, sob… publically!

Et tu, beaut day

The LED starlights were out in force in the sky last night and that translated into a chilly but beautifully clear morning.  Apart from Thursday, where there might be a little rain, this is supposed to set the pattern for the week in the South, with some chilly nights but temperatures generally above average.

As I pounded away to relax my muscles after yesterday’s run, the temperature underfoot on the running machine was considerably hotter still.

I know this because I tend to run barefoot and having managed to get up to 7.5mph during my normal mile, I felt so comfortable that I continued on at that speed for a second mile too… the belt warming all the time!

So warm feet and two miles in 17.04.  Have a GREAT week peops!

Greyday chug down memory lane

Once again I tootled off to my parents house for my run, although having got absorbed in re-reading David Eagleman’s book Incognito, the Secret Lives of the Brain this morning, I was even later in starting out than last week.

Eagleman writes beautifully: ‘Your consciousness is like a tiny stowaway on a transatlantic steamship, taking credit for the journey without acknowledging the massive engineering underfoot’.  If ever there was a great Christmas present for someone who is curious about life, this is it!

I ran up the hill to the top of the village, delighted to see that at least one of the latest units on the old Sunblest Bakery site has been let… clearly to Reflex, the sports nutrition company… nice design guys!

Sunblest, with its neatly kept lawns, had been baking on the site for decades until the early 1990’s and I seem to remember that my eldest brother worked on the doughnut line whilst on break from university in the early 1970’s.  Legend has it that one of the permanent workers asked him what he was studying and when he replied Pure Physics, she said ‘how boring’.

The site slowly decayed from its closure in 1994 until 2002 when it was levelled for redevelopment and this year  (in fact last month!) is the first time that it has been a net visual asset to the village since then.

At the top of the village I turned left and ran across to Brighton Race Course before, on a whim, dropping down the steep steps to Bevendean.

My parents and elder siblings used to take this route to see my grandparents in Moulsecoomb  the 1960’s but unless it was in a pram, I don’t remember having been down here before… probably because my Dad was one of the first people in our street to get a car.

I followed my nose and ended up exiting onto Bear Road, giving me a great opportunity to run up at least the top part of one of the steeper main roads in Brighton.

Back on the racecourse I headed the mile and a half down Wilson’s Avenue to the Marina then turned left and ran down onto the Undercliff Walk.  It was a very different scene to last Sunday, not least since the tide was out.

At Ovingdean I ascended the cliff where I descended last week, the steps seeming somehow less dramatic approached from below.  I then ran up the valley to the church where my good friend Ric, who died in 2009, rests with a marvellous view up towards Woodingdean and down to the sea.

From the church I once again had a steep hill to climb to the ridge at the top of Ovingdean, which I then followed all the way up to Woodingdean Primary School.

When I was growing up there was only a pair of derelict houses next to the school, but my Mother was Chair of the Scout Group working party which erected the Scout hut, from memory in the very early 1970’s.  The group of parents first dismantled the building at it’s original site in Sunbury and then rebuilt it, much to the excitement of all the young scouts at the time.

Since then the derelict houses have also been reborn and the previously utilitarian school has had a neat pitched roof installed.

From the school I crossed the grazing land (which used to be a ploughed field) back to my folks place.  9 miles in 1.43 is a chug at 5.25mph, but to be fair there were a couple of steep hills and more than one pause while I paid my respects to the past.

With only two weeks to go to the deadline, I have but one entry to the competition, published on the Competition Stories page.  Bearing in mind that there are three £40 vouchers up for grabs, it could be well worth your while penning a few words and sending them to me.  I’d hate to have to send two of the vouchers back!