Running Free

Spring arrived suddenly and in full force this weekend, as if someone upstairs had finally got fed up with being cold or wet and turned the thermostat up.  Bravo!

Yesterday I got outside and mowed the grass, cut the grass on the green and generally sorted out some stuff in the garden, which meant that this morning I could relax and enjoy the view.

By late morning I had sipped my way through three quadspressos whilst sitting on the deck in the warm Spring sunshine and had finished the first three chapters of Running Free by Richard Askwith.  I had found his previous books (Feet in the Clouds and Lost Village) particularly thought provoking and have to say that I’m already completely hooked on this one!


Inspired the the warmth and the day and of the writing, I decided I needed to run outside… but where?  Of all the options, one instantly stood out and it involved dropping in on my parents.

When I was growing up, there was a big field between the end of our road and the school that I went to.  I can remember a few occasions when I ran across the field and they all involve getting my bare legs ‘burned’ by the tall cereal crop… serves me right!


Over the last few years the field has been turned into a quasi public space and I really enjoyed running across it to get to the path that runs down the ridge towards the sea.


Having spent the winter months running inside, the simple views were particularly amazing and I soon found myself passing Rottingdean windmill.

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Down on the Undercliff walk there were throngs of people, all looking happy and slightly dazed by the sudden transition out of Winter and there were even a few people sitting on the beach.  I ran along as far as Ovingdean, jogged up the 60 or so stairs and took the road back inland.

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At Ovingdean church I paused to pay my respects to a very dear friend who is perpetually stuck at 44 years old, whilst the rest of us have to cope with the effects of increasing age.  Not a bad place to see out eternity, though my sense is that, for all its faults, life is way more interesting!

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I had been tiring as I ran towards the church, but the few minutes it took me to wash the dust off his gravestone gave me renewed energy and I ran easily up the steep road back to the ridge path.

The route back from there was a real breeze and I was soon back at the stile at the top of the grassy field looking back the way I had come.


Excluding my pause, six miles took me 1.10, giving an average just over 5 mph… nothing compared to my pace on the machine, but then the views and the fresh air are a great trade-off.

I’m sure that we’re due a little more bad weather before the good weather settles in, but at least my depleted reserves of sunshine, sea views and fresh air have been topped up in the meantime!

Clean car

After a busy and interesting week, I hit the pause button this weekend.  My Mum & Dad had sent me a book about three men driving across England in a 1958 milk float so I deliberately put aside some time to really get started on their journey.

It was also another of the 50th birthday parties, this time Steve’s, so we spent a lovely evening catching up with old friends.  Bizarrely, some guests, Rick & Sam, recognised us from Nick(aka the Bok)’s fancy dress party several years ago (well, we were dressed fairly conspicuously as monks) and it transpired that they are also good friends with Daren.  Separately, Maria’s parents know my Mum… I forget how small the world is, or maybe how well connected my Mum is!


It being the 1st March, the Kojo was evicted from it’s hibernation in the teahouse and I’ve already seen a bee making good use of its blossom.  I was tempted to do more gardening but the ground is still too sodden to make it an appealing prospect.  Instead I turned my attention to the cars… unwashed since last year.

Despite living outside, Kim’s car was not too dirty on account that I sluice the water off the top half of it each morning.  This is ostensibly to make it easy for her to see out of the windows, but it also means that it looks fairly clean despite not having been washed.  The inside was a different matter though, as the cherry tree came back in it the other weekend.

My car was caked, inside and out, the final icing (right colour, right texture) being the mud from my run with Daren last week.  I actually really like cleaning cars and I worked happily outside for more than two hours washing and hoovering… and then went back out there again today to put a coat of polish on my car while it’s still clean.


My run today was back inside on the machine again and really only counts as ‘keeping my hand in until the weather warms up a little more’.  I started at 7 mph and raised the speed by 0.5 mph each quarter mile for the first mile and then just repeated this for a further three miles.  In the last quarter mile I ramped the speed up a little more and completed 4 miles in 31.01, an average of 7.73 mph.

This week I started some little experiments to figure out how I could utilise a new social media platform called Niume.  It’s a young London-based start-up (which I like) and the idea is not so much to connect people as to connect ideas in the form of conversations (which I also like).

My FosterRuns experiment on niume is a relaxed conversational circle for occasional runners and my hope is that some of my readers here will feel more inclined to engage in dialogue in that environment.  There are also many more interesting conversations going on there, so it’s worth taking a peek.