A very Nietzche-esque thing to do

If there is one thing that running teaches you, it is perseverance.  I thought this as I walked home on Friday night with three heavy bags of shopping, stopping only once to answer my mobile.  And I thought it again this morning as I ran off down the road aiming for a slightly longer than normal run.

Which is why I started off at a sensible pace, one that neither Nick nor Cliff can run at: slow!

I headed out to Oldlands Mill, but then rather than take the Ditchling route I turned right and dropped down into Hassocks, running through the back-streets to the station.  In an attempt to find some new paths I ended up running down more back-streets before emerging to the south of the village and running to Clayton at the base of the Downs.

Here the path takes the scarp slope head on and I engaged low gear and kept running as far as Jack & Jill.  Recognising that I normally walk across the car-park before carrying on up the hill (effectively breaking the hill into two) I decided just to keep going for a change.  I might not have stopped, but I have to confess to having had a little help… in the form of a couple of jelly babies.  Well, two at the bottom of the hill and two more at the very top to be exact.

I then ran across to Ditchling Beacon and whilst I had loosely planning to continue running towards Lewes, something caught my eye.  It was a group of three people contemplating a matched pair of barbed wire fences in the corner of a field.  I stopped to offer assistance, although since two of them were in their elegant seventies, I guess that they weren’t about to take me up on my offer.

Agreeing that the best way for them to go was back the way they had come, I then took the path in front of me which lead all the way down to Westmeston.  But on reaching Westmeston, a strange thought occurred to me, worthy of Cliff or Pete.  Why not run back up the hill?  

I was all out of reasons so I headed back aloft, taking the path goes pretty much directly from the bottom to the top.  At the top I chatted briefly to the group who had also made it back to the safety of the stile, before I headed off back towards the Beacon.  Nietzche would have been proud!

I took the path down before the road, but half way down my sense of curiosity took me off to the left from normal, across up-slope from a house with a tennis court to the beacon road and down to the car park at the bottom of the hill.  Here I turned left along Underhill Lane and then right onto the path that leads to Ditchling.  The village now boasts two tree-houses of which I am envious.  One is clearly for children, bearing in mind the assault course that enables them to get down.  The other, apparently, was designed with adults in mind… taking G&T’s on the deck looked like a very appealing prospect.

I ran up Lodge Hill and back via Oldlands Mill, feeling that I was finishing at pretty much the same pace that I started… still slow, but not quite fading, although that might have been something to do with another four or six jelly babies which I had callously chewed.  Overall the time was two hours, 34 minutes for 14.7 miles… a mere 5.72 mph.

However m’lud, I would like to introduce some mitigating circumstances: the time as I left the Beacon was 1 hour 45 and the speed up to that point, including two scarp climbs, was 5.35mph.  The 5.3 miles home from there was dispatched in 49 minutes… 6.5mph.  Still slow by comparison to the boys, but not that slow!

And I did have some additional weight to carry.

Civic pride

It was such a glorious morning and there was ice on all the cars so I dressed warm for a short run.  The first thing that hit me when I went out into the sun was how warm it was.  Odd really, as whilst all the shady parts were slippery with ice or crunchy underfoot, everywhere else had that look of Spring having arrived.  And the depth of the mud attested to how unfrozen it was!

Still knackered from my Friday run and from refurbing all week, I fancied a short, unhurried run around town.  I quickly revised my intentions when I realised how slippery the shaded pavements were, so I headed for a more forgiving surface… mud is always slippery!

I ran out towards Keymer  and then round to the South of the town by Tesco’s.  There was a rumour of a path being created so that people could walk right around the outside of the new perimeter road and a few months ago I managed to get lost whilst trying to discover where it went.  That was August and uncertain whether the local Council acts quickly or slowly in these matters, I decided to try again.

The path has certainly been extended, but only as far as Gatehouse Lane, but I persevered by trying to get around the back of St Pauls School again, to no avail again.  Chastened by the memories of getting caught astride a barbed wire fence last time, I sheepishly retraced my steps and ran along the rest of the perimeter road.

I continued through Sheddingdean Industrial Estate.  I think it is such a shame when an estate such as this, with some excellent companies such as Sussex Sport KTM and the wonderful Earthworks, has so little self esteem as to allow an age old and decrepit sign to herald the entrance.  Far worse still, it’s one of the first things that visitors see as they enter Burgess Hill.  If anyone from Burgess Hill Town Council reads this and wants to understand how a few small (and inexpensive) changes might make a large difference to the feel of the town, please get in touch!

Beyond that, I ran past Burgess Hill Football Club ground and on through the tunnel to Valebridge Road. Here I was tempted to run through the twitten and up to Ote Hall, but to be honest, I was knackered, so I ran back up Junction Road instead.

In all I was out for one hour twenty minutes, covering about 7.4 miles at a sedate 5.55mph.  I’m not sure where the boundary between short run and long run is, but it sure felt like the latter!

The day has turned grey now, so I’m really glad that I made the effort while the sun shone… and my Oakley’s were happy to get a breath of fresh New Year air too!