A week difference in colour

There have been days when I have gotten back from running completely frozen at the extremities and this was the expectation I had of today.  Looking at the photo below you can probably see why.

As much as anything it is amazing how the colour temperature changed between these photos and the ones last week, even though there was little difference in air temperature, both being in the low plus numbers.

From the comfort of a warm chair, reading, I thought I would go for a quick blast around through the woods and come back before my feet dropped off from cold, but it was so delightful running on the crunchy snow that, having crossed the Common, I headed for Ditchling.

Ten minutes into the run my foot went through thin ice into an ice cold puddle, up to my ankle… that certainly woke me up!  Although inadvertent, it was an excellent test of my trusty Thurlo woollen socks and remarkably, the socks warmed back up really quickly and I felt no ill-effect bar the initial shock.

Ten minutes later my path coincided with another runner, also heading towards Ditchling and those of you who have read my musings for a while will know how much I value these fortuitous encounters.  As on previous occasions, the runner, whose name turned out to be Adrian, was happy for me to tag along.

One of the reasons that I love running is that it’s a solitary pass-time which gives the brain time to ruminate whilst you focus on the relatively simple task of putting one foot in front of the other.  Another reason that I love it is for chance meetings such as this.

Experience has shown that other solitary people are generally pretty fascinating to chat to.   Running also provides a great low pressure framework within which to chat, allowing anything from an occasional word or observation right through to a continuous discussion.

This was towards the latter end and so immersed was I in the conversation that the run seemed effortless and I certainly didn’t notice the temperature.

We ran through the farms to Ditchling, down East End Lane and up past Sporting Cars to Underhill Lane.  Here the pull to run up the Beacon was strong for me, but I was enjoying the company so much that I gladly turned right along the lane instead.

We passed the Ditchling Beacon road, which was closed to traffic for obvious reasons and continued on, turning right to run into Keymer.

At the junction we turned right and then left onto the footpath and across the fields to Lodge Hill, and thence up to Oldlands Mill.

From there it was a lovely run down to Ockley Lane and back along Folders Lane towards where Adrian lives.

From where we parted it was an easy run back through the houses to home.

10.95 miles took me 1.52, 5.85mph and I returned feeling invigorated and with surprisingly warm fingers and toes, such that I stood outside for a while to stretch.

My thanks to Adrian for making the run so much more interesting… I hope that we get to run together again in the future.

Legs out

It is rare for me to get frustrated by something sufficiently to dis it online, but www.mapmyfitness.com has just spent half an hour winding me up.  I won’t go into all the gory details, but suffice to say that a site designed specifically for runners should have a map with footpaths on it.  This one doesn’t even have a reliable feed to a satellite map.  USELESS!

All I can tell you about yesterday’s run is that it took one hour 20 minutes and was probably longer than 8 miles.

Please can someone remind me to buy the two OS maps I need to see the land to the north of BH so that I never have to return to mapmyfitness?

Anyway, where was I before I was so rudely interrupted?

For the first time this year, my woolen Thurlo’s remained in the drawer, along with my longs and all my lovely cold weather gear.  In their place were Oakley’s, Pearl Izumi shorts and t-shirt and cotton Thurlo’s.  The warm weather had finally arrived.

I had lost track of time sitting relaxing and reading, so I had only a short window of opportunity to run, otherwise I would have sought to match a half marathon distance in lieu of not joining Cliff et al in Worthing (yes guys, I do feel guilty for not making it!).  Setting out, the going was initially hard work, but after twenty minutes or so I relaxed into the pace.

I had intended to stay within the confines of my map, but I get curious sometimes and so I found myself running north from Wivelsfield along the road to Haywards Heath looking for paths off to the right.  There were none, so I ended up on Colwell Lane again, where the mud was still in abundance, before dropping down through the woods and crossing to Spatham Lane… though I have no idea how, for the reasons mentioned above.

From there I ran south into Wivelsfield, straight down through the woods to the Royal Oak and on back to base.  Quite simply a glorious day to run and I look forward to hearing the times from the proper race.



Do I look crazy?

Yes, I guess I do, and as you know, I am!

I have to confess that the motivation to run came from Kim this morning.  I was contentedly supping on my quad-spresso this morning, tucked up in my reading chair with a truly excellent book (The Lost Village, by Richard Askwith – more of which later, I’m sure) when she announced that she was going for a run.  Despite the fact that she drove to the gym to do this, I still felt I couldn’t just sit there and relax.  Although it was a close run thing!

The only additional bits of kit that I took with me this morning were a neckie to keep my nose warm and Kim’s warm gloves, both of which were needed.  The other things that were very welcome were my Gore jacket (with only two layers underneath) which was toasty and my Thurlo woolen socks, without which my feet would have fallen off several times over the last few months.  The really great thing about the Thurlo’s is that even when you splash through a muddy puddle and your feet get an ice cold blast, they warm straight back up again.  Totally priceless!

So, the going was a little slippery on the pavement as I set out, but once I got out into the country the going was… a little more slippery still!  Not from the snow, you understand, but from the mud.  Oh glorious mud!  It rained a lot yesterday before it snowed today, so there was lots of it, with a covering of snow to disguise it for the unwary.  It even caught me out once or twice, giving me a good excuse to laugh out loud as the icy cold enveloped my feet!


My route this morning took me across the common, past the Royal Oak, up through Hundred Acre Woods, right across to the water tower, the railway and the then home.  Unusually, I met three other runners out enjoying the conditions… well two of them were anyway.  One lady was wearing her brand new trainers and was clinging to the foliage along the edge of the path in a vain attempt to keep them dry.  To be fair, she and her husband had run six miles and the trainers were no longer particularly clean, but there was a stark difference between her progress and mine, as I sploshed down the middle of the path!

Back across the common, the snow was in abundance, as can be seen in this short video video000a.mp4 (and note that it’s quite difficult to press the off button wearing gloves on cold hands) while beyond the water tower some snowmen and their dogs were out playing with the locals, which you don’t quite get to see ahead of me in this short video video001a.mp4.

It was a joy to be out in the weather and my run lasted one hour and five minutes. covering 6.4 miles… a speed of around 5.9mph or 10.15minute miles.  Ironically, about the same time and distance that Kim covered in the gym and strangely, she felt colder than I did by the time she got back!