Thursday, 24 April 2014

...and towards the GUCR
As I looked at dropping from the TP100 my final push was seeing a request for assistance from the XNRG who were looking for a Sweeper on 3-4 May 2014.

This race is a two event with runners and walkers covering 30 miles a day on each day. A previous message between (Coach) Gemma was:

"Good Morning Coach, I hope you are well and uninjured. I have decided not to attempt any part of the TP100 as the temptation to push myself is too prevalent. I have however put my services forward to run as Sweeper at the Pony Express on the same weekend to do a sedate 30 miles, would this be acceptable?"

"Absolutely. A leisurely paced run with occasional walk breaks won't tax you. As long as you rest a day or two before and recover well after absolutely fine. After that, it's all slowly tapering to GUCR. Well done on making an excellent decision regarding TP[100]. You have shown how much GUCR means to you."

So with this endorsement I was happy to drop out after first getting the confirmed response from Neil of XNRG.

To me this is perfect timing for me and mutually beneficial to both parties, I have also got it fully endorsed by the Delightful Mrs S who is really pleased as my daughter goes to University near the race and can have a day out together....WIN WIN

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

...and now the focus

As usual it took a little bit of "Me" time to really get the nagging thoughts in the back of my mind to the forefront and deal with it. Monday's run on the Downs was perfect allowing to go through some stuff in my head and view my priorities in my running calendar. The two big ones looming are:
  1. G.U.C.R
  2. Thames Path 100
Whilst #2 holds great memories and a wonderful challenge it was however originally entered in case my G.U.C.R entrance was not accepted via the ballot, as my Dear Readers know, I was successful and everything else became secondary. Such is the case I was planning to run just part of the TP100 and drop at about 40 miles. The runner in me bulked at this idea....
I have withdrawn from the TP100 with these words to the organisers:
"It is with a heavy heart that I am relinquishing my coveted TP100 race number for 2014. As some of you know I will be running the GUCR at the end of May and has been my goal race for over a year. I was planning to run part of the course as a training run and drop out but my heart was not in it if I did so. Sorry for the late drop."
All is not bad.....wait for tomorrow's instalment to see what is going on!!! 


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Catch Up

The blogs have been a bit few and far of late but it doesn't mean I haven't been out on the trail and roads doing what I like best...running.

The toe and foot are healing up nicely such that in the last 3 weeks I have run 2 full marathons and a nice hilly 20 mile trail run yesterday

Yesterday's 20 mile run was out of this world as I have been too long away from my beloved Vanguard and North Downs Ways. After a lovely day out with my family it was agreed that the Delightful Mrs S turf me out of the car around the Edenbridge area so that I could duck over a few fences and fields to the Vanguard Way and then travel North towards home. I was well organised but was taken aback by the weather which was a little hotter than expected but had taken into consideration places where I could grab water from taps along the way.

So perfect was my run that I saw nobody absolutely nobody for the first hour, a nod to a lone dog walker and then another hour of nobody until I stepped over the motorway and towards the outskirts of suburbia. As there was no pressure for time I took my time practising my long distance "ultra shuffle" so commented by people that gets me places and then power walked the escarpment pacing out towards home.

Whilst the weekday miles maybe dropping off I am really pleased with my volume of long runs and my consistency of recovery.

Things are looking up at last.

Monday, 14 April 2014

tropeR ecaR - nohtaraM ehT

The night of the run came and the logistics were set in stone catching the night bus to Trafalgar Square and the walk the short distance to The Houses of Parliament's Elizabeth Tower which holds the famous Big Ben.

Arriving at 3.25am I soon spotted a gaggle of runners bedecked in bright jackets and lycra, the plan was a 3.30 start and a 4.00am start, I chose the former as I didn't to keep a fast pace as I just wanted it to pace nicely and get set for the GUCR, I planned to be in Greenwich by 8.00am. I started with Nici, Kate, John, Claire, Emma, Ian and Stephen to gently pace our journey but not before a photographer jumped up and asked for a photograph asking why he explained that I was the organiser!! I quickly refuted this as it was ably done by others via Social Networks.

So excited as a bunch of 6 year old kids going on a school trip we traced the route of the London Marathon in reverse whooping, laughing and shouting out when we saw the marathon blue line painted on the road. It became very apparent that over the coming miles the night was very warmer, warmer than I was expecting so off came the windproof to finish off in just shirt sleeves. Such was the company and high jinx the miles flew by some runners being very conscience of their pace and using different techniques such as run 25, walk 5 minutes and whilst this works for some I ran the first 10 miles using this option but reverted back to my standard pacing feeling more comfortable but feeling good to experiment.

On arriving at Canary Wharf we found the route was not very well marked and the barriers not in place such that we took a wrong turning but took an extended detour to make up the miles to rejoin the route, a strange and eery place in the early hours. Once again the "photographer" leapt from the bushes and asked us to pose for some more pictures and we moved on, I felt happier for some reason leaving Canary Wharf, partly because it meant we were soon to get on Tower Bridge just over the half way mark. 

Arriving at the bridge I spotted a gaggle of runners crowded around Richard, our mobile checkpoint, this guy must be built with the strength of a mule for I am sure the ancient bridge was bowing under the weight of his spread of food and drinks, amazing. Moving on I took the rest of the run at my pace dropping some of the group and chasing others but savouring every moment watching the sun come up and the world around me wake up and people appearing from their front doors.

As I approached Greenwich I came aware of the masses of activity of water stations being stacked, barriers being pushed together and marshals blocking roads meaning the cars would soon be gone and I would have safe passage on the road. Turning around Cutty Sark yet again the "photographer" jumped out from behind a barrier and snapped a load of photos of me and waved me on my way, I went on I then saw my two running club friends Martin and Mike, a welcome face when you have been out for a few hours so I stopped for a brief chat before they went off about their marathon duties.

The last 6 miles flew by with fleeting conversations with passers by, marshals and Police Officers, the last 2 miles probably the hardest as it is all up hill but the idea of getting breakfast with the others spurred me on such that I glided to the entrance gate to Red Start on the Common at the wonderfully accurate time 8.03 am exactly 4 hours and 30 minutes from when I started, a scarily perfect paced run!

As I arrived I heard a shout "Jerry!" to see James, another nohtaraM ehT walking towards me and then another guy looking lost but we all joined together for the all important walk to the Cutty Sark cafe which had line side views of the marathon unfolding in front of 15 of us as we tucked in to our bacon rolls and full English breakfasts laughing and joking about our night time journeys.

A brilliant run and all the better after a gathering at the end....loved it

Thursday, 10 April 2014

nohtaraM ehT

A lot has happened since my last blog but things are looking better when we talk of foot injuries and my (secret) worries about TP100 and the GUCR. 

On Sunday I went for a short recovery run in my Monkey Feet, just a few miles, but on my return iced my toe and revelled in the fact that it felt great and training was back on track such that I ran 12 miles yesterday and 7 this evening.

Thursday sees me do a short track run and then on Saturday night.........................

nohtaraM ehT

I am VERY excited about this when a crowd of the ultra running community will meet at The Houses of Parliament, London at an allotted time to run the reverse route of the London Marathon to Greenwich self supported. A wonderful subversive, maverick group of people running the night for the sheer fun of it, I am so happy to be part of it.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Not the best idea

After running just over 3 miles to the track last night I had plan to do another 5 miles on it, however halfway through my second mile I felt my toe nagging me that it was uncomfortable and hurting a little...I stopped.

So today, with toe taped, I walked around the office bare foot much to the amusement of a few colleagues but it felt great such that I thought I would have a go with my Monkey Feet even if it was to just try them on.

This was probably the silliest thing I have done for a little while for whilst I pushed my little pinky into it toe cover and then put weight on my foot the pain was excruciating, every crease finding the right nerve end to pinch.

Needless to say they were thrown back in the corner and I am left irritated that this injury is going to take a little longer than I want.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Monday, 31 March 2014

Back to the road

I think that over the past week my ever patient friends and family were getting a bit bored with my continual updates about my toe, my metatarsal or general foot health. I chose to keep it down for a little while concentrating on ice therapy and keeping it protected by wearing my Merralls. Most important there was NO RUNNING.

Well I say no running....until the weekend when I ran the Buttons for Brathay Bells and Whistles race in Dover, Kent. This race promised to be a low key event comprising 16 laps of the seafront and pier, a tall order due to the flatness of the course and one that is very hard not to race.

I arrived with George at the appointed hour and after a very efficient registration  we were called to the start for a race briefing and sent on our way, not much to say about the course as we went backwards and forwards smiling and cheering each other as we passed. I was on fire and was running at pace such that if I had continued would have easily done a sub 4 hour marathon but at the halfway mark at 1:48 hours and very aware of the possibility of another marathon the next day I pulled right off the gas and took it very gently adding a minute to each mile so as not to push myself.

I soon discovered that the laps were not quite as expected and passed the 26.2 mile mark at 4.23 hours, not my fastest marathon but happy with a consistent run as I completed the 27.2 miles in just over 4.34 hours.

Finishing the race, I realised not all was well in the foot department so put some ice on it and rested it that night.

At 6.06am the next day I jumped from my bed, felt my foot hurting such that I made an almost instant decision not to run the second marathon and returned to my bed a little disappointed but not as disappointed as if I had to drop out of the GUCR due to a damaged beyond compare foot.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

My Lazarushian Moment

The announcement on Sunday mentioned "...Snap, Crackle, Pop..." the noise of one of the UK's favourite breakfast cereals, the pain excruciating and there were thoughts of no more running.

Sunday evening saw me limping around the house, packets of ice surrounding my foot in an elastic bandage, hot baths to get the blood flowing and then more ice, by late evening a bruise began to appear.

Monday morning arrived and now a brown bruise had spread across the top of my foot from metatarsal 3 to 5, compression socks added, a pair of sandals and my trusty right crutch used all day, foot raised during the day in the office, that night, again ice pack treatment.

Then today I awoke to discover that the foot was still swollen slightly but today I attacked it with a hot water bottle, sitting in my home office with my foot resting on it. Chores completed whilst wearing my Merralls and foot raised all this evening (no running club of course).

Now not wishing to raise my hopes too high I think I maybe OK for the weekend's runs, let's hope so.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Snap, Crackle and Pop

That, Dear Reader, was the noise my 5th metatarsal made this morning whilst running with a group of club members who were doing a reconnaissance of the London Marathon route. 

The plan was to run about 20 miles today, some would say too far the week before a double marathon but I was assured that the pace was to be very slow as there were some first timers in the group so I was happy to tag long to get some distance in with a speed comparable to ultramarathon pace.

The run was  going without problems, the weather pleasant and the conversation light as we navigated the bumpy and lumpy pavements of south London, in part I was preferring to run on the road as ironically I thought it safer than the said pavements. At about 11 miles I ducked into a petrol station due to a call to nature and told the others I would catch them up. So running after them along the road I quickly caught them up and was within 20 metres of them when I stepped up onto the pavement and by pure bad timing right onto a broken kerb stone which had its corner jutting up into the air. My toe hit the kerb forcing my little toe down and then with my momentum it was forced to the side and I felt a snap, crackle  and a POP stopping immediately whilst shouting "OUCH" very loudly.

As I have a habit of, I continued to run with the others but found my gait had changed to me preferring to run on my big toe (or 1st metatarsal) which did not bode well as I knew this could cause issues later on this week so at about 13 miles I bid my farewells to the other runners and hobbled off to London Bridge Station for a 10 minute journey to the nearest station to my car.


Later that day I visited the hospital and was told that I probably have got a small break and then again I may not. I may have a stress fracture and maybe I don't, I may also have damaged the tendons but then again they are not sure as "We don't treat or diagnose metatarsal injuries unless it is metatarsal 1" 

Told to rest, not wear my Monkey Feet and if I am in the need to run, strap it up and go carefully.

Friday, 21 March 2014

"That's Jerry, he does his own thing"

The time neared 7.30pm and I had made arrangements to meet a neighbour, Rob, for a lift to the running track but just as I was about to slip on my left Monkey Foot there was a knock at the front door and a ring of the bell. Thinking it was Rob I shuffled to the door to find the familiar face of Michael who was obviously in the middle of a run and was requesting a drink and company to the track. Ribena blackcurrant cordial thrust in hand he was soon dragged through the front door so that I could cancel my lift with Rob.

The next 25 minutes was taken at pace as we chatted and ran to the track via a few side roads and across the darkened park towards the bright lights of the track and the floodlit football pitches where Michael was to meet his son, this is where we left each other and I entered the track.

As usual there was a gathering at the 3,000 metre line, the Coach on the top step talking to his disciples informing them of their torture for the next hour. It was apparent that there were two coached tonight but as I was warmed up and ready I trundled out ahead of the speedsters and heard Mike say to his understudy "That's Jerry, he does his own thing"

The waves of runners passed me by, I on almost perfect 8 min/miles(5 min/kph) which I stuck at, after every 4 laps I had a 60 seconds break to then carry on, sometimes when I stopped I would hear Mike say "That's Jerry, he does his own thing"

Tonight I felt great, my running smooth, breathing was fine but have a niggle in my ankle and a toe. Overall made better by the impromptu arrival of Michael asking me to run to the track.

Monday, 17 March 2014

True Monkey Running in London

After my post on Saturday about my lack of motivation I looked out of my computer laboratory classroom later that day and basically said "Sod it, I am running" and so saying goodbye to my students I went to change into my kit.

Scuttling out into the hall, barefoot with Monkey Feet in my hands, I had planned to find a bench to sit at to put them on but t appeared all areas were taken up by students taking in the sunshine so I decided there and then to run, go for it as the weather was glorious, the pavement dry and I was looking forward to the chance of just running in bare feet for the sheer hell of it.

Today I had chosen to wear my union flag shorts out of necessity as my more conservative black pair were in the wash, this show of patriotism was met with smiles from the plethora of tourists on the streets of Soho and Covent Garden but it I soon saw a few point at me as they noticed my bare feet.

By the time I reached the South Bank I have to admit my feet were feeling a little sore but I was ecstatic to feel that I had just done what I had done but enough was enough when I put on my trusty Monkey Feet at the second mile to run the last 16 miles, have I told you that I love my Monkey Feet.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Grinding to a halt

Motivation is low at the moment and my running miles have reduced a lot which is probably down to the fact I am working 6 day weeks and part of the evenings as well.

When I have gone out for a run my performance is pretty good but I find myself slacking off not because I am not able to do it, it is just I can't be bothered a lot of the time.

Take last weekend, I was working in London on the Saturday at the university and was all kitted up to run back home, come 4.30pm I looked out of the window and decided then and there that I wasn't going to run and took the train home then opted out of a run on the Sunday as I was just too tired even to contemplate getting up early.

Today I am again kitted up and just have to drag myself out of the lab to get to the Thames Path and home.

I am not sure what my problem is (apart from the obvious tiredness) but emotionally I am trying to fight a downturn in my mood.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The IPhone compass test

I often hear runners entering long trail races that they are going to use electronic equipment such as a GPS tracker or an IPhone as a compass. Whilst the puritan in me bulks at this idea preferring the old fashioned compass I am a technophile  who is happy to use GPS equipment when necessary but be warned!

Ask the majority of users how an IPhone finds you they will tell you it is a clever satellite that can find you and there for work out your position on the Earth's surface but they do not realise it is the device itself that uses a magnetometer chip to calculate position using the Earth's magnetic field.

Look at the relevant work in that last sentence magnetic and now let us see what happens when you put a head torch next to it

By all means Dear Reader use your IPhone to navigate out there but remember they are as susceptible to magnets and electronic interference as their older counterpart the needle compass. 

Saturday, 8 March 2014

New Shoes

One of my pet hates on social media are the same old questions about the same old shoes. 

This may be an unpopular post for some but I do find that some runners get sucked into the advertising and see what looks like a really good shoe, bright, shiny, the nicest curve to the outer and then you see questions like this:

"...What do you think of the new Hokas..."
"...should I get the Altras..."
"...Mudclaw, gotta be Mudclaw..."

These "helpful" message splattered liberally by a runner fan and people buy them, all on the recommendation of an anonymous online user. I have no problem with people getting ideas and trying them out but I am of the adage of:

"Let the foot choose the shoe, not the shoe choosing the foot"

This really means that every shoe should be tried on and even if the latest "trendy" shoe was publicised by a Friend on Facebook only buy it when you know your foot shape and size really do work with the shoe. Just remember that for every 100 runners, there are 100 unique feet with unique gaits, weights and posture. I have seen horrific foot injuries caused by ill fitting shoes that have been untested ( I retract this when infection and injury take hold) but I do get worried when it was avoidable.

So today, after a gargantuan search from all ends of the internet I discovered and purchased what may possibly be the last pair of UK size 9.5, Kanadia TR4 male running shoes in the most disgusting green colour but at least these shoes fit be in all the right places and can get me 100 miles without blisters, let us hope these will give me good service that my previous pair have.  

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Grand Union Canal Recce

For a few weeks the plan has been that I was to do a 30 mile reconnaissance mission from Kings Langley to Little Venice along the Grand Union Canal, my running mate of choice was Gemma, my pal from many a race.

The late Friday message via Facebook was:

"See you tomorrow Jezza! We will wait probably just outside the main entrance of Paddington ... I think if we aim to start around the Trove (30miles out) that's a good bet- WD17 3TT." 

  The Day of the recce

Now on the 0559hrs train from my local station I sat there wondering if it had been a good idea having an Indian meal the night before and whether I should have worn my smock as the weather was pretty cool but miraculously dry and still. 

At Paddington, the well oiled worlds of Gemma and myself clashed when, as I stood at the main entrance I heard in a shrill voice "Jerry, JERRY, over here!" and there I saw them pull up in the car and I jumped in ready for the quick drive to the start point in Watford. In that short 20 minute drive I think every subject from mad pecking peacocks to house moves, pasta in tupperware and tennis lessons were covered leaving me with the thought of what Gemma and I were going to talk about during the next 5-6 hours! I was not to disappointed discovering that when we joined the canal path it was her turn to be called "Gemma, GEMMA, over here!" and there, just over 100 metres away was her parents gambolling down the path towards us on their morning walk!

The run starts

The Grand Union Canal was absolutely beautiful, mist rising from the water, the paths wet but easily navigable. I had noticed that Gemma, who wears the same 5 litre pack as me, was well padded out with extra kit and I had no doubt that after a few miles I would be carrying, hats, gloves, snood and arm warmers. I no longer grumble as I am so used to it when bits of kit get handed to me :-)

The next 10 miles went like a blur as we chatted and caught up on news that had happened in the past 7 months, when I say the two of us talk a lot, it is an understatement and we were seen laughing and jumping around the numerous muddy puddles. It was 5 miles into our run whilst Gemma was into a very in-depth story that she was shouted down by:


and with me jumping up and down in glee when I spotted the Springwell Lock Monkey, one of the more bizarre but iconic images on the canal. Even Gemma was taken aback by my antics but it was great to see it in the true light of day as I fear next time it will be in the dark as it will be 120 miles into the run.

 This mad moment set the theme of the run as ever so often when it went quiet or one of us hogged the conversation the other would shout "Monkey!"

As the run went on the topic of tactics, food needs, locations of pubs and taps were discussed and discovered. There were the usual trips and stumbles one where I tripped on a branch causing it to whip the back of my leg causing me to whelp ( I have a big red welt on my leg now) but there was nothing that was going to stop us today for we were strong, in great humour and determined our fitness showing through.

 Towards London

As the miles were eaten up we began to notice that the number of industrial and residential buildings increasing, the thoughts of Bulls Bridge in my mind, another iconic point where runners must turn left towards Paddington (see top image in report)

Although 17 miles in to the run we treated this as the halfway point to eat some food and enjoy the scenery.

We were off but for the first mile the path was a bit rough and I fear that footfall is less here but once we were over the worst the paths turned to solid gravel and concrete paths as we got closer to Perry Vale and Notting Hill. There is every point in a run when the moral dips and it was 22 miles for me when this mile just seemed to hang onto me and not change. I believe it was my little head getting confused and so I had a bite to eat and within minutes I was right as rain again, these are the small signals that I have got used to.

Gemma, has youth and experience on her side as her light step carried her ahead which was a great incentive for me as her back gave me something to aim for as we pounded out the miles. Her excellent knowledge of London evident when she told us the building to aim for as targets with distances and, as ever, a good story attached to it. Although separated by 10-50 metres we were in our own little worlds now as we focussed on our individual runs to then have a short walk break filled with the odd joke about how we seemed to have seen the same 2 swans the whole journey, always just ahead of us never behind!

The last mile

Having had 5 hours or so with countryside it is always a bit of a shock when in the last mile the city of London envelopes you like a sheet of glass, shadows and concrete. People appear from nowhere and where once there was an empty path you are dodging, people, bikes and pushchairs but up ahead, just around the corner we could spot the imaginary finish point of the run and ducked over the "line" as my Garmin clicked 30.05 miles.

Thoughts of of our run fresh in our head we strolled off to the coffee shop for a warm down and hot drink, very pleased with the run and absolutely loving the company of my trail buddy, Gemma  

Sunday, 23 February 2014

GUCR Race Planning

After a nasty trip on my 18 mile road run from London yesterday evening I have taken the opportunity to rest today but slightly irritated as I was planning to do a back to back.

Allowing no opportunity to be wasted I have spent some time this evening getting my GUCR race plan together along with post codes of check points, alternative stopping points along the way and predicted pace times (yeah right), the latter I know will go out of the window towards the end but can be a good guide to my now official support team, Gemma and Sam.

After my meeting at Profeet last Wednesday Gemma knocked me into shape with her very obvious expert planning skills which has made me up my game so to speak. Along with that talk and my visit to Birmingham the day after I am now highly motivated, a bloody nuisance that it came just before I knocked my foot, tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Ordinary People...

doing extraordinary things.

Wednesday evening saw a crowd of London based runners from the Long Distance community meet up in a running shop called Profeet who hold talks and lectures on interesting subjects in sport. Wednesday night was about The Spine in which competitors have 7 days to complete 268 miles of the entire Pennine Way from Edale to Scotland.

Duncan and I stood outside munching a cold sausage roll looking into the shop thinking it was still open for customers and he pointed out a lady looking at some running shoes mentioning that she was so obviously a runner by her physique, of course she was for that was Clare the first lady in the 2011 GUCR with some ridiculously fast time. We entered the shop and mingled with the other attendees, "Oh that is James, he ran across America" or "That is Allan, he ran 45 miles with a broken leg" were heard possibly to Duncan's amazement. In the cold light of day this does sound strange and on the edges of sanity to the uninitiated  but quite "normal" to the practised ultrarunner or endurance sports person.

The talk started with Gary and Allan telling us about race prep for such an ordeal, tales of injuries, friendship, cold, hunger and elation having to travel such a vast distance in winter conditions. The talk was sobering stuff with cautious tales of possible death by falling off ledges, sink holes  or hypothermia all scary stuff but totally awe enthralling.

After the talk it was time to go to the pub and catch up over a few ciders and meet new people. The picture above shows a fun picture of a lady who got frostbite during the Arrowhead race in America caused by the pressure caused by holding her poles. A morbid fascination took hold to hear about how it happened and realised that this lady was an amazing character, an eco-warrior and whom I passed in a 50km event when she decided that dragging a tyre behind her was a totally normal thing but when you heard that she was training for the North Pole marathon it did seem reasonable....or not!

So hearing these stories I have decided that running 147 miles at the GUCR is totally normal, isn't it?

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Epic Night Run

An invitation to Bhundu to go on a Night Run was met with the Facebook response:

"Great! I'm spending my evening knee deep in mud with a lunatic. Why oh why can't I have normal friends?"

I know these comments are in jest such that when I turn up to his house he is bedecked in night trail kit with leggings and triple layers with me feeling somewhat under dressed in shorts and my trusty OMM smock, the whole point of the run was to see if we could see the International Space Station pass over...the more important point was to go for a nice night run.

Arriving in Knockholt, we jumped from the car, clipped on our race vests (holding spare head torch, compass, map, phone and first aid kit), tightened our Vibram Five Finger Monkey Feet and ran up to the North Downs Way (NDW) and turned East. Within metres, Duncan and I were hooting with laughter, the mud riding over our Monkey Feet and us slopping and sliding through the mud.

Never under-estimate the NDW, the wind was blustery, the sparkle of rain in the torches, the mud just ridiculous in places such that looking for a path ahead was useless leaving us to navigate by memory and reading the terrain.

It was pretty obvious by 4 miles that the chance of seeing the Space Station was zero as the cloud rolled over but being who we are Duncan I stopped in an unknown field, somewhere near the 0 Meridian and watched a cloud point West and our necks set at 54 degrees and saw.......NOTHING.

Unperturbed we carried on, dipped off the NDW to run road telling him we were looking for an aptly named Monkey Puzzle tree for this was the marker for our return.

As is with these runs topics drift in and out from serious to plain bizarre, from work to wigs and wheelchairs, there are hoots of laughter and dredging of sad old memories. Ever so often a stoical barefoot runner is allowed to curse a clinker, there are hand signals, calls for caution and yelps of "Clear" all this through the misty spotlight of a head torch.

Path SR297
This is a staid designation to an OS map path just off the NDW, one that we decided to run at whim and when we say run we took it at pace a drop of 32 metres over 570 metres, not much normally, but in the current conditions, the ground soft, slippery, the added issue of fallen branches and the rain and wind we howled down the path with me talking to myself repeating "On ya toes Jerry, On ya toes Jerry, On ya toes Jerry..." and raised up on my toes allowing the Monkey Feet to find the way and then a joyful call to reduce the speed slowly to allow us to duck around a fallen tree safely to the road.....exhilarating is not the word, just FANTASTIC.

We returned, strong of heart and sinew, still regaling tales of cartwheeling cats and wigs thrust aside by a careering wheelchair.

Why the frog?
This is the little chap we met at the end of our run, caught in my headtorch who called out to be admired.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Tired...very tired

Sunday evening and I feel tired, very tired; the Delightful Mrs S shouted at me as I lay slumbering on the sofa to stop snoring, my sleep so deep that I bubbled out of my crazy dream dazed and confused.

Looking back at the reasons it becomes very clear:
6 days in a row at work with the addition of lecturing all day yesterday makes a 7 day week. Add into the mix that in the same period I have run 55 miles (89 km) and then a 300 mile (480 km) car drive today.

I am so pleased I have a week off now, one I plan to sleep, eat properly and when the mood takes me some good Monkey Runs on the North Downs. Hard work makes the down times fun.