Monday, 27 January 2014

January 27th

Great news today had a really good 5 mile run over Neroche woods, got a little wet with the sharp showers but nothing too harsh. Shin felt ok today as well, little background, but probably no more than usual, fingers crossed on that one.

BUT! The bad news was someone broke into my car in the car park, smashing the rear passenger side window – don’t know why as there was nothing on display and nothing in the boot!! I always remove everything – they were obviously taking a chance – all I have now is the hassle of getting it fixed along with the cost. Police informed and a nice PCSO woman came to see me, nothing they can do as nothing taken, but I hope they can keep an eye out as judging from fresh broken glass, mine was  not the first lately.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

January 21st  - January 26th 2014

Quite a good week with 4 days of Bikeability at 2 schools  2 cycle rides and 2 runs.Wednesday was my only day off this week, as it happened it was also one of the best days weather wise, as is usual on any day off a good walk down at the coast and a coffee, that is real coffee, made at home and using our Bodum insulated mugs in the van is always welcome, this time we managed to combine it with the weekly shop at Tesco at Seaton, lovely sunny morning with the waves crashing on the shingle beach making that lovely rushing sound each time it rolled back to meet the incoming waves.

Looking East down Seaton sea front [Jan 22nd]

Looking West towards Beer Head [Jan 22nd]

West and Beer Head [Jan 22nd]

Lunch was followed by a pleasant cycle ride out through Winsham , Drimpton, Broadwinsdor  climbing over Pilsdon Pen , roads were very wet but no floods, particularly Winsham where there was 2 feet of water flooding over from the River Axe on the previous week.  The climb over Pilsdon was quite with little traffic, views over Lewsdon hill and north towards Windwhistle hill were good, but! I was hit with a squally shower moving through Marshwod Vale as I crested the ‘col’  of Pilsdon, a quick stop at the top for water and a photo before descending at great speed down to Birsdsmoorgate, gutters were full of water with lots of debris in the road, horrible sounds from brake blocks on aluminium rims. A good view over Marshwood Vale with the sea in the distance to the left of Golden Cap, the highest peak on the South coast.

Climbing towards Pilsdon Pen the flat topped hill fort in the distance[ Jan 22nd]

A squally shower moves down Marshwood Vale, with sunshine following [ Jan 22nd]

A glimpse of the sea in the distance from Birdsmoorgate [Jan 22nd]

Back over Thorncombe and down past Forde Abbey, the road, fence  and surrounding fields past the Creamery at Chard Junction showed signs on extensive flooding that had now subsided.

An enjoyable ride home in pleasant winter sunshine, mild temperatures of 10 -12 degrees !! helping,  22.5 miles.

I managed another road run, be it a short 2.5 miles on Thursday evening, neoprene support in place and ice and massage when I got back. Still unsure how much ‘repair’ has taken place, as there was the dull ache as before. BUT! I am determined to build up slowly will increase the mileage to 4 miles next week, I will try to get in another off road run next week as I am only working 2 days.

Booked a few days in the Lake District in March before the ExAx run so will get a few hill walks in that should help [that’s walking not running, but it will be on big hills].

Saturday, another quick cycle ride over Winsham, as the roads around the levels are a little ‘wet’ , the ride was  shortened as black clouds loomed in the west and not wanting a soaking , turned off at Maudlin Cross to drop down to Forde Abbey and the Creamery. I managed to get back just as the first rain spots came, 13.5 miles at 13.5mph average, 1240 ft climbed.

Sunday forecast  was for ‘Armageddon weather’ again with gales and heavy rain, should be clear by lunch time, didn’t seem too bad, just a little heavy rain for a short time, don’t think the Met office know what really, just guess using their seaweed!!!
Logged on to the '' website today to try and keep track of eating and fitness, I need to lose the 6 pounds put on over Christmas. Seems quite good easy to use and really tests your honesty in what you really are eating and drinking! will see how it goes!!

Also squeezed in a 26.4 mile cycle ride with Mike in the afternoon, roads were very wet! down through Pudleigh, Crock street[which was officially closed, so we had to walk through the road works] through Horton, where we had a 'wetting' though it moved through quickly, on through Hatch Beauchamp, out towards, Curry Mallet and Fivehead [nice names for villages] much more water around here and the turn towards Isle Abbots crossing the Fivehead river had us cycling for 200 yards through flood water, fortunately below bottom bracket height, Ilton aerodrome windsock showed us we had a head wind back to Broadway and back over Crock street. a really nice ride, not too wet, but windy.
Now looking forward to a run tomorrow, off road at Neroche, particularly as Tim [my son] sent a text telling me he had run from Stroud to Churchdown along the Cotswold way 30 km in 4 hrs!!! I think I need to get training, as he is suggesting a repeat run on the 14th Feb with me in tow!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

21st January

Risked a short road run last night to make a start on my ExAx training, nice chilly dry evening. managed 2.5 miles around the town where I live, used compression socks hoping these might help with my shins, not sure whether they did or didn't. Shin did show signs of it not liking running on the road, so walked several times to alleviate some of the uncomfortable feeling, don't think its pain, but! it is uncomfortable. Will try another short run later in the week, sadly I cant get off road as four days Bikeability this week, so only dark evenings to train.

Monday, 20 January 2014

January 20th 

That's it, done it, committed myself, have entered the 20 mile Exe to Axe run on the 30th March. So a good goal to aim for to get back into running and being fit. I need to build gradually with jogs this week and increasing distance, not to panic  - there are enough weeks to prepare for the event. At least I will have my son Tim to run with, but! he is 6 ft 4 in and does 1 stride to my 2!!! I am really looking forward to it. No running or cycling over the weekend, a very wet day on Saturday and a visit to see grand daughter on Sunday, didn't leave enough time [no excuse I know!]

Another Bikeability course today - the children really enjoy riding bikes, sadly again most tell you that they have not been on their bikes in the last 6 months, sadly also, it shows in their skill level. Day  2 tomorrow usually moves them on in leeps and bounds. At least I managed to get some cycling in, be it on my Jango folding bike.

Friday, 17 January 2014

January 17th

5 mile run this morning, well more of a jog really as it took me 1hr and 4 mins!
A nice off road run in the sunshine over Neroche castle to Staple Hill car park and back, quite muddy/wet in places, but to be expected with all the rain we are having. A slow jog more than a run, a slight dull ache in the left shin, but not sure if that was me being over sensitive, will try for another run early next week, sadly it will be on the road due to work commitments. I hope this won’t undo any repairs that have taken place. Feel quite positive, but looking at last year’s mileage I ran 79 miles in January and cycled 207 mile, this year so far I have run 10 miles and cycled 98miles so got some work to do for end of March!!
Review: Wore my new Christmas pressy 'Asics Fuji Trail winter top' today nice bright colour in the sunshine, good to use thumb loops instead of gloves, comfortable material, with the 'wind proofish' front keeping the breeze at bay, according to 'blurb' its also supposed to be shower resistant, didn't use the pockets as I was using a 'bum bag' but handy and a good size for gels, gloves etc. High neck zip was good, cosy to start with and then nice to vent as I got warmer. Nice fit for a medium. So really pleased with it, already had a short sleeve which I really like.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

January 8th -16th

I can’t believe it’s over a week since updating my Blog, my intention was to update every few days, however, it reflects I have been busy over the last week so could never find the time/inclination to sit down and write something of interest.

I haven’t managed to do anymore running since my last outing, deciding to give the shins as long as possible, but! Must make an effort this evening or tomorrow to get out and ‘start again’ March the 30th Exe to Axe is getting nearer. I will never get the miles in to run a hard 20 miles along the coast and enjoy it, if I don’t start now. However, I have managed to get  out on my bike twice for two 30 mile trips out to look at the levels, [Hope photos will be below, if I manage to suss how to do it] With the Crock street road being shut, I was forced over the hills of Combe St Nicholas, from the top of the hill it was plain to see the ‘new sea’ that was  the Somerset levels, I risked going down through Ham village, an area that   floods quite often when there is very heavy sustained rain, but it was clear with ditches both sides full and the suspension bridge being inches from the water surface rather than the usual six feet! [see photo] I decided that North Curry was a no go so kept to high ground through Knapp, spectacular view of the flooded levels and on to Meare Green and Hatch Beauchamp. I also saw my first lambs of 2014 at Hatch Beauchamp[photo below] I was surprised to see over 2000ft of climbing on the  Garmin and indicating 1600cals + used, leaving space for more Christmas cake.

View from Knapp over Curry Moor
Suspension Bridge,Ham
View over Curry Moor from Knapp

New Lambs at Hatch Beauchamp

The week has also seen us taking advantage of the days in between the heavy showers to get  out in the Camper, giving it a good run by taking it over to Minehead for the day, nice walk along a deserted front and cheese fryit, chips and peas with bread and butter and pot of tea in the café [despite having a cooker in the van!! but I did make real coffee overlooking the sea] we followed this up 2 days later with a trip to Exmouth on a glorious Saturday, I have never seen Exmouth so busy making parking on the front difficult. The beach was full of dogs [and their owners!] all having a great time chasing balls and running in and out of the sea, plenty of children too, wrapped up, but making the most of the sunshine and  the beach to construct sandcastles. A lovely walk from the Orcombe Rocks end into Exmouth and back raised the appetite for French stick, cheese, tomato etc. washed down with large mugs of tea  - the advantages of a Campervan.

Also this week started back to work with a Bikeability course  at a Taunton school, we only got one heavy shower so were lucky, a great time was had by all, the children commenting how nice it is to go cycling for two full days – I have found in most cases children who come on our Bikeability do lack cycling experience and therefore confidence, but after 2 days of full on biking, they are all far more confident and competent cyclists, I just hope they keep it up and able to convince parents and carers to allow them out  on their bikes and continue cycling. The next few weeks are busy with Bikeability, I just hope the weather stays reasonable to give the children chance to experience the joy of being out and about on a bike. It’s amazing when standing at the side of the road what you see with motorists,[vans and lorries included]  mobile phone usage is common, as is speeding along with using inopportune moments to overtake an inexperienced group of children on bikes!! It’s quite interesting that the children really notice and comment on the actions of motorists. The bus drivers were very courteous and acknowledged what we were doing.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

January 3rd - 8th

Weather continues to be diabolical! but have managed 1 cycle ride and 1 run [first one of 2014] since last my last posting.

Cycle ride was an in between storms ride out over  Pilsdon Pen, however on getting to the railway bridge below Winsham it was clear I wasn’t going to complete my ride, the marker showed 2 feet of water running with a heavy current across the road , after watching 2 land rovers through it, that had ‘snorkel exhausts’ I decided that I would need a snorkel and flippers so returned back up the hill into Winsham to try the Ammerham road down to Forde Abbey, sadly this was also knee deep plus, so retracted yet again to  go past Leigh house and White gates, somewhat dryer, but never the less gutters full of running water – only 12 miles covered , but at least I got out.

After no Sunday morning cycle due once again to gales and heavy rain, I decided on Tuesday to cycle and perhaps get to Langport to meet the CTC at the Riverside cafe , but after reports on the local radio of flooded roads, I was unsure where I could go that wouldn’t  entail me riding through floodwater, particularly as Muchelney was now an island and the news said Langport was in imminent danger of flooding. The alternative was to give running a go! Not sure how my shin splints would react. I geared up with my neoprene support and headed for Neroche woods, good trails that don’t seem to get too muddy. I set off at a steady jog, very windy but no rain and surprisingly warm – down the steep hill from Neroche fort and out along the trail to Staple hill a really pleasant run, met a few well behaved dogs and their owners taking advantage of the break in the weather, a dull ache from my shin, but nothing to cause me worry. I managed the hill from Mt Fancy farm at a very slow jog before returning the same route back to Neroche – 4.97 miles, very pleased, time was irrelevant, really nice to get out on the hills again, my shin was a little achy but I felt it went ok. Not sure if support helped, better safe than sorry. Now looking forward to a run early next week, off road again, think I am on the mend J so hopeful to enter the Exe to Axe after all. If I can continue to cycle as well it might take the pressure off a little.

Trip down to Seaton this morning before some work on the computer this afternoon,   to look at the damage caused by the storms, gives the van a run out and a chance for a coffee overlooking the sea. Surprising very little damage, stones on the prom but none in the road. A nice walk before driving back in the rain! Noticed the van is getting a little green in places from standing on the drive, will have to get my big brush out !


Friday, 3 January 2014

January 2nd

Today’s weather was a distinct change from yesterday’s stormy weather, very wet and very windy. Nice bright sunny start to the day and quite mild at 9 degrees, a morning trip down to  Lyme Regis a walk down through town and out along the Cobb, still quite busy with families after the festive break. Very warm in the sunshine, and the sea wasn't too rough, although there were a couple on surfboards, I don’t think the waves were anything to surf, I think it was more for posing to the few people  watching!

Yeh! First cycle ride of the year, only an afternoon 25 mile road ride around the lanes of South Somerset. Started off under a big blue sky, but clouds gathered from the west as the afternoon went on ready for the evening/overnight storm that was forecast, the roads  showed signs of wear from all the rain, potholes starting to get bigger, lots of debris on the roads with  lots of big puddles and a few flooded roads that took ‘half pedaling’ to stop getting wet feet! But, my mate Mike didn't quite make it without wet feet! Several horse riders out, a twitchy pony at one point had us pinned against the hedge, until its rider managed to get it under control, the cheek of it was, the dog accompanying started having a good old bark at us, things you meet down country lanes, but no harm done to man or beast!!. The ride finished with the appearance of rain drops on my glasses, the start of another very wet and windy night – the Sunday ride is not looking promising, but you never know it might not be as bad as forecast – stay positive.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

January 1st 2014

My first Blog! Why! Its January the 1st and seems like a good idea to get things down in a diary. Set a couple of challenges and then use the Blog to make sure I complete them.

Thinking about what I did and didn’t do last year I cycled approximately 500 miles less that 2012 [3000] and ran 110 miles less [600] and didn’t get away to the Lakes or Wales for my mountain fix as much as I had hoped, but I did several new Fell runs which were great, the 5 tors on Bodmin Moor in April was good, freezing cold but a smashing route and the Minehead ‘stumble’ a good run over Exmoor, must try the ‘Stagger’  this year up to Dunkery Beacon and finally the ‘Dorset 3 Peaks’ or better known as the ‘Stickler’ a good 10 mile outing over 3 very large hills. Cycling wise, haven’t spent enough time on my mountain bike, insufficient visits to Exmoor or the Quantocks, but a good day out on the hottest day of the year on the ‘Verderers’ trail in the FOD. Road cycling  only rode 2 Audaxes  and they were both in the New Forest.

But! As they say look forward not back, difficult as I sit here with a pain in my left shin! That’s stopped me running for the last few weeks, never had before but came on in my training for the 10 mile Rough and Tumble in January, I think it will be a DNS, shame as I was going well. As I didn’t manage to get in the Grizzly Cub run this year I was hoping to make the Exe to Axe at the end of march and 20 mile slog along the south coast several big climbs, will see how the ‘shins’ go over the next couple of weeks before committing to entering.

Now Christmas and New year are over, its time to think about how I will move the 5 pounds I have put on over the festive period – lots of cycling miles me thinks, as running is out of the question. Mind the weather today has been atrocious with wind and rain and looks set to continue for several more days yet – at least we are not snowed in or roads heavily iced up. I have several Bikeability courses at schools  to do in January so hope the weather is not too extreme, children may not notice the cold but I do!

Also need to plan the summer with the Campervan, where will we go this year? A trip down the westcoast  of France down past Caucasson to the Med and perhaps back up via the Alps 1000 miles +. But hopefully a start to the campervan season might be the lakes in March.