Sunday, 24 August 2014

Blackberries, biking and a dress rehearsal in the rain!

Sunday 17th  August

I was up early and out the door for a 4.85 mile run around the town then followed a day with our grand daughter in Gloucester which was a wonderful day we managed to get out for a walk up to the park where the Blackberries were an attraction for GD after swings, slides and roundabout. We spent sometime setting free ‘fairies’ from the thistle plants around the park  and running up and down the many hillocks in the park. Tim decided to give another youngster a run for his money on the BMX track by running around it with GD in the Pushchair, much to her excitement! We were able to finish off with an ice cream at the park gates that was helpful in encouraging GD back into her pushchair for the walk home. Traffic on the motorway was light compared to previous days.

Monday 18th August

7 miles on my Neroche run keeping my heart rate down to maintain a steady pace averaging 130 bpm the max was 164. But the pace was only 11.23 mins per mile, a little disappointing.

Tuesday 19th August

Another early start and I managed to be up at Lydyeard Hill carpark on the Quantocks by 7:0 am, I was worried on the way as the rain hammered away at the windscreen until I got to Taunton when I seemed to drive out of the rain band into bright sunshine, so by the time I was parking up there was no sign of rain and there was brilliant clear sunshine, but a cold northerly wind. Only car in the CP again! Exmoor ponies were crowding round the gate on entry to the open moorland. As I jogged around Lydyeard hill the views across the hills were very clear, deer on the opposite hillside, and the sharp shadows of the trees creating patterns across the hillside.
The run upto Will Neck had me breathing heavy but managing to keep my heart rate down, I needed to keep the pace steady as I was hoping to cover 12 miles + today. The road across the hills near Crowcombe Park Gate was busy with commuters, the path runs parallel for a short time, I did wonder if they were envious of me being out in the sunshine or thinking I was bonkers to be out at that time running!
The highlight of my run was over Thorncombe Hill when I had Exmoor ponies running on one side and a small group of deer running alongside on the other, I was in the middle, a magical moment, the deer crossed my path and bounded off through the purple haze of the heather.
At Bicknoller post it was time for my return run, I had a handful of jelly beans [a new trial to find out if they are good as exercise food] a swig of ISO drink, I was pleased as the return run was accompanied with a tail wind. I was feeling ok the only discomfort was the stony ground, so I tried where possible to run on the grass verge of the main track.
The pull up to Wills Necks was hard and I did walk for a short time to keep the heart rate down. The sun was still shining and as I got back to the car park, cars were arriving disgorging dogs excited at the freedom. Coffee and flapjack before I drove home, 12.3 miles covered, very pleased, the only discomfort was sore feet, but no sign of blisters. Heart rate remained steady at 130 average and maximum 149. Pace of 11.49 mins per mile, still not high but at least I know I can run for 13 miles!!

Wednesday 20th August

A beautiful day had us on Woodbury Common with plastic boxes to pick blackberries. We parked overlooking the fantastic view over the Exe estuary, reminding us of our cycle ride the previous week, Hay Tor could be seen on the distant hills as well as the M5 crossing of the Exe There were lots of berries close to hand and it didn’t take us too long to fill boxes with enough fruit to make several jars of blackberry jelly! Coffee followed with cheese straws, to accompany the views and warm sunshine, the only car in the car park except for a builders van who decided to empty it all out to put all back again, I cant believe he had all that in the van, he was still working on it as we drove out of the car park to go home!

Thursday 21st August a bike ride in Dorset

Starting from Dave Ps house in West Coker there was a distinct chill to the air, so much so that my riding partners both had long cycling tights on!, I felt distinctly underdressed, Dave W even had long fingered gloves on. I decided to soldier on believing riding I would warm up. It was a planned 40 +mile ride across to Hazelbury Bryan for coffee and cake visiting some pleasant parts of Dorset.
We were soon climbing up to Baily Ridge after passing through Barwick and the pretty village of Yetminster, the hill meant our breathing levels increased, well mine and Dave W, Dave P being ultra fit hardly broke sweat!!
 It was on through Holwell, where Dave P point out the oldest post box in England, a very nice Victorian example before the village of King Stag. The countryside was outstanding with rolling hills, many trees, many with apples around their base having been removed by the weather a few weeks ago.
The villages were typically Dorset, beautiful old cottages, the roads and villages very quiet, ‘way out in the sticks’ the largest town Dorchester being a good 15 -20 miles away. The weather showed a distinct possibility it would rain on us with low black clouds looming from the north.
 Hazelbury Bryan soon arrived so at least we would be saved for the time we were in the café – coffee and cake all round at the ‘Time after Thyme’ café, very nice it was too! After a lengthy chat where we were able to solve all the worlds’ problems over coffee it was time to go!
As we headed back towards West Coker over Brockhampton Green we had a few spots of rain, we feared a soaking that never happened, but the cloud was dark and low making it cold, and the light very poor, fortunately DaveW had a bright rear LED light, very useful.
We descended a steep hill from Hermitage and back through Leigh to bring us back to Yetminster and back through the cutely named Ryme Intrinsica before passing Sutton Bingham and the last climb of the day a steep one back to East Coker before arriving back at Dave Ps house.

A fantastic ride around Dorset 41miles covered, lovely scenery, very quiet roads, shame about the weather although we didn’t get wet! But it was cold :(

Saturday 23rd August a Quantocks run! And dress rehearsal for the ‘Beast’
I was on the road by 5.45 am determined to get an early start for my final long run before the even next week, I decided on the Quantocks again as its undulating along the ridge and I could see how I was going over terrain I had run twice before in the previous week. My aim was at least 12 miles.

I was dressed in my ‘costume’ that I intended to wear next week, a sleeve less vest, my orange Asics Trail jersey with my cycling arm warmers, my OMM 3/4  tights, ultra wool socks, slightly thicker than the ones I usually wear to see if it helped the sore feet and of course my Salomon Fell Raiser shoes. I took my small Hilly belt and bottle with ISO, food I took 2 Zip blackcurrent gels [with caffeine] and 6 marzipan balls. I was hoping this would be my dress rehearsal for next week, however with one eye on safety I took my Montane pertex top and a buff [very useful as it happened!!!!!] and my mobile phone.
It was a beautiful morning with clear blue skies again giving fantastic views around Lydyeard hill. The pull up Wills Neck went well, great views from the top, but! Heavy black clouds gathering over the Bristol Channel from the direction of Wales. My heart rate was good along with a good pace, the usual route round to Dead Womans ditch, the sunshine as I ran up to Dead Womans directly in my eyes, irritating, but lovely with it. The hills looked beautiful in the early morning sunshine, dew still on the grass and some mists sitting in the valleys, creating a magical scene. As I headed past Hurley Beacon there was another runner, being led by her Springer spaniel, a quick wave and ‘morning’ and on to Bicknoller.
3 marbles and a drink, 7 miles covered and the turn back to run along the ridge. As I approached Crowcombe, I had my gel just as spots of rain were starting to fall, I was hoping I would reach the main ridge to be under the trees to give shelter. By the time I got to Triscombe the rain was heavy, I stopped under the trees and put my Buff on as a hat, deciding not to put on my coat. I ran out and up Wills Neck, the rain now very, very heavy – I continued on, the trail now running with water, as I passed the Trig point and went down the other side, I had to skip to avoid the large puddle now forming and the rivers of red coloured water rushing down the hill. The rain was not giving up!! In fact it was now heavier, as I entered the trees I decided to shelter as the rain was now torrential, after a few minutes it eased slightly so I continued, around Lydyeard hill to finish just as the rain stopped. The car park had now filled and MTB riders preparing to ride off, little did they know the trails were now very, very wet! and muddy. 12.94 miles covered with a reasonable pace of 11.04 mins per mile. Heart rate was slightly up 146 av and 162 max, 2hrs 23 mins which I was happy with for next week – the ascent was 1007 feet just below the climbing for next week. I was also pleased it rained, good preparation.
Overall a good dress rehearsal run, food worked well and I think the gel worked, I did feel better on the last part of the run. This was my last planned longer run, my intention is to do a couple of short 3-4 mile runs in the week along with a cycle ride.

Sunday 24th August

44 miles on a cycle ride over Athelney way with Mike, weather was cool but there was no wind making an easier ride. It was the Langport road 10k, lots of runners warming up for their task. A steady ride pleasantly warm when the sun came out, no coffee stop this morning.

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