Sunday, 31 January 2016

Good weeks running but enthusiasm not so great on Saturday!

31st January 2016

I sorted out my running kit on Friday evening ready for a quick early start on Saturday, a long run on the coast from Seaton a good 11 miles plus! The weather forecast said it was going to be heavy rain and high winds overnight but clearing by dawn, but! As always seems the case, someone forgot to tell the weather! So up early, out of the door by 7:00 am taking the van as a changing room when I got back. As I drove up the lane the windscreen showed signs of fine drizzle, and the van buffeted by high winds, it was not looking good. As I got nearer Axminster the rain got heavier, my enthusiasm started to wain and I did start to wonder if it was worth it, but hung in there, hoping it would be ok in Seaton, it wasn’t still pouring down. I decided to delay parking up on the front and put Diesel in at Tesco whilst it was still 97p a litre. As I filled the tank the blustery NW wind was bitterly cold, luckily by the time I had filled the tank the rain had almost stopped.

At this point I started to feel less than enthusiastic about starting from Seaton as it was very open and I would run straight into the wind [and rain] so went onto Seaton Hole which was much more sheltered. Gloves, hat, buff van locked, watch set, the rain had stopped and I was sheltered from the wind, I set off and walked up the steep hill to the cliffs that separate Seaton Hole from Beer, my enthusiasm was in question once again and I told myself I would run to Beer Head and back! At least!!  Down into a deserted Beer, the Anchor inn in the centre was all lit up ready for their guests breakfast, I noted one couple in the window, having breakfast in the warm dry comfort of the Hotel, but I felt smug as they looked out and saw me running past, in just over a months time the village will be full of spectators for the Grizzly. Up the hill to Beer Head car park, and out onto the open tracks across the fields, still hard work and I told myself that I would go down to Branscombe then come back along the beach [Mind Games!!!] very muddy and slippery in places, the wind was increasing as I approached Beer head making it very cold and hard work as it was a head wind, across the top and down through Sea Side once again, taking care in the mud, my speedcross threes giving good grip. Across the car park at Branscombe,  decision time, the rain had stopped and the wind dropped I was feeling a little more enthusiastic so made myself go on rather than shortcutting back along the beach, and yet another steep climb up from  sea level, up the steps and along the ridge, again big muddy puddles to dodge, I was actually starting to enjoy it, [but felt tired and it was hard work today, mind games once again!! ] before descending down to the Fountain Inn, turn right or left? One route goes over a steep muddy track, the other a tarmac road down back to Branscombe, I took [made myself]  the left one, having trouble with a very rickety gate to get on the bridleway, the path over the top was very muddy but finally I hit the road that leads down to the school in the village, the wind now had all but dropped, and the rain had now given way to broken skies and was very pleasant, particularly as I had now warmed up [ after 6 miles!] and feeling more optimistic, I noticed three more runners ahead as I ran down to the beach in Branscombe, their bright Hi vis tops standing out against the black and grey of the winter landscape.

I noted that they took the option to cross the river by wading across to get to the beach; I took the easy route and went up and over the field in the dry.
I soon caught them up, three young women, clearly all training for the Grizzly, and like me finding the beach hard work, I jogged past them as they, one by one resorted to walking, I carried on running after a cheery ‘morning’ and ‘this beach is hard work’ all I got in return was ‘morning’ I managed to run the whole length of the beach, I think it’s easier on the shingle as you don’t sink in quite as much. As I got to the beach exit they were strung out, two waking and one running several hundred yards behind me, fair play to them, at least they were out!

Up the stairway to heaven and back along the cliffs to drop down to Beer, a slight tailwind assisted, no sign of any dog walkers again this morning, up the last climb out of Beer, walking this time, I ran it last time, before the final descent to the van and coffee at Seaton Hole.

9.1 miles in 2 hrs 1 minute! Pace of 13.42 with 1550ft of climbing, up and down the cliffs from Sea level etc. which is slower than before, but given my lack of motivation and enthusiasm, combined with the very muddy and slippery conditions was ok, but! it was less than I had planned , I had hoped for 12 miles + today as only a month away and the furthest I have run is 11 miles, got to get up to at least 18 to make the Grizzly a ‘pleasant ‘ experience and make sure I get round!!!
Only cycling this week was the two days of Bikeability, where the weather gods shone on us and we didn’t get wet!  We cycled probably around 12 miles over the two days, around Somerton the capital of Wessex, a lovely little town, the children were well behaved and all but a couple managed to get their level two, the ones that didn’t clearly needing more practice just riding a bike. My other cycling was the two Spinning classes, which were hard work and I seem to struggle to get my heart rate above 75 – 78% only reaching 80%+ occasionally. My kettlebells, I have upped my weight from 4 kg to 5 kg, I did notice a difference, I also think it’s helping with my hill climbing, as I seem to have a little more strength in my legs.
I was hoping to get out this morning but its very wet and windy out there so a quick text to Mike to say, abandoned again for this week, I have my timesheets to fill in for Bikeability!!!

I must try to get a good cycle ride in this week, I don’t want to lose cycling fitness as there are a couple of Audax events soon after the Grizzly run, I also think I have decided that the Grizzly will be my last running event until the late summer/Autumn, so forgetting the Ex to Ax this year. My aim will be to do a 200k event and ensure I also get a 100 mile event as well.

Finally, our daughter’s birthday today, a grand age of 31! Time flies, we are off out for a Carvery lunch [even though we don’t eat meat] so looking foraward to that.
96 miles run and 195 miles cycled this month with 32 miles run this week. A good start to 2016.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

10 mile run

26th January 2016

Yesterday [ Monday], I was out the door by 9:00am for a run as the weather forecast was for rain later, sadly no one told the weather so was soon in a very fine drizzle or very low cloud, I am not sure which!

It was a road run, following on from my previous days efforts on the off road coast run of 9 miles - my intention was for 10 miles giving me a good 19 miles over the two days close together.
I headed up Snowden Hill and into the lanes around Chard in Somerset, very mucky with the tractors in and out of the fields and where the road dipped  big puddles that had to be carefully negotiated to avoid wet feet. I was soon round the lanes and into the circuit of the local reservoir and nature reserve, which was very peaceful, fortunately dogs are not allowed in!! my last couple of miles again were up hill and into a head wind, I had taken an ISO drink and was surprised to see it all gone by the 8th mile. 

10.04 miles and 604 feet of climbing at a 10 minute pace, slightly slower than the last time I ran the route which was 9:53 pace [ only seconds I know!]

Today was spent with readers at the Primary school, and now the rain and wind are beating the window as storm 'Jonah' takes hold. Spinning this evening but doubt I will get out tomorrow as weather forecast is for the storm to continue.
Then Bikeability Thursday and Friday.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

A good week running but bad for my heating!

24th  January 2016

A strange week weather wise, icy cold one minute the next [today] back to 12 degrees!!
shouldn't  grumble though, at least it keeps the heating bills down, AND!! we were told last Friday we need a new boiler so looking at £3k to complete the job, its working at the moment but! I have to top up the expansion tank pressure with my bike pump, just got to wait for the quotes, so hope it stays mild.

Back to Running and biking, I decided to meet the Blackmore Vale CTC at a local cafe on Thursday morning, given the  weather didn't look too bad and they were doing a circuit of 52 miles around our area. I calculated they would be at a local coffee shop by 10:15 at the latest so cycled out to meet them there, being first , I could get my coffee easily, £2.98p for a large latte! I thought it would last till they got here, given I had only brought £5 with me, so couldn't afford another, I didn't even have any cake! I waited until 10 :55 coffee mug empty and getting looks from the staff etc. so I decided to go on, and cycle on my own, I did 32 miles and finished off as always riding in the rain, so another cycle ride in the wet, the last three have been the same, always waiting till I get the furthest from home! I don't know where the BV lot got too, may have had a mechanical or puncture I suppose, and as there was no phone signal at the cafe could not phone anyone to check, or maybe they were just late, I will wait until I get the newsletter to find out??

Saturday saw us spending the day with our wonderful grandchildren in Gloucester, a great time had by all, but a horrid drive home in the pouring rain.

Early, Sunday saw me heading south to Seaton Hole to continue my quest for fitness, a very muggy, murky, foggy morning with the fog thickest on the cliff tops as I ran over Beer head, very mild though and no wind. I saw one person with a yappy dog in Branscombe for the whole of my 9.1 miles, I even found a new bit of the Grizzly route which took me over a further hill making it 1700 ft of ascent, I felt ok today and even ran the last bit from Beer over to Seaton Hole, which I cant remember running before, it was all very muddy under foot and very slippery in places, still I really enjoyed the run and not feeling too bad on finishing, raised my motivation levels.
Couple of days Bikeability this week, but should get a couple of runs in, my plan is for a good 10 mile road run tomorrow and perhaps Wednesday, and combining a run or cycle with my Kettle bells or spinning seems to work quite well I am hoping the Kettle bells is now starting to pay off with building up my strength a little.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

A frosty run along the coast

20th January 2016

The thermometer in the lounge said it was -2.5c outside and on the radio Somerset Sound was reporting temperatures across the county down to – 7 c!
The pink glow of Dawn started to appear over Windwhistle hill giving signs it was to be a beautiful if very cold day. Mrs Ian B was disappearing off to Yeovil early for a Hair appointment early so I was outside in my dressing gown defrosting the car and the van.

Having waved her off by 8:00am I prepared for a long run down on the coast, I made up a Tailwind energy drink and rolled 6 marzipan balls for a snack, my intention was for a 10 – 12 mile run on the Grizzly course. I also took along a coffee in my flask along with a piece of Christmas cake for when I finished I decided it would be needed.

I took the van this morning, rather than changing outside when I got back after the run. The roads down to Seaton were very icy in places, particularly where water had run off the fields, Somerset and Devon are not best known for their gritting on icy mornings!!! The drive down was stunning with fields covered in frost, I decided I would risk running from Seaton this morning, and parked on the seafront [free of charge this time of year] as it happens very close to the start and finish of the Grizzly.
I kitted up with 2 longsleeved layers, a helly vest and my Asics winter trail top which is wind proof at the front, my tights, compression socks, Salamon Fellraiser shoes, topped off with a buff to keep draughts out and a hat and thin fleece gloves. It was very cold when I set off along the front, well below freezing, still dogwalkers were out!
I jogged up the first hill and went through the park, looking back Seaton looked almost continental, in the sunshine. It was then a road slog before descending down to Seaton Hole and the start of the real climbing, I was reduced to a walk up the very steep path to the top of the cliffs that separate Seaton and Beer, but it was a spectacular views this morning in the 

View back from cliffs above Seaton, I took my camera, but the battery was flat so these 2 taken on my phone!!

sunshine and a pleasant run down into Beer, normally very bustling in summer with visitors, but not today, the only visitor was me. Another climb up to Beer Head and the coastguard station [ex] I was very surprised to find the mud and turf all frozen and hard to run on, making it awkward in places as the mud had frozen in ridges where others had  walked, twisting my feet, I couldn’t decide if it was better or worse, I met one dog walker as I approached the summit, both agreeing it was a cracking day to be up there. The fields atop of Beer Head were white with frost and as I started to descend down to Branscombe mouth the view up the valley, showed it very white where I was to run later. The descent was easier today, normally very steep and slippery with mud, the path exits at a place called ‘seaside’ very appropriate, no signs of any cattle, clearly the farmers keeping them in for winter.

                                         View down into Branscombe, fields white with frost

The sea was gently crashing on to the shingle [ sounds daft gently crashing! But it was non violent] as I started my next ascent up from Branscombe, again another walk and time for my first snack, 3 marzipan balls. I was just comfortable with the heat, hot, but not too hot, the run along the ridge was very pleasant, good views down to Branscombe with its frosty white thatched cottages and fields, I descended down through the woods, noticing the bluebell/ garlic shoots already poking through for the spring, I hit the road at the Fountains Inn at Street, and turned sharp right to run down the valley road back to Branscombe, I still had not seen anyone since Beer Head, the steep road down into Branscombe past the national Trust blacksmith was very icy and I found myself walking careful to avoid ending up on my back!!!

The run from the road down to the Mouth is really nice, sadly it comes to a halt when I have to decide, Seaside ascent, Undercliff, straight assault or the dreaded beach!!! I opted for the beach as that’s the route of the Grizzly approximately threequarters of a mile, a very hard run on moving shingle, I tried walking and running and found, running seemed easier as you didn’t sink in so much, even so it was a good 10 minutes of hard work before picking up the undercliff path that leads to the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and the top of the cliffs. The beach was very beautiful this morning, empty, only the sound of the sea on shingle for company. I soon found myself at the bottom of the StH after a muddy track to the start. I walked as always, but didn’t feel too bad, and soon reached the top. Time for a snack and drink before the final 4 miles back. The mud was now starting to soften underfoot, making me more careful where I placed my feet. I ran down into Beer and it was still deserted, and started my climb out up the steps, I find steps really difficult, these were no exception. Down to Seaton Hole again and the final push along the road back through the park and down the hill to the van and the finish, my calf muscle was now starting to pull a little and I did feel a little tired, but overall thought the 11.3 miles and 1880 ft of ascent went well, less than 2.5 hours , a pace of 12.5 mins a mile, not the fastest, but another building block in my preparation, the calf muscle is a worry as it has caused some discomfort before, feeling as though the muscle will go into spasm!!

The front at Seaton was now quite busy and I was pleased I had the van as a changing room, finishing off with coffee and Christmas cake !!!!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

contrasting days


Saturday [yesterday] was a beautiful day, chilly, but not too cold after a heavy frost, so it was down to Sidmouth and a visit to the White Horse for lunch, but!!! it was shut for annual maintenance. Neither of us fancied anywhere else so we came home for lunch after a lovely walk along the font, and coffee in our flasks, sat on the shingle at the Jacobs ladder end of the resort. The sea was very calm and virtually no surf. Although the piles of shingle around did indicate it had been very rough. 

The afternoon I was able to get out for a long run and although it would have been nice to go off road I decided that staying local would save a drive! so I headed up Snowden Hill and round the lanes, still very muddy and wet in places, the sun continued to shine, and being very low in the sky, it was still very chilly. after the lanes it was round the local reservoir, many dogs and owners about as it was a nice day, fortunately dogs are not allowed on the path next to the water, because of the wildlife. I felt good as I ran and the last couple of miles seem to go well arriving home after covering 10.10 miles at an average pace of 9.53 mins and mile, I don't suppose that's a brilliant time, but for me its miles in the legs!! it was still light when I got home at 5:00 pm so the evenings are starting to draw out already, roll on spring!!

I expected to see a heavy frost on Sunday morning, but the outside thermometer said 5 degrees C I was thinking I would go for a cycle ride in the afternoon, when the frost cleared, but! as it wasn't and the forecast was for a cloudy but dry morning I kitted up for a ride at 9:00 and headed over towards Martock - then!!! as I descended into the village there was a fine rain, which I wasn't expecting, not enough to wet [yet] but annoying, I continued on thinking it would stop, but it didn't and as I got to Muchelney, it was much worse, but as I was the furthest point on my ride I decided to continue, getting wetter and wetter, I made the decision to bail out before Hatch Beauchamp and head for home, I didn't put my waterproof on as I had my Gore softshell, but my gloves were now starting to leak making my hands chill, my feet were still ok, despite all the puddles and rubbish n the road, my Shimano Goretex boots, still seeming to work after about 5 years of winter wear. 

As I headed back through Ilton, the rain got worse and I was starting to get chilly, and then I got to Crock street and heard the bleet of what sound like very young lambs, and it was, a field had sheep with their lambs at their sides, the first I have seen this year, and very early, not good weather for the young lambs to be entering the world. I plodded on home, stopping briefly for a ceral bar as it was a good four hours since breakfast. 
38 miles covered this morning and I am pleased to say, it was a good job I went out this morning as the rain is heavier this afternoon, despite the forecast giving no rain for the day, just thick cloud!!!
Anyway, a good finish to the week with 27.5 miles run and 42 miles cycled add in my spin session and kettlebells, a good weeks training, I just wish I would see a difference, I dont appear to be any better, go further, or feel less tired when I finish, I wonder what I am doing wrong, I keep telling my self, 65 in just over a month so not doing too badly, and cant expect to be the same as 20 years ago or make the same rapid progress. but! will I be able to do a 100k audax at the end of February and will I be able to complete the 20 mile Grizzly run with all the hills and bogs!!!

Friday, 15 January 2016

2 weeks nearer Grizzly and a break in Bournemouth

16th January 2016-01-16

The year rolls on its now only 2 months to The Grizzly, I am managing to run 8 miles a couple of times a week and continue with Spinning and Kettle bells, cycling has not been great with only one ride a week, the weather has been very wet and windy turning very cold earlier this week.

I did my Seaton Hole to Fountains Inn and return over the beach at Branscombe last Monday morning, a beautiful fresh morning, 9 miles covered and 1200 feet of climbing, not to mention the dreaded beach!!! The sun shone and the temperature just right for running, I saw very few people and felt ok at the end, coffee and Christmas cake welcome. I was pleased and it was my first off road run for sometime.

Thursday saw me and Mrs Ian B driving over to Bournemouth for a short stay in the Travel lodge on Westcliffe in Bournemouth, it was in a great position on the cliff tops, it was nice to walk down to the pier etc, even though there was a chilly NW wind. It was also our eldest sons 37th birthday!! As he lives near Wimborne, we were able to celebrate by meeting him and his wife and M in Law for a Mexican meal, a pleasant evening was had by all, even if we ate too much. Friday was a beautiful day once again; a lovely day spent round Bournemouth and a visit to Christchurch, and the Priory.

If I can run today it will be 24 miles running this week but only 40 miles cycled – I need to try to keep up the miles and increase over the next couple of weeks, hamstring still niggles though.

Another very cold day and the boiler once again seems to be about to cause problems, not keeping its pressure and I seem unable to top it up, hey, ho! Just when the weather is freezing, I have to hope I can keep it going until it warms up and get a plumber out! 

Sunday, 3 January 2016

First run of the year

3rd January 2016

It never seems to get any easier, you would think that as I ran a half marathon in October and been running at least twice a week approx 5/6 miles each time that running would be easier!! but no, I went out yesterday afternoon and after 8.57 miles at an average pace of 10.02 mins/mile  it was hard! as ever!! I admit it did rain really hard after the first couple of miles and I battled round lanes that I had to edge round very large floods! and then to finish off 2 miles into the wind and uphill.

I just wonder sometimes why it never seems to get easier, and no I am no quicker either?

Anyway that is  the first run of the new year, given I got very wet and its pouring down this morning and gale force winds I was pleased I got out. 

Not sure if it will clear sufficiently to get out for a short [25 mile]  cycle ride today ?

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!
January 1st 2016
Well I did manage 2 runs between Christmas and New Year [ total 9.3 miles] + I did a kettle bells session on Wednesday evening, which wasn’t as bad as thought it would be putting on a few pounds since Christmas day. This now brings my totals for the year as 602.7 miles run and 3370.7 miles cycled, I am pleased with this as I did cycle more miles this year than last year. But! I ran 10 miles less?


Event wise I probably did a similar amount of off road running trail races and same amount of Audaxes although I did ride the ‘Round the Isle of Wight ‘ event this year as well. Injury wise done well, except some current niggles, but have noticed I get the ‘niggles’ in the winter?? I was hoping starting doing the kettlebells weights might help with ‘core ‘strength [that’s what the books and magazines say anyway!
I have not managed to get as much fell walking in this year even though we did get away twice to the Lakes, but no welsh trip this year[ must make it a priority for the spring].
The campervan has not seen as many nights this year either, seemed to be a combination of work, wrong weather, twins arrival etc. but perhaps they are excuses? So again must be a priority this year to get away more in the van.
My cycling/running plans for the year are similar to last year, the Grizzly big run this year [20 miles instead of 9 miles] on March 13th followed by Ex to Ax again, 22 miles and many feet of ascent! In early April then it should be back to cycling again for the early Audaxes down in the New Forest or maybe the Dunkery Dash 100k on Exmoor if it doesn’t clash with Grizzly and perhaps the round the island again in early May , I might even have a go at the ‘Eroica’ in June if I can get a decent retro bike to ride  100miles on round the Peak district. This then followed by ‘Charmouth Challenge’ fell run on the coast in July, have missed that for last two years so would be nice to do again. Then its ‘Here Path half’ and ‘Minehead Stumble’ again in the Autumn.  I enjoyed the events this year, not too many to become onerous, enough to keep motivated, and not too expensive, which is why I don’t ride Sportives [£30 + a time compared with £15 (includes Tee shirt usually) for a run and £6 for an Audax].
I will keep up my spinning classes twice a week along with Kettlebells early into the year.

We managed to get out to Seaton this morning for a walk on the front for  coffee and Christmas cake  in the van with our new Grandma and Grandad engraved mugs, however, the sea was very rough with a high tide and  strong wind blowing it onshore, [photo later if I can down load] much debris on the sea front and the noise of the sea very load as it hit the shingle with a crash and sucked it all back down the beach.[seems strange we will be running along it in 73 days time!] It was also starting to rain and the weather forecast is for gale force winds and heavy rain to increase so think we are in for a rough time later today.

                                           Grey, bleak and windswept seafront at Seaton,Devon

The house seems very quiet since the grandchildren went home, we need to think more seriously about moving house, so I expect that on the agenda for March time, but! Where we will move to I am unsure, it will be the coast but where? Sidmouth, Seaton, Exmouth, Burnham on Sea or Weston Supermare???

Anyway, a Happy New Year to anyone reading this Blog, I don’t appear to have followers and I never get comments, but the statistics show someone reads it as far away as Ukraine!!!  I do hope you find it interesting, it’s really a personal diary to keep me motivated to keep fit, this now is in its third year!!! [ birthday today I think!] put together to train for Ex to Ax run , and maybe I need to enter again this year [ even though I found it very hard and said I wouldn’t do it again] I will make a decision mid January.

Bikeability starts again next week with a small group of six at a local school, I hope the weather improves, I also intend to cut back on time spent on this to give more time to get away and cycle, hill walk etc.
Well that’s the first blog post of 2016 I must also add more photos !!!!! I have reset my spread sheet for cycle/ run mileage so look forward to adding my first miles to that [if it ever stops raining long enough?] got to run more than 66 miles and cycle more than 246 miles this month to beat last year.

Thanks for reading