Sunday, 24 September 2017

A Tiny Microadventure

How quick can a microadventure be? Is 8 hours enough, if it includes bivvying on the edge of a wood, going to sleep listening to owls, waking to a beautiful morning, cooking breakfast on a fire and wandering home in the solitude and peace of an early autumn morning? If that is enough, then I just had a great microadventure!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Dusk Running

The day's activities took longer than planned, the way they should at the weekend. Lounged a bit too long over coffee. Took a bit longer than expected before going out shopping. Lingered over lunch in a French cafe, enjoying the bread and the coffee. Didn't rush round the supermarket.

So it is already gone 4 and the light of the winter's day just starting to fade as I tighten my laces and head out into the chilly afternoon. No real plans on where to go as I set out except that it would be good to do at least 10 miles. I hesitate in the drive, pondering options, then turn right, the route almost planning itself from that simple choice. Out of the village, watching the dying rays of the sun peeping from behind the low cloud. I would go.up to the old drove road, under the motorway, loop south through the woods and then home via more woods and fields. All paths and tracks run a hundred times before, comfortable and welcoming in their familiarity as the post Christmas running routine re-establishes itself.

Gentle running, trying to keep my heart rate and breathing under control, up the long hill to the drove, then enjoying the long easy downhill on the hard ancient track. Fieldfares chackchacking from the hedges. A sparrowhawk looping ahead of me in the evening light. Landing in a tree and waiting for me before taking easy flight along the lane.

Climbing into the woods it starts to feel darker, I get the headtorch out of my bag, but I'm loath to switch it on yet, not wanting to impose its unnatural light on the grey winter dusk filtering into the trees and bushes. Owls start their company-seeking hoots, and I run quietly, feeling a part of the big wild outdoors, hardly seen in the gathering gloom.

The last few miles take me uphill, back towards the still glowing western sky, Venus shining so brightly that I feel that I am running by planetlight. Too dark to run without my torch, but I do it anyway, relying on the sky-reflecting warning of puddles and on sheer providence to avoid fallen branches and unseen holes.

The road back into the village is barely visible, but the narrow strip of light between the tall dark hedges leads me on until houses and warm front rooms appear. And I am home again.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Maffetone Style Training - Day 0

After a lot of thought and reading a lot of blogs, I have decided to try low intensity, long endurance training, as featured in Dr Phil Maffetone's advice and philosophy. (Much more on his website.) This morning, armed with a heart rate monitor and watch, I set out on an experimental run, just to see how it felt running at a low heart rate. I'll be starting the training proper after the OMM next weekend, so this was more of a trial run.  Here are a few thoughts....

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Looking Backwards and Forwards - The Ups and Downs of a Running Year

We are getting to the end of the running year, and I have been looking back on what was, in the end, not a very successful season. I have many happy and proud memories, but also regrets and disappointments.  I find myself looking back over a year of ups and downs (physical and emotional), shaking myself down, and looking forwards to next year, pondering how I can do it better.

Here are my thoughts....

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Stroud Trail Marathon - What We Learned in 26.4 Brutal Miles

A couple of days ago I ran the Stroud Trail Marathon, alongside my friend and running partner G, running her first marathon. It was hard. It was very hilly. It was the hottest May day for four years which meant it was very hard. We had trained well, but by mile 8 we both agreed that we were feeling more drained that we would usually feel at that distance, and by 15 miles I was definitely flagging.

But for us this wasn't just the challenge of running 26.4 hilly miles on a hot day (though it was definitely that!) It was also a step along the way towards Race to the Stones, a 100km ultra, which is a scant 9 weeks away, so this was also a training marathon and a learning marathon.

And here are a few things I (we) learned....

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Lessons from the OMM

Last week Pete and I went on our annual pilgrimage to whichever set of rainy mountains the OMM team pick. This year it was the Tweedsmuir Hills in the Scottish Borders, which was an area I had never visited.

We'd entered the "Medium Score" event, which is like a big orienteering event spread over many miles of mountains and moorland. As we crossed the start line we were given our maps, which showed the finish point for the day (and overnight camp) and many control points dotted around the area, with different numbers of points. We had six hours, carrying everything we needed for two days in the hills (tent, sleeping bag, clothes, food...) to get to the overnight camp, collecting as many points as we could manage. And then we'd do it all again the next day, with a new map and a new set of controls.

A short video of our exploits is here (although in reality we walked much more that the video suggests!)

This was our sixth mountain marathon, so you'd think we were getting the hang of it by now, but there is still plenty to learn.  Here's a few thoughts....

Monday, 3 August 2015

Big Bike Thing

For reasons that are lost in the mists of time (from about 4 months ago!) Kath and I are cycling to Plymouth to go to a wedding!

It seemed like a good idea when, sitting in a pub (inevitably!), we came up with the idea.  But then suddenly there was only two months to go and we were nowhere near ready!

I know to many people 200 miles is a good day's jaunt, but we had never cycled more than 20 miles before. So over the last couple of months we have trained (a bit) and got ourselves vaguely ready. This has luckily involved much gear buying, an activity in which I am something of an expert. Acquisitions have included a bike(!), racks, panniers, lights, lycra, locks, inner tubes and socks, and we finally have two road ready bikes to take us on our way.

We are setting off tomorrow to do 55 miles a day for four days, arriving in Plymouth on Friday evening.

Updates on Twitter #BigBikeThing.

Wish us luck.