Saturday, 14 December 2019

A Catch Up

Apologies for the long absence. Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging I guess. We've been doing all the usual things chez CT: dogs, running, walking etc. L has started uni (Medieval History, like his ma before him) and is enjoying the new-found freedom and different work ethic that studying for a degree involves. It suits him I think in a way school never did. J has graduated with her foreign languages degree and is doing various part-time jobs while she looks for something more permanent and career-based, and F is doing his dissertation on flint tools, getting the unsuspecting public to test them out (not on each other). Ted is well but has stopped running (still walks miles though) and Pop has been accompanying me on various runs throughout the year as per.

We had a trip to the lakes at the start of November: walked up Coniston Old Man in the pouring rain, did the waterfalls at Ambleside, Beatrix Potter's farm and a long run over Striding Edge and Hellvelyn in a howling gale, biting rain and zero visibility, making it a far hardier and scarier experience than it needed to have been. We also did Whinlatter parkrun, which has the greatest elevation of all the parkruns in England. Three miles through a forest on a mountain-side. It was beautiful.

On a less nice theme, my car got broken in to while I was walking the dogs around the Mottisfont estate. I've parked in that spot for years and never had a problem, but this time got back to find the rear window smashed. They'd taken an old bag of running kit so good luck making any money out of that. It cost £95 to get it fixed and delayed the start of our holiday to the Lakes, but more worrying was the impact of the broken glass on the local wildlife as it had gone everywhere. We returned with dustpan and brush and tried to get it all up. I happen to know a stoat raises her family close by so I was concerned to clear it all away. 

On to nicer things. In November we returned to one of our favourite races of the year- the Avebury8 Nine, a nine mile ish cross country run round the ancient landscape of Avebury. It was incredibly muddy in places and the route had to be changed to avoid flooded fields at the end but the event is so friendly and hearty and everyone involved with it is so nice we always have a ball there.

After Avebury it was also a return trip to the CTS Lulworth races in the first weekend of December. I had an ultra the next day so was on cheer-leading duty for M and friends of ours. The countryside really is something else down there, although I got told off for walking ten miles over cliffs the day before an ultra by M later. It was worth it for the views and at least it woke my legs up!

The final hill on the 17 mile half marathon (!) was fierce- M was the only person I saw running up it. The pic above is the gentle incline before the real hill hit!

The following morning we were up early again but heading east into the Surrey Hills instead of west for me to run the Hurtwood 50k. We started running in daylight at 9:45 and I finished in the dark at 17:00. It was the most fun and I loved it, apart from the first 6 miles which were tough- through quite uninspiring (for me) countryside and my stomach was playing up too. Luckily I have enough experience now to know that how things feel at one point in a long run has very little to do with how they will feel later, so I dug deep, gritted my teeth, kept eating and drinking, and, once I'd reached 8 miles in everything settled down and the rest of the run was super.  
As often happens, I met some lovely people and ended up running the last 12 miles with Richard from Cornwall, who had been attempting to complete an ultra for the past 4 races and each time for various reasons had had to pull out. This was my second ultra this year, and I've also done 5 marathons since June, so I was taking it slowly and suggested to Richard we stick together and get each other round, which is what we did. Running back through ancient woodland as it got dark was magic, and in the end we ran 32 miles which is my furthest yet. Richard was absolutely thrilled to finally finish his first ultra marathon and sent me a lovely message the next morning saying thank you for keeping him going through the low points and rough bits.

18 miles in

Leith Tower

Aid station for refuelling

One of my friends who is also a member of the Hares sent me this afterwards which made me smile...

I'm having a break from long distance for a few months in preparation for some bigger run goals next year, so it's back to enjoying pottering about the lanes and fields and forests with Pop, who has made friends with the piglet family in the forest. When they were small and squeaky she really wasn't at all sure about them- they'd all come rushing over enthusiastically to see her at the same time and she'd practically climb my leg to get away - but now they're all the same size, if not bigger than she is, she loves them.... 

We are still doing the odd shorter race too of course. Last weekend it was the Hog's back 11k at the Loselely Estate near Guildford which we did with some of the Hares. The Strava map afterwards was shaped like a pig. Brilliant!

I think that's more or less everything caught up with. I'm off to make some beeswax lipbalm as Christmas presents and the mincemeat for the mincepies before we get the tree this afternoon.

I'll leave you with Ted helping L write an essay on the Peasant's Revolt. 

And studying the book shelves while considering what to read next...He is a Very Learned Dog :o).

Hope all are well?



  1. It's so lovely to see a post from you today, I'd been wondering how you were. Great to see all is well in your little part of the world and your running goes from strength to strength. I'm pleased to say that I'm managing get out running more regularly now and finally feeling stronger (and less stodgy) for it.
    It seems strange seeing familiar surroundings on one of your posts and I'm sorry you were treated to some typical Lake District weather.
    And I'm sorry you had the rotten experience of your car being broken into. I'm not sure the opportunist will be happy with their haul, however. X

    1. Hello! It must be weird to see the Lakes on CTales. We had such a lovely time when we were there the weather wasn't really a problem. Lots of waterproofs and hearty pub dinners! x

    2. I thought the same as Jules - unusual to see "our" local landscape on your blog :-) Especially Whinlatter, which we can see from here.
      Very sorry to read about your car, and incredibly envious of L. studying Med. History.

      Not surprising you haven't had time to blog -just the thought a 50K run makes me come over all exhausted.

      Solstice blessings to you and yours, and especially Ted and Pop. xx 🐾🐶💚

  2. There you are! 😃 Glad to hear that you've been careening over some spectacular scenery and are none the worse for the experience.

    1. Aren't we lucky to have such magnificent land on our doorsteps, so to speak?

  3. Hello! Long time no see! I love that last photo. Well done on all the running. I'm so sorry that your car was broken into. Look on the bright side, when my friend's car was broken into they added insult to injury by urinating through the broken window! Glad that all is going well with the brood - both furry and otherwise! xx

    1. Oh my goodness! Your poor friend. That's just so horrid. They obviously had far too much time on their hands :o(. Karma will be heading their way. xx

  4. A post to enjoy :) Gorgeous photos of the Lakes despite the weather. High on my list of places to visit and climb. Lovely to see pops and the pigs and Ted too. Very learned. Good to hear all your family are doing well.
    Amazing that you were out running all day. I’m totally in awe. I’m intrigued to hear what next year’s plans are. Long distances for sure. Hope the Peasants revolt essay goes well and as for testing flints...what can I say! Have a lovely weekend. B x

  5. Lovely to find your post today packed full with gorgeous photos and lots of news. So glad all is well and that you're having a great time. x

  6. What a coincidence, I was just thinking about you this morning. And I've just seen friends of mine trying a run with their cockapoo. They do love to smell all of the things though, so it wasn't going particularly quickly. The lakes look wonderful, I have been there a couple of times in November and it's glorious. Somewhere I would like to go again soon in fact. Well done on all the running, and lovely to see Ted and Poppy. CJ xx

  7. A learned dog indeed :-)

    Lovely to find a running mate for a few long and difficult miles to keep one another going. Runners are a nice bunch, I see it weekly when I drop my kids off at their running club and when I take James to a cross country race. Very supportive and encouraging.

    Have a really love Christmas time x

  8. Lovely to hear from you again- it sounds like you have been making the most of getting into the beautiful outdoors. Have a lovely Christmas!

  9. Oh my goodness, what a marvelous blog. I truly enjoyed your photography. It was a mini vacation for me . . . blogging is my only way to travel on the budget that I have. Your newest follower, Connie :)

  10. Great selection of photos especially the Lake District ones. I liked the pub sign. Best wishes for 2020. I did an Austrian race on New Year's Eve and was officially 30th Lady to finish which I thought was pretty good for a mere man ;-) prosit!


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