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?