United Kingdom
Monday 9th May 2022

I don't suppose you care all that much, but I apologise for not writing a blog for almost five months!

In February I travelled with my family to Scotland, staying in what could only be described as a mansion in Ayrshire. It was an enjoyable trip, mostly because I've never really spent time in Scotland before. I got to see some of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and I enjoyed walking and running in Ayrshire. It was good to see family, some of which I haven't seen for more than a decade.

The view from Arthurs Seat in Edinburgh
Auchinleck house, a mansion!

In April I ran my first proper road race since early 2019. I entered the Brighton 10km with high hopes of finishing with a very comfortable personal best. The fastest I had ever run ten kilometres before this race was 44 minutes, and I hoped to run this in 39 minutes - a significant improvement! I had a perfect run; I finished the race in 38 minutes and 57 seconds! The weather was lovely and cool, the course flat and I was in great fitness. This year (excluding May) is focused on road running for me - I have a local 10km road race planned for June, a road half marathon in Birmingham in August and the London marathon in October. The latter two I hope to personal best in.

Proudly wearing the Brighton 10km finished medal with a new PB!

In the last week I travelled out to Winchester to make an attempt at running the 162 kilometres of the South Downs Way. I had hoped to leave sunny Winchester on the Friday afternoon and arrive in sunny Eastbourne 24 hours later. This run was logistically a little difficult in that I had to be finished in around 26 hours maximum. In the end I was only able to complete 133 kilometres, finishing earlier than I'd hoped in the beautiful Sussex village of Southease. The South Downs Way is a byway, or cycle route, for the most of its length and it is very hard grounded. I knew this, but I didn't expect it to be so hard on my feet. Progress was decent to begin with as I was 30 minutes ahead of schedule after five hours. The night followed and (as I had expected) the time started to slip away from me. At first light, 4:30am, I was just about holding on to 24 hour pace, but I was really feeling the toll on my legs. Fortunately, the return of the sun was a big boost, I moved well over Truleigh Hill and Devil's Dyke. I ascended Ditching Beacon quickly and started descending to cross the A27. Unfortunately, this is where it all fell apart! My feet (in particular my left ankle) had been aching for a long while, but now became a serious roadblock. I wasn't moving fast, and I wasn't sure I was going to moving at all soon. I sat for ten minutes by the A27 considering my options. It had taken me so long to descend Ditchling Beacon that in order to finish I would have to run at 24 hour pace (that's 10km every 90 minutes) for the remaining 6 hours. I was still a marathon away from Eastbourne and I had no time to get there, nor a good pair of legs. I knew I was going to continue across the next section to Southease (approx 10km) but I planned to finish there. If the legs started feeling better (would have taken a miracle) then I could continue over Firle Beacon to Alfriston. But, as expected, I was in no shape to keep moving and after literally crawling into Southease I sunk down onto the church bench and finally rested. In the end the time constraint didn't matter, the feet just couldn't handle to constant hard ground. They have never felt so beaten.

If I was being negative I might be sad that I've failed to finish the last two 100 mile runs I have attempted. But much like the Harcombe Round in December, there's so much positive to take away from this 133km run. I feel a lot more positive about food, that worked really well for me on this run. I didn't have any serious stomach issues. I never felt low on energy - even at my worst I was moving uphill with good pace. And I ran through the entire night without much issue. I felt awake and alert, I kept a decent speed, and I didn't go mad! I was kept entertained by all the night-time wildlife! Five badgers, literally hundreds of deer, voles, stoats, bunnies and owls.

The sun goes down and I don't stop running... Bye bye sun!
The sun comes up and I'm still running! Hi hi sun!

I have been doing a great job of procrastinating getting a job. Helped greatly by having work I can do on my Mum's house - redecorating and general fixing-up. In the photo below you can see my assistant...

Casper "helping" me...