Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A new chapter about to start

Well, a new chapter of my running is about to start. I have booked on the first step of my training with UK Athletics to train as a running coach. So, I have been busy reading and learning and I'm really looking forward to it :)

I will be starting a new group within my running club aimed at complete beginners and novices. I think lots of people (like me) can be put off running clubs because everyone seems so fast so to have a group for complete beginners seemed like a good idea ! It also seemed a good time to tap in on people wanting to start running with the Olympics still a real memory.

Anyway, I will write a bit more about this over the next few weeks but I'm working away this week so really should get on with the day job :)

Monday, 11 February 2013

WSFRL - Valentines Run

Yesterday was the West Sussex Fun Run League's Valentines Run from Southwater.

This is the first time I have run this race so I didn't really know what to expect. The race instructions warned everyone that the car parking was about 5 mins from the Race HQ and the Race HQ was about 15 mins from the start...

One thing I will say is that it was lovely to be able to use the IBM car park, this got rid of all the normal parking problems and it really was only a few mins walk to the Race HQ.

Yesterday it rained. Not just drizzle but that horrible cold heavy rain. And it rained all day.

I met up with the other Steyning AC runners in the village hall to get my race number.... you know it is going to be muddy when everyone keeps warning you to make sure your trainers are tied up tightly....

We used the short distance to the start as a warm up jog... it seemed to be uphill all the way and I found it hard work. I always find the first mile of any run hard work, somedays it feels as though I have never run before in my life. Perhaps a late night the night before wasn't the best idea....

The first part of the race is on quiet country roads before it turns off in to the woods and the mud.

There was no way of avoiding the mud.

With the amount of rain we have had over the last 6 months there really was plenty of mud, and it was the type that goes over the top of your trainers and then grabs hold of them making every step so much harder..... In between the mud was the deep freezing cold puddles. It got to a point where I couldn't feel my fet any more and my legs just felt so heavy.

There were 2 good points though. 1) I didn't lose my trainers and 2) I didn't fall over !

After the woods we were in to water logged fields..... and then back on to muddy farm tracks, a bit more road and then the last farm track that led to the final stretch across a field to the finish !

I really enjoy the WSFRL races and it is the people from the other local clubs that you meet that make the races what they are.

By the end of this one I was soaked through, very muddy and when I stopped I got cold quite quickly.

But at the finish you got given a little heart shaped chocolate, what more could you ask from a race than chocolate at the finish !

Anyway, this was my race :) (I should add that I forgot to stop my watch at the finish and only remembered after I'd eaten my chocolate and had a drink !)

Saturday, 9 February 2013


It has been in the news quite a bit this week.

Unfortunately I think the truth is that unless you grow it, make it and cook it you can't be 100% sure what is in the food that you eat.

The more you think about it the scarier it can get.

We are meant to have complete traceability of meat from farm to finished product. Where I am you can walk past a field of beef cattle and see that each one of them has a separate ear tag and its own unique number. So, at what point did it happen ?? Oops, it's horse meat !!!! In theory this CAN'T happen but it has and we can't ignore it.....

So we need to start looking at WHY it has happened. The large supermarkets have enormous buying power and this is used to put pressure on suppliers. Just imagine you are the owner/manager of any company that supplies a large supermarket chain. You have been supplying them for years, in fact now with the way that people shop they are your ONLY customer.... they then turn round and instead of asking you what your products will cost they TELL you what they are going to pay for them and this happens to be lower than you can currently make them for... Do you :

A) Say no way, lose the business, close your factory, make hundreds of people unemployed - possibly people that have worked for you for many years and rely on you to make sure their families survive.

B) Take what is on offer and look at what you can do to make your product more cheaply - including using ingredients that aren't on the label....

So, who is to blame for this ? The factory manager that produced the product ? The supermarket chains that drive prices to unsustainably low levels ? or is it the pressure from investors on the supermarket chains to produce bigger and bigger profits each year ??

I don't know who is to blame but no doubt "someone" will be held to account. I feel that the causes behind this run far deeper than just putting horse meat in place of beef (no-one noticed). I understand the potential safety issues around supplying meat that may be classified as unfit for human consumption and that you haven't been getting quite what you thought... but I don't think the root causes of this problem are as straight forward as we may be told.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

A week of wind, rain..... and beautiful sunsets !

I think sometimes I just happen to pick the wrong days for our long runs and Sunday was no exception..... I had planned our route from Shoreham to Brighton, a straight out and back route that covered the power station section of the marathon route. Quite a simple 13 mile route.... and the first half was easy ! What I hadn't planned for was running the second half back towards Shoreham head on in to 30mph winds with drizzle and bits of freezing rain thrown in for good measure.

I think it is fair to say that when the wind gusted we didn't actually move forwards much ! It was almost a relief to get back to the lock at Shoreham and on to the road sheltered a bit from the wind by the buildings.....

So now we have run the power station stretch of the marathon route, the one part that everyone says is hard but if we can run it in those conditions I reckon we should be ok ;)

Yesterday Holly and I took Millie out for a run over the Downs. We had been nearly 2 days without rain and the ground had dried out a bit (but still VERY muddy !). The views from the top of the Downs were worth it. It was so clear you could see the Isle of Wight just as the sun was setting. There was still a very cold wind but it was behind us for the stretch of the run across the top of the Downs so it wasn't too bad.

Anyway, these are a couple of photos from the last weeks running. We had to wait at the lock in Shoreham so I took the opportunity to photograph a boat or two.... and then yesterdays sunset. This is why I run.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Will it ever stop raining ???

Sometimes it just seems hard work to get out and go for a run..... and some weeks just seem hard from beginning to end and this week has been one of those weeks.

It just doesn't seem to stop raining ! The roads near us are incredibly wet and there is a real river running down Mouse Lane, the mud is really deep round here so if you try running through it you find yourself slipping and sliding all over the place with real risk of injury.

We tried running down by the River, a path that is normally mud free even when it has been raining but even that is now thick with mud in places (although not as bad as the Downs).

Somedays I just long for dry ! It seems hard to imaging being so hot that you are running early morning or late evening to avoid the heat and the biggest problem is dust......

Anyway, despite my lack of enthusiasm this week I have been out and been running. Tuesday Holly and I ran 15.6 miles, all on the road from Findon to Ferring, along the seafront through Worthing and back to Findon through Broadwater. I'm not a big fan of running alongside main roads but for some of it you just can't find any other route.

I think it is fair to say we didn't pick the best day, gale force winds and rain.... but we did it and at the end of the day that is what counts. It is getting up, getting out and getting running when the weather is bad that will make the summer runs seem so much more enjoyable even though sometimes I do think emigrating somewhere with a bit less rain is very appealing !

Anyway, this is a photo of me on a very blustery Worthing beach... (yes, I'm still smiling)

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