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Here you can follow our blog, by RunBrighton ambassador Brigitte, to keep track of what we get up to on our Sunday runs.

 

Looping Round Lancing for Lent! 21/02/2018

Today is the first Sunday in Lent, John Travolta’s 64th birthday (when did that happen?) and Wife’s Day in Iceland!  It was also the day in 1885 that Mark Twain published the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  I’ve not read it but I am a fan of the author’s quotes, today a good one is possibly “The secret of getting ahead is getting started”.

It was a bit of a challenge for me to get started, insomnia excelled itself this week with me having just a couple of hours sleep.  During the long sleepless hours I listened to a podcast, http://www.britishultrarunningpodcast.com/.  The main ‘bit’ is an interview with ultra-runner Sarah Morwood following her race at the Hong Kong 100k. Within the interview she explained how she often did her long run after working a night shift so I took that small slice of motivation to convince myself I would be able to run today. If Sarah can do it after a night of work, I could after a night in bed!  I finally fell asleep visualising myself galloping over the Downs, the trails were dry and mud free in my visualisation!

Once woken with my weekly Sunday hymn (can’t remember what it was) I soon realised (thanks to FB) that today in 2010 I couldn’t run.  I’d been injured since September the year before after running  the Cotswolds Way to celebrate my 50th year on planet earth…well I was injured a week before and then persisted to run 103 miles just to make it worst!  So that entire winter I spent on the bike, mainly leading a small marathon training group I was training at the time and mainly feeling extremely cold!  So back to this morning and any negative thoughts were soon wiped away with the thought that running tired is better than not running at all. 2010 was also the first year of Brighton Marathon, how the running community has grown since then.

It was looking to be a gorgeous morning, the sun was shining and for once it didn’t feel sub-zero degrees, I even left the jacket in the car.  Again it was a nice flat run covering much of a route previously experienced but with the added delight of it broken into two to accommodate those training for the half marathon.

Car park of choice was Lancing Beach, a vast expanse of tarmac sitting majestically on the green leading to the beach, cheap car parking at £1.50 for the entire day if you ever visit again.

Today the pacing flags were having a practice run ready for the Brighton half marathon, quite a few of the Ambassadors will be pacers so do look out for them.

We were also briefly joined by Clif Bar (aka Craig), many times I have to remind myself he isn’t called Cliff! 🙂

Craig (former RunBrighton Ambassador) was here to share his Clif wares gels and blocks, with samples for all.  In his running life Craig is pretty good, I once found him at a race I was doing working on his Clif Bar stand.  Next thing he was running the 10k, winning it…then back on the stand to continue business, all before I had barely got off the start line!  From memory it was another day long marathon for me and I definitely didn’t win.

So after Craig had given a quick information share about the Clif products, we had finished our Ambassador Tim warm up….and great improvement of footwork from Ambassador Daz.

Off we went on our first loop out towards Wide Water taking us into the Shoreham Beach area where we said a fond farewell to Mr Hull and then spent time guessing how far we would get, me hoping for a nice tidy roundabout to flow round.  Alas we over ran the roundabout and some of those keener runners had to be hailed back, stopping them getting all the way to Hastings before they noticed we had gone!  For those ‘only’ training for the half today may well be the last of the winter season (I hope some will stick with us if not for the entire run but some).  For others it was a taper week in preparation for a decent race opportunity at the half, it’s always a good bench mark to see how the marathon dreams and goals are shaping up.  There are many schools of thought on how to transfer your half marathon time to your predicted marathon and one is to double your half time and add 20 mins.  Or there are some ready calculators available like this one which I often use for my Tuesday group.  https://www.mcmillanrunning.com/

Back to the car park and we say farewell to some and head off towards the wilds of Worthing, generally the pace is good but there is still a slight tendency for some to want to push the boundaries a bit!  Just relax RunBrightoneers, it’s not a race!  The weather continues to be glorious this morning, hurrah!  No wind, a level of warmth and a general feel good factor about the day, finally it all feels like it is coming together and hopefully RunBrightoneers the confidence is increasing slightly as you continue to hit the milestones.

Worthing bound, we pass the pier and enjoy the wide expanse of prom before we hit the narrow path that would take us on to Ferring/Goring and eventually Littlehampton.

Today we stop just beyond the prom in a handy little spot that accommodates us all for a quick photo…

I seem to remember doing exactly this last year in exactly the same spot…or maybe it was the year before!  Note to self, hire my face before the next Sunday run!

Psychologically it has been good doing the two loops as we were able to break the route down into two bit size chunks and now we only had the return to Lancing to go!  Although slightly diminished the group all seemed in good spirits, even alluding to me being Good Cop too!

It felt a great morning which just kept on giving when the Dazla one helped me with my broken windscreen wiper (on my car not me!) and Mr B finally agreed I was right!  We now have a RunBrighton Community Forum page on Facebook when RunBrightoneers can chat, share fears, tips and delights, ask questions and generally be an all-round running geek if they wish.  I felt the fear and the quivering from Mr B when I re–suggested it but gradually over his avocado toastie the Dazla one and I wore him down!  Hurrah success!   Here is the link for fully paid up members to drop in.

All the very best of luck for the Brighton Half Marathon RunBrightoneers, I am helping with the youth races (help!) so hearding the littlies back to their parent! I hope I don’t match the wrong child up with the wrong parent!

I look forward to hearing all about your race and hopeful that you all achieve your goals.

Run strong!

***

Familiarisation of Marathon and Meerkat 15/02/2018

After the hills and mud of last week today was delightfully, solid concrete with the added bonus of sunshine and what a way to celebrate the opening of the first British public toilet in 1852….imagine if we had to do without them on some of our Sunday runs!  It was also this month in 1918  that women were finally allowed to vote which coincides nicely with this day in 1975 that Margaret Thatcher defeated Edward Heath for leadership of the conservative party and later to become the first British woman prime minister.  Whatever our political leanings, it certainly emphasises the progress that women have slowly made over the years not only in politics but many other areas including running of course!

Back in 2018 and here we are ready to run around the streets of Hove, this week we are following part of the marathon route, parts that can be quite challenging!

On that ever increasing list of car parks I have known this morning it was the King Alfred CP, not sure that the car park even belongs to the King but it is adjacent to the lovely old building of said name.  Back in the days of my youth I used to go swimming at the King Alfred, there were two swimming pools, minor and major.  The major pool, with its diving boards and viewing tiered seating, was often used for galas but also closed in the winter when it was boarded over and used as a dance hall. We were then relegated to using the Minor pool which was half the size and no diving area to use, maybe a small spring board? The girls used to have to wear swimming caps (I am assuming because of our long hair could clog up the filters) and if you forgot your own you could hire one…imagine!!?? Yuk! But I did forget mine a couple of times so obviously it wasn’t  a yukky thought back then.

Built around 1939 the building was requisitioned by the Admiralty almost as soon as it was finished and used as a shore based training ship named HMS King Alfred until 1945.  Finally it was handed back to Hove council and reopened for public use in 1946, a bit before my swimming days I might add!

Nytol had failed me big time this week and it was 3.30am before I managed to get to sleep so the chimp in my head was already complaining about tiredness before we had even got going.  Yesterday had also been the last cross country race for the season, a mudfest in Stanmer woods so my legs were a little whiny too! However, the sun was shining and I was amongst friends and many lovely Runbrightoneers…who are actually my friends too…and of course Good Cop at the helm too.

All warmed up and limbered we set off eastwards on the prom before veering off left to join the marathon route at the bottom of Grand Avenue, just time enough for me to say hello to Mr Hull and note the orange hatted one was missing, swanning around some golf course in the sunshine I believe! Today was also the Worthing Half so a few regulars were off doing that, hopefully pleased with the results.

Back on marathon route, Grand Avenue then left into Church Road, running past numerous coffee shops attempting to lure me in but onwards we must go until we hit the traffic lights at the junction of Sackville and New Church Road (NCR).  A short pit stop whilst we wait to for the green man..get bored and run off with the red man instead, it’s then westward along NCR.  On marathon day the road is closed to traffic and aligned with many supporters who have the advantage of spotting you twice, some even set up camp for the day!  I personally have mixed feelings about this part of the course, it can break you if you let that naughty chimp take over..keep him out, think only positive thoughts and remember every step is a one nearer the finish.  By here you are into double figures and the delights of Boundary Road await you, left into the usually busy shopping area for a short while before another two lefts bringing you back to NCR. That’s it, you are on your way back, another arm of the course done, more steps, more miles, it’s all ticking by nicely.

Back into Grand Avenue heading south to the sounds of the whatever is on the stage on the Lawns before you go right on the final out and back spur, you are into single figures now, if you cheated and went left you would only have two more miles to go, but hey, you are marathon runners!  We set off heading for the cosmopolitan Basin Road, a bit of a drag past the industrial bits, nudist beach (non-industrial bits), smelly sewage smells and Carats Café.  On race day you will be allowed into a secret part of the harbour, I can’t pretend it is glamourous but it is a change of scenery non the less.  Use Basin Rd to collect your thoughts and prepare you for that last push along Hove Prom, don’t dwell on the bleakness or lack of support, just get your head down and keep focussed..it is nothing compared to what you have done so far, how far you have come and how few miles you have left!

Today we are turning at Carats and I take the opportunity to share my meerkat sweets with the 4.30s, they look a bit wary when I offer them up but soon realise how harmless the poor little things are!

Mr B awaits us for a few words of encouragement before we start the journey back to the King and beyond!  What I should have said is on our westward journey the wind was against us making for hard progress, once turned we are whooshed along like true athletes.  We needed to check in with the pace now and again as it is so easy to feel fleet of foot and go sprinting off (apparently).  Back we go towards the lagoon where by it is soon time to up the pace to race pace for the last 30 minutes.  On race day you would be just three miles from the finish, as the not very old saying goes, just a Parkrun to go!  The crowds start to build here so you will feel lifted as you bounce along, keep focussed on the finish but don’t watch the Pier, it never gets any closer!

We make it back to the King before our time is up so continue onwards towards the Peace Statue dodging the Sunday strollers out enjoying the sunshine, it’s starting to feel a bit of slog for me so I cheat and stop to take a photo of the group coming back.  Pretty unsuccessfully though so sorry no photo to post!

The grim thing about the last turnaround was that we were head first into the wind again which meant more effort to keep to marathon pace a few (including me) drifted off and enjoyed a chat about the  London marathon instead…much more fun!  Once again Einstein wasn’t around to help us so we may have slipped a few more minutes into the morning, but heigh ho at least the sun was still shining.

We all made it back in one piece and a David tally of zero.

See you next week Runbrightoneers for more flatness, looping about and general chit chat.

TTFN

***

A morning of strange faces and fine bottoms! 8/02/2018

AArrrrhh Runbrightoneers I am sure you missed my witterings last week but I am equally sure you had a great run.

I was off doing the Darkstar marathon which is actually 28 miles! And it was 28 miles of a lot of mud, many dodgy stiles (mostly built by giants with a warped sense of humour) a few cows, some excellent runners and well stocked aid stations. The event is just one of some great races put on by Sussex Trail Events, I’ve done three of their races before; the Arun river marathon, 13 the Hardway,  Beat the Tide along with a waitlist place for the Southend Pier marathon in March.  Check them out if you fancy some great trail (other surfaces available) running up to marathon and beyond.  https://www.sussextrailevents.com/

The Darkstar marathon follows the river Adur up past Henfield before joining the Downslink at Partridge Green on to West Grinstead and honours the Darkstar brewery https://www.darkstarbrewing.co.uk/ Once at West Grinstead you turn and come back pretty much the same way, just taking the other side of the river which is slightly less muddy…but only just!

On finishing, which in my case was nearly a day later, you can bask in the glory of completing a tough event with a wiggly river medal, a fantastic bowl of veggie chilli, mug of tea and a can of Darkstar….which actually I have just drank, very nice despite my face!

So here we are a week later…if it were 1990 we could have been cheering Scottish runner Don Ritchie to the end of his 100 mile indoor track race where he set a world record of 12.56.13, imagine that, it took me almost that to finish The Darkstar!! This was one of 14 records set by Ritchie which includes the Lands’ End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) solo in 10 days, 15 hours and 25 minutes. However, he lost nearly a stone in weight and it took five months and seven courses of antibiotics to recover…so probably not something to try Runbrightoneers. He told the Independent newspaper ‘I think you need to be a clam, determined and patient person, to run long distances, with a high tolerance for prolonged discomfort’   I think I agree with him there!

Something a little more realistic for us today but challenging all the same and more blimming mud!

We were meeting at the University of Sussex, my place of work, so a busman’s holiday…but a great base to access the Downs that surrounds campus. Despite waking in ample of time I seemed to have spent a lot of time dillying dallying which meant a bit of a late skid into the car park made worst by having to force my trail shoes to bend and flex after a night on the radiator…not to self, don’t dry shoes on the rad! I managed to jump on the back of the warm up led by Ambassador Tim and backed by the lean and lovely boy band. Then it was the usual groupage, check in with good cop Ambassador Lisa before we are off to the hills!  It’s good to be back, lovely to see everyone and share a super sunny winter’s morning.

We head off bound for Stanmer Park, nattering to Christine about our forth coming Shim Sham class, join us Runbrightoneers, it is promised to be fun. We take the familiar route through the park and village before ignoring the clean and smooth road climb to our left to head straight on through the mud bath for a slip slide approach to our first hill of the day. Hill one a long and fairly steep chalky climb to the pylon at the top, there is also a tree trunk which has been hewn into a seat and adorned with animal carvings…but no one seems to notice the handy resting point! A bit of a regrouped before we descend the slippy muddy footpath towards Moon’s Bottom, further to our left and towards Ditchling Beacon is Big Bottom! If you look on the ordnance survey map you will see there are bottoms all over the Downs, my favourite being Faulkner’s Bottom which we will skirt further on today.  As well as a Bottom, I love a map, I love exploring new paths usually getting a little bit lost. If you are confident enough Runbrightoneers, go off for a sniff around new trails, mostly they are all intertwined and once you have mastered the South Downs Way the world is your oyster…well Sussex anyway…you will usually find a familiar land mark to guide you back in track. There are also some great walking route books that you can use for a run. I frequently use one by fellow Brightonion Louise Schweitzer and usually manage to finish near a cafe for the all-important refuelling exercise.

We have made it down to Moon’s Bottom in one piece and find Mr B galloping towards us as we approach the cow churned mud splodge, once tackled it’s another climb up to Bow Hill, regroup and onward down the slip slide slope before another long, long, steady climb up the side of Happy Valley…haha, ha! My legs are beginning to feel the effects of last week’s effort so I opt to kindly sweep the group allowing Good Cop the pleasure of leading…it meant I got sneaky walks and I actively encouraged a few to join me in my 30 steps walk, 30 steps run routine…it worked and we reached the South Downs Way fairly soon and not too strung out.

We strode off in an easterly direction heading toward Black Cap near Lewes, just south of Black Cap and parallel to the part of today’s route on the SDW is Anscombe Bottom, known locally as Bracky Bottom because of the bracken growing in the coombe and deemed to be the finest bottom of all.   If you ever do the Lewes 10 later in the year the climb out of Anscombe is in the final miles of the race and a pretty long slog upwards!  The whole area around Blackcap is steeped in history with burial mounds, battle grounds and ancient trackways. It is reputed that Simon de Montfort marched his army along this way in 1264 to fight King Henry III’s men in the Battle of Lewes….today it’s Mr B leading the Runbrightoneers, thankfully not into battle though!

The 4.30 squadron stop short of Blackcap but parallel to Plumpton College at the foot of the Downs

Weird plastic bag thing going on!!!

You know the drill Runbrightoneers…back the way we came, all feeling zippity doo dah knowing that most of the climbing is done.

We once again meet Mr B with words of encouragement…at least I think that is what they were!  I needed it at this point, my legs were starting to fail me.

Soon after the leg fail Runbrightoneer Deborah and I have a quick gel picnic (don’t forget to think about on the run fuel now, our bodies need a bit of petrol to keep them going)  before starting the lovely long descent back into Happy Valley, its happy now!  Just after here Deborah obviously decided my company was getting boring and chucked herself to the ground in the luscious soft mud! Unfortunately for her I am really difficult to shake off and once upright again I continued to cajole her with my engaging conversation and witty banter.  We were soon up at the pylon again ready for the last descent back into Stanmer village with University within sniffing distance to our left it was hard for me to not suggest a quick route back the card…but dedicated to the need for marathon training..I resisted!  We clipperty clopped down the hill with Runbrightoneer Jay sensibly cautious and sloshed through the last bit of mud before finally hit solid ground for the last couple of miles up to the car park.  Deborah and I did sneak a little walk up the last climb, it’s not the most scenic but at the end of a long run sometimes there is just nothing to give!

Finally we arrive! All pain forgotten as always and only the gorgeous views and sunny day to rest easy in our memory box.

Well done team, fantastic grouping by the 4.30s, an extremely well behaved David today and another step closer to your goals.

Keep strong Runbrightoneers!

***

Tapping into Marathon Pace 24/01/2018

Well that was a typical seafront run, wet and cold…but Runbrightoneers what a tough bunch of marathon pacing machines you are…well all except my favourite person in the orange hat!

On this day in 1998 Nicholas Bourne was probably experiencing much kinder weather as he started his challenge to run the length of Africa! He ran from Cape Town to Cairo taking just over 10months to do the 7,500 miles and wearing out 30 pairs of shoes. During his run he braved deserts, floods, war zones and wild animals….pretty much like your average Runbrighton session.

For me today began at 6am with All Things Bright and Beautiful flowing from my radio alarm, my radio has a sense of humour like no other. It was anything but bright and beautiful outside, actually it was dark, and I was certainly not feeling bright….just beautiful. Last night’s insomnia took hold and once again I had to sedate myself, thank you Nytol. Thankfully I didn’t feel so rubbish as a couple of weeks ago and once I was fuelled on tea and bagels, I felt ready for the challenge ahead.

Yesterday, was the Masters cross country event at Lancing, that’s masters as in old rather than masterly fast. Although you are a master at 35 for women and 40 for men….men take longer to mature obviously. The race was 6k, with one hill done twice and as much slip slide mud as a mud day in Mud. Actually it wasn’t the depth of the mud, that was minimal…it was the slippy slidiness of it,

I noted many fallers and opted for a bit of caution.

That said, I managed to count in the V55 2nd team and come away with a silver county medal and sore legs!

Anyway enough about me, this is all about you Runbrightoneers and your amazing effort today.

Swooped up by Ambassador Michele we made our way to the Adur Rec car park, no up market Waitrose for us today but we did nearly manage to ignore car park attendant Rick and go off piste with the parking. Dragging ourselves out into the bleak Mr B came bounding over announcing he was going to cut his chat short as it was going to snow! Hells bells, I don’t have the right gear, no shovel to clear our return route, no ski suit…we’re doomed! Deep inside I thought we would probably be ok, after all, we’ve been through crashing waves, mud slides, just a plague of locusts to go really.

Off to grass we go, grass was not where I wanted to go in my sparkly new road shoes, but warm up we must. It was nice to see the Backstreet Boys backing Michele again, just the Dazzling one needs to practice the routine a bit.

Grouped, warmed and full of chat we are off, heading west towards Worthing, I was looking forward to the flatness today and to mixing the pace up. First a circuit of Shoreham Beach where I realise why I never see Mr Hull (other David) for a bit of banter any more, not quite fully fit he turns for home long before we do…note to self, catch him before he leaves us.

On we go, admiring the big houses looking out to sea, even on a day like today it must be glorious to have such an expansive view.

Soon onto the footpath running alongside Widewater, a man made land locked lagoon which usually has an abundance of wild life visiting. The lagoon used to form part of the Adur estuary but storms have washed debris and drift to block the flow, though not completely as the tide does seep through especially during a storm or very high tide. All this gives some lovely outlooks for the houses that back on to the lagoon although they must contend with a busy main road the other side. Take the good with the bad I guess, a bit like marathon training!

Onwards we go heading for Lancing Beach Green but not before we pass a race marshal advising us of oncoming runners!! Arrgghhh, I was imagining a few hundred thundering feet racing our way and us blocking the leader leading to his failure to be selected for the Olympics! Well maybe an exaggeration especially when it transpired the said race was very low key and made up of varying abilities from the speedy front runners to little tots being encouraged to trot/fly/hop. Past the race turn at the bandstand and on towards Brooklands we go, mostly in a group but still those keenies trying to break away! The time to turn comes just before we reach Brooklands, finding a handy gap in the houses we gather in for a return section explanation…it’s time to put some marathon pace in. Photo done..I swear I took a good half a dozen, we’re off for a very short easy bit before slowly winding the pace up!

Rather than cut in and disrupt the race again we opt to stay road side for a while and only encounter a couple of cheery gentlemen out for a stroll. What was significant was the freezing cold driving rain that had gone unnoticed on our way out, my hands were icy! That aside everyone seemed to be maintaining race pace which is a good sign, often a few fall off the back and for some it is the realisation that they need to step back a group…not the wonderful 4.30s though, all chipper and mostly chatty! We cut back in to the seafront path just by the yacht club and a smidge beyond the race marshal, not many other walkers/bike riders out today so we have a pretty free run. We hit the second of the three marathon paced efforts with slightly more gusto, that orange hat disappears into the sunset with a chap that apparently runs 30 mins faster per half marathon than the hat, I am sure there is a logic in there somewhere!

A few others stride out and I have a bit of a hissy fit! It’s like herding cats….but finally on the third effort we have it nailed (well apart from the hat) and manage to run in unison. The only flaw in the plan here is that although Ambassador Lisa and I are excellent at pacing, Einstein we are not and the maths had gone a bit haywire…we finished our last block of marathon pace a smidge early! I thought it went by quickly and wondered why the other groups were thundering past!

Anyway, it turned out good in the end and we finished in good spirits minus three Davids!

Once stopped the realisation of how cold and wet it really was hit us so it was a hasty dash for home..for Ambassador Lisa and Michele and Runbrightoneer Lucy it was back to mine for coffee, croissants (kindly scooped from Lidl on the way) and dry clothes!

Well done Runbrightoneers, you are well on your way to your half or marathon goal. Its drop back week next week then we start the steady climb to more milestones for some. Time to think about carrying water and fuel if you haven’t already. Don’t forget you still dehydrate even when the temperature is cool and even the sleekest machines need petrol to make them go. Wake up, fill up and fly!

See you in a couple of weeks, it’s a long few hours slog up a muddy river for me next week, I’ll think of you all skipping up to the Tye and enjoying the Roedean café afterwards.

TTFN

Brigitte

***

Sunny Sunday Scurry 15/01/2018

What a glorious morning to go for a run and fill your hearts with joy, it seems most Runbrightoneers agreed with a huge colourful turnout in another salubrious car park.

As we were grappling in the dark to find the special running pants or a pair of matching socks, competitors were gathering in Edale to take part in the Spine. Dubbed Britain’s most brutal race, the Spine is a foot race along the 268 mile, mostly remote, Pennine Way.  Runners are expected to be self-sufficient and have up to seven days to finish which sounds a long enough time doesn’t it? However, consider the extremes of weather, bogs, snow, mud and clambering through some very difficult terrain; not to mention the sleep deprivation, dark hours and keeping your demons in check…..fancy it? https://thespinerace.com/

As I write runners are about to start negotiating their first night, so think of them as you cosy down in front of the TV, heating on and glass of vino to hand.

If you don’t feel up to the entire Spine, there is always the Spine Challenger, a mere 108 miles and 60 hours to complete it. That started yesterday and the winner finished earlier today in a shade over 25 hrs! Incredible! For those still out on the Challenger course they are about to descend into their second night.

Thank fully we have the less bleak and challenging South Downs as our backdrop and for us today a kinder route to negotiate.

After last week’s drug induced sleep I was determined to go ‘au-naturel’ this week and thankfully despite anxieties about not sleeping, I did and entirely drug free!

This week we were meeting outside up market Waitrose in Hangleton ready for a newish Route up towards the Devils Dyke before picking up the South Downs Way westward.

With a record number in the 4.30 group Ambassador Lisa and I guided the chickies across the roads at safe crossing points to avoid scraping bodies off of car bonnets and infuriating drivers.  Bit of a twist and turn as we head up through Hangleton to past Toads Hole Valley a lovely expanse of openness sadly due for development as Brighton and Hove expands out towards its absolute boundaries.  Breathe it in Runbrightoneers, another day you will return to see a sprawling housing estate with lines and lines of soulless houses staring back at you.

As we leave Toad behind we enter a small wooded area the takes us down a short hill to join the now disused Devils Dyke branch line. The rail track opened on 1 September 1877 and took passengers from Aldrington Halt in deepest Hove up to exhilarating heights of the Dyke. Further on we passed Brighton and Hove Golf club where there was once a Halt for the golfers to jump on the train back to Hove. When the train was leaving the Dyke a bell sounded in the golf club house alerting golfers to drink up and head out to the platform to catch the train back to Hove. Sadly as car and bus transport improved passenger numbers declined and the line was finally closed on New Year’s Eve 1938.

So no jumping on the train for us today as we continue the gradual climb across the Devils Dyke road and onto the trail heading north to the hotel/pub. Generally the group are nice and bunched, lots of chatter and only the occasional attempt at a break away interlaced with a couple of quick regroups. We can see Truleigh Hill out to our left and yet another golf course to our right.  On a Wednesday morning I and Ambassador Michele are often caught trampling over the bunkers as we miss the footpath through the middle of the course…I think the green keeper despairs of us. I’m more impressed he doesn’t need a head torch to find his way, we get lost with one each!

Onwards we forge, eventually arriving at the top to view the delights ahead, those glorious views we expected on Christmas Eve and knowing we don’t have long until we turn and head back down from where have just come.  We start out across the South Downs acknowledging the 4.00hr team turning early to avoid the mud fest and ourselves halt on the hill above. With two minutes to go it seemed pointless galloping down to the mud only to have to climb back up and let’s face it what is two minutes in the grand scheme of marathon training, is it likely to make any difference to the end result? Will you be back to curse Lisa and me because you missed your target as you were void of two minutes one sunny morning in January? Probably not, but if you do, fear not…we will empathise and take full responsibility.

By the time I had blindly fumbled with my phone, Lisa trying and Runbrightoneer Imogen finally doing the honours we had managed to waste said two minutes and headed off with breakfast and Brighton and Hove Albion’s struggle in the premiership the topic of conversations.

On the turn we mingled with the 4.45s and exchanged positive chit chat before continuing…downhill..yayI! I tagged up with the lovely Lucille who admitted to a lesson learnt last year about pacing and not going off ahead of the group, wise Lucille.   Unlike new David who I can only assume is targeting a 3.30 marathon and opted to up his game dragging half the group with him.  Runbrightoneers, word of advice, don’t follow David, trust in your Ambassador, we’ll get you to the start line safe and sound….not that smiling man in the orange hat!

Pacing really is important, honest! If you go off too fast in a 5k you can usually hang on to the end, go off to fast in marathon (as I keep banging on about) you will pay for it dearly. Save that sprint for the last half a mile when the finish is in sight and you can revel in your accomplishment.  Until then enjoy the journey, practice getting that pace right, get in the right group and don’t be too proud to drop back a group if you are struggling. Remember,  if you can’t spend the run talking rubbish you are probably going too fast.   And occasionally test your progress, as a coach, I ask my athletes to test their progression usually at a parkrun or a time trial. If they aren’t hitting their targets it might be that they are working too hard in some areas …improving? Well of course, that’s good news.

Back to the run and back through the twists and turns we go, landing back at the car park diminished of the David group but only two seconds short of the 1hr 50minute requirement.  That, Runbrightoneers, is how to do it!

Well done everyone, today really was my kind of day…let’s hope there are many more to come. Next week we are feeding in some marathon paced sections, don’t forget to fuel well before hand and don’t follow anyone called David, well maybe one or two exceptions.

TTFN

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Warm Up, Windmill and Witter 08/01/2018

Happy New Year Runbrightoneers, here we are week one of 2018 and a chilly one to greet us this morning.

Today in 1928, a whole 90 years ago, yes I did retake my Maths GCSE a couple of years ago, the legendary ultra-runner Arthur Newton ran 100 miles from Bath’s Bear Inn to Hyde Park Corner. He did this in a time of 14 hours 22 mins and 10 seconds, how amazing is that especially given it was probably without all the science and support today’s ultra-distance runners have at their fingertips.

Although 100 mile races are something I have attempted twice, there was no desire to do that today so I opted to rock up to Runbrighton instead. Today we were meeting at Riptide, a neat gym situated in Hove Park. Gyms aren’t everybody’s idea of fun, but strength and conditioning is all important for athletes. It helps improve running form especially when you start to fatigue. It can also help in the prevention of injuries by strengthening the muscles. Of course there is the option to do a few key exercises at home but personally I prefer the gym where I can see real live humans and exchange a few niceties in between lifting.

So there we are;  I’ve set the scene, the day has dawned and here we are doing a rather energetic warm up with the equally energetic Matt.

I had difficulty getting to sleep, so sedated myself then had equal difficulty waking up and clearing my head. Sedation brought on anxiety, mainly about stuff that wasn’t real…like that Lisa was pacing the group at 10.30 min miles rather than our usual 11….and that was before we had even started…still it made a change from my usual anxiety and panic attack about dying! Don’t worry Runbrightoneers, I contain my madness, well most of the time.

All that rambling around my head meant it took me a while to tune into the run, but with a huge group of delightful 4.30ers we were soon off anti clockwise round the park serenaded by the delight of chitter chatter.  Ahead a couple of hefty climbs, long down bits and a glorious windmill. Two David’s this week, although earlier I had seen three…obviously Mr Hull is sharing his wit and banter with another group. So it’s the new one and even newer David who tired of us by the time we got to the top of King George and went onward.  We had also gained a couple of new folk dropped from the 4.15 in search of a comfortable pace…good call and welcome aboard.

We ambled out towards the foot of ye old King George VI aka Snakey Hill, rising majestically towards the sky, well that is what it probably felt like to some. As a group we managed to pretty much stay together only needing a quick regroup at the top before we swept off down Dyke Road and onwards to run along the ridge parallel to the glorious windy Patcham Windmill. Recently up for sale it still has the machinery at the top of the Mill, so if you have a spare million or two, you could whisk up a quick loaf or two before joining us.

It was around here that the lovely Deborah obviously bored by the windmill chucked herself to the ground! Up righted with help from the gentlemen in the group and after a gentle walk recovery she was soon back up to full pace and nursing not much more than a sore pride. Under the bridge assisted by Mr B to ensure we didn’t end up on a car bonnet, under the A27 and wham…a puddle as big as the King Alfred swimming pool! Looking at the amount of water and mud around at the moment it is hard to comprehend that Bewl Reservoir is only 44% full (compared to the normal 79% at this time of year)   Anyway after last week’s wave chasing and consequent drenching we decided swimming was not on today’s menu; with just two minutes remaining we turned a wee bit early.

Back under the road, under single file bridge, mutter at a speeding 4×4 important person obviously in a hurry…and back to the foot of the last climb of the day all the way back up to the windmill.

On the way down this hill felt steep but actually once we all got going it seemed to slip away in no time. Some of the group opting for a 20 step run/20 step walk option, this is great and usually far more beneficial than trying to slog it out.  The benefits are more apparent when you get to the top feeling fresher than the sloggers and run straight on full of bounce rather than collapsing.

We once again regrouped briefly before it was off bounding towards the windmill with Keith seemingly taking on the head honcho role at the pointy end of the group. We let him play that game for a while before Ambassador Lisa was launched to the front to rein everyone back.  Yes, I know it is great that everyone feels they have energy to dash off especially when the end of the run is within touching distance.  Consider it practice at holding back and maintaining a controlled pace during the early miles of any race…besides it is far more sociable and less chance of injury.

As we entered the park in a tight group we hurtled off, in a maverick sort of way, in the opposite direction to everyone else. Why be a lemming when you can be a trailblazer! Finally after confusing all the other groups we landed back at Riptide.  It seems King George and his fellow hill was a favourite with the group, everyone enjoyed the run and felt chuffed to have completed both climbs.

Post run; a quick hot chocolate and crusty croissant in the biting northerly wind was about all I could manage before jumping in my car and heading for the comfort of the central heating at home.

Well done Runbrightoneers, another one done and another step closer to your goal.

Keep strong!

Brigitte

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Auld Lang Syne and the Crashing Waves 01/01/2018

Well that was fun, nobody told me I would need a boat and my arm bands! If you didn’t join us, you missed an epic run/swim on this last day of 2017.

Today in 1942 Merry Lepper was born. Merry was a rebellious marathon runner of the 60s, a time when women weren’t allowed to compete in marathons. Merry and other pioneers used to hide at the sidelines and join the race the men just after the start. They were usually forcibly removed from the race before the finish. Compare that to 2014 when 42% of marathon finishers in the US were female…so ladies, let’s keep on increasing that percentage.

So back to the undercliff aquathlon, staged from Asda car park and billed as a nice flat run after last week’s leg busting hilly run. Most delightful especially as I thought we were going over the cliff tops and wasn’t relishing the wiggly path and undulations. My legs were a tad sore after a shuffling up and down the Thames towpath for 20 miles yesterday! The organises of the Phoenix events based a Walton on Thames is to be recommended. Lovely and low key, based on a number of out and back loops you can do as many or as less as you like…and still collect the whopping great medal.

I was there, along with amigos Ambassador Michele and former Ambassador Anne, to support and celebrate the 100th marathon of my good friend Jan. if you were at the seminar you might remember her presentation.

I was unsure what I could do today but full of optimism started with the delightful 4.30s, down to just one David this week we headed out along the undercliff path behind Asda I was over joyed to be fairly able bodied and as I said thrilled to be on the flat. It was a bit blustery and it took us a while to realise the tide was in!

The realisation came with the first wave crashing over the breakwater, screaming as we sped up trying to avoid the deluge of salt water. It became a bit of an interval session and something like storm chasing in reverse! We fought on and for a time it felt like we had passed the worst…alas no! As those ahead disappeared under a sea of showers (literally) we decided to call it and turn back, continuing the run towards Hove. Feeling smug that we had avoided the worst we were then rewarded with a huge wave hitting us, bullseye! We were soaked through and salty!

Obviously retracing our steps meant avoiding the temptation of jumping back into my car, but we are real athletes and would never think of such a thing! Being New Year’s Eve much conversation was around what everybody was doing this evening although I have to admit my mind kept turning to food and what I could have when I finished. )

As we stride out towards the pier past the playground, a wave and a ‘morning’ to the BTRS guys van. (Note for MB: Kurt supplies coffee/tea from his van….just saying.) it was about here I felt the need to drop off the back, my legs were sore and the head wind was a battle. I left Lisa to pull the train off into the distant while I waited to be absorbed by the 4.45 group. This felt more comfortable and a chance for different conversations with Bev (a returner) and another training for the first time. No room for moaning about my legs either as Ambassador Karen had chucked in a sneaky marathon on Thursday and iced it off with a Parkrun on Saturday.

We almost made it to the West Pier before it was time to turn back. With the wind behind us and much laughter about the tidal waves it seemed that we were back at the Marina I no time at all.

All that remained was a visit to the Roedean cafe for breakfast and a catch up.

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Mist, mud and mince pies! 26/12/2017

Just when you thought it safe….I’m back for another season of waffle, wanderings and the occasional whinge. I have actually been back for two weeks but decided to be the strong and silent type Ambassador last weekend…mainly because I was suffering the the fall out of the Arena 80 Christmas do.

‘‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the Devils Dyke not a creature was stirring…until about a 100 Runbrightoneers descended. Yes, it was Christmas Eve, all about stables, wise men (have you ever met one?), Santa and anticipation. But first it’s time to run!

The anticipation for today was built on the promised views and I can whole heartedly agree they are gorgeous…..usually! Unfortunately the fog put pay to any far flung sightings of the North Downs  or a peek of toy town Poynings. Many a Wednesday morning Ambassador Michele and I, with friends, can be found admiring the sun rise after an early run from this very spot, but alas not today.

It was the first of a few cut back weeks so a splendid little 50 minute skip towards Truleigh Hill and back via a few lumps. For me it was the morning after the night before once again having enjoyed a pre Christmas champagne and chicken fest on Saturday eve. But it felt good to be out blowing the cobwebs away and lovely to see so many familiar faces in the crowd. New David, a graduate from the previous winter season…but always new compared to David number one. Some oldies, have moved up a notch to the 4.15 and some like another. David (Secret) have progressed from the 4.45. Lots of new faces to get to know too so lots of new conversations to be had.

We started off by occupying almost an entire car park for the warm up lead by Michele, sadly she couldn’t be persuaded to wear her Santa outfit.

Following said warm up we headed off in a westerly direction straight into the blustery but invigorating wind. The route starts nice and easy with a down slope towards the first dip and muddy clamber. The cows had been there before us, leaving the ground churned up and sloshy, best technique…just go for it, light of foot and fast. Then it was short and sweet climb before another fly down to the next mud bath.

It’s approx 4.5 miles to Truleigh Hill and back, but it became clear quite early on that we wouldn’t quite get there given the mud dancing and steeper climbs. For those of you who have never been to this focal point high on the South Downs Way, it’s a former RAF radar camp. Indeed a fellow Brighton and Hove runner, Roy Taylor, did his national service there. Anyone old enough to remember Apache, by the Shadows will be delighted to know that the writer Jerry Lordon also did his National Service there. Nowadays apart from the towering transmitter masts, there is recently refurbished youth hostel and a few houses with views to die for…well on a clear day. Once you clear the summit just shy of the youth hostel there is a glorious roly poly descent down to the river Adur at Botophs. Best incorporated into a point to point run rather then out and back, thus avoiding the climb back up bleeding Beeding Hill.

So it was on the final climb that we, the 4.30 gang, turned and started our return to the Dyke. The wind behind us and the finish in sight I encouraged the group to take my secret footpath to avoid one of the steeper climbs. Oppsy, not such a good idea it seems as the cows are in on the secret and have churned it up good and proper. We survived and despite our trainers weighing twice they did previously we tackled the last remaining climb of the day.  Today was all about effort, there was no way of maintaining a steady even pace and indeed no expectation. The point was to feel you were still putting in a similar effort even if that meant walking a bit and wait until you run on the flat, you will feel positively gazelle like.

We all made it back just as the mist very briefly broke to show a sliver of blue sky and a quick glimpse of the views north. Rewarded with freshly baked Bannister (aka Tesco)  mince pies and Christmas cheer hopefully everyone felt ready for the festivities ahead.

Happy Christmas Runbrightoneers, (or happy Boxing Day as it is now)

I look forward to enjoying many more weeks of chat, jollies and new friends.

Brigitte

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