It has been a nice week. Quite a bit of running and a nice week end of adventuring in new places.
On Monday I decided non to rest as usual and instead I went for 14k run entering Richmond Park from a different gate than usual. Then I went up and down my new favourite hill. I ended up with an average pace of 4:44 m/km. I took it easy at the start and accelerated towards the end.
On Tuesday after a 3k warm up I did a 5k tempo run at 3:49 m/km. Finished the session with 2 more kilometres of cool down to head back home.
Saturday I decided to run somewhere new. In November I will run the Druids Challenge, which is a 3 stage race on the whole length of the Ridgeway. I have seen part of it in previous hikes or races, but I wanted to explore more of it. I could not find any way of using a mix of car and public transports to avoid having to run back to the car. So instead of doing 2 hours by bus or train I decided to leave the car in one place, run out for 15k or so and then run back.
The day started a bit cloudy but I knew it was going to get better. Unfortunately I did not manage to leave as early as I wanted. I drove to South Stoke, just a bit north of Goring. I wanted to start running on the path, with no bits of road and that was the closest place I found. I started running north.
The first part was on flat ground following the Thames. Very nice area, nice houses, rowing boats, cows etc, but the path was super slim and on very uneven big bunches of grass, so it was not a pleasure to run. I can see it being an ugly bit to run with 70+ km in the legs from the day and bit before.
After 4km the path goes through North Stoke, that is a nice “boutique” village with beautiful cottages, church, water mill, etc. Then after a couple of boring km through a golf course the best part of the run started.
The path turns abruptly east and leaves the river and goes up toward Nuttfield. That part of the trail goes through woods and a dry river bed and it is a lot of fun to run.
Then when I arrived at Nuttfield the trail went through another golf course but this time actually very close to the greens. Trying to follow it without running where I was not supposed to I lost it. I went on another trail (which was fun too) and after a couple of kms I realised I was not going in the right direction. I asked a couple of mountainbikers that almost run me over but they had no idea where the Ridgeway was so I ran back to the golf course and once there I decided to run back to the car.
Going back was even more fun and once I got to the river the sun was shining and it was very hot. At the end I did not run the 30k I wanted, but 29k at 5:12 m/km was good enough. Beautiful places, beautiful day.
Here is the Strava of the run.
I also took a very motion-sickness inducing video with my phone while running on the way back:
Sunday me and my friend Jamie went for our annual hike. We do one every August, this is the third one in a row. Chilterns Hills two years ago, South Downs Way last year, Kent this time.
We left the car just outside Rye and walked out on a very large, grassy and flat area full of cows and sheep. I have never seen so many sheep or sheep poo in one place. The sky was blue, the sun was very hot, but there was a bit of wind that made it bearable. We got sun burnt without noticing it basically.
After about 10km we reached the cost at Camber Sand. It’s a very large beach and that day was full of people. We sat on the sand to rest a bit and then we walked back to Rye following the harbour.
We walked a total of 15k. It was quite an easy walk as it was all flat, but very enjoyable. I would not do it on a rainy day as the beauty of it is in the large expanse of fields which are nice in the sun, but might be a bit boring and sad in the rain.
We did a small tour of Rye which is very nice, very much a tourists attraction with old English houses and a castle. It’s a shame the view form the top of the village is ruined by the industrial/harbour bit below.
After a pint and fish and chips (me) we went back to the car and drove to a crazy place: Dungeness. It’s quite a surreal place. Almost looks like a nuclear blast aftermath. I cannot imagine how it is to live in those small houses in the middle of nowhere, but it is worth visiting as there are not many places like that.
Overall a very nice week. I will try and run somewhere new next week end too.