Adventuring (part 2)

At the beginning of the week I was not feeling too well so I took it quite easy. Rested on Monday, ran 13k on Tuesday (with no energy at all) and then rested again on Wednesday.

On Thursday I was feeling myself again and went to do some uphill repeats in Richmond Park. I first did a 3k warmup and then five 400mt uphill and then rested 400mt downhill. Quite intense. On the way back home I also did some sprints instead of just doing a cool down.

In the evening I went to another Like The Wind event where The Montane Spine Race movie was shown. I liked it a lot. See the trailer below and if you get a chance to see it do not miss it. The film makers were there to answer questions, one of the runner was there too to tell us about his experience. All in all a very nice evening.

On Friday I took it easy. I ran 11.5k at 4:48 in Bushy Park. Very strange morning, very foggy. At one point a white stag ran out of the mist and into the bushes, quite spectacular.

Saturday I finally managed to go for a run with Craig. We have meant to go for a run together since last year, preparing for the NDW50. We never managed to until this week. We ended up doing 32km from Kingston to Mortlake and back. We did not go too fast but I was very tired at the end, maybe it’s because I am not used to talk so much while running. We then went for a cold beer on a river pub, in the sun, it went down really well (I had a killer hiccup in the evening, but that’s nothing new). Craig: nice one, let’s do it again.

Then on Sunday I went to explore new trails. I have never run on the South Downs Way. I have walked part of it, but had not seen enough. So I woke up very early, 5 am, drove down to Eastbourne, left the car there and then took a train (2 actually) to Falmer and then looked for the SDW. The plan was to run the second half of the SDW50 which I will race next year. Falmer is perfectly halfway and the train station is close to where the SDW meets the A27.

I started running straight outside the train station but after less than 2k I stopped as my watch had all the settings reset from the previous firmware update and it was in miles and showing me data I did not want to see etc. I did not want to run 40k+ without the right settings so I stopped, fixed the issue and started again. What I did not notice was that where I stopped I should have crossed the A27 and go into the SDW, instead I kept running on the side of the road until I arrive to Kingston Near Lewis where I asked a friendly lady how to find the SDW. I was not too far, I only had to climb a hill and I would cross it.


The sun was shining and it was quite hot. I knew it was going to be a long run and I was still a bit tired from the day before so I forced myself to take it easy. I also knew I was not going to cross much civilisation and there was no point in going back or taking shortcuts. The car was at the end of the trail, I had to run it all. It was quite a good exercise in pacing and I am very happy I managed to be consistent. I never felt like I was going to crawl. I ran well on flat and downhill and run most of the climbs.


The view from the top of the various hills was amazing. I have to say, I like the North Downs Way, but on a day like Sunday, the SDW is ten times better.

I steadily kept on going. I did not force myself to eat too many gels and my stomach was happy. I might try not too eat gels every half hour during races like I always try to do. 45 minutes, an hour is probably good for me.

It started getting cloudy and windy and at times it felt quite chilly. I had a jacket with me in case I needed it, but I did not use it. I felt that if I kept on moving I was not going to get cold. Another reason to keep going. At times I felt very far away from everything. I met people walking around but it felt very lonely at times, me versus nature. I listened to some music and loved the whole feeling.


At the 24th km I arrived at Alfriston. Looking at the map the days before I had planned to stop here to refill the water bottle and maybe get some quick food. The village centre is really nice and tiny. I went into the only little shop I saw and bought 1 litre of water, a packet of crisps and a box of jaffa cakes. I had run out of water half an hour earlier so I was quite thirsty and drank half a litre straight away and ate the crisps in two seconds and then started running again. I think I stopped for 5 minutes but it was enough to give me strength. I knew I was over the halfway mark. While running I ate some jaffa cakes. They work really well for me. I carried the packet almost until the end and I ended up having an orange hand at the end.

After 4 more kms and a couple of tough climbs/step I arrived at Exceat. A place I know well as I walked there a couple of times. It is very touristic and was packed with people.IMG_6725

Knowing the area made me fell like I was almost at the end, but the toughest 10 miles were waiting for me. Running up and down the Seven Sisters is really hard. I walked 2 climbs but ran all the others. Very tough after 35k, I cannot imagine how it will be at the end of the SDW50.


The view from there, even without the sun, is amazing and it makes you forget how tired you are. I finally ran into Eastbourne. Did a couple more kms in town and then stopped. I had run 43.5k in total and I had enough. I wanted food. Unfortunately the town was over crowded due to an airplanes show or something. I was hoping to get a shower on the beach and then go for some fish and chips, but you could hardly walk around. Too many people. I bought a massive cappuccino (proteins!), had a banana and some snacks and drove back home. Happy.

Overall a very good week. Two nice long runs in the week end, one in good company and one in beautiful settings. I ran a total of 105km. Next week I will rest a bit and then start the build up for the next race in September: the High Weald Challenge 50k.

See you!



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.

On Wednesday I did a relatively quick 13k at 4:37 m/km and on Thursday I ran 11k easy.
Friday I rested to have more energy for the week end.

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.

Have fun!


The future

It took me quite a while to recover from the half marathon I ran last week end. I don’t know if it was the effort I have put in ti or the fact I ran it a week after a tough marathon on the NDW. Maybe both, but I could not even walk without pain in my legs for two days. I decided to take it easy and rested Monday and Tuesday. Then the rest of the week I ran relatively all easy stuff.

Here is a quick summary:

Wednesday 10.5k at 4:48 with wooden legs.
Thursday 11k at 4:38 on the Bushy Park trails.
Friday a very nice 14k at 4:35 in Richmond Park. I have never seen so many young deer.
Saturday I pushed a bit and did 22k at 4:26. I finally felt like I had recovered.
I finished the week with an easy 11k run on Sunday at 4:43.

Overall a good week of recovery. I ran a total of 69k.

From next week I will start increasing the mileage again. Why? Because it is time to seriously start training for the races ahead. And I have a lot of them coming up.
I have basically decided what I am going to do for the rest of 2015 and most of 2016 already. I enjoyed the NDW50 so much that I want to do more of the Centurion 50 milers, all of them actually and try to complete the Grand Slam.

But that is next year. First I need to prepare a 50k run I will do in September and then the 3 day Druids Challenge in November!

Here is my semi-definitive list of races I will do next:



27/09/2015 High Weald Challenge 50k
04/10/2015 Cardiff Half Marathon
06/11/2015 Druids Challenge
05/12/2015 Rail to Trail East (Cuxton, Kent) Marathon
23/01/2016 Rail to Trail South (Ashurst, East Sussex) Marathon
05/03/2016 Rail to Trail West (Wendover, Buckinghamshire) Marathon
09/04/2016 SDW50
14/05/2016 NDW50
17/09/2016 CW50
26/11/2016 WW50

I only have to find something to do in June, July, October and December 2016!

It will be fun.

Hope to see you in one of those races!