it seemed such a good plan. With nearly two whole weeks off for Christmas and the New Year, I would run most days, and start to build distance and stamina, with longer runs that it’s hard to fit in when working. However, after an excellent session on the Wednesday before Christmas with the Seaford Striders, I was laid low with man ‘flu. I have missed two parkruns and twitten runs and all those long runs on the downs I’d hoped for.
However, illness does afford an opportunity to catch up on blog posts; for I am half way through the sixteen weeks of training for the Brighton Half Marathon in February, but haven’t actually described any of this. To describe the main events:
The Brighton 10k: I see I’ve run this every year since 2005, except 2016, when Storm Angus caused the race to be abandoned. This year I was over the magic 60 minutes, finishing in 1:02:19. It was gratifying to take part with a number of my fellow Seaford Striders, some of them from the two Couch to 5k groups I ran in the year.
The Downland Devil: a new race for me, held in the hills above Lancing. Fellow Strider Chris Wrathall, who provided the photograph of my finish, and I seized the opportunity for this nine-mile trail race, starting and finishing at Coombes Farm. It was the same day as the Crowborough 10k, but, given a choice between a road race and one on trails, with three times the ascents of Crowborough, it was not hard to know which race to do. Fellow Strider Natasha Swan was also there, and decided, with a group of other runners, to set off on an unofficial race. Chris and I held back, not knowing the route, and uncertain if marshals would be in place. The revised start time of 11 came and we set off; the race begins as it means to go on, with a long winding ascent. At the top came an even longer descent, which promoted the anxious thought that we would be climbing this on the way back. The views were spectacular though, of the Adur valley, Shoreham and the sea. A turn took us onto a flattish section; I passed one runner with a bust ankle. We splashed through a farmyard and on to some pylons where the route sent us up an almost vertical slope, and then along a track to a water station, and a long loop, with views over Sompting and Worthing, followed by a descent and another inevitable climb. Then we rejoined the route we had taken outwards, and headed for home. The final hill was every bit as hard as anticipated, but was followed by a descent down a valley to the finish. Chris completed the nine miles in 1:40, I was rather slower in 2:02:06. The first man home finished in 57:44, while the first lady came in at 01:04:54
The December East Sussex Cross Country League race, a return to New Place Farm, Framfield. Unlike previous years, the course was changed to be two laps of the first fields, but retaining the finish alongside a frozen lake. It was, in places, very muddy. Comparisons with last year are difficult, given the course change, but I was pleased to finish in 57:57
Much to my astonishment, I also scored a new PB at Peacehaven parkrun on 9 December. It was so cold I ran a warm-up lap, which may have been the reason.
Tomorrow is the Seaford Striders New Year’s Day run. The weather forecast isn’t encouraging, but I shall use this event to return to running.