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Monday, 30 January 2012

Exposing myself and flashing when I run

I have exposed myself (by accident) once when running. Ill tell you why and how this happened later in this post, but for now I want to talk about the other type of exposure and flashing.....Taking digital photographs. I should warn you in advance, by very nature of the subject matter this post has a lot of photos in............cue the boring slide show...........

Lee - keen amateur underwater photographer and short bloke
Snap Happy

I really enjoy taking photos. My wall in my kitchen is a testament to this. I particularly like the challenge of taking good underwater photos with my camera when I go diving. There is far more skill required than above water, getting the light levels right, colour balance so that everything doesnt look blue, diving very carefully so as not to stir up debris and affect the 'viz', positioning strobes so you dont get back scatter .....the list goes on and on. To me there is a joy in taking the time over a pic and really 'nailing it' like a pro.

The above jet ski pic is and example of a shot that I am pleased with. I spent ages getting all the settings right, I was floating in the middle of lake in a drysuit and lifejacket, Id manually adjusted the colours for just red, briefed the guys in the jetski as to what sort of pic i could get for them etc etc. this photo is not photoshopped. This is exactly as it was taken. Im very pleased with it.......... BUT.....and this is the big took ages to get perfect (and for those of you with £4000 Digital SLRs it was done with a compact camera). I reckon I took over 100 photos to get 7 worth posting on facebook.

So Whats this got to do with Running ?

I also like to take pics when I'm running.......but....when I'm running my heart rate is well up and my clothing is chosen for hard exercise, if I stop for more than a few seconds I get cold and it affects my 'rhythm'. The challenge with taking running pics is 'nailing it' in 5 seconds or less....with a phone camera (which I also listen to music on when running). Camera phones are good for pictures , but have less features and settings than most cheap digital compact cameras. They are more of a challenge to get a decent picture with.

Dr Stephanie Evans on the Wreck of the Dunraven in the Red Sea

The above pic is an example of an underwater pic I took that encompasses the spirit of a running pic. My wife was on the other side of the wreck of the Dunraven in the Red Sea. She didnt know I was taking the pic, I had less than 5 seconds to take that pic as she was framed in the gap in the wreck. I got the pic because I was prepared when the moment arose. Its for this reason I love this photo.

Pictures and the Greensand Way

Having been 'aware' of the area around the greensand way for the last year or more I can tell you it's very rightly named an area of outstanding natural beauty, I love to run in this area and it's great to share with others in a 'twitpic'

Greensand Way by Hambledon Church at Harvest
All of the rest of the pics in this post are taken running with my phone. All done in less than 5 seconds, none of them photoshopped.

Bluebells in Busbridge Woods

I also like to go running in any country I go to. Ive taken pics whilst running in Spain, Egypt and Poland recently.

Beehives in Guardamar Spain

How Far?!
The routes I run locally that all start in my back garden are a mix up of various paths but generally I run one particular 'loop' about once per week. What is amazing is that the changing of the seasons and times of day and weather can give me such varied results.

Tree in the Mist near Hambledon on the Greensand Way

Given that I run a lot of the time before I go to work I often catch sunrises in the early morning in winter that most people miss as they brush their teeth, yawn and get dressed. Running off road takes you to places a lot of people dont see, there is no car or train access.

Winter Sunrise Vann Hill overlooking the Greensand Way

A different Winter Sunrise from Vann Hill overlooking the Greensand Way

Winter Sunrise from Hascombe Hill
Even things as 'mundane' as the rain or fog can massively change the landscape overnight and reveal new patterns in the paths or terrain.This is also true when Autumn makes the leaves fall and hides paths (sometimes causing me to get lost even on paths Im very familiar with )

View on path from Busbridge Lakes in Autumn
Path near Busbridge Woods washed clear of leaves by overnight rain
Hascombe Hill Mist

The Greensand Way Run is going to provide me with hundreds of opportunities to take some stunning pictures and it is one of the many things I am looking forward to. Ill be armed with my trusty compact camera but I bet some of the best pics will be the 5 second pics because my phone is always close to hand.

How I once got Frostbite on my Penis

Now that Ive finished boring you with my slideshow we can get to the reason you are really reading this post. In the winter when I run early it is dark and it is cold. On one very dark and cold morning It was frosty and about minus 5 celcius outside. I was short of running leggings as they were in the wash so I elected for a pair of excellent double warm merino wool helly hansen longjohns.

Even with 2 layers on my legs in the winter in sub zero temps i can get what I have dubbed CRP or Cold Running Penis.

On this fateful morning whilst out running in non standard running kit the action of my running caused my willy to accidentally pop out through the convenient fly in the longjohns (something running leggings dont have for a reason). As it was very cold I didnt notice....for almost all of the run. I put the cold sensation down to CRP. Amazingly no one was out walking their dogs that morning. The shock and horror as I looked down and saw the little fella staring back at me was every mans nightmare, the effect of the cold was serious and I had lost all feeling in my little guy and he felt ice cold on the return to my house. I was reluctant to 'put my hands on him and rub him warm' in case a one year potential prison term for exposure became a 5 year prison term for 'wanking in public'.

The searing terrible pain when I thawed him out in the shower was something Ill never forget. I can still remember it now.

I have never run with just longjohn thermals on again.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Our First Threesome

Yesterday was the first training run we did with all three of us running together.

Pushing ourselves further and longer than last week we decided to combine the Map 2 we ran last week with Map 1 which meant we got to run from Hambledon Church all the way to the end of the Greensand Way on Haslemere High St and then back again. A total of 21 miles.

We set off at a very punctual 8.30am and quickly found we settled into a much faster pace than the week before. The ascent up towards Gibbet Hill Viewpoint was easier this time and we even took the time out to get a picture of ourselves standing on what used to be the busy A3 (now defunct due to the tunnel) It was very eerie to stand somewhere that we have all driven along so many times, with no cars or tarmac!

Standing on the old A3 as it swept up to the hindhead trafiic lights just below the Greensand Way
We got to the viewpoint at Gibbet Hill in under 2 hours and fond that running as three means whilst one of you may be a bit tired at any given stage there is always two others to spur you on.

An excellent Plank on Gibbet Hill on the Greensand Way
Dave took the opportunity to enjoy the obligtory Plank at the navigation marker and we also left an offering to the running gods in the form of a jelly baby to mark our respect.

Our offering left facing towards Godalming at Gibbet Hill on the Greensand Way
The 'downhill' and 'short' 30 minute run down to Haslemere I promised was not 'downhill' and not 'short'. It proved to be up and down and took us over 45 minutes to run. I was berated all the way for promising optimistically that we were ' only about 8 minutes away' when we were all.

Our halfway mark...and Bruch

The Greensand Way spits you out in Haslemere into a car park. Its a very big anticlimax. You go from peaceful scenic hills and epic views to so many people and cars and noise its like being in Cairo by comparison. We all felt very out of place running up the HIgh St and were pleased to go hide in The Swan Pub for 'brunch'.

Whilst Dave and Claire ignored my recommendation for a suitable light runners lunch by having a bacon, sausage and egg bloomer I opted for the much more sensible large full cooked breakfast.

We ate, drank coffee and water and rested for just under an hour before setting off again at about 12.30pm.

running down the quiet lane off gibbet hill on the Greensand Way

The return journey was run at a furious pace with Dave up front for most of it as he had promised his girlfriend he would finish the run by around 1pm. This was slightly optimistic.

I did not suffer any ill effects from my light sensible brunch on the return run, I did not burp black pudding every few minutes for three hours, didnt feel the beans slopping around for most of the run, didnt find the waistband unusually tight round my waist.  I didnt feel hash browns dancing a merry jig.

A few ailments with cramp and chaffing made us realise that we need to add a few items to our medical pack when running.  I also brought 2 packs of jelly babies and a litre of water and a bottle of red bull this time but i still need a bit more water on these long runs. I carried drink in my camelback stuffed inside my new larger more comfy rucksack and this worked really well. I obviously got the balance of calories and water nearly right because this week I returned weighing the same as I did when I left (last week I was 5 lbs lighter after my run)

my favourite photo of the day taken in a road mirror on the Greensand Way in Hambledon

We got back to Hambledon for about 3.20pm which was really good. Dave had to shoot off fairly quickly as he was 'a few minutes behind schedule' and Claire and I stayed at the Merry Harriers pub in Hambledon and had an 'Ice Cold in Alex' moment with the best pint Ive drunk in ages.

sports drink in the Merry Harriers Hambledon on the Greensand Way

We were all really pleased with our pace and are already getting ready for the next large run together which will be exploring the Greensand Way westwards from The White Horse at Hascombe towards the Windmill at Ewhurst.

Friday, 27 January 2012

To Cla-rify the matter.

After having the idea to start a blog... and having the idea for interview-style introductory questions... I haven't blogged at all! These are my "getting to know you" answers, and it turns out my blogging style is rather slow and rambly (a bit like my running style).

1. Give us a short history of your running or fitness experience. Are you a typically sporty person?

I never thought of myself as a "sporty" person, but thinking about it - I've been doing regular sport since the age of 6. Saturday morning football as a real littl'un evokes a memory of frosty pitches and glorious winter sunshine, my lush yellow football socks and the ultimate in protection - shin pads!

I don't tell many people that I spent a couple of years going to football, because don't want them to think badly of me... luckily at the tender age of 8 I discovered the wonder of Guildford and Godalming Mini Rugby Club, and never looked back. For years I took pride in telling people I did ballet on Fridays and played rugby on Sundays. That was until I went to secondary school, and school rugby was on Friday nights. I waved goodbye to ballet forever.

Rugby was my life - as I outgrew Mini Rugby (you can't play mixed rugby after the age of 12) I joined Camberley Youth WRFC, spent summers at RugbyClass holidays, and progressed through the player pathway I got to represent my county and my region, and captain my club side too. I trained with the youth and the adult sides at Camberley on the same night, training for County or Region on Saturdays and playing at club level on Sundays.
Combined with joining Guildford Hash House Harriers (to see what my dad was doing running around in the dark on Mondays) and doing PE GCSE and A level, my activity levels were through the roof.

Rugby progressed through to uni, and I was lucky enough to represent my country playing for the England Students Women's rugby team four times - really really exciting times!

I continued doing Uni and Region rugby in 2006-7 season when disaster struck. At the highest attended match I'd ever played in (including the England matches) - our Bristol v UWE varsity match, someone fell on my lower right leg at the back of a ruck.
A small popping sound was heard and then suddenly I didn't give the tiniest shit about the match. All I knew was that something was very, VERY wrong with my knee.

I was bound up on the pitch and subbed off - refusing a stretcher (being stretchered off in front of 3000+ people, no thanks)! I spent the rest of the day iced up, compressed, and managed to hobble out for a post match beer.

I found out a few weeks later that I'd snapped my Anterior Cruciate Ligament. I was treated privately by former England fullback Jonathan Webb but my recovery progress was slow due to other factors in my life (clinical depression being the main one).

Since then I've come back to rugby, playing with the mighty Guildford Gazelles who are top girls, a talented team and all-round ace people, but had a meniscal tear in 2011 which was treated by an arthroscopy - I have some cartilage in a small vial in my desk, if anyone wants to see it?

The most attractive rugby team you'll ever meet. Guaranteed.

I'm off rugby for now because I do college on Wednesday nights (training night), but fully intend to re-start my career when I get the time! I'm sure I've got another decade or so of bashing bitches left in me...

Re-starting hashing in Autumn 2011 was a great idea and has got me out and about running again.
Before I started running with Lee, I was doing 3 mile circuits of my neighbourhood, running on pavements because I knew where I was. Now it's become patently clear there's a HUGE world out there of scenery and footpaths waiting to be discovered!

2. All of you have lost a good chunk of weight. What was your top weight, and how much do you weigh now?

After my injury, during a time when I couldn't exercise (couldn't run) but was still drinking like a rugby player, I put on a lot of weight. I moved back home from Bristol and was still putting weight on. Sometimes I don't believe it, but I have a piece of paper that says I weighed 100kg which is over 15 and a half stone (this was probably round about my 21st birthday).

Put down the cake, fatty.

At 5'10", that, my friends, is obese.

I've been losing bits and bobs since then, but now I'm down from a size 18 to a size 12, and comfortably into the four stone club at 11.5 stone. My happy weight before uni was 10.5 stone, so I'd quite like to get down to that - but now I'm more focussed on increasing fitness and decreasing my body fat %.

A bit leaner, a lot meaner.

3. What kind of mileage do you run per week currently?

I don't really know. I'm trying to up my miles a lot, and have started running to/from work when I can. I'll blog about this in the future.
Miles per week stands at around 20-30 currently.

4. What's the longest or craziest run you've done so far?

Fortunately Lee has blogged all about the long or crazy runs we've done already!
The longest was last weekend's Saturday ShitheadDay Hambledon-Gibbet Hill and back.
GH3 runs are always great, often crazy, and regularly punctuated with things like beer, banter, and eye-opening conversations. And getting lost.

5. Why on earth are you doing the Greensand Way 2012?!

Because I don't say no to things any more. Start saying yes to stuff! It's awesome. It's how I got myself into loads of fine messes, all of which have led me to this point.

6. Who are you raising money for?

I'm off to Tanzania in August with a mad lot of scouts, guides and leaders. We're raising money and sending it out to a project in a village called Itete, in the Ulanga district. When we get there, we'll be working on it for just under two weeks, meeting the builders and the locals, and finishing off the whole thing before a big opening ceremony.

The project is a medical centre, which is being built currently next to the old dispensary which has about four rooms and not many more beds. This dispensary serves over 9000 people living in the village and on subsistence farms surrounding. The sisters at the local church work in the dispensary, caring for the locals while learning to become nuns.

The nearest big hospital is a few hours drive and a (slightly rickety) ferry across a river away - and the ferry doesn't run at night. In medical emergencies, the people from Itete and nearby need a centre that can house and care for them.

There's 39 of us going and we've got expedition fees (all the costs in the UK and abroad of moving, staying places, eating etc) as well as a central project fund to raise money for. There's been some fantastic work done by the group to raise money - but still we need to raise more!

Our Greensand way 2012 fundraising URL is HERE:
So if you fancy giving us something to smile about on the run...this is where you go :)

The T12 team doing a sponsored 20 Bridges of London walk.

7. What's your most embarrassing running or sport story?

I'm sure there's plenty. I've been a Tumbling Tosser at the hash loads of times, I got stuck in a gate last weekend with a backpack on (Thanks for taking photos Lee).... Off the top of my head, the one embarrassing thing I can think of which is quite sports related - I was back in Bristol, visiting for an Alumni match (but not playing due to injury), and doing a bit of forward coaching for some oldies and some newies who were playing a bit out of position. As a fatty I was wearing some cheap jeans that I'd found for a tenner somewhere, which turned out to be quite thin and had NO stretch.

While demonstrating the correct position for a second row to prepare for a scrum, I knelt on one knee and when I put the other foot flat on the ground...RRRIIIIIPPPPPP.

Massive rip in arse of jeans. Well done Claire. I had a pair of leggings with me too, which I had to hastily put on underneath the jeans!

I still have those jeans somewhere, and can do the hilarious "I used to wear THESE trousers!" pose!

8. Which do you prefer?
A. Lee Evans (comedian) or Lee Latchford Evans?

Not sure. Lee Evans is quite sweaty but still successful, which I like.

B. Craig David or PJ Harvey?

PJ Harvey. At a push. On musical credentials. Although Craig David writes more earworms.

C. Claire from Steps or Tina Turner?

Er. Tina. For championing the surname.

9. You're all billed as musicians as well as insane running type people. What are your rockstar credentials?

ABRSM Grade 5 Music Theory, Grade 6 Violin and Saxophone (Alto) BOOYEAH!
Toured Austria with SWSYO in 2003.
I also own two ocarinas.

I can play a few chords on guitar.

Somehow with the magic of a little pink bouncing ukulele I joined my first band last year (The InnTouchables), as well as the magical UkeJam - with whom we've played in pubs, at bandstands, outside supermarkets... oh yeah, and supporting Charley Farley Sunday Four, Hayseed Dixie, Josh Kumra.... UkeJam is the ukulele sensation and we're going places! Viva la 4 string revolution!

Sometimes I indulge in a bit of Mandolin Pickle too.

10. You're all going to be spending a long weekend together at the end of this. Who do you think would win in a fight between the other two runners?

I'm not sure yet. I'm waiting for this weekend to see who would come out winning. I've got a feeling Dave could hold Lee out at arm's length for quite a while, while Lee tires himself out swinging wild punches (If this ever happens, I promise to film it).

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Being dumped by my old partner and finding a new one

I have few Weaknesses.......Chocolate, Diving, Flying, Cotton Buds in my ear, Brunettes........................and Plantar Fasciitis.

About 5 years ago I started getting a lot of pain in my heel and under the arch in my foot. This was before I was a regular runner and I weighed a lot more than I do now. After taking up some exercise and getting some excellent advice from the utterly brilliant guys at the Tortoise and Hare Running Shop in Cranleigh they suggested my problem could be plantar fasciitis and suggested using a product called superfeet.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis occurs when the thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot is overstretched or overused. It is usually caused by tight calf muscles.

My pain was solved over the next few days by wearing the superfeet and I always wear them in all my shoes all the time. When I started my proper off road running I started a love affair with Montrail Highlander running shoes. Best grip ever, super comfy over long distances, just right for my gait. Nothing else came close....... they were amazing.... We fell in love. I thought all running shoes were good, It just never occured to me at the time that I had fluked and found 'the one' first time.

my first love
The Good Times

My relationship with Highlanders lasted about 3 years. We ran in all weather, all terrain, we frollicked abroad in the mountains of Switzerland and the Deserts of Egpyt, across the Plains of Spain and the Highlands of Scotland.  I never looked at another shoe, was never unfaithful and each time I got a new identical pair every 4-5 months the new pair went on like an old friend.

They never let me down, never lost grip, never fell apart.  I thought they would never leave me.

The Bad Times

Then, the news came like a bullet to my heart. The montrails were leaving me. They had ceased production of this shoe, would never make it again and were to eventually pull out of the UK market altogether.  I panicked.....I even bought the last few remaining pairs from anywhere I could get them, I genuinely think I bought and wore out the last size 8 in the UK about a year ago.

After that my life was never the same. My pain slowly crept back and with it a distinct feeling that nothing would be the same as my 'first' and only love. I tried a pair of Walsh running shoes. 'Made in the UK', a 'proper fell shoe'. They were a total load of bollocks and fell apart after 5 weeks. I tried others, all in the £90 mark. All crap. not enough grip, still got the pain, wore out fast.

These one run stands started to get me down, I felt unfulfilled, dreamt of a long term steady running relationship again.

Eventually after a pair of Brooks trainers lasted 6 weeks and frankly pissed me off running in them I decided enough was enough. I needed professional advice.

I had a problem and my footwear promiscuity wasnt helping.

I went to see Karen Knightly at Foot Mechanix in West Byfleet last week.  The way I saw it I was still in pain and I needed relationship counselling between me and my trainers.

The Doctor will see you now

Over a very intensive analysis Karen looked at my gait using high speed video on a running machine, assessed my lack of stretchyness and looked back over my past footwear history and current foot relationship to understand what was going wrong and suggest my new ideal partner.

She never judged me, she never made me feel slutty.

Even when I told her the distances I run in a week and the number of different pairs I'd tried in the last year....she didnt show any sign of shock or disgust.

She gave me a series of exercises, approved of my new use of a night splint to help stretch out my calf overnight and ran my gait analysis through a massive database which then churned out a result for the perfect off road running shoe for me. According to her printout there was the right partner out there for me....and their name was Brooks Trailblade.

It turns out I do not have a poor gait. I am almost perfect. I ever so slightly underpronate which seems to be totally cured by the superfeet. This means that after my 'montys' I was asking for trainers in the shop for someone with plantar fasciitis and getting what i asked for .....trainers with heavy pronation adjustment in them. I had OVER compensated for my minor ailment and sent my feet the other way by combining heavy support shoes AND the superfeet.

the new love of my life ?

My Future Relationship

My New shoes arrived in the post today and at £45 they are HALF the normal price I am used to paying for running shoes. This means the consultation cost of £150 with Karen will pay for itself in the next 9-12 months AND the pain should go away over the next few weeks. Its a win win for me.

Are the Trailblades brilliant? dunno yet. First thing I notice out of the box is how similar they feel to Montys. Same 'flat' running base with almost no arch. same wide foot and grip width. similar colour. Very strong base that is almost impossible to fold. Ill blog again in a few weeks about it and hopefully be pain free. Whatever happens, no matter how good these new ones never forget your first love.

good times- RIP Montrail Highlanders 2007- 2010

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

I Love Hash

Its about time I explained Hash House Harriers. Claire and I are members of the Guildford Hash House Harriers . Their Website can be found here

Hashing has very few rules. Anything goes and usually does. The club meets every monday evening at 7.30pm at various off road running locations around the Guildford area. In essence a 'hare' lays a trail of flour for the rest of the pack to follow and chase over a 4-5 mile course. On the way there are usually false trails, 'checking areas' where you dont know which footpath to take and unintended chaos which all allow the slower runners in the group (the knitting circle) to catch up with the faster runners in the group (the front running bastards).  Members quickly gain a club 'name' for which they are only known when hashing. Claire is Scrum Muffin. I have yet to be named.......more about this later.

A Flour Circle denotes that all paths leading away have to be checked to see which is the correct route

Burns Night Hash

It was no surprise that a large number of us turned up to The Talbot pub in Ripley in Scottish attire.This was the nearest date to Burns Night.  Following a quick 'circle' and the usual useless brief from this weeks Hare we ran off into the darkness where Scrum Muffins dad 'Loose Article' took a rather dramatic tumble in the first few minutes and earned him self a 'tumbling tosser' (fell over) 'down down' (drink pint of beer as a punishment) at the end of the run.

Scrum Muffin cold and ready to start

The run lead us through the canal navigations and a golf course all round the Ripley area. The runs are always fun and its one of the rare times I run without listening to music. All you hear is the distant shout of 'On On' as someone spies the next mark of flour on the ground somewhere in the distance........or 'checking' as we wander aimlessly trying to find the lost path.

This Hasher has no name

After about 60-80 minutes of total chaos most of the runners make it back to the car park where they started. There seems to casual regard for injured or lost runners which I always find amusing.

At this stage a circle forms up and those 'sinners' that have done something stupid are made to have a 'down down' In the past I have been made to do a down down for having matching leggings to Claire or for shrieking like a girl when I slipped on mud.

Loose Article gets a Tumbling Tosser Down Down

This is also the time a new member gets named. This involves a rapid decision on a pun on the persons name or profession (usually as rude as possible) and then a customary soaking in beer and flour. Last night a chap called Mark who was the brother of Hasher 'Birthing Blanket' ended up with the obvious hash name 'Birth Mark'

Arise 'Birth Mark'

Runner Who?

So far i have escaped naming. This is ominous..... I am simultaneously honoured and terrified that the club feel the need to spend so much time deciding. Having already found a parrot on a hash run , been a window cleaner that also plays the uke like george formby, and various other things I would think I would be an easy target for naming........

Neeps and tatties with Haggis

For a special Burns Night treat we also had haggis, neeps and tatties at the Talbot. Usually we just have a beer or 5 and then go home tired and tipsy. Scrum Muffin lead an excellent toast to the gents and one of the hashers even reworded Hotel California on the guitar as an ode to hashing.

Scrum Muffins address to the Gents

A Drinking Club with a Running Problem

Dont worry if a lot of this doesnt make sense. Im still fairly clueless too. What I can tell you is that this a great way to do exercise in a fun way. The chanting songs , the shouting, the drinking and the camerarderie reminds me of a rugby away match. Its another interesting way to mix up your training or fitness programme, meet a load of new people and give you something other than playing ukulele on a Monday night (more on Ukes in another post). its cheaper than a gym session and ten times funnier.

go to their main website to find your local chapter

On On !

Sunday, 22 January 2012

First Test Run Along the Greensand Way - Hambledon to Gibbet Hill Viewpoint

Banjo Day

Claire and I cant find a word to rhyme with Saturday. We have hashtags for our twitter posts like #sundayrunday and #hashhouseharriers but weve never come up with anything better than #saturdayshithead day (mainly because any run following a friday night out tends to be 'impaired').

When we went online to look for words that rhyme with Saturday we got Banjo as a potential word........

So this Saturdayshithead day we ran our first test run along a new stretch of the greensand way. Dave had a run the next day in Portsmouth for 16 miles and so wisely stayed out of this one. The excellent Surrey County Council website shows this run as map 2 of the greensand way and measures a distance of just over 7 miles from Hambledon to Gibbet Hill Viewpoint in Hindhead overlooking the Devils Punchbowl.

Hambledon to Gibbet Hill

We started from the car park by Hambledon Church and began running out towards Sandhills.Both Claire and I carried rucksacks with 5kgs in to simulate the kit we expect to be carrying on the actual run. We were armed with a bottle of water and a pack of jelly babies too,

Its always all smiles at the start of a long run

We ran well following the route using a map saved on my phone as well as watching a moving map image of our route on the android My Tracks app. Most of the time the footpaths are marked well with greensand way markers. We got slightly slowed down/lost around the Sandhills area, caused mainly by us coming off the tracks and having to follow road for a while but mainly the route is fairly easy to follow with plenty of signs on the way. We flew through Witley and Brook in no time heading towards the A3.

crossing under the A3 near Thursley

The new Hindhead Tunnel has caused the A3 to change drastically before the tunnel. The actual greensand way route now has a slight detour at the Thursley area to get under the A3 but it does present a chance for an unusual photo for an off road run.

the well signed route

After the A3 the route the Greensand Way turns southwards towards Hindhead and we ran through varying terrain and through a few farms on towards the Devils Punchbowl.

The run up towards Gibbet Hill is a bit of a slog. The combination of wind and overcast weather, large falling branches and low glycogen left us feeling a bit low as we climbed towards the summit. It took much longer than we expected to run up this stage.As we ran up we could see the old A3 leading up to the old hindhead traffic lights being 'decommissioned' with all its tarmac removed. It was odd to see a road I have driven many times being returned to nature.

our halfway mark

Getting to the summit after 7 miles of running rewarded us with a well earned 25 minute break and fantastic views towards London. We donned some extra clothes to stop the wind, finished the jelly babies had a sit down and got a bit of 'planking' done.


The Return Journey - Gibbet Hill to Hambledon

The journey back required less effort with navigating as we had run the route already. It gave us a chance to reflect on what we had learnt from todays run, thinking about what we had learnt also helped take our minds off how tired we were running back.

My rucksack is small and does not have a waistband. It rubbed too much against my back and the combination of the X Bionic top (which keeps you damp on purpose) meant I ended up with a chaffed back. I have now swapped the rucksack for a different one with a waistband and more comfortable straps.

I also ran out of water and jelly babies. With no food or water on the return journey the run was much harder on the way back. Carrying a few kilos of lead in my rucksack instead of water and food is total madness and a mistake I wont make again.

We agreed that a good selection of tops, hats and gloves helps, as over runs that last many hours you can be caught in varying types of weather and temperatures.

Finally its important with the style of running we will be doing on the actual full run that we take the opportunity at any chance we get going through villages and hamlets to pick up drink and food. We were VERY lucky to have the lovely people at Bongo give us a can of tango and a free Club chocolate bar at Witley Station on the way back.

Claire has an Orangegasm
Next weekend ( SaturdayShitheadDay) we are running a longer run as a three. We will do the same route as this run and continue on to Haslemere where we will have lunch and then run back. Itll be the longest run we have done yet and the first time all three of us have actually run together.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Soundtrack to Daves Greensand Way Run

Again because of computer troubles Lee has listed my next blog entry about the soundtrack to my Greensand Way Run

1.A song to set off to at the start of our epic run.

‘I’ll be ready’ The Baywatch Theme Tune! Cheesy epic start to any race/night out.

Greensand Way marker in The Hurtwood

2. A song for running over scenic hills.

When the Levee Breaks by Led Zeppelin. One of my fondest memories involves looking over mountains in Spain whilst drinking Brandy listening to this song. It’s so unbelievably epic!

3. A pick me up song when your blood sugar is low and your knees are weak and you have a few miles to go.

The training tune from the Rocky films! Haha

4. A song for entering a 'local' pub , suspicious of us.

Strange Brew by Cream….. Need I say anymore.

5. A danger / peril song.

The Imperial March. Has to be!

6. A.crazy times funny times silly times song.
Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5. It’s daft and I hate pop music but it’s so CATCHY!! And makes me want to dance!

7. Something from a film or dvd or story that inspires you.
Can it be a music DVD? If so then defo Bleeding Me off of Metallica’s S&M, amazing. Film wise I would just be happy to have the dialogue to Beerfest on!

8. A mellow song to fall asleep to after a hard days running.
Sunn o))) Any song. It’s so heavy and doomy it’s gone full circle and is chilled out and euphoric. They’re like ‘the eternal omm’ on guitars.

Moon over the Greensand Way near Hambledon

9. A song to run into Haslemere and finish the run to
Reel Big Fish – I think I’ll Have Myself A Beer. Obviously! But as they’re rubbish I’d turn it off and put on Metallica, whatever album is closest. Or ‘Home Sweet Home’ by Motley Crue, I can’t decide!

Arriving at the White Horse at Hascombe on the Greensand Way

10. A retrospective song looking back on the whole run.
Difficult. Errrrm I’d just say it would be Belligerence ‘Now Here’s Your Secret’ because they’re great and the riffs are amazing ;) and they’ve not got in one of these yet somehow!

Getting to know Dave a little better

Lee has uploaded my first blog for me as I had some computer troubles today

Me before the 'faceplant' incident at Hellrunnner
 1. Give us a short history of your running or fitness experience. Are you a typically sporty person?
Typically Sporty… No. While I was at School all I did was play sport, I was an opening bowler for the 1st Eleven Cricket Team, Captain of the Football team at Junior School and massively into rugby. Well, that was until my mother brought me a guitar one Christmas and I decided I’d much rather be like James Hetfield than spend my time in the cold and wet! And this has been the case for over 12 years!
I’ve been running for the past couple of years on and off but have really loved it over the past 12 months and now run almost daily. It’s an odd mind set because while sometimes there’s nothing worse than being out in the freezing cold and wet knackering yourself out, there is nothing worse than not being able to be out! I got a bit unfit through college and uni and working so now feel then need to sort that out!

2. All of you have lost a good chunk of weight. What was your top weight, and how much do you weigh now?

I’ve lost probably around 3 stone. I’m around the 14 stone mark and in need of losing a bit more. Mind you I am about 6 foot 3 so have an excuse for a bit of weight!

3. What kind of mileage do you run per week currently?
I’d say it’s probably around 40 miles but have had a couple of niggly injuries since Hellrunner so am getting over them and building up once more.

4. What's the longest or craziest run you've done so far?
Hellrunner! But my god was it a laugh and very very wet. I think about half way round Lee and I went through a very large puddle that unfortunately had me face-planting it right in the middle while Lee looked on with a rather large grin on his face.

Me running Hellrunner

5. Why on earth are you doing the Greensand Way 2012?!
I don’t know. This is daft, right?

Greensand Way leading down from the Hurtwood towards Hascombe

6. Who are you raising money for?
Hmmm I think it’s going to have to be for Claire’s charity as we’ll be going through this together and would love to maximise the fund raising for her.

7. What's your most embarrassing running or sport story?
See Q4!

8. Which do you prefer?

A. Lee Evans (comedian) or Lee Latchford Evans?Lee Evans.

B. Craig David or PJ Harvey?Pj Harvey

C. Claire from Steps or Tina Turner?James Hetfield.

9. You're all billed as musicians as well as insane running type people. What are your rockstar credentials?
Lee will tell you he’s the biggest rock star because of his The Marrows being so famous! But actually I am. Listen to Belligerence, listen to the riffs, played Download, played with Skid Row etc etc. No need to say anymore on this!! 

Rock Star Dave colour matches Amp, Guitar and Hair like a pro