Monday, January 25, 2016

A Cheeky 3 (number 63)

I wasn't supposed to have a marathon this weekend but the sea and concrete of Dymchurch were calling to me and as Traviss had a spare place I was powerless to resist. John Masefield's words came to mind:

Sea Fever

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; 
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

Well we certainly had a grey dawn didn't we and it was a bit windy although nowhere near as bad as the 40+mph winds we had back in November. Those brave souls who pounded the concrete the day before as well said that Saturday was a perfect day so it must have been me that brought the bad weather for Sunday- sorry about that!

It was quite foggy when I left home which was unfortunate as one of the lanes I use was closed off and I got sent into the network of single-track lanes I wouldn't choose to use when the fog is so dense it bounces back at your headlights when on full beam. Thankfully I encountered neither deer nor other vehicles so I arrived at Dymchurch bright and early. I headed off to collect my number, took a few photos and then went back to the car for a nice warm coffee.

The tide was out early on but the sand soon disappeared beneath a murky sea

Shades of grey and browns interested me

The railings made me think of corrugated rib (see below)

The ribbing I used for the Oregon cardigan is very like those railings and relates to my new Fair Isle project (details later)

Why did I take this photo of a rather uninspiring Martello Tower? Because the colours of the concrete interested me (stop calling me "saddo"!!!)

Before we set off Traviss made the usual announcements but there was a very special presentation for Tiago Dionso who has completed 400 marathons and got a special trophy as he has completed 100 marathons in 2 countries (UK and Portugal) + 100 road marathons, 100 trail marathons and 100 ultras. Wow, that's some tally!

It was my first Dymchurch that got me into HOKAs and I really can't imagine wearing anything else on  such an unforgiving surface. I had decided that I would use this as an endurance test - not in distance but in speed and would run at a pace that was comfortable for as long as I could and then slow down and see how I felt. Traviss had amended the route slightly to get rid of a silly little bit we had to run followed by laps and it was much better with just 5 x 5.25 mile laps.

I settled into what felt like a comfortable pace which was sub 10 minute miling on the outward stretch and sub 10.5 minute miling on the return as we were running into the wind, although it was nowhere near as bad as the 40+mph winds we had to negotiate back in November. People kept commenting that I was looking strong and flying along. I even managed to keep pace with speedy boys Philip and Clive until they got fed-up of an old biddy slip streaming them and trotted past as if they were just out for a nice jog in the park whilst I was running 'eyeballs-out'!!!

My first lap was bang on 50 minutes, as was my 2nd and then my third and having passed the halfway mark in 2:12 I decided to ease off and see if it had slowed down me down significantly for the remaining 2 laps.

I ran my penultimate lap feeling comfortable at 11 minute miling and then ran/walked the last lap with James again although we did have to put on a bit of a spurt for the last .75 mile to get in under 5 hours - 4:55:55 to be precise which happens to be a course pb by 25 minutes. Hoorah!

Another beautiful Dymchurch medal for my collection. I love the concrete-grey colour of this one.

So why the pacing? It's all part of my build-up to the 50 mile ultra I'm doing in April. There is a 12 hour cut-off as opposed to the very generous 15 hour cut-off at my only other 50 miler in 2007 which I completed in 13:26. Admittedly I didn't push myself in that and had a leisurely lunchbreak and a complete change of kit due to the torrential rain and thunderstorm plus I'm quite a different runner nowadays. But can you imagine not making the cut-off after all that effort? Even though you'd still get a medal it wouldn't be the extra special medal Traviss has designed. That's why I'm going beyond marathon distance whenever possible, to get my body used to not stopping at 26.2 miles and to get my mind focused.

Now for the knitting. Runners might want to skip this unless you want to learn about Fair Isle knitting!

I'd been procrastinating about purchasing Felicity's book since it was last reprinted and finally purchased my copy. I love the way she translates everyday images into knitting patterns. Anyone who knows me knows that I take loads of photos when I'm out on my training runs, and during marathons, and not just of pretty views. I love pattern and I love colour so it seemed logical that I should interpret them and have a go at my own patterns.

As I flicked through the pages I knew exactly what I want to create - a knitted cowl in wintery colours and with that in mind I've started saving photos into a separate album ready to start swatching when I feel I've got enough images. 

Here's a small selection of things I love and why they inspire me:

The stark outline of the branches of these poplars with the different colours of the sky seen through them

Log-pile with frost

The shapes on this wrought iron gate

Frost highlighting the grain on this gatepost

A wonderful amber glow after sunrise seen through the bare tree

Pampas plumes

A magnificent sunset over our fields

The patterns and colour of this brickwork in Lewes

The row of bright bricks stands out amidst the flints in this section of wall

These bunnies running along behind the zig-zag (from Jeskyns last week!)

That yellow line along the edge of the lower seawall really stands out against the browns around it. (Dymchurch last November!)

I think that'll do for now but there are loads more. This next weekend I shall be back at Betteshanger Country Park for another event where I hope to increase my ultra distance (depending on how the weather behaves of course!).


Old Runningfox. said...

I can't keep count of your marathons Susie! Well done on another wonderful achievement, a sub 5 hour at Dymchurch.
'Sea Fever' is a favourite poem of mine too, one of the first I ever learnt. I've even been known to sing excerpts from it while out running!
Carry on the good work.....

Susie Hewer said...

Thanks Gordon. You are too kind, especially since you could run 2 marathons in the time it takes me to run one! Hope your next eye operation goes smoothly so you can get back to running more frequently. Susie x

Lowcarb team member said...

Dymchurch ... Dymchurch ... why that's where the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway is!
Goodness we visited a few years back now and had a wonderful time, both on the railway and a visit to Dungeness Power Station and lighthouse.

You certainly get around on your runs - and well done on the latest one.

Link to the railway here,_Hythe_and_Dymchurch_Railway

Look forward to reading about your next run - and one last thing - I do like your photo's,

Take Care

All the best Jan

Susie Hewer said...

Thanks for your encouragement Jan. The railway is really sweet although I've never been on it which I should remedy as you must get some wonderful views across Dungeness, which is a very moody place isn't it.

Since I found Traviss's events I've seen many parts of Kent I'd never seen before and the coast is really beautiful. The naughty runners complain about Dymchurch 'cos the concrete is so hard on your feet and they call it 'Grimchurch' but I love it, especially on a sunny day.

Glad you enjoy my photos - I take far too many every time I go for a run!


Barbara Hunt said...

Lovely pics. Nice to revisit sea fever, I'm afraid spike milligans version also springs to my mind taught to me many years ago

I must go down to the sea today the lonely sea and the sky
I left my vests and pants there
I wonder if they are dry

Sorry. But it still makes me smile

Susie Hewer said...

LOL Barbara, I'd forgotten Spike's version! Thanks for reminding me.