Sunday, June 16, 2019

My last ultramarathon as a 61 year old!

Oh my, where do the years go and is it me or do they seem to go so much quicker nowadays? No, it's just that I'm getting old!

Yesterday saw me get up at silly o'clock, again, to head off for the Kent 50 mile event over at Brook  Farm in Reculver, scene of the Viking 100 miler in March last year. As it was a lapped event, of just over 6 miles per lap, you could opt to do fewer laps rather than going for the full 50 miles and I'd decided beforehand that I'd do 50k, which was 5 laps, because it's only 3 weeks until the 1066 100 mile event (eek!).

There were lots of familiar faces there with several celebrations for a variety of achievements (Ollie was celebrating his 200th marathon).

Traviss did the usual announcements

I caught up with Kirsty who had just completed her 25th ultramarathon and is getting close to 300 marathons

The sky was rather dark and ominous-looking when we set off at 7am but it got quite hot later.

To celebrate my return to Brook Farm I wore my Viking 100 mile tee shirt and new black shorts.

My plan was to run each lap at a set pace within a specific range - laps 1&2 at something beginning with a 10 (ie 10 minute miling), 3&4 11 minute miling, 5 at 12 minute miling.

When I set off I felt really strong and I seemed to be keeping pace with people who usually leave me for dust and I worried that I'd start too fast. However, lap 1 was 1:04 and lap 2 was almost exactly the same so I just went with the flow. People kept commenting that I was flying which is most unusual as I'm a back-of-the-pack plodder! But I felt good so I just carried on.

Simon wasn't running so was out and about taking snaps at different spots:

This path was so much better than before as it was just an overgrown track with no room to pass

The Cow Parsley and Hogweed towered above me!

I almost couldn't believe my eyes when I finished and stopped my watch to see 6:06:42 which is 47 minutes faster than my time on the same course last year and an hour faster than last weeks 50k, albeit on an easier course without the steep climbs. 

Next will be another 50k and then it's time to taper ahead of the main event. Oh my!

Monday, June 10, 2019

Back on the Trail

Yesterday I was back in my happy place,  up and down hills in beautiful countryside at this years Weald Challenge event which starts and ends in Chiddingly.

As I parked my car, my lovely running buddy Bryan pulled up alongside me and we agreed to run together which was a nice surprise as I hadn't seen him since last year!

As we headed off to Registration the RD was putting out the trophies. Oooh, a blue one, I wanted that (I got a brown one for being 1st FV60 last year)

I didn't take as many photos this time, just a few to give a flavour for the route. It was the most perfect weather, not too hot and with a gentle breeze although when we set off it was quite warm and we were worried we'd get baked later. Have a look at my photos from last year for more views.

As always it was over very mixed terrain:

Bryan hadn't noticed this plaque last year marking Blackboys Airfield. It shows that this land was used as an emergency landing place for planes in WW1

Oh those dreaded steps - I always prefer going up steps to going down them!

The impressive gateway to Buxted Park Hotel

Winnie the Pooh country

"I bet you're going to take a photo of that lichen", said Bryan. He was quite right!

As we headed back downhill for the last couple of miles we upped our pace a bit and overtook several people. As we crossed the finish line, in 7:10:05 by the official chip timing (which is 32 minutes faster than last year), we wondered what our position would be in our respective age categories so after we'd got our medal and a lovely new mug we headed off to find Stuart, the Race Director.

I love this colour! We enjoyed a lovely brew of fresh coffee together with some scrummy cake

There were only prizes for FV60 and M60 and in Bryans category the first man home only took 4:59 (speedy boy!) so we guessed he must have been very early 60s whereas Bryan is 68. There were 4 women in my age category so I wasn't sure if I'd win this time but I did and I got another beautiful plaque and a running belt with a water bottle.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Catching up again - the Wildlife edit!

I knew last time I posted that there were still things to write about so I'll start with this little chap who appeared in broad daylight and made a beeline for some bread I'd thrown out for the birds:

I was worried about him straight away as he shouldn't have been out in daylight and to come so close to the house is unusual. The next day he appeared around midday and came and looked through the window:

I noticed that he looked a bit mangy and he sat down a lot. When he walked his gait was awkward and it looked as if he might have been hit by a car, poor little mite.

Over the next couple of days his walking seemed to get worse and he kept sitting down a lot so I telephoned Sussex Wildlife Rescue for advice. The man I spoke to said that he probably needed to be captured and examined by a vet so he said he'd get the local badger group to contact me with a view to supplying a cage to catch him. This was on a Saturday.

On Sunday I thought it would be a good idea to get him used to going into or under something to get his food so I started feeding him on the edge of the patio and came up with a rather Heath Robinson idea:

He's got a mixture of cat food, sultanas and a few peanuts in his bowl and bread soaked in milk to finish off.

Thank you!

The next day he found this upon his arrival:

An old rabbit run propped up on plant pots which we could kick away quickly when he went inside

Of course one of the ducks had to investigate!

When we saw him coming I nipped out and left a trail of food to the cage then waited with bated breath to see if he'd venture inside:

He must have been able to smell the cat food as it didn't take long before he went inside to claim his reward:

He always needed to sit down frequently, poor thing

I thought we'd hear from the badger group on Monday but no-one called so I phoned up again. The little badger came round that afternoon but we never saw him again after that so I suspect he didn't make it. I wish we could have helped him more but sadly it wasn't meant to be.

Around the garden

There's so much activity out there at the moment. The birds are busy nesting with the Sparrows on their 3rd brood! The bird bath on the ground is always a good place for hunting out some lining for a nest:

As for other fledglings, well there are just so many of them! Great Tits, Blue Tits, Rooks, Woodpeckers &  Goldfinches are all in abundance which is brilliant. Watching them is compulsory viewing and much better than TV:

Mummy Rook leads the way with her demanding baby behind!

Feed me NOW!

They Rooks and Jackdaws had been emptying the nut and seed feeders within minutes of me topping them up so drastic action was required:

When we first put them out there was  a great deal of consternation amongst the Rooks, Jackdaws and squirrel who tried and tried to get at them! The Jackdaws worked out they could just reach inside through the holes but it was difficult. The squirrels tried and tried but couldn't get anything and the Rooks decided their beaks were just too big to get anything. 

The first bird to enter the cage was a Nuthatch who seemed to get the hang of it straight away along with all the Tits. However, it took about 6 days before the sparrows worked out how to do it and they still don't all go inside the cage, preferring to reach in from the perch.

The Niger seed has attracted a whole family of Goldfinches which is brilliant!

We've also been delighted to see several young Woodpeckers being fed by a parent. Sometimes they stay on the tree and wait to be fed or they go onto the dead tree in the front garden and wait patiently:

This young squirrel was very confused by the new arrangement and decided the window feeder was best! We've now taken it down for a while to discourage the squirrels as they have been taking over and the little birds didn't get a chance!

Last but not least, here's a sweet little Robin fledgling I spotted this morning:

Next will be some photos from a recent garden visit, some knitting and another recce of part of he 1066 route.