Hello Realbuzzers 😊
Hope that those of you training for spring marathons are all going well as you get to the long run end of training. There have been some epic performances this week - always a huge inspiration 😊
Just a couple of Parkruns and a walk to report on this time and I'll bet I still manage to rabbit on forever 😂😂 Homewood Parkrun #6 just over a week ago first. Every time I take part, I try and run a little more than the time before. I really wasn't feeling the love for this one though as I was tired and my joints were a bit sore (I'd started with another cough the day before 😕) This one was also a bit disconcerting as my neck kicked off early on and my hands quickly went totally numb and the feet started misbehaving as well - not good on a course full of tree roots so I had to put much more effort into physically lifting my feet up. At least it wasn't quite as muddy as previous weeks though. Richard was still resting his shin and volunteered to hold up the finish sign and cheer people home which he did brilliantly 😊 I was totally surprised when the results came in that I managed to knock 45 seconds off my PB. I felt great for half an hour afterwards but was so tired by the time we got home and really struggled to keep going for the rest of the day.
By Tuesday, the cough was largely gone and saw me down on the local Open Space, digging out a drainage ditch for 90 minutes then spending 5 hours pulling and digging up sycamore saplings and brambles. An hour at the gym that evening finished me off - I still haven't got the hang of not overdoing things (and doubt I ever will 😂😂).
Thursday looked like it was going to be a good day for walking and Richard's shin pain had backed right off so we headed for the southern edge of the North Downs - no sliding around on chalk mud for us, we were headed for Greensand country 😊 Shorter than recent distances but we were in no doubt that the hills would make up for that in terms of effort. Shocking to think we hadn't walked any decent hills since walking Leith Hill twice last December (Leith Hill is a Marilyn - a hill with a drop of at least 150m on all sides. It has a drop of 246m). From the forest car park in Hurtwood, there was no gentle warm up, just straight into uphill work. Although hazy, the views were nonetheless as stunning as ever.
View from Pitch Hill, the fifth highest hill in Surrey
From there we descended into the valley and on our way passed quite a few patches of sweet violets. Absolutely lovely to see the countryside springing to life again 😊 Not only did they smell divine, but they tasted delightful as well (the petals taste like Parma violets 😊)
The descent continued past the very posh Duke of Kent school, founded in 1976 by the RAF Benevolent Fund, honouring Prince George, the Duke of Kent who died in an air crash during the Second World War. It no longer has formal ties with the RAF but operates as a prep school for children from nursery age (about £2500 per term) to GCSE level (about £5600 per term). Still, it is situated in a very wealthy part of Surrey! Next came the ascent of Holmbury Hill on top of which are the remains of an Iron Age hill fort which stood for around 150 years until the arrival of the Romans. Again, splendid views from up there 😊
View from Holmbury Hill (the fourth highest hill in Surrey) towards Leith Hill
Down into another valley then the route took us part the way up Leith Hill as well before descending down onto the Weald. Ah yes, then came the mud. Weald Clay is super sticky and within minutes you feel like you're wearing moon boots! Many of the footpaths we followed were very minor and were actually small streams after the recent rains but at least it helped to clean the boots off a bit 😊 It was hard work on the legs though and my hips certainly weren't too happy (to be honest, most of me wasn't happy after the efforts of ditch digging and sapling pulling 48 hours earlier 😂😂). There wasn't much wildlife to be seen this time although there were a lot of fresh deer prints on the paths. We passed through the ancient villages of Forest Green and Ewhurst which had some wonderful old buildings, including one that had tiny black pebbles set an inch apart in all the mortar from ground to roof between the building stones. Wish I'd have taken a picture of that now, it was impressive! Famous residents of Ewhurst are Eric Clapton (who's known to occasionally play the piano at the local C of E church) and Jim Davidson. We couldn't find a shop to buy a Magnum though 😕 (I forgot to mention that on the last long walk out of Henley, we had the first white Magnums of the season - summer is coming 😁). As we got closer to the Greensand Hills again some of the paths were on delightfully springy short grass, a huge relief to the legs and at least when Pitch Hill loomed large once more we knew that we'd soon be off the mud! 😊
Return approach to Pitch Hill
Spring is here! A bank of primroses at the bottom of the ascent up Pitch Hill
By the time we'd reached the top, the sun was getting pretty low but it made for a wonderful view! I was proud of myself overall as even on the steepest and longest ascents, I'd barely stopped and that's an improvement even if the pace was dreadfully slow.
Sunset over the Surrey Hills
So, some slow hilly miles done. When we got back to the car, Runmeter reckoned about 19.8km so a few loops of the car park brought it up to just over 20, it'd have been rude not to 😉 A fat wedge of home made almond cake and a mug of coffee sitting on the tailgate rounded the day off nicely 😊
You might be wondering by now where this week's blog title came from? Well, it seems we've been tumping and humping for a couple of years and never knew it 😂😂 A tump is a hill with at least a 30m drop on all sides. Pitch Hill has an 85m drop. A hump (which actually stands for Hundred Meter Prominence) is a hill with at least a 100m drop on all sides. Holmbury Hill has a 107m drop so just qualifies as a a Hump 😊
By Saturday morning I was still feeling absolutely shattered (disappointingly sleep still hasn't improved) and the thought of Parkrun didn't appeal very much at all. Couldn't be having that though, particularly as Richard was ready to run again and it was lovely and sunny 😊. So on with the kit and off we went. We had some torrential rain around here last week and the course didn't disappoint in terms of mud- it was deeper than ever and much more widespread 😂😂 It's so funny seeing people trying to carefully pick their way through it. The numb hands thing happened again very quickly but since I don't run or walk with them, it isn't really a consideration 😂😂 I soon got chatting to a Parkrun tourist who is also doing the Isle of Wight Challenge in April and wanted a few training tips. After a couple of minutes I pushed on with my next run segment. I didn't think that between the mud and the chatting that I'd improve on last week but I kept pushing anyway, inspired by thinking of Jim also out there ploughing through the mud in the Green Man Ultra. I was over the moon that I managed to knock another 38 seconds off last weeks PB. So now I'm down to 40:17. Hopefully soon I'll get it down below 40 minutes then I'll just keep pushing a bit harder every week. Meanwhile, I'll just keep smiling every time, I manage to run a bit more 😊
This week's Parkrun pic
Have a great week and happy training everyone xx 😊