Back to back like the Glosters of old.

Posted on: 04 Sep 2018

Hello all.

So, another weekly update as I gear myself up for the Atlantic Coast Challenge.

Overall, I guess that I’d say it was a good week – always leave room for improvement and chuntering, of course, but progress has been made.

All last week, I was teaching in Jersey.  As a work colleague was also over, I knew that I had better pack my willpower as well as my daps, bucket and spade.  You see, I’m Wildean in my outlook – I can resist everything but temptation.

On that score, then, I am pleased to say that I passed all tests.  Oh no, Satan, get thee behind me – only one cooked breakfast, and absolutely no alcohol consumed on 5 nights out.  Ok, that alcohol stat is what I should be doing midweek, but it is far from a given for me.

And what of the running?  Well, good enough there I would say.  I managed two midweek runs in Jersey.  For both, I chose a route out to St.Aubin’s around the bay from St.Helier.  It really is a lovely spot to run, especially when the weather was as kind as it was last week.  It’s a flat seaside 6 miler there and back.  Of course, as I knew that I needed distance in the legs, I did more than just 6 miles.

On Monday (a Bank Holiday, remember, when many sane people were doing nice things – I’d just taught all day, and was now going to go for a long run!), I nailed 10 miles.  On Wednesday, it was a splendid 14.

With both these runs, I kicked on after St.Aubin’s up the railway track to Corbiere lighthouse.  Well, what a route.  There are many things that are good about railway tracks that have been converted to cycle paths.  Of course, they’re traffic free.  But to this veteran of the beastliness of the beautiful Cotswold Way, they have one other amazing benefit too; they’re either flat, or, where they have an incline, it’s gradual.  That’s what I had here for a while – a lovely, gradual climb.  It was the sort that you knew was there, but was also eminently runnable.  So run it I did.  And I felt good.

On the Wednesday, when I got to the lighthouse, I felt better still.  Runners are rewarded for their efforts.  Of course, they’re rewarded in the usual way; weight loss, self-esteem and the rest.  But, certainly in the places that I am lucky to run (and I count this as one of them), they are blessed by views too.  And they’re the views that you earn, and they’re all the better for it.  This one was right up there, I have to say – a splendid scene across the shimmering Channel, and all with the added bonus of being able to see Guernsey (well known to be the better of the Isles…..)

Pace-wise I was sub-10 min miling for both of the Jersey runs..

..and as you can therefore tell, they weren’t Cotswold Way runs.  Ah no, that was on Saturday.  I have to say that I felt a tad guilty going out at all – having been away all week, I would have liked to stay at home to see the family.  The only way that I could therefore justify a long run to myself was to make it early.  That meant a 5.30 alarm call, when all I wanted to do was sleep.

I was out by 6.15.  To paraphrase an old rugby song – “hills he wanted, hills he got.”  I knew what was coming; the beauty and the beast of knowing The Way as I do is surely that.  I had resolved to get some decent hilly miles into my legs; from The Upton, that means heading north.  North to the big beasts of Blackquarries and Wotton.  God, they lose nothing in their ferocity.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder?  Pah!  What absence does do is make the legs grow weaker.  Were these the same legs that could keep a decent marching pace up these hills but three years ago?

Deep down, maybe I wanted to do 20 miles.  But, as an accountant, I am ever prudent.  Having maxed out last weekend at 13, I thought that going straight to 20 would be too much.  So, I did a loop of the Waterloo trees at the top of Wotton Hill, and then turned for home.  That also meant, of course, ascending Blackquarries Hill – it’s the meanest of the mean, and its first step alone is worthy of a prize from the Marquis de Sade himself.  But, it was done.

All told, 17 miles at 12.30 pace.  Importantly, in those 17 miles was the elevation that the ACC has across its 27 mile days.  Good.

Sunday I was back to Jersey.  And hungover.  All I wanted to do was collapse on the bed, sleep, stagger to somewhere for some food, and sleep again.  Of course, what I did do was lace ‘em up and get out there again.

There was nothing vaguely pretty about the final traipse out to St.Aubin’s.  All along the promenade were people enjoying themselves.  In St.Aubin itself, there were glistening pints aplenty on the waterside pub terraces.  Grimly, and with a face like thunder (so out of place on a beautiful day such as this), I got the 8.69 miles done that I needed to do to get me to a 50 mile week.

Progress, my friends, progress.  Back to back runs again. Like the Glorious Glosters of old, the only regiment in the British army to have a back badge as well as a front one (awarded to commemorate their achievements facing the French in Egypt), this man of Gloucester fought back to back.

On a yard we go.

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