Monday 26th October to Sunday 1st November 2015

Training for: CTS Dorset Ultra (53k)

Runs: 4 (Hikes: 1), Total Distance: 71.5km, Total Time: 7:00

Week 9 of 13 - CTS Dorset Ultra.

Week 9 of 13 – CTS Dorset Ultra.

For once, a short post from me about this week’s shenanigans!

Monday was my 32nd birthday and a rest day – I went to work, kept quiet and had a quiet day and then went out for a curry and too many beers in the evening with my best friend, my brother, my Dad and some other friends!

Tuesday, hangover or no hangover I went out for a great night run even thought my heart rate monitor decided it didn’t want to play! I basically ran a progression run on feel and it was a fun way to get the week of training underway. Wednesday was a much more controlled effort as the HRM was working again – I went out into the fields and woods near my house (another night run) and was swooped by a bat, hooted at by an owl and saw around 9 pairs of fox eyes throughout the run. It was a wild one and I have to say I felt a bit spooked out for quite a long time out there!

I didn’t run on Thursday and I’ll be honest, I don’t really know why thinking back?! I made up for it on Friday by running an 8km out and 8km back run along a mostly gravel path, with a bit of road and some canal path to mimic the trail conditions I’ll be experiencing a the Thames Meander Marathon this Saturday coming – it was one of the most comfortable and enjoyable 10 milers I’ve ever done but I’m sure that Thames Meander will be very different as I will be running a fair bit faster I imagine (if I can handle it!).

Saturday I worked with my best friend all day and by the time I was dropped at home I really just could not be bothered to lace up and get out. In fact, I had a bit of a downer of an evening when all is told. Just struggling with some emotional and philosophical issues – by the time I had pulled myself around I realised that I needed to get some sleep and I also decided that Sunday would be an awesome day on the trail!

So, finally, Sunday. It was an amazing day to be out in the woods and on the trail! The morning was misty and as the day wore on the fog burned off and there was not a cloud in the sky. I was treated to a beautifully warm day which made the colours of the Autumn leaves that much more enjoyable to look at. I hiked out with my birthday present to myself for the first time – a set of poles! I covered 14.4km, stopped along the way to take some photographs and to take photographs for a couple of young families (I’m nice like that) and generally got used to Nordic walking technique. It is such a great sport and way of hiking, I felt much faster and going uphill felt much more efficient. After reaching the highest point in Buckinghamshire at Ivinghoe Beacon, I stowed the poles, drank some water and then set off running back the way I came.

About 10km into my 14km hike. My first ever hike with poles and my first attempt at Nordic walking.

About 10km into my 14km hike. My first ever hike with poles and my first attempt at Nordic walking.

The run back was hard at first due to the walking in my legs but after 7 or 8km I had got into a good rhythm and just tapped out the remaining 10km comfortable enjoying the scenery and really not thinking about much at all. However, at around 11km or so Mother Nature gave me something wonderful to look at and to think about! As I was running along I could hear something running alongside on my left and right and behind me and I stopped dead in my tracks – very shortly thereafter about 8 or 9 wild roe deer ran past on either side and jumped onto the trail in front of me. It was a really special moment and one I won’t forget. I resumed my run once they were out of ear and eye shot with a smile on my face and a sense of peace and tranquility coursing through my veins.

Toward the end of the run I remember really fixating on the desire for some fries and a coke! Alas, at 18.2km I ended the run not in front of a chip shop but in front of the Berkhamstead Brewery Company which is an awesome craft ale bottle shop and bar – I went in and ended my long day out with a pint, a packet of crisps and some music from Eddie Vedder on my iPod. A great way to end the first week of my 32nd year I must admit…even though the beer did go to my head a little and the train journey home was a little bit difficult as I really just wanted something to eat!

At 233m above sea level Ivinghoe Beacon is the highest point in Buckinghamshire and marks the start of the Ridgeway Trail to the west and the Icknield Way to the East.

At 233m above sea level Ivinghoe Beacon is the highest point in Buckinghamshire and marks the start of the Ridgeway Trail to the west and the Icknield Way to the East.

Next week the plan is to push myself over shorter distances Tuesday to Thursday and then to have a pre-marathon shakeout on Friday! I’m a little apprehensive about dusting off the boosters as they have only been called upon in one race this year so far…

A pint of Hop Fest from Hertfordshire's own Red Squirrel Brewery to round out a 20 mile day on the trail and to celebrate the end of the first week of being 32 years old.

A pint of Hop Fest from Hertfordshire’s own Red Squirrel Brewery to round out a 20 mile day on the trail and to celebrate the end of the first week of being 32 years old.

Anyway, that’s it from me dear reader. I hope the trails, roads and treadmills treat thee well in the week ahead.

Peace & Blessings

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