Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Review of 2019

           2019 started by waking up at Carl’s farmhouse in the darkest depths of Cornwall. We decided to skip the parkrun but we did do the Brown Willy run from the Infamous Jamaica Inn in Bolventor. Brown willy is the highest point in Cornwall. A very boggy and rutted 7.5 mile loop but I was told that these were the best conditions in years! Anyway, I think I wrote a blog article about it on here. It was a great day with pints of Rattler at the finish line.
At the time I was living with my friend Nick on the Barbican in Plymouth. Very nice indeed with the water on your doorstep. I was still struggling a bit with the weight, fitness and I was drinking most days. So many pubs and so many people willing to buy you a pint! Anyway, even though Mt. Edgcumbe was my local parkrun, I often did Plymvalley instead as there were only two massive hills instead of a 3k climb at the start. I also enjoyed the monthly Tavy 5k which only cost £1 and you just bought your race number back every month. The 3k series were good too. My 3k times never look good as again there were plenty of hills around the parks of Plymouth football stadium. I also did some nice friendly runs with Storm running club in Plymouth.
In February, my friend Adam came over for the weekend and along with Carl we went to Totnes to “Beat the train”. Only Carl beat the train. I could blame the slippery mud with road shoes but Carl was fast becoming a better runner than I. I think the train took an hour and I did 61.12. Not even sure how long the course was. We all ran longer anyway due to no marshal or clear turnaround point at the other end! 

23rd of February was my last race in the West country before I moved completely back to Southampton. Mike Mat and Carl were the others. The Looe 10 which is a Cornish grand prix race is so hilly that I found myself laughing as I tried to walk the hills. It took me nearly 98 mins to run this 10 miler and I was running pretty well I thought! 1600ft of elevation. That’s 160ft of ascent per mile. Carl obviously beat me in a sprint finish with our only sub 7 min mile. Oh yeah and we did Eden project parkrun a few hours before the Looe 10 race…lol.  

That was it. I was living back in Southampton. That would keep me out of the pub everyday for sure! I was now weighing in at 15 and a half stone. I wanted to get back in shape from 2017 but was really struggling and was never good at disciplining myself. I did a few parkruns including the new Mountbatten school one in Romsey and also a lovely one at Dinton pastures.
I was working within a couple of weeks of being back and I’m still there now, despite leaving there and returning. I work late shifts so it’s very unsocial hours but it means I get to run in the mornings and also go Bouldering which I took up sometime over the summer. I just booked a course and went along alone. Glad I did as I absolutely love it now and it’s the best core workout you will ever get.
I’m only keeping the job until March though as I want better hours and I’ve saved some money too being back at my Dads. So, I’m thinking about moving to Wales in Spring but we’ll see. I’ll make that decision nearer the time.

In April, I got a Devizes half place thanks to my old club running buddy Adam Wills. He was smashing out some really quick times but sadly an injury came. I went with Rob Benham, another club legend. I met both these guys in 2011 when I first joined Lordshill Road runners over 8 years ago now! It wasn’t flat and I didn’t do great but it was a good race. I think Rob had to leave me at 5 miles. He was only jogging around as well..lol. 1hr 41 mins. It was a start at least. I hadn’t raced a half in a long time and it showed.
What seemed like the hottest day of the year was Good Friday. I did the Wiltshire Good Friday 10 race. My Dad and I were on our way to Wales anyway to see the family. I only saw one other runner I knew and that was Paul Johnson stood there in that noticable Red and White stripped vest. An old rival but a super nice guy. He always makes me laugh. Anyway, he nearly beat me by 10 minutes on that stupidly hot day and my easter egg melted on the way back to the car. 73.04 was my shameful time.
The next day in Wales I caught the train to Neath and did the most beautiful parkrun I have ever done in all of my 48 locations at the time. It’s called Gnoll parkrun. A stunning country park with a lake, a river, old ruins and some hills. 

         May came along and it was time to do my favourite race of all time. First Di, Mike and I did Melksham parkrun where they had a “Bonnie Bollard”. It was a cardboard cut out of Bonnie Tyler’s face that they stuck to the bollard as it was the “Turnaround” point. Genuis! The Bratton hilly was so beautiful as always. The tough first mile uphill. The views of Westbury and Wiltshire from high above. The ups and downs in the lovely sunshine looking out at the colourful fields of flowers. Don’t forget “The sting in the tail” and the end of this race. It catches so may people out. Sadly, I found out that that will be the last time it will ever be run. It had been going for 18 years I think. Sad to think I’ll never run that route again due to private land that we were allowed to run on in the event. Goodbye Bratton, you will be dearly missed.x
Anyway, also in May saw me, Carl and Mike do the Ciderthon in Taunton. A half marathon we did in fancy dress and drank about 40 ciders. They were small cups but we had about 3 at each station. There were 13 stops. When we got to 10k I felt hammered and decided to run a bit faster to sober me up. It might have worked, I can’t remember. Never again! 1hr 55 isn’t bad though. 

In June I did my 5oth different parkrun location at Bushy parkrun. The home of parkrun. It had to be done. I went with Helen and Andy. It was also Mr.Herman’s 50th parkrun. It was a great course and over 1100 runners. The week after was lordshill 10k. I wasn’t fit still. I decided to try and pace another Andy for a PB but it didn’t happen.
I was trying to get quicker on the 10k’s now. Josh talked me into 4 Marks 10k along with Di and Danni but sadly Mike came but only as an injured spectator. I remmeber taking the piss out of Josh’s 10k time here and then we ran it. I didn’t even beat his time from the previous year. There were hills and mud and stiles to climb but a wonderful low key trail race. Di and Danni also won trophies for their efforts! Not bad considering the day before, with the excetion of Josh, we all ran the Serpent trail half marathon in Petersfield.
A week later I ran an SB for 10k at Wyvern 10k. 43 mins but a long way off a PB but things were starting to improve.
The following week I went back to Cornwall to run 36 miles of the Saints way and then the Magnifient 7 on the Saturday. It was a steady plod around for the pair of us. 

August arrived and so did the Sturminster Half. A great race but a much slower time than previous years. Another 1 hr 41 for me.
Salisbury 54321 was my first marathon in a long time despite plodding out some slow ultras including a 34 miler from Southampton to Salisbury with Carl. I waited an hour for Di and Mike but they had run the wrong way and Di fell and fractured her arm. I went to the pub on my own instead.
The last day of August saw myself and Carl meeting up in Castle Cary for the 30 miler Conquest of Avalon. A fantasic race organised by Albion runners. Dave Irwin has also written a couple of good books. Carl beat me by over an hour this time. He does run on Bodmin moor most days though. That’s my excuse this time anyway.
Josh talked me into doing Salisbury Half and I’m glad he did. It was a great race and a fast course despite the wind and rain. My mate Barry was marshaling and saw Chris Maple from Sailsbury too. 1hr 36 was my quickest half this year. Havant and Littlehampton made up my 52nd parkrun locations. Josh got P1 at Havant too! I remember pacing my friend Greg for his first sub 25 parkrun at Fareham too. That was a good day with Josh and Disgo Dan too.

            October and the Great South run soon came around. I was nervous at the start but pleased to run mostly a sub 7 pace and run a 68.44 10 miler. My fastest in a long time. I was very pleased with myself and I was now starting to lose some weight. Josh and Disgo also got great times and we got the train back with Gary Painting. It was a great day out. Loved it so much.
Think I missed out the Tadley 10 which was a lovely undulating 10 miler. Think I did 72 mins there. I was happy again. I was losing weight, running more and getting quicker.
For some reason or other, In October I decided to give Veganism a try. I had watched a few documentaries like “Game Changers”, “What the Health” and “Forks over knives”. Something clicked and there I was.. A Vegan. Anyway, more on than in a bit.

In November I did the Gilly Hilly 7.5 with Mike and Danni. It was a fantastic race with lots of hills but all road, my favourite. I feel that I ran very well in that race, yet barely made the top 30. Then I went back to Poole parkrun with Josh and Disgo Dan. They both got PBs and I got a sub 20 and SB of 19.39. I was over the moon and Josh owed me a Vegan breakfast for the sub 20. Happy days!
Wimborne 10 was still my 10 mile PB course from 2013. 66.59. My only sub 67 mins. I went with Mikey and met Kev Willsher there. It had some hills and a very big one at the end but it was a faster course than I remembered. We both got PB’s 66.44 for me. Exactly 2 minutes faster than the great south run. Was it the Vegan diet or just the weight loss from the vegan diet? I was wondering what my recovery would be like too. There were even free Vegan cakes there. No medal though but I got my time. 

End of November I did my 200th parkrun at Southsea. It was great to see the Kelly family and Dave Keates. Greg was also there with his wife Charlie. It was windy but I got a time of 19.38. I think Greg got a PB too? We then went for a really nice vegan brekkie after a bit of walking around Albert road.
I did a very hungover Weymouth parkrun in 20.05 and then a Salisbury one in 20.21. I really struggled that day and Chris Maple beat me in a sprint finish. Haha. He then apologised.
Last race of the year was the Portsmouth Coastal ultra. Neither Carl or I had really trained but we did it anyway. We pretty much ran the marathon together. It was brutal underfoot and said it was the worst conditions in the 10 years of the event. The shingle and headwind on the ultra part in Hayling Island was ridiculously tough. It was great to see kiernan at the aid station though and a few familiar faces on the way back. I pushed on with some run/walking after leaving Carl at 26ish miles. It was so windy and I really had to dig deep to finish but finish I did with a time of 4hr 48 mins. I beat Carl for the first time in ages! My first ultra as a Vegan too. He was less than 5 mins behind. Sadly, he is still feeling injured. Over all it’s been a great year for me. Sure took me a long time to get that 10 mile PB. Kev has always been a great inspiration and a great influence though as well as the Mattingleys keeping me straying off the good paths in life, plus all the car sharing of course. 

I have lost 2 and a half stone. Currently weighing in at 12st 12. I am eating more healthier and feeling the benefits of a vegan lifstyle. It’s not a diet so it makes it easy to do. I have rubbish discipline but feel that it’s not really required for this. I think I am happy to stay Vegan. I have a lot more energy and my concentration is sharper. I had to buy some more jeans and t-shirts the other day though as my friend Carl said I looked like a homeless crackhead with all my clothes hanging off me. The pic at the bottom of this write is me now. The weight isn't really coming off me now but it's the first time my body fat percentage is under 20% but only just. That'll be the beer then! 
10 year ago I was almost 6 stone heavier! Running sure saved my life. Now, if only I could stop that binge drinking! See you next year for some fast times hopefully. Fewer junk miles and more speed sessions. Hoping for some better parkrun and 10k times. First race… Goodwood 10k on the 2nd of Feb. Better get training.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

21 days of Veganism


        It’s race day and day 21 of being a Vegan. I am nervous as always. How will I get on? I am running the Wimborne 10. I set a PB here in 2013 and haven’t beaten that time since. 66.59 for 10 miles. I have lost quite a bit of weight recently but haven’t really logged more than 20 miles a week! We’ll see how it goes. Anyway, the reason I am writing this article is because people have been messaging me about turning vegan or a vegan diet. Like I said, it’s only been 3 weeks for me but I can tell you a bit about what I’ve learned so far. 

I decided to try veganism after watching two documentaries which are both on Netflix. First of all the popular ‘Game changers’ and secondly ‘What Health’. I later watched a few others as well which told similar stories relating to milk and various cancers and other health issues. I won’t go into too much but it made me think and want to try a vegan plant based diet. So here’s what happened.
I don’t really remember putting that much planning or effort into it. Monday came around and I decided to quit the dairy products. Cheese was a massive part of my life and I lived on scrambled eggs thinking I was choosing a healthy option. Giving up the meat was easy as I was so focused on the harder part for me, giving up the dairy. I stood in shops staring at ingredients of foods for ages, partly due to poor eye sight and no glasses. Milk and Egg seem to be in so much stuff that I didn’t realise including most Quorn vegetarian products. I couldn’t believe that there is cow’s milk in tomato soup! 

Anyway, I started using Soya milk in my Tea and Coffee which is really nice although apparently oat milk is better for you. I didn’t like almond milk though. My main focus was on what to take to work to eat. It was mostly Tortilla wraps. I would have Hummus or peanut butter most days and add things like spinach, peppers, salads etc.. I love spinach now and a bag at £1 will last me nearly a week! Plant power really doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s only the junk or processed vegan foods that cost a bit but these can be a nice treat. Things like the sausages, fishless fingers, chocolates and vegan pizzas. Obviously there are so many fruits as well which I eat. Blueberries, bananas, coconut, kiwi fruit and oranges are some of my favourites. In the evenings I like to graze on a variety of nuts. I try not to eat too many salted ones but they do taste better. 

Meals I struggled with a bit at the start. This is only because I am not much of a cook and often studied packs in shops only to be disappointed with the bold letters of ‘MILK’ and ‘EGG’ on the packets. As time went on I started making my own things. Nothing too technical just basic things like. Pasta with peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic etc.. Beans on toast is an easy option. Make sure your bread and margarine are vegan friendly though. Rice and salads. Sweetcorn. I recently discovered beetroot hummus which I thought sounded disgusting but I love it now as well as Yeast extracts similar to marmite. Anyway, I won’t go on too much about the food.
Basically, I am the lowest weight I’ve been since I quit smoking nearly 15 years ago. I have tried nearly every diet believe me! I lost 5 stone in 2010/2011 but I starved myself and then some weight came back and I tried juicing. That wasn’t sustainable though despite losing weight. I then read that Carbs were the bad thing and I was addicted to bread. I saw a professional talking about a similar thing I struggled with. We were both running 40 miles a week and still wouldn't lose any weight! This was due to our love of bread and carb intake apparently. I then tried cutting down on bread and red meat. It was okay but tricky at times with the weight still fluctuating. 

Within a week of trying veganism, the weight was falling off me and I was never feeling hungry! In fact, I felt fuller for longer and had a lots more energy. I wasn't needing my 20 minute naps in the afternoons and my brain felt more engaged and less tired. I feel about Eight and a half years younger. Maybe this is because my body is lighter but I feel so much more energised and focused. Concentration has always been a problem for me. My Catarrh is nowhere near as bad as it usually is. I usually have a build up of phlegm stuck in my airways and throat. I have eaten dairy products all my life. That is 45 years! What a difference this is making to my wellbeing. It’s hard not to preach it when you feel the benefits. It’s like I’ve been walking around in a cloud for years unware of the good I’m feelling. Happy and positive. Will it last or just a fad? Who knows? Just give it a try. It’s much easier than I expected. I am trying to stay more plant based but am starting to discover junk food that is vegan like ‘hobnobs’, ‘bourbons’ and various crisps. Dairy free yoghurts and milkshakes are a favourite too. 

I’m not even trying to lose weight now and it’s still happening. I’m sure it’ll stop soon though. I have purchased a couple of vegan cookbooks too which I am halfway through reading ‘Matt Pritchard’s Dirty Vegan’ and ‘So Vegan in 5’. These are simple recipes for people like me that don’t really do cooking but you kind of have to or you’ll end up on a crap vegan diet with little nutrients. That’s how people get ill on vegan diets. You need the plants.
Anyway, I think that’s enough preaching. Let’s see how I get on with my race. Time for some porridge with Chia seeds and soya milk. A couple of other documentries to check out are ‘Cowspiracy’ and ‘Vegan the film 2018’. Very thought provoking about sustainabilty, animal health and our environment. Have a great day.x

 P.S I ran a 10 mile PB of 66.44 that day. An average pace of 6.41 per mile. I am now on day 26 of Veganism and currently weigh in at 13 st 3. Still feeling good and the food options still feel limitless :)

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Conquest of Avalon 2019

I first heard of Albion running back in 2015 when I entered the first Ham & Lyme 50k race which runs from Ham hill to Lyme Regis. Dave the race director had also written a very good book about running and mental health called “Everything will work out in the long run”. I had entered another race of theirs a few years back but was unable to run due to injury. I was keen to get back to another ultra and another Albion event. Straight away my friend Carl was keen to enter the Conquest of Avalon with me. We dithered about the 50 miler and the 30 miler but sensibly chose the 30 miler. It starts from Castle Cary and finishes at Glastonbury. End to end races are the best for me as you really feel like you’re on a long journey. I find the out and backs a bit boring but can tolerate looped courses.

Anyway, my job was to sort out logistics, which I did but without too much logical thinking. Friday we would stay in a pub in Castle Cary called the George and Saturday we would stay in the George hotel in Glastonbury. Ah but wait! I was getting the train to Castle Cary from Southampton and Carl was driving from Cornwall to Castle Cary. We need to get our stuff to the finish line in Glastonbury. There was an option to get a bus back in the race but we declined on entry. So, we met at Castle Cary, booked into the pub and packed what we didn’t need and drove to Glastonbury. We found somewhere to park the van and had a few beers and got a taxi back to Castle Cary. In the morning we would pack a small bag for the race bus to take to the finish. Plus we had our running backpacks. We got there in the end. I’m so glad we did it this way around though as there isn’t too much going on in Castle Cary.

   We walked to the start of the race and took a few detours getting lost along the way. We picked up our race numbers and said hello to Dave. We waitied around for what seemed like forever, full of nervous energy and excitement. Dave gave a really funny speech about the race and threw in various random stories for our amusement while we waited for the hour to approach. And off we went. Out of the community centre, past a gate and left with a nice downhill road start.

Carl and I were going to run together but I knew my fitness was’nt really up with his at this point in time. I told him he could run on and run his own race but he said he was happy to just plod round and take in the views and expeirences.
We soon came off the road and ran up a path with hedgerows either side. It didn’t take too long until some of us weren’t too sure which way to go but we found some red and white tape on a gate and followed it. We were quite high up and the views of multiple fields were stunning with the mist rolling across and cattle grazing.

I wrote down a list of place names in case we got lost and they didn’t really help as there weren’t many landmarks. We got lost a bit and the other runners around us were helping with the gpx files given out that they had downloaded. I had it saved on Strava but wasn’t using it yet. Carl and myself met two other runners. We got chatting and ran together for a while. Pete was running slightly faster as was Carl, so I ended up running and chatting to a guy named Tim. We were slightly behind them but kept them in view. Carl and Pete waited for us at the first aid station in South Brewham where we were cheered in by spectators. We ate pizza and drank flat coke. It was then that Carl and I decided to run with our new running buddies as we were running similar paces. After the aid station Carl and Pete pushed on. 

We were road running quite a bit now and I really liked that. Quite a few people had worn trail shoes and wished they hadn’t. We ran through Bruton and not long afterwards the rain poured down upon us. I was getting cold but luckily packed a waterproof jacket. The rain was heavy now and we had followed another runner and now there were four of us who had run the wrong way. One of us found the right way by looking at the Strava map again. We soon met up with other runners who were now overtaking us. We ran through a field and a nice downhill with more great views of the countryside.

The rain had stopped and we were now getting warm in our coats, so we took them off again. We now had a few feilds where we had to roll under some electric fences. Not easy when you got some miles in your legs but very amusing to watch all the same as each person groaned. We could see other runners running different routes at this point too. We passed some more cattle and then a church and then not long afterwards we ran through a churchyard and were soon at the second aid station in Ditcheat. The support was brilliant again with lots of friendly marshals and other runners all laughing and joking. We ate and drank more, did some stretching and got going again.

*It’s been a while since we ran this race and I should have written sooner. Some of the details may be scrambled in order but I am trying to remember to the best of my ability.

We had got lost a few times but the strava map had helped us when we couldn’t find any red or white tape. This was a fantastic route though with lots of varied terrain and lots to see. I was really looking forward to Glastonbury Tor as I had never been there before. I was still running and chatting to Tim as Carl and Pete were now long gone. I had told Tim that I was going to have a pint of Cider in the Red lion in West Pennard which was our third and final aid station. We got there to more whoops and cheers. They were a very friendly bunch again and we had a good chat while we stretched again. Those legs were sure getting achy now as we had covered over 20 miles now. Sadly, the pub was closed and I had to go on without alcohol for a few more miles. 

We turned off the main road and Tim wanted to stretch again. We led in a field for a bit stretching various body parts. In the distance we could now see the top of Glastonbury Tor. This got me motivated to get there. It looked quite close but we got lost again and weren’t sure of the route as we stood on a farm. We asked a few people in a village and managed to get back on track. We had a big uphill climb on a road and then saw a women who told us we were going the right way. Not long afterwards we found the entrance to the Tor and began to run towards the steps. We walked the steps and admired the views around us as we ascended. What a view! You can see for miles. I’m glad it stopped raining and now we had wonderful clear views in all directions. We got to the top and took a few pics before the reward of running down the otherside.

It wasn’t long before we were heading into Glastonbury and down the main high street with various strangers cheering us on with music playing from some buskers. Out through the otherside of town and then into a field where we were cheered into the finish line. Carl and Pete were already there with their beers. Dave was there to congratulate us and give us our lovely medals. The sun was out now too. We were able to sit on the grass and drink a pint of beer and cheer the other runners in. What a great sense of achievement. 

Carl had finished an hour ahead of me! I knew he was a lot fitter. I really enjoyed the day though. May have to do the 50 miler next year ;) A couple of people I spoke to didn’t like the fact that some self navigation was involved. What did you expect for £35! This is a proper ultra set up by a runner for runners, not your £100 50k with big sponsers and big crowds where the proper sense of ultra running gets lost and commercialised. That’s just my view anyway :D 

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

The Saints way

My mate Carl has been wanting to do the Saint’s way for a while now. I was asked if I wanted to join him and I said yes, despite the lack of mileage in my legs. The Saint’s way goes from Padstow in Cornwall to Fowey, also in Cornwall. As I am a member of the LDWA (Long distance walkers association) I was able to download a map which tells me that it’s 27.4 miles long with over 3,000ft of elevation gain. I downloaded the map to my phone. The day before when we were staying at Carl’s parents in Liskeard, so I studied the map and took down some notes of places, landmarks etc.. This wasn’t always possible in some places as it was just lots of green land. I also wrote down the train and bus times in my little note book. I packed a rucksack with water, lucozade sport, cereal bars, a spare pair of socks, a clean t-shirt, vaseline for the chafing and some sun tan lotion. It looked like a nice day so I left the rain mac out. Brave decision!

We got up just before 6am and Carl’s mum made us Scrambled eggs on toast and Coffee. We then got a lift to Liskeard railway station for the 6.45 train to Bodmin parkway. At Bodmin parkway I realised that Google maps had lied to me. There wasn’t a bus to Padstow for over an hour. Bloody Cornish transport. We stood around for a bit debating what to do. We were still 18 or so miles away from Padstow. We decided to walk to Bodmin via Lanhydrock as Carl said the main road would be too dangerous. I didn’t realise it would be a 4 mile walk with some downhill running to Bodmin town centre. I thought that there would be more bus options from here, but not so. In the end we just jumped in a taxi and paid £30 to get to Padstow. £15 each. Time was getting on and we weren’t even at the start line yet!

We wondered around Padstow harbour for a bit looking for the official start of the Saint’s way. It was supposed to start in a church somewhere. We found it in the end. Even when we found St. Petroc’s church we ran the wrong way from it anyway. I only discovered this when I watched a video on youtube of someone else doing the walk. It didn’t matter though. We followed the directions I had written as there were no or very little signage to mark the route. We ran down Dennis road, onto Dennis lane and there we found our first stile going into woodland. There was a steep climb up but when you looked behind you could see above Padstow and the water. It was a great sight. We headed for an Obelisk. This monument on Dennis Hill was built to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee of 1887 and was erected in 1889.

We ran past the Obelisk after taking a few photos and came to a dead end. Again, no signs. We turned back and then came into contact with another lost person. She had come from Little Petherick and wanted to get to Padstow. We wanted to get to little Petherick so we exchanged route knowledge and said fairwell. Now we were in another big field on a hill. We went left in search of a river crossing but came to another dead end. We backtracked past some sheep and found a sign and a downward hollow through some trees. We got down to the creek of Little Petherick and found our little river crossing. We went through the woods again and crossed another river and then came out to the busy road of the A389.

Now was the weird bit. Instead of walking up the A389 (which was a busy road with no paths I guess) you had to turn left cross the creek and go back along the creek but on the otherside. Anyway, I think we took a public footpath too early on which sent us on a wild goose chase. We got lost for quite a few miles and it was getting a bit tiresome after a while. We were now on farmland and the sheep were freaking out. I thought they were trying to charge at us but Carl pointed out that they probably just wanted to get through the open field gate at which we were standing. We tried our best to find a road as we could see the church of St.Issey. 

We ended up walking knee deep in a maize field and back to where we started. In the end we just headed for the farmhouse and we found a gate to a road. This had made me very happy despite the extra mileage. We got to run on a country lane for the first time in a while. We had only covered 10k and my legs seemed to be tired already! At this point I was convinced that I wouldn’t make it to the end. I would push on though and in my mind wanted to finish at halfway. At least get the half marathon distance in there. Maybe finish at the pub in Lanivet?

We came to a junction and turned right. We figured that it would bring us closer to getting back on the Saints way. Back to the A389 and we cautiously run down some of it until we see a sign with Trenance on it. This was on my list of places in my notebook so we head there and Carl recognises the place. He has worked on so many roofs in Cornwall and often points them out on our runs around Cornwall no matter where we are. 

At the end of Trenance we carry on running up a track. There are no signs and after a while we stop running to gather our thoughts and get a sense of direction. We decide to continue into another field and then we find a sign at last. We go through a few corn fields. There are a few signs for a bit now and we then cross the A39. Not long after we climb up to St.Breock Downs. It is the highest point at 700ft on the Saints way. The views were great with the peace and the wind turbines rotating in the distance. The sheep grazing and lots of distant fields.

We got to run for quite a bit after this as there was a lot of downhill on quiet country lanes with tall trees in the distance. I tried to film some of this but forgot to charge my camera. After lots of Downhill we came into Withiel. I was tempted to look for a pub here but we past the church and carried on into a field. Another climb through a field with freshly cut grass. At some point we got to my most dreaded part of the journey… a field full of cows. I hate them and they hate me. Then to make matters worse, Carl pointed out a Bull and calves in the same field. Luckily the Bull was facing away from us and was busy grazing. I still had to tip toe around the other cows though. I couldn’t wait to get to that stile on the other side. 

We ran down a narrow gulley with freshly cut hedges and grass. I got bitten twice by a couple of horse flies. There were lots of insects here and hundreds of Meadow brown butterflies. Next we came to Tremore and then another crossing, this time the A30 which brought us to Lanivet. This was the best feeling. There was a shop and the pub. The Lanivet Inn. I had been rationing my water supply for some time and was very thirsty. I had been thinking about a pint of coke for the last 3 or so miles.

I got a pint of coke and a pint of Hicks. Carl got a pint of water and a pint of Hicks too. We had done just over 18 and a half miles. I was guessing that we would be on for a 50k outting today instead of that 27.4 miles. This was supposed to be a training run for our 30 mile race at the end of August. We sure were training well..lol. 

I sat in the beer garden with my shoes, socks and t-shirt off. It looked like it might rain at some point earlier but now the sun was shining. We had another pint of Hicks. Very nice beer from St.Austell brewery. I nipped into the Spar shop and got some food to eat and then we got going again. Straight up a massive hill for ages. We then came to Helman tor. The tor isn’t on the route but you do pass it. We had done enough miles but thought that we’d better go to the top of the tor and have a look. Glad we did, it was stunning. I took so many photos too. It has an elevation of 686ft and is actually a nature reserve. We sure were doing some climbing.

We got to another church in the place named Lanlivery. We ran down for a while again and took a left into a field and upto another stone monument. We carried on through a few more fields and seemed to be lost again. We were trying to locate a place called Milltown. We headed towards Lostwithiel funnily enough and then found a Saints way sign. I wasn’t sure if we’d gone wrong on that bit or not. We were feeling so much better after the pub and rest though and were in much better spirits. 20 miles soon went by and it wouldn’t take too long until we got to the marathon distance of 26.2 miles.

We headed down more hills and could see the river Fowey when we got close to the village of Golant. I thought this was actually Fowey or at least I thought we were close. We then saw a sign for 3 miles to Fowey. My heart sank a little but then I thought ‘less than a parkrun to go’. We were out of fluids again despite filling up at the pub. The sun wasn’t present a lot of the time but the humidity was sapping our energy. I was soaked and so were all of my clothes. There was a house being built with a couple of builders. Carl nicely asked if they had any water we could have. They laughed and said they’d just had a funny story about the water there. Anyway, we got our bottles filled with a little tap. 

It was a lovely run through the woods on narrow trail paths. Dodging and skipping over tree roots. A drop with the river Fowey on the left. Out of the woods and onto the road. I think there was another road adjacent to the main road but Carl was off and running well so I just followed. He probably just wanted to reach the destination now without any more hassles. I certainly did. We ran and took a quick pic at the Fowey road sign. Then another half a mile of so we were in the centre of Fowey connected with the river again. We had done it. 32 miles in total (not Inc. the 4 miles in Bodmin) and over 4,300ft of ascent. 

     We stopped and did some groaning for a bit and decided to walk for a bit more. We still had to work out where the bus stop was and the times. We still had to get a bus to Par and then a train back to Liskeard. I also had sereve nappy rash and my ass was in agony. You got to wonder why we do it. Legs felt okay though but the feet were suffering a bit. Carl went to the pub for another Hicks while I took my socks off and put my feet in the river to cool them down. I noticed a queue forming around me and then realised that I was at the point where the ferry came across from Polruan. I stood up awkwardly, changed my socks and t-shirt and joined Carl for pints of Hicks and some pork scratchings. We got more beer and waited for the bus via another pub, It was much easier getting back than getting to the start. 

     I looked at my Garmin and I had covered 39 miles that day. I was tired but very satisfied. There was a great sense of achievement and to think that I was so doubtful at 10k. Neither of us had trained for this and the following days it showed. My quads and IT bands were in agony for 3 days afterwards. A wonderful experience that I will remember until my dying day though. This is why we do it.