Oh I do like to run beside the seaside !!

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Saturdays run started along the River Hamble and then continued around the coast along the Solent Way. I haven’t run along the river for a while so I thought I’d take in the hundreds of yachts and then treat myself to some coastal shingle with views of the Isle of White.

Warsash is a sleepy location at the head of the Hamble just before it opens out into the Solent. The fact that the long stay car park says maximum stay seven days, sums up this quiet location.

The wind was whistling along the fairly narrow track that you can see at the top of the page and I was glad I had my trusty egloves on.

Today was certainly fresh and dodging the puddles meant some added agility training into the bargain. Bursledon bridge was my initial target at 2.5 miles and making judgments on which puddles I could jump and which to skirt around added to my amusement.

On arriving at the bridge I could see small wispy snow flakes in the air and call me childish but considering I was only a quarter of the way through my run the prospect of snow was very exciting.

Since joining Instagram I’ve noticed how people take slightly abstract pictures so here’s my shot looking at the yachts through the open sections of the bridge. I can’t make up my mind if it looks arty or “farty” (as in it doesn’t work !!) I’ll leave that up to you, the reader.DSC01143

Returning back along the riverbank the chilly wind was behind me and that made a huge difference. One thought I did have was the amount of water and the gusty wind could well result in an “early bath”, as it were, so I was reassured to see this lifebuoy !!

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With different water channels and mud banks around the river this wooden bridge not only helped me on my way but it was also another Instagram contender.

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Upto this point I was at about 3.5 miles and that annoying “low battery” sign appeared on my garmin. OK, schoolboy error, I should have checked before I came out but then I thought to myself, actually, I know the shingle will slow me down so what the hell, I’m not that bothered about my average pace.

Arriving back at Warsash the Rising Sun pub looked very tempting but it was noticeable that the faces looking out at me had those, “my god what’s he doing out there”, expressions. It’s funny but whenever someone says why would you want to do that, I know I’m in the right place and it spurs me on to run further.

I ran past the school of navigation, had a short tightrope walk along a concrete sea defence to avoid a particularly large puddle and then, there it was …. the open sea and the stretch of shingle I’d been anticipating.

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Thousands of small shells, pebbles, stones and occasional seaweed lay ahead of me almost like a red carpet that had been specially rolled out. Apparently sand and shingle takes 30% more effort to run and when combined with an onshore coastal breeze this was epic endurance training and exactly what I’d come down for.

The crunching sound of my trainers and the smile on my face made the numbing of my mouth and lips quite bearable. This enjoyment continued for a full mile until the path headed inland briefly before a second shorter spell.

After skirting around the Solent Breezes caravan park I was conscious that time was getting on so I turned around and retraced my steps. The Solent looked busy with tankers, pleasure craft and ferries all passing by. The constant lapping of the water up against the shore also combined with the occasional seagulls cry’s, along with my crunch, crunch on the shingle. Ahh, the sounds of the seaside !!

DSC01164 As I arrived back at the car the flakes of snow were still just occasional glimmers but the eleven miles or so had been a complete pleasure.

It was time to head off home for a warm bowl of soup !!

Suffice to say, “I’ll be back” ……………

 

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Looking forward …. it’s a state of mind

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It’s unusual for me to be sitting here contemplating a blog that explains my current state of mind. I don’t want to sound pretentious and expect people to be interested in my specific thoughts but at the same time I hope this resonates with other runners and you find it worthwhile reading on !!

I ran every day from January 1st to the 24th totalling 98 miles then on day 25 I caught a virus that gave me dizzy spells and meant I had to settle for short walks on the remaining days up to the 31st.

As every runner will tell you their biggest frustrations is not being able to run. OK that’s the self indulgent part over. Yes I walked for a few days instead of running so I did achieve the Run Every Day, in spirit, even if not technically 100% to the letter.

After visiting the doctor to find my blood pressure was normal for someone of my age and giving a blood sample the following week that had no adverse results then you’d have thought it would be all systems go. However, I think you know within yourself whether you are ready to commit to a long run in the middle of know where or stick with shorter local runs.

Yesterdays relatively tame 6 & 1/2 miles with 8 hill reps was one of those workman like runs that’s worthwhile without being overly exciting. However, the first of those 8 hills brought it home to me that I’m ready to push on with my training and get back to the distances and enjoyment that I get from being out in the countryside running with friends for a few hours at a time.

Yes, North Hill, I owe you. My plan was a mile and a half warm up and then “attack” North Hills strava segment which is a regular running club gauge of hill strength. My previous position of 79th out of 486 over this short sharp 0.9 of a mile had taken 41 seconds. So, to find I took 43 seconds today was very rewarding and a real trigger to the rest of this year.

In short, this one hill has change my state of mind from a ship without a rudder to one of purpose and excitement 🙂 Running is much more than a hobby to me so that sense of purpose rather than just going through the motions means a great deal.

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We all have our triggers, I guess we just need to find them. Thanks for reading, I promise my next blog will be all about the running and not my state of mind 🙂

 

Stay safe in the snow !!

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To all my running and blogging friends, if you are running in the snow, take care. I dabbled yesterday on my five mile trip back home from work but after slipping on a curb that I didn’t see …… I quickly reverted back to walking !!

I can’t imagine our Hampshire snow will stick around for too long so I’ve decided to hold out until it clears. This last month has seen a few interruptions to my training so, what the hell, another couple of days wont make a difference.

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I saw this sign when I got closer to home and it was almost like it was telling me something 🙂 Enjoy the snow and happy running.

Soft flasks & saving the planet #refill

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The BBC’s Blue Planet II series really highlighted the growing concerns about the effect plastic waste is having on the environment. Cutting the “single” use of disposable plastic bottles “must” be the way ahead.
Drinking bottles are the most common type of plastic waste with an unbelievable 480 billion plastic bottles being sold globally in 2016 and as runners we use our fair share.
The simple act of quenching your thirst after a hard run and then dropping your bottle into the bin seems straight forward enough but on reflection that one single use seems such a waste.
The ever growing quantities of bottles that hydrate us as runners, may well be recycled, but many will go to landfill and it takes hundreds of years to biodegrade.
So, what’s the answer ………..
As a long distance runner my hydration strategy is a combination of tap water and hydration tablets. I’ve been drinking from reusable bottles for years but over the last two I’ve moved to soft flasks.
“Soft flasks” ??, I hear you say. Yes, you simply fill them up and then role them up when you’ve finished. You could almost compare them to using up your toothpaste tube. Once empty they fold up to virtually nothing and then naturally they’re ready to be refilled. Carry them or stash them away in your pocket / rucksack.
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Lets get the agenda of runners saving the planet on the table !!
Lets cut down our use of plastic bottles …….. thanks for reading

Leave your bench behind !!

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Our weekend choices are many and varied in this entertainment age but nothing makes me happier than a run in the countryside. We all have our “bench” whether its the couch, tv, family, work or just life in general but the minute I lace up my trainers everything else simply fades away and those mindful moments kick in.

I’d only planned a short run today due to some health issues but trail running really is the best medicine available. The plan was quite simply three miles out and three back while absorbing whatever my senses could take on board

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Setting off along the Meon Valley trail I’d heard a woodpecker within five minutes and watched a squirrel jump from branch to branch above my head.

The occasional clumps of snowdrops were signs that Spring isn’t too far away and the sound of water trickling off the fields and into the drainage channels was a welcome change to the constant sound of rain that January seemed to offer.

The conversational tweeting of the birds sounded like they were discussing where yesterdays sunshine had gone and an occasional black crow made its distinctive calling sound just to let me know it was watching me.

Talking of animals this fallen tree looked strangely like an octopus or maybe a squid with its tenticales stretched out in front of it …… or maybe that’s just my imagination ?

 

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I said hello to various runners, walkers, cyclists and stopped to walk while the horse riders passed me by. We were all enjoying this pleasant February morning countryside experience.

Patches of mud made for some decision making as to the best line of approach but these were fairly limited. Due to the nature of the trail previously being a train line your tree lined views extend quite a few hundred metres ahead of you. This tree lined corridor isn’t as noticeable without Spring and Summers leaves, however, that said it means you can see through the trees to what lies beyond.

The uniform vertical trees were strangely interrupted by this curious sprawling version. It clearly hadn’t read the “how to grow up” manual !!

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With so much countryside and nature to explore I can’t recommend it enough. Choose your area, possibly reward yourself with a visit to a café afterwards but go explore !! Get out there with friends or maybe take the family ?

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“Stumped” what to do at the weekend, leave your bench behind and experience the great outdoors 🙂

Revere Sport – running armband review, #mud #coast

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The chain of events that led me to write about the Revere Sport Endurance Armband started with a twitter message, progressed to updating my phone and then finished with me joining instagram .

Samantha from Revere Sport messaged asking whether I’d like to review their latest model, the Endurance Armband. It’s so new it won’t be added to their website until next week !! I requested the iphone7 compatible armband. I’ll attach the link here when it’s live on their website. Choice wise numerous iphones and Samsung models are available.

Todays run starting in Titchfield village because I had a particular image in mind. You don’t see many old style phone boxes these days and it struck me as a real contrast to the mobile phones that we all take for granted these days. It would also lend itself to Instagram too !!

My first impression of the armband was its quality, it certainly looks like it was made to last and that’s something you see less and less these days. This quality is also backed up with a lifetime replacement guarantee which means you are totally covered.

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Ok, yes I should have cleaned my trainers before I ran today but I knew they’d only get filthy again !! Love those trails 🙂

Sizing wise it fitted around my pipe cleaner bicep without any problem and the velcro strap felt secure. It comes with an extender strap to cater for small, medium and large biceps and I did think that if I was wearing a jacket this added scope may come in useful. I guess you could strap the armband around your wrist but it felt more natural higher up on me.

The case has an ample see through front that means you have full screen access to all your apps. Inside the case there’s a car key hook with plenty of room for the key, money, credit card slots and a gel. Everything is then securely held with two zips.

The backing to the case is a mix of neoprene/lycra and also has some padding which made it comfortable to wear. This padding would also protect your phone. Finally the bottom of the case has two covered outlets for access to a charger and headphones.

I’ve recently started taking an iphone7 on my runs so naturally I’ve been keen to ensure that not only is it safe but that it’s easily accessible for my blogging photos. The irony of this was that I asked two people to take my photo today and it felt hard handing over my latest phone, but luckily they did give it back …. ha ha 🙂

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While running my main observation was that the velcro and the fitting meant I had no rubbing or chaffing and more importantly I didn’t need to adjust it at all. Unzipping the case to take photos was quick and easy and to be honest over the six miles I almost forgot I was wearing it, which was just as well because I was concentrating on not falling over along the Titchfield canal section !!

Today was a short run down to the coast and naturally I’d carry more gear on a longer one but I’d still take the armband because of all the benefits I’ve mentioned. One final thought, if your phone is close by instead of packed away in a rucksack then you’re far less likely to miss a call or text. I do run to escape the modern world but it does avoid those “well I couldn’t get hold of you” conversations 🙂

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So, as far as I can “sea”, for the introductory price of £9.99 and even at the normal £11.99 the Endurance Armband ticks all the protection, comfort and quality boxes.

The Revere Sport running armbands will keep your phone close at hand, give you the opportunity to take photos and ultimately, peace of mind, knowing that it’s safe.

Instagram & irunoffroad

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I thought I’d share my favourite running photos. Instagram is the most obvious tool for this. Naturally if people like the photos then hopefully they’d read about where I’d run. If they just like the photos then that’s fine too 🙂

The nature of where I run often means I can take photos of locations most people wouldn’t normally visit.

After following a number of my most talked to twitter friends I’ve had a good response. Name wise I’ve kept it consistent with irunoffroad. Clearly I’ll follow back all bloggers.

Many thanks

Roger

 

 

 

R.E.D. January for MIND, Week 2, & QECP 13 miler

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Day 8

Charged around to make time for a run and then it was the slowest 5K I’ve done so far … ha ha … made me laugh 🙂 Still, it’s all for a great cause !!

Day 9

It’s surprising how you speed up when you realise the battery is running out on your garmin. I hit my first target of £50 today so I’m looking at £100 next 🙂 I’ve been surprised that my legs are coping with the number of tarmac miles. The cycle commute to work does help free them up !!

I’m pondering on a longer run at the weekend now that my legs are starting to get used to daily miles. It’s all going very well. 31.6 miles in total ….. that’s my smileage !!

Week 2

Days 10,11,12

More street running, building up to my first long steady run.

Day 13

I decided to head out into the countryside today with two of my trail running friends, Paul and Nikki. Our distance, well, if it was day 13 then 13 miles seemed appropriate. This distance also conveniently fits as a half marathon. My chosen route was the first half of Second Wind Running’s Spring marathon.  It’s a varied run with hills, mud, woodland and with it being located within the Queen Elizabeth Country Park (QECP) there’s easy car parking and a tea room to reward yourself with, at the end.

Paul and I have run this a number of times but Nikki had only run sections. The sunrise had just about appeared on our arrival and conditions looked perfect with no rain forecasted and a chill in the air.

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QECP has a number of trails that crisscross the 1,400 acres, not least of which, the South Downs Way. Just off the A3 and three miles from Petersfield QECP is also only a 25 minute drive from us. The park is also within the East Hampshire Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). You’d think it had been there “for ever” but in fact most of the Beech trees were planted in the 1930’s.

Talking of AONB’s, Paul and Nikki were in fine form, banter wise, as we set off up the initial steep climb out of the park and alongside the A3. There was much talk of upcoming races and the R.E.D. initiative Nikki and I are supporting. So, for us to stop running after 3 miles to take a look at the new adventure trail that’s being built, “well”, it must have been impressive. There were 20 or so obstacle course type wooden structures that will be opened soon and Paul videoed a few of them.

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As we dropped down towards the bottom of QECP, where they hold the parkrun, Nikki (not for the first time) mentioned she’d have liked to of run the 5K, however, we’ll save that for another day and I think I won her over in the end with 13 miles of varied trail.

We even ran past the parkrun start before another of the steep hills that helped make up 2,111 feet of elevation on our run. Nikki’s strategy of fast hiking/walking on some of the hills was almost as effective as a slow running pace. The advantage of a long striding hill walk is that it also stretches out/loosens up your muscles, so that’s something to consider.

Just in case it sounds like all we did was run up hill, I liked this photo of us descending.

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We joined the SDW and then pealed off to head down towards Chalton. The conditions underfoot were actually quite reasonable and in no time we were approaching 10 miles.

Our route passed various countryside views of open fields and wooded sections which will be more apparent in Paul’s video, which I’ll add to this blog depending on when he has time to edit it.

I haven’t run with Nikki for a while and it was noticeable that on the steeper sections she would let out a Michael Jackson style “whoo” I found this quite amusing until she told me she has breathing issues so …. note to self … never make assumptions.

Heading back from Chalton another of our trail running friends Dean passed us along the long drag that follows the Staunton Way back towards the parkrun area. This photo from Nikki and mine below sum up why we trail run on a Saturday morning 🙂 Both Paul and Nikki showed that off road running requires strength as well as running fitness.

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As we approached the QECP centre I couldn’t resist free wheeling down the last hill after all the inclines !! We then decided to treat ourselves to a refreshing cup of tea after our 13 miles and 2,100 feet of elevation. Some of the parkrunners were still chatting in the tearoom so it was great to see Joanna and Dwayne that we know.

I have to say the staff were very cheery and welcoming in both the café and on the help desk where Paul and Nikki organised their car parking passes for the year ahead. Paul often compares himself to either Brad Pitt or George Clooney and the lady on the desk said she could see the likeness …… now that’s customer service 🙂 !!

Day 13

After a great mornings running and laughter I was reminded of the phrase I’ve used before in blogs, “you only really start running when you’ve forgotten that you are running”. This sense of freedom and enjoyment comes with running in the countryside with friends. Today was one of those days. Many thanks to my running pals Paul and Nikki.

PS If you’d like to sponsor me for RED January and Mental Health that would be fantastic, I’ve reached £130 so far, here’s the

LINK

Many thanks

Roger

PS Day 14 ….. 5 miles = 60 for the 14 days 🙂

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