Saturday 29 April 2023

South Downs Way - Part One


I've wanted to do the South Downs Way for ages.  Walking or running, I wanted to try completing the full 102 miles.  It would be an epic adventure.  But I could never work out the logistics and so I kept putting it off.


But now I'm getting into some really long training runs for my race in July, it seemed like the perfect time to do it.  So this bank holiday weekend I made a start.

Where Google says it officially starts

We were up nice and early and 'im outdoors dropped me off in Winchester next to the cathedral and off I went.  It's really well sign posted, but you have to be careful as there are slightly different routes in place for walkers and for cyclists, and it's not alway clear which one is which.  Saying that, most of it is a shared path so I did have to very aware of those around me as the cyclists I encountered didn't always give you any warning and could come by very quickly. 

This route also included a bit I'd run last week for Slow Way Corpet.  It was interesting to see what difference a week and some sunshine could make.  It was much busier than last week and the fields had turned yellow as the rape seed flowers came out.


23 miles and nearly 5 hours later 'im outdoors picked me up from QECP and I was very glad of the sit down.


It was a lovely run, if a bit hilly (but to be expected) and to run in shorts and t-shirt for the first time this year was wonderful.  And I even managed to keep my feet dry for once, although there were a few muddy puddles to contend with. The veiws from the top of the hills while a little hazy were fab and it was wonderful to hear so many larks singing.  

I really enjoyed this run and so I'm looking forward to doing more of the South Downs Way in the coming weeks.  I'll be interested to see how the landscape changes as I go.  


You can read what happened on part 2 here.

Sunday 23 April 2023

Slow Way - Corpet


 This weeks long training run was a little shorter so I used a Slow Way for my route.  

I started in Corhampton and ran to Petersfield, then just kept going to get home and my desired mileage.


If I'm honest I'm not really sure why it starts in Corhampton.  There isn't much there except a pub and a reasonably well stocked Post Office.

However the route was really nice, helped along by a lovely spring morning.  By mile 5 my jumper was off and I was wondering if I should have gone with my lighter leggings or maybe even shorts!  And I saw my first swallow of the year.


The route uses a chunk of the South Downs Way, which was nicely sign posted, I just had to look out for when to turn off.  And I don't think I really got lost at all.


There were lots of sheep and some new calfs who were very bouncy, and I did get wet feet which was annoying, but I'm still in black socks so could be worse.

This week I was trying out Bloks energy chews, which were ok, but took a bit more chewing than jelly babies.  I also had some of my homemade flapjack, which didn't seem to mind being frozen at all, and some trailwind. 


So a good run, and one I may do again.  My only concen, that I'm starting to get a tan even though we haven't had any proper sunshine!  Maybe it's just rust. 


Sunday 16 April 2023

The Shipwrights Way - Part Three


Yesterday I ran the second part of the Shipwrights Way - 20 miles from Petersfield to Hayling Island.  Today I was back at Hayling to finish it off.

There wasn't much to go, just 5 miles along the sea front at Southsea.  But first I had to get there, which meant taking the ferry from the tip of Hayling over to the tip of Southsea.  A three minute journey.


Once there I found myself in the middle of the bike part of a triathlon!  Before getting onto the sea front and dodging all the dog walkers and other runners.  I managed to catch a bit of the run part of the triathlon too!

It was a mild day but cloudy and calm.  I'd bought my cap today and it was just right, with no sea breeze trying to steal it.

And once I'd finished the Way, I turned round and ran back, to get the ferry back to my car on Hayling.

It was quite a nice run, and I managed to keep quite a good pace as I had an eye on the time and a ferry to catch to get home.  And across the two days I've now pretty much run the distance I'll be racing in July.  I'm hoping a bit more training will make me feel better about doing the full distance in one day!


I'm glad I've run the Shipwright's Way, it's been on my list for ages, but I'm not sure I'll want to do it again any time soon, it's just a little too urban for my liking.

Now I need to decide what trail I'll be running next week.

Saturday 15 April 2023

The Shipwrights Way - Part Two


This morning I ran the second part of the Shipwrights Way, from Petersfield down to Hayling Island = 20 miles.  I started in wooly hat and gloves but had taken them and my jumper off by the end as the sun came out.

I started with a hard climb upto and through Queen Elizabeth Country Park, which I always find a frustrating place to navigate in.  There are more paths than shown on the map and it is very easy to find you are not where you expected.


I also got caught up with ParkRun here with a helpful volunteer trying to send me down a hill I didn't want to go down, but I did get a clap. 

The rest of the run was very urban until I got to Hayling, with a good chunk of it along roads (inculding some dual carriageway) and even the bits that followed footpaths under trees didn't feel very natural. 


Once on Hayling I followed the Billy Trail, which really is a trail for the last part of todays run.

It was also very strange to go from hearing woodland birds, to suddenly hearing gulls and other seaside birds.


To help with fueling I had made some flapjack last night which seemed to work quite well, but was super sticky.  I've frozen the rest to use going forward.

So a good run, but I've learnt that this trail is designed more for bikes than runners and for large parts of it I could have done with my road shoes.

Tomorrow I aim to finish the Way, if I can catch the ferry...



You can read what happened on part 3 here.

Tuesday 11 April 2023

Introduction To Bookbinding - Week Six


 This was the last class in the series and the one I was really looking forward to - making a clam shell box.


The idea is to make a box the perfect size to hold a book and keep it safe.  But I decided I wanted a box to put all 5 weeks worth of books in to keep everything together.  This just meant I was working to a sightly larger size.


Because I was working on quite a big box I ended up using wrapping paper for my box cover and brown paper for the book cover, just to have something big enough for the project.

It's a bit of a fiddly project and when I make my next one I will take a little more time setting up my glueing to make sure things are lined up better.  I'll also give my spine a little more room so it folders better and doesn't split the cover. 


I also now know that I could make a 4 sided internal box rather than the 3 sided that I made and how that would all work, which is exciting.  So many possibilities.

So there we go, the 6 week introduction to bookbinding course complete.  I've enjoyed it and learnt some new skills to complement what I already knew.  I'm looking forward to trying them out on my next project. 

Sunday 2 April 2023

The Shipwrights Way - Part One


I've been aiming to run The Shipwrights Way for a while now.  It follows a possible 50 mile route the giant green oaks of Alice Holt could have taken to get to the dockyards of Portsmouth for Tudor ship building.

It runs very close to home and I use sections of it very often to walk the dog and on some of my runs.  But I also like the idea of being able to run from my house to my parents house down on Hayling Island, this route would be perfect.


In my mind I always planned to run it in mid May, when things were green and it wouldn't be too wet underfoot.  But in the end I ran the first part of it on 1 April after 24 hours of rain.  Things were indeed starting to go green, but it wasn't dry in any shape or form.

In several places I had to wade through quite deep puddles, but it wasn't quite as muddy as last weeks run, of which I was very pleased.

I was dropped off at Bentley Station, then followed the trail for 20 miles to just outside Petersfield.  The markers were a little hit and miss, but I know some parts of this trail quite well, so didn't need to refer to my map too much, which was lucky as it was raining for most of the run.


The hardest part was running past the end of my road and knowing I still had 7 miles to run.  It was very tempting to just stop at that point, but I kept going and was very pleased to find I'd completed the 20 miles in under 4 hours. 

This week I tried out some Kendel Mint Cake as fuel.  I love this stuff and used to eat bars of it in one go as a kid.  Although I think it worked well as fuel, by mile 13 I was kinda over it and relying on my Tailwind mix instead.  Back to jelly babies and harrybo next week I think.


You can read what happened on part 2 here.