Sunday, September 30, 2007

Felixstowe Half Marathon 30th September 2007

11am 13.1 miles in 1 hr 44 mins 46 seconds
Week to date mileage 30 miles
Month to date mileage 160
Average weekly rate 30.7 miles
Average monthly rate 133
Year to date 1197
Lifetime 10790

I rate the Felixstowe Half Marathon as the best road race on the Suffolk calender. It has everything great marshaling , crowd support and an easy to find headquarters for the start of the race. Add to this a seaside promenade with plenty of entertainment for any family and friends who might accompany you to a race. Then offer a course that offers a mix of rural countryside, town centre and 1-2 hills then you have the ingredients for a great race which this event has and no wonder there was no opportunity for late race entries - you need to book in advance!

The weather was a repeat of the previous year with good sunshine but with an autumn feel.

Last year I managed a time of 1.46 .19 so this was my target to try and beat this . I decided to start at a much more gentle pace at the beginning and it took some time to reach the start line hence a difference in my official finishing time of 1.45 and my watch time of 1.44.46.

My mile times that I remembered to record went like this :

Mile 1 7.50
Mile 2 7.38
Mile 3 7.50
Mile 4 7.54
Mile 7 8.24
Mile 9 7.58
Mile 11 8.32
Mile 12 8.06
Mile 13 8.58

Clearly I slowed on the 2nd lap but unlike last year my legs didn't stiffen up to the point of feeling that I was just putting one foot in front of the other.

Once again Felixstowe TV were present and you can watch a video of the event which is fairly unique among events in Suffolk as far as I am aware. Well done Felixstowe Road Runners!

I will load many others photos of this event on my flickr site when time permits.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Newmarket Road Bury St Edmund Suffolk

5.30pm 4.1 miles in 34 mins 57 seconds
Week to date mileage 17 miles
Month to date mileage 147
Average weekly rate 30.7 miles
Average monthly rate 133
Year to date 1184
Lifetime 10777

Another slow tapering run prior to Sundays race at Felixstowe. I did a couple of laps along Newmarket Road doing a circuit up by the Cost cutter garage and along Westley Road before passing Westley School.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Bury St Edmunds Town Centre

5.30pm 6 miles in 50 mins 25 seconds
Week to date mileage 13 miles
Month to date mileage 142
Average weekly rate 30.7 miles
Average monthly rate 133
Year to date 1180
Lifetime 10773

On a very wet Wednesday evening rather than attend the track I decided on an easy run. With the Felixstowe Half Marathon I would have probably have still chosen to give the track a miss tonight. A track session this close to a race is not advisable though at my level and standard of running it is arguable if it makes any difference.

I ran past Horringer School and the Glad Abbot pub and then headed up past the west Suffolk hospital and up to Moreton Hall. I turned for home here and ran back along Eastgate Street and back into town.

Monday, September 24, 2007

West Suffolk Athletic Track Bury St Edmunds

6.15pm 6.5 miles in 53 mins 45 seconds
Week to date mileage 6.5 miles
Month to date mileage 136
Average weekly rate 30.8 miles
Average monthly rate 134
Year to date 1174
Lifetime 10767

Dave Reed took tonights track session which consisted of 5 x 1.45 seconds with a 1.30 recovery in between at 5k pace and a 400 metres lap at the end of each set - with 3 sets in all.

I was able to comfortably run just over 400 metres for each 1.45 run and found that I improved my time for the 400 metres lap coming down to about 1.32 for the final lap.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Adkins Wood Ickworth Park Suffolk

9.15am 7 miles in 59 mins 17 seconds
Week to date mileage 40 miles
Month to date mileage 130
Average weekly rate 30.7 miles
Average monthly rate 134
Year to date 1168
Lifetime 10761

A really good week for me in terms of putting in the running mileage and I am getting closer to my original annual target of running 31 miles a week. Today I headed out to Ickworth park via Horringer Hall farm.

The farm looks trim and tidy with the oilseed rape long since harvested and the ground now ploughed and rolled.

In Ickworth park I headed right at the entrance following a well trodden pathway but found the way blocked off and fenced.

I had forgotten that the sheep have been moved from their summer pasture to this part of the park for the winter. After returning back to the entrance gates I climbed the stile into Adkins Wood and did a short lap of the woods before returning home.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Icklingham and Cavenham Heath Suffolk

10am 10.7 miles in 1 hr 30 mins
Week to date mileage 33 miles
Month to date mileage 123
Average weekly rate 30.7 miles
Average monthly rate 133
Year to date 1161
Lifetime 10754

With the Felixstowe Half Marathon next Sunday I decided to get in a long run today and I drove out to Icklingham which is named after the enclosure of Yccels People. Icklingham as a settlement is on the line of the ancient Icknield Way. It is an area of heathland and two parish churches of All Saints and St James.

I parked up near some bungalows opposite St James and headed off past the old school and along West Road. When the houses cease you are onto open plains and have options. You can either take the Icknield Way and venture into Cavenham Heath which has a wild heathland tranquility or you can do what I did which was to take the first footpath I came across. This took me in a diagonal line across a heath but emerged on to the busy Mildenhall Road.

So rather than follow this I noticed an unmarked pathway which a jeep or some other vehicle has made over Icklingham Plains. This is an area of conservation and I think it is ok to follow this but there were no real markers for my off road run in the soft sandy heathlands.
This was an absolutely beautiful run, if you ignored the distant sound of traffic from the Mildenhall Road then I had the world to myself in splendid isolation apart from a million rabbits. This is undoubtedly rabbit heaven, a rabbit kingdom.
You had to watch your fit as every tread could be into a rabbit hole. Every so often rabbits tore left right and centre and I had the feeling I was running across a giant rabbit warren the ground underneath my fit just being a large honeycomb structure of tunnels.

A long row of telegraph poles broke up the endless heathland, apart from this there were odd rows of beautiful scots pines.
The trackway made by the jeep wheels became more indistinct but I continued on in the hope of reaching a landmark of some sorts. This was reached when I arrived at a small woodland area. The ground here was ankle deep in grassy mounds and I was unable to get a good footing. I could have carried on but my feet were now wet and there was a real chance of getting lost with no directions. Then came one of those great moments when I stumbled upon a deer and the animal stood stock still staring at me giving me a chance to get a rapid photo but not a very good close up before it bolted.

I returned back to Icklingham and then decided to follow the path of the ancient Icknield Way the oldest road in the country. This took me into Cavenham Heath and after a runaround the heather filled heathlands I returned and ran the length of the village of Icklingham before finishing an enjoyable run.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Gt Ashfield,Norton Little Green,Hunston and Langham Suffolk

11.30am 9 miles in 1 hr 15 mins 12 seconds
Week to date mileage 22 miles
Month to date mileage 112
Average weekly rate 30.5 miles
Average monthly rate 132
Year to date 1150
Lifetime 10743

With a day off from work I drove out to Elmswell to pick up some chicken layer pellets from the good pet shop next to the railway station and did a detour on the way home to the village of Gt Ashfield. There is a straight north road leading from Elmswell and I parked up near by All Saints Church in Gt Ashfield.

Gt Ashfield was the home of the 385th bomb group during the 2nd world war and this is represented in the village sign. This is USAF group completed a total of 297 combat missions over France and Germany. The first combat mission took place on June 11, 1943 - and the final mission took place on May 2, 1945. The average life of a B-17 bomber at Great Ashfield was just over 4 months. The average Airman lasted 15 combat missions and few completed an entire tour of 25 missions.

Life must have been fairly tame in between missions for the airmen with little to do. Perhaps this was just what some of the airmen needed in between flights thou
gh a train into London from Stowmarket must have been tempting.

My run began by following the path near the church to a moat at Hall farm. There were plentiful supplies of blackberries in the hedgerows and this is the time to pick them. The path followed a circular route to Brown's Wood and Schoolhouse Farm. I followed the path blindly hoping I was heading in the direction of Badwell Ash but it is only now that I see I was running in the opposite direction!

Emerging back on the Elmswell Road I decided to take the next turning that presented it self to anywhere so as to get of the main road. This was a sharp right and in due course I found myself in Norton Little Green which is a little hamlet about half a mile from
the main village of Norton. Here I spotted this fence which has accommodated a tree branch through one of its panels.

I again did a u-turn as my plan hadn't been to visit places I have been before so I retraced my steps and took a minor road which lead to Hunston Green.

After a very quiet mile or so along the road I arrived in the village of Hunston. I last visited Hunston on my birthday last year on the 18th of October when for a treat I ran 11 miles!
Just off the main road through the Hunston there is a turning leading into another village I haven't been to before called Langham. The meaning of the name is long settlement and I didn't have time to really get into the village or visit the church so another visit will be required.
First impressions were good and I can see a return trip to include Badwell Ash. Instead not realising it would be quicker to return to Gt Ashfield via Badwell Ash I returned the way I came.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

West Suffolk Athletics Track Bury St Edmunds Suffolk

6.15pm 6.7 miles in 55 mins 7 seconds
Week to date mileage 6.7 miles
Month to date mileage 97
Average weekly rate 30.5 miles
Average monthly rate 133
Year to date 1134
Lifetime 10727

Apart from knowing the total time of the session I am unable to remember what we did in this session. I think it was something like a 4 x 3.30 x 2 sets. If anyone was there and recalls be sure to correct me.

Monday, September 17, 2007

West Suffolk Athletics Track Bury St Edmunds Suffolk

6.15am 6.7 miles in 55 mins 7 seconds
Week to date mileage 6.7 miles
Month to date mileage 97
Average weekly rate 30.5 miles
Average monthly rate 133
Year to date 1134
Lifetime 10727

What a tough session at the track!. Tonight was a bit of a shock to the system as we upped the track work by about a third.

After a run to the track and some laps to warm up we commenced the session which was:

3 sets of 5 intervals of 1 min 45 seconds at about 5 k with a 300 metres at the end of each set at a much quicker pace. The rest and recovery for the intervals in each set diminished reducing from 1.30 to 1 min and then 45 seconds for the last set.

A good session and at my pace I found I was comfortably running just over 1 lap for each interval.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Nowton Park Suffolk

7.45am 7.4 miles in 1hr 0 mins 51 seconds
Week to date mileage 37 miles
Month to date mileage 90
Average weekly rate 30.5 miles
Average monthly rate 132
Year to date 1128
Lifetime 10721

This was one of those indecisive drifty runs where I wasn't sure where I was going to and changed my mind several times.

Before heading out of Bury I passed by the Theatre Royal which has finally been restored and opened for business after what seems must have been 2-3 years.

I set along the road to Sicklesmere but decided against continuing along this route knowing I wasn't intending to run more than an 1hour. Instead along this road there is an entrance into Nowton Park and the opportunity to get on to softer ground was too appealing to refuse. Inside the park on a glorious Autumn day I noticed this tree stump circle. It doesn't match the setting and history of Castlerigg Stone Circle but perhaps an alternative venue for druids. Who needs Stonehenge when you have Nowton Park.

I also noticed round hay bales in the park which again I haven't noticed here before and that is probably down to me my lack of observation more than anything else. However it set me thinking about when round bales were introduced? Certainly as a child there were only square bales. Both have their advantages. Square bales stack like bricks so are good for storing in a barn. However they pose problems in transporting them to a barn and require more labour.

Round bales are seemingly a task of 1 farmer using a baler machine but of course don't stack well but are much cheaper to make hence nowadays it is the exception to see square bales.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Timworth Suffolk


7.45am 11 miles in 1hr 33 mins 09 seconds
Week to date mileage 29 miles
Month to date mileage 82
Average weekly rate 30.4 miles
Average monthly rate 132
Year to date 1120
Lifetime 10713

I ran out to Fornham St Martin and for me this run really begins here at the place known as The Drift which is opposite St Martins Church.

After running between some houses you have a good view of the Sugar Beet factory before crossing over the A14. It is here at this point that the former railway line used to run taking passengers from Bury up to Ingham and on to Thetford.

Crossing over the A14 you are then onto open farmland and there are several paths named as drifts , previously I have always run along farm drift and then clay drift. However for a change today I decided on the Livermere Drift offering as it does a more direct path to Timworth. At Hall Farm there is some impressive looking machinery, there were also a multitude of pheasants this morning in great numbers on the pathways.

The morning had a autumnal chill which was just perfect for running, bright skies and cool. The drift way finishes at Barton Bottom and I immediately crossed over the road taking the Livermere road. On reaching a crossroads I took the left turn towards Timworth. Here there were a great number of blackberries or at least there were as I returned later in the car and picked a good supply.

Once in Timworth I headed to St Andrews Church, which is reached down a long pathway. Timworth really is just a few houses that you can count almost seemingly on two hands along with a business called Pineworld.

Most of the row of cottages are in Suffolk Pink with this one selling free range eggs.. There is a tranquility and peace to to this place, it feels remote and lost in time though it is just 3 miles from Bury. The village was never highly populated with the doomsday book recording a total of 45 in 1086 and 50 in 1327 . Following the Black death in the 14th century it would seem the village was almost unoccupied with just 16 people being recorded in 1524. At its height in 1851 a total of 241 people lived there and today I suspect it is back to its doomsday level.

The end of my run I decided would be at St Andrews Church in Timworth and here I turned for home and retraced my steps though I decided on bit of a detour to run into Bury along Risbygate Street before returning home.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Vinery Rd, Hardwick Lane , Cullum Rd and Out Westgate Bury St Edmunds

5.30pm 5.4 miles in 45 mins 01 seconds
Week to date mileage 18 miles
Month to date mileage 71
Average weekly rate 30.2 miles
Average monthly rate 131
Year to date 1109
Lifetime 10702

Set off for this run from Saxon Rise and jogged to the beginning of this circular run . Starting at the Ouida memorial at the bottom of Vinery Road I head up hill along Hardwick Lane.Following the road around in a circle back towards town along Cullum Road before heading back along Out Westgate Street and back to the Ouida memorial. This is a 2.21 mile circular loop which starts up a hill and continues with a fairly undulating run along Hardwick Lane. Cullum Rd is flat until you head up hill to turn left into Out Westgate.

I improved my times over this course since I last ran it on the 2nd of September running a first lap in 17.54 and a 2nd lap in 17.52. This is 8.05 minute miling which isn't good for me but i is fairly hill.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

West Suffolk Athletics Track Session Bury St Edmunds

6.15pm 6.8 miles in 55 mins 29 seconds
Week to date mileage 13 miles
Month to date mileage 66
Average weekly rate 30.3 miles
Average monthly rate 132
Year to date 1104
Lifetime 10697

I ran down to the track and warmed up with a further 5 laps. Tonights session was somewhat longer than recent consisting of 5 x 3 minutes x 2 sets with 90 seconds recovery between and 5 mins between sets.

There was a good number of beginners down at the track for the first time which is good to see. Warmed down with a run home for quite a lengthy session. Noticeable know that it is getting dark on the run home and at this time there are many rabbits along Beeton's way.

Monday, September 10, 2007

West Suffolk Athletics Track Session Bury St Edmunds

6.15pm 6 miles in 49 mins 27 seconds
Week to date mileage 6 miles
Month to date mileage 59
Average weekly rate 30.2 miles
Average monthly rate 132
Year to date 1097
Lifetime 10690

After a week without any internet access I can't actually remember what the set was tonight . We have had computer problems every since Tiscali and BT decided to do some upgrade works to improve Broadband connection in the area. This seemed to affect the desktop pc in the house which wouldn't connect . After much stress to the point of nearly buying a replacement machine my better half sorted it. She tends to never give up whereas as I easily do.

I think we ran a set of a number of 90 seconds but how many I do not know. There was a really good turn out by the Junior members of the Pacers and this seems to be going from strength to strength and long may it continue.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Anglo Saxon Village at West Stow Country Park


Although I have visited West Stow Country park I have never been inside the Anglo Saxon Village. So today was a first and a really interesting visit.

Around this area and Lackford much gravel extraction has taken place and back in the 1960's the discovery of West Stow was made. Following excavations an Anglo Saxon settlement dating to the fifth century was uncovered with sufficient rotting timbers to enable some experimental archeology to take place. The experiments are to try and recreate Anglo Saxon life and the type of houses that were built.

In recent years the village is lived in by resident Anglo Saxon villagers in period clothing though not to the extent of somewhere like Kentwall hall as i saw an Anglo Saxon with a Tesco's bag!

You can see some Gloucester shire Old Spot Pigs living a life of absolutely luxury in a big pig home besides some well tended crops of veg that would have been cultivated at this time.

There is also an Anglo Saxon centre with displays illustrating life during the fifth, sixth and seventh centuries.

As a bonus there was a small food market with a range of local food products with some good local honey.

Rver Lark from Fornham All Saints to Culford ,Fornham St Martin and Bury St Edmunds Town Centre

7.50am 10.5 miles in 1 hr 28 mins 30 seconds
Week to date mileage 35 miles
Month to date mileage 53
Average weekly rate 30.1 miles
Average monthly rate 131
Year to date 1091
Lifetime 10684

This run really begins for me when I pick up the footpath sign along the Mildenhall Road near the old malting's building. This takes you down to the River lark and a chance of a river bank run.

This is also the point where funding and seemingly will power ran out for the expensive project to develop the lark for larger boats to ferry large cargoes by river navigation. It succeeded from Mildenhall up to this point in Bury St Edmunds but funding and the coming of the railway ended this ambitious project.

When you reach the banks of the river following the course of the river takes you through the Suffolk Golf and Country Club.

You always have to keep one eye on a potential golf ball hitting you but running between the large weeping willow this is a lovely spot. However the peace and tranquility of the river bank only really comes after crossing over the road at Fornham All Saints and resuming the River Bank run. Here you lose the golfers in there Armani sweaters approved by Tiger Woods and the focus is on the river bank. One explanation for the name Golf is that it is really an abbreviation for Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden. Not sure if I believe that.

I soon disturbed a heron which flew up from the river and rested in a tree. Thoughts of Tarka the Otter ,Wind in the Willows and Tales from the Riverbank spring to mind. There are some great videos on You tube of Hammy the Hamster , Roderick the rat narrated by Johnny Morris a wonderful black and white series.

Onwards the river bank run takes you through to Culford and Hengrave. I chose to run into Culford before returning to Bury along the busy B1106 Thetford Road into Fornham St Martin and to extend the run I ran into Bury Town Centre before returning home .

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Albana Walk Ickworth Park Suffolk

7.50am 8.6 miles in 1 hr 12 mins 45 seconds
Week to date mileage 24 miles
Month to date mileage 343
Average weekly rate 30.1 miles
Average monthly rate 131
Year to date 1080
Lifetime 10673

A lovely Saturday morning and I set off early for a run around Ickworth Park .The Albana Walk in Ickworth Park holds good memories for me and is a wonderful walk any time of year. The path is finely graveled and suitable for wheel chair access.

There is always wildlife a plenty to see here especially if you are an early bird . Today I saw two deer . There is always a moment where he deer is frozen still as it comprehends the threat and danger that you offer. Likewise hearing a sudden rustle in the undergrowth I usually am brought to a standstill before the deer shoot off into the wood or through a field. Less common are encounters with foxes and these are extra special.

Green woodpeckers are a regular site less common a site are the Great Spotted Woodpecker with its black,white and red markings .

However today I wasn't disappointed and had two less common spots

Firstly a pair of shoes neatly placed on a pillar. Why? Whats the story to these ? Neatly placed perhaps someone didn't have the heart to chuck in the bin and hopes that someone will take a fancy to them and try them on.

Second spot was a lost Bugs Bunny balloon .

A well inflated one at that so I would guess this might have been accidentally lost between fingers by some child in Bury Buttermarket.
The balloon has made its way up to Horringer and caught in the hedgerows upside down with its toothy grin - £3.50 down the drain and some parent cursing the purchase. Then again maybe there is an entirely different story these are the day dreams that make up a long distance run.

Once again let me have you songs with running or run in the title as I wan to compile a long list . What things have you recently found or spotted?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Cullum Rd /Ramada Hotel/Newmarket rd Bury St Edmunds

5.30pm 5.1 miles in 41 mins 28 seconds
Week to date mileage 16 miles
Month to date mileage 34
Average weekly rate 30.1 miles
Average monthly rate 131
Year to date 1072
Lifetime 10665

Tonight as I ran a regular route I started to think of songs which are about running or have run or running in the title. I came up with a few such as

Roadrunner by Jonathon Richmond and the Modern Lovers
Running man by the Damned
Run Rabbit Run - I find this is one to be avoided when running as it can get stuck in the mind and become very annoying !
My Little Runaway Del Shannon
Born to Run Bruce Springsteen
ready to Run Dixie Chicks
Run for your Life The Beatles
Run Snow Patrol
Run for your lives Saxon

Feel free to add any others you can think of there must be lots more !

2007 29 June 41.34
2007 15 June 41.58
2007 05 May 42.26
2007 23 Apr 42.28

2007 20 Mar 41.22
2007 1 Mar 41.54
2007 22 Feb 42.1
2007 21 Feb 42.10
2007 25 Jan 42.32
2007 21 Dec 41.35
2007 5 Dec 41.48
2007 3 Nov 42.37
2007 24 Oct 41.10
2007 19 Oct 41.08
2007 6 Oct 41.06
2006 29 Sep 42.10
2006 29 - Aug 40.40
2006 27 Jul 40. 47
2006 13 Jul 41.11
2006 6 Jun 41.33
2006 18 May 41.18
2006 7 Apr 40.30
2006 7 Mar 41.31
2006 3 Mar 41.34
2006 21 Feb 41.35
2006 27 Jan 41.56
2006 13 Jan 41.30
2006 2 Jan 42.42
2005 23 Dec 43.34
2005 9 Dec 42.0
2005 6 Dec 42.04
2005 29 Nov 42.17

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

West Suffolk Athletics Track Bury St Edmunds

6.15pm 5.6 miles in 46 mins 39 seconds
Week to date mileage 10.6 miles
Month to date mileage 29
Average weekly rate 30.1 miles
Average monthly rate 131
Year to date 1067
Lifetime 10660

Another visit to the track for a slightly longer set of interval training. I ran to the track and warmed up as usual with 5 laps.

The session tonight was 2 sets of 2 x 3mins, 1 x 2.30 and 2 x 2 minutes a total of 25 minutes of running at 10k pace.

A run home was my warm down afterwards.

Monday, September 03, 2007

West Suffolk Athletics Track Bury St Edmunds

6.15pm 5 miles in 41 mins 18 seconds
Week to date mileage 5 miles
Month to date mileage 23
Average weekly rate 30.2 miles
Average monthly rate 131
Year to date 1061
Lifetime 10654

A good session at the track tonight which involved a lot of short but paced intervals. I warmed with a run to the track followed by 5 laps to warm up.

We then ran 3 sets of 5 x 1 minute runs at around 5k pace with minute recovery after each run.
It catches up on you during the 3rd set especially if you set off a bit quick in the 1st set of runs which I did.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Abbey Gardens Bury St Edmunds Suffolk

7.50am 7.4 miles in 1 hr mins 2 seconds
Week to date mileage 40.6 miles
Month to date mileage 18
Average weekly rate 30.2 miles
Average monthly rate 131
Year to date 1056
Lifetime 10649

After a good weeks running and feeling a little tired I decided to take it easy on my hour run by doing a circuit of my nearly measured circular run. Starting at the Ouida memorial at the bottom of Vinery Road I head up hill along Hardwick Lane.Following the road around in a circle to take back towards town along Cullum Road before heading back along Out Westgate Street and back to the Ouida memorial. Has any read or got an Ouida novel? A 2.21 mile circuit according to I didn't run very quickly but ran an 18.20 time.

After this I turned back along Out Westgate Street and into Bury. The Albert Buildings and the Chapel both date from 1840. At this time Bury St Edmunds had just gained its first Police Force in 1836 the gas works had just been built but the town had yet to be connected by rail to any other towns.

We are very fortunate to live in Bury St Edmunds and have the wonderful Abbey Gardens on our door step. It is a place I never tire of visiting and it makes a great place for a run. It was here I headed next.

It was quite at this time of the morning with just a few early bird families heading for the swings and one or two tourists consulting maps. Running here doesn't feel like work at all as you are totally distracted by everything around you and time passes though the benches looked tempting.
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