Thursday, December 30, 2010

Janathon 2011

I have signed up to Janathon 2011. What is it? Well it is the colder version of Juneathon which I failed miserably at earlier in 2010 due to injury. one the wiser what I am talking about?

Along with 150 others or so I have signed up to try and run and blog about it every day in January 2011.If you are interested the rules are to be found here  . You don't have to run you just have to exercise in some way every day so swimming and cycling also count.It is totally free to enter.

It isn't really about the winning and I haven't even looked at the prizes but yes there are some for those that stick it out the longest. For me it is more about the opportunity for social networking having some banter and fun and exchange of blog posts as we slip and slide our way for January. I am hoping the virtual link up with other participants will help me get through January and be in a  fitter state.

Mentally I believe it has also come at the right time for me as I was made redundant recently from a job I held for the last 15 years and I am now searching for new employment. This is why my blog posts have been sporadic of recent weeks as I have come to terms with being unemployed for the 1st time in my life.

So Janathon is ideal for me as I have come to realise that I shouldn't feel guilty about going for a run whilst I am also looking for work. It is a case of remaining fit and ready for when a new opportunity arrives.

There is a Janathon 2011 Facebook page just key in Janathon in the facebook search box.

We are also logging all of our training miles at the RunningFree website. Quite an impressive site worth a visit if you are familiar with it. Loads of running groups, running tools etc

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Beetons Way Hill Running Session

Instead of visiting the track at the moment I have been doing some hill sessions. The last couple of weeks the track has often been closed anyway but when it is icy it normally means running on the grass on the inside of the track.

Anyway after a year of poor training and much injury I have decided to build up my weekly mileage very slowly. Last week I did just 16 miles and I am upping it by a mile a week at the moment so 17 miles is the agenda this week.

Within this total I am including 1-2 better quality runs either a track or hill session and a longer run or a short tempo. The long run  isn't very long just 7 miles at the moment.

My run today was 2 miles warm up and warm down to get to the top of Beetons Way. Then the main hill session consisted of 10 hill repeats running hard up the hill and jogging back down again.

I run from the bottom lamp post after emerging from under the bridge to the lamp post at the top of the hill beyond the mini roundabout.

My repeat times for the hill climbs were 55,57,58,58,57,56,59,60,59,58. I was doing close to 50 seconds a year a go so I have a long way to go if I am to get back to that level.

I find this a hard session and the run home is a jog

Monday, November 29, 2010

First Snow fall of Winter

We had a small amount of over night snow leading me to dig out my Inov 8 Roclite shoes for this morning's run. The temperature in Bury St Edmunds has been sat around 0c or 32f for the last few days and snow has threatened but so far fell in the North East of England. Looks as if we could have some heavier snow showers later on this week and the cold weather is set to stick around until next Tuesday.

The Inov 8 Roclite shoes have a good studded tread pattern and I am pretty confident in running in these without slipping. As ever getting out of the front door is the hardest part of running in cold weather. The thought of the snow and cold is far worse than the actual experience which was pretty enjoyable. Only my hands were a little cold my thin gloves not being sufficient thermal protection to keep these warm.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Runability - New Specialist Running Shop

It has been some years since Bury St Edmunds has been fortunate enough to have its own specialist shop catering for runners. There are 1-2 general purpose sports shops but nothing which caters directly for the runner.

That's all changed now that we have Runability in St Johns Street Bury St Edmunds. Its down the hill on the right hand side more or less before you get to the fish and chip shop.The shop has only been open a couple of weeks or so and is still gearing it self up in terms of new media presence - website etc. However I paid a visit today as I needed a hat. It was really cold and frosty this morning and my previous hat had lost its elastication and kept falling off in strong winds. So I bought a Ron Hill beanie hat.

There is already a good range of running shoes for men and women and a gait analysis machine to help you choose the right type. Loads of  bright winter wear to keep you safe and lots of gels which again have been something often hard to find in Bury St Edmunds.

Hopefully all locals will pay a visit and support this new store as it is great to finally have a running shop in Bury St Edmunds.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Running Track Session at the west Suffolk Sports Centre

Two weeks ago I  I said that I intended visiting the track once a week every Wednesday from now on. Of course as soon as I said this I came down with a heavy cold and I missed last weeks track session.

However I made tonight's session and there was a healthy number of runners and spectators at the track.  As per usual I ran down to the track which is 3/4 of a mile and then warmed up further by doing 6 laps at a steady easy pace.

Tonight's session by the coach  included 2 sets of 4 x 3minutes followed by 2 x 3minutes and then a mile time trial. I am still getting used to being back at the track ( at least that is my excuse ) and so I dipped out after the 2 sets of 4 x 3 Min's. This gave me a total of 24 minutes of interval running at 10k pace which I ran at an average of 7.23 miles.

Two weeks ago at the track I did 20 minutes of interval running so my gradually stepping up of time on the track is logical and deliberately gradual. I did feel as if I could have done the extra 2 x 3 Min's but gave it a miss as I just want to avoid any more injuries at least this year.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Another Short Run

My run today was better than yesterday. For a start the weather was a lot better still breezy but no rain, still cool enough for gloves. My running was better I felt a little quicker and my breathing was better. All in all everything was better.

I knocked out a 3 miler in 26.38 which is just under 9 min miles. LIstened to the Zenrunner on the podcast over at Planet Tinkoff.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Wet & Windy Monday Run

After much procrastination and delay whilst I watched never ceasing wind and rain I eventually decided that I needed to get out for a run regardless of the conditions. I have just got over a week when I have had a head cold which has laid me low as far as running is concerned.

However today I finally felt better and with just the weather to contend with I decided to do a very short run. It was a hat , gloves and tracksters kind of day. It was windy enough that I lost my hat at one point and from then on I had to regularly pull down on the hat to keep it on.

I did just 2.5 miles as I felt really rusty not having run for a week. But the main thing was venturing out for a run on such a wet and windy day rather than the distance.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Mile Run Challenge

Buoyed up by the track session last night I decided to have another go at improving my mile time. Last time out I managed a mile in 8mins 10 seconds.

I again stopped along Newmarket Road at the junction with Oliver Road in Bury St Edmund's . I switched on the ipod and tuned into the Ramones and did my mile. As I mentioned before the mile distance crosses many road junctions before finishing just beyond the Falcon Pub. I got stopped by cars once or twice at junctions but managed  7.51 seconds. Yeah a slight improvement

I registered my mile at the website

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Running Track Session at the West Suffolk Sports Centre

My first visit to the West Suffolk Sports Centre since March was as expected a bit of shock to the system! But it provided a bit of a wake up call that I wanted as now that I am running again regularly and without injury I feel the need to improve my speed.

I am lucky enough to live just .75 of a mile from the West Suffolk Sports track. This will play host to the Rwandan Olympic and Paralympic teams in the run up to the 2012 London Games.

On a mild October night with no wind or rain I jogged down to the track and renewed my membership of the Saint Edmund Pacers club. If you don't belong to a running club I would strongly recommend it . I warmed up for a few laps. and wearing a thermal top I was too warm before I started the actual coached session.

I decided to ease my way back in slowly to the coaching and just to do half the session which consisted of 2 sets of 4 x 3 minutes at 10k pace followed by 4 x 2 minutes at 5k pace  with a minute recovery in between. I sat at the back of the pack and was consistently able to keep pace with the group of runners for each of the intervals. I was tempted to do the second set but I felt a slight tightness in my left hamstring and I had never planned to do it. I settled for an easy jog home.

The aim now is to try and include a weekly Wednesday session at the track into my training as this should improve my speed over the winter months. It certainly helps to run with a large number of like minded souls!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Brooks Glycerin 7

After my recent post in which I mentioned that I was in the market for a new pair of running shoes I am glad to say that I have ignored my own advice and gone for a pair of Brooks Running Shoes!

I have bought a pair of Brooks Glycerin 7's. Yes they are not the latest model as you can now buy Glycerin 8's but I have never been one who needs the latest model the day it is released. I need to secure what I perceive as value for money and only time will tell on this score.

I judge value for money in running shoes on a number of factors but the number one is the no of miles I get from the shoes before the heels wear away. As a neutral heel striker , with high arches who under pronates ( yeah I have tried to run and land more mid foot and I have told myself I am doing it but the evidence on the wear of my last shoes just shows I don't!) I need a heel that will last and give me at least 400 miles.

Secondly I want comfort and from my first few runs in the Brooks Glycerin 7's the shoes were comfortable and don't pinch anywhere. You know how when you open new running shoes you require a pair of scissors to cut off an increasing number of information labels attached to the laces. If you are like me you cast a cursory glance at this before binning as I don't profess to understand the scientific bits ( rather like those shampoo adverts !).  However I was drawn to the use by Brooks of a material called BioMoGo which apparently is the world’s first-ever bio-degradable mid sole which has to be good for the environment.

The review of the shoes on the Runners World site wouldn't have you rushing out of bed to buy these . In summary they state "Probably the best way to describe this shoe would be "solid but unspectacular". Our testers found it to be, at best, a pleasant ride and, at worst, inoffensive, with the cushioning and breath ability being the standout features. Our wear-testers say:
"An average shoe in most departments. I was most impressed by the breath ability of the upper which was excellent." - Ben Madsen"

Interestingly though readers reviews were better than the Runners World staff so hopefully I have made the right choice and I will alternate use of these with my other pair of Asics Gel Stratus 3's which are still going strong  after 300 miles.

I have used Brooks shoes before I had a pair of Addictions back in 2004-5 which served me well.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Interval Run

For the first time in many months I felt the need to wear a thermal top and Ron Hill trackster leggings this morning on my run. In fact I wore a second layer over my thermal top as although it was bright and sunny it was also breezy. The first real signs of winter coming early perhaps. The temperature I believe was 2c or whats that 35f or so.

This year we seemed to start Autumn early back in August to be honest and September it rained nearly every day at least it felt like it. We change the clocks in the UK at the end of this month by an hour and return to Greenwich mean time from British summer time. On the 31st of October we gain an extra hour for the week end which is great but from then on we are plunged into darkness from around 4-5pm in the evenings. For a lot of people this means going to work in the day getting home in the dark and you have to make the best of it though many suffer from SAD the seasonal affective disorder.

With the colder weather there has been an invasion of spiders in to the house setting up webs which I don't mean if they are successful in catching a few flies. I am using my Fitflops less frequently now as they are open toed sandals. They were fantastic and helping me overcome plantar fasciitis and if money allowed at some point I would look for a shoe or boot version for the winter. We are eating less salads now and we recently had home made soup so the warm comfort foods are back on the menu. We are also in that inbetweeny stage of sometimes surrendering to putting the heating on and then turning it off again when we are too warm.

As for this morning I felt I could have done with some gloves but apart from the first 5-10 Min's into the run I was OK. My session this morning was a 45 minute effort using the Adidas mi coach set to the heart rate monitor function.

I did 5 min easy warm up (blue zone) 5 Min's moderate (green zone)  and then a 5 minute anaerobic threshold interval I repeated this 3 times for a total of 45 Min's running. Total distance 5.04 miles which is slightly under 9 min miles.

This morning served as a reminder that I  must check out hats and gloves  for running.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Mile Run Challenge

After yesterdays long run my schedule called for an easy 30 minute run which I did. However as I mentioned in a previous post I am intending to self test myself by running some of the classic distances such as the mile, 5k and 10k during my training.

Today half way through my 30 minute jog I stopped along Newmarket Road at the junction with Oliver Road. I switched on the ipod music on shuffle and did a mile at a pace albeit slow, very slow! The mile distance crosses many road junctions before finishing just beyond the Falcon Pub. Depending on traffic you do have to give way to cars at 3-4 junctions so it is probably not ideal as a mile time measure. However I have run this route as a mile course for donkeys years.

I am not sure if I will ever return to my previous pace of even a year ago as at the moment I am much, much slower. However I am going to enjoy giving it a try.At least today I registered a mile time which was 8 mins 10 seconds. I can get a lot quicker than this and will do I hope!

I registered my mile at the website and hope that some of you who read this will also join Konkura and enter a mile time. If you are not familiar with Konkura it is a challenge website for many different running events but also many other sports.

The mile is an event which isn't often raced on the track these days as I believe the record has been held by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morroco since 1999. The mile record was held by English runners between 1979 and 1993 by a succession of great middle distance runners - Seb Coe, Steve Cram and Steve Ovett.  As everyone knows the 4 mile mile was broken by Roger Bannister another Englishman in 1954.

Seemingly the popularity of the mile has faded which is a pity if this is the case.

Looking back on my records I ran 5.52 for the mile in 2008 on the track.  But I haven't kept complete records so I don't know what my best ever mile time was. So my best recorded was 5.52.

So how about doing a mile and updating your blog and Konkura with your times?

Friday, October 15, 2010

My long run at Barnham Suffolk

Welcome to Barnham
  I have always liked to run somewhere different rather than always repeat the same old routes and today for my long run I drove out to the Suffolk village  at Barnham. About 11 miles from Bury St Edmunds and close to the Norfolk border town of Thetford, Barnham sits off the main A 134 road for travellers heading towards Norwich.

According to Eilert Ekwall the meaning of the village name is Beorn's homestead. There used to be a railway station here at Barnham which was opened in 1891 for passengers travelling between Bury St Edmunds and Thetford but this closed in 1960.

Water Lane
War Memorial
The population of Barnham according to the Domesday Book was 36 in 1086 and was 748 in 1981. There are two churches in the village though St Martin has been a ruin since the 17th century. I must admit not knowing where to look I didn't spot it on the run but apparently it is now used as an animal shelter. I did pass St Gregory church on many occasions during this run.

Barnham is a reputed site for a battle between King Edmund and the Danes in 1870.

The Duke of Grafton is the major landowner in this area and there was once a pub here with the same name but I don't know where this was located.

It is also said that Barnham was one of the sites between the Admiralty in London and Yarmouth on the coast for a telegraph system which was used during the Napoleonic Wars.

After a run around the village I headed out along the Elvedon Road and after a short distance picked up on an off road track at North Farm. At first the track was fairly good but soon turned in to a sandy pathway where I had to run in the grooves made by farm vehicles or otherwise run on the camber at an odd angle. This made for a harder run but was much more scenic. I was also running parallel to the old dismantled railway line.

St Gregory
I passed fields full of sheep and then pigs. A large field full of pigs was enclosed with a low level electric fence, however up in the distance a large pig had clearly escaped and managed to jump over or found a break in the fence. As I run towards it the pig turned tail and started to run away from me in short bursts. It soon tired of this and started to squeal loudly so my run became a jog as I debated whether to carry on. Initially I thought I would and the pig would shift of the path but there wasn't room and the pig had had enough of running and turned and completely blocked the path. I must admit rather than charge the pig to see if it would move I did a u-turn and backed away from it!  The pig won.

Old Railway Bridge removed
This was a pity really as my plan to do a circular run along the trackways was over and I returned to Barnham and then headed out on the road towards Euston village . This was my second 1 hr 30 min  run since returning from injury and I am finding that I lack the stamina after an hour. As a result my speed was reduced to a crawl for the last half an hour but the big plus was that I completed 10 miles.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What new Running Shoes shall I buy?

Yes it is that time again when I need to invest in a new pair of running shoes and retire an old pair.

Unfortunately my experiment with using Saucony shoes or at least the Saucony Jazz 13's was a failure. I should qualify that the Jazz 13's may be a good shoe but they were not right for me and I will explain why. Not sure if you can make out the wear and tear on the shoe photos  in this post but to explain I think you can see that the uppers are as good as new and would last many more miles.  However  the heal wear was excessive and the black carbon sole has been worn away to show patches of yellow beneath. At this point I never run on using a pair of shoes as to do so will only lead to probable injury. There may be people who do and get away with it but not me.

Unbelievably I have only run a 108 miles in them! They were very comfortable and out of the box were immediately enjoyable to wear perhaps more so than most shoes that I have had which normally require 3-4 runs to get used to them. New shoes can often feel so springy and it just takes a few runs for you and shoe to become perfect partners. The Jazz 13's as I say felt like slippers and were a great fit.

As a runner I have high arches and under pronate as I run and the advice I have always had is that I need  a neutral shoe.As I tend to land on the outside of my heel this is where I found shoes wear out. I need shoes to have a hard carbon outer otherwise I can find the wear is too great.I can end up chucking shoes out even the rest of the shoe may be in good condition because the outer heel has become like a cliff edge.

What lead to the Jazz 13's not being right for me? Well I just don't know but with my long term injury I did put on weight so I would have been a harder on the shoes. I do tend to mix my running between road and trail. As you can see from the photos there is plenty of mud on these but I have never had a pair which gave up the ghost after just 108 miles! Clearly Jazz 13's were not ideal for trail running.

I always try to alternate shoes for each training run so I still have my Asics Gel Stratus 3's which currently have over 300 miles of usage and are still fine. In fact this set me to  looking back on recent shoes and how many miles they have lasted as a basis for what brand I should buy next. My results are

Asic Gel Stratus 2's                     412 miles
Asic GT 2130                               449 miles
Mizuno Wave Rider                     423 miles
Asic Gel                                        427 miles
Asic Gel GT 2110                        516 miles
Reebok Premier Ultra 111          314 miles
Reebok Premier                           214 miles
New Balance 1060                       439 miles
New Balance 854's                      241 miles
Saucony MC5's                             356 miles
Brooks Addiction                          405 miles
New Balance 855                         406 miles
Saucony Trigon                            258 miles

I started recording the shoe I wore and the miles run in them from around 2004 so what does the stats tell me ? It is fairly clear that the Saucony shoes just don't suit me as well as Asics. I have consistently got at least 400 miles out of Asics. New Balance , Brooks and Mizuno were also in the main likely to give me 400 miles of running. From this I am likely to look at one of these brands for my next shoe.

I would be interested to know how many miles do you get out of your shoes before they wear out ?

I ran a 40 minute mainly green paced heart rate monitor run this morning. This is a medium paced effort and I think doing the race on Sunday acted a little as a kick up the pants as I ran 4.6 miles for around 8.45 pace. Still no great shakes but heading in the right direction as most of my previous training runs in the last month have been at 9 min plus miles.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

5th Annual World Wide Festival of Races from Bury St Edmunds Suffolk

This morning I ventured out to run the 5th Annual World Wide Festival of Races. This was a race with a difference it being a virtual race and I merely went out of my front door to take part.

Although I was the only one taking part I was also aware that all over the world this week end I was joined by 742 other entrants from 42 different countries.

I had chosen to do the Zen Run 10k named after Adam Tinkoff who is better known as the Zen Runner. Anyone who listens to running podcasts will be well aware of the many podcasts that Adam has produced over the years including Shock of the News and Hear Zen Run.

I am still building up my base mileage after a long period of injury and whilst I am running pain free I have found in my training that I am generally running a minute a mile slower. This is largely due I think to having put on 14lbs or a stone in weight over the 3-4 months of inactivity. I have also been training according to my heart rate since I returned to training in a bid to listen to my body and so reduce the risk of  further injury.

I have built my mileage back up to around 25 miles a week but I certainly don't feel I have much stamina at the moment though I put in my first 10 miler recently. It is going to be a long slow road over the winter to regain full fitness but the first step is the hardest.

As for this morning I haven't been training very much at all at a heart rate zone above 151bpm which using the Adidas Micoach is yellow zone running. This is the anaerobic threshold where you feel the "burn" and is  hard paced running. All of my running recently has been at the more easy green and blue zone pace and my average heart rate for my running in September was 140bpm.

The weather was very good,warm and sunny with little wind as I set out on a circular run around the villages of Fornham.  I was happy with my time for this run which was 54.10 for the 6.2 miles which is an 8.45 pace. My heart rate averaged 150 . It was probably my slowest ever 10k and was slower than my normal training pace prior to injury back in April. I ran the Stowmarket Half in March at an 8.15 pace for a 1hr 48 min time and the Breckland 10k in 47.19 last year so it shows just how much my fitness and pace has declined!

Nethertheless the positives are that I ran a race (only my 2nd of the year) and after so much time injured I wasn't sure that I would run again. I can eat in to that time making some progress over the winter. I shall stick to something like a half marathon training programme to build stamina over the winter. I plan to build into this training some regular runs at the mile , 5k and 10k to test my fitness and progress.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Run at Northam Burrows Country Park Devon

For my run this morning I returned to Northam Burrows Country Park  for a 70 minute run. At the moment my half marathon training is about concentrating on building up base mileage so I get used to running on a regular 5 day a week basis again.

My long run is based on time and 70 minutes is my long run at present though over the next 6 weeks this will increase to 1hr 50 mins .

I am continuing to use the heart rate monitor and running acording to heart rate zones rather than pace per mile. I am hoping by  this method of listening more to my body that I will avoid injury. In the meantime my Garmin has remained unused as I really prefer the on board coach which comes with the Adidas Micoach. This  connects to my IPOD so you are listening to music and podcasts but get regularly updates from your coach which cuts in  and replaces the audio from the IPOD as and when required.

As I was on my long run I ventured much further into the Northam Burrows. The early morning sunshine was bright but fairly weak and with a strong breeze kept conditions dry and good for running.

Plenty of golfers out this morning and I had to time my runs as in one or two places the pathway ran along the edge of one or two greens.

I ran well but on the sand dunes I had to put in more effort and to keep within the green moderate heart rate zone consequently slowed my pace. Another run bagged and home for porridge.

Listened to Darwin Deez on my ipod after buying the album of the same name. First cd I have bought in months from FOPP.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Boscastle Cornwall

On the way back from Tintagel we called into another village which I remember visiting as a child Boscastle. It is a lovely village with some fine walks around the harbour.

We parked in the car park near the River Valency and walked around the harbour and village shops. As we walked many of the buildings showed tide marks very high up on the walls as a reminder of the awful flood that occurred here in 2004. Very heavy rain for 8 hours caused a flash flood which will never be forgotten here.

Remarkably 6 years on the village is very beautiful and as a passing stranger you could be forgiven for not knowing that a major disaster occurred here. The local community pulled together and one year later after one mighty tidy up the village which is 90% dependent on tourism reopened.

No lives were lost during the flood which is pretty amazing if you watch the video.

Tintagel Cornwell

If you are ever visiting the south west of England and are in the North Devon area then a short car journey to Tintagel is highly recommended. From Westward Ho! the journey is less than an hour and is interesting in it self with wonderful views, hedgerows full of montbretia and as you cross the border Cornish flags proclaiming their identity.

Tintagel is home to all things associated with the legend of King Arthur a legendary British leader. Nobody can actually prove whether King Arthur actually existed but just for a day when you visit Tintagel Castle you can believe as you are sucked in to the aura and mystery of the castle ruins, rugged cliffs and dramatic views from this site looked after by English Heritage.

There are loads of car parks in Tintagel but give the first one you come to on the left a miss ( a friendly man advised us that if we parked opposite it would cost us half as much) as this is short term parking and expensive.

As you walk through the village every shop and pub has an an Arthur, Merlin , Tristan or Isolde theme and you cannot blame them but resist the temptation until after your visit to the castle as you will need all of your energy and your climbing legs. You can use the land rover service to get to and from the castle but you will miss a lovely short walk.

The castle itself is built half on the mainland and half on a rocky promontory which is virtually an island. The ruins are of a castle built by Richard the 3rd Earl of Cornwall in the 13th century. However there is evidence of occupation since the late Roam period in the 4th century. The latest thinking is that the island was a stronghold for the Celtic kingdom of Dumnonia.

The 12th century historian, Geoffrey of Monmouth cites Tintagel as the place where King Arthur was born . Son of Uther Pendragon  and Igraine , Arthur was said to be crowned king of England when he was 15. He married Guinevere and built his court at Camelot. It is said that Arthur is sleeping in a cave until his leadership is needed again!

You will need a good head for heights and plenty of puff as you climb up the steps on to the island , into the old courtyard and down to the beach.

On the beach we visited Merlin's Cave which was almost pitch dark but was occupied by some wonderful Cornish singers who made full use of the good acoustics in the cave.

The walk back up to the village was steeper than we thought but a Cornish pastie awaited!,

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Run at Cornborough Cliff and Abbotsham Devon


It was overcast this morning as I set off for a run from Westward Ho!

The path I followed was along Cornborough Cliff.Initially although I was running up hill the path was good as I was following an old railway line. The route was wide and initially tar maced before turning into a green lane pathway which was good to run on. This is part of the South West Coast Path and apart from the odd dog walker was all mine at 7am.The  South West Coast path is 630 miles long and described as one of the worlds greatest walks. Very hard to compare walks around the world and what makes a walk good for one person might be very different for another but there is some really good walking to enjoy here.
There was an initial climb of around 240 foot to get out of Westward Ho!  I was running along the cliff path and above me was a hill known as Kipling Tor.The name derives from Rudyard Kipling, who attended the United Services College in Westward Ho!

The island of Lundy which is normally visible was obscured by  cloud. Boat trips to see the bird life and seals on the island are promoted in the area but I am not good at boat journeys so unfortunately I miss out on these type of attractions.

Beyond Cornborough Cliff the path became a series of ups and downs. This was quite hard running as once you had descended to sea level you then had a few climbs where I had to walk as it was quicker than my running!

My run this morning was around 5 miles - 2.5 miles out and back along this cliff. I think I turned around at somewhere called Abbotsham Cliff the return journey having more down hill running was a little quicker.

I am trying on this holiday to keep up with my half marathon training schedule and to date have succeeded.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Clovelly Devon

About 12 miles along the coast from Westward Ho! lies the well known fishing village Clovelly. The village has been built into the side of a cleft in the 400 foot high rocks and is mostly cobbled lanes and traffic-free.
As a visitor to Clovelly you park at the top of the village in a large car park and enter the village through a tourist visitors centre. Entrance for an adult is worth every penny and costs just under £6. We watched an audio film at the centre on our return from the village.

If you are a little worried about heights, or unable to walk up and down hills then you can take a land rover ride however you will miss the wonderful cottages along the pebbled streets and the donkeys which used to be used for carrying goods up the hill. Not sure if this is still the practice?

Outside many of the cottages you will see sledges or large bread trays used to bring things down the hill as they easily skim over the surface of the cobbles.
Clovelly has a rich maritime history and there is much to see in fisherman's cottage which has been opened to the public as a museum. There are stunning views in all directions and you need your camera permanently to hand here.

Clovelly is a privately owned village and has been in the hands of the same family for hundreds of years

The climate is mild and certainly suits the many butterflies you will see here. When you reach the bottom of the hill there is fresh mackerel and lobsters to be had though as we had packed a lunch we walked along the pebble beach to a waterfall. It is said that the Arthurian legend Merlin was born here!

The walk back up the hill will set your heart racing and we stopped for an ice cream with clotted cream and then for a pint at the New Inn Hotel.
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