running blog

Clive Whaley

Real News

Marathon Training - Day 39 - (8 min 'tempo' runs/ 3 min jog x 3)

At the very last minute, before I set out the door, I decided to take my iPhone with me - that translates as 'take my camera' with me (one day I'll make a phone call with it). Glad I did because you never know what you are going to encounter and just wish that you had the opportunity to provide the visual evidence for the story you are about to tell.

In the mainstream media this last week or so there seems to have been a focus on the phenomenum of 'Fake News', which is somewhat ironic. Anyway I've got no time for it and what follows is TRUE, honestly mum.
Photo 1 - Nutrition for runners
Half way round my run today, I found this thoughtfully placed bowl of runners 'high energy soup'. In later weeks of my marathon plan it refers to 'practice your nutrition and hydration strategies today'. Well this has come a bit early but it was welcome nevertheless. It was clearly labeled EXTRA HIGH ENERGY. I had set off early without any breakfast, so I needed no extra prompting - I was in there - two generous 'scoops' with my hands cupped together - YUM YUM!

No problem that on the side of the bucket, some joker had added a sticker that said, "This is a complementary feed ideal for pregnant ewes, growing lambs and tups". This stuff really worked wonders. Later on in my run my speed and energy levels were on a scale I had not experienced before. The desperate need to crap my pants was largely responsible for the speed burst but I still think there was something special in that bucket.

Photo 2 - Runners Burning
The furthest point of my run was Thorncombe Beacon, always a great place to visit. At the top of this prominent cliff on the Dorset Coast is a large metal basket mounted on a pole, some ten or twelve feet high. It's called a Beacon and it was installed several hundred years ago by an early group of runners in this area. Each month they would set a running challenge of anything from 10 to 20 miles and the losing runner was burned alive in the beacon, whilst the rest of the 'club' would dance around below shouting "Loser, loser, pants on fire". (The concept of rhyme had not yet been invented.) The prominent yellow arrow in the photo above is to show which way up to insert the runner.

I am proud to say that we continue the tradition to this day via the local running club - except we reserve burnings for runners who 'heel strike' or who wear pink lycra.

Photo 3 - On the level
All of my running is done on smooth, level surfaces. This is to avoid injury and keep me looking good. It also helps with my blistering speed. Or is it that it helps with the speed of my blistering? I can never remember which.

Photo 4 - Turning heads
The area is full of exotic wild animals. Most species enjoy watching runners go by, as shown by the shot of this "Dorset Shaggy Flump" which turned to admire my speed and technique as I passed. Flumps are becoming much more common since it was discovered they are the perfect pack animals for Ultra Runners and Triathletes who own more than £10,000 of sport and leisure kit. Not only can these beasts carry enormous amounts of gear, they are also able to navigate, without the aid of Google, towards food and drink stations at any Ultra Endurance event on the planet. However what really endears them to their owners is their ability to memorise and deliver motivational banter in clear English with just a hint of Dorset bleat. Favourite Shaggy Flump phrases include - "pain is only temporary but compression tights are for life" and "when the going gets tough, follow your heart but listen to your bowels" and "never, never, never give up unless you can negotiate a refund of the exorbitant entry fee". My favourite is the cryptic, "You might be able to run 20 miles continuously, but in the morning I'll still be a Flump."

So glad I had that phone camera with me today, otherwise you would not have believed me.