Ouch. I frankly have no idea why I thought this was a sensible idea, but at the weekend I showed up to try an ultra-marathon…having only run c25 miles total in the previous three months. So, it hurt.
The route was just insane…endless super-steep climbs and descents, ascending 6000 feet over about 33 miles. I ran out of water in the middle section and ended up feeling pretty grim, but I managed to rally my spirits for the latter part and bash on until the end, finishing after about seven hours. The scenery certainly helped, I never tire of the awesome Purbeck coast.
I placed 27th of c115, not completely shabby given that my ‘training’ mainly comprised of eating all the Christmas chocolates early. However, the year is dragging on and I still haven’t hit my target of 2013 miles…I must get busy in the rest of December…
A number of folk have asked me why this blog has gone quiet…apologies, we moved house and it turns out that BT aren’t capable of re-connecting you within a month (or more)…normal service will resume eventually. I hope.
In the meantime, I’ve been maintaining sanity by playing with a new toy…
The ultimate in adventure expeditioning…taking my little girl for a ride along Bournemouth seafront (Sandbanks to Boscombe) and back yesterday, along with a friend and her little one. The gear shifts on our mountain bikes did not get much use….
This sculpture is located outside the RNLI Lifeboat College, Poole. Inscribed on its sides are the names of lifeboat crew who have lost their lives attempting to save others.
The caption above the names is, “With courage, nothing is impossible”; this is a quote from Sir William Hillary, founder of the RNLI.
A stroll at Studland with my little girl.
Common seal, Poole Harbour
Inevitably, the largest threat to seals comes from humans. Humans have hunted and eaten them since prehistory, as evidenced by bones (mostly from greys) in Mesolithic middens. During the nineteenth century, Orcadians would annually sail 60 km to Sule Skerry to ‘harvest’ hundreds of seals, which apparently made, ‘good ham’. Into the twentieth century, seal skins were utilised for small boats and blubber rendered down for lamp oil. Common seal skin was favoured for sporran-making until the 1980s.
Modern dangers include pollution, commercial fishing and climate change. The latter could adversely impact upon seals’ food supplies. The fishing industry hasn’t always favoured the conservation of seals, despite little evidence that they damage fish populations. Seals cause frustration through stealing bait from pots, and through damaging and infiltrating fish farms; the authors have found a dead seal with a shotgun wound, ashore beside a fish farm.
Viewing seals in the water, you will often find that they voluntarily approach you to investigate; greys generally come closer. Seals are understandably more wary of watchers whilst on shore. Try to approach from downwind, and keep a low profile. If the seals react to your presence in any way, you’re too close already; back off some distance and lie low to watch unobtrusively. Disturbance during the breeding season can cause genuine harm; if repeatedly disturbed into the water, cows (especially first-time mothers) can fail to recognise their pups and abandon them. Likewise, take particular care during the moult; their blood supplies are being directed to their skin to grow new hair; if forced to enter the water, they have to waste energy by having to shut off the blood supply and start all over again.
Atlantic greys, Isle of Anglesey
Common seals, Blakeney Point, Norfolk
This morning I completed the splendid DRRT Mountain Bike Challenge, a c35 mile bimble around the hills of North Dorset.
The second Purbeck Marathon was yesterday; as with last year, I couldn’t really wriggle out of this event as it passes my front door in Corfe Castle. Last year I did a lame three weeks’ of training beforehand, this year I did none at all; the reason was partly that I needed to recover from the big run three weeks ago, partly that I’m bone idle. I was assuming a fairly painful experience, hampered by whatever aches and pains were leftover from that event.
Surprisingly, I felt reasonably fine and ache-free and the miles flowed past. For the first time ever in a marathon, I found that I had something left in the tank towards the end, and was able to run the last couple of miles; well, not shuffle anyway. I came in a minute faster than last year…the course map and figures in the bottom picture are from last year, I’m too lazy to upload this again.
What an incredible event! You can hardly go far wrong with a course that takes in some of the finest scenery in Britain, but add in the great organisation, zillions of enthusiastic helpers and tub of local ice cream waiting at the end, and you have something really special. Many thanks to all involved.
A wet and windy stroll up on St Alban’s Head, this evening. Autumn has arrived.
The dynamic Czech duo, the Maderas (Maderovas?) were in town on Saturday, so I escaped the exciting spreadsheet I was working on and nipped out for a quick paddle at the Peveril Point tide race with them and their friends. It was a pleasure to catch up with them, as always.
Force 7 and 8 winds blasted the south coast for the second weekend in a row. I was supposed to be paddling in Pembrokeshire, but the weather forecast led to cancellation of the event I’d been going to. Surely summer has to arrive soon?
A windy walk on Swyre Head with my little girl was a good consolation prize…
A long run along the coast path before breakfast, but the Full English awaiting at the end certainly tasted good.