walk don’t run

I’ve got to slow down this summer.

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In August Alex and I are climbing Kilimanjaro and from what I’ve heard, successful summits come from those who take each day slow and steady. We also have to do the climb in hiking boots that are big and clunky. I rarely wear mine out on actual trails, preferring my trail running shoes, so I’ve got to wear them in.

Then, in October I’m running my first ultra marathon, and the 16-week training for that has started too. I’ve got a training plan in my hand that has a lot of back-to-back-to-back runs and clear instructions to run at a pace that doesn’t leave me exhausted for the next week’s sessions.

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Today we took one look at the weather forecast and headed straight to the coast. Putting our boots on, we grabbed our poles, khaki hats, and 32L pack (practice makes perfect) and headed south to Eastbourne. We had a few details from the great book Wild Running of a route, but nothing really in mind except to walk along the coast and get 4 or so hours on our feet in.

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As we walked down the Eastbourne high street to the seafront we noticed everyone had white hair. Nothing like OAPs to know where the good places are to be on a Saturday morning.  Once we hit the seafront we turned right and just walked. I felt kinda silly in my hiking boots, poles, and big pack on the beach (I’ve made fun of my fair share of German tourists before) but hoped people somehow knew we were doing a dress rehearsal.

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We eventually hit the South Downs Way and started to climb up. There weren’t many people on the trail in the early morning which was great. The sky was so clear and we could see for miles.  I took as many deep breaths as I could getting in all the fresh sea air before heading back to hayfever central aka London.

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We walked up and down and up and down past Beachy Head and to the Belle Tout lighthouse. Everyone on the trail was so friendly and we stopped and chatted with a few people.  Apparently the cliffs have receeded over 6 metres this year. After hearing that we stayed pretty clear of the edge.  And, yesterday, a poor sheep ran right over the cliff after being spooked by a dog (the dog owner is asked to surrender to the local police as the farmer would like to be reimbursed for the cost of his sheep). After the lighthouse we set up a shop for some snacks and watched as the tour busses came rolling in.

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On our way back we stopped at the Beachy Head pub which had zero ales (let alone local beers) for sale so we settled for a refreshing Peroni sitting on the grass in the garden.  I like this about hiking in the UK, more pubs on route.

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Retracing our steps back into Eastbourne we ticked over to just over 10 miles as we stopped to get fish & chips and battered sausage to eat on the beach before our train back to London.

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There isn’t much better than spending your weekend outside, walking or running. Thank you legs!

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