Sunday, 3 December 2017

ROB DONOVAN AND THE ST IVES RUNNING CIRCUIT - DOWN THE HILL

Yesterday's blog brought you up the hill. Now, with some delight and anticipation, I'm ready to turn round and make my descent. It takes around twenty minutes to reach the top; fifteen minutes to run back down - with faster or slower times depending on fitness, mood and weather conditions. There's a car parking area at the top of the hill and a National Trust 'Little Trevalgan' sign.

First glimpse of St Ives Bay in the distance - and a breath-taking realisation of how high the run has taken me


Making that turn, brings the sweeping panorama of the St Ives bay into view.

The town sign adds a sense of boundary - and now I'm looking across the bay to the Hayle sands - Godrevy is out there, the rock and lighthouse, a tiny white pillar highlighted by a bright winter sun


Running downhill has its own technique and pitfalls, as well as its singular joys. To be free and gifted with such views makes the heart sing - and sometimes I will release a whoop of pleasure. I am loathe ever to lose this wonder of motion and land- and sea-scape.


A view that speaks for itself - you might just be able to make out the tower of St John's in the Field, the church that I pass twice-a-day on the Ella dog-walk 


As for the dangers, I took a tumble this summer. I was around two-thirds down the hill running on the right-hand-side, facing on-coming traffic, wearing as ever my high-visibility top. I had already safely negotiated the couple of blind bends where I will cross over the road to maximise my chances of being seen by motorists. Coming towards me, and slowing, was an open-topped double-decker tourist bus. I could hear that there was a vehicle coming down the hill on the other side, also slowing. I slowed too. The bus had almost stopped as I gently jogged past it, my left shoulder almost touching its bodywork. It had such a presence. I lost my focus on the ground beneath me. Suddenly I was falling - instinctively to my right and into the undergrowth away from the bus. I landed well as I have done in past years when falling - and breathed a sigh of relief that my Fifth Year (Year 11) gym lessons had included a term of judo. I've learned the art of self-protection when thrown off-balance.

As I picked myself up and reassured the car-driver who had stopped behind the bus and got out to see that I was alright, I looked behind me and saw the pot-hole at the edge of the road. I had failed to observe the peril before sinking my foot into it and tumbling.

As you descend, the view of the sea shrinks until suddenly it has vanished.


By the time I passed the field where the mechanical hedge-cutter was at work, the guy in the cab had completed his work by the road-side and was engaged in cutting and trimming on the other side of the field. I reflected on how much has changed with the coming of this machine-culture. Once, those same hedges would have been shaped and cut and managed by local farm-hands, five or six or more working for a couple of days. Now the work is completed in a brutal but effective fashion by one man sitting in a cab manipulating levers in half-a-day's shift.


The sea has all but gone - and so too has the life in my battery. This turns out to be my last shot! Note the road-spray from the hedge-management. 

         
I am loving every minute of my descent down the hill but I am becoming anxious about my camera. I didn't check the battery before leaving and I have been turning it on and off rather a lot. Sure enough, I discover I am out of juice.


To bring this double blog - Up and Down the Hill to Little Trevalgan - to a conclusion, I thought it would be interesting to check my running diary and share with you how many times I have actually run this training circuit in a particular period of time. Remember, the intensive preparation for marathon and half-marathon races is done between Marazion and Mousehole along the coast - a fact that has suddenly sparked an idea for a photo-image blog in the future!

April 23 2017 - heading for the finishing-line in the London Marathon - a Cornish-trained boy comes home

In 2017, I've made this Little Trevalgan journey 44 times on 32 separate days - sometimes there have been double and occasionally triple circuits. This is the year when I've notched-up another London Marathon and another Oxford half-marathon. Thank you, my local training circuit, for your part in such adventures.