Thursday 28 September 2017

New workout......

      Not only was I running before sunrise this morning but I was home and showered before sunrise.  OK, I only ran two miles but it was a good workout.  I'd taken a page from the late Ed Whitlock's book and ran round the local cemetery.  The old part of the cemetery is on a slope that's intersected by seven paths between the gravestones.  I found it ideal for short hill reps, running hard up one path and jogging down the next, all the way to the end. 
Then back again.
Cemetery workout
      Although hardly daylight I was surprised to find I wasn't alone in the gloom.  A Personal Trainer was already there with one of his clients doing step-ups onto a kerb.  I've seen him before, mostly putting plump ladies through their paces, hopping sideways, running backwards or doing press-ups on the grass beside the graves.  And they pay him for this?  
I think I've missed my way.

Sunday 24 September 2017

Menorca again......

Mentions of mistiness in my last posting were not intended for the ears of my Consultant Ophthalmologist.  Regardless, his latest corticosteroid injection to my Rt eye on  25th August produced so much milkiness and floating crystals I was unable to run safely for more than a week.  I was relieved to survive a run round Castle Hill eight days later without falling all over the place.
Getting back into my stride  (Click to enlarge pictures)
My house has been in turmoil too as plumbers, plasterers, electricians, painters and tilers went about their various duties tearing out my old bathroom  and fitting a brand new one.
It puts the rest of the house to shame! 
Work in progress
However, you can't keep a good man down and throughout September I've been making up for lost time in wild and wonderful places.
Putting in the mileage before Menorca
Long trails over local hills with hundreds of feet of ascent were all part of my preparation for a two week holiday in a favourite corner of the world, the beautiful island of Menorca.
The Xuroy in its beautiful setting
Once again we were booked in at the Xuroy, a wonderful little family run hotel that sits with its feet in the water by the old fishing village of Alcaufar.  
Snorkeling in the warm waters by the hotel
Residents can step out the door and plunge straight into the warm sea to swim, swish, swirl and snorkel among the shoals of fish - or maybe shake hands with a visiting octopus.  I never had the privilege of the latter...
Dawn erupting outside our window
Delightful dawn skies lured us from our beds each morning to don our studs and run for miles along the undulating trails, mainly on sections of the Cami de Cavalls (Way of Horses), a long distance trail that encircles the island.
Sunrise on the Punta Prima run
Sadly, unlike in May, there were no nightingales to serenade us as we greeted the sun on an inland trail towards Punta Prima.  The land we ran on is private but we only ever met one man exercising his dogs and I'd guess he was trespassing too.
Rough running along the Cami de Cavalls 
We'd return along the Cami de Cavalls, a much rougher trail of pitted and spiky limestone that calls for sure footedness and a certain amount of concentration to avoid catastrophes. I'm rather good at the latter and have a few good scars to prove it!
After the storm, a flooded trail
Overall the weather was good, sunny with temperatures reaching low 80's, but we'd a couple of rogue thunderstorms that flooded the trail and made it very muddy in parts.  On the plus side, grass began to shoot and patches of green emerged.
Running the Rafalet Vell route
On other mornings we headed northwards on dawn runs, again braving the precarious underfoot conditions of the Cami de Cavalls as far as a farmstead at Rafalet Vell.  
Wild tortoise
On previous occasions we'd invariably encounter many wild tortoises, the main attraction of this route for us, but this time we saw only one. We wondered if some unscrupulous person was collecting them for commercial purposes?
Rafalet rooster
The posse of little piggies that previously entertained us at Rafalet Vell were conspicuous by their absence. We surmised they'd all gone to market or sliced up to embellish the breakfast plates of an estimated 22,000 visitors that passed through Menorca's airport each day the previous month.  Instead of their cheery little grunts a brightly coloured rooster crowed from over the wall.
Wild Horses  (I love this song, click to listen)
Occasionally we met cows, some with evil looking horns and some with calves.  None of them bothered us but on one occasion we turned tail as they eyed us with a little too much attention.  This time it was horses that blocked our path but we patted them aside and they let us pass without ado.
My favourite swimming pool
 Cala Rafalet is one of Menorca's hidden gems, a secluded little cove of clear, deep water surrounded by magnificent limestone cliffs that trap the sun and make this a delectable place to swim.
As rough as it gets
On one of our longer runs we ran the Cami de Cavalls as far as Cala de Sant Esteve, a section that's as rough as it gets.  The final ¼ mile is a delight for masochistic runners who delight in extreme off-road fun.  Like me...
Across limestone slabs at Cala de Sant Esteve
The delights continued as we ran across an expanse of limestone slabs.
On the coast path to Cala Rafalet
Then a little climb out to join a gravel cliff path with a curious cave formation.
Pock-marked cave
From thereon the trail was thin on the ground requiring the mind and expertise of an Indian tracker to stay on route.  But we congratulated ourselves on reaching our objective without once referring to the guide book.
Cooling off at Cala Rafalet
We'd deliberately dressed in running gear that doubled as swimwear so were able to wash the sweat from our bodies after an almost vertical descent down the rocks for another exquisite bathe in the sparkling waters of Cala Rafalet.  
Celebrating our morning's activities
It was two very happy bunnies that jogged the last mile back to our hotel where we showered and changed before a celebratory meal at the stylish restaurant of Piccolo Mundo in Alcaufar. 
Talayot Curnia Nu where excavations are still taking place
Our holiday wasn't all running and swimming.  We did lots of walking too, notably to a couple of archaeological sites and a trek from Son Bou to San Tomas, and back, to suss out a hotel, the Lord Nelson, where we plan to celebrate my 86th birthday next May.
San Tomas - our destination next May
 We discovered it's 4* and a little too posh for the likes of me.  Among the many residents we encountered, we didn't notice any wearing tracksters or trainers.  I may have to update my wardrobe.  And buy some shoes!
A 'Happy hour' picture taken on our last evening at Xuroy
We fitted an awful lot into our fortnight holiday, so many things my old brain can't recall them all.  But at the end of each day as the sun was setting I well remember our 'Happy hours' relaxed with a beer, or wine, on a terrace beside the lapping sea with heads full of wonderful memories of each day's activities.
Holidays don't come better than that...