Monthly Archives: November 2008

The 2.48 from Headcorn

So another Saturday dawned, more rain has been falling all day after yesterday’s 13mm, so wet just about sums it up, I reckon.

Cleaning the car this morning, I find someone’s smacked into the front bumper, crushing the number plate holder and scratching across the section of bumper around it. Must’ve hit slowly but firmly since the inner recessed section is scuffed, too. So, half an hour with some filling compound, colouring tools, waxes and polishes was wasted making it look invisible – at least, in the appalling light today brought. I’ll have a further look if the sun ever comes out and do the necessary then. Well, Mike Baldwin wouldn’t have a scuffed motor now, would he?!

So papers were bought, shelves made (hoping i’ll get a chance to fit them) and lunch eaten before a bit of house work lead to leaving the door at 10 to 3, resplendent in tights, tee, jumper and rain jacket since it was launching it down at the time. And still damn cold.

Still, I felt reasonably lively, noticed the river was high on the road at the bottom of my hill, then saw it was in the second flood stage as I ran alongside it. Banks have been exceeded, it’s taken over the low lying fields, the sheep are being hemmed into a small corner of their field, but as I crossed the first bridge, it hasn’t yet got up to road level in full flood status. Still quite impressive to look at, though. And not running away very fast, so I guess the tide is high and not too much rain could make it all the higher yet. Smart, diversions a prospect to get to work on Monday.

Still, I had another 4.4 miles to run, so carried on, walked past two very nervous looking horse riders, couldn’t believe how muddy the roads are, felt good as I turned around, flagged a bit in the middle of the return leg, perked up considerably when I took my hat off, cursed the rain for stopping and making the jacket an annoyance rather than an aid, increased the pace for the hill home while wondering if the ambulance car with his siren was really that late for his tea and looked intently at my watch for my finish time.

Now, i’m hoping i’ll be bothered to get a Garmin soon, then i’ll know my accurate distance, but aside from that, the same run used to have a pb of 41.05, set twice – once last November, again 13 months previous. today, I set 41.01. Oh, yes, a whole 4 seconds quicker, just one week into my new running technique. Not a great increase, but quite pleasing since I didn’t feel that much effort in the run. Strangely, this is over a minute slower than my equivalent 10k pb which doesn’t make much sense, but I guess that is a race, this just a training run. Good, though.

Oh, and my nice new trainers already look very second hand and worn, so it’s all good. Time to wash some running kit now, I guess. Ah, the joys of winter.

And the ram has left, so it’s just 10 sheep in the field, now. Wonder when they’ll go to their winter home, leaving me properly lonely?


It must have been some greater power that decided my preparation running schedule for before things get really serious in about 3 weeks.

Having slipped into my alternate days’ running regime, things seemed to be working out to miss Friday, when I was supposed to be out. Well, that’s been cancelled but things worked out well enough to accomodate working until nearly 2am yesterday, even if it has left me knackered (bed immediately after I finish this) with a sore throat which i’m hoping will disappear after a good night’s sleep.

So, I got up about 9.30 ish this morning, went to Maidstone to collect my second pair of trainers (they’ve been labelled my race pair so i’ll avoid over-using them during training. Sad, eh? Hope it works!), proceeded in to work to carry on what seems like the longest week ever, and all I was considering was running routes.

So my awful week continued, I got asked to stay on again to help out, said no (well, words to that effect!) and changed into my shorts, new trainers, and set off.

Now last night, about 10.30, my shins started aching along with my calf muscles. So today, i’d been playing with them to try and ease the pain and they felt ok as I set off. I know i’m a bit tired, but would be with the hours and the running, so wasn’t expecting much, but set off for my 4.6 mile hilly route, anyway. And I think the new running style may be here to stay. I’m not pretending it’s perfected yet, I think i’m at a hybrid stage, but I now feel ok and can mix up my pace a bit more than earlier in the week.

Still sprint off a bit keenly, though.

The only worry was Steve putting my new trainers on the desk. I hope desks don’t lead to the same luck problems as tables. I’m not superstitious, but if I have any luck, it’s bad, so i’m keeping everything crossed. Didn’t stop me finding a dog turd to run through about half a mile in, though. But this was at least balanced by managing to not spread it up my legs, I guess. Small mercies.

So, sleep beckons, the mileage is increasing, i’ve still to sort out what to do at the weekend, we had 2.5mm of rain and I hate work more than ever.

But i’m blogged, can rest until Saturday’s run, and have two new cd’s to punish in the car over the next few weeks. Things could be worse. Lots worse.

Just hope Jogblog’s written something good to keep up the amusement. What happened to NaBloPoMo or whatever it was?

A quick, painful run

I seem to have settled remarkably easily into my run every other day regime, usually reserved for times when I think a race may need preparing for properly…er, about 3 times! Only ther race i’m thinking about isn’t until the end of April and won’t really be treated as a race, more a challenge to see if I can make it round. With the secret hope of a sub-4 hour time. Or 3.36 if i’m honest.

So, after purchasing my race and preparation trainers and receiving the man’s advice on time reducing techniques and then trying them on Sunday’s run, my legs were tight as tight can be on Monday and only eased a touch today. I’ve been stretching and everything, honest! The technique definitely needs practice, but I can see the logic, so tonight I had another go.

Deliberately not looking at my watch again, to assist concentration on technique and not lurching around artificially quickly, I set off after stretching yet again to try and encourage a natural gait. And, for the first mile or so, it worked. My calves were wincing a touch, then my hamstrings felt tight (that’s never happened before, so i’m definitely reaching muscle groups i’ve not developed before), then I even managed to slow down. After the mile, I think I managed to keep the style but lose some pace, which is going to be essential, but at the halfway point, I was ruined.

I stopped, stretched again, then set back off in a damage limitation style for about quarter of a mile before having another go. It felt better, then I alternated my new and old techniques before the final half mile push to the site office. Oh, with another stop and stretch with a mile to go.

Still, back in the office, a good stretch later I felt surprisingly okay. My upper legs feel great, my calf muscles are properly tight, but also certainly better than they used to be when I stopped for a couple of months then ran like a loon again when I realised I ought to be running. They’re certainly on the improvement cycle, not the injury one, so I reckon if I can cope with the initial discomfort, I might be onto a winner. Just got to get good at the technique, then go for a timed run to compare notes and i’ll decide if it’s for me.

Oh, and as I write this, I seem to be listening mostly to hardcore/hard house, so maybe the running style is also reducing my mental age to about 14 again, too. Excel-bloody-lent!

Oh, and I think i’ve managed a whole post without manageing to post anything even mildly offensive about anyone. It’s all good. I like it.

An odd Sunday

Whether this post ever makes it onto the blog, i’ll not know unless someone reads it. My computer or the internet or whatever seems so slow, it may still be loading tomorrow. So consider it a bonus (but not one i’d hold my breath for, to be honest!) if you are casting your eyes over my inane scribing.

So yes, today’s a Sunday. Yesterday, I got up early, realised a jump wasn’t on the cards, cleaned the car (knowing not that now, it looks as though it hasn’t been done for a week after driving back from Hastings through two separate floods), bought a paper then popped off to buy my marathon trainers. Two pairs of Asics Cumulus 10 in a size 7.5 later, I was happy and keen to run again.

But first, it was off to Cathy’s for a printer purchase, fantastic meal, lazy evening, restless night knowing I had to go to work today and a rude 5.30 alarm call. At least it was a half hour lie-in, but it’s never good on a Sunday. And then the bad luck was compounded in finding the Blackwall Tunnel shut, so a diversion along the A13 and a donation to the Dartford toll at least caused a variation to the journey, even if it, too, wasn’t welcome.

Still, it was nice and crisp (or damn cold, if you prefer), the day was reasonably productive and I got home mid-afternoon to find the chocolate i’d left at Cathy’s had been scoffed already. Not fair. So I took my mind off such things, completed my application to the Santa Race, donned my mid thickness jumper, a shirt, tights, gloves, hat and new trainers for a run.

Yep, it was cold.

My teeth were chattering for the first 1/2 mile, but I was trying a new running style so wasn’t paying it too much heed. The style was recommended by the man in the trainer shop to ease the shocks through my legs on longer runs and make me faster on shorter ones (he promises me 3 more minutes off my 10k times if I practice and join the occasional group run – that’s a lot of motivation!) but it seems very weird at the moment. I can’t control my speed with it and end up sprinting at all times, with my breathing reflecting this, so it’s not a long distance option at the minute. I’ll continue to practice, but the way my legs are now aching, i’m not sure. But then, I have run every other day for the week, so maybe an ache or two is due.

I didn’t time the run at all, it was my flat 5.4miler and was about 44-46 minutes, with 6 stops to re-assess my running gait and try to improve it without sprinting off, so something’s ok still, I guess. Oddly, my toe feels ok, my left shin feels tired, so i’ll stretch the crap out of it over the course of the evening to repair any damage.

Oh, and 6mm of rain fell on the garden.

Right, time for steak. And potatoes. And peas. And mustard. And tomatoes. And cucumber.


A Friday flat

Not wanting to believe what I was hearing on the weather forecast, (and not wanting to pester my BBC employed personal weather forecaster for details [i’ll save her for emergencies and when I really want to take the piss out of a proper, bona fide celebrity!]), didn’t stop me packing my cold weather options for tonight’s run, and it turned out to be the best option.

My day was only ever going to be hectic and this turned out to be the case, but with a jacket on all day I wasn’t sure how cold it was getting until I stopped around 4.30 for a tea. And my mind was made up for a proper jumper and my long, proper running trouser/tight/legging type things. I only fancied a jaunt along the seafront, but it felt good to be out, the sea was surprisingly rough for the light wind, I saw no runners at all, only three cyclists but plenty of dog walkers.

And since the tide was in, the obligatory couple of anglers getting frozen. Now i’ve no idea how they do it, standing in a cool breeze on a cold evening, but fair play to them. I guess with angling being one of the largest participation sports in the country, i’m in the minority in my exasperation of the pleasure to be gained from fishing but it still beats me. I guess it gets them out of the house, though.

Still, my run went well, my toe was a bit painful for the first bit of the run then that eased away, but it is hurting a bit now, so i’ll continue to treat it gently. Next week, I intend to do two hilly runs, but am out for an evening with the electricians on Friday, so will run Saturday morning if i’m not skydiving. Need to get a jump in, it’s been over a month and tomorrow isn’t looking too good for it, i’ve got to work Sunday then the following weekend it looks as though i’ll be dressing as Santa to run around Dagenham for a few miles having worked the Saturday, so things are looking busy. Nice, but not good for getting the jumps consistent enough for a push towards a “B” licence. We’ll see.

Ah, and on Wednesday night, I counted my last car. Decisions have been made, but I ought really to talk to my marvellous girlfriend about my plans before I broadcast them on that internet thing, so details will follow. It feels good to have another direction. And at least now, I can concentrate on counting panes of glass as guilt free pleasure and don’t have to record the results!

So; 0.5mm rain, 1 correct statement about peanuts, and a CD to order tomorrow if I can remember.


Oh, that’s a bit parky

And so it was that after laughing for a day at Jogblog‘s post from yestarday, I eagerly got changed ready for a hilly 4.5 miles around Hastings. While changing, my sartorial options were running through my head as through the day, i’d gone from coat, jumper and shirt to hi-vis vest, jumper and shirt, to losing the jumper for rolled up sleeves and back to jumper but with sleeves rolled up. Normally, so many wardrobe changes are reserved for the spring but I guess being active on site this time of year, it’s not so unusual. So, I was wondering what to wear and went for my 20 year old sweatshirt (warmer than a long sleeved tee but cooler than a fleece jumper) and shorts. Yep, i’m no fan of “technical” clothing, they just happen to be clothes I run in. I’m going to buy some proper bits for the marathon training through the winter, but everything’s served me well for years, no-one sees me when i’m out, so i’m not proud. But I probably will have to be when my girlfriend reads this and informs me she doesn’t want to be associated with a running idiot and I should sort myself out. Having said that, I did buy some tights about 3 years ago and they seem excellent when it’s really cold, so maybe i’ll enjoy the benefits of proper kit when I get around to it. Still, for tonight, I thought what I had would do. Until I stepped out of the office. And stepped straight back in to put on a tee shirt as well to prevent immediate frost.

I hate starting a run cold, even if I overheat slightly toward the end, so I set of with chilly legs but knew the hill would sort me out, hoping I wouldn’t end up with a cold willy again through the shorts option. And it did (the hill, sort me out, that is. Not end up with a cold willy. That was fine.). I had to run up the second one on the other side of the road due to roadworks, which felt odd in a “it feels wrong to put the wrong shoe on first” kind of way (if such a wrongness exists – my girlfriend insists it does, and I think I know what she means!), but it was quiet out, my pace was good, after a mile my toe stopped hurting and I positively bounded up the long hill to my turnaround point.

All the way, I was trying to talk myself into a Garmin, even though it’d be a dull image on a map seeing as i’ve been running similar routes in Hastings for the last three winters – I reckon the assistance in keeping me to a sensible long distance pace may pay dividends, so I’ll seek one out shortly.

Then, I bumbled my way back toward the office, completely switched off to the point of turning my ankle over on a kerb having popped into the road to overtake a walker. It all seems fine, though, so it’s all good practice.

And after Friday’s debacle, it was a great run. Welcome back to a bit of hilly running. Unti December when training properly starts.

No rain to report. But I am down to one, yes ONE car to count. That’ll probably make tonight decision night.

Smart, I could do with a shake up to sort myself out.

Later, shorter, worse!

Sorry for my most depressing post yet on Friday. I guess things weren’t going too well. Which is daft, really, since generally life is pretty good at the moment, especially with Cathy being down at the weekend and life’s general things continuing pretty reasonably.

Still, a bad run is a bad run. And I was low.

So, today I promised work wouldn’t get to me (which it did) and that I wouldn’t get diverted from my running cause. Which I did. An overly active afternoon was followed by torrential rain for half an hour when i’d planned to run, so I went straight to Sainsburys for food and promised i’d run when I got home.

Well. A chilli con carne later, two pints of water, and after a chat with my fine girlfriend, I felt keen enough to set out for a 4 miler around the dark country lanes. Until I got out of the door, started to run, realised how nasty a damp cold evening can be, and talked myself out of a proper run. So, instead of turning left, I turned right, jumped out of my skin when a car came around the corner without me hearing it (I was sprinting, since I was doing a short run – my breathing was laboured and I was scared as it was dark!), instead of going straight on I turned right and found myself back home a mere 2.1 miles later. The head torch running experience isn’t something I enjoy massively, so I guess i’m going to have to sort current work issues out, especially with the marathon looming.

Still, the run was ok, no pain at all, at least I got out, so I can do proper runs on Wednesday and Friday and still feel ok about the week and not fear the lard monster approaching for a bit.

Oh, still 5 cars (been cleaning teeth late so there haven’t been any – honest!) but it’s rained a bit. A trace every day. Nasty.

Did I mention Cathy? Hope so. She deserves it. And a mention.


Today at work was shit, my run was shit, my toe hurts again, my knee hurt as I ran (4 miles), which are both shit things and piss me off. I’m going to give up running, spend more time on the bike and lighten up more.

Until tomorrow when i’ll probably feel normal again.

My decision in 5 cars’ time might be amazing. God, I fucking hope so.

Wind and Rain

Well, the weather certainly seems to have turned. And with it, my eagerness for a good run seems to have returned.

The weekend went all too quickly, the mountainbike got a new suspension pin and bush as well as a chain and rear cassette, so Sunday saw me pestering jogblog for a bike ride, my goal being to check out Epping Forest and see if there really was a patch of greenery bigger than Walthamstow and Hackney marshes within 5 miles of her. And there was. And it was wet and muddy. And the bike worked nicely, but will need a really good, fast thrash over something challenging to see if the shock bush is better than new. But overall, I have to say, it was all good.

Oh, and Chingford looks nice. If anyone knows good reasons not to move there, let me know, will you?

So, after a draining day at work with no computer system, I got to 5.15 and decided it was time to change, so pulled on a tee shirt and headed for the seafront, into the gale that was still blowing but thankfully free from the rains that had been deluging Hastings all day. Well, that didn’t last, did it? The first half of the run was sheltered by the buildings on the North of the prom, then I turned around, the rain really started to hammer down again, I crossed to the sea side, got blown home to the sound of the sea crashing on the shingle (massive waves in huge lines. Very impressive. Who needs an i-pod with that soundtrack?) and enjoyed the loneliness of the front without seeing a soul on the return leg. What a contrast to the “summer” when it was crowded with tourists and drunks.

My toe seems to be ok – it aches a bit all the time at the minute, but hasn’t shown any of it’s previous pain, so i’m intending another run on Thursday before pushing it on the hills next week. Plans. Nice.

Oh, and 12 cars left. 18mm of rain over the 24 hours. Already we’ve had more rain for November than in the whole month in the previous 2 years, so I wonder where it will end.

Back to the old school

Looking at my running log, it’s been rest, rest, rest, since the 12th October. Owing to my ability to acquire injuries since I got old, my intention to cure my foot with rest is with the most genuine of hopes.

So, having had a pain free Wednesday a week ago, I put off running for a week; a night out in the week and a need to do grown up, owning a house and arranging my brother’s birthday evening stuff put off my run until tonight. But come about 4 o’clock, I was actually excited. Properly excited.

Still, I needed to finish another odd week at work, so it wasn’t until 5.50 that I got out and put in the first trepidatory paces on a dodgy toe. And the first steps weren’t hopeful. I’ve been rotating boots at work, wearing my DC trainers more than my Etnies (they seem broader but more supportive), even keeping my feet warm with thicker socks, but I think i’m going to have to see someone after all. The seafront beckoned, the wind was strong, the sea was rough but despite all this, there were loads of runners out (mostly wearing masses of clothes – how hot do they want to get? It wasn’t cold, just windy) and I was happy to be there. Oh, and I think I might invest in a Garmin – i’m still struggling to keep to a sensible pace when I want to and wonder if a “training partner” might help.

Still, I paced along to my turnaround point, noted my foot ache, jogged back, saw 3 of the runners i’d passed on the way out now going against the wind, and wondered why my legs felt so fresh after 4 weeks off. Nice. But on returning to the office, my toe nagged without feeling bad, I got home and creamed it to try and continue any healing, thought it felt ok but as the time is now wearing on, the pain is returning so i’m going to see how it feels in the morning and if it’s bad, i’ll seek help. I won’t attempt 26 miles in April in an under-prepared state due to injury, even i’m not that daft.

Oh, and why did I return to the office with a cold old chap? I’ve not noticed a cold pecker before when running through the winter, despite some sleet and snow affected runs, so why now? Very odd. And not even particularly pleasant!

Still, the car count goes on…only 16 to go. Expect a brave decision to be made sometime next week! I’ll be running again before that, though, so it’s all good. Even if my foot does drop off as a result.

No skydiving expected over the weekend, but a forest mountainbike ride should be a laugh in the mud. Hopefully Jogblog will survive the experience too, she’s promised to venture there with me on Sunday – if she blogs that as amusingly as her catbook post, it’ll be worth it for the blog alone!