Monthly Archives: November 2009


And with it came the tights.

A northerly wind seems to have plunged the temperatures to lows I remember only too well from last year, and with this has come my donning of the tights once more. Not pretty. But warm, so sod it.

Shame my top half didn’t begin to thaw out on my 4 miles of windy negativity, but there you go. It was good to finish the day with a run out. Tomorrow promises to be horrible at work, not a good sign, but there is light in the tunnel. I’ve set a completion date for 11th December, so the house swap will be all systems go from now.

Mountains of packing, furniture dis-assembly, boxing up and panic may leave blogging in a back seat for a while. Might leave everything in a back seat, to be fair – i’d tee’d up two able assistants for the 27th (my original completion plan) but they’re now busy, so it looks like i’ll be loading a lorry and then unloading it with just me and Cathy. I’m not sure i’ll have the energy, certainly won’t have enough time, but I like a challenge, so there it’ll be. Don’t know how we’ll struggle the sofas out alone, though – hopefully with a bit of inspiration and a bit of luck.

Thankfully November’s done now, though. 201mm of rain is a record by 76mm in my guage. Simply loads of rain again last night (30mm) – if we’re the driest region in the country, the rest of you must have webbed appendages by now! I’ll be interested to start recording a new location. Might even get a new guage, if i’m lucky.


I’ve a sort of happiness develops when it rains lots. The satisfaction of being indoors as it launches down is pleasant to my mind like little else. And reading Hauling My Carcass a while ago, complete with wetness, added to today’s satisfaction. Cheers, HMC!

At 8 o’clock I was beginning to regret not going out yesterday as a deluge of hail covered the back garden and again filled the rain guage, though, leading me to wonder how much more the surrounding fields could take before the bottom of the village flooded. And wonder if the new house is leaking, what with 6 missing bonnet hip tiles and little guttering. I’m beginning to get worried about it and am desperate to get in and stop any damage becoming serious. Still, it may be groundless worry, so i’ll not dwell on it.

My field pondering came to a close at 9.30, however, when I set out in pleasant sunshine in the village direction to see my favourite fields once more. Only very few fields did I see. Just lots of water. The small streams had, at last, swelled over their banks and, in patches, across the roads.

Thankfully the main road to Frittenden wasn’t cut off (it was over the bottom of my mountainbike forks there 4 years ago – about 13 inches over the road!), so my route took me towards Waterman Quarter, as so many times in the past. Until I turned left over the railway bridge, things were lovely. Different views of familiar countryside. Splendid.

Then I saw a large puddle. Then a little bit of water running over the road from one field to another. Not too much. I thought. Then I stepped into it, the flow instantly engulfed the entire depth of my shoe and thus, on subsequent steps, both feet were drowned.

Balls. Properly warmed up top half, properly full trainers with cold river water and only just over a mile in to a 6 miler.

Ah, well, I thought, press on. So, over the next couple of minutes, comedy squelching and water spray from squeezed trainer insole and socks ensued until temperature levelled off and it became normal to have damp feet. The run was nice, if shortened by a third road-stream crossing thing (the second failed to flood my shoes) at just under a tenth short of 6 miles that I didn’t fancy forging twice in about a minute, so didn’t. Just turned for home.

Only to find that the morning deluge was still filtering into the stream. That, or the tide was up where the river flows into it downstream, since the wet foot forge was now about 6 feet longer and correspondingly deeper than first time. Still, with only a mile to run after it, I didn’t really mind. Even if the squelch did seem more comedic second time around.

So, the village runs are running out of time, if not ability to offer something different each outing. Their variety is still the nicest thing ever but i’m desperate to move now. Hopefully less than two weeks to go. Fingers crossed.


Was a rushed run in the face of the need to go to Tenterden for pizza.

I remember standing in the toilet cubicle getting changed, wondering which top to wear. I’d taken my long sleeve “Animal” tee, the same one I ran every race of 2008 (except the Santa run) in and my heavier Nike sweat. I put the tee on, changed into my shorts and considered it’d be a short run, I wouldn’t warm up properly, so changed into my sweat. It was the correct decision.

Still haven’t resorted to the tights yet, but looking at the weekend forecast, it won’t be too long.

So, on the run I headed downhill along Pheasant Lane, through the muddiest building site entrance i’ve seen for a long time, and headed up the slope towards the police headquarters.


Only on turning for home did I slow up. An odd decision on pace, but heading home for a shower, drive, pint (shandy), pizza, drive, another pint and a very happy girlfriend also seemed quite odd, if very nice for a midweek event. Off to Maidstone for an evening out next Thursday, only without the run beforehand.

Still, my legs feel fresh; i’ve just got to decide on a distance for tomorrow and i’ll be set.

Under instructions

To blog, anyway.

After Saturday’s effort my legs are still sore. Yesterday was a rubbish day at work and I had no inclination to run which, with a pair of sore calves, was all the encouragement I needed to slack off. I also had an oddly sore knee. Nothing has hurt during runs, it’s not bad at all, but something’s not perfect and i’m thinking long term, so not caning it.

Well, today was no better than yesterday. Didn’t get to stop all morning, at all. In fact things have got so bad i’ve resorted to sitting in the car at lunchtime to allow me to escape the constant barrage of queries that aren’t allowing me to focus on my job at all – everyone else’s worries are clearly so much more important than my own i’m not allowed to think about them! Perfect. Well perfect for encouraging me to leave the office at bang on 5 and go for a run, anyway.

Today, I wore far too thick a top and started sweating immediately, despite my pace being slower than i’ve run for over two months. It’s nice that a “recovery” pace still averages under 8 minute miles, which says loads for how much i’ve been pushing things, but the soreness in my legs feels as bad now as before so the pace is going to drop further to allow a good recovery for London preparation in about 4 weeks time.

Everything is going to be focused on that for the next short while. If I actually get to complete London, i’ll have achieved my goal. I know things won’t go perfectly (I haven’t had a cold or hint of illness for 9 months so i’m due something there, at least), I know i’ll pick up niggling injuries at best. But if I can complete, i’ll be happy. Sub 4 hour is goal number two. Target pace of 3.40 is goal number three. That’s a minute a mile below Royal Parks Half pace. If I can slow myself that much, it should be a miracle but i’ve proved before that if I go for pace I won’t get out there at all and that can’t happen again. Not after 5 years of applications.

Fingers crossed and it’s preparation all the way.

It feels like i’m ready to start at last. 5 months of letting off work being crap steam in the direction of a race goal.


Jogblog was right

Having finished the mid-week runs later than planned, my legs were feeling a bit sore on Saturday morning, which is strange for the low distances i’m doing but possibly about right for the infrequency that’s crept in with the high (for me) pace that i’ve maintained.

Being determined to maintain my current level of ability in the run up to marathon training, however, I wanted to do a slightly longer and more varied route than those i’ve slipped into, so my “Stick” was called in to use for my calves and once again, it proved a miracle. I’ve still no clue as to why a simple few pieces of plastic can ease sore muscles in 30 strokes that a day of stretching and massage can’t, but it does. Consistently.

So having cleaned the car, allowed the sun to go in and lunched, I set out for a route i’ve only done by itself once. It’s a bit varied in being a touch rolling, well hemmed in by trees and scrub, so the views aren’t much to take your mind off the run, but it’s a close loop to the house and a change. But I reckoned it was about 5 miles, which was ideal (couldn’t remember from before, didn’t want to fire up G-maps pedometer to check it), Jogblog thought a touch more.

Whatever, I fancied a bit of a slower run and went for it.

The first mile went to plan. Very nice it was too. Warm but not too much, about perfect for a shorts and long sleeve top combo, I chose my New Balance race trainers for a change and to get my feet used to something different in case my new trainers aren’t Cumulus 10’s in preparation for ragging them in the run up to the marathon.

But from there on, the trainers ruled. My pace picked up, the virtual partner went out of the window, as I got to where I thought 2 miles was, my Garmin said 2.6 and I realised Cathy was right on the distance but since I was feeling fresh, I kept pushing. Not to the point of being race style breathless, but up to a pace nonetheless.

Nothing much happened on the run. I got lucky with very few cars, crossed the main road without problems, saw 3 horses which surprised me since it was beginning to get dark and they weren’t being ridden with hi-vis vests or anything, and got to the last half mile with a plan to take a further 10 seconds out of my 7.51 pace virtual partner by the time I got home.

Well, I took 16 seconds out of him, finishing in 7.19 average overall for what turned out to be a 5.76 mile route. Quite pleased I was, too.

If only my buyers would get their fingers out and please me the same, everything would be shaping up nicely. As it is, i’ve merely a set of sore calves and a worry that i’ll still be here at Christmas and be facing a 2.5% increase in fees when the VAT rise makes me poorer.


Late week run, too much E-Bay

Having had a bad day at work yesterday, at least I had something of a eureka moment on going to bed about a resolution to my work woes. It involves getting this moving lark sorted (assuming my buyers are ever going to get finances in place, which isn’t looking good), finding the right object when finances are resolved and buying it.

Part of the correct object is a 1970’s Fibreflex skateboard deck. Another part is a set of Kryptonic wheels. Another part is a pair of Gullwing split axle trucks. I always used to use ACS trucks, have just got my brother a set of ACS 651’s to supplement his 500’s and they are things of beauty, but as a 7 year old, the Gullwings were mentioned by my peers in hushed, near reverential tones and, having redeveloped the urge for a set, the hunt is on.

Trouble is, E-Bay having been scoured, as well as many, many forums, it appears money may be an issue. As well as availability. My hunt has caused Cathy to accuse my interest of being my new porn, such has been the sudden earnestness of the search.

I might be close to finding a deck. The wheels are sortable (i’m not too fussy, and since i’ll use it, maybe a set of  ’80’s 63.5mm wheels will be a good bet before I decide to put it on display). Trucks will be the headache. Maybe 651’s will be settled upon. Who knows.

One day, however, i’ll find a set of Gullwings and be happy. I hope. Or hell might freeze first. Or my desire diminish and i’ll grow up again.

Anyway, I ran. A day later than normal, but a run. A slightly stretched out and back since I didn’t want to go fast but wanted a bit of an outing, and it all seemed good.

Odd that i’ve now got a twinge in my right calf, but it’s nothing worrying. Something to stretch out before Saturday, I think, which might be a good thing.

Ok, i’m off to do my lunch. Skateboards forgotten for a while. Honest.

Not a run?

Yesterday, I thought I had all bases covered.

Albeit a little late, I had my bag packed complete with tights just in case, everything ironed, exercise done and everything set. Then after a day at work, I discovered I didn’t have my Garmin.

Left it at home. Forgot to pack it. Not there.

Now, Jogblog won’t run without hers -“It doesn’t count” I think was her quote upon turning for home last year when her battery died less than a mile in – but I think i’m made of sterner stuff. Hope so.

So, a bit disheartened (my average pace for the month is looking ballistic and I fancied a half decent mileage, too), I made frustrated noises and set off. Plans changed while I started running and an opportunity for a few hill repeats took priority over everything.

Hill repeats. Hmm. Not in my usual arsenal of training, so something to be done for a change.

A half steady run to the start of the Loose valley lead to a turnaround and a full on sprint back up. A bit further than a proper repeat should be, I think (i’m using Trevor Rodwell training the UK middle distance team up the hill I used to live on for reference here – I know they were elite runners training for major championships and i’m not, but it was impressive seeing them destroy themselves in a few yards of hill to the point where they were physically sick in the pursuit of greatness. Shame they came in mid-pack at best. Nice to see someone famous on your residential road, though, even if I can no longer remember any names!), but it feels good to blast for longer when I do bother, so I did.

Then turned around and did it again.

Then again for luck before heading back to the office with no idea how long i’d taken, what my pace was or anything.

Marvellous. And here I am, blogging with no proof I went out at all. Well, apart from slightly sore calves.

I might even do it again sometime.

Old, past it, slacking and lazy

All of the above related directly to me last week.

I proved senility is truly on the way having observed the weather forecast last Sunday, ignoring the salient point regarding temperature and duly only took shorts to work for the run. No way was I going out in that cool air with nothing on my legs, so I came home.

Tuesday I did some weights, attempting to keep some upper body shape to allow me to re-form myself after this winter and the marathon training, so that wasn’t an exercise disaster as such, but Wednesday saw the spirit kicked out of me at work and, truly, I couldn’t be bothered. Went straight out after work for a curry (Thai fusion style, apparently. All I know is it was lovely) instead. Hmm.

Thursday was my late night at work – again couldn’t be arsed to get my running kit out.

Friday was Friday with added wind, rain (31mm) and bluster, Saturday was much the same and then it was Sunday.

A very poor exercise week. So today I decided i’d do a 3.5 mile spirited run but proved my age when I could neither run fluidly (after a week? Crikey, what’s going to happen next year when I have a while off after London?), nor quickly nor consistently. My miles saw 35 seconds difference in pace (not helped by a car/bike/truck traffic jam I had to stop for, but hey), overheating and an unwelcome desire to be back home. Oops.

So I inspired myself with some mountainbike trials videos, got excited about some old skateboard stuff and duly went out for a thrash around the local car park on the play bike and showed myself how bad i’ve got over the 8 months or so it’s been since I played around. Enjoyable, though. Must promise to play at least once a month, possibly once a week or more after we move to keep the ability at least somewhere reasonable. It’s not often one needs to cycle backwards on a bike, granted, but it’s nice to know the ability is there if needed!

Next week, more running. Promise.

A favourite route bested

Yesterday saw a variety of plans thrown out regarding morning runs, so instead I left them to Cathy. Yep, she’s been running again. And might even blog it sometime, if we’re lucky.

Instead, I had lunch then cleaned the car then, thinking the temperature to be about right, headed out.

And judging by the number of dog walkers, families and general people I’ve never seen out that way before, we all had similar thoughts. I was the only one in shorts, though.

The weather was a pure autumnal joy, to be fair. No wind, sunny and crisp. Just how it should be. The only flaw with the day was having to stop twice on the only narrow bits on the run to let cars past – the only cars I saw in 5 miles of no pavement, too. Typical. Still, it was a great farewell (hopefully not the last last time but certainly one of them) to my fave route. And, fittingly, I felt fresh as a daisy, kept the pace sensible for the first mile, took an average of this and the second mile pace and maintained that for the rest of the route. Mile four was (just) the quickest, but speed wasn’t the full goal – the run was fresh, nice, something to remember and remind me why I run while the winter slog  keeps me doubting.

Boy, I hope I find some nice routes at the new place. Which, incidentally, is all sorted barring the people buying mine having a slow mortgage approval keeping things back. Hope my vendors will be patient – i’m just keeping fingers and things crossed while the days tick by, hoping they don’t get impatient and sell it from under my nose. I hate buying houses. Why did I do it again? Oh, yes…it’s called a huge garden!

10 seconds away

Tonight, Matthew, I decided to run faster.

I wasn’t sure how fast, that was determined once I got underway, but since I hadn’t any intention of going too far (3.29 miles was the final range), speed seemed the way to make the legs know they’d been out.

Having missed last night’s planned run, I felt guilty too. I don’t want the half marathon distance fitness to disappear before marathon training kills me again, you see. But can’t raise myself to long runs again yet. So maybe the possibility exists to do longer runs in less time. That’s my theory. I know my speed will suffer for London gains but after it, I fancy getting proper speedy. I don’t know what I can achieve but not trying won’t find that out, so try I will.

I see Hauling My Carcass is going to join a club for his goals. I’ve discussed similar wih JogBlog. My plan is to move to Ashford then join their club (maybe…if I can stand the “induction” trauma!) and see if a bit of competition can draw something out of me, even if age is against me now. For now, my hills will help – might even do some hill repeats soon. But my curiosity is that if I can improve from 8.15 to 7.45 average on all distance runs in 6 months, then pick that up to 7.26 average over a half marathon with most forced pace runs averaging 7.16 over another 6 months (that’s where I am now), what can I do in another year? With a structured training and a bit of pushing and inspiration from other runners who’re much quicker than me again, i’d like a 10k at sub 7 minute average pace. Is it possible? Or is more than that achievable? Or have I peaked?

I want to find out.

Anyhow, after a quick first mile, I had a hill or two slow me in the second, plus a stop to tuck my lace back in (why is a flapping lace so annoying I stop to secure it even though it’s still well tied when i’m on a pace challenge? Daft) and a stop to let a car around a junction. Which resulted in a 7.03 average pace. The two hills were taken a bit slowly, really, with the turnaround used as a recovery pace for a couple of hundred yards, so i’m not disappointed at all. Next time I challenge myself, i’ll set the virtual partner to 7 minutes dead and nail it, i’m confident. But that will be just before I start marathon training, I think, so can wait a while.

Until then, it’s just great to be running pain, injury and aggro free with the temperature perfect for a long sleeved top and pair of shorts. Very relaxing.