Monthly Archives: December 2009

Last run of 2009

I was, according to the schedule I cobbled together, supposed to do 5 miles yesterday. But it was wet and cold and miserable. So  I didn’t. Instead, I convinced myself that too many miles too soon would lead me to the same injuries I found last year and found solace in clearing another load of leaves from the garden. I say another; I mean yet another. How many leaves can one autumn produce when they go unchecked throughout it? Lots.

So this morning, with no rain, all I was waiting for was either a) Cathy to go to the gym (hopefully she’ll blog it herself here) or b) the postman to come with many parcels so I didn’t miss him.

And lo! Cathy was getting ready to leave just as postie arrived. Happy days.

So, with a determination to not get lost, I set out toward Shadoxhurst on a 5 mile loop. And it was cold.

The Garmin took ages to get a signal and by 1.5 miles, I was still shivering. Passed my first (of 3) runners around here – I was surprised to see him in a big coat and shorts with bright red legs; I may look hopeless, but his leg colour reminded me exactly why I wear tights.

The rest of the run was very nice. Saw another egg house on a minor back road advertising a dozen for a £1 so i’ll be going there to get a few, I reckon; Cathy’s other gym (not taking new members at new year? What business sense does that show?!) turned out to be housed in a bungalow; the roads are very minor until the last mile, which was surprisingly equipped with a pavement for all but half a mile past Ashford football club and the roof tile place. With the spring, I might even grow to enjoy running around here.

The only failing was my pace. I forgot i’m in a huge training regime and simply ran at a comfortable speed. Which turned out to be a 7.27 average pace. Waaaaaaaay too quick to allow repeat runs as much as I need to. So this will be addressed to ensure April comes with joy, happiness and a 26.2 mile jog achieved with a smile.

A little plod

Through the rain, breeze, surprisingly cool temperature and lack of desire to really pick up the marathon training programme, today I mostly plodded along the straightest of lines through the “Park Farm” housing estate just around the corner to see how far it goes. The answer is as far as a bridge linking it to the new bit still being developed where the roads have mysteriously disappeared.

Having checked on the OS Explorer map I have of the area, the road isn’t a Google invention but today was too wet to bother getting the bike out for exploration. Tomorrow I may have another go past it on a 5 mile route but i’ll leave that for the weather and further inspiration to decide. I’ll also need to acquire a new rain guage pretty shortly. The old one got cracked in the move. Bah.

Once again, like last year, I find myself needing more running clothes. Going to check out the sales just as soon as i’ve ordered gutters for the house and got the chimney sorted. Priorities are, after all, far from running based all the time!

A sombre post, on reflection. Ah, well. Things will improve.

Just turn left

After getting a bit panicky having checked the quantity of weekends until London and finding there to be two fewer than my training schedule demands, it seemed prudent to do two things.

1) Throw the schedule out of the window.

2) Go for a run.

Unfortunately, i’m not a good enough athlete to train for 26 miles without some form of guideline, so i’ll be aiming to cobble something together to do away with item 1.

It was well within my control to execute option 2, though, so I planned an 8 mile route towards that countryside thing away from the house that all seemed very simple.

Cathy came back from a ride and declared it very inconvenient indeed that the road shown on Google was, in fact, a dirt track. With this in mind, my planning of having written the route on my hand seemed sensible. Along the road, bear left, stay on the road bearing right until 2 miles, turn right, second right, next right, next right, next right and home.

Excellent.

So how, at two miles, when I bore left, did I end up on a housing estate to nowhere – no road, no route, nothing? I did half a mile investigating, only to come to the conclusion the landowner must have sold the road and everything to the developers and not told Google. Or, possibly, the highways agency.

I’ll investigate properly in the daylight tomorrow.

Until then, I looped around and went somewhere I knew. Unfortunately, this happened to be a dual carriageway.

It doesn’t look good on SportTracks, it wasn’t very clever, it was certainly not very pleasant, but with a big loop, then a small one behind the house, I stumbled up to 7.25 miles and considered it a run done. With a certainty that i’ll be using the next week to scope out some long runs in preparation for the huge efforts I have to put in soon.

Hope I work them out before I need to get around them – 7 years in the old house still threw up a couple of new roads in my schedule, but at least I knew roughly where they’d lead me. Here, despite sort of knowing the area, my internal compass needs re-calibrating.

Could be fun on the mileage front, though!

Smoked out

Despite running today, I wasn’t going to blog. That’s changed due to the fire deciding to belch smoke into the sitting room instead of up the flue.

Guess i’ll be visiting the chimney pot stockist for a plain flue pretty shortly to see if that sorts things.

Until then, I can report my 2.6 mile loop around the lane, across the field and past Tesco does just the job a brief outing on Christmas afternoon should.

Ok then, back to smoke…

Hope everyone’s enjoyed the day. New year will be along soon.

Naples

Being back from holiday (well, a 4 day break to celebrate a birthday and have a rest), I’ll demonstrate true blogging/running dedication with a quick holiday run blog.

Naples was the destination, pizza was the aim (5 restaurants selected, one was shut, one wouldn’t serve us, the others were the top 3 recommendations from Trip Advisor of which the supposed best was dogshit and deserves to close, the second was worthy but the sauce was average and the third was sublime. All worth the trip but if they’re other people’s finest then I dread to think what they consider a good curry!), Pompeii was visited and enjoyed, money spent and relaxation done.

And Wednesday morning saw the thermometer at 18 degrees, clear sunny skies, little wind and a desire to find the seafront and have a jog. So I did. The trip to it was always going to be full of difficulty. The traffic is truly horrendous, the scooter riders among the worst i’ve ever seen and crossing roads at a walk is tricky – running needed the pace forgetting in the name of safety.

But once on the prom, all was forgotten. I was a bit de-hydrated from the previous evening’s drinking but enjoying things when a local joined me and just over a mile was done in company before I turned for home and left him to it. Very companionable it felt, too. The temperature was truly a shock but the locals were clearly a bit chilly – everyone had long sleeve tops, leggings and all sorts on (there were a fair few runners out). I was overheating in shorts and a tee. On December the 23rd! What a change from the ice run of the weekend.

So, I got back to the bottom of the high street and gave up. The half hour i’d been out had increased the population to massive and running was foolhardy to say the least, so the last quarter mile was walked, water bought, shower returned to and shopping ensued.

A very satisfying outing, in all respects.

Christmas day tomorrow and a run back in reality. Ah, well.

Slip Sliding Away

The new house has, like all those i’ve moved into before with hindsight, brought along a deterioration in the weather. Friday missing work provided the opportunity to get things a stage more sorted. Yesterday was, to be honest, so cold and snow covered that a run would have been foolish. So I didn’t.

In 4 months, however, i’ve a marathon to win. December has produced two runs so far. One last Monday, at 3 miles just a run out. Today couldn’t be missed. So, having visited Dad for his birthday this morning I put a bolt on the garage door after lunch (which needs tidying with some proper washers, not the cobbled on brackets to space the coachbolts as i’ve fitted so far. Just wanted to secure the second side before being away for 4 days) and then got kitted up for a run.

The nasty, nasty, nasty Royal Parks violet shirt was put into use as a base layer, hat and gloves donned and a plan for a circuit of the local rough as housing estate planned. No mileage planned, just a hope to not fall over while getting a first local run outed.

It was horrible.

The first few hundred yards were along the main road to Tesco, footpath icy as hell so I ran in the road. The immediate left and all ensuing roads were a maze of paths that stopped and crossed the road, cycle lanes that did likewise, sections with no discernable paths at all and all around new (ish) housing estates.

Talk about building without pedestrian traffic in mind. It’s abysmal. And just a touch depressing, to be honest.

Still, I was keeping my footing despite lots of slips and sections where running form was forgotten to balance. One section of no footpath was livened up by a car crashing into the verge ahead instead of navigating the sheet ice corner he was attempting to turn – the same corner I had to avoid both slipping over on and being hit by errent straight ahead moving cars in a few seconds. I think, despite the ice, it was my fastest section!

Then, after a huge “not sure where I am but the sun direction tells me it’s about right” loop, I was returning to home for a quick loop up the cinder track we found a few weeks ago, then home.

Got cold on the last mile as the sun set, but generally my temperature was good.

A fair run, if dull, to open the Ashford account with (excepting the 10k race last year, of course).

Naples tomorrow. Maybe a little run if i’m feeling brave, but time may be short so who knows.

Merry Christmas all, in case things go wrong on the return flight. I’ll be running Christmas day (with Cathy, despite her protests) and it’ll all be good.

Moved

I don’t know if i’ve any readers left, i’ve been quiet for so long. Still, after an age of packing, removals and the unpacking, with the snow today prohibiting work, i’ve got the computer out.

Normal service and marathon training will resume from now – with a brief interruption for a very special lady to be taken to Naples for her very special birthday.

New house, race preparation, loads of work to do…ace, eh?