Monthly Archives: January 2010

Still cold

Yesterday turned into one of those hectic days that ends up with some great achievement but at the cost of being so tired, it’s daft.

Friday saw me feeling so sleepy all day I wasn’t sure i’d make it to the end, so an early start was all I didn’t need. But with a party 150 miles away to attend in the evening, a mate to catch up with in the pub first, a car and pushbike to clean and 14 miles to run…I had no choice.

The party was ace but suffice to say i’m now just about dead in my chair after the return 150 mile drive, a couple of hours gunning out the unfit conservatory drain, a trip to the shops and cooking pizza in the Rayburn (300 degrees C, a pizza stone and some confidence – best pizza yet!). A good day.

The run yesterday was a mixed affair. So cold, I really didn’t want to leave the house. It wasn’t particularly warm in here but outside, it was soooooooo cold. I like chilly days but am now being worn right down and have little patience for them. 11 seperate items of clothing is a step too far, I fear.

The first mile was silly quick – a combination of trying to warm up, being full of fuel (breakfast, banana, Orbana energy drink i’m trying – i’ll review next week after a second go, but it seemed pretty good yesterday) and wanting the run over and done with. All the other miles were reasonable – I decided to loop the entirety of Ashford. I live beyond the South of the town, took a varied route to the extreme West side, looped to the extreme North on the Faversham road, headed to the extreme East on the A20 to Folkestone, added a loop under and over the motorway (crossed the M20 4 times in total) and then took a varied route home, and it came to exactly 14 miles. I thought the town would provide more opportunity for a loop, but clearly not. My longest runs will hopefully be in the countryside again, but not if there’s snow on the ground as there was yesterday (and still is today on the sheltered verges).

Overall it was an ok run. Slowed sufficiently on the uphills to not give any cause for concern, I ended with no odd aches or pains so it’s all good.

And i’ve uploaded my skateboard pictures to Facebook, a link hopefully revealling all here.

It arrived Friday. It is, as the pictures show, all but immaculate and massively undersold in the auction. The trucks have the original rubbers and everything. The bushings are worn and i’ll source a new set imminently but everything else truly couldn’t be better unless it was new. Incredible and it makes me massively happy. Very good.

So next week sees a run Monday as Tuesday’s a busy evening and 15 miles for the Saturday. Not looking forward to that, but still more than the following week when i’ve got to work the Saturday and run 11 miles. Nor my 17 mile weekend when i’m also taking Cathy to a race on Sunday. She might be resisting blogging at the moment (all lobby her to pick it up again, please – poetry might be all well and good but it’s not very entertaining for luddites like me, is it?!), but along with jobs and the gym she’s being truly industrious and actually running again. And secretly enjoying it. I think. And a 5 mile local race is the first for ages, so i’ll be cheering her all the way. Nor my 18 miler. In fact, all the long runs are filling me with worry.

Why am I doing it again?

Wrong clothes

As I left the site office at 5.20 on the start of the run, I noticed a couple of drops of light rain passing the floodlight but thought no more of it than to hope it didn’t get any worse. Not “i’ve got my rain jacket, will be out for an hour or so, might as well put it on just in case”. Not “if I get wet, i’ll get cold and that will be unpleasant”. Not “i’m only wearing a jumper and tee shirt – it’s hardly winter training clobber”. Oh, no.

Well, I can exclusively reveal…I am a dick.

About half a mile in and I realised it was indeed raining pretty hard. I had my hat on, but my hands were getting colder and I was feeling pretty heavy. Mostly due to absorbed water. The rain did indeed ease after about 2 miles, then came down again between 3 and 4 miles, then it was fine. And to be true, I didn’t get fully wet through, just chilly and a bit miserable about things. But 7 uneventful miles (except not being able to see much with a load of water and occasional misting up on the glasses) passed in exactly 56 minutes and, a mere two and a half hours later, after having the car heater on full for the 35 minute drive home, I think i’m thawing out.

If only tomorrow wasn’t a 7 o’clock start and 9 o’clock finish, I might have something to be cheerful about.

Hope the skateboard doesn’t turn up…getting home at 9.45 and getting excited wouldn’t lead to a happy night’s sleep, even if the long day wears me out.

Bored now. Can someone make Spring arrive, please? The dark is getting me down and i’ve a huge lawn to mow. And trees to trim. And vegetables to dig, sow and cultivate. And a greenhouse to buy. And and and.

Ah, sleep beckons.

New shoes

My latest ordered pair of trainers arrived at the weekend, unfortunately not in time for that run, but today was a perfect opportunity to break them in ready for a 14 miler on Saturday.

Unfortunately my legs feel really tired and the run was a slog, no matter what the new footwear may have added. They are, however,a lovely pair of last winter’s colour Asics Gel Cumulus 11 – I figured the update from my Cumulus 10’s that I bought two pairs of for last year wasn’t enough to upset all the good things I felt about them, so waded in a bought them without having felt a pair, much less try them on.

I can confirm that to my untrained feet and legs, they feel identical. Lovely and fresh and bouncy and crisp, but the same. They might have nice colours, a different sole pattern, a new style of this and that, but the footbed and cushioning and feel as my foot touches down seems as close to identical as it’s possible for a pair of 500 milers, a pair of 250 milers and the new ones to be.

Which is excellent – the last thing I wanted was to upset the applecart.

Unlike the warnings of impending doom I got from Andy regarding the new skateboard – he may be right in suggesting caution in first rides while training for the longest awaited personal goal in my life (if you count my desire to race London since I saw the very first one on telly until now as a personal goal – I am, and it’s my keyboard!), but he may be ignored! I’ll see, but I can’t see me staying off it for long if I find a dry, smooth, salt free section of macadam and the timing suits!

ps. I seem to be on the first page of Google when I type in Gullwing split axle trucks as a search term now…does that mean my blog is getting somewhat distracted by my geekiness? Still, it’s not as good as Steve Sear and his girlfriend being 3rd on the page of Google images…what’s worse is, he proudly told me of the fact. Vain? Searching your own name on Google Images? Ah, the youth of today!


I should’ve posted this yesterday, really, but the afternoon got a bit busy and I went out in the evening, so here it is a bit late.

The title came to me as I saw my first flock of the year, heading north over Shadoxhurst as I drove home from both the run and work. Not a nice thing to occur but some scaffold needed dropping, it was late notice to expect anyone else to cover it, scaffold is my responsibility, so I drew myself the short straw and went in. Then forced myself to do the 9 miles planned as a loop from site to Sutton Valence and back to site via Shepway and despite there being no deviations from the direct lap, it was 9 miles exactly. To the hundredth.

It wasn’t a bad run, a bit late after eating for my fuelling preference, but it all went well. The first bit and last bit are my summer site run through the lanes and the current winter alternative route but the middle bit hasn’t been run before. Despite it being my least favourite part of the old (before I moved) cycle to work, it’s not a bad run and I averaged an easier, quicker pace than expected.

But that’s all in the past and this afternoon has overtaken such thoughts with the excitement, worry and guilt of an E-Bay auction.

I’ve bid on a few Fibreflex skateboard decks and lost them all. They’ve all been decent decks with rubbish wheels and trucks, but still go for well over £100 despite some having considerable damage to the nose. I bid on the only set of GullWing HPG IV split axle trucks i’ve seen but lost it as the price went through the roof despite the rest of the deck being rubbish. They used to be the best but were pricey and are now rare. Very rare. And Green Kryptonic 70mm wheels are rare enough that a set of NOS ones has just been registered with a starting bid of £300. Silly money.

But I have some money sat in a book in the lounge since before I moved – kept for a holiday spend, extravagant something, treat or rainy day.

Sorry, had.

I’ve just spent it.

I am now awaiting delivery of a red Fibreflex deck (no direct picture of the nose and tail so i’m expecting some damage but hopefully not too bad – the overall picture looks decent enough), Gullwing HPG IV split axle trucks and some green 70mm Kryptonics all pieced together as the best board i’ve ever seen.

The overall condition looks good but i’m intending riding it, so it’ll soon be a lot worse, i’m sure. Despite the cost, I reckon these things used to be considered the best, were built to be ridden and so shall be. It’s amazing to see a perfect one in a photo or on display, but why? Isn’t it nice to see an exotic car being used on road or track, as it was intended to be, rather than mothballed in a collection? I think so. And while i’m not going to thrash it to bits, it’ll certainly see some use on seafront promenades around the country, as well as the local supermarket car park if I find the enthusiasm.

I’m more than a little bit excited.

But you’re all probably bored now, so i’ll leave things until it arrives and I can report on it’s condition. Who knows, I may break the habit of a lifetime and post a photo on here to show it off.


I have, just before writing this, been on that well know auction website and discovered that some dirty man in Wales wants me to bid vast amounts of money on my dream skateboard deck, truck and wheel combination. It’s simply not fair. Perfect, but not fair. He’s also offering a rubbish deck (me and my brother gave one away in the eighties, they’re so poor) with runner up dream trucks and dream wheels. Well, green Kryps, anyway, which are great if number two dream to orange ones. Both auctions end at similar times. How will I fare if I snipe both and win both? Ah, skint to the tune of a lawnmower, I fear, so it mustn’t be done. So what to do? I simply don’t know at the moment. I’ll sleep on it.

Oh. and I did the planned 3 miles with no problems.

Gullwing HPG IV’s, lime green Kryps and a red Fibreflex…inconsiderate bastard! How’s he kept hold of it without riding it for so long? I’d do it some justice! Still, there is a new similar board (Bennett trucks…bleurgh!) – yep, new deck, trucks and wheels, targeted at America, judging by the listing, which the bidding starts at over £500, so maybe I should snap up a relative bargain while it’s in this country…

Sorry, was this a running blog?

Mid week done

Another hopeless day at work almost lead to me giving up and going home. If it weren’t for the little run in 13 weeks, i’d have done just that which if nothing else proves the value of races as goals in keeping the sofa lust at bay.

So with heavy heart but surprisingly sprightly legs I set off with a goal of a circuit of Shepway, third only in the rough stakes to Parkwood (highest teen pregnancy rate in Europe) and Man Gravet (residents can’t work out how to procreate which keeps them off top scoring Parkwood). Not to say I didn’t run past both of the others on my route, it’s just that I wasn’t brave enough to go through them.

A loop was in mind but, as usual, things looked different on legs to in the car and I missed a turn up a one way street and added an unknown loop which, as it turned out, gave me perfect mileage back at site for 6 miles. The loop was a little rolling in nature so ups and downs averaged a nice pace which, combined with a little rain starting as I got back in the car, made a surprisingly upbeat run.

Roll on more of the same.


Tonight was the last Tuesday for 12 weeks that I got to do 3 miles, the rest of the plan being to up things to 4 and 5 milers.

Which should have been cause for happiness and celebration that I only needed to be out for around 24 minutes.

Unfortunately I have a blister that’s still raw on my right third toe (unidentified immediately after Saturday. I’ve never had a blister in the Asics before, so hope it’s either due to them being a) worn out (new pair ordered for delivery this week, hopefully) and b) the torrential rain and verge diversions leading to swelling and roughness. If not, i’m simply falling apart, I fear) to go with the pair of nipples that have just started to scab over. The discomfort as I creamed my nips and took off the trainer and sock to apply some of the same to my toe to try to ease the soreness wasn’t boding well for a happy run.

Still, as it turned out, things got better as I got underway – I did 1.5 miles downhill towards the town for a change then turned around and plodded back up, keeping my toe safe and easing myself back into running.

Knowing things won’t be healed for tomorrow’s 6 miles isn’t promising but i’ll cross that bridge when I arrive at it.


It’s with the aid of my running log that I see last year was only hampered in preparation runs by the cold and the wind. I don’t have one note about rain, let alone lots of it. Which makes today seem even more frustrating after the trials of the last couple of weeks.

It was a reasonably good 12 miles, though. I decided on a route that linked all the longish runs i’ve done since moving here, so a roundabout route to Shadoxhurst, along the lane to link up with Bromley Green, then a loop around nowhere to bring me to within half a mile of home before looping around Park Farm and away towards Stanhope (note I said towards…not too close, not after 11 miles – I wanted to keep my trainers on, after all!) before loping home. At no point was I more than 3 miles from the front door, just in case something went wrong in the weather.

My rain coat started leaking after about half an hour and was piss wet through on the hour mark. My feet were soaked after the third verge excursion to avoid cars in both directions at the same time. Despite all the roads being minor, it seems Ashford vehicles hunt in packs. Swine. The worst upshot of the wet was discovering even my chest was soaking at around the 5 mile mark which, after the discovery, lead to a cold and damp top returning to being stuck to my chest.


Despite this, though, it was a decent run. I couldn’t see through my glasses but I hate running without them so much, they had to stay in place. This lead to some interesting moments of near wrong direction taking when I mistook two farm entrances for the main road until, after a couple of paces, I realised the tarmac had given way to stone. It’s surprising how little I could see until I squinted over the top of the frames, but also testament to just how hard the rain was. I didn’t look at the Garmin all the way round – I set it and locked the bezel after my last wet problems, setting it for virtual pace to monitor how I was going, but gave up worrying about speed when I realised how heavy my feet had become. Everything felt fine and I just kept on, feeling fresh throughout which I think was due to keeping time tight after breakfast as well as having a banana as I left and jelly babies for the run. Very nice. The lack of Garmin view also allowed me to fool myself into thinking I had further to go than I did. This always helps keep me fresh and until the last half mile, I felt good. Felt better when I could focus over the glasses on my trees in the distance, though, and know I was only a couple of hundred yards away (i’ve mixed feeling about cutting the trees down – they’re firs that have been topped but have grown out at the base and tower about 65 feet tall. There are 17 of them; they’re a great wind break but make the front of the house dark. They’re a great landmark but don’t shield the front of the house as well as they should. They keep the frost off the car but cover the windscreen with needles that interfere with the wipers. See what I mean about mixed feelings?)

Then I got home. And peeled my wet clothes off to reveal sore nipples from the seams on the jacket and the wet rubbing. Which turned out to be bleeding when I towelled myself off. Which is only the second time i’ve had nipple problems of a nasty nature, the other being last week after the same jacket rubbed them a bit sore. I’m going to change jackets or stop running in the wet with this one. I think.

So, having resisted referring to my chest in the title and until then, i’ll call it a day. A shorter week to look forward to next week. Will it be tempting fate to wish for better weather in a fortnight for my next long run?

Bits and pieces

Of snow and ice, with the main hill at Loose being the worst bit, to be fair, and the only slice of the run I didn’t enjoy.

Setting off had high hopes for clear paths which were dashed after half a mile and the main road junction, so dreams of turning right were out as the route looked poor. At least I was confident of some clearness in the normal direction.

And, to be fair, out of 3 miles, probably just under a mile was slush nastyness. Complete with the bottom of the valley dip being a full on wet footed, splashed legs affair to lower the spirits right around halfway. But it didn’t. I merely turned around, went back through it, hurried back to site and came home.

Where i’m beginning to wonder if i’ve got earache as the start of  something or merely because the cold’s getting to me.

Guess i’ll find out come the morning.

That was hard…

I quite like Running in Suffolk’s optimistic take on the snow and ice as resistance training. I’m sure you’re right, Paul, it just seems a rather frustrating way to go about things! Hills and stuff I like occasionally; this has me beat.

Still, despite the couple of inches that descended on us today, I went out in the optimistic hope that the paths might have melted in the way the site had over the course of the afternoon. I was only partly disappointed.

Following last night’s guess at a hoped for distance, I wasn’t sure how far i’d get. The road from site was pretty free of traffic so it wasn’t until the main road that I had to use the path. Which was still a nightmare – exactly the same as yesterday. However, a bit of alertness allowed vision of a few clear paches on the other side of the road and this, combined with darting onto the road between traffic light phases (the lights a mile away cause phases of traffic – I used the clear bits to hop into the road), allowed a sensible pace to be averaged, even if the overall effort was higher than hoped.

It all fell apart about a mile and a half in, though. The uphill tied in with too much traffic. And paths that had been sheltered from the sun. My pace dropped as my aches, tiredness and temperature peaked. It was horror once more. Still, I pushed on around the corner to Coxheath, struggled with the path and traffic dodging until a long stream of cars caused me to declare enough was enough and I turned for home at 2.67 miles.

The immediate effect was to realise there were very few cars in the opposite direction. So few that I crossed the road and only had to hop onto the verge twice in half a mile. Very nice. A battle with paths for half a mile then started, a clear patch for a short while finished the downhill section, I hated the last uphill and then rolled back to site with slips and slides aplenty, hopefully being the last time i’ll put a major effort in with these conditions.

Tomorrow may see a short run to clear the legs again – yesterday did indeed clear a bit of sluggishness from the limbs – but i’m hoping a thaw and a change of direction will make everything better.

I think hope may have a lot of use over the next few weeks.