Monthly Archives: November 2010

Just passing

With Grim next Saturday (did domeone say Yay!?), I was considering running on Thursday so I could include a taper into the training. But since the training has been somewhat sporadic and I had some residual shin pain, I knocked it on the head.

An evening in the presence of a certain Bobby Conn, plus socialising afterwards, lead to an arrival into bed at 2.45 this morning so a bit of a late exit from bed was the result. Got a good bit of gardening done this morning still, though, followed by a shopping trip, followed by a bit more gardening which then bumbled into a run at 3 o’clock.

How many clothes did I elect to wear? Many, many layers. That’s all I’ll say. Topped off with hat and gloves.

Good job, too, for  the Garmin took ages to get a signal and the two blokes who walked past the house as I was waiting were a couple of hundred yards up the road when I set off behind them. Overtaking them halfway up the hill towards the church, I looped off right to build some local distance while still wondering a) how far to go and b) if anyone would believe that one of the blokes I’d passed had bandier legs than me. Honest, I swear his horse was waiting in the next road, just ready for him to climb on without changing gait.

So after my loop, I saw the two chaps again and decided theirs was the direction to take. So I set off for the newest bit of housing estate, contemplating a loop back towards Tesco as I passed them again. They’d done 1 mile, I just over 2.

Well, thinking on my feet again, I decided against heading towards the dull route around the houses, so headed for Cheeseman’s Green instead, safe in the knowledge that I had an hour of daylight left so the lanes were safe enough.

A right turn, followed by another to take me towards home had me stumble upon the two walkers again. This time, they were 2 miles from home, I was just over 4 which makes me think they were walking exactly half as fast as I was running. Quite where they were walking to is another question. Maybe the donkey from the summer needed checking for girth with the younger fellow’s bandsome legs…I’ll just never know. I’ll also not know whether they thought I was stalking them because I simply headed straight for home across the fields, taking the rougher sides of the tracks to attempt to snap an ankle before the nasty ice fest that will be a race next week.

Sadly, I failed. Also failed to quite do 6 miles. 5.89 was enough, though, to make me happy that a jog around a rough off road route should be comfortable enough that I’ll be able to enjoy it, if not quite break any records.

Except for dull blogging, maybe.

Roll on Janathon, then everyone can share the inabilty to think of something entertaining to write after about 14 days and my words won’t look quite so poor!

Advertisements

Schoolkids

Something I get well insulated from in getting to site early and leaving late is schoolchildren. I know I was one once and I know I didn’t appreciate the experience or like the experiences I had but man must I have had some spare time.

These last 4 weeks have involved safety courses every Tuesday – getting to Maidstone for an 8.45 start has proved impossible – I simply can’t get it right and am invariably there around 8, only to see a parade of kids leaving/arriving/mid travel anytime between 8 and 8.45. Seems flexi time exists in schools, too. The odder thing seems to be kicking out time. Today was an opportunity (we finished nice and early) to get out for a run in the daylight and all around the circuit (details can be read on Jogblog since I asked her for an off road 3 mile route) there were kids either walking dogs, getting off buses or sitting on walls, all smoking or talking into mobile phones or both while still in uniform and clearly without a care that a bastard of a teacher would probably see them and subsequently offer to either suspend (a threat to me for one misdemeanour as a 13 year old), cane (similar time, similar threat, similar age…similar outcome of escape!), put in detention for life (not quite life, but most of my second year), bugger to bits (the teacher who kept me in detention was prosecuted for kiddie fiddling when I was 23!) for putting the school into disrepute (I was threatened by the police when spotted looking in a shop window in uniform on my way between schools once…a sure way to encourage early changing out of uniform).

I clearly had it so wrong as a youth and seeing them today made me envious, thankful it’s not me any more and frustrated at the waste all in the space of my 22 minute and 50 second outing.

Almost made me regret going out early. But not quite. A sneaky 3 miles when not expected is always good.

Less good is the bit of ache that’s returned to the leg since Sunday. Good job I’m going to take it easy until Grim in a week and a bit.

Time to increase the cycling as fitness training, I feel. Yay!

Flogged

Had a bit of a lazy week from running and, to be fair, shouldn’t have done and am feeling it now.

I didn’t fancy hauling myself out whenever the timing was right, so simply didn’t. And should have run yesterday but decided to finish the porch and visit a friend to run the new pushbike in before upping the mileage and discovering something badly wrong when miles from home.

Still, everything came together today and following a morning of doing bits on the house I popped out for 10ish miles on the bike after lunch on the local lanes to reaffirm that a) racers are harsh over bumpy back lanes; b) they still require a fair effort to go fast despite rolling quicker than mountainbikes ever will for the same effort and c) they’re bloody uncomfortable on an arse used to 6 inches of rear travel coupled to wheelies, hops, jumps and playing instead of driving forwards throughout a ride.

It was good, though, and shall be often repeated over the coming years, I think.

This was followed by a visit to the shops for provisions and a change into winter running attire for the jog out and about that has been overdue for a while.

Again, darkness was the worrying factor for the lanes (especially since my attire of choice was black longsleeve top, black leggings and a black hat) so when I decided I couldn’t be arsed to wait for the traffic on the main road and instead set off in the direction of dark, unlit countryside, I was wondering about my impatient folly.

Wasn’t a problem, though. Since Grim is the focus, occasional slips on verges and stuff to dodge traffic seemed thoroughly in keeping with protocol and after two miles I looped onto lit pathways again before looping around the still being built housing estate on the far side of the bypass, looping back and around the local estate before looping out away from home to take the mileage just over 6. I felt knackered and weak at 3 miles, so was surprised when I turned from home despite myself but, along with keeping the pace slow, decided it was punishment for being lazy through the week.

Can’t get away with excuses for not running and expect to reduce an ever expanding wasitline as well as get quicker, fitter and healthier, now can I? I had enough reason for not doing stuff with the broken leg – it’s time to make amends and keep some personal promises now, I reckon. So I shall.

And while it’s fresh, anyone who doesn’t know about it, get over to the Janathon site and sign up.

What better motivation to be an idiot in the upcoming ice, snow, wind, rain, cold, dark and murky months than exercising, blogging, failing to win (proper prizes and everything…) and no mention of me being independant adjudicator, so as many fools idiots mugs as may fancy their chances can take part and it won’t upset my day one bit!

Go on, you know you want to…

Fully clothed

I had another day in Maidstone today but didn’t think I’d be bothered to take the running kit and would come out when I got home. This seemed to make some kind of sense when I combined the thought with the occurrences of yesterday evening.

It ran along the lines of:

Cathy went out for a beer and to see a band in London. Cathy got off the train sometime after 1 o’clock this morning. Cathy got on her pedal cycle in front of a petrol station. Where there are typically a couple of police patrol cars having a coffee while on shift. Last night was no exception. Cathy promptly fell off her bike in front of the kindly officers. Cathy arranged for them to a) lock her bike up for her and b) give her a lift home. Cathy was rather full of herself when she got in.

I, meanwhile, having had to disconnect half the upstairs lighting circuit at 11.15pm, following a failure of a lamp that turned into a fitting that turned into worry that when Cathy came in it would turn into a spark, fire and worse so had to be removed and made safe, was simply disturbed from about 1.15 until 2.15 and awoke at 6 after a rough night being kneed in the back by a fidgeting, overexcited girlfriend all night simply had to stay awake in a safety course. And suspected that Cathy wouldn’t be arsed to go and get her bike herself, leaving me a combined run and cycle outing to get it for her.

I must be fucking psychic!

So I set off to collect her bike (only 2 miles away) and intended to divert to a certain DIY warehouse on the way back to pick up a new light. And found myself wondering what to wear to carry out both tasks in the correct clothing. And made the odd decision that I’d be better off dressing for the shop. And set off in jeans, t-shirt, painting shirt (that used to be a pub shirt as all decorating shirts once were!), woolly hat and running trainers.

And didn’t regret it at all! The pace was easy since my leg is hurting a bit at the moment but the roll along the two miles went well, I got there a bit warmer than usual, but was dressed for the shopping and cycling to perfection and completed all tasks faultlessy.

I might even start a blog section for unconventional dress during a run. After all, my highest finish in an event (I hesistate to say race) was 5th at the Dagenham Santathon a couple of years ago with an average pace of 6.58 in full Santa outfit, beard and hat.

Maybe Juneathon in jeans for next year.

Ah, but there’s Janathon to get through first…and I expect anyone reading to join up! A festival of winter runs and cross training combined with statements that treadmill running doesn’t count. Well, it does, but mileage is clocked on Pedometer or Garmin, so will be zero, so is pretty pointless really. Perfect, I think!

I’m looking forward to it already…

Guided by Garmin

Today felt like one of those days when I wouldn’t get around to running. Igot up early, painted the porch and toilet, received the bits for the bike I needed to finish building it from our orange legged, shorts wearing postman and scurried into the garage to set about completing the assembly process.

This made for a late lunch followed by a quick tweaking session before a mile out on the cycle to test it worked, adjusting cables and stuff as I went, which morphed into a small session finishing and tidying things on it. Including putting the handlebar tape on the wrong way around so it’ll probably peel off on the first proper ride/the first time it gets wet. Knew I’d forget something about how to assemble a road bike in the 20 odd years since I last bothered with one!

Cathy was little encouragement…she’s been building the new Janathon website like a girl on a mission and very good it looks, too, but for running encouragement, statements along the lines of “Go away, fatty, I’m busy!” rarely spur me on to go for a plod.

Still, something happened because at 4.15, I was headed out the door for a planned 7 miles. I was simply going to use the bypass as an out and back route but turned left instead and ran along until a set of traffic lights was against me, so I turned off towards Singleton where I ran until I ran out of path, so I turned right and ran until I was nearly on the other bypass whereupon I turned left and up Singleton Hill before running out of path again and turning into a cul-de-sac that had a little path at the end, where again I climbed until I got to a true dead-end at the Environment Centre…happily at 3.4 miles so close enough to turn around and allow for a loop at the end to make up the distance.

The beauty of the Garmin is to be able to vary the route mid-run, not relying on pre-determined routes should plans change. The ability to monitor pace against mileage on the uphills is even better and I was a happy boy to be sailing down towards the main roads, gaining time over target with every stride.

It was, overall, a decent run. A cheery hello to a security guard on another partly built Ashford housing estate broke things up while I wasn’t scaring chav girls by saying excuse me where their “random motion of a molecule” walking put the two of them in all parts of a narrow path at once, forcing me to stop. I didn’t think the answer should have included many, many swearwords as they made space for me, but apparently “fucking bollocks, I nearly shit myself then!” is the young female Ashford teenager version of “but of course! And a good afternoon to you.”

It started to rain just as I got into the last quarter mile to the house, which caused mutterings of perfect timings, and a sprint to the door caused the Garmin to plot a fastest moment of 5.52, just to add some variety to the pace. The shin fracture site ached a bit through miles one and two but seems clear at all other times at the moment, so hopefully my short runs in the week aren’t doing it any harm. I forgot to blog Thursday’s outing, but it was 2.5 miles, included a 6.27 mile when I decided to get my head down and go for it, and felt really good to stretch the legs for a longer sprint. Michael at work is still going to piss on me when he comes for his first race, but at least I think I’ll be able to make him sweat a bit for his victory!

Roll on Grim.

Loops

There have been discussions today of entering the Beckley 10k  tomorrow so my plans of taking Cathy to the station for a morning of college and running when I got back disappeared as quickly as her deciding not to go to college.

Mid morning, however, the reality of a race with zero preparation came home and we decided we’d give it a miss. Which brought on a new plan to go shopping earlyish then go for a run upon my return.

Which became muddled when I decided it wasn’t sensible to run on my planned country lanes route since the 6 miles would take me dangerously close to lighting up time and therefore drivers running me over on unlit country lanes time.

So I decided I’d loop out on the lanes and return to the local housing estate for some distance increase.

But having done about 2 miles, plans changed again. This time owing to me realising the far side of the estate has, at some time in the last year, been joined into the near side so an extended loop is possible. So I set about it. Thinking along the way that it is now possible to loop the near estate, this middle bit and the new development over the bypass that had the road closed last year on my first run in the new house and create a large run without a) running out of pavement; b) running out of streetlights and c) being more than 5 metres from a tracksuited oik sat in front of a huge plasma tv eating chips while I  run past, expending 100 calories a mile.

Fantastic!

So I looped from my newfound position back onto the lanes for a stretch while the light faded, only to loop back to where I found the join and head off towards Tesco for a lap of the roundabout to take me to 6.1 miles when I arrived at my front door.

Lovely run, slightly sore calves, pleasant temperature for shorts, long sleeve top and a hat followed by a shower, some food and a firework and a beer.

Happy birthday Paul.

Wind

Thursday is the day for hill repeats – despite the hill having no lighting, it being dark, and the wind gusting to 40mph on site…directly into our faces during the run.

I wasn’t enjoying it tonight, couldn’t get my breath, wasn’t recovering very well down the hill and the struggle just to make forward progress into the gale was enough without the slope.

But it’s these runs which make a difference, I guess.

It was compounded by slowing the downhills to stay with the boys when they went for it on the last 50m repeat and I simply couldn’t be arsed…so despite my prediction that they’d beat me in a month, it’s taken just a week. I could seek excuses in my extra 7 mile run on Sunday plus it being my decision not to race the last leg owing to that strange mental click that tells you not to race when in fact it’s what training and being out there is for, but the same excuses could probably be used by them (well, except for the 7 mile jog).

I’m simply a slow old man.

But happy that the hill is there and will continue to challenge me and improve my capacity, even if not my overall distance.

But not into another gale, please…that wasn’t good!