Monthly Archives: June 2011

Edkisut

I don’t know if the title translates into anything in any language but inspiration for a title wasn’t forthcoming today and, what with the Juneathon activity being a cycle to and from work which wasn’t particularly thrilling in itself, the first letters that fell to fingers got hit and posted.

The evening has consisted of mowing the rear lawn in an odd fashion – instead of stripes along the length or across the width, I’ve taken the option of first going from kitchen to damson tree (the one in the far corner, not the centre right of the plot) on an oblique, then crossing through this from greenhouse to willow (the dead one for which I need the services of a tree surgeon – it’s too tall for me to risk doing myself a proper injury) before skirting the plum and shed corner to complete a lap. The difficulty is now tying in the fruit bush area of the garden having exhausted tidy possibilities by outing the bit by the silver birch too soon in the proceedings.

It looks odd with varied striping, but I quite like it and feel it needs a change from routine to avoid trenches being forged by the wheels hitting the same patch too often.

I’ll try to finish the job before the weekend and then come up with something different to do for the front.

694.78 miles to go.

43.04 Juneathon running miles.

451.44 Juneathon cycling miles.

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Fresher than before

So I awoke this morning with hope that the deluge of the year wouldn’t be upon us for a third morning this month and my hope was upheld. Overcast and breezy but not wet. Damp on the ground but nothing falling.

Marvellous.

The best part of this wasn’t even, perhaps, that I could cycle to work. The best part was, I feel, that I didn’t have to drive the Vauxhall Vectra to work that’s standing in for my car while the headlights are being sorted. It really isn’t the nicest car I’ve ever driven. Not the worst, but not better than cycling on a June morning.

So I set off into a mildly irritating headwind thinking I’d simply grind out the miles when I realised I was actually enjoying them. Fresh legs do that to a commuting man. The bit through the woods was simply ace and the best start to a day a man can achieve on two wheels.

The drag along the flat straight bit was a bit nasty into what was developing into a stiff headwind but a few miles in the dropped bars and I was into the shelter of Rye and soon at work. And the drag was transformed into a breeze of a ride on the way home as the sun allowed me to race the clouds which were low enough to cast a decently sharp shadow across the road as they scudded past, something I was only too eager to chase and allow a decent speed home without thinking that my legs needed to be fresh in the morning if the wind didn’t ease.

But once home a recovery was allowed with some potatoes in a sauce for dinner before purchasing petrol for the lawnmower and a subsequent quick mile up the road and back to complete another Juneathon day.

And a nice one at that. Longest day  of the year and I’ve enjoyed most of it.

Smart.

726.37 miles to go.

43.04 Juneathon running miles.

419.85 Juneathon cycling miles.

Iliketherain

No, really I do.

When the air is still and the rain cascades from the heavens I get a strange secure feeling which, no matter what else is going on around me, makes everything seem alright.

The first awareness of the emotion (I can describe it as no different thing) came during a maths test at primary school when seemingly far too many questions had been set for too short a duration of test and I was equally aware that time was ticking, my mind was working overtime on the sums (I remember not what they were but I suspect they were pretty elementary) and the rain beyond the rapidly misting windows was falling heavily and steadily. I felt calm and in control despite my fears that I wouldn’t get finished.

I get the same feeling inside now during such weather patterns. But today wasn’t the day to feel calm, happy nor comtemplative – for a second Monday in succession, I was up at an unreasonable time, dressed for a cycle ride, eaten and lunch made all in the hope that the steady precipitation would stop by 6 o’clock. It didn’t. By 6.15 it was still bucketing down with an enthusiasm that would have had me wet to the core by the 3 mile mark where woods start and cover can be gained.

I drove to work.

Bah.

Still enjoyed the wind free day, mind, but with the missing achievement of a cycle commute. (Same reasons for not cycling as last week, by the way. Getting to work drowned isn’t a good way for a manager to behave).

Which left this evening. Many plans were hatched, none of which involved running in case my foot plays up again. All early plans were thwarted by JB declaring dinner would be a) delicious and b) quick to make, so by the time greenhouses were watered and lilly beetle larvae squashed it was time for JB to declare “I feel like the mother of a 9 year old…I shouldn’t have to tell you that no, there isn’t time to fly your helicopter no matter how little wind there is. Sit down and be grateful I’ve cooked for you”!

So sit I did, eat I did, “Yum” I declared and then washing up was executed.

Shortly after it was time to Juneathon and part of the plan was to pop to Folkestone to swap cars and get my lights fixed, during which I’d ride the skateboard around the town and seafront as alternative Juneathon activity points. Unfortunately it started raining again so I popped out on the BMX to play around the local carpark (Switzerland Squeekers and roll backs were the plan-du-jour for skills assessment – see how little I can do decently having not practiced properly in over two years) where I found it was football practice day so the car park was full. Thwarted again I simply chcose a small route to practice manuals (wheelies without pedalling; possibly the most floaty, fun feeling ever to be experienced when you get one right. Which I rarely do) and hops. As it turns out this equates to 2.39 miles. Curtailed in time by having to get the car I put the deck in the vehicle in case there would be a miraculous drying out by the time I got to the coast but there wasn’t.

That’s Juneathon today, I’m afraid. A little pathetic but done.

759.15 miles to go.

41.91 Juneathon running miles.

388.21 Juneathon cycling miles.

Running low

A challenging night gave not much sleep, which is a crying shame since I’m now more tired than I was on Friday and that was a low point for enthusiasm in itself. An early dinner, early chores and early to bed is the answer, I feel. Which means an early blog/check that the internet isn’t broken/shut down the computer.

Not much energy made searching for the problem with my car lights a pain; the problem is that the garage that do the MOT’s are sharks but the solution is harder. Last year, after 3 faultless years, when it came back from the MOT, a headlight bulb was out. Knowing they’re rough (the company insists we use them) I asked if anyone else on the firm had any problems and despite lots of nodding, nothing firm came from it. The problem with mine was that a 5 amp fuse had blown…considering the headlights run on 10 amp items, this isn’t surprising. I had suspicions of tampering (3 years on a fuse so under-rated is dubious; that it goes just after a service and MOT is concerning to me. My guess is a swapped fuse to gain a return visit, knowing most company drivers are too lazy to check such things). This year, surprise surprise, first time I turn the lights on after the service/MOT…nothing from the right lamp. Unfortunately the fuses are all ok this time; swapping the lamps gave the same result so the lamp unit is fine which means it’s a wiring fault that’s beyond my patience to sort when it’s someone else’s car, it was fine before it went in (odd that I was using it in the dark so close to the MOT in mid-summer but lucky nonetheless) and it’s clear to me it’ll be skullduggery to earn a visit, a few second’s work to allow a couple of hours on the bill. I’ll try to insist it goes somewhere decent but I know exactly what will happen. Ah, well. Good job I’ve got a bike.

The same energy made a trip shopping a chore; made finishing the ceiling decoration in the lounge less of a celebration than it might have been but didn’t stop me going for a Juneathon outing.

Fresh on the back of running yesterday, I went for another. Just a 2.6 mile loop but a refreshing, wake me up run to close out the most unrefreshing weekend I can remember.

To say I’m not ready to go to work tomorrow is an understatement on the scale of saying crack cocaine is a little bit moreish. Sure I’ll get there, mind.

761.54 miles to go.

41.91 Juneathon running miles.

385.82 Juneathon cycling miles.

Showers

The warm undertaking in the bath that I’m about to indulge in will be my third shower of the day in a manner of speaking.

The first was around 10.30 when I decided to run instead of cycle to the paper shop (I’m a bit over-cycled at the moment and fancy a change of activity; wonder why?). About 5 minutes before I wanted to go the heavens opened and, judging by the clouds coming in, would continue to open for the duration of the outing. I donned my rain jacket and rucksack to carry the paper home and left, undeterred.

The 1.75 miles there was wet, the wait inside as the woman in front bought her paper and 5 different lottery ticket types and then opted to pay by debit card was wet as I overheated in the jacket and my glasses steamed up and sweat started dripping off my nose onto the floor but as I stepped out the rain stopped, so the rucksack’s second compartment was utilised as a jacket stowage point and I started for home damp from the inside out but at least running into the sunshine.

Needless to say when JogBlog went out 10 minutes after I got home, the sun was beating down like one might expect on the nearest Saturday to the longest day we’ll experience this year.

Timing.

So it came to pass that I fancied a bit more than a 3 mile outing, so around 4 o’clock I headed out again with the intention of around 4 miles and a loop in mind.

2 miles in and the sky darkened before drops started falling. Luckily I was near the only group of trees on the route, a classic country lane arch fully covering the road for around quarter of a mile and this was exactly how long the shower lasted for. Once I was out of the other side the wind had blown the clouds beyond me and it was again dry.

My route ended out at 4.7 miles so, along with the morning I’ve done an 8.2 mile running day and feel as fresh as I was this morning. My big toe is hurting a little as it used to 3 years ago but the main foot part is largely pain free so my 50 mile Juneathon target is still looking good. Which will be a progression since injury of 23 for April, 36 for May and 50 ish if I achieve it for June which is a steady climb and hopefully a good springboard for half marathon training. The best bit is being able to do 3 runs a week with no pain coming in. If the mileage grows a bit more, a decent half should be on the cards; I’ll be relying on a bit of cycling to replace one of the longer running outings for my endurance to keep impact minimal. As long as the rain keeps reasonable, one of the runs will be off road for the same purpose.

A positive outlook for a Saturday. Something must be wrong!

764.15 miles to go.

39.3 Juneathon running miles.

385.82 Juneathon cycling miles.

Update: In a world of numbers I just looked at my totals on RunningFreeOnline, clicked on the Juneathon group and for the first time ever clicked kilometers. Odd how coincidences occur and make symmetry – I happen to be on exactly 2000km for the year to date for both cycling and running combined. Very nice to see. I think I might dedicate my pint this evening to that very figure.

Now…into the shower.

It started dry…

When the house was disappearing behind me this morning I was a few seconds from having opened the greenhouse since despite the forecast, sunshine was bathing all in glorious warmth.

As I cleared the woodland section before Kenardington my view of the oncoming weather indicated that, while I should get to work in the dry, the weather wouldn’t hold forever. And as the ride wore on so the wind picked up in strength forcing much down-shifting of gears and gnashing of teeth.

But teeth that were dry.

Around 9 o’clock the rain started. And, apart from a little period around 3 this afternoon, has been pretty much non-stop since. Much needed for crops (which will probably be ruined by too much, too late!) and gardens (my water butt is all but full again), less welcome for cyclists.

Still, I donned my waterproof jacket and headed out at the usual 5ish to start my journey. A stream of cars were despatched on the downhill off the site (1 stream = 5 cars as of now…) due to the lead vehicle only wanting to crawl along but tired legs and lack of spirit made this the only swift part of the journey.

Steady but light rain leaving Rye was fine all across the marsh and as I climbed up the hill from Appledore the intensity grew with altitude. Wetter and wetter I got until the last section of underwear was soaked by mile 11. Some of this was undoubtedly wet from the inside out (the rucksack was dry inside still but my back bathed in sweat – breathable jackets clearly can’t cope with reasonable physical exertion quantities of moisture – never have, I doubt they ever will) but moist it still was. And as I again cleared the woods 3 miles from home, I was impressed by the intensity of the deluge. Absolutely soaking roads gave some distraction with my slick  tyres simply spraying the water everywhere instead of the old treaded things that typically spray it all up your back and into your face so small improvements over old were experienced but it was a joy to get home, dry off and have some food. The experience wasn’t too bad with little wind but gales included might have made me head for the train…fingers crossed June returns and pleasant riding conditions will return next week.

An early night is due to catch up on some energy and I won’t be lingering long before heading bedwards.

772.43 miles to go.

31.02 Juneathon running miles.

385.82 Juneathon cycling miles.

Today saw my cycling mileage for the year exceed 1000 so another benchmark reached in what will surely be a year of records (well, measured ones at least. No idea how many miles I used to run and ride when I didn’t measure it and used self-propelled transport for everything but I don’t think it was ever the intensity of this year so far. Maybe it will be a highest yearly mileage ever. I’ll take it, considering the current effort.)

An apple a day

I found myself a few rungs off the bottom of the ladder of despair today, seemingly not having enough time to do anything despite everything I’m doing being what I both need and want to. Work is the need, Juneathon is the want. How daft the (or my, anyway!) brain is that when we’ve not the time to do what we want a natural progression makes us unhappy about how it works.

Simply not being able to get everything done at work is dreadful when a true deadline looms – finishing houses for people to move in to (4 weeks flies by when you’ve given notice they’ll be done, solicitors are pressing for paperwork and idiots seem to think damage repairs itself) isn’t my cup of hot fat, to be fair, but I’ve a couple of years doing just that on this site so best I get used to it.

But finding myself in despair at my social schedule is just daft. The rotation of get up earlier than I want, cycle for an hour, work for 10 hours, cycle for an hour, recover, cook, eat, wash up, water the greenhouse, blog, go to bed is slightly draining.

The cycle to work this morning was difficult. A steady headwind made each pedal stroke a chore in two gears lower than is typical. Hard work. Today was particularly unproductive and heavy rain just before I was due to leave (along with 25mph winds just up the coast) made my mind do a little dance of despair.

A slow ride through the town with both wheels locking each time I applied the brakes for cars in front reminded me how slippery slick tyres on wet roads are before the journey along the canal (an owl heading for home this morning was the highlight of my route) made me wonder why I’m continuing to cycle in.

But then I stopped on the hill by the vineyard (8.5 miles from work, 7 miles still to go; one hill done, two to complete. It seems a pleasant “half the effort of the journey complete” place to pause), started eating my apple while crouching down to stretch my thighs out and found some happiness.

I simply contemplated that I’m doing lots of effort to achieve something that  is a true challenge and I’m not doing too badly at it. Finishing my apple I felt refreshed, invigorated and peaceful about the aches that are setting in. Getting home I cooked, ate, washed up and watered the greenhouse then decided enough grumbling about how tired I was already, so pulled on my running trainers and set off for a mile.

After I’d started I fancied much more than a mile, but am realistic that tomorrow sees another 30 miles target on the bike, so I came home as planned.

If I feel the same on Saturday, I may just plod for a decent-ish distance at slow speed and see how the contemplation works as I run some miles. A big if, but at least it’s there.

Over half way into June and not quite beaten yet. Close, but not quite.

Did someone say Friday?

803.99 miles to go.

31.02 Juneathon running miles.

354.26 Juneathon cycling miles.