Monthly Archives: January 2012


With ruined legs but a heart that wanted to achieve more I awoke this morning and decided I had one way to reach my goal. Short runs.

So having arrived and unlocked at work I headed up the hill for half a mile, then returned. Back in the office at 7.23 I had a mile under my belt.

10.16 (tea time) I did the same. 14.55, once again I popped out. Only this time it was before going home.

Well not really my home. The home where I grew up from the age of 7 to 20 before I left it. But mum and dad didn’t, they’re still there.

And that’s what’s devastated me.

Last Friday as I was eating, having got home after 5 miles, my brother called to say dad had phoned and had called an ambulance for mum who was breathing oddly. Paul asked if I’d be ok meeting dad at the hospital to keep him company while he sorted his kids out. I put a clean shirt on.

5 minutes later Paul said he was going to mum and dad’s to see what was up, a second ambulance having been called, and thought I should join them. I didn’t like the sound of it. At all.

My car goes fast enough to get me banned from driving and I think I might have a summons due. I’ll argue it in court if the thing that flashed me was a speed trap because at the time, as now, I don’t care. Unfortunately by the time my brother or me arrived mum was gone.

No illness, no warning. The coroner report from today advises us that she somehow ruptured several veins around her chest (probably on Thursday) which leaked into her heart cavity (I don’t know the technical name bits. They seem not to matter.) and the first she knew was Friday lunchtime when she sent dad shopping on his own because her shoulder (which she dislocated and badly broke 5 years ago) was playing up. Only it turned out it wasn’t. The blood was compressing her heart which, around 6.30, gave her a heart attack. She died on the drive as the ambulance crews tried to save her and I tried to see her.

She always wanted me to enjoy myself and to try my best and she supported me in many odd decisions throughout my life. She’d be livid that I pulled my calf on Saturday but carried on killing it for 3 days after, just as she was annoyed I carried on through the London marathon for 16 miles with a broken leg. But she’d have understood and been there for me just after she’d made me feel an idiot.

Well now it’s my time to be there (wherever that is) for dad. It would have been their 52nd wedding anniversary yesterday. Whatever I have avoided in my thoughts by keeping busy and not stopping until I’m exhausted can’t be a fraction of where he is. This last part of my Janathon has been for her and my attempt to arrange my thoughts around what’s happened.

156 miles total and 5 miles a day average achieved by a ridiculously painful run tonight helps me feel I’ve closed out a goal but is of no great matter. Not in this context.

I didn’t even have chance to say goodbye.

19/02/1937 – 27/01/2012.

Mum. Goodbye.

Janathon on a low note. It’s been a bad month.

Putting the bottles out

I am bad

Very bad.

Jogblog says so.

I took my running kit in to work today not knowing if I’d be there all day or not in the same way I didn’t know if I’d be able to run even if I was. My plan was for a short run at lunchtime and a short run in the evening, reckoning my calf might just put up with a little use to get me over the 150 mile mark, if not quite up to the 5 a day average that I hadn’t even considered until Rachel mentioned it a little over a week ago.

The lunchtime run was out when I did indeed have to return home early. All I could do was head out at 6 ish and I put in a steady run to see how far I could go without risking damage. I managed 2.43 miles (oh my inner geek loves the Garmin pause marker) before stopping to massage the now solid calf muscle into a pain-free (well, not free exactly…more reduced but don’t tell JB)  state healthy enough to hobble home.

Once there I looked at my total and decided that if it tightened more I wasn’t going to risk proper injury, so 150 miles would be out of the question. Then I hatched a plan.

I sat on the floor and stretched my magical bracelet over my foot and onto my calf. If it has whizzy ions and magic powers, maybe it’ll heal me. And maybe pigs will fly. But anything’s worth a try.

JB refused me access to hers to even the forces out and assault the other leg at the same time (she didn’t want me to wear it out), so I had to be content with one magical healing additive.

And I did need to put the recycling bin out.

So I ate, washed up and pondered a minute before saying to JB that I was “just putting the bottles out” (Lawrence Oates would have been so proud) which took around 9 minutes.

No, you’ve guessed it, the garden isn’t that big.

In my desperation to not a) kill myself but b) attain 150 silly little miles, I plodded a half mile out then the same back and here I am, calf if anything slightly looser than before, with just under 2 miles to run to make my target.

Or 7 to average 5 per day (if you read this, Rachel, please do 7 tomorrow and make the target even if you weren’t going to! You can tell me how good it feels on Saturday!).

Ah, well. In truth I’d rather not ruin myself. And my intention at the start of the month was 75 miles and keep my pace. Double the miles and lose a minute a mile?


Very bad.

Which is where I came in.

An “A” is for “Art”

My primary concern today was putting in a mile to see if my calf is ruined and I’ve ended Janathon with an injury or whether it’s merely slightly ruined and I’ll be able to use my running mileage as a springboard to a good, fit summer.

What better way than a 6 part outing to draw a letter for “aintfastaintpretty”, the blog of GPS drawing during such outings as mine. The idea was a few people contributing to the art with letters spelling out what else but “Janathon”. I chose an “A”. Here it is:

It was brought to you by a sheep field, a 100ft tape (it’s 200ft along each leg, the form scaled up from sans serif font so it looked reasonable), a bit of triangulation, 12 socks and a Garmin 405 which I hovered over each of the turn points to make sure they were crisp. It’s 0.14 miles around the perimeter and I’m quite pleased with it.

My calf is again ensconced in strapping and a bit sore but I don’t think it’s completely ruined. Not yet, anyway.

Might try another short outing later…150 miles is a long way away in two outings if it is knackered.

Just about

I was on the brink of not heading out at all today but the lure of Janathon defeat got me there in the end. The same lure that returned me to my blogging at lunchtime for yesterday. The 24 hour rule for the blog of an exercise might have been stretched to the limit yesterday but I probably shouldn’t be doing this at all, to be fair. Still, it’s comforting for me, so I’ll continue while I can.

Unfortunately the sombre mood that saw me steadily plodding through my paces took a turn for the painful 5 miles in when multiple arcs of pain through my right calf stopped me in my tracks. No idea why; I was warm and rolling cleanly through the paces at 8 minute miles, on the flat with neutral camber. Just something else to wonder about, I guess.

Massaged and strapped as I am for the evening, hopefully I’ll be ok for a short plod at least tomorrow. The knot in the muscle won’t ease with a massage, ibuprofen hasn’t made it any more free yet but I can flex it in the strapping and no pain increases so hopefully a good night will see it somewhere.

9.5 more miles in three days isn’t too much to ask having gone over 140 already, is it?

A note

Just a quick late update. Blogging isn’t the most important thing right now.

Ran just over 5 miles from work last night, oblivious to the goings on around me. Didn’t get as far as blogging before the world turned upside down. Service will, I fear, never be able to return to normal but I’m sure everything will sort itself out somehow.

Life has a habit of doing that.

Gradually going nowhere

I picked up a message when I got to work this morning that one of the site team was bringing their running kit in if I fancied some company. Unfortunately, I was already there withiout kit. I usually do Rye on Tuesday and Thursday, too, and company would have been lovely. But alas I was doomed to return home and run on my own.

With little enthusiasm I tried to conjure a different route to instill a sense of “easy” mileage into my soul. It showed as I left the house and ended up looping the nearest, smallest estate before creating a messy Garmin trace as I simply tacked little dead ends onto the large circle to up the distance to something near target.

It was a vile run (I love the word “vile”. One of our labourers is a dirty (as in doesn’t understand the principle of soap and water), smelly, obese individual with a penchant for annoying anyone within earshot. Hence why he’s in the last chance saloon of site work instead of maintenance from whence he came. Our forklift driver overheard two of us discussing him and nonchalantly pitched in with an unprovoked comment that “he’s a vile little man, isn’t he?”. A perfect description using a much under-rated word. I was happy.). I found no rhythm, my left lower leg in particular gave out several sharp twangs of pain in the early mile to make me consider turning back and each pace seemed to last for twenty minutes despite the whole outing only taking 43 of them. It never fails to amaze me that 8 miles in Paris seemed to last 5 seconds, simply because it’s a varied and attention grabbing destination. All paces being equal, I wonder how to alter the mind to overcome the difficulty of dull runs? Music, I guess. But since I like up-tempo, some would say predominatly fast tunes and I need to keep leg movement slow to maintain leg structure, it isn’t really an option at the moment.

Ah, well. Keep it up for 5 more days and it will all be over.

Today, incidentally, I passed last year’s total distance. But even that didn’t raise a smile at the time. I must be jaded!

124 runs, 96 exercises and 47 cycles to go.

Running down the days

As various other bloggers have already mentioned, it was with no less than a little joy that I headed down the hill from site delighted that this was the final Wednesday of Janathon.

Next week I’ll be spending the equivalent evening (not) answering pub quiz questions and that knowledge alone is enough for a bit of a shot in the arm.

My legs felt a little fresher today again. A run at 8.03 per mile (yesterday) seems to have restorative powers, even if it does upset me to go so slowly. It’s a minute outside my normal running pace and I worry I’m going to get to like it and not speed up when the challenge is over.

But since I have no races currently planned (indeed, there’s nothing to prohibit my retirement from competitive activity. No-one will miss my non-appearances, I’m sure, except the odd St. John ambulance station when I prove myself fragile again), it hardly matters.

The only odd turn of events is how my mileage has increased week-on-week over Jnauary. I have been convinced at every turn that something’s about to break and that is what has probably resulted in me shortening my stride massively and slowing down a lot. But it also looks likely to get me to 150 miles, around 5 per day average. Considering 4 per day last January gave me 2 months off running with an injury and there’s little sign of one of those at the moment, it’s amazing. I might try for 6 per day average next year…if there is a next year.

But that’s the demon of Janathon. Since FairWeatherRunner mentioned 150 miles and I took up the baton, my mind has rolled the idea of 5 per day (155 total)  around. Then I saw someone was targetting 160. Then I saw a mate has done 4.44 miles averaging 6.47 per mile. Then I thought about how long until I do 1.30 for the half marathon and if I assault one fresh off Janathon. So many ideas, I’m simply going to run for the next 6 days (hopefully) and see where I get.

150 is the target and it won’t change. I haven’t got a proper long run in me and I need a cut-back sometime soon, I fear. While I can do a longer plod I will in case of a cold or something scuppering my plan. But the idea of only having to do a magic mile on the last day…oh, please. But then Rachel will push on to 155 or something silly and I’ll wonder if maybe I should try harder…

Oh, stop it! For a completely uncompetitive bloke, I need to get a grip and remember that I’m useless. And that I must sort out my mortgage. So must go!

125 runs, 96 exercises and 47 cycles to go.