Monthly Archives: January 2013

Garmin almost made it! Janathone done. Yay!

I wasn’t sure how to end Janathon. Having done over 6 miles everyday through wind, rain, cold, relative warmth (I wore shorts and a short-sleeved top Thursday of the first week!), snow and just normal January weather, the day was average. Having done the majority of the runs on the hills around Paddlesworth a flat outing seemed a sad end. Having achieved my goals and having moved the goal posts twice (from 186 to 192 to 200 miles), upping my mileage to gain a leaderboard place seemed pointless.

So having had a bad day (read busy as hell without time to think of a run let alone doing one) I realised time had gone and the best I could do from work was a quick 1.6 mile out and back to improve the evening and leave a shorter run. So that’s how I started.

And nearly finished, to be fair. All my aches and pains felt horrible and such a short outing didn’t really give them a chance to warm up and dull down.

But once home I changed and got ready to go. Until I noticed my Garmin had died. I charged it last night so knew the battery was fine but I had a grey screen with very weak, faded numbers and no functions coming up. I popped the charger on and it showed 88% battery but changed the time to 10.58. Removing the charger it went blank, started up then froze into the grey screen again. Emergency measures called for Cathy’s Garmin to be borrowed. And it was.

A loop of Knight’s Park and Park Farm made for the shortest day of the month but enough to see me comfortably over 200 miles. Challenge over. The odd bit is the Garmin still playing up (I have no map data of the Hawkinge outing, just time and distance so something was wrong as I used it there – I know how long it was and have proof from the piss-taking from a groundworker about how slow can a mile be. I didn’t explain that I’d run one and a half. I’ll accept his ridicule in the hope he comes for a jog one day.) I’ve got the data off it (what was on there) and have done a soft reset which works for a minute, allowing all functions to be explored, but after 5 minutes or so it locks and touching the buttons makes it go grey and dull again. Think it’s time to send it back to Garmin for a check. Is this a first to exhaust a Garmin thrugh the month? Will an easy week rejuvenate it, I wonder, as I hope it will me?

So back to normality. It’ll be nice to just run again soon. I’m going to rest my damaged bits (currently standing at right heel, right foot bridge, left knee outer, left knee inner, left thigh, left little toe – I let the nail grow a bit too long) for a while before starting again. Not having a Garmin will be nice in a way, depending on how long it’ll take to sort. I’ve got some joint relief  product I’m going to test and review – hopefully the battered state of my body is an ideal battleground to see if anything can cure me! If it’s any good I’ll be out and about next week.

The house needs time as well as running and blogging, least of all to repair the damage from the tree. Work needs full focus. Mountainbiking needs more attention and practice ready for Wales in April. The garden will start growing in earnest and the greenhouse will need filling up. But I also need (yep, need. Not want. Need.) to produce a sub 18 minute 5k, a sub 40 minute 10k race time and be comfortable in myself by putting on some upper body weight.

I think I need a miracle.

But 200 miles in a month. I’d never have thought it. Thank you, fragile body. Back soon.

Sleepless and damaged but Janathon goes on.

Sleepless – me. Damaged – the house. Janathon – the constant to allow perspective.

Last year I had a Janathon hiccup when a blog post was a day late when mum died. I’d been for a run before going home and was half way through dinner, completely oblivious to any ill health even, when a 125mph drive to try to get to see her proved fruitless. I know everyone reacts differently in what are on the whole similar circumstances. One of my reactions was to continue Janathon, to chase my goal, to keep running and while I did so I had plenty of time to collect my thoughts and reflect on life. Many people wondered how odd my behaviour seemed. In hindsight I can relate to their wonder but it’s simply how I coped. It wasn’t planned.

This year, having had a couple of injuries but also having ploughed in some consistent miles, my initial target was passed. Then, while brushing my teeth, I heard a similar noise to JogBlog. She thought the initial sound was the mice/rats/squirrels we have in the roof doing some hardcore gnawing. They’re odd buggers and can make a din. I thought the wind had picked up enough to dislodge some mortar from the ridge tiles (we live in a 1750 converted bakery). A couple more brush strokes and I instinctively ducked, wondering what the increase in noise was and whether I was about to be joined in the bathroom by the chimney that adjoins it. JB thought the mice had turned to dogs and had gone wild – that or the mice had eaten something structural and something was about to fall on her. With a final crescendo of sound, I put my brush down and came out of the bathroom to meet her on the landing, both of us bemused. A little scared at what I might find, I must admit, I put a shirt and jeans on and went outside to see what had occurred. And, believe it or not, I was relieved to see the chimney still there. Less happy as I went around the porch though and saw the Ash tree leaning on the house, branches having removed roof tiles and brushed the window (without breaking it…miraculous!). To be fair, Cathy was a bit shocked. Seeing the weight of the tree had landed about 4 feet above her head, she had every right to be. Don’t tell her, though.

I’ll bet the inhabitants of the roof were as scared as us. Certainly put the wind up the cat.

The worst bit was not knowing if it had done structural damage and not being able to see. So we decided to leave the upstairs to itself and decamp to the conservatory as far from the tree as possible. Onto my futon which is a superb place to sleep unless it hammering with wind and blowing a gale and you’ve already lost half the house just when you wanted to switch off and relax. A good nights sleep it certainly wasn’t. Prospects of a fruitful Janathon appeared scuppered.

Come this morning, though, and a damage assessment, things looked better. A call to my regular tree surgeon found him able to come away from the trees he was removing and sort me out. Three hours of skilled removal saw the roof/tree interface concluded with a no score draw. The tree had somehow survived with a massively reduced rootball – it had simply leant over out of the ground – no damage to the fence it was alongside, the drain it borders or the water pipe that runs alongside. Very lucky. Indeed.

Which lead to a reduced day and Janathon to squeeze in.

Tempted to say forget it, I popped out for a singular mile for milk while awaiting the boys. Then waited until I got home to run depending on energy/guilt levels. And as far as my leg would allow following yesterday’s scaffold board interface, of course. Either 3.8 or 4.8, I felt. As it turned out, guilt kicked in and I wanted another 6 mile day, so 5 it was. Resulting again in 6.1 miles and a Janathon running total of 195.84 miles.

So…will I do 4.16 tomorrow? Or anoher 6 to make all of the month 6 mile or more days?

I’ll wait and see. Fingers crossed we don’t have 10mm more rain. At least there aren’t any more trees to fall on the house.

Ah, the 80’s. So yesterday. Janathon 29.

Today has been spent inside a cloud.

Hawkinge (AKA village of doom, shittest place on earth, most depressing place to work ever. A couple were meant to look at one of the houses on the estate on Saturday. Not knowing the area they arrived an hour before the viewing to look around. Half an hour before they cancelled. They didn’t like it up there. Sensible people. It really is shit. Imagine, if you’ve never been to Hawkinge, putting your head inside a particularly fragrant, surprisingly loose cow’s arse. During bowel evacuation time. with another cow stood on your foot. It’s that shit.) has seen nothing but drifting water all day. The kind that makes you soaking wet in 30 seconds without any raindrops actually falling. Except that for most of the day rain has fallen, too. The grey material (mist? Nope – visibility less than 1000yards. Fog? Nope – no advection or any other vection present. I was quite vexed though. Just simply moisture droplets in cloud form scudding past at eye level and below) is the most depressing stuff ever. At least it was warmer.

Except that wasn’t much of a bonus. 15 minutes before I set off for the run I knocked a scaffold board off the pile I was walking past. Having just passed it, the board fell straight down onto my left outer rear knee bit, the sticky out bone on top of the calf. It hurt a surprising amount so I headed back to the office and got changed. But didn’t know what top to wear. A long sleeved running top was right for the heat. But I knew I’d get cold once soaked (around 8 seconds in) So I opted to overheat but stay dry in my fleece running top. Along with a rapidly stiffening knee, it wasn’t to be a promising run.

And exectations were lived up to. Uninspired, tired, left knee hurting on the inside as well on the newly hit bit, right heel playing up, right foot bridge making me roll my foot oddly. I wish Janathon was over.

Except around 2 miles in when I realised I was past my target 186 miles for the month. All done. Target acquired and executed. Tick (in a Justin Lee-Collins style). But 6.2 miles to the next target (10k a day). So on I plodded. No air punch involved.

Once back I changed and again reached for the computer to play some odd music. Today was a mix of Buzzcocks which inspired (don’t ask how my brain works) Fergal Sharkey’s A Good Heart. My god. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the video before. I wasn’t going to watch it today (I intended writing the diary with musical accompaniment) but couldn’t take my eyes off it. Are any 80’s cliches (musical, style, fashion, hair) not complete? Even the nasty moustache is fully represented. Shocking.

Then I realised I was out of the 80’s in mileage, too. Just inside 190 miles I now need fewer than 5 per day to reach 200, a mere mile per day to exceed 10k per day. My knee has stiffened enormously since I’ve been home but surely I can get out for at least a mile tomorrow?

Hopefully there isn’t that much of a sting in Janathon’s tail, is there? Maybe – when I got home, the rain gauge in the back garden is registering a mere 1mm for the day. Just 15 miles (as the crow flies) from site. Did I mention Hawkinge is shit?

Timing…Janathon day 28

Today, I have mostly been getting things just a little bit wrong.

A perfectly pleasant morning with sunshine and temperature that quickly rose to marvellous rapidly clouded over without me snatching the opportunity to head out for a jog. The clouds spurred me into action but around 2 miles from site I got drenched by the first shower to come from it.

Which also turned out to be the last.

The run turned out to be pleasant enough if a little quick (7.32 average for 5 miles) with 4 days of running still to do. Ah, well.

But then a busy afternoon made me forego a second trip out and made me accept I’d be home before I went. As I finished locking up it started tipping down with rain. With the promised high winds making it all but horizontal.

Trying to leave the house I was so intent on pulling the door through the gale that I left my foot in place a little too long. My painful foot.

Bah. Not too bad, thankfully, but it made me consider stupidity as I headed around the block in the downpour. The only good thing about the weather was that I decided that since I was drowned I might as well stay soaked for a while longer. It has turned out to be my second longest day of running in Janathon as well as being the quickest for overall pace.

Odd how things turn out. Fingers crossed I don’t wake up with a body so battered I can’t make 6 miles.

3 days to go. Hopefully my timing will improve to make a happy ending.

The same but different. An odd anniversary. Janathon day 27

Today marks one year since mum died. Bollocks.

With nothing properly arranged (Dad’s been ill this week so didn’t know if he’d want to meet up or not) until 9 this morning, I intended popping over to Chevening to see her headstone whatever else occurred and after a call to say he’d make it with us, the day was set.

I headed out for a jog to see how my legs were holding up and the answer wasn’t great but was far from a disaster. The change of shoes yesterday makes me think I’ve hung onto the Mizunos for a couple of miles too long. Again I wasn’t sure what distance to aim for so went straight for my 4.5 mile route. Around 1.5 miles in a saw what looked like a hi-vis caterpiller bobbing up the road ahead. It turned out to be a group of girls in varying styles of green, yellow, pink and black out for a morning jog. Passing them to a comment of “that’s how we’re supposed to be doing it” illicited a response of “far from it, I’m ruined” and my mind was set on the shorter of my interesting loops.

I simply headed home and massaged my legs attempting to ease my sore tendons and muscles to allow another short plod as recovery this afternoon.

And that’s how it worked. The odd thing being a target of 1.5 miles this afternoon topped up to 2.5 miles to round a loop out, making a better overall day than anticipated.

4 days running to go and if I manage 6 miles a day I’ll get to 200. My running graph on RunningFreeOnline looks metronomic – the same distance day in, day out. Thankfully I’ve only repeated the same route 4 times maximum and most routes have been unique which shows (if nothing else) that living and working near countryside and lanes is good for variety with consistent distance available with little effort. But the way my legs are responding, 200 is no certainty. Thigh pain was the order today along with tight ankles. I will bottom out what’s making me sore – probably as soon as I rest on Friday.

11mm of rain last night. Trail running will have to wait a while yet.

Ah, warmth! Janathon gets easier.

My  immediate thought as I awoke this morning was “Heating!”. Or, rather, the lack of it. 7am and the boiler wasn’t making every effort to bankrupt me. The only thing worse than my body liking cooler weather but not being able to tolerate the cold we’ve had lately is waking up and finding the house (old, solid walls, single glazing) has cooled to such an extent that the heating has come on at the low level I set the thermostat to each evening. It’s been happening a lot lately.

But not today. Which encouraged me to look out of the window and see all was wet. 4mm of rain overnight wet. That’s rain, not snow. And my tentative exploration of the outside world to wash the car (a pointless exercise in the greater scheme of things but salt corrosion on a new vehicle isn’t pretty) revealed it to be warm enough not to put on 35 extra layers.

Warm enough, even, to look forward to a run without a million layers, either.

And with a lifting of the gloom surrounding my inability to cope with another frozen week, so my thoughts turned to my jog. I fancied a change of shoes (I worked out my Mizuno Wave Inspire 7’s have done just shy of 500 miles so it’s time to break in a new pair, I feel) and have the New Balance 890V2’s I did the Great South Run in all ready to be ruined, so I put them on to see how they felt on my knackered appendages and, reliably enough, they felt great.

So I plodded off (last time I wore them the 10 miles flew by at below 7min/mile average – this was to be far slower!) with the aim to do a short 2 mile loop and see how I felt, there being lots of increased length runs straight off the back of it. But I felt ok as I got to the loop start so carried straight on, committing to 4.7 miles immediately (unless I needed to head straight back if something went wrong, of course). But at 2 miles I still felt good, so headed on to my favourite road – Gill Lane, my usual 6 mile loop.

The slope to the top was a delight, allowing me to rise onto my forefoot fully as I admired the blue sky and the sun, if only the wind would ease and let me warm up, I thought. And down the other side to 4 miles where I had my only twinge of the run – my right knee let me know it’s not happy as I sped up a little too much and opened my stride out.

So I eased off and plodded in to home, a 10k race distance once again executed.

Very happy. With only 5 runs left (or 5 days of running, at the very least!), light appears to be coming visible from the darkness of before.

Roll on Thursday.

Short and bitter. Can it get any colder? Janathon the cold.

If this year has done anything for my resolve, I hope it’s to make me determined not to sign up next year. At least not to running everyday. Maybe internal activities with the occasional venture outside if it’s suitably clement. The only problem is, that’s pretty much like the rest of my year.

I don’t think I can take much more coldness. Hopefully it’ll warm up tomorrow. I haven’t warmed up in the slightest all day. My site is in Hawkinge. 3 degrees colder than Folkestone below it, we still have 4 inches of snow covering everything while Folkestone (2 miles away) hasn’t a drop left. It didn’t warm above -2 degrees all day. Spending a day there is the most uninspired I’ve been in 25 years at work. I don’t think I’ll warm up all weekend, if I’m honest.

My runs today were horrible, unsatisfying affairs but at least I’ve maintained my 6 a day target. Legs are now throbbing, toes hurt with cold, two toenails have delaminated today (I guess in the cold) and I’ll see if they survive until things warm up along with my toes being bright crimson with broken capillaries. My foot still hurts but it’s again no worse. My heel is playing up worse again but I’ll try to sort that before bed. My knee seems to have eased right off. Or maybe it’s frozen.

Not a happy Janathoner but the last weekend of January last year was so much worse anything is an improvement.

Did someone say 6 days to go? Hoo fucking ray.