Category Archives: Counting cars

A nice run and a sore neck

The intention for this weekend was to go for an outing of approximately 5 miles on Saturday to enable recovery for another short outing on Monday to allow a nice recovery period for Juneathon to begin.

Well between being too tired to do much at all on Friday evening, painting the shed on Saturday combined with shopping and an outing on the motorbike (trying to find some decent gloves which give the same bomb-proof feel my current ones have…they’re about 13 years old now, though, so despite having kevlar stiching and that, I’m not sure they’d be good in a fast spill. The search isn’t going well. Is it me or have bike gloves taken on a more fashionable, less robust direction of late? Why did Kushitani stop the GPR anyway?), my intention was adjusted and the run was postponed until today.

A not very early start was still good enough to allow me to have breakfast, finish painting the shed, have a cup of coffee and then get out of the door at about 10.15. The incessant wind of late is really starting to get on my tits (and being semi-retired from skydiving, god knows how annoyed I’d be if I was trying to get some jumps in) but the route I planned offered little real shelter so either the out or back section of my loop would be into it pretty much head on. And deciding I needed to loop around the unfinished bit of housing estate to bring the mileage to 5 without going miles further or creating a silly jink in the run, I opted for headwind on the return leg.

The majority of the route consisted of my favourite 6 mile outing and felt pleasant enough.

A minor tightness in my left calf gave initial surprise (I’ve been stretching lately and everything…honest!) but eased as I did the half mile or so on gravel that the local route offers and it was all I could do to remind myself that I wasn’t in a race and, as such, should keep the pace down and my breathing under control. I kept finding myself pushing on, however, and it was a bit of a battle to maintain a nice pace without striding into faster times. Running past a local getting his race car onto a trailer in readiness for an outing reminded me there is more to life than fitness, but my trainers are a touch more affordable than a shiny Honda Civic Cup car, so I balanced my envy against my need to plod on for another 4 miles.

The quiet country lane bit revealed a walker (who I passed again 2 miles later) and another runner with a lone cyclist being the only other human seen outside a tin box, of which there were only 7 in total so all in it turned out to be a quiet outing. I stopped briefly to pick up a soft-ish yellow ball which kept my spare hand busy for 2.5 miles and other than that, the run was unremarkable except for the distance. The loop around the estate brought the mileage to exactly 5 from front door to front door. No jogs around the garden or stopping at the gate, simply turn the key, stop the watch and enjoy the accuracy of the outing. Marvellous.

And a recovery followed by painting of the lounge ceiling (separate panels with multiple beams…miles of cutting in and a massively sore neck) has rounded out the week before the idiocy of my Juneathon plans can take hold of my life for 30 days.

Not a bad weekend with one more bonus day to go. Hope I make the most of that, too. Maybe a little run, maybe not. I’ll see how my legs and foot feel in the morning.

1189.28 miles to go.

Self loathing and ibuprofen

Last week was a low one, morale wise, excepting a happy half hour on the mountainbike, and not wanting to flow into next week on a negative, I set myself up for plenty of gardening and the prospect of a Turkish restaurant in Islington as the potential high points of the weekend.

A bit of research on that internet thing, as well as advice from the font of all knowledge over such things, lead me down a path I fear treading. But the marathon means a lot to me. You see, about a year ago, when injured during training for the Hastings half, Cathy suggested ibuprofen for the inflammatory reduction effect. I dismissed it, knowing it also kills pain and i’m stupid and if something doesn’t hurt, despite the knowledge it’s still healing, i’ll abuse the lack of pain and kill myself.

I repeat, i’m stupid.


Those who meet me next week at Reading will be able to verify this fact for themselves.

Well. Ibuprofen plus a large dose of stupidity plus a huge dose of self hate and a small desire to explode myself equates to some nice counting statistics.

Today, I was passed by 172 cars. 5 motorcycles. 4 cyclists. 1 pedestrian. I passed 1 man fixing his gate. The same man who’s usually weeding his verge on his knees. I ran 20.04 miles in 2hours, 48 minutes and 51 seconds.

And now, i’m going to walk to the village, buy a paper and crawl home.

I’m in pieces, but have run 20 miles. Before, I felt I was in pieces, but hadn’t. I wonder how much i’ll hurt when the drugs wear off?

Oh, and Cathy – there were fields and fields of lambs, all chasing after the little stick man plodding beside their pasture. It was ace.

A Friday flat

Not wanting to believe what I was hearing on the weather forecast, (and not wanting to pester my BBC employed personal weather forecaster for details [i’ll save her for emergencies and when I really want to take the piss out of a proper, bona fide celebrity!]), didn’t stop me packing my cold weather options for tonight’s run, and it turned out to be the best option.

My day was only ever going to be hectic and this turned out to be the case, but with a jacket on all day I wasn’t sure how cold it was getting until I stopped around 4.30 for a tea. And my mind was made up for a proper jumper and my long, proper running trouser/tight/legging type things. I only fancied a jaunt along the seafront, but it felt good to be out, the sea was surprisingly rough for the light wind, I saw no runners at all, only three cyclists but plenty of dog walkers.

And since the tide was in, the obligatory couple of anglers getting frozen. Now i’ve no idea how they do it, standing in a cool breeze on a cold evening, but fair play to them. I guess with angling being one of the largest participation sports in the country, i’m in the minority in my exasperation of the pleasure to be gained from fishing but it still beats me. I guess it gets them out of the house, though.

Still, my run went well, my toe was a bit painful for the first bit of the run then that eased away, but it is hurting a bit now, so i’ll continue to treat it gently. Next week, I intend to do two hilly runs, but am out for an evening with the electricians on Friday, so will run Saturday morning if i’m not skydiving. Need to get a jump in, it’s been over a month and tomorrow isn’t looking too good for it, i’ve got to work Sunday then the following weekend it looks as though i’ll be dressing as Santa to run around Dagenham for a few miles having worked the Saturday, so things are looking busy. Nice, but not good for getting the jumps consistent enough for a push towards a “B” licence. We’ll see.

Ah, and on Wednesday night, I counted my last car. Decisions have been made, but I ought really to talk to my marvellous girlfriend about my plans before I broadcast them on that internet thing, so details will follow. It feels good to have another direction. And at least now, I can concentrate on counting panes of glass as guilt free pleasure and don’t have to record the results!

So; 0.5mm rain, 1 correct statement about peanuts, and a CD to order tomorrow if I can remember.


Later, shorter, worse!

Sorry for my most depressing post yet on Friday. I guess things weren’t going too well. Which is daft, really, since generally life is pretty good at the moment, especially with Cathy being down at the weekend and life’s general things continuing pretty reasonably.

Still, a bad run is a bad run. And I was low.

So, today I promised work wouldn’t get to me (which it did) and that I wouldn’t get diverted from my running cause. Which I did. An overly active afternoon was followed by torrential rain for half an hour when i’d planned to run, so I went straight to Sainsburys for food and promised i’d run when I got home.

Well. A chilli con carne later, two pints of water, and after a chat with my fine girlfriend, I felt keen enough to set out for a 4 miler around the dark country lanes. Until I got out of the door, started to run, realised how nasty a damp cold evening can be, and talked myself out of a proper run. So, instead of turning left, I turned right, jumped out of my skin when a car came around the corner without me hearing it (I was sprinting, since I was doing a short run – my breathing was laboured and I was scared as it was dark!), instead of going straight on I turned right and found myself back home a mere 2.1 miles later. The head torch running experience isn’t something I enjoy massively, so I guess i’m going to have to sort current work issues out, especially with the marathon looming.

Still, the run was ok, no pain at all, at least I got out, so I can do proper runs on Wednesday and Friday and still feel ok about the week and not fear the lard monster approaching for a bit.

Oh, still 5 cars (been cleaning teeth late so there haven’t been any – honest!) but it’s rained a bit. A trace every day. Nasty.

Did I mention Cathy? Hope so. She deserves it. And a mention.


Today at work was shit, my run was shit, my toe hurts again, my knee hurt as I ran (4 miles), which are both shit things and piss me off. I’m going to give up running, spend more time on the bike and lighten up more.

Until tomorrow when i’ll probably feel normal again.

My decision in 5 cars’ time might be amazing. God, I fucking hope so.

Wind and Rain

Well, the weather certainly seems to have turned. And with it, my eagerness for a good run seems to have returned.

The weekend went all too quickly, the mountainbike got a new suspension pin and bush as well as a chain and rear cassette, so Sunday saw me pestering jogblog for a bike ride, my goal being to check out Epping Forest and see if there really was a patch of greenery bigger than Walthamstow and Hackney marshes within 5 miles of her. And there was. And it was wet and muddy. And the bike worked nicely, but will need a really good, fast thrash over something challenging to see if the shock bush is better than new. But overall, I have to say, it was all good.

Oh, and Chingford looks nice. If anyone knows good reasons not to move there, let me know, will you?

So, after a draining day at work with no computer system, I got to 5.15 and decided it was time to change, so pulled on a tee shirt and headed for the seafront, into the gale that was still blowing but thankfully free from the rains that had been deluging Hastings all day. Well, that didn’t last, did it? The first half of the run was sheltered by the buildings on the North of the prom, then I turned around, the rain really started to hammer down again, I crossed to the sea side, got blown home to the sound of the sea crashing on the shingle (massive waves in huge lines. Very impressive. Who needs an i-pod with that soundtrack?) and enjoyed the loneliness of the front without seeing a soul on the return leg. What a contrast to the “summer” when it was crowded with tourists and drunks.

My toe seems to be ok – it aches a bit all the time at the minute, but hasn’t shown any of it’s previous pain, so i’m intending another run on Thursday before pushing it on the hills next week. Plans. Nice.

Oh, and 12 cars left. 18mm of rain over the 24 hours. Already we’ve had more rain for November than in the whole month in the previous 2 years, so I wonder where it will end.

Back to the old school

Looking at my running log, it’s been rest, rest, rest, since the 12th October. Owing to my ability to acquire injuries since I got old, my intention to cure my foot with rest is with the most genuine of hopes.

So, having had a pain free Wednesday a week ago, I put off running for a week; a night out in the week and a need to do grown up, owning a house and arranging my brother’s birthday evening stuff put off my run until tonight. But come about 4 o’clock, I was actually excited. Properly excited.

Still, I needed to finish another odd week at work, so it wasn’t until 5.50 that I got out and put in the first trepidatory paces on a dodgy toe. And the first steps weren’t hopeful. I’ve been rotating boots at work, wearing my DC trainers more than my Etnies (they seem broader but more supportive), even keeping my feet warm with thicker socks, but I think i’m going to have to see someone after all. The seafront beckoned, the wind was strong, the sea was rough but despite all this, there were loads of runners out (mostly wearing masses of clothes – how hot do they want to get? It wasn’t cold, just windy) and I was happy to be there. Oh, and I think I might invest in a Garmin – i’m still struggling to keep to a sensible pace when I want to and wonder if a “training partner” might help.

Still, I paced along to my turnaround point, noted my foot ache, jogged back, saw 3 of the runners i’d passed on the way out now going against the wind, and wondered why my legs felt so fresh after 4 weeks off. Nice. But on returning to the office, my toe nagged without feeling bad, I got home and creamed it to try and continue any healing, thought it felt ok but as the time is now wearing on, the pain is returning so i’m going to see how it feels in the morning and if it’s bad, i’ll seek help. I won’t attempt 26 miles in April in an under-prepared state due to injury, even i’m not that daft.

Oh, and why did I return to the office with a cold old chap? I’ve not noticed a cold pecker before when running through the winter, despite some sleet and snow affected runs, so why now? Very odd. And not even particularly pleasant!

Still, the car count goes on…only 16 to go. Expect a brave decision to be made sometime next week! I’ll be running again before that, though, so it’s all good. Even if my foot does drop off as a result.

No skydiving expected over the weekend, but a forest mountainbike ride should be a laugh in the mud. Hopefully Jogblog will survive the experience too, she’s promised to venture there with me on Sunday – if she blogs that as amusingly as her catbook post, it’ll be worth it for the blog alone!

A foot update

Not a running post, as such, more an update so if I remember to read this in a few years, I might remember why I had such a long running break.

Wednesday was the first day in nearly 2 months when my left foot hasn’t hurt with every footstep. I am now treating it a bit gently, I am still conscious that on most occasions i’m rolling around my outstep to keep pressure off my toe, but generally i’m returning to a normal stride. Today, I even ran up the stairs at work without wincing.

But. I’ve promised i’m thinking of the longer term. So, instead of heading out for a run tomorrow, i’m going to wait 1 week from my pain free day until my next run. So, next Wednesday, i’ll be blogging properly.


Can’t wait.

Until then, last night was 4.5mm rainfall. 34 cars.

Cross training?

Somewhat at odds to popular misconception, I haven’t given up. I’m actually being sensible for a change and am resting my injured foot.


Since the week after my 3 peak activity, when for some reason my foot exploded whilst running down the stairs at work, i’ve been running on the injury and it just hasn’t been on the mend. Well, having been accepted into London next year and having had a splendidly rubbish Ashford 10k, it’s time to sort it. So, i’m nearly 2 weeks into resting it; i’ve got rid of any swelling and can now walk on it until lunchtime (yeah, right – as if lunch happens with any regularity!) when it then starts to nag rather than hurt lots. In fact, the most common pain now is when I lace my Etnies too tight on the way to the pub. So, in another week i’ll try a jog.

That’s the plan, anyhow. But until then, as well as in the interim until now, i’ll not be idle. Along with lagging the rest of the roof, i’ve been doing the weights, my sit-up count has gone ballistic, the press-ups have undergone something of a resurgence and I even got out (briefly) on the bike last week. Nice.

So, updates will follow shortly.

Until then, i’m down to 45 cars. Oh, and feeling proud that (just Google her if the link doesn’t work…best blog on the web!) got another magazine mention for her sterling efforts and amazing humour. Smart.

Ashford 10k race weekend

So it’s been the first weekend since late June that I haven’t seen Cathy, a situation made up partly for by seeing her on Wednesday and to be corrected again this coming Wednesday, I reckon. Well, she signed up for the Royal Parks Half, I couldn’t get an entry, all the boys were doing Ashford so it’d be rude not to join in, eh?

So, the weekend kicked off with fog, an hour in the roof (insulation preparation), an hour giving Martin his LandRover back, then a late skydive. No wind again, plenty of cloud to look over on the way up, but with ample gaps to jump through for a safe route down, at last I got a chance to enjoy a good canopy ride without struggling to get back in or going too far. Still landed about 20 foot out from my intended target, though, so my accuracy needs working on before a “B” licence attempt after a few more jumps. And then, the motorbike beckoned so a trip out was enjoyed, including a ride around the 10k course. Hills! Where did they come from in Ashford? Not climb and pant style, just ease your way up but without knowing how much they’d take out of me without a pre-run; I wasn’t sure about today.

So again the day dawned foggy, I got up and cleaned the car (shouldn’t have bothered, it was filthy after 10 miles of lanes on the way out there), rode into the village for my entry money, went to the dump to get rid of two old mattresses from the roof (why did I hang onto them for about 10 years and two moves?) and made my way to the run.

The fog had cleared, it felt warm and was definitely muggy, my foot was just about feeling ok – just a bit of pain on the push off step each time, walking from the car park, then I bumped into Geoff, Gaz, Aaron, Emma, Steve and their families on the way in or while signing up. During the 10 minutes or so getting ready to start, it became apparent the timing was gun to finish, so no accuracy there in the standings, then, but I forgot to look at the time accurately so was relying on someone at the finish for a decent guessed time. Well, I was also wondering who’d set off quickest. And it was all of them except Steve! I couldn’t believe that after scant training, Gaz and Geoff could keep up the pace they did, but Gaz in particular still kept it up for about 2.5k before wilting. Apparently, he fell apart at 3k with bad hips and everything! I was dismayed that it was marked in k’s, not miles. I hate having to convert the two, knowing I can pretty much sprint at 1 mile but feel unsure I’m not being tricked how far things are even at 1k boards. Weird.

Still, I wasn’t having a good run. My foot was wincing. I felt energy less (probably a lack of chocolate!) and was sweating massively from about 4k. The hills weren’t bad at all, I saw a woman i’d run alongside in the Stelling Minnis 10k back in May (she seemed a bit dismissive as I pointed the fact out to the runners around us, but after a bit of encouragement she did admit Stelling Minnis wasn’t a good run for her. Ah, well.). This time, instead of running away from her, she did the same to me and was about 100 yards in front at the finish. Bah. Still, she was in her championship race, so I guess it’s fair. Anyhow, all the way from 6k, I was feeling weedy with no inspiration to up the pace. So, I didn’t. I passed 1k and thought I ought to kick, but still didn’t, I put on a bit of a push in the stadium, outsprinted a man in the last 20m, but felt dejected.

The guy next to me on the line had 45.45 on his Garmin, I had it about 46 dead, so about 1 minute off my target, but the official result has me at 46.12. But again, all the results are non-corrected for start position. I know it’s all relative, but it seems odd to have chip technology and not put it to use to get accurate results irrespective of start position – imagine the times in a huge race like London if they started everyone from the gun! So, i’ll settle for 46ish and be satisfied after an average-poor run on a race day. Especially since, as I look at it now, my foot is huge. The ball of my left foot is twice the size of the right, the toe is twice as fat on profile and it’s hurting just sitting here. Happy days. I’ll give it 3 days to recover or i’ll get it checked out.

And then, it was to the pub for a bitter shandy. Everyone else was happy with their times so it was a good morning all round, despite my moans – Steve especially impressed after 4 weeks training following 6 years off and 5 odd stone extra poundage to carry around – I expect amazing things in his super sprint tri next August.

Then I came home, took the bike for a thrash, saw the parents, ate some chocolate (not tooooooooo much, honest. Ish.), had a pizza and now i’m off to do some upper body exercise.

There’s been a trace of rain from the fog for the last 2 days, 60 cars to go, and i’m going to have to blog some cross training since i’m not running on my foot until it’s better. That’ll be a week, then!