Category Archives: Grinding kneesliders to atoms

Tired at last

An early start upset me, a good day cheered me, a decent ride on the motorbike encouraged me and I decided I’d run until 6 whenever I set off.
Which turned out to be 5.20, so 5 off-road miles ensued which were less fizz and more slog.
Sadly pretty, the views aren’t to last-the last date for planning appeal against the 5750 (yes, best part of six thousand! Plus schools and shops) houses planned for the fields was yesterday. But the infrastructure has been in for 20 odd years so it’s a bit of a sham, really.
Guess I’ll soon have to head SouthEast instead of West on my runs to avoid the blight.
85, 57, 33


Everything seems to be exaggerated in the present scheme of things.

The winter had snow and ice and silly low temeratures for far longer than I can remember. I have heating bills and memories of outside meetings every morning at 9 o’clock to prove it.

Spring seemed to skip a beat. The marathon training was cold throughout – I think I blogged 4 runs of a neutral temperature when shorts and top (either long or short sleeve) weren’t in question. Things then seemed to change to dry, dryer and driest in an instant. Not a personal problem since my new site is reliant on lack of rain while we divert over a mile of highway drainage and re-route 29 acres of land drainage through a new ditch, but shortages seem inevitable in the near future.

The wind blew from the start of this site until 2 weeks ago, always predominantly from the East. Now there isn’t a breeze.

And despite promises during the winter that I wouldn’t say it, I have properly struggled today with the heat. Went out on the mountainbike for the proposed hack about Bedgebury Pinetum at 9AM and it was still massively warm. My boxers had the white sweat stains to prove it.

The good news is that, despite being swollen this evening, the leg pain hasn’t hindered me at all. I rolled the jumps and decided against a drop off or two as a leg protection measure, but generally the pain was at a minimum whilst enjoyment was still high. Very encouraging. I just need to find out why it keeps swelling so much.

The odd news is that while I had hoped for empty roads while a football match kept everyone indoors, my ride in black leathers in ridiculous heat wasn’t as lonely as hoped for. Traffic was lighter but still too heavy for absolute hooliganism to ensue. I had a good tussle with a Renaultsport  Megane on a road section I don’t know very well, put in 60 pleasant miles, had some squirrelly tank slappy moments on some rougher roads but generally, things were no better than an early weekend morning. I guess the advantage of the heat was to give me confidence to get my knee down on even the oddest corners (tyre temperature is a constant niggle on cooler days, diesel a worry on the rest!). The disadvantage was getting in, changing and having a proper dizzy spell as I went from cool garage to hot drive to put the bike away.

I simply can’t drink enough to replace sweaty losses.

Still, could be worse. I could be running through the heat like some of the other Juneathoners!

Now, I must remember to remind myself that it’ll never be too cold in the winter and that I shouldn’t moan about the weather!


I got a little bit behind yesterday, resulting in Juneathoning later in the evening than is proper with the computer already shut down and no desire to blog.

So I didn’t.

I did some press ups.

Today I’ve continued with the skateboard deck construction – very exciting it is, too (in the style of a 9 year old) and will link to a pic when it’s complete and set uip with the ACS 651’s and blue Kryptonics, all from the ’70’s. Also, i’ve weeded the largest front border, been shopping, mowed the lawn and thrashed the motorbike again – not an epic ride but fun to be out and getting better again.

The lawn mowing involved remembering about half way through the bigger front lawn to put the Garmin on and see how far it is. With a bit already done, 1.75 miles is the answer with my 21 inch cut mower. It took exactly an hour, including fiddly bits and saying hello to Cathy as she returned from the gym, so the 4.2 kmh speed claim probably isn’t far off. Just a shame there are so many fiddly bits to make a tractor a waste of time. But the distance goes some way to shaming me for continuing to mow it while using the crutch through the proper broken leg period. No wonder it hurt so much for so long. Silly boy.

An early blog now means i’ve yet to exercise. It will be weights, but will be tied in with ironing my shirts for the week, washing up and having a fire to get rid of some of the tree bits that have been clogging the garden since we moved in, so I suspect time will be short.

I’ll update tomorrow.

A good day

Following a couple of poorer days in the grander scheme of life, today offered one of those pick-me-ups that make it all seem worthwhile.

Got off to a bit of a slow start following a lay in to catch up on much needed sleep after Thursday night but decided that the weather forecast was as good as i’d get for bedding and pointing the hip tiles that have been missing on the house since before I moved here. It was going to be done soon after arriving but since it was too cold for mortar until April and then I did something to my leg to prevent ladder use and that, it’s taken until now and been annoying me all the time. It surprises me how much something like it niggles me but roof problems always do. But it’s done now. The replacement tiles are a perfect match and the weather was perfect for a good job.

I took the opportunity to sort the flashing over the conservatory, too, bedding in the ridge area and replacing a split section on the rake. All the lead is very fragile, I guess it’s only code three and hasn’t been oiled from new so i’ll probably replace it all next year but for now it’ll do.

A bit of shopping then lead to the first motorbike ride since mid April. I wanted to go last week but wasn’t confident enough in the leg. Today I could wait no longer. There were very few cars on the road so the run was quick and smooth. Weight shifts caused me a bit of pain, so there was no knee down action but I did have an enjoyable bit around Marden where they’ve changed all the 60 limits to 50 and 40’s. Why is a pointless question but since i’d have been banned for doing over 100 in the old 60 limits (and it didn’t stop me then), I continued to do over 100 on the same roads with the same hazards with the same (lack of) houses and the same (lack of) other traffic. There are now, i’ll admit, several more steel posts with round labels on them to kill me if I fall off in the wrong place so maybe that’s the justification for the change in limit. Somehow though, the dip in the road on the right hander before the village which sees 4th gear and hard acceleration bring the front up just enough to hold a bit of left lock while it’s weightless seems that bit better knowing i’m doubling the limit instead of just bettering it by a fair margin. Despite being rusty and going a bit easier than normal for mid-summer riding (on the tricky bits…in places I was just plain slow) it was a good ride.

Then food eased into watering the greenhouse and a Juneathon row to Audiofuel’s  Juneathon mix which was a great distraction while I blew my lungs out. The rower is amusing me as I carry on with it, though. I’ve an idea how many watts it takes to raise a litre of water by a degree centigrade and how many minutes I spend on the rower and how much effort equivalent this is to running or biking and some things on the computer just don’t add up.

I average 25 watts on the easiest setting, 42 on the next and 64 on the highest. At over 8 minutes on each setting, at a conservative calculation, it works out at 135 calories if the watt reading is correct. The calorie counter read 55. The bloke in the Telegraph is saying he wants to do 2000m in 8 minutes on his Concept 2 rower – now he’s either super human or his counter is wrong or mine’s wrong because 2000m takes me 17 minutes at 31 strokes per minute, 162 bpm average. It’s only a reference but it sucks. And then, having found the instructions earlier, I read the recovery counter scale. It measures heart rate for a minute after ceasing exercies and scales high to low reading against time for a grade from 1 (very fit) to 6 (very unfit). 3 is fine, 4 below average. I rated a 6. Now if I can do a half marathon in 1.37. I wouldn’t rate myself very fit but what could I do one in if I ever got as far as 1 in the Reebok scale of fitness? A 6 is surely not right though, is it?

It amazes me.

Still, i’ve had a good day, written too long a blog and must now got to bed.


Back to it

This week, i’ll mostly be off work.

Which, as far as dedicated exercise goes, can be taken as both good and bad. Good that yesterday was the first for ages that i’ve had the energy to properly weight train; good that today I went for a proper training style run; good that I also went out (in a fine old fashioned, knuckle-dragging “get your knee down everywhere and anywhere you can, you slacker! style) on the motorbike, despite the good being tempered by getting soaked on the way home, which incidentally was done by the shortest possible route (24 miles) owing to a nail in my back tyre (3 punctures in 5400 miles having been 18 years previously without one. Something’s not right!) and a desire to not have to push; bad because my 16 mile cycling option for exercise isn’t done on auto pilot.

Okay, then. On balance being off work is a great thing.

Still, I couldn’t summon the enthusiasm for the run this morning, so went at my usual after work time, partly out of habit, partly because it works for me and partly because it’ll feel natural when I start to pick thing up in mileage ready for the Royal Parks Half. I think there’s 14 weeks to go, so it’s about time to start, I guess. I’m not going to try and stick to any co-ordinated training plans this time. I seem to be stuck in the above a novice but not intermediate runner capability. I know i’ll get injured or worn out or both if I go for 5 runs a week, know i’ll perform badly if I use a pure novice plan, so have decided to do what I feel to be right in order to enjoy the thing.

If that means not running for a bit, that’s what i’ll do. If it means running more because I feel like it, then so be it – but i’ll keep an eye on both plans to ensure I neither slip under the novice or exceed the intermediate plan in any time period. My difficulty is going to get the balance right for doing a good time. I fancy a sub 1.40 time if I can, but know this will be at the sticky edge of my performance envelope. It corresponds to the equivalent time on McMillan’s running calculator from my poor race in the Ashford 10k last year (felt slack and pace-less), so should be achievable with a good performance on race day, but I just don’t know.

Guess all I can do is try. And today, my 4.2 mile loop was outed at a surprisingly quick 7.15 average pace, so at least I know i’ve got the pace at the moment, albeit for about a third the distance.

It feels nice to be in control of my running, though. After the stick-to-the-programme London plan that went awry to getting fed up with Juneathon, it feels nice to just make it up as I go along. Almost back to the spirit of four years ago when Geoff called the Canterbury half marathon out of the blue when I wasn’t training at all, with 8 weeks to prepare, when a time of 1.48.15 for the hilly course was a miracle of effort over preparation.

I fancy a bit more of the same. Shame it’s with a bit less youth!


Yes, today is bank holiday Monday.

I’ve had a good morning so far (it’s only 10.30), what with a bit of painting, a bit of internet ordering (mmm, getting proficient at that now. Hope it’s appreciated when it arrives. Yep, it’s not for me. Wonder what it is, then.) and a………………………………


Aye, this morning was the day to test my leg. So I had a good warm up, a stretch, a cup of coffee, another warming and stretch, a change and a jog. Out down the road, not the hilly side (I live on hill one side, a slope the other), really nice pace, wondering how far to go. And at just under the half mile, thought it felt a bit tight in the calf area, so checked the Garmin, ran to half a mile and turned around.

The run up the slope was a cautious affair, not wanting to speed up or anything, and I think I managed it.

I feel a bit tight, but no worries at all about things feeling ok.

Just got to decide if i’ll do another short jog today or leave it. And while i’m deciding, it’s time for a bit of knuckle dragging on the two wheeled motorised reason for living that lives in the garage.

What a good start to a day.

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!