Category Archives: Rainfall

A little easy on the legs

After my soaking yesterday it was with frustration that the precipitation assaulted my windscreen on the way home. But on arrival it had eased Off so I headed straight out for a plod.
My intended loop was swapped for a looping out and back and the distance teased up to 4 miles. My legs felt easy enough that I wasn’t worried about tomorrow despite recent short, infrequent runs.
More worrying is whether i’ll put the bike in the car for an off road swamp wrestle in the rain tomorrow.
11mm of rain. 148, 100, 50.

Shut up and Run

‘Twas Shut Up and Dance who created an epic rave anthem “I’m Raving” and today it’s close. Well, it’s raining at least.
Janathon has started, I’m wet, the roof’s leaking but this is being posted via the app on my phone so something is easier about the month.
Targets? For the year – 150 runs, 100 weights sessions, 50 quality cycle rides (5 ish miles minimum but loads of stunting might count if it’s good session), which means 149, 100, 50 to go.
3.25 miles today. I fancy 100 for the month.

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.

Icy underfoot – Janathon gets tough.

At one stage today, despite the overall quantity of white stuff having fallen over Ashford not yet covering the lawn to full grass-blade depth, I found myself running (almost) at 8.23 pace for a mile into a biting wind, uphill, on ice. I felt and probably looked as graceful as a pig on stilts. But, much like a porcine hero, I remained right-side up. One step forwards, several inches back, I think was the mantra.

On the run overall, that was my main bad decision. We haven’t had enough snow to warrant heading out in my trail shoes yet, least of all these gorgeous offerings from New Balance

DSC00201

I’m presuming that we won’t be lucky enough to have that much, but I’m ready. I’m itching to get back on the trail routes – my old shoes have loads of life in them, perfect to use while I get used to these New Balance offerings which are the minimal range – there’s nothing to them, including cushioning! The box advises 10% of your normal distance to get used to them and work it up over time so I’ll be wearing them in cautiously, but around the house and a quick sprint up the garden and they feel good – I’m excited to give them a go. But not unless it’s either properly white on the roads and there’s something for them to bite into, or the fields thaw. Unforgiving is the brief at the moment, I think.

So my route today was fine around the main lanes. One of the larger routes (that’s a relative term, by the way. A few cars an hour rather than a few a day for my favourite roads) hadn’t been treated at all so was mainly well compacted snow and ice with no option but to stay on it or run in the ditch alongside; the rest were clear and wide enough to pass a car without hedge- dodging. The worst was my linking and favourite road on the route which was largely untracked by vehicles, so for me was fine in offering virgin snow up the middle to gain grip.

The other change today was wearing a new pair of tights and new long-sleeve top. Again, I’ve put my trust in New Balance – my three year old top of theirs is still my favourite; the new one feels just as good and performed superbly today. I’ve not had NB tights before and these feel good – a proper lace type draw-string and a flash of red for some style on my wafer thin legs lifts them visually; they seemed cool to start compared to my favourite Adidas offerings but immediately became forgotten for the rest of the run and were dry and warm once home. I declare them perfect.

So another Janathon run done. I’m worried one of the last runs will be lost due to the weather but have my first leg niggling-worry type thing developing so am not about to up mileage to potentially compensate – my right shin is getting quite sore on the inside bit that flared up after last Janathon. I’m managing it with hard massage, but it’s a worry. I don’t want to fuck up February and beyond any more than I want to miss my Janathon target.

Hmm, it might yet get tense and exciting as we come through the second to last week…

An odd day to have a foot in shit. Janathon day 17.

Life’s great, the way it offers surprises to alter a day. Waking up I wondered what sort of experiences I’d have. I’d rather not have found out one of them, at least.

This morning was unremarkable except for my fury at my labourer for sitting in a traffic jam for 2 hours, updating the entire site with what was occurring around him (nothing, mainly. He was sat on a road between several other idiots) until I found out and suggested he turned around and came to work a different way. Especially since we were paying for his fuel. And his truck. 20 minutes later he arrived. Prick.

Just before lunch I was hunting for drain fittings I was sure I’d ordered and, having just found them, caught a smell of drain. Not known for my sense of smell I looked down the manhole damaged by the roadworks gang 4 months ago (not worth repairing it yet) and saw it was blocked. Turning around I saw, along with the forklift driver, a veritable of sea of excrement. The next manhole in line had lifted it’s lid with hydraulic pressure and the shit was about 10 feet all around it. Getting the driver to obtain some drain rods while I opened the fence, I obtained a plank to make a way to the chamber to rod it (or at least see if the blockage was there and not off site). When he got back I approached the brickwork and didn’t think. Simply didn’t engage my brain that we’d left the backfilling of the manhole until after the last connection. Before I could stop myself I stepped from the plank onto not the brickwork structure for which I should have aimed but just before it. Into a knee deep cesspit of shit. Other peoples (the drain serves our site and the row of 14 houses alongside it) shit. Straight down my boot, filling it up. Just short of my coat; thankfully I kept my balance as I started laughing.

Finding the blockage was easy. Knowing my feet were surrounded by turds less so. A hasty retreat to wash myself was undertaken. Trousers changed for the pair I drive to work in. Boots thrown away (I’ll never wash them out well enough. Might as well not bother). Feet washed (before changing) in an outside tap. That was cold. Legs washed in the site sinks. Socks disposed of and swapped for my running socks – the first truly excellent thing Janathon has done for me! The worst bit was actually having to buy fuel on the way home. In my black trousers, black shoes and white socks. If there had been a nightclub around I’d have had 40 year-old stereotype written all over me. I wanted a sign to excuse my sartorial inelegance. I just had to put up with shame.

Once washed, though, my feet seemed to burn with heat. Nice, considering it was still freezing outside.

Once settled down and fed, it was time to go for a jog. And since the sun had reappeared, what better route than yesterday’s countryside and frozen lane run backwards. That’s as in the reverse route, not running backwards. Not even Janathon will make me do that.

I had a veritable spring in my step but the uphills really hurt my thighs. Definitely a sign of fatigue as the miles pile up. Still a bit better than yesterday though. Maybe swapping my fleece for a running top and hi-vis was a good bet; I was worried I’d still be out as it got dark as well as hoping the extra nylon layer might be about right for temperature maintenance. It didn’t get dark and all but my hands stayed warm. Nice.

No rain today. Nor snow. Fingers crossed things stay that way.

More effort equalled more reward – A frosty Janathon

Opportunity for a trip out from work was zero today. A full on morning preceeded a busy afternoon and I fear that’s what will occur tomorrow with site meetings and snagging after. The extra time made me more reluctant to run the worse the weather got.

A dusting of white stuff lead to a flurry or two more as the temperature hovered around freezing this morning but some bright spells made me itch to get out before lunch despite the wind being a bit raw. The promise of warmer temperatures looked slim as the cloud closed in and steady rain started after lunch. Giving up on a jog on the lanes the seafront looked like a promising plan b.

Only to be scuppered by the steady rain become more steady; bloody steady for an hour or so, starting at 4. So steady it needed full wipers and slow speeds as I sacked off the seafront and headed home, my heart sinking with every mile I got closer to home and the thought of a doom filled couple of laps of the local estates. I’ve avoided them so far this Janathon for a reason. I hate them, even if they are easy miles.

But as the temperature on the car display rose to 4 before dropping to 2, so the rain eased until it was but a steady torrent as I carried the dustbin up the drive. So in I went, changed I got and on with two plasters I dressed. Yep, despite my avoidance of rain coats for running in normal situations, cold wet runs make me reach for it. And in turn (it being cheap and crap), so I don plasters onto my nipples to stop the carefully designed chest seam rubbing me raw within a mile. At least I know that I’ll be warm, if only through friction.

And a plan to avoid the estates had been hatched. A full loop of the town centre was planned instead. An uninspiring two miles to get there, maybe, but it’s a route that fools the mind into forgetting it’s been travelled. A few landmarks split the route until the petrol station at two miles leads to the bridge over the railway and the start of the proper run.

As long as I’ve lived here I’ve not before simply looped the town. Heavily trafficked, I passed the closed Blockbuster video shop. The closed Pizza Hut. The closed hairdresser. The closed pub. All that was thriving was Fitness First. Inside, many pairs of well muscled men appeared to be gazing lovingly at each other, one of each partnership apparently lifting a weight, while several other brightly clad human forms appeared to be walking on treadmills. Very curious and thankfully all taken in while I ambled past at my steady trot. Dressed in grey and black and puffed out I definitely wouldn’t fit in. I may have to employ JB to watch me in the conservatory while I do my weights in future, too, if that’s the fashion. Not sure how you train while laughing self-consciously about the absurdity of being watched but there must be something in it for so many others to be at it, as it were. Maybe it only works if you wear too-tight shorts and a vest designed for a small child. I’ll never know.

As I passed the bottom of town I glanced my Garmin and realised I’d be around a mile short on target distance and was feeling tired but fine for an extended outing having got this far (if the white stuff does ever arrive I don’t want to fritter my miles just because of a bit of rain and cold), so I looped up the high street to see the closed tool shop, the closed…oh, you get the idea. Ashford isn’t doing too well in the retail stakes, it seems. Wonder where everyone will go when the town closes after they build another 7,500 houses here over the next planning strategy period? The loop also brought about my first loss of concentration culminating in a wet foot as I found a loose cobble filled with water. Bah.

But it was diverting and fun enough. A lap of the railway station and the underpass to add a little loop brought me right back to the two mile to go petrol station and nothing else much bothered my straggling mind. I had to tell a cyclist to keep pedalling on the narrow path by Ram Jams the hairdresser (which has been where it is in the most unlikely spot for a hair stylist with the oddest name out there ever since I’ve been visiting the town, which started in 1988. No parking, nothing near except a car spares shop [another oddity that survives selling batteries, wiper blades and number plates; much the same window full of stuff that’s been on display again as long as I remember. Just like car spares shops used to be before they all became chains. Halfords is just around the corner. And just as shit as it’s always been. Maybe that’s the secret.]; I presume it must do a fantastic job to keep going) since he was slowing me up but then I rolled in the last bit and was home.

Warmed up at last, straight into the shower, happy another 10k has been outed (plus a bit spare) and hoping for warmth in April.

Heatwave tomorrow? 4.5mm rain today.