Category Archives: Skydiving

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.

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Are we there yet?

It isn’t yet feeling like the halfway point of Janathon has been reached.

Juneathon experience lends me a feeling of dread that the next 5 days, or the second to last weekend if you like, will be the ultimate test of will in heading out the door on roads far too familiar, with legs far too heavy and blogger’s block being far too well experienced to make any of it much fun. It’s simply too many runs to go to consider the halfway hump has been reached.

Leaden legs put paid to ideas of fun for this evening’s jaunt. As I left the drive, my ankles felt like I’d strapped weights to them creating jarring effects through my feet and into my thighs. Very ungainly.

It took about half a mile to come up with a running plan and, as every skydiver knows, without a jump plan things can get confused and messy so why should running be any different. What, no risk of hitting the ground at 120mph? Ah. Details.

The other problem with having no plan is allowing the mind to wander. And tonight, it meandered around my desire to get back in the sky sometime soon tinged with reality that I haven’t the time, dedication or money to pursue it properly again so will probably stay in retirement for a few more years yet. The desire to throw away a good plane will pass as it has since I decided to give it a rest as surely as spring will make the weeds grow. I just need to be patient.

Back to the run proper and my newly hatched plan involved looping Park Farm as many times as necessary to make a run of around 4 miles, so I headed up every cul-de-sac I could find, zipped over the bypass briefly, headed through the middle path and veered off for another lap before running out of energy with about a mile to go before I could get home.

Nasty.

The bit between 2.75 and 3.25 miles  was simply a battle of will to run over will to eat anything near me. My running form disintegrated for a while and I simply loped along before realising that efficiency would see me home best, so I girded my loins (or something else my mum would say in such a circumstance), straightened up, lowered my shoulders, eased my clenched hands and headed for home.

And felt ok all the way there.

Yep, Wednesday 19th was a bit of a struggle but I got here in the end.

Time for some chocolate, I feel.

1920.93 miles to go

Late. Badly late.

So bad, in fact, I think I may have missed a run. But only if I’m sticking to a schedule, so I think it’s ok.

Since Thursday, i’ve been to Bicester to thrash a Porsche 911 and a Ferrari F360 around a bit of a circuit (and got shouted at by the “instructor” for getting the Ferrari sideways – come on…I paid £20 insurance indemnity fee, will never drive a supercar that quick again and was feeling frisky. What’s a man to do! It was good, I was almost in control and no harm was done. Perfect!), been to Folkestone to get wet at the smallest music festival in the world, held on Tarmac but with Gary Numan doing a superb set (never thought i’d say that!), ridden the motorbike, jumped from a plane and developed a huge growth on my chin, the likes of which i’ve not seen outside a fantasy horror make-up studio.

So, been doing stuff, just not running. Which seems bad, until I look and see that I made the decision to half rest my legs last week, so it’s really only been since Thursday. And strangely, today as I started running, my left ankle was playing up again. Not really hurting, just letting me know something was odd.

Still, I had a bad day at work, so escaped to do the shopping and put the run off until about 8 o’clock, so I wasn’t backing out. And despite my chin wobbling as I paced along (yep, it’s that swollen. Even Cathy isn’t really taking the piss. Not much, anyway), I thought i’d go for a nice 3.5 miles.

The jump plane put out a few late skydivers who appeared to be doing some canopy work on the way down and two athletic walkers passed by the opposite way on the lane, but at just over a mile, I decided to cut the run short owing to stomach cramps and an overwhelming desire – no, sorry, need – to do a Paula and have a poo.

Never happened before, but it was amusing in a way, cutting a run short for something so pathetic. Maybe the chin thing is a sign of something being up – i’m going to see what it looks like in the morning and see if it’s a hair, spot gone bad type thing or something for which a doctor visit is needed.

Whatever it is, it wants to clear up a bit sharpish, i’ve got tigers to see on Wednesday and I don’t want to scare them!

Parhelia

Well, this evening I got another of those “don’t disturb me with pathetic rubbish again” looks as I dragged Cathy upstairs to witness one of the rarer cloud light effects I spotted while weight training. She humoured me a little bit and did actually look, seeing a sundog or parhelia effect of the light being diffracted by cirrostratus clouds to create the image of a fake sun. It’s the first time i’ve seen one, I was amazed to have spotted and identified it (my thought was “what’s the sun doing so far north?” before I realised it wasn’t), even more so when I looked it up in one of my cloud books to have it confirmed.

Yes, very sad. Right down to having more than one cloud book. But hey, I like it.

The rest of the day was a cycle to work, cycle home, little bit of weights before I got distracted, then a short 2.5 miles on my aching, tired, worn out, wanting a day off despite the mileage being pathetic legs. Guess the combination of 16 hilly miles a day on the bike and the runs is taking it out of me.

Still, the weekend excites me. Too much to do, but a day working with Geoff should be fun, then Sunday brings the collection of Cathy’s new bike. But not until i’ve jumped the temporary plane at Headcorn – they’re getting a Beech King Air for just over a week while the Caravan is in for checks. Not jumped one before, but 7 minutes to altitude should be fun! Can’t wait and it should be a real race to the ground on my huge canopy…

Nerves

Well, it’s Tuesday which must mean something else can occur in my messed up training plans, and I won’t let you down. But it’s not too bad.

I think.

Following Saturday’s run, all was great. Reasonable weather tempted me out for a ride on the motorbike, which resulted in a rapid cleaning session before my magnificent girlfriend came round, a curry was consumed, lambs observed (complete with umbilical chords still attached…something tells me they were fresh out of the sheep!) Sunday morning and, having got up early-ish, Cathy left  so early, I had time to get to the club and leap from a plane. Fantastic. It was the Islander doing lifts, so only 10,000ft, but still a great laugh, some fine tumbling and a simply marvellous landing. Splendid, I think sums it up.

So today, I awoke to a strange ache in the outside of my left leg – still the shin/calf area, but the other side to “normal”. I say ache, it’s really an ache/pain occasionally. But feels ok in work boots, so an easy day de-snagging did it no real harm.

A sunny Hastings tempted me into a lap of the park, then a lap of the seafront and my pace was surprising, especially considering I stopped for half a minute to massage my leg which, while running at least, was grumbling that the ache could develope into a pain. It didn’t feel bad enough to cut the run short (at no time is the loop more than half a mile from the office), but it wasn’t nice. And after a short weekend and on an easy run, it was frustrating.

Then I walked into the house, stepped up onto the door threshold and it sort of didn’t but sort of collapsed with a wince of “that’s going to hurt so i’ll stop you locking me out before it really does” pain.

Which annoyed me.

I remained calm, however. A beating and subsequent massage were delivered and instantly it felt perfect. Like nothing was wrong. Ever. Only after a while, the same aching sort of pain returned so something might be slightly up.

Very peculiar, not what I want, but nothing to scare me like the shin was 2 weeks ago. I’ll see how it feels before automatically setting off for tomorrow’s run, with my aim focused on Saturday and 20 miles. But it’s very sobering to think all these weeks of preparation are as fragile at this late stage as many, many weeks ago.

Give me a break, will you legs?

Not literally though, eh?

Sun, no rain and many mince pies. Oh, and some energy bars soon to be guest blogged on Planet Veggie. And possibly a mention in the Reading evening post half marathon supplement if the journalist who contacted me gets the article in. That’d be fun. If I ever get hold of a copy!

Fantastic

Feeling tired after the week’s efforts, I went to bed at a silly hour for a Friday, but a sensible hour for what I had planned for today.

And, having looked at the weather, my plans involved a skydive. I just didn’t know whether to go for it early or late.

Well, having decided my legs could do with a half day rest, I went early. Got there about 8.30, name down, called for first lift, but due to a million tandems being briefed, we didn’t walk to the plane until cowboy time. But it was a great start to the day, a few nice chats, a plan for a jump and then a one way flight. Marvellous. My fall consisted of a couple of turns, a couple of flips – one of which I stalled upside down for a second before recovering to stable flight (nice. But strictly not meant to be done. Ah, well. Noone saw me, noone knows, it’s all fun.) Then a couple more turns, a pull and…never before has a slider taken so long to allow a canopy to open. I was just reaching for the rear risers to give them a beating when, a good few seconds after opening, the slider came down and I could get some semblance of control. I even had time to consider how much I didn’t want to chop it away. Faster next time, please!

Still, a smashing flight and landing and it was a rapid pack job, a cycle home, clean the car, have lunch and set off for a lazy 11 miles. I say lazy because I was intent on sticking to my target 8.35 to protect my aching legs. And I did a pretty good job. As well as demonstrating differences in Sport Tracks and Garmin software.

My Garmin says 8.28 average speed. Sport Tracks 8.32. That’s due to the latter recognising I stopped for just under a minute for a wee. Garmin trusted the computer that stopped when I stopped.

So, an 8.32 average for 11 miles, a nice loop including a road I didn’t know existed (within 3 miles of a house i’ve lived in for 8 years – how closed are my eyes?), pretty tired legs, but truly a good day.

And now, I must rush to pick up my fantastic girlfriend from the station. I fear if i’m late to pick her up again, she may never come to visit any more, and that wouldn’t do. That wouldn’t do at all. Not even time to make mince pies, but i’ll do that tomorrow. My last one of the batch today was ace, so i’m keeping to my plan for one a day. And well into February, that’s a good thing.

Chilly

I didn’t want to run this morning.

I think the combination of a pleasant day yesterday, the knowledge that the day was always going to be a rush (no, I can’t do less. Just got to pack it all into a shorter time; they’re the rules. If I didn’t have rules, where would I be? No, not France!) and not being a particular fan of morning runs all conspired to make me less than enthusiastic.

Still, the race preparation must continue and today is the cut-back distance 9 miles, so not too daunting. But maybe that’s part of the trouble – somehow I didn’t feel fired up. And it was cold.

Putting my head out of the back window to feel the temperature, it was hard to convince myself I didn’t need a fleece top, but I settled for a base tee, long sleeve top, tights and hat. And creamed my hands as effective gloves for the chill. Didn’t stop my right wrist complaining, though.

Yes, yesterday was a good day. Waking to blue skies and no wind, I excitedly went to the parachute club, considered downsizing canopy, decided against it since it was windy (the reason to downsize is complicated, but one advantage is more speed, thus more chance of forward movement in winds at altitude) but also 5 weeks since i’d jumped, so I wanted to focus on safety, not technique. And what a result. Going backwards at 2500ft. (I just did turns and track in freefall, nothing fancy), I kept a steady heading on the front risers before turning for the landing field, clearing the runway, and a bit of left brake kept me nicely sideways until I was lined up for a landing at about 300ft. Couldn’t have planned it better.

Smart. So I landed, packed and fucked off home to take the motorbike for a 40 mile spin, whereupon I froze to death.

Which is where my wrist started hurting.

Still, despite a lethargic spot at 5 miles, the pace was what I wanted (no spring in my step, though – it felt like I was pushing all the way) at an average 8.15, which is flattering since, but all but 2 of the miles were in a 10 second group starting at 8.14) and now i’m done and feel fine.

Time now for a shower. And some cheese. And a mince pie. Before far too long in the car. Followed by a partee.

Yippee.