Tag Archives: Running

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.

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


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…

Windy winter warmer for Janathon the 18th.

Cathy won’t let me think about my blog so I’m giving up.

Cold and windy (the weather, not me) I got out mid afternoon, ran 6.5 miles and went home.

It didn’t snow.

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.

Over the ton in Janathon

As promised, today involved a shuffling run with an added air punch.

Or 4.

I glimpsed my Garmin at 3.18 miles having been ignoring it pretty much all the run up until then – icy stretches of country lane demanded attention, stretches were just sheet ice across the road where I couldn’t even run in the gritty/muddy bit in the middle for grip. Well, I say muddy. It’s usually muddy. In the summer it was gritty and dusty for around 2 weeks. Since September it’s been soaking wet splashy mud. The first frosts around December brought thicker mud in to play. The freeze we’re currently in (the site thermometer didn’t rise above minus 2 today and was minus 3 when I finished my plod just after sunset) has seen it freeze hard to create field-like conditions. Made things slower, anyway.

My clothing for the day was a rather old, not at all designed for running fleece which is zipped which allows opening to control heat nicely but is by luck a superb fit. No movement from it at all and not too bulky, but warm enough to make me happy when the run starts. Worn over a t-shirt, it’s about ideal for 4 miles. Today’s 6 was stretching it as I overheated at the end but since I wasn’t up to full temperature until mile 3, that’s fine by me. The drawback is that the sleeves are long and tight and make Garmin watch a focused affair. Hence the glimpse at 3.18.

So sleeve rolled up I awaited 3.25 miles. And punched. Upwards in a really nasty Alan Shearer goal celebration way (without the swerve or baldness, I add. Or bonus cheque. Or mob of men trying to congratulate me a bit too enthusiastically). And felt so self-conscious, I had to check that indeed no-one was around. If they had been, I may now be a murderer. Can’t have witnesses, can we? But since there wasn’t, I repeated the gesture left handed. It felt so wrong, as I knew it would. Which lead to the two following punches, one left and one right in the style of an uppercut. Much more satisfying. The right even induced a hushed “Yesssss!” to know that I’m at least halfway there. Injury might yet put me waaaay over halfway but I’ll not know that unless it happens.

The rest of the run was uneventful. Plenty of little hills, two cars to pause for as I hugged the bank to avoid the risk of them skidding past me, a very sore nose from the cold air and a pathetically slow overall pace. But little increase in leg pain, so all things being equal I’m looking forward to the rest of the month. So long as proper amounts of snow stay away. And if they don’t, I wonder how far I’ll run in either my mountain boots or trail trainers.

Fingers crossed I don’t find out. Dull January would be a good Janathon, to be honest.

Lack of fizz strikes again. Janathon rolls on

I seem to recall this time last year having a little crisis in energy. Or was that last week? Or yesterday?

The cold morning was a nasty affair and to be outside, the wind pulling all heat from any area not completely covered up, more nasty than that. The site meeting was almost a welcome distraction, to be honest. And with most of my trades hiding inside on any operation they could concoct, I wasn’t missing much. The sun showing through the late morning failed to encourage the thermometer above freezing though and a meeting this afternoon made me give up any hope of a daytime outing. Thus it was that a plan without the lanes was to be concocted.

The tiredness in my legs (and that’s throughout them, not in any one area. My achilles tendons are both tight. My calves are weary but don’t surprisingly feel ruined. I guess because I’ve slowed down so much. Which is probably why my achilles are tight if I’m heel-striking a touch. My shins are sore but manageable with massage. My thighs feel heavy and just want a rest. My hamstrings feel just…well, simply tired)  encouraged me to find another easy day but my mind didn’t want the seafront again. So I concocted an easy series of loops up and down flat roads to tick up some miles.

And that’s what I ended up with. None too long that I got bored (indeed I had a memory about virtually everything I passed on the route. 18 years growing up from 7 until I was 25 took me everywhere and up to something. Past my old school; past many, many schoolfriends houses; past the junction where I ran over two students while learning to drive; where I did my turn in the road on my driving test; along the route into town from home on which I still took the same road crossing place purely by instinct, a fact I only realised after I’d crossed. Up a road which I realised I’d actually been in to almost all the houses at one time or another for various birthday parties or similar occasions as I ticked off the front doors and the names of the people I knew once lived there.) but not so short that my plodding pace was endlessly disturbed. I didn’t have energy to accelerate too often.

I was slow but steady. And it’s another Janathon run done. One of those runs (the car thermometer was 2 degrees higher below the hills than on site, so it wasn’t too extremely cold even if 1 degree can’t be described as warm) that I wouldn’t have done without Janathon. One of them that I don’t think I actually benefitted from in the slightest (my breathing rate barely increased). One that made my little toe (rapidly getting sore now) wish for a break. One that probably brought me closer to injury if my leg soreness is a gauge. But a run. And one that brings me tantalisingly close to 100 miles. Which is some flipping landmark, I know.

So come on Janathon, lets see what your second half has in store. Half way through tomorrows run (however far that is…I’ll lay a bet on somewhere around 3.25 miles; I seem to have got 6.5 as the new default) I promise to stop dead in my tracks and celebrate with a most unnecessary air punch. Possibly two, one with each arm. But maybe not…my left handed air punches seem somehow lame and limp. But it will indeed be a nice feeling. If only for the hope of warmer weather somewhere in the future.