Monday, 31 January 2011

Bright (in the) eyes

No. of km done: 90
No. of km to target: 910 
Conditions: Cold but bright
Starting music: Galvanize by the Chemical Brothers
Finishing music: Your Love Alone Is Not Enough by the Manic Street Preachers

Really nice out today - chilly to start with (Met Office says it's a balmy 0°C out just now) but very sunny and picturesque. So sunny in fact, that the light was reflecting off of the ice in the canal and dazzling me. Which most of the time was mildly annoying, but got pretty worrisome when I had to run about an inch from the edge of the water to get round a guy on a bike who was wobbling about quite a lot. When I got past him and looked back, I found out why he was wobbling a lot - he was drinking Special Brew. Of course he could just be very bad at riding a bike, but if that was the case I'm not sure drinking a type of extra-strong lager that even a lot of tramps will turn down for being "a bit rough and downmarket" is going to help much.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Time warp

No. of km done: 82
No. of km to target: 918 
Conditions: Really very cold indeed
Starting music: Party Hard by Andrew W.K.
Finishing music: Fall to Pieces by Razorlight

Here's a weird phenomenon. Today, as usual, I had my Walkman on shuffle. At some point, it obviously got to the end of the list of the 200-odd tracks I have on there and re-shuffled them, and as a result a track I'd had on earlier when I'd been warming up came on while I was at full stride. And because my heart was now beating faster and my internal rhythm was faster, it sounded noticeably slower second time round.

I've had this happen before, and it's very odd. Try it yourself - listen to something (the best stuff to try this with is anything with a fast, loud beat) when just sat down or walking slowly, then have a bit of a jog about and try it again and I bet it'll sound faster the first time than it does the second time, because you perceive the passage of time slightly differently because of your speeded-up metabolism.

I assume if I get fast enough, I'll actually be able to reverse time, but sadly I don't think I'm quite up to that yet :)

P.S. For the benefit of our viewer, the title of the last post was a reference to the Metroid games. No winners this time, but thanks for playing!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Screw attack!

No. of km done: 73
No. of km to target: 927 
Conditions: Wet and grey
Starting music: Amazing by Seal
Finishing music: Love Machine by Arctic Monkeys

Skipped a run yesterday because on Sunday I'd been assembling flat-pack furniture for the nursery and consequently my screwdriver arm (and not, as I almost wrote, my screwing arm), shoulder and back were a bit clicky. But it felt much better today, and ms. junior now has a chest of drawers for when she arrives. For her stuff, that is - we're not going to put her in it.

Avoidance of arm ache aside, it's amazing what an extra days rest between runs does - I felt like I had much more energy today, and indeed did my whole route with only one brief stop halfway, and that was more out of habit and not wanting to push too hard than necessity. Quite pleased my stamina really seems to be improving. It's either that, or extra energy from the biscuits I ate yesterday. And in case it was that, I think it's an excellent reason to buy some more :)

P.S. Bonus prize to anyone who gets the game reference in the title!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Kentucky style

No. of km done: 65
No. of km to target: 935 
Conditions: Sunny and frosty
Starting music: Valerie by Amy Winehouse
Finishing music: To Earth With Love by Gay Dad
St Nicholas park, which I sometimes run round. But not today, obviously - I was taking the picture instead.
Another very nice, but very cold, day. So cold, in fact, I had steam coming out of my hat when I took it off halfway round. There was also ice in the canal again, though not very much. Enough to bewilder a small flotilla of ducks though, who kept bumping into it and couldn't figure out why they suddenly couldn't go forwards anymore.

Noticed while I was out what looked like a large blue patch of blue grass in a field. Turned out to be a combination of a trick of the light and heavy frost, but was quite a good effect though - unfortunately, I didn't have a camera on me and when I went out later the frost had gone and it was all just plain green again. So instead, here's a picture of a fat bloke out walking his dog (and you can't even see the dog - but on the plus side the bloke doesn't look quite as fat as when he walked past me later either).

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

First time for everything

No. of km done: 57
No. of km to target: 943 
Conditions: Sunny but cold
Starting music: Steal my Sunshine by Len
Finishing music: It's Tricky by Run DMC

Not much to report today - ran my less scenic (and hence less interesting in general) road route. Pleasant enough weather, no major aches or pains, and the blister from Monday has thankfully healed over in record time, which is good. Also good is that I managed the furthest I've run since last year without needing a 30-second breather to let my lungs catch up (3 miles), so my stamina finally seems to be coming back after having had the flu. I'd like to get to the stage where I'm running at least one of the three lots of 5 miles a week non-stop, but I don't think it would be a good idea to push myself to try and run all of them non-stop. Even a couple of 30-second breaks makes a huge difference to how tired you feel afterwards and how much wear and tear you put on yourself, and as I've got a long way to go yet I think trying not to get injured so I can keep going in general is more important than trying to knock off big chunks in one go. Besides, it's not like I'm having an hour off and a nice sit-down at the end of every mile.

The post title refers to the one thing of interest I saw today, which was when I ran past a lady with a strange-looking, very small and very nervous grey dog jumping about like crazy on a lead. Only the reason it was strange looking and very nervous was because it was actually a cat! She seemed to be willing to persevere with it, but I don't think it was enjoying itself very much at all!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Blistering pace, and not in a good way

No. of km done: 48
No. of km to target: 952 
Conditions: Fairly sunny
Starting music: More Than a Feeling by Boston
Finishing music: Closer to Fine by The Indigo Girls
That, ladies and gentleman, is what's known as wear and tear. Actually, to be honest it looks worse than it feels and didn't hurt at all while I was out. Might hurt a lot next time I go out though if it hasn't healed up. In the meantime, looks like I'd better go and find the savlon...

Saturday, 15 January 2011

It's not raining!

No. of km done: 40
No. of km to target: 960 
Conditions: Sunny(!)
Starting music: Country Girl by Primal Scream
Finishing music: Rock 'n' Roll Star by Oasis

Wilson is delighted at the prospect of being able to go outside to the loo without getting wet fur and a soggy bum.
MUCH nicer today. Legs still ache a bit because after having the flu at Christmas and 3 weeks more or less doing nothing at all exercise-wise I'm still not back up to full stamina, so I was still a bit dead-limbed by the end, but the addition of some sunshine (and indeed the lack of rain) makes all the difference morale-wise.

Probably should have gone my street route rather than down the towpath, which was quite muddy from all the recent bad weather, but I left the house at around 2.45 and we live near quite a few schools. And as I've learned, you never want to be out running when the kids are leaving school - they fill the pavements, and their parents fill the roads, and it's more of an obstacle course than anything else. Compared to having to run round teenagers snogging, kids throwing backpacks at each other and parking-obsessed mums and dads trying to double-park people carriers and 4X4s in spaces you'd have trouble getting half a mini in, the odd skid on a muddy patch is quite delightful!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Stitched up

No. of km done: 32
No. of km to target: 968 
Conditions: Raining again
Starting music: D.A.R.E. by Gorillaz
Finishing music: Rock Star by N.E.R.D. (Hey, shuffle feature - what's with all the acronym songs???)

Well that was horrible. It's raining yet mild but not mild enough for the rain to not make you cold, so in my protective layers I was too hot but too cold otherwise, and I got a stitch about 5 minutes after setting out which persisted for the whole time I was running. This in turn put me off my stride, made me run to one side a bit so my leg now aches from compensating, and as a result the last mile was a proper, dead-legged plod.

Still, grinding out 5 miles is better than not doing 5 miles at all, so hopefully Friday will be more pleasant. And in the meantime, here's a picture I took a few weeks ago to prove it's not always rainy and wet. Sometimes, it snows too!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Mobile disco

No. of km done: 24
No. of km to target: 976 
Conditions: Overcast
Starting music: Derezzed by Daft Punk
Finishing music: Peaches by P.U.S.A.

Again, no new photo today as it STILL looks pretty much the same, though thankfully a lack of rain over the weekend means the mud has largely dried up. Though in places today it did seem to have been replaced with generous quantities of dog poo. Might just be coincidence, but given the amount I'd guess there are a lot of quite ill dogs in Warwick just now. 

Photo-wise I might actually try and take my iPhone out and take some shots mid-route as that's a lot more scenic anyway than repeated shots of our back garden (well, assuming I don't photograph all the dog crap I mentioned earlier), but at the moment that'd mean just shoving it in my pocket and I'm not sure that's a great idea. I know some people have armbands and use them for music while running, but I'm (un)lucky enough to have ears that normal earbuds fall out of at the least little tug. Which is why I have one of these, and it's fantastic:

Prior to that, I had to either wear massive DJ-type headphones or literally sellotape the cable to the inside of whatever t-shirt I was wearing while out running. Neither of which were particularly great solutions for obvious reasons. I'd highly recommend the Walkman to anyone from casual joggers to serious runners though - it's light, the sound quality is good, it has no cables to get in the way anywhere, it stays firmly in your ears all the time and it has a battery that last for ages.

And should you be reading this and you happen to work for Sony, I'd be delighted to get an upgrade to this year's model in exchange for the plug (well, worth a try!).

Friday, 7 January 2011

Well at least it wasn't as cold.

No. of km done: 16
No. of km to target: 984 
Conditions: Very wet
Starting music: Steve McQueen by The Automatic
Finishing music: When the Morning Comes by OK Go!

No new photo today, largely because you'd be hard pushed to tell the difference from Wednesday other than it being a bit greyer and a bit darker (admittedly I went out a bit later today, but much of the darkness is due to the lousy weather). Pretty dismal, but on the positive side that's my first 10k passed. Just another 99 to go!

Found out my new running tops are very absorbent. Which is excellent if you're just sweating into them. Less so if it's mainly wicking up rain. I think by the end I'd put on about half a stone in liquid and may as well have been wearing a denim jacket. And the forecast for Monday? Heavy rain. Whee!

Gives me a lot more sympathy for sheep. I'm surprised farmers aren't forever having to dig their legs out after their wool absorbs a load of rain and triples their weight. No wonder Dolly had arthritis! (Science nerd joke)

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Not quite the start I'd hoped for...

No. of km done: 8
No. of km to target: 992 
Conditions: Soggy and cold
Starting music: Ecuador by Sash!
Finishing music: Orange Crush (live) by R.E.M.

The look of mild shock is the camera flash capturing me just as I was about to go back and check the timer was working.

Well I'm off the mark, but I had been hoping for something marginally less vile weather-wise. While I don't mind the cold, cold AND wet is very unpleasant, and leads to what I refer to as "runner's foot". Which is a poncy way of saying damp socks. Plus this was my first run of any distance for a couple of weeks after having the flu - and that's proper hacking cough, days in bed going bonkers with a fever flu, none of that feeble "oh, I can laugh it off with a few tablets" malarkey you get on Lemsip adverts. All that said though, it wasn't too bad and somewhat miraculously I don't feel completely ruined.

Amazingly, there were still huge chunks of ice in the canal (I run down the side of the Warwick section of the Grand Union Canal) even though it has been above freezing for a good week or so now. No ice on the towpath though - just mud, which I liberally transferred to the backs of my legs. Just as well I wasn't wearing my pale grey shorts, as I may have made it appear like I'd had a rather appalling lavatorial incident.

More on Friday!

The weather, as viewed from our house. What you can't see is the delightful stream of drizzle.