Posts Tagged ‘running playlist

10
Oct
10

royal parks half: race report – the older I get, the better I was

Just back from this year’s Royal Parks Half Marathon. Anyone who wants a full race report can look here as this is the third time I have run this race and, as the course and much of the logistics of the day are the same as previous years, I won’t bore you with the details. Having said that, it is still one of my favourite races and this one was no exception.
This was the first year that I have run it without Hauling My Carcass, although I wasn’t entirely alone as my friend Dianne (author of the “Juneathon-Only” running blog Hotshoeshuffle) was also running today so we decided to keep each other company pre & post race. It was overcast and a little misty whilst waiting for the start and I did feel a bit of a tit wearing sunglasses but the Met Office had forecast that it would be sunny by 10.30 so I was just, like a good boy scout, being prepared.
Unusually for me, I’d also prepared a race playlist on the MP3 player, even going so far as to predict how long it would take me to complete and picking a slower, more relaxing track for around 7 miles before cueing up all kinds of insanity for the second half where I knew I’d need something with a bit of aggression to keep me going.
It took me longer than normal to get through the start this year (nearly 6 minutes as opposed to about 2 mins on previous years) but once on the course it seemed to thin out quickly. Running through Admiralty Arch then out over Westminster Bridge before turning and coming back straight towards the Houses of Parliament & Big Ben is still exhilirating and, as it occurs at the beginning of the race, I was able to take it all in and enjoy it. As I did with the run down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace. It was only once I re-entered the Parks that I really just zoned out and ran. I was oblivious to everything except the ground about 5 metres in front of me and the music. Which sounds like I was struggling but I really wasn’t… just maintaining. 10k was ticked off in just under 56 minutes and then 10 miles passed at 1:33. And it was only at the 10 mile mark that I began to start to want it to finish. There are a few uphill gradients through the park and they had begun to take their toll. So I just pushed on. It was clear by about 12 miles that the sub 2hr time I wanted was not going to happen but I was just happy to be nearing the end and kept going. The last 1000 meters is a horrible, long, optical illusion as it is a straight road to the finish which is visible long before it is sprintable and therefore feels like you’re never going to get there. Each time you look up and expect it to appear closer and yet it still looks as far away as it did a minute ago.
I crossed the line in 2:05:06 and, although it was 5 minutes and 7 seconds slower than I was aiming for, I wasn’t disappointed. The last 3 miles had beaten me and I know that with a bit more preparation, I could have finished quicker. Although, the first 10k felt easy so I am confident that with a bit of work, a new 10k pb is possible (sub-55mins). And it may even be a barefoot 10k as I think the next 10k I tackle will be in the VFF’s (weather permitting).

Incidentally, Ms. Hotshoeshuffle ran a blinder and finished in 1:55. Ooh, and there is a new “leaf-shaped” medal,too!

As I ran towards Buckingham Palace earlier today, this is what was on the MP3 player…

Soundtrack to this post: Gallows – London Is The Reason

12
Oct
09

royal parks half race report

Parklife – You Can’t, You Won’t And You Don’t Stop – The Nicest Pizza In The World

There was no-one on this train last year… just me, hunched in my seat, hood up, pretending I wasn’t on a train at just after 7am on a Sunday morning and about to run 13.1 miles in a couple of hours. This year there are at least 4 of us ( the tell-tale chip on the laces of the trainers marks us all out as members of this peculiar club) who get on at my stop and our ranks grow with every station visited. By Finsbury Park, we are about 30 strong and we march down to the tube. The first tube to arrive is so packed with runners, I cannot get on, so wait for the next, which is less packed but still predominantly runners with a few bemused civillians.
Leaving the tube at Hyde Park, I am delighted to find it drizzling mildly, and make my way with the rest of the be-trainered towards Hyde Park. Meeting up with Hauling My Carcass, who looks decidedly unhappy about standing in a damp London park a little after 8am on Sunday. Niceties exchanged, portaloo visited and then throw our stuff into our bags, dump them at the bag check and then loiter around until about 9.10 am when we funnel into our starting positions. Last year, we tried to position ourselves so that we were in the shadow of a tall block of flats near the start – it was hot and sunny and we were trying to stay in the shade. Today by comparison, was damp and a bit overcast – good conditions for a Half Marathon but not for standing around beforehand.
We were underway quite quickly and the throng soon spread out allowing us all to settle into our respective paces. I wanted to cover the first few miles between 8.30 – 8.50 pace and came through the first mile maker at around 8.47 mins per mile. the Garmin telling me that the mile marker was 1.15 miles in so reckoned that I was about where I needed to be. Hauling My Carcass was within 10 feet of me at all times and I was feeling relaxed and confident. All was well until I reached the 4 mile marker when a warm tingle started to make itself known beneath my left knee. I knew the feeling immediately as I had had the same thing happen during my training for last years Royal Parks. Oddly, it had not reappeared in over a year but had decided to rear it’s ugly head again. I tried to ignore it but knew what was probably going to happen next. The warm numbness begins to spread from just below the knee, down the front of my shin and into my foot. The whole of the bottom of my leg then goes numb and it becomes difficult to run as I can’t gauge at what point my foot is striking the floor. Suddenly, I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to walk to see if the feeling came back but knew that if I stopped, it would be hard to start again. So I delivered myself an ultimatum… I would continue to run. I would not stop… I could slow a little to see if that helped but stopping was out of the question. If I stopped all manner of bad stuff would happen to me – and I would not allow myself to meet up with iliketocount and Jogblog for pizza afterwards. So now, with my new found incentives, I pushed on to mile 6 where the numbness started to subside. I was beginning to feel confident about completing the race but knew that I had lost between 2 and 3 minutes over the preceeding few miles and sub 2hrs was going to be almost impossible to acheive. I was still feeling pretty good around seven and a half miles when I was passed by a man dressed as a dalmation. The mp3 player was brought in to play at this point and the last 6 miles was run to the sound of The Prodigy, Crystal Method and the Run Lola Run soundtrack.
The last 5 miles are hard as they snake through Hyde Park, switching back on themselves and the last three quarters of a mile are psychologically hard – you know you’re close but there is an incline up the first part of the finishing straight and as you reach the brow the finish is off in the distance. And you run… and run… and run and the finish line doesn’t seem to get any closer.
And then it is closer. And you’re nearly there. And you cross the line in 2:02:44 and come to a gradual stop. And then feel dizzy and go over to the railings and hang on. And the nice man from St Johns Ambulance comes over and asks if you’re alright and you lie and say yes.

Hauling My Carcass got a pb and I didn’t walk. Result.

Bags collected and warm dry clothes exchanged for cold, damp sweaty ones, hook up with HMC’s LG and it was off to meet Shaun and Cathy. Shaun, it turns out, ran a blinder and you can read about here. A couple of drinks in a little pub a few hundred yards from Knightsbridge and then we all went for pizza. It was a great way to celebrate and we chatted and ate and drank for a very enjoyable couple of hours.

The Royal Parks Half is a great race. Roughly a 50/50 split between the street and sights of London Town and through the Parks. It’s well organised, plenty of loos, efficient bag stash and a food festival too. I will almost definitely be back next year.

Soundtrack to this post: Dark Entries – Bauhaus

22
May
09

our little secret

Bowing To Peer Pressure – The 10k Playlist

It took some thought and a little bit of tweeking but this is the playlist that accompanied me last week on the Wheathampstead 10k and will accompany me on Monday when I tackle the BUPA 10k with Hauling My Carcass. Click on the songs to hear (and see – sorry about some of the videos!) them for yourselves.

THE EATINGTREES 10K PLAYLIST

The first 5 tracks are just tunes that put me in a good mood and bring a smile to my face whenever I hear them.

James Brown – I Got You (I Feel Good) – What better way to start??

MSTRKRFT – Element Of Danger – And into the second kilometre with a bit of twisted disco. It even has cowbells on it. Nice!

Marc Bolan & T Rex – 20th Century Boy
– The sound of my childhood…

The Cramps – What’s Inside A Girl? – Always brings a smile to my face and is just the right tempo to run to.

The Specials – Gangsters – My mis-spent youth (sigh!)

From here, I’ve put in a few uptempo and harsher sounding tracks to stop me from getting complacent

Killing Joke – Tension

The Horrors – Sheena Is A Parasite – Like a shot of espresso (mmmmm!), at 1 minute 42 seconds, this may be small but packs a punch.

Crystal Method – Weapons Of Mad Distortion

This (all things being well) is my halfway point. The next 2 tracks are fairly quick in tempo. I know that if I can run to the beat, I will have picked up the pace slightly and this is where I need to be for the next few kms

Asian Dub Foundation – Flyover

Kosheen – Hide You

Once again, a few more aggressive sounding tunes to keep the adrenaline going and hopefully me on track

Rage Against The Machine – Pistol Grip Pump

Slayer – Threshold – the testosterone literally drips from this track and it always makes me chuckle and pick up the pace

The Prodigy – One Man Army

By now, the end of the race should be no more than 10 – 15 mins away so treat myself to a couple of guilty pleasures.

The Meters – Just Kissed My Baby – This is the funkiest track ever recorded. Ever. End of.

Reel 2 Real – I Like To Move It – I know, I know… Just don’t tell anyone about it, OK?

The finishers…

U2 – Elevation – My two sons (aged 3 and 7) have cultivated a strange fondness for the works of Bono and Co. This reminds me of my boys and is suitably uplifting.

Sam & Dave – Soul Man – If, by this point, I haven’t already finished, this should give me the necessary push to get me over the line.

13
May
09

cramming it in

Housewife Superstar – Do You Want Fries With That -  Earcandy

It has been almost a week since my last post and it has been a hectic one. Mrs eatingtrees flew to Italy at stupid o’clock on Saturday morning leaving me, SonNumberOne & SonNumberTwo to fend for ourselves for 3 and a half days. My first mistake was then to arrange a barbecue at mine on Sunday, which effectively took up my whole day meaning that I was then constantly trying to catch up with all the other things that should have been done. Between dropping children at activities, cooking, cleaning, bathing, homework, playing games etc. I found myself hitting the sofa each night and promptly dozing off, waking only to get up and go to bed. The few days alone with the kids has left me with a profund respect for any single parent who manages to raise two children and stay sane and also a pile of ironing so tall it has snow on the top.

Still, I managed to get in a 10km training run on Friday and another today. Neither of which were particularly good times although todays time (59mins 58secs) was skewed slightly by an emergency stop. Morrisey sang “Meat Is Murder” but does accidentally swallowing a fly whilst running qualify as…  Manslaughter? So, once the realisation of what had happened dawned on me, I tried to do the decent thing by trying to retreive said insect by hacking and generally making like John Lydon in his heyday. Once I had worked out that this was never going to work, I resigned myself to the fact that I would just have to settle for a swig of my drink to wash it down. Or I could have tried to find a spider to swallow…

I have a few days left before the Wheathampstead 10k on Sunday and will try and get a couple more runs in before then. I am finding it hard to stay motivated at the moment and 10k is about all I can bring myself to do. Hopefully, having been inspired by so much talk of running playlists recently, my newly created and tweaked 10k playlist should help me get back on track. Today was it’s first outing and after a few finishing touches earlier, I think it is just about there. I shall try it out again later in the week and also during the race on Sunday and then maybe, just maybe, share it with you.

The past week or so has been pretty crammed with music as, in addition to seeing Killing Joke last week, I also bought the new Horrors album Primary Colours and it is very, very good. I was also lucky enough to get a ticket to see The Specials so last night I took  my place with many other middle aged men at the Brixton Academy to witness their reunion tour. To be honest, I didn’t expect much but they were on top form. The band were tight and energetic (for a bunch of old fellas) and had the whole place completely in awe. I would be very surprised if anybody walked away from there last night failing to be impressed. Then, this morning, Mr Postman delivers my copy of the new Gallows album, Grey Britain. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it all yet but the first few tracks are very promising. If you think you may enjoy a bunch of horrible little oiks from Watford making an aggressive, punky racket, you could do a lot worse than this.

Soundtrack to this post: Uptown Top Ranking – Althea and Donna

07
May
09

not much running

I’m In The Wrong Business – Revenge Of The Luddite – Music Music Everywhere

Tuesday was my appointment with the specialist. It started sensibly enough with him getting me to describe the pain I’d had in my neck, shoulder and arms and then suggested that I get an x-ray – y’know… as a precaution. So I trundle off down the corridor and see a very nice lady who gets me to stand very still and then hurrys off into her little radiation proof box and then turns me round and hurrys off again into her bunker and then gives me a disc containing 2 x-rays and then I sit back in the waiting room and then the specialist calls me back in and looks at the x-ray for,oooh, maybe 15 seconds and then says there is a common abnormality at C5 and C6 and that I need an MRI scan and that my x-ray has just cost £135.00. So, £135 for an x-ray (only a precaution, mind) and the nice lady only got my neck and shoulders in otherwise I could have used it as a very cool but expensive Facebook profile picture. So on the way home, I call the MRI scan people and say I need an MRI scan on my cervical spine and am told it will be (worst case scenario) £735.00. And suddenly the pain in my neck doesn’t seem quite so bad but I have a terrible stabbing pain in my wallet…

So I ring my doctor and he says he can refer me for an MRI but it may take a few weeks. I then do a quick calculation and work out that even if I have to wait 2 months and eat ibuprofen and paracetamol morning, noon and night for the duration, I still don’t get near £700+ so decide that now I know I am not about to keel over and die, I’ll wait for my MRI.

As I was very good on my last run and came in under 1 hour for my 10km and didn’t stop, I rewarded myself with a trip to Heaven last night to see Killing Joke. They did not disappoint but the surprise of the night was a friend of mine arriving on a beautiful Specialized single speed bike which I instantly fell in love with. It is fantastically uncluttered as it has no gears, therefore no extra sprockets, no derailleur, no back brake cable as it has a fixed wheel and is about as simple a push bike as you can get. Obviously, only having one “gear” it does make it less practical for actually riding but it is very lovely. Which got me thinking… singlespeed pushbikes are considered very cool amongst a particular section of the cycling community despite (or perhaps because of) their slight impracticality. I wonder if someone were to invent the running clog (no unsightly laces, no flexible sole just 1 block of beautiful ergonomically carved wood), would the hipper members of the running community fall head over heels in love with it????

Hauling My Carcass has bitten the bullet and revealed most of the contents of his meticulously compiled running playlist (read about it here) and, a few weeks ago, Anna was daring people to come out and list their favourite running tunes. Both of which have prompted me to finally get round to creating a proper running playlist as opposed to a bunch of tracks on shuffle on my mp3 player. I have a good idea of what I consider to be my “ultimate” running playlist in my “minds I-Pod” but will experiment a bit and try it out on a few practice runs before deciding whether to pluck up courage and share it with you. I need to get busy though as I have a 10km in little over a week and think that the correct playlist for a relatively short distance could make all the difference.

Soundtrack to this post: Sea Within A Sea – The Horrors




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