Posts Tagged ‘Crisis Square Mile Run


juneathon day 9: crisis square mile race

Firstly, apologies for the late posting of this as I didn’t get back from the race in time to post it last night. Secondly, this will be a fairly abridged version as I am crobarring this into the small piece of time available before starting work.
Yesterday evening was the Crisis Square Mile Run and pre-race I’d arranged to meet up with Hauling My Carcass (who had entered the race on my recommendation after I’d ran it last year), iliketocount and JogBlog. It is an unusual race in as much as it is organised and marshalled but the streets are not closed. It is over a weird distance (6.71km by my Garmin) and everyone is given a red “Crisis” t-shirt to wear for the race. As Crisis is a charity for the homeless, this year, prior to the race start, everyone was asked to wear their red t-shirt and lie down in Paternoster Square for a photo to raise awareness of the number of people sleeping rough on London’s streets. Once the photograph was completed, the race started on time (7pm) and we were off.
I’ll possibly write a better, more descriptive race report when there is more time, but the course hugs the Thames, crossing it 4 times, taking in North and South Bank and then finishes on the North side of the Millenium footbridge. It is fun to run because of the organised chaos of picking your way through the civilians going about their business and, whilst running, knowing that you are part of this vast red stream of runners meandering through the capital.
I, once again, ran the race in the Vibrams which, for me, only added to the atmosphere: The VFF’s make me feel like a kid again – running for the hell of it. So once the starters klaxon sounded, I was off – taking a leaf from the the kids in SonNumberOnes cross country the other day – head down, smiling and giving it all I had. I just ran as fast as I could for the duration. Smiling all the way. I finished the 6.71km in 31:43. A very respectable time for me. But the most important bit was that it just felt brilliant – not effortless, but FUN.
We all reconvened at the finish, said goodbye to HMC who was off home and then iliketocount, JogBlog and I went for pizza. Very nice pizza. A fitting end to a fine evening.
So, another day of Juneathon done, another satisfying race (that’s 2 in a row now…) and another run that just left me feeling so much better at the finish than at the start.
Now my only problem is to find the time for today’s run…


juneathon day 7: reviving an ancient tradition

This is the third Juneathon that I have participated in. It almost has a life of it’s own and there does seem to be a pattern, a narrative arc if you will, that emerges year after year. I have yet to hit the “Juneathon Low” that tends to come around day 10-15 that seems to arise from having no rest days and forcing knackered limbs and psyches to get out and run but today did see one great tradition return.
Free time was a little thin on the ground, and despite working from home, I still had to get creative to find a way to squeeze in todays run. Pre-work was out of the question after last nights run and post work too would prove difficult as Mrs eatingtrees was out and I was on parenting detail. So it came to pass that the Great Juneathon Tradition Of Turning A Necessary Trip Into A Juneathon Activity took place. I needed to get a letter posted so ran to the post box before lunch, posted the letter and the continued on for another 7kms to complete my Juneathon commitment for the day – 7.26kms in total and once again running in the VFF’s. The Vibrams are beginning to take on a personality (and a smell) of their own and may need to be introduced to Mr Washing Machine very, very soon. My feet are, once again, beginning to niggle and ache so tomorrow may well be a day of cycling as I have the Crisis Square Mile Run on Thursday and I’ve no desire to run that on destroyed legs and feet. Not that I’m planning to run it particularly fast but… it is a race after all… and I have a time to beat from last year… and you know how competitive us boys can get.


Crisis and aftermath

Todays run was a hasty and joyless affair. I got held up a little after work so arrived home late and was potentially going to miss the France / Uruguay World Cup game unless… I threw all the motorbike gear off, dragged on a t-shirt, shorts, trainers and the Garmin and immediately went back out of the door for this evenings Juneathoning. 5.2kms at a steady, heavy legged pace of 30:01. And I only missed the first 15 minutes of the football.
In stark contrast, yesterdays Crisis Square Mile Run was a joy. A few of us had arranged to meet up prior to the race: Myself, Jogblog and Fitartist were racing, ably assisted by iliketocount and Gary who were there to offer moral support, be the official ET/JB/FA team photographers and act as bag looker-afterers. Once we’d all identified each other amongst the masses of Crisis red t-shirts assembled in Paternoster Square, Garmins were switched on and then looked at impatiently while they each seemed to take an age to get a signal. With a couple of minutes to spare, all 3 of us got a satellite signal and we joined the gaggle of assembled runners near the start.
Once the race begins, it’s everyone for themsleves as the course starts along a series of City backstreets, twisting it’s way towards the Millenium Bridge, where it veers off westward under the bridge and along the bank of the Thames. Up until the first kilometre marker is a slow affair, some run-walking, some jogging on the spot as 2,000 or so runners all in red race t-shirts try to squeeze their way through narrow pathways. It took me 7:02 to complete the first kilometre so it came as a relief when a few metres later the course switches back on itself onto wider pathways and I was able to begin to run and pick my way through the sea of red.
One of the things I enjoyed most about the race is the vague anarchic nature of the event. It is very well organised but dressing 2,000 runners in red t-shirts and sending them off to terrify commuters and tourists along the Thames and through the city feels more like a surreal, high speed protest than a race. That coupled with the well documented vagueness of the length of the race (is it 4 miles? 6km? 6.5km? Who knows!!!) only adds to the sense of adventure.
The route winds it’s way around the Thames, crossing the river and heading through the South Bank before crossing back over and, after a few tantalisigly close encounters with the Millenium Bridge, finshes at the far end of the bridge itself. I was having really enjoyable run, I’d lost Fitartist and Jogblog within about 500 metres of the start so just concentrated on enjoying the run. I was feeling surprisingly light-footed so just kept on at a good pace. It felt quite fluid and I haven’t had so much fun just running for the hell of it for a long time. At about 5.5kms, I though I must be nearing the finish so upped the pace. 6kms, then 6.5kms and the finish was nowhere in sight so kept the pace up. At 7kms I got to the Millenium bridge and just hoped the finish was where I though it should be as I couldn’t keep the pace for much longer. It isn’t until you reach the apex of the bridge that you can actually see the finish so the final few hundred metres is aided by the slight downward slope towrds the finish line. I’d enjoyed the run so much I still found the energy to put in a final sprint and crossed the line in 38:40 – a distance of 7.3km.
I made my way back to meet up with Gary and iliketocount who were taking photos near the finish. Unfortunately, Fitartist was not too far behind me so I missed her crossing the line. But Jogblog finished not long after and once we’d sorted ourselves out, we went for post-race drinks and pizza.
I can honestly say, I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. It was really nice to meet the others, I had a great race, and the pizza afterwards was the icing on the cake.
This morning I was absolutely knackered when my alarm went off, but dragged myself to work where I had a spare 5 minutes to calculate last nights pace. It worked out at 5:17 per km / 8:31 per mile. Although if you disregard the stuttering first kilometre, my pace for the remaining 6.3km was 5:01 per km / 8:05 per mile. This, for me, is fast. Possibly faster than I’ve run all this year so I spent the rest of the day with a big, silly grin on my face.

As we were walking away from the race yesterday, Jogblog said, “So… same again next year?”


Juneathon so far: Run – 69.3kms / Cycle – 12.6kms


cutting it fine

Crisis Square Mile Run.
Jogblog, FitArtist, Me.
7.3kms felt fast
Lost FitArtist (Sorry, Adele!!)
Pizza after.
Full post tomorrow.

Juneathon so far: Run – 64.1kms / Cycle – 12.6kms


pre-crisis crisis

It started so well.

Yesterday evening was spent in Soho with Hauling My Carcass and our mutual friend. It was a good evening and involved, as all the best ones do, some fantastic Lebanese food and double apple Shisha. A pleasant motorcycle ride home and then… I get home to find Mrs eatingtrees with an odd look on her face and the washing machine rumbling in the background: SonNumberTwo has been vomitting almost hourly since 8pm and it was now almost midnight. He stayed asleep until about 1am when it started again, so I offered to sleep downstairs on the sofa so he could sleep in the “big bed with Mum”. He was quite scared as the vomitting was, by all accounts, fairly violent. I snuck off downsatirs for a broken and very uncomfortable attempt at sleep on the sofa. SonNumberTwo was a little better in the morning but still looked very grey so stayed off school. I unfortunately had a meeting in Hampshire today so Mrs eatingtrees stayed home and looked after him whilst I took SonNumberOne to school and then jumped in the car for a 215 mile round trip made much more interesting by my earnest attempts to stay awake after about 3 hours of broken sleep. I got back late afternoon to find SonNumberTwo much improved and no longer monochrome looking. After finishing off my bits and pieces from the meeting today, I felt I needed a run after almost 5 hours in the car.

I fancied a little further than I have been running of late so did 11.2kms at a gentle pace as I have The Crisis Square Mile Run tomorrow evening and didn’t want to ache. I’m going to work from home tomorrow and look after SonNumberTwo as he is still not 100% and then get myself up to Paternoster Square in the evening to meet up with JogBlog, Fit Artist and iliketocount. A small matter of a 6.5km run to do and then it’s on to the serious business of pizza.

Juneathon so far: Run – 56.8kms / Cycle – 12.6kms



Barefoot? But It Might Hurt! – Well Read – Sucker For Punishment

First prize for this years Juneathon is a pair of Vibram FiveFingers shoes. This got me thinking again… I have been very curious about the whole “barefoot running” debate but am also concerned that I may injure myself attempting this – particularly as I have niggles with knees and ITB a good part of the time. I tend to hit the ground quite heavily and slightly overpronate… Running barefoot may cause me to naturally correct my running style or may actually make things worse. A barefoot walk back to the car after Sundays Wheathampstead 10k was enough to remind me that the soles of my feet are VERY tender and that I tend to heel strike with quite an impact, even when walking. So I am curious about barefoot running, too chicken to attempt it and too mean to spend upwards of £75 on a pair of shoes that a) may injure me and b) I may not like running in.
I have also been reading “Born To Run” by Christopher McDougall. I am about half way through and the book talks about the Tarahumara tribe who run incredible distances either completely barefoot or using only a sandal made from a flat sole tied to the foot. I am enjoying the book… it has some great passages and if you can stomach the “Americanisms” (“You telling him that ESPN wouldn’t jump at the chance of good-looking guys in skirts smashing records on a mythical man-eater? Hell yeah!!) it is a good read pitched somewhere between “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” and a Carlos Castenada novel.

So it was with a head full of The Tarahumara, thoughts of FiveFinger Running Shoes and an article about speedwork from this months Runners World that I set off on this mornings short run in the 7am drizzle. 6.5kms including 6 x 200m sprints and one hill with a face full of rain and sweat. During the slow parts of the run I was concentrating on my running style, staying relaxed and trying to alter my gait so I hit the ground gently with my midfoot rather than my usual high impact heel strike. It felt unnatural and made my calves and ankles ache a little but I think it is something I shall continue to try and work on. I find it unlikely that I will ever run “as if your feet are caressing the earth” but surely anything to make my running more efficient and minimise the impact on my ankles and knees must be a good thing.

Whilst I was in this positive frame of mind, I signed up for the MuscleWarrior 10k on June 5th. Silly really as it is during Juneathon and I already have the Crisis Square Mile Run on 10th and the London to Brighton Cycle Ride on 20th June. Maybe a steady stream of events to participate in will help keep me motivated throughout Juneathon (???!!). We’ll soon find out…

Soundtrack to this post: The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown – I’ve Got Money


unusually sprightly

Firstly congratulations to everyone who took part in the London Marathon yesterday. Watching runners cross the finishing line initiated a little pang of jealousy. Then, reading Iliketocounts traumatic experience, I was brought back to my senses. Thank heavens I didn’t get through the ballot… and good luck to Iliketocount. I hope his recuperation is speedy and painless.

The recent mild weather seems to have kickstarted a frenzy of activity within me… free weights, running, cycling…
I say it is the mild weather, it could just be good old fear as I have a number of events on the horizon that I need to feel prepared for. As some of you will be aware, Jogblog, Iliketocount, Hauling My Carcass and myself are signed up for the London To Brighton cycle ride. We are all attempting the distance on completely unsuitable bikes (Pashley, BMX, singlespeed and fixie respectively). This seemed like a good idea at the time. But the closer the event gets, the more unwise the decision appears. With this in mind, Hauling My Carcass and I will be attempting a little practice ride on Saturday. The route I have found is currently 27.17 miles with the ability to extend to 30 miles if feeling perky, or to cut short to 25 miles if feeling knackered. Assuming everything goes smoothly, it should be a confidence booster for a ride twice as long in little over 6 weeks time.
I shall also be doing the Crisis Square Mile Run on 10th June. It comes highly recommended by Jogblog (even if the distances have been a bit off in the past) so am looking forward to an evening run in Dirty Old London Town followed by large amounts of pizza with Cathy, Shaun and anyone else who is running with us.
I even went out for a short, fast(ish) run once I’d decided I’d be taking part. As I generally stick to my plodding pace and usually the same (approx) 10km route for my runs, I decided to go for 6kms and just run it as quick as I felt I could. And it was great. It wasn’t exceptionally fast (8:23 / 9:12 / 8:56 / 9:29 / 9:28 / 9:18) but it was the first time in a very long while that I have thought about the speed of my run rather than just covering the distance. So hurrah for finer weather. And hurrah for getting my running / cycling / exercising mojo back. A little bit of sunshine can make all the difference.

Soundtrack to this post: Finley Quaye – Sunday Shining

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