Posts Tagged ‘mp3 player


juneathon day 26: etiquette dilemma

Oh, how I was itching to get out today after yesterday’s static Juneathon in the gym. I had been consuming Ibuprofen yesterday like sweets and realised that my foot only actually hurts when it bends but, crucially, not when pressed onto something. So… a cycle ride was planned for this morning. Surely pressing down on the pedals would be alright. And I need to keep up the cycling momentum as in 3 weeks I attempt The Dunwich Dynamo and need all the time in the saddle I can get (so, if being all fatalistic, everything happens for a reason, maybe SonNumberTwo was just reacting to some greater universal law that forces me to forego running for cycling???).
I had a route in my head and set off early(ish) as it was forecast to get hot, very hot, later in the day. About halfway through the ride, I embarrassingly got caught up in a cycle race. When the first lycra clad cyclist passed me, I thought nothing of it. But then another and another and for a while, I was caught up in a little “peloton” of about 8 riders… them all serious, lycra clad with carbon fibre machines and me. Me, in a t-shirt and cut down camouflage combats singing along to my iPod and riding a bike bought for £10 off e-bay. I felt a bit out of place.
They left me after a mile or so and I carried on pootling along. Until I met up with another bunch of road racers. And I had a dilemma on my hands… I was about 5km from home. I needed to get home quickly as an item I was bidding on on e-bay was ending and I wanted to be there to slip in a last minute bid. But…if I sat patiently behind them, I would miss my e-bay deadline. But, if I tried to overtake, I would look like a competitive dick.
In the end, the call of e-bay was too strong and I nipped past on the outside, going as fast as possible and hoping I didn’t break any unwritten cycling code of conduct. I got home 30.97kms after leaving the house, just in time to not win the item on e-bay because the reserve had not been met. Typical.


a dark scamper

On days of forced inactivity and little enjoyment, I become almost psychotic in my need to get rid of some energy. Perhaps it is some chemical imbalance… more likely is that I am like a small child who has a level of energy to burn off each day. Whatever the reason, yesterday was spent between car and meeting (4hrs of each) so by the time I returned home, I needed to get out and do something.

Sundays 13.1 miles had left me feeling weary on the day but had not ruined the legs too badly, so I decided on a quick 5k run in the dark before dinner. VFF’s are perfect for this sort of thing as they, for me, add to the childlike feeling of “just running around” so I slipped into my running gear, pulled on the VFF’s and left.

I turned the mp3 player up loud and, as soon as the Garmin had a signal, was off. I wanted to run it as quick as I could so just set off as fast as possible. VFF’s are not a shoe that enable you to land heavily so my run was an odd combination of going as fast as I could without heel striking or hitting the ground too hard. Within 500 metres my chest began to ache as my body suddenly went from inactivity to high intensity. Continuing to push, my breathing became easier and I was able to keep pushing. The darkness slowed me slightly as it was difficult to see exactly where my foot was landing (even more crucial in Vibrams) but I ended my little 5.01km loop in 26:28. It felt hard, especially towards the end as I tired and my foot strike became laboured and heavy, but it served it’s purpose of leaving me considerably calmer, comfortably tired and with a smile on my face.

Soundtrack to this post: Benjamin Lew – Comme tout embué, tout danse


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 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.


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


we have the technology

70’s Cliches – No More 60 Times Tables – 2 Wheels Good, 4 Wheels Bad

The title of this post, for those of you not old enough to remember, is from the beginning of The Six Million Dollar Man. It was a bad American TV series from the late 70’s about an astronaut injured in a crash and who was subsequently rebuilt to make him better, faster and stronger than before. It really bears no resemblance to me as I do not think for a second that I will be better or stronger although I hope to get a little faster with the arrival of the technology fairy at my house…

I now have my replacement mp3 player which, ironically, arrived the day after the Fleet Half Marathon. Damn… surely I could have shaved a few vital seconds off of my time had I had the newer, smaller player with me. Oh well…

Secondly, today I received my Garmin 205. Thanks to everyone who offered me their opinion on the relative merits of the 205 / 305 / 405. In the end, I went for the 205 as I really don’t need a heart rate monitor or the ability to add a cadence monitor for when I am on the mountain bike – both would have been nice – but unnecessary. And would have encouraged me to start monitoring all manner of activities that should remain unmonitored. The 205 appears to do plenty enough for me at the moment and should signal the end of me having to do bad maths to work out my average running speed. In fact it’ll tell me my actual splits per mile. Or per kilometre…

Which brings me on to the Prague Half Marathon. The Czech Republic, being much more forward thinking than this little island, will be measuring their Half Marathon in kilometres. And rightly so. Now I have the Garmin, I shall be able to train in kilometres too, which may sound like an odd little revelation but bear with me…

Over the course of a regular Half Marathon, I would ordinarily have 13.1 indicators of my progress. If I am down by 30 seconds on one of my miles, I need to wait another mile until I can work out if I have corrected my pace. If I measure the same distance in kilometres, I have 21.1 indicators – which allows me to try to rectify pace issues earlier and also see if they have been rectified over a shorter distance. Which probably isn’t news to many people but is, like in a cartoon, a tiny, tiny lightbulb appearing above my head for me… Or I could just race against the Garmin’s little “virtual” training partner and I’d need neither miles nor kms…

My 6.54 miles yesterday was completed in 60mins 17secs – an average of 9:13 a mile which still leaves me outside of my goal for Prague of sub 2 hrs – arse!

So I have 2 more training runs before Prague. Sundays is planned to be approximately 10 miles (16.1kms) and then another on Tuesday with Hauling My Carcass of little over 6 miles (10kms). It has been almost 6 months since HMC and I were able to train together owing mostly to me

a) stopping travelling to London for work each day and

b) having my motorbike break down and be in the garage FOR 6 WHOLE MONTHS!!!

Fortunately, last Saturday, I received the call to tell me that the bike was fixed so now I am mobile again. Able to move around without relying on using the car (boo!) or public transport (boo!). So now, I can come and go as I please and get to beautiful South London to do some training along the banks of the Thames. And to quote another cheesy American TV series… “I love it when a plan comes together!”

Soundtrack to this post: Weapons of Mad Distortion – Crystal Method


bring on the cake

Testosterone Poisoning – Let The Punishment Fit The Crime – Happy Birthday To Me – Like Father Like Son

No matter how much I think of Fleet as a warm up for Prague at the end of the month, I still can’t help feeling competitive about it. It must be what a female friend of mine refers to as “Testosterone Poisoning” – becoming unnecessarily competitive about something that really doesn’t matter much. But it does matter, to me at least, because 6 weeks ago I was still struggling with running more than a couple of miles without my Iliotibial Band giving me problems and making any training and using stairs a very tricky proposition indeed. I know that I’ve pushed the training a bit faster than I should have and there was a time when I thought I was going to have to call off taking part in Fleet entirely… But I’ve completed my “taper”, the last pre-race run has been done (6.54 miles) and all that remains is to carb up (it’s my birthday on Saturday so I should be full to the brim with cake come Sunday morning) and try not to injure myself in some ridiculous domestic accident.

My pre-race prep is almost complete except for one thing – music. I may have to run with my older, larger mp3 player. The beautiful new player that I ordered a few weeks back and have been so eagerly awaiting has been “lost in the post”. Now, there are some countries where hunting down the culprit and chopping off their hand would be legal, and in this case, I believe it would be acceptable as I now face having to do the Half Marathon on Sunday with an mp3 player the size and weight of the Oxford English Dictionary strapped to my arm. And think how much faster and more graceful I’d be with a brand new player filled with music chosen especially for the occasion. So I shall have to get creative with a new playlist instead… unless the replacement gets here double quick. Fingers crossed, eh…

For a while, my eldest son (aged 7) has been very curious about my running habit, why I do it, how far I run, do I win any races (bless!). He has even gone so far as to ask if he can race with me. And, as much as I’d love to cross a finishing line side by side with him, I’ve not been able to find a suitable race.

Until now… for tonight we filled out the application form for a 2k race taking place locally in May. It ticks all the boxes in that there is a 2k in which my eldest and I can run together. Then there is a fete with bouncy castle etc. for Mrs eatingtrees and both kids to enjoy whilst Dad runs the subsequent 10k. My son is very excited by the prospect of “racing with Dad” and has already asked if we can go out training for the 2k together.

Soundtrack to this post: Plug Me In – Add N to X


one small step for man…

consistency theory – the acid test – the melody that lingers on or the malady that malingers on

After another go at the 6.54 miles yesterday, I can finally say I am nothing if not consistent:

1st Run – 62mins
2nd Run – 61mins 32secs
3rd Run – 61mins 55secs

So a massive 28 second difference between my slowest (“let’s just see if I can do the distance”) and my fastest (“ok, we’re going to go for it today”) which leads me to the conclusion that, at the moment, I may feel like I have put more effort in and am more tired at the finish but it doesn’t actually improve my time significantly. So, a wiser person than I would conclude that I should stick with a pace that I am happy with and possibly end up with a bit of extra “go” left at the end of the run if I need it. Hmmmmm…

Tomorrow sees me up the mileage again in a vain attempt to get to complete at least one 10 miler before I (foolishly) run the Fleet Half. For the Garminless amongst us, I trawled back through my old routes on Running AHEAD and found an 8 and a bit miler that is to be attempted. Crucially, this one contains hills (or at least gradients) which I have had to steer clear of as they have been a sure fire way of aggrovating my Iliotibial Band (which has put my training back by about 2 months). So, it all hinges on tomorrow, if I can complete the distance and still walk up and down stairs once the run is complete it will have been a success!

Incidentally, I got an e-mail today telling me that my new mp3 player has been despatched but will take between 5 & 15 “business days” to arrive. Aaaargh! Let’s hope it gets here soon as I am already thinking about what fine music I can put on it to fire me up and get me through the next few weeks and races… I know it’s a bit anal but what else is a boy to do…??

Soundtrack to this post: Romantic Rights – Death From Above 1979

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