Posts Tagged ‘Rain



Those of you reading the title of this post and expecting an analysis of racing speeds will be sorely disappointed. Nope, this post is more about the juggling and the planning to squeeze a run into the balancing act of everyday life.

Recently runs have been snatched at opportune moments. Slipped in at the last minute or put off completely at short notice. They have become not a rare commodity but a valuable one. The almost constant rain we have experienced for nearly a month now has scuppered many a planned run. I don’t consider myself a “fair-weather runner” but do find it hard to get my self outside in torrential rain which hits the streets and bounces right back up a foot or so. I enjoy my runs and any half-hearted attempt in monsoon conditions often leaves me feeling more frustrated at the lack of satisfaction gained from the run than the frustration of not going for a run at all.

Couple that with a magnificently busy period at work – 12-13 hour days and 400 mile round trips in pouring rain have meant that I have really felt I needed to get out and run but found myself too knackered to even contemplate it by the time everything else was taken care of. Which has made the runs that I have made it out for all the more enjoyable. I often find that after a really bad day, getting out and running is a great way to vent frustrations, clear my head and invigorate me. And the more rotten the day I have had at work, the longer or faster I run. And I’ve had some rotten days recently.

Thankfully then, I have found a few instances where I had some time coupled with a lack of water falling from the sky, so have been able to get out and just run. Most of these have been longer (18-20kms) with just a rough idea of where to go. They have been made up on the spot… if I get tired, I turn one way and head home, if not I take the other and run some more. I have also done a lot more running without listening to music which is very unusual for me. Perhaps it’s the getting away from it all aspect of my recent runs – perhaps I just want the sounds of the run filling my head? It has added a different dimension to the runs and made me more aware of the surrounding. Running with music is brilliant but it does isolate you from what is going on around you.

So, the recent lack of blog posts has not been a symptom of a lack of running. Just a lack of time to write about the runs I have had. In a little over 3 weeks time, training for the Berlin Marathon will begin so will have to get organised and plan my runs and distances and times. Which has made the last few weeks of running where and when I could all the more enjoyable.

Soundtrack to this post: Orbital – The Box


grim original 2011 – wetter and better

Saturday marked my now annual participation in Grim Original. This was the third time I have taken part – you can read the previous years experiences here and here.
Grim is always fun – attracting, as it does, reasonably serious runners who don’t take themselves too seriously. On the start line this year were, in addition to the scores of slightly nervous looking runners in normal running attire, a number of men in dresses, a few in just speedos, one in the MOST HORRIFIC MANKINI and another in the best cardboard and gaffer tape approximation of Optimus Prime I have ever seen. All this effort to run, wade and crawl through puddles and mud and over obstacles.
This year the organisers had tweaked the course slightly to abbreviate what has become known as “the boring bit” and included some additional obstacles such as logs, railway tracks and some concrete blocks. This does actually make the course beter, if a little tougher, as they all come in the last half of the race when you are soaked and muddy and begin to get tired.
This years race was an odd one for me for a couple of reasons – Firstly, it was surprisingly mild. Last years event was postponed until January as there was snow on the ground, puddles were frozen solid and roads were impassable. Not so this year which was a positively balmy 11 degrees and had me wondering weather my combination of long sleeve top and wooly hat were perhaps a little pessimistic. Secondly, this was the first Grim at which I managed to slightly injure myself, going over on my right ankle within the first couple of miles and then subsequently as it was weakened, about another 4 times before the run was complete. Not enough to stop me from completing but enough to temper my usual child like glee that I have squelching through mud and jumping in puddles. And besides, the ankle now, 4 days after the event is a quite fetching mixture of blues and mauves and purples.
It is a great race, made much better by the loss of “the boring bit”, the addition of the extra obstacles and the increased amounts of rain in the days prior to the event making the puddles that little bit deeper and the mud that little bit squelchier. I’ll be back next December but before that I am already signed up for Grim Night Terror in February – more of the same but at night. With just headtorches. I can’t wait.

Soundtrack to this post: Rocket Juice And The Moon – Here We Go (Live)


juneathon day 22: the importance of being impatient

Another day, another bicycle ride. This time a 26.41km jaunt to do some more spying. And a massive downpour on the way back meant that I arrived home soaked and had to shower and change before heading back out for yet more spying this afternoon. The Juneathonitis of the Second Metatarsal appears to be slowly getting better but I have a dilemma…
I am beginning to hanker for a run. But I am concerned that running with Juneathonitis will cause it to worsen. And I don’t want it to worsen. And I made a solemn vow on this very blog that I would execute this year’s Juneathon using only Vibram Five Fingers and the bikes.
But… I have been sent a very beautiful pair of Kinvara 2 running shoes from those nice people at Saucony. And they are currently just sitting in the bottom of my wardrobe. But if I listen very carefully, I can hear their barely perceptible voice asking, no pleading, for me to run in them. So the question is… Do I break my Juneathon vow and risk aggravating my right foot and go for a run in the Saucony’s? Or do I abstain, cycle until the foot is better and then try them out? Decisions, decisions.
The problem is made a little worse as I had to plead (just a little bit) with the Sauconians for them to send me a pair. So I feel a bit cheeky having received them but not used them yet.
But they are, as I said, very beautiful. And incredibly light. So light that when the parcel arrived, I thought they might have sent me an empty box by mistake. At this point, let me mention that I have a problem with white running shoes. I don’t like them. Aesthetically, they look to me like someone running with pillows on their feet. Or socks. So imagine my delight when I opened the box to see these.

Beautiful Saucony Kinvara 2 Running Shoes

And I thought that even if they don’t make me run any faster, I’ll actually look like I’m running faster because they look so very fast. And, I also realised that they would go beautifully with my smug t-shirt that I like to wear to annoy people.

Beautiful Smug T-Shirt Used To Annoy People

Unfortunately, t-shirts are not made for running in. And running shoes are not made for wearing whilst sporting annoying t-shirts. Shame though, because I think matching t-shirt and shoes is possibly the way forward for the fashionable man about town.


juneathon day 20: juneathonitis and london to brighton

Juneathonitis – noun: injury, real or imagined, obtained during a constant exercise routine undertaken in the 6th month of the year. See also complete Juneathonitis and compound Juneathonitis.
And on Saturdays run, I think I had my first case, which I shall call Juneathonitis of the second metatarsal. And it was such a little thing that caused it, I am actually quite pissed off that it happened.
I was out on my run on Saturday morning and it began to pour, really hammer down for about 5 minutes. During this 5 minutes, I was rendered partially sighted by the combination of rain on my glasses, volume of rain falling from the skies in front of my eyes and sweat being washed into my eyes by the rain. So this injury is clearly the rains fault. And the tree’s fault too. The tree that pushed it’s root up into the tarmac causing a bump about 2cm high and 2cm round to stick up from the surface of the path. Which I couldn’t see in the rain and which I landed on in the Vibrams, with the ball of my foot and I felt the bones in my foot kind of flex around it. Except the one that landed directly on the bump kind of flexed the wrong way. And now it hurts. Quite a lot when I walk but much more when I run. So I may be doing more cycling than running for the rest of Juneathon.
And talking of cycling… Today’s paltry Juneathon effort was a 5.7km round trip on the bike to the bikeshop to give it a little TLC after yesterday, which brings me nicely on to…
Sunday’s London to Brighton saw us up early (6.15am) to get everything ready for a 7.30ish exit to drive to Clapham Common. There were three of us riding: myself, Hauling My Carcass and his Mum, but there were also HMC’s Dad, wife and 10 month old son travelling in the car with us and who would drive to Brighton to meet us once we set off. We loaded the Mystery Machine with the bikes and bags and people and set off. We parked up in Balham, unloaded the bikes, said our goodbyes and cycled the remaining mile to the start on Clapham Common.

A fully laden Mystery Machine

The whole race is very well organised so once at the Common, we headed straight for the Start Gate. Starts are staggered and we had been allocated an 8.30 start which actually didn’t set off until about 8.50 but no-one really minds. The route out of London is slow as the volume of cyclists trying to navigate the capital’s already messy roads. I noticed my headset was quite stiff so stopped briefly at one of the roadside bike mechanics for him to give it a tweak and a few minutes later we were back on our way. As you leave the stopstart of London the field thins out and it is possible to hit a reasonable pace and before you know it you are into the Surrey countryside with it’s undulating landscape, each uphill rewarded with a sweeping, freewheeling downhill. This is what I missed out on last year as I was riding the fixie and HAD TO KEEP PEDALLING. This year, on the singlespeed, made for much broader grins. We stopped at The Crown pub at the top of Turners Hill to eat the food we had brought with us. I had a 465gm tub of pasta and I’m astounded that I ate the whole thing and some flapjack and jelly babies and a Voltz Energy Shot and then managed to get back on the bike. The second leg saw us get absolutely soaked as not one but two heavy rain showers drenched us. The scene of the second drenching was Ditchling Beacon, the highest point on the route and, I can confirm, completely impossible to cycle up on a singlespeed. There were plenty of people walking and even the hardiest of hill climbers were spinning in their lowest gears to get to the top. I had to give up when the combined force of my legs, my body weight and all the strength I could muster in my arms was not enough to turn the cranks any more. But there is no shame in walking this part of the course. The long, descent into Brighton should have been a high speed, whooping career down the other side but, because of the lashing rain, the surface was incredibly slippery and we were (rightly) marshalled to keep our speed down. A bottleneck at the bottom and then it’s back to stopstarting as we snake our way through Brighton to the finish on the seafront. There is quite a crowd there to meet you at the finish and their cheers and waving and support allow you to pretend, just for a second, that you are about the collect the maillot jaune.

85.98kms later beside the seaside

So to someone who fancies taking part I would say, definitely do it. At least once. Take more food with you than you will need. Get the bike checked over before you set off. Train a bit. Watch out for the handful for whom this is the only bit of cycling they do – for they will weave and snake around (often whilst talking to their friends and not paying attention) and it is these people who almost had each of the three of us off in seperate incidents. Wear a helmet. The marshalling is great, the organisation is great, the support from the crowds dotted along the route is great. Take a waterproof jacket and suncream and a sense of humour and you will have a fantatstic day – as we did.


juneathon day 19: brighton – briefly

Firstly, thank you to everyone who wished me good luck for today’s London to Brighton Cycle Ride. Secondly, apologies that this is going to be a short post as it’s late, I’m knackered and I want to go to bed. I promise that I will give a full and frank account of today’s activities in tomorrow blog post.
So… the highlights: Up at 6.15 am to get everything sorted and to get ourselves to Clapham Common, start the ride at 8.50 and make slow progress through South London. Once out of London, it was a fairly straightforward trip. The route is great, marshalling fantastic and the support when finishing in Brighton, 85.98km later, is enthusiastic. Could have done without the two very heavy downpours but a great day nontheless. More tomorrow but until then… Good Night.

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