Posts Tagged ‘Towpath

18
Jan
14

a sentimental story

Winter evenings mean that I will often forego my usual canal towpath route in favour of more well-lit paths. A few times, 11 year old SonNumberOne has asked to run with me. Because I will generally run about 10-12km in the evening, I have politely declined but suggested that he cycle with me whilst I run. This is great for both of us as he enjoys going out on his bike in the dark and I have someone to talk to whilst pounding the streets.

A few weeks back, SonNumberOne once again asked if he could come out and run with me. As it was relatively early, I agreed and we settled on a looping course that meant we had a number of opportunities to cut the run short if he began to get too tired. He has run a couple of 2k kids races and we have attempted 4kms (at his request), but these were stopping and starting runs and I could see that he was struggling.

Tonight however, he was adamant that he wanted to run 10kms – I said that we could try but that at any point, we could cut the run short if he was getting tired. We set off and I fully believed we’d get to 5km and he would say he’d had enough. We chatted through the first couple of kilometres and I gave him the choice of stopping at 2kms or carrying on – if we carried on, we would not be able to stop again until 5km. He chose to push on and we set off up a long unlit hill with just our torches to guide us. Again at the top, we could have cut the run short but he was determined to continue. He began to slow but was  desperate not to stop and walk so we carried on. As we got towards another fork in the route where we could have taken one of 2 routes, I again gave him the choice which way to go. This time he chose to finish the run so we turned right and headed home. We covered 9kms and he ran all the way. Not bad for an 11 year old who hasn’t run any sort of substantial distance for about 4 months! I really enjoyed having him run with me and he has asked if we can do it again.

And, without being too saccharine, there are 2 morals to this story:

1) As unlikely as it may seem, at some point and for however briefly, you will become a role-model for your kids so try to be a good one.

2) Your kids are probably more capable of some things than you think

14
Jan
12

darkness

With Grim Night Terror less than 3 weeks away, I decided now was as good a time as ever to order a proper head torch. I had a silly little one that was enough to use for changing a fuse in the dark but nowhere near substantial for an 8 mile run around MOD property in the pitch black.

So good old ebay was trawled and a suitably cheap (£12) and suitably bright alternative was purchased. Once it arrived, there was nothing for it but to take it for a night time test run. Out and back along the canal towpath should do the trick so I set off a little after 5pm for an 11km trot. I was worried that the light would slip off my head once I began to work up a sweat but it stayed put and worked admirably. The only modification required was a dab of Blu Tac to hold the adjustable lens in position – a trick discovered whilst training for last years Dunwich Dynamo. 

There was something very peaceful about running along in the darkness with only about 3 metres ahead visible. Bushes to the right of me faded away into the darkness and to the left of me there was about a metre of mud and grass before it all dropped away into the inky (and no doubt icy) blackness of water flowing along the canal. Steam from my breath occasionally caught the beam from the headtorch creating ghostly glows in front of my eyes. It was all very surreal.

Good fun though… and now I’m looking forward to Grim even more than I was. I just need to find something to strap my (weak) right ankle as if I can twist it running Grim in the daytime, imagine the damage I could do to myself in the dark.

Soundtrack to this post: Orbital – Dr Who

16
Jun
11

juneathon day 16: bikes, boats and bovines

Having spent all day staring at the uninspiring screen of the laptop, I was delighted when it finally stopped raining for long enough to get out for a spot of Juneathoning. And I’d been promising SonNumberOne that we’d go for a bike ride so that is what we did. We set off along the canal towpath that has been the scene of many a run throughout June. Firstly we came across these little beauties that featured quite heavily in last years Juneathon activity…

Bloody Hell! Cows! Hundreds of 'em!

Then we saw some of these…

Before stopping at the furthest point on our out and back route…

A total of 18.01kms on the bike. Yes, I know today was supposed to be a run day but my right foot still hurts and I just couldn’t summon the enthusiasm. Besides… a run on my own or a cycle ride with my Son… no contest.

13
Jun
11

juneathon day 13: an anniversary of sorts

I’m rubbish at statistics, but my WordPress Dashboard reliably informs me that this is my 200th post. That’s 200 little parcels of gibberish that, over time, I’ve left on your virtual doorstep, rung the doorbell and then run away sniggering.

200 posts since February 2009… put like that it doesn’t sound quite as impressive. Anyway, today against my better judgement (but with an eye on the schedule for the rest of the week), I went out for a run. Legs were still weary and calves still tight from yesterday but once I started, I felt reasonably ok so decided on the out and back loop following the river. This has become a Juneathon staple but serves a number of purposes. It is long enough to feel like I have actually put some effort in. It is varied and / or pretty enough to stop me getting bored and it is a route I know so well, I can effectively let my mind wander and let the legs and the subconcious get me home. And it’s 11.1kms to add to the Juneathon tally.
The rest of the week looks like this: Bike ride Tuesday, Run Wednesday, Run Thursday, Bike Ride Friday, Run Saturday and then to round off the week The London To Brighton Bike Ride on Sunday. And after that we are into the final third of Juneathon.

Thank you for all the comments and feedback over the past 200 posts. Onwards to the next 200…

10
Jun
11

juneathon day 10: u4er

2 runs in under 24 hours and 2 blog posts in under 12 hours. I kept looking out of the window today, hoping for the cloud to lift and for it to at least stop looking like the heavens were going to open the second I set foot outside the door. When I’d decided that it was going to look grey and miserable for the forseeable future, I pulled on my shorts, Vibrams and a waterproof jacket and set off in the rain for a run of, as yet, undecided duration. A few minutes in, I decided I’d do my favourite out and back canal side route so, still hyped up from yesterday quick dash in London (see my other post from earlier today), I ran 11.2kms in the rain arriving home soaked but again, strangely euphoric.
Tomorrow will be a cycle… my feet have taken a pounding over the past 2 days and need a rest. And I have arranged a long (15kms) run for Sunday with Ware2Barefoot. It’ll be my longest run so far in the VFF’s and, although a little wary, am very much looking forward to it.

21
Feb
11

a kick in the rear

The more I had time to reflect on the personal performance debacle that was the Wokingham Half Marathon, the more unhappy I became. How could I have been so stupid as to forget to eat enough prior to the race, couldn’t I have just kept pushing instead of admitting defeat etcetera, etcetera…
By midweek, I could take no more of my constant internal nagging, so pulled on my running shoes and headed out of the door for a quick 10k. I was angry and I had something to prove to myself. I followed my familiar riverside 10k route. I wanted it to be fast enough to erase my doubts that still lurked from the weekend. I tried not to look at my watch too much. At around 5k, I did glance at the time and the imaginary deadline that I had secretly set myself seemed acheivable, so with a new lease of life pushed on. It turned out to be one of the fastest 10k training runs I have done in a long time. Faster than my pb from the BUPA 10,000 2 years ago.
So it was with these thoughts in my head that I set off for 16kms on Sunday morning… this wasn’t planned to be fast, simply steady and about the same distance as I managed to run before spectacularly hitting the wall the previous weekend. It was steady and I finished still feeling relatively fresh.
Both of which were exactly what I needed both physically and psychologically. I have a bit of my drive back so have signed up for this years BUPA 10k… if I got a pb there 2 years ago, I think it’s about time I got another.

Soundtrack to this post: Coil – Who By Fire

01
Feb
10

this is davina – don’t swear

2k Too Far – Quicker Sorer or Slower Colder – Portugeasy Does It

I didn’t want this entry to be an expletive riddled rant that would shock Gordon-f***ing-Ramsay so waited a few days before typing to see if the situation had improved. And it has. A bit.

Saturday’s 12km run was a cold and uncomfortable affair after the dusting of snow that fell Friday night and then froze solid Saturday morning. I’d set off along the canal towpath thinking that it would be more sheltered only to discover that it wasn’t anymore sheltered and was probably a little more treacherous than the paths and roads that I could have chosen for my route.

The first 7kms seemed quite easy despite having to watch my footing and keep a look out for icy patches but something wasn’t right. I had been feeling confident after my 10kms a few days prior but had still strapped up the knee, taken some pre-emptive Ibuprofen and smothered my left leg in freeze gel. Despite all this, by 8kms, my left leg was sore. Very sore. I had a dilemma as I was 4kms from home and it was freezing. Running was barely keeping me warm so stopping to walk would have meant that I got very cold very quickly and it would have been a long, slow, bitterly cold walk home. The alternative was to keep running, stay warmer, get home quicker but with a left leg that seemed to be getting more painful by the minute. I chose the latter and spent the next 4kms doing a strange grimacey running limp back home.

Once back home, the leg hurt like hell and I spent much of that evening hobbling around and cursing. It feels a lot like the Illiotibial Band again but coupled with a strange, hamstring type ache at the back of the left knee. And the kneecap itself feels quite tender.

The last few days has seen an improvement but there are definitely still twinges around the knee and the back of the calf when faced with stairs and walking after a period of sitting. All of which is really annoying. After last weeks 10km, I was positive I could slowly build up my distance. Now it looks like I will have to stop completely for a while, try and stretch and ice etc. and then start again from a much reduced distance. It is very frustrating as I hate it when my body stops working properly and reminds me that it’s not actually indestructible. It is doubly frustrating as I think I may now have to duck out of the Wokingham Half and concentrate on getting fit for Lisbon.

Soundtrack to this post: Can – Vitamin C




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