Posts Tagged ‘Weather Forecast



I have had a bit of a blogging sabbatical. Not a running sabbatical you understand – no, no, no. If anything, I have been running a little more than usual. I started a new job at the end of October which not only is very enjoyable but also gives me a little more free time so I can usually squeeze in a mid-week after work run.

In addition to this, I am also able to work from some of our other offices so I am not commuting into London 5 days a week any more. At least once a week, I work from an office which is cycling distance from home so I get to enjoy a bicycle commute which usually consists of a straight-forward cycle to work but the return journey is where I really get to have some fun. For the return trip, instead of taking the road route home, I head for the bridle path which takes me the “scenic route” back to my house. It is about 2 miles longer but is infinitely more enjoyable. I leave work, jump onto the bike, turn on my high powered front light and head off into the mud and the darkness. It is exhilarating to hurtle through pitch dark with only a pool of light for about 4 metres in front of you – everything to the sides is just inky blackness. I will often arrive home with a huge muddy stripe up my front and a massive grin on my face. I now look forward to my bike commute, it is without a doubt one of the highlights of my working week.

And it is having a mostly positive effect on my running – I have been finding that my overall fitness and stamina have both improved. My 12k Sunday runs are now usually 16km+ and occasionally as much as 25km. Don’t get me wrong, anything over about 15km is still a puch but my recovery times are much improved and I do not suffer afterwards – I jump in the shower and am as good as new. The more active I am, the more active I am able to continue to be.

So, that was just a quickie to bring things up to date. Normal service will be resumed now that I have acclimatised to my new job – I just need it to rain a bit less now!

So all that remains is to wish you all a belated Happy New Year.


moving target


I was feeling a little paranoid last week. I can go for months and months without incident on the pushbike and then…


Last Saturday, I was up early for a brisk 12km run. There is something quite satisfying about arriving back home knowing that your run for the day is complete before most people have had breakfast. Sunday morning was similar except that, with the Dunwich Dynamo in just a few weeks, I decided to head out early on the bike, get about 50km done and be home in time for a cappuccino and some toast when the rest of the family decided to surface. About 20km in, I narrowly avoid being mown down by a bronze coloured 4×4 that came hurtling onto the roundabout that I was already on. A split second decision on my behalf, on whether to try and stop or just keep going as fast as I could, meant that the fast moving hunk of metal missed my back wheel by a few centimetres. About a minute later, the rush of adrenaline kicked in and I trembled my way through the next few kms. A few lovely, sweeping countryside kilometres later and I am back in town where another car narrowly misses me – this time by overtaking me and then turning immediately left in front of me.


I arrived home feeling a little shaken and incredibly lucky. After recounting the incidents to Mrs Eatingtrees and being told to “be careful”, I smugly enjoyed the rest of the day knowing that my exercise for the weekend was in the bag. Incredibly, the next day on the way to work, a car decided to slowly drift across the road and into the side of me whilst I was on the motorbike. Luckily, I managed to manouvre myself out of the way but not before his hubcap had worn a hole in my overtrousers. Another near miss and another upping of the paranoia quota.


Playing it safe, I decided that this week I would just concentrate on running – a quick 10k one evening after work and then 12km first thing Saturday before it got too hot. I was out by 8am but even then it was beginning to warm up. By the time I was nearing the end I was choosing which side of the path to run on based solely on which would offer the most shade. It seems that the weather has gone from Early Spring to High Summer in the space of a week and I find the transition from around 10 degrees to nearly 30 degrees saps my energy and turns runs into slogs. I am sure in another few weeks I will be used to running in these sorts of temperatures just as an Early Autumn sets in…



marathon training – week 13 – dunstable 20 mile challenge

I’d had a good week. I’d trained well and ran a fast 8k training run, knocking 4 minutes off the time I had set at the beginning of my marathon training 13 weeks ago. I was set for the Dunstable 20 Mile Challenge that I had entered, along with a friend of mine, in the hope that it would be something a bit different for our final long run before our respective Marathons in 3 weeks time.
There were 2 small flies in the ointment – The first was that we were both out the previous night at the magnificent Africa Express gig in Kings Cross and much of the energy in our legs had been used up by a solid 5 hours of dancing. The second was that temperatures were forecast to be between 25 and 27 degrees on race day. Gulp.
So, with 6 hours sleep in the bank, I arrived in Dunstable and collected my race number and stored my bag at the start. The facilities were exceptional, clean, bright, lovely toilets, helpful organisers. I had printed out the directions that would guide us round the course and the talk on the start line was of getting lost and perhaps accidentally ending up on the Marathon route. There are 3 concurrent races all starting out on the same route – a Half Marathon, the 20 mile Challenge and a Marathon. Competitors quickly chatted and made friends with anyone who was running the same race as them – the thinking being that they could either help each other round or at least recognise someone running the same route to know they were going in the right direction.
So for the first 6-7 miles, everyone runs the same route – out of the park and straight up the downs, the steep, chalky inclines giving way to fantastic views across the countryside as gliders swoop overhead. The 3 routes then split and the fun begins. Instructions are as good as can be expected but much of the time you are following a bridlepath and looking for just a gap in the hedge which signals the next turning. I took the executive decision that it was better to stop and check the instructions frequently and sacrifice some time rather than bowling on and risk going the wrong way, potentially adding miles to the route. There were check in points along the route and also water stops. Every one of the helpers was lovely, asking how we were doing and plying us with water and jelly babies. Parts of the route are really tough – either because of the inclines or because of the ground underfoot – a recently harvested wheatfield on an incline is difficult to traverse in the midday sun, especially if you’re not sure that your are heading in the right direction. From about 7 miles in, we hooked up with a few other runners and decided to work out the route democratically, stopping and deciphering the instructions at each potential intersection. This also helped us grab a moments rest and some respite from the blazing sun.
At about 17 miles, things started to look familiar again and we split off from the others to complete the run. People out for a day on the Downs shouted encouragement and we arrived back at the race HQ after a punishing downhill and a bit of last mile confusion as we headed to the finish.
All the organisers cheered us over the line, we got a celebratory “Buff” emblazoned with the race name and people couldn’t do enough for us. Free tea, coffee, sandwiches and cake had all been laid on for all the participants and there were showers too if we wanted. This has to be one of THE friendliest races: organisers seemed genuinely interested in our thoughts and it was more akin to getting back to a friends house to find that they had made lunch for you rather than arriving at a Race HQ.
It is a tough course (I was more than an hour and 20 mins slower than my previous 32km) and is, at 33.9km / 21 miles, slightly longer than anticipated. From the general air of camaraderie amongst the runners and the attitude of the organisers, it is clear that this is a race for runners organised by runners. Tough… But I wish every race were as well planned and enjoyable – I cannot recommend it highly enough.
So, 21 miles in the blazing heat, across tough terrain is possibly the best bit of last ditch training I could do. If I can do that, another 5 miles with reasonable temperatures in Berlin and a flat course should be do-able.

Soundtrack to this post: Suffer – M.anifest



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


cold feet

3 runs this week. All along the same route, all just under 11kms, 2 in Vibrams and one in the Saucony Kinvara 2’s.
The more I run in the Vibrams, the harder I find it to run in regular running shoes. The Saucony’s are magnifcent – light, comfortable, bright yellow(!) but it becomes increasingly difficult to transition from no elevation from heel to toe and no padding to a minimal running shoe with only 4mm of lift and a little cushioning – perhaps I need to take the plunge and go for the Saucony Hattori’s with their flat, minimal soles.
The problem with the Vibrams is one of temperature…. in as much as my feet get bloody freezing in temperatures below about 5 celsius.
Vibrams are great for feeling exactly what is beneath your feet and this is also true when the ground is icy – you feel the ice on the surface and the cold. The slippery sensation is oddly reassuring – big padded trainers only usually let you know that the ground is very slippery as you lose your footing and scramble to maintain your balance. The Vibrams allow you to feel exactly how slippery the surface underfoot is and you are able to adjust your pace / gait. Unfortunately, they offer little grip but I suppose forewarned is forearmed. Perhaps some of the other more “off-road” style VFF’s may offer more grip but I’m not about to shell out £120ish just to find out. And the problem with your feet getting cold is that you lose feeling and end up pounding the ground harder as you can’t feel exactly how hard your feet are hitting the floor. Ah well, roll on Spring… we’re only 3 days from the shortest day and then we commence the giddy descent into longer daylight hours. And that was my attempt at optimism….

Talking of Spring and Optimism, I am currently thinking of races I could take part in that would be a bit different from the standard 10k and Half Marathon. I’m already signed up for the Grim Night Terror in February but am considering a Sprint Duathlon in the Vibrams and on the Singlespeed. I’ve never done a duathlon before, and perhaps making it more difficult by doing the run in minimal footwear and the ride with no gears is lunacy, but I think it has the potential to be fun. And I’d like as much fun as possible please before I begin seriously training for the Berlin Marathon.

Soundtrack to this post: DRC Music – Hallo ft. Tout Puissant Mukalo, Nelly Liyemge


juneathon day 28: i hear thunder

After the heat of yesterday, it was nice to wake up to a more civilised temperature this morning. Civilised, that is, if you have to go to work or do anything remotely strenuous… if you can just laze about and do nothing, give me the hot sun and high temperatures of yesterday, instead. But today did call for both a spot of exercise and a spot of work so I’ll settle for cooler.
And once again another bike ride was planned owing to the still nagging, achey sensation in the right foot. Today’s weapon of choice was to be the fixie again, which I prefer for short sharp blasts in and around town or basically anywhere that is a) not too far and b) does not involve steep descents. So a workmanlike 22kms out and back route along roads that were neither scenic or inspiring. I was able to just put my head down and go though and that in itself can be a rare pleasure sometimes. The route was along a main “A” road so no real junctions or turnings to watch out for so just switch to autopilot, be aware of the traffic and keep the legs turning. Which is not to say it wasn’t enjoyable as it is nice to disengage the brain for a while… And nice to get the days ride out of the way before the heavens opened and the lightning started an hour or so after I arrived back home
2 more days of Juneathon left and normally by this point I am dying for it to be over. Not so this year as I think my inability to run for the last bit of Juneathon has made me crave the idea of getting out for a run. I have the Cranleigh 10km on the 10th of July and hope to get in a couple of short training runs before then so long as the foot feels better. Oh and a 120 – 140km training bike ride planned for Sunday 3rd July. There really is no rest for the wicked.


juneathon day 27: be prepared

Just as the under-endowed man overcompensates with a big car, my inability to run has caused me to overcompensate by performing 2 seperate Juneathon relevant activities in one day.
As it was forecast to be hot today, descending into heavy rain and storms from mid-afternoon, I thought I’d get some exercise out of the way early so packed myself off into the garage where the weights and bench live and spent an hour repeatedly picking up and putting down heavy objects. One hour later, sweaty and a little shaky, I returned to the house, showered and started work. I was glad to be working from home today, it was really muggy out and the thought of having to travel into London on the motorbike, or worse still the tube, was something I fortunately did not have to worry about.
This evening, SonNumberOne was to do his cycling badge at cubs so I volunteered to cycle with him and his friend to the feild where the Cubs were due to meet. I dropped them at just before 7pm, leaving me an hour and a half to kill before having to pick them up. As the predicted storms had not arrived, I could not think of a better way to kill 90 minutes than just riding around on the fixie with no particular destination. So I set off on a meandering and random route which ended up being 32.77km by the time I’d collected the 2 cub scouts, now both proud recipients of their Cycling badges

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