Posts Tagged ‘Windy Day


juneathon day 21: against all odds

Paranoia – A second to learn, a lifetime to master.
And if I didn’t know better, I’d think the universe was conspiring against me to make the final 10 days of Juneathon as difficult to complete as possible.
Firstly with the Juneathonitis of the Second Metatarsal making it difficult to run. Secondly, my trusty laptop seemed to have caught a bit of Virtual Influenza that caused it to stop me from accessing the internet. In addition to not being able to connect, it would not allow me to open any program and insisted instead on producing little pop-up windows telling me that my computer was infected and that I needed to download an anti-virus program. Clicking on the anti-virus activation button would have, apparently, either signed me up for some rogue anti-virus program or installed a keylogger on my system allowing my credit card details to be copied. Beware…

Although I have Anti-Virus on my machine, this particular litle fella still got through. It took all last night to clean up the laptop as I couldn’t download the virus removal tool myself so had to rely on a friend of mine who knows about these things to download a virus removal tool and burn it to disc for me to install on my machine. So yesterdays blog post was partially written and posted on a combination of SonNumberOne’s laptop and my iPod Touch.
Today, I was fortunate enough to be sent on another spying mission for work. This time, the stores I had to visit were realtively close to home so I was able to combine a spot of work and a spot of Juneathoning by cycling to my intended targets… a total of 19.7kms on the fixie. It’s another day of spying tomorrow so intend to cycle to those as well.


juneathon day 5: veni vidi vici

OK, the brief was this. A cycle ride in preparation for London to Brighton in 2 weeks time. It had to be between 75 and 85kms in distance and it mustn’t stray too far from civilisation in case Mr Hauling My Carcass‘s dodgy knee began to play up.
I had a (loosely) planned route that I thought would fulfil all the criteria, with options that would slightly increase or decrease the distance if I’d miscalculated either way.
I got a text from HMC at 7.30am to say he was on his way and by 8.30 he’d arrived. A quick pre-ride re-assemble of his bike and an espresso later and we were off… it was a little overcast and more than a little windy. The first stretch was along country lanes and we rode side by side and chatted. I always find it hard at first but HMC was fresh from the off and seemed in good spirits.
About 30kms in and it was clear HMC was not enjoying the ride. I was OK and felt pretty good but it just wasn’t happening for him. We’d left my house and travelled through Woolmer Green, Welwyn, Hatfield and were in St Albans but some decidedly sub standard road surfaces and the constant headwind had made it tougher than it should have been. To his credit, he just carried on and ground out the remaining distance. We reached a junction where we could have turned right and completed the full distance or turned left and taken a short cut home and I had to ignore the pleading look he gave me, then the road sign, then back to me as if to say “can’t we just call it a day?”. So, cruelly, we turned right and carried on. No amount of shaking the bag of Wine Gums in front of his face could raise a smile so we just concentrated on getting the job done. We arrived back at mine, dismantled his bike and put it back in his car then I busied myself making us some lunch. Once lunch was finished, everything was once again right with the world. We had done what we’d set out to do – 77.87 kms plus about another 1km where we stopped to eat a banana and I forgot to restart the Garmin until we were back on the road. That’s just shy of 50 miles in old money. That’s also day 5 of Juneathon ticked off.


willow 10k race report

Early Mornings, Coffee and Stately Homes – Here Comes The Rain Again – Soaked And Steaming

After being woken up at a little before 5am by the sound of a) my kids waking up and deciding that everyone should also get up and b) the rain hammering against the window, I had real doubts about whether cycling 6.8 miles to Hatfield House for the Willow 10k was a good idea. By 8am however, the rain had all but disappeared, the clouds dispersed and there was even some sunshine. So much so that my big dilemma was not whether I should cycle to the race but whether I should bother with long sleeves or not. Deciding that I could wear a long sleeve top under my short sleeve running shirt and take it off if the sun threatened to make it too warm, I set off on the bike. About half way there, the clouds began to gather and the wind got up meaning that by the time I arrived at Hatfield House and found somewhere to chain my bike, it had become overcast and decidedly cold. I lurked for a bit and was very soon asked by a marshall if I knew where everything was – it was like being welcomed into someone’s home ” Bag storage is over there but why don’t you grab a cup of coffee in that tent there and warm up before checking your bag in”. Any organisation that offers you tea and coffee prior to the race (and complimentary too – just a polystyrene cup at the end of the table with”donations” in biro by way of a till) gets my vote. So, black coffee drunk, bag checked in and then listen to Bob Wilson (THE Bob Wilson) thank everyone for coming, hand us over to the warmer-upper and then form an orderly queue at the start.
By this point, it was absolutely freezing, the wind had really got up and my hands and legs had a bluish tinge. Everyone hunched up and waited for the off. Once the horn sounded, we set off and the first couple of kilometres felt relatively easy, the wind to our backs and the gradient mostly slightly downhill or flat. It made for some fast starts and it was difficult not to go off to quickly and regret it later. A left at 2k and then into the woods for a couple of kilometres. It had begun to rain now, lightly, and it was actually quite welcome as the chill before the race had been replaced by the warmth from the run. At 4k, we passed the start and went right, taking us off on the second circuit, the whole course being a figure of eight. By 5k, we were back in woods and also going uphill. The rain had made the ground heavy and my calves were beginning to ache… I was beginning to regret cycling to the race. 6k passed and I got into my stride, my calves back to normal and my breathing coming easier. A special mention must be made to the 2 marshalls at 7k who were like a couple of teenage girls gripped by Beatlmania, they were literally jumping up and down and willing us all on. This seemed to lift everyones spirits as we ran past but the euphoria was to be short lived because as 8k approached the rain sheeted down at 45 degrees, we came to a clearing, were running headlong into the wind and could see torrents of rain literally coming in waves from the sky. By now, any efforts to dodge puddles and muddy patches seemed futile so it was just a case of keeping going in as straight a line as possible. I could think of nothing but running, the rain and the music in my headphones at this point. At the 9k mark, the finish is in sight but you are shepherded left, uphill and away from the finish to make up the distance. This was undoubtedly the hardest part of the race, uphill, on wet and uneven ground and being buffeted by wind and driving rain. A sharp right and the finish line is in sight although a frantic last dash is unwise as the ground is so slippery underfoot. I go as fast as I can without falling over (don’t want to eat dirt metres from the finish-line) and across the line in 55:13. I retrieve my bag and shelter in the refreshment tent where all the runners stand around, soaked and steaming.
Although it is a small event and it was the first time it was held, I really enjoyed it. Had the weather not become so hideous, I felt I could have acheived a personal best as the course is fast. The marshalls were friendly, the goodie bag full of goodies (Gatorade, Maximuscle protein drink, £5 Maximuscle voucher, Dominos Pizza Voucher and, oddly “Country Homes” and “Hertfordshire Life” magazines!! amongst other things), even the 6.8 mile cycle home wasn’t so bad really. And if they hold it again next year, I’ll run it and hope for better weather.

Although, I’m sure the weather is small potatoes compared to the carnage that will be “Grim” in 2 weeks time.

Soundtrack to this post: Can I Kick It – A Tribe Called Quest


…and the blustery day

Too Windy Too Warm – Sports Slime And The 9 Minute Barrier – Advice Please

There’s something brilliant about waking up on a Sunday morning and seeing the sun through the curtains…

Once I’d dragged myself from the bed, looked out and noticed the trees moving in the wind, I’d decided the pre-run weather check was required so… opened the window, stuck out my hand…Hmmm – sunny, windy… and a bit nippy in the wind – could be a Buff and gloves day. Fortunately, by the time the family was all sorted and I’d got out for my run, I’d decided against the “Buff n Gloves” and set off as usual, long sleeve base layer, running T-Shirt, shorts…

The first thing I noticed was the wind – running into it was like constantly running uphill, which considering the first part of my run is actually slightly uphill took some of the fun out of running on such a bright, fresh morning. The next bit of my route takes me down a long slow descent and through a sheltered village where there was no wind. At this point, I realise that the sun (without the wind) is actually very warm, and begin to question if the long sleeve base layer was a good idea and then begin to sweat… So the entire run was spent either running against the wind or feeling too hot once the wind had dropped. Never happy…!

But aside from the temperature and wind resistance, it was a good run. At the 4 mile mark, I experimented with the energy gel recommended by Hauling My Carcass and the jury is still out on that… I find it hard to eat anything when I run, let alone a slimy, blackcurranty, slightly salty gloop that instantly absorbs all the liquid in your mouth. So maybe I’ll stick to my tried and tested “weak Ribena with a pinch of salt” in my water bottle which has served me well up to this point. Oh, and Jelly Babies…

Still the added caffeine in the Energy Gloop may have had an effect, because although I felt like I was slowing, I still managed…

8.68 miles in 77mins 53 secs, giving me an average of 8mins 58secs per mile.

Although the first few miles were probably 8 mins and the last few 12 mins, I am very happy with the average and have broken, what has for me become, the elusive 9 min mile average which I am very, very pleased with. It also highlights that I really do need to get myself a Garmin so I can see my splits and find out whether I am running consistently or starting quick and finishing slow. The plan is to invest in one later this month but am confused which one to go for. I’ve read reviews and there seems to be very little between the Forerunner 305 and the 405 but I currently favour the 305 as it seems to do all the things I want (GPS, virtual partner, mile splits, upload and analyse etc.) and is 50 quid cheaper. If any of you have any advice or opinions about which one to go for, I’d love to hear them – it’d be a real help and you can reply to this post or send me a mail privately using the “e-mail me” link at the bottom of the sidebar on the right hand side.

So, one (maybe two) more short runs and then Fleet Half Marathon on Sunday… and now I am actually quite looking forward to it. Hurrah!

Soundtrack to this post: Honey Bee (Let’s Fly To Mars) – Grinderman

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