23 January 2014

Time passes slowly

Seven miles in very mixed weather. Some glorious sunshine, some lashing rain - and of course the latter came right up on the Ridgeway, from the west, straight into our faces. But that's what makes me a stronger runner. I suppose.

21 January 2014

Angel of the Morning

It might have been different, had the car started. The engine compartment is wringing wet, and WD40 doesn't seem to make much impression. The cockpit is wet, too, as is the inside of the hood, suggesting that it isn't really waterproof. On top of all that, I couldn't even open the boot to get to the engine because the lock was iced up. That was fixed by the application of boiling water, but even squirting starting fluid ('Easy Start') straight into the air intake failed to get it going. Having said that - where is the air intake on an MGF? The air filter is cleverly positioned under the fixed panel between the grille section in the boot through which you get access to do some of the routine things like top up the oil and water, and the main engine cover which requires some fairly serious dismantling of the car, so you can't even open it up to remove the filter cartridge (or to squirt starting fluid in!). Where that collects air from, goodness knows, though I now know that it's not through the side grille which is purely decorative. I pulled the hose from the filter off the manifold (there's no Jubilee (R) clip on it, which might explain why it doesn't run too well) and discharged the aerosol into the aperture, but even that didn't persuade it to fire. So off Lucy and I went to run to the field. And that's about it, really. It was a nice day for a run: cold, but eventually my hat and gloves came off and my three layers proved just a bit too much. The ground is still wet, but it should be possible to ride to Upton along the track, with just a couple of puddles taking the whole width to be avoided. Maybe tomorrow ...

20 January 2014

On the road again

A two-run day - neither of them much to write home about, but a total of 5 miles give or take a few yards.

14 January 2014

Pump it up

Not the most inspiring run, especially in the dark, but it's good to have nearly six miles on the clock and great to have the feeling of accomplishment that comes from completing a fairly hard workout. A small pyramid: 1 lap, then 2, then 3, and back down again. Each lap 800 metres, so 7.2K of hardish running with a jog to and from the to warm up and down.

Add 5K (almost to the centimetre) round Regent's Park yesterday lunchtime, and I am beginning to feel like a runner again.

09 January 2014

Janathon: Moonlight Drive

Aiming to run every day is not necessarily a good  idea. As you'll know if you have read much of my blog, it has led in the past to injuries, and in any case it seems to me that the mental benefits of regular running are negated if you convince yourself that you ought to be out running every day but then fail to do so - because (Monday) you found that you had everything you needed at the office except a shirt or (yesterday) work just got too much.

At least I managed a solid 5.09 miles on Tuesday evening. Running round and round in the dark isn't as much fun as I wish for from a run, but it beats doing nothing.

05 January 2014

Janathon: Don't let it get you down

I'm not doing very well with Janathon, although at least I am managing to run every day - and if Janathon can get me to do that, it is definitely a Good Thing. Tomorrow might be a serious challenge, but if I don't aim too high I should be able to fit something in - something like this gentle outing, but around Regent's Park tomorrow lunchtime.

Why so little? I worked hard to get myself out in the first place, and was fairly sure I could do the full seven-mile loop - after all, I did it on Thursday - but it just was not to be. Partly the weather, partly physical issues - OK, GI issues, let's not go any further into that - and partly a failure of will-power. It seems wrong to cut short a run when it's the starting of it that is the hardest thing, but if I'm doing this for fun I need to avoid it becoming a chore.

04 January 2014

Janathon: Newbury Parkrun: The Rain

Not my only friend - for one thing, I had my four-legged one with me this morning, making her Parkrun debut at Newbury as Hugo did a couple of years ago. The news is full of reports of atrocious weather, and widespread flooding is predicted as more water falls on already-saturated ground and flows straight into already-full rivers. Except, of course, those places that are already flooded. At times like this I am pleased to live well up on the edge of the Berkshire Downs away from rivers, floodplains and the sea. I wonder how Bedford fares, now that the supermarket that was mooted when I was a councillor 25 years ago has been built on the Ouse's floodplain? The Environment Agency website indicates that it's OK at the moment, but the flooding problems haven't really begun to hit inland areas yet, except for Tewkesbury which must be the most vulnerable place in southern England (York being its equivalent in what southerners regard as 'the north').

Arriving nine minutes late for the start (according to the time-keeper), we set off in pursuit of the slowest runners who were not even in sight by then, Lucy safely restrained with a harness and lead. After a few yards she thought it was time for a bowel movement, notwithstanding the earlier one or perhaps even two when we fed the horses en route for Newbury. At least I now had a hand-warmer. I released her from thelead as clearly we weren't going to be among fellow-Parkrunners for a long time and with a handwarmer to carry and a short lead that required frequent swapping from one hand to the other according to where she saw fit to run it was easier to let Dogs Run Free (but I can't use that clip, or song title, again so soon!).

My plan was never to run this one quickly. I'm not up to it, and I haven't run enough with Lucy (who, amazingly, has only been with us for three weeks) to be sure of how she will behave. This was an exploratory outing, which meant that a nine-minute handicap wasn't a problem. In fact the handicap became even greater when Lucy roamed away out of sight, seemingly having lost sight of me and threatening to head back to the start. But just as I was about to set off to find her, she appeared from a completely different direction splashing through one of the many temporary lakes that covered so much of the former airfield.

I thought it best to attach the lead again - by now, despite the stop, the tail runner was in sight, and indeed in a few minutes of dog-assisted running I had caught and passed a few other participants. At the far end of the course water from the newly-formed lakes was running across the path seeking lower ground, and I had to splash through several fords.

Back at the car, it became apparent that we were both absolutely soaked. My rain jacket was a sodden mess, fit only to be dumped on the floor of the car. My shoes and socks were wringing wet, and as for Lucy, the towel I had brought made little impression. But 5K like that is surely worth at least a Marathon in more conducive conditions.

03 January 2014

Janathon: Dark Star

It's a great deal easier to fit in a run when the days are long. My plans for today went awry when Sarah's plane was delayed with an electrical fault at Toronto, so instead of completing the collection from Heathrow before the working day had really started I picked her up at midday, and missed the chance to run before I set off - partly because of appalling weather. A hailstorm turned the landscape white shortly before I left home, and the A34 was moving at a crawling pace because of the ice on the carriageway.

So Lucy and I settled, again, for three laps of the playing fields. A poor sort of run - ten is really the minimum - but it was getting dark and rabbits have been busy there, so it would be easy to sustain a nasty injury: and it's cold enough for my asthma to be a problem. 1.25 miles to add to the total.

With Duane Allman and Peter Green

02 January 2014

Janathon 2: If dogs run free

This is the sort of weather we often seem to get on New Year's Day - only 24 hours late, I suppose. Yesterday's rain has left the going muddy, but what's new? This is England.

Lucy was still to be tested on a long run, but she'd already proved herself to be obedient and good with other dogs and humans. She didn't stop running, and loved the open spaces on the Ridgeway. She also came running when I blew a dog whistle, although as she comes when called (see photo) perhaps that isn't so important.

I wasn't aiming to make it a fast run, because that way lies injury, as I proved last year. A steady 7 miles and a great sense of satisfaction and well-being at the end of it - which will be increased by the cappuccino I just made.

01 January 2014

Janathon: Time passes slowly

As is obvious from the time since my last posting, there has not been much running going on. Time now to reset the mileage counter and aim for a new target - the same target as last year, but with a better chance (I hope) of hitting it.

The plan was to take Lucy to Newbury to make her Parkrun debut, but a couple of things conspired against that. Most importantly, the weather was absolutely foul, with rain being driven by a blustery south-west win. The stats say it was 15mph but I'd say it was verging on a full gale (Force 8 on the Beaufort Scale: 'Twigs breaking off trees, generally impedes progress'), certainly a near gale (Force 7: 'Whole trees moving, resistance felt walking against wind'). There was certainly resistance felt running against the wind, but I doubt that Sir Francis Beaufort was a runner. And a lot of twigs have come down, so we have ample fuel for the fire which is very necessary on these dark, miserable days.

Anyway, to ensure that I have the best possible chance of keeping my resolution, I have signed up again to Janathon (click on the image to the right for more information). I am committed to running and blogging each day this month - until, if past experience is anything to go by, I sustain an injury that puts paid to it for a while. Today's wind-blasted, rain-soaked mile is not the start I planned, but it will do. And I can report with satisfaction that Lucy ran very obediently to heel on a short lead and harness. Her Parkrun debut will be on Saturday, all being well.