Thursday, June 30, 2011

Juneathon 30 - Endex.

So, Juneathon is done. Honestly, at lunchtime today, I want sure I'd make my target. But, we got there, and in relatively fine style.

The run itself was again unexceptional, a slightly weird experience running down Briggate, the main shopping street in Leeds, but after that, I hit the canal for 5 miles of steady trot to the Abbey Inn (and a bit beyond) before looping round Rein Road and up to the Better Half's place, to pause the clock at 18.1km. A quick can of something caffeinated and back out for a quick loop of Abbey Park and the Vespers. Back to the house to stop the final tally at 21.4km - a half marathon to finish on, and a final monthly haul of 323km, 201 miles. That's enough for me.

A big thanks to Cathy and co for another month of fun, and well done to everyone who's joined in. And a huge thanks to everyone who's provided amusement, encouragement and mild abuse as well.

Pics and map when I've set up my PC in the new house.

Cheers all!


Juneathon 29 - Ouch

So. 8.74 km yesterday, early in the morning, takes me over 300 km for the month. That's my original target passed with a day to spare. Woo! Cake for the moment, 300 candles (and a fire extinguisher) on order.

I have, of course, already declared another target - 200 miles, 322 km, which leaves me in need of a half marathon tonight to finish. However...

My legs are, frankly, shot to shit. As well as cracking the mileage over the past 3 days, I've also been moving house, and yomping boxes up-and-down a couple of flights of stairs has done me in. Add to that last nights whopping 4hrs of sleep and you get a rather blitzed Pyro.

Not admitting defeat just yet, not for certain. But low and slow will have to prevail for me to make it. Please, if you read this before 6pm, send me good vibes. I may need them.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Juneathon 28 - Non-Stop Operation

Another 12km in the bag, the reverse of a 10 route from the other day with a wee diversion tagged on around Clarendon Road. Nota a massively exciting route (non of the recent ones have been, really) but more miles in the bank and a step closer to the end. And nicely accompanied (continuing our world tour of hip-hop music) by the Dust Junkys 'Done and... Dusted' and Everlast's 'Whitey Ford Sings The Blues'. All good.

(Map when, as stated on previous post, MemoryMap stops being a sh*t...)

Juneathon 27 - Stay Human

Oh blummin' 'eck! Nearly forgot about the blog bit again. Fer smeg's sake!

Anyway, sneaking under the 24hrs, just (since it was 11 when I went out last night. Too flipping hot...) I ran a 10km loop to bring me up to 280km this month, making my 300 a relative stroll in the park. It looked a bit like this:

(Map to be added when I work out how to stop updated version of MemoryMap playing silly sods!!)


I still have a job to do. A 22km job And that doesn't fit in with the '20km over 3 days' numbers. But. It does fit into the 'I like nice round numbers' plan. And the 'I like to finish with a tester' plan. And the 'I like a challenge' plan.

321.86, here we come.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Juneathon 26 - Mind over...

So. Day 26 was a short-ish run, and a very gentle one, and I'm blogging this now so I can catch up and stop slipping behind again.

Before I start on 26, let's just nip back into history to fill in some blanks about Runs 24 and 25. They were both long, as you can see. Not intentionally so though, in either case. Despite my insitence that I wouldn't do, I've found myself 'running by the numbers' more in the later stages of Juneathon. Not specifically going "I have to run X-km tonight, so I'll do Y-route" but definitely going "This could do with being a long one because I want to make Z-km this week so I can hit my 300 by the end of the month". My recent runs, and both 24 and 25 in particular, started out with a particular route in
mind and just went off-plan at some point, but turned out okay. 24 was going to be a short recovery run, just an out-and back to the Ramada hotel at Golden Acre, about 8km. Then I got to the ring road roundabout and turned left, mainly... well... just because I felt like it. It turned into double what it was meant to be, and ended up a ten miler. Not a very interesting one, but good mileage all the same.

25 was a different kettle of herring, definitely. Again, starting out as a planned 10km-ish loop on known trails, I decided to investigate a path I'd seen on the map that followed the line of a railway tunnel from Cookridge to Bramhope, then over the Otley Road, then across some nice-looking fields on a previously unexplored footpath... The next thing I knew I was at Lineham Farm, which I'd been to in January, and knew I was still a fair way from home. Oops. As I'd not planned to be out quite this long, or to have run that far, I'd not taken food or drink with me, and it was a very warm evening, so
I was starting to suffer. But, as Mr Churchill put it "When you're going through hell, keep going", so I plodded on, taking a line to make the return shuffle enjoyable rather than direct - no sense in flogging my backside off on tarmac when I could at least have interesting trails to distract me. So, I looped across more nice fields to Eccup Reservoir, linked in to the top end of the Meanwood Trail and shuffled my way back home for a 20km-er, flopping into the house with the words "That was
just about 3km too far." A couple of pints of High-5 and a bath laterand I felt vaguely human, though my legs are still irking me for it. Ah well.

And so, boldly on to 26, in which our hero (erm... Me.) goes for a short one again. Well, it was kind of short. The Better Half's comment was "I thought you were going for a *short* run tonight?!" when I said I'd done 8km. Maybe it's an '~athon' thing that I've started thinking of 8km as a short run, maybe it's just an increase in my own running confidence. But anyway.

I set off with not much of a plan in mind, started the tracker, and thought "Hmmm. Tell you what: Let's start the countdown timer, jog for half an hour, see where we end up, then turn round and jog back". I couldn't find any reason to disagree with myself, so I pottered off, jog/walk/jogging along the Otley Road, with a fairly arbitrary target of the Ramada hotel, which I know is 4km away, therefore giving me a rough pace of 7:30min/km I trotted away, and approaching the hotel, the bleeper still hadn't gone. I got to the 4km mark with 20 seconds to spare, and spent a short while laughing at that. Don't ask me why, it just seemed funny to me at the time. Then I turned round, reset the timer and jog/walk/jogged back, hitting home again with 20 seconds to spare yet again, something I again found inordinately amusing. Strange what running on a warm night does to you.

So that's it, up-to date. Until later tonight when I do the whole thing again and probably fall apart. It's getting to that point in the month, isn't it?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Juneathon 25 - Argh!

No song lyric in the title, just the way my legs feel now.

Turned out to be another long one - just shy of 20km. Again, got distracted by interesting looking trail and ended up miles from where I was intending to be. Worked my way back slowly as, due to not anticipating a 20km, 3hr run, I hadn't taken any food or water with me. Must rethink that particular strategy, I reckon...

Anyway, it looked a bit like the map below, was lovely and sunny for the vast majority of it's length, and took me far too long, but I don't really care. I do care about my sore legs though, so I'm going to have a cup of tea and put my feet up. Which is nice...

Juneathon 24 - Bang and Blame

Still behind, but catching up! I WILL get tonight's run blogged tonight.. but first yesterday's!

I ran ten miles. Don't ask me why. I think I took a wrong turn somewhere. But ten miles it was and ten miles I'm quite proud of, in that it was only just over two hours. So faster than I would normally do. 's not bad, really.

Looked a bit like this:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Juneathon 23 - Round in circles

Aargh! I'm getting behind with these, aren't I? Must try harder... (story of my life...)

Last night was a short, slow, 6km loop of the block to the Better Halfs and back via Headingley, becuase after a faster 11 on predominantly tarmac on Wednesday I've got sore feet. Recovery runs yesterday and probably tonight and we'll try and shift some longer ones over the weekend to push the distance back up. The juggernaut is still rolling on!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Juneathon 22 - Mastermind

(after the rather wonderful Deltron 3030 track...)

Not many words about yesterday's run. Just a map. I was faster and more flowy than usual, may have been down to the combination of Deltron and Rise Against whopping through my headphones. Never a bad thing. 11.3km, 1:20, which is fast enough at this point in the month. Now into the final full week, 220km down, 80km to go. Smoke me a kipper...

Juneathon 21 - 200/220 (full version)

I couldn't work out what this said.
So - replacing the placeholder post with something proper about Run 21 and the end of week 3! Took me a while, I know, but hey.

Juneathon 21 was a really lovely run, for a few obvious reasons:
1) It was out in the woods and scenery, not just hacking round the local streets.
2) It was a really lovely evening.
3) There was a trig pillar involved.

The Shepherd

All of these things make me inordinately happy.
 I'd decided I was sick of being stuck in an office and trailing the local streets and woods day-in-day-out, and I'd planned a run up on the Chevin for a little while. There's a trig up there (in the side marked as Caley Deer Park on the OS rather than the Chevin itself) which I'd not bagged, it's only a short drive from home to get there and it would make for a good uppy-downy woodsy run. Plus, as can be seen above and to the right, there's a bunch of sculptures in there which are quite interesting and I'd have bnice things to look at while bimbling around in the woods. The Better Half came up with me and went for a short walk while I went for a slow run.

A not very surprising view: Otley.
 I looped west from the Surprise View (not very surprising: You could see Otley) car park first, along to the end of the Chevin trails, then south and back east to run the lower track across the face. Slightly muddy, but very nice gravel trail along through the woods soon brought me to the old East Chevin quarry car park and a short climb up the East Chevin road took me over into Caley Deer Park and along bridleway and sneaky singletrack (which I might have biked in the past with the North Leeds MTB club).

Libations! Happy Birthday dear Ordnance Survey...

Pretty soon, I was near Caley Crag, scene of a wee bouldering adventure or two (and a picnic or three) and headed for the loop round Caley wood and round the back to my target of the day - a trig pillar! I admit, I'd promised to take cake and beer, but had to limit myself to nuun electrolyte stuff and a cereal bar (no space in a bumbag for cake and beer bottles). Still, another one in the bag and a suitable salute to an organisation created to help keep out the French (a noble aim) and now responsible for the greatest mapping in the world. And for leaving wee concrete pillars all over the place for me to run to. How considerate of them. 

After that it was just a short jaunt through the wood and back along the road to the car, and then a short dash down the face of the hill to go and retrieve the Better Half who'd gone for a walk, got lost, ended up in Otley, found a path running roughly the right way, walked up it then wandered off it, all while wearing in wholly unsuitable footwear, and was now stuck on some steep muddy ground under some beech trees, but wasn't entirely sure exactly where she was... Must see if we can find her a sense of direction somewhere soon.

All in all a lovely jaunt, 9.7km in a fair while, but it was a nice evening and I was admiring the scenery. Which is allowed. Honest. It took me over 200km for the month (Just shy of 210) and celebrated the 200th for OS. Near enough!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Magic Juneathon (pt 2)

As the days continued, everyone in the garden kept up their running. Ermintrude and Brian pottered in circles, distressing the garden flowers and drinking more cups of tea than is probably healthy for a snail. Mr McHenry tricycled every day, finding new tracks he'd never tricycled before and looking for new places to dig flower beds. Even Mr Rusty managed a few short laps of the roundabout, mainly chasing runaway horses or pinging sprockets, or occasionally the odd flyaway child. Dylan kept count, chalking up everyone's scores on a blackboard in between naps: Florence was the clear leader, but then, Dougal still hadn't been seen in days.

Dougal, it seemed, hadn't really understood Florence's idea. Dougal was now a very, very long way from the garden. And he was lost. Very lost.

Somewhere near Crewe he stopped for the night, bedding down in an old barn. As he curled up in the hay, a small Welsh voice sounded out from the shadows. " 'scuse me, boyo. Would you mind not stealing all my duvet?"
Dougal looked around wildly, trying to spot the source of the voice "Erm. Sorry. I was trying to find somewhere to sleep. I'm a bit lost"
"Oh dear. That's no good, is it? Where have you come from then?"
"Well, I set off from the garden about two weeks ago."
"Which garden would that be, then?"
"The garden. The one with the roundabout. The magic one"
"Well now, the only magic roundabout I know's near Swindon. Is it that one?"
"Hmmm. I don't think that's the one I'm after. It's a long way, though. I must be beating all the others easily."
"Beating them at what, boyo?"
"Beating them at the Juneathon."
"What's a Juneathon when it's at home then?"
"You run every day in June and see how far you get. I haven't seen any of the others in a good while. I must be winning, although I'm a bit tired. You wouldn't, by any chance, have a sugar lump going spare? Or a cup of tea? Or both?"
"Certainly, boyo. Just give me a moment and I'll put the kettle on. Welsh Cake while we're at it?"

Dougal watched as a small, elderly hedgehog in a miner's helmet crawled out from under the hay pile, dragging stalks and dust with it. "Now then, to that cup of tea. My name's Bernard by the way, boyo. What do they call you?"
"I'm Dougal."
"Charmed, I'm sure."

Dougal and Bernard chatted into the night, over tea and Welsh Cakes. Back in the garden, the others held a council to see what they could do about finding Dougal.
"I've lost my old shaggy pal" moaned Brian. Then he brightened. "More tea and sugarlumps for everyone else, though"
"He's a resourceful pup" said Ermintrude "I'm sure he'll be having a jolly time"
"He's, like, playing hide and seek with us" said Dylan, awake briefly.
"We need to find him" said Florence. "He might be in trouble"
"He might be in Scotland" laughed Brian "You know what his sense of direction is like"

They resolved, first, to send out a search party, and each formed a search pattern. Dylan, of course, stayed where he was "To, like act as a base in case he comes back, man". Mr McHenry rode his tricycle round the edges of the garden in a slow patrol pattern. Ermintrude chatted to the flowers to ask if they'd seen him, and Brian asked a couple of mole friends of his. Florence looked round the walled garden, in the bushes, and searched Dougal's house, to see whether there was any sign of life. There wasn't, and his pile of sugarlumps looked very forlorn.

**To be continued**

Monday, June 20, 2011

Juneathon 20 - Nothing Else Matters

(In this particular case, the very beautiful Apocalyptica version of the Metallica track. If you haven't heard it before, have a look here)

A short bimble tonight - well, 6km, short enough for me, and the first time my run has been under an hour in a while - because, frankly, I need an early night! Whether it's achy legs, various stresses (both the Better Half and I are in the process of moving houses*), work, the hundred-and-summat kilometres I've run this month or whatever, I'm not sleeping properly. Because I'm not sleeping properly, I'm spending the day propped up on large quantities of caffeine so I don't make silly mistakes at work. Because I'm propped up on large quantities of caffeine during the day, I can't get to sleep at night. Because I can't... you get the picture! Like Pacman, it's a vicious circle. So tonight I went for a short run and am going to go to bed early to try and break it.

In other news, I'm happy to report that tonight was the first run under 10km in a good few days. Back-to-back 10+ runs (with a 20+ in the middle) is a great feeling for me, as it gives me a bit more confidence for the Grand Raid des Pyrenees in August. My weekly distance is trotting upwards slowly, weeks one and two of Juneathon were 65km/40 miles each, week three is set to be 75km/45 miles, which makes me pretty happy. Week four will be tapered down a bit, but who knows, if the adrenaline gets to me (and I get some shuteye between now and then) it might plateau. I'm still on course for my vague target of 300km over the month. But one wee bit at a time. One foot in front of the other until it's done, and we'll see where we end up!

*Not together, I hasten to add, before anyone gets ideas...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Juneathon 19 - Tortoise.

So called because it was slow. 10km, but slow.o Enjoyably slow, though. Can't complain. Nae bugger listens...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Juneathon 18 - The 4-stage plan

Blimey. This feels odd. It's just gone 2pm and not only have I done my running for the day, I have a chance to sit down and blog while it's actually daylight. This is very strange indeed.

Today was a 'long run day', but I decided it would be more fun, and less stress, to split it down into three shorter ones. It seemed like a good idea, and meant I could do all those important sport-y things like warming up, cooling down etc.

Stage 1: For once, I actually got up when my alarm went off (instead of hitting the snooze button repeatedly) so I was up and about and more-or-less functional (okay, I'd had a coffee at least) by 7:30. I set off slowly, jog-walking around the back of Beckett's Park and through the trails, tracks and backstreets down to Hyde Park, taking about an hour for what tracked out to be 5.6km - 10 min km's is respectable enough when you're bimbling warming up.

Stage 2:  Hyde Park parkrun, though I didn't have a barcode with me (can't find it and don't have a printer!). A fast(ish) 5km, two-and-a-half laps of Hyde Park, sub 27mins but I can't be much more precise than that - it's about right, I should in theory be beating my PB, but would do better if I had a couple of days of rest beforehand!

Stage 3: After a coffee and a bite to eat at one of the caf├ęs near the uni, I jogged steadily down to Meanwood road and onto the Valley Trail for a jog back up towards home. Not as fast as parkrun, but not as slow as my warm-up, it was a fairly nice morning, a little grey but cool and not too windy, and the trail and park were pretty quiet. A quick push up the edge of the ring road and through the Hollies, trying to up the pace a touch for a few ks, and I was soon back home, looking at my tracker, working out my distances and realising I was about 2km off a half marathon, so...

Stage 4: I went for a slow, steady jog/walk/skip/high-knee/dance loop just around the local streets to make up the distance. A final trot to end a fine morning, and a fine haul of distance to go with it!

Then I sat down, made a cup of tea and some salmon and cream cheese muffins, and began to write. And it all went downhill from there...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Juneathon 17 - Low and slow

Nice bimble up and onto some new trails today, ones that branched of familiar ones, or ran close to them, but I'd not looked at. Not much to report since it was just a long, slow 10km, but that does get me up to 100 miles this month, so that's a pretty cracking achievement again. Aside from that it was just a nice steady trot up towards Cookridge and Holt Park, but then past the normal turn-off and looking for the track down to Lane End and Rushes Farms. I deliberately kept it shorter and turned right towards Paul's Pond, despite there also being another trail into the back of Bramhope to take otherwise, so I can save some other interesting pink dotty lines for another day (and it's part of a loop pointed out by Gary V who fortunately for the rest of us sadly isn't doing Juneathon this time). Plus, the right turn made the loop nice and heart shaped (ish. Near enough. Real hearts don't look anything like that that shape, anyway...)

After a couple of hard 'n fast nights, it was nice to have a slower bimble again, and should prep me in for Parkrun tomorrow, to see if all this bimbling and blethering has had any effect on my 5km PB. We'll see!

Juneathon 16 - We'll all float on alright...

A quick blog for what turned out to be a reasonably quick run for the second night on the trot - no, I haven't deliberately kicked it up a gear, it's just the way things have worked out.

I'll add the map in later, but the gps track failed due to pilot error. Using a new piece of software (ViewRanger) for nav and tracking, but it handles the route recording differently to any other system I've used and I haven't quite got used to that yet. Fortunately it was an easy all-road loop to trace into Memory Map, and I managed to keep an accurate time for once so we have our stats.

The loop was from home, down to and along Kirkstall Road, then climbing up Woodsley Road top the edge of the university before turning left and heading back along the Otley Road to home, all of which was much enlivened by Modest Mouse's 'Good news for people who love bad news' plus a few other random tracks, and also by the Corsa full of girls who cheered as they passed me trying to 'sprint' the last half km.

In the end, the run 1:13, and clocked me 10.7km, giving a sub-7min pace and pushing the months tally over the 150km mark! Next stop, 100 miles :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Magic Juneathon

It was all very hectic in the garden. Summer was in full swing, the flowers were in bloom, and the Roundabout gleamed in the sun. Everyone was happy, except one: Dougal. Dougal sat in his house with a cup of tea and a sugarlump and watched the summer through the window.

"Everything alright, old chum?" enquired Brian, appearing at the door.
"Don't you ever knock?!" snapped Dougal. "I can't hear myself think for you sneaking up silently."
"Sorry, dear captain" replied the snail "but I am a single-footed master of stealthy approach"
"You are a noisy mollusc. Now what did you want?"
Brian considered this a moment, eyeing the teapot. "Well, offering me a cup of tea would be pleasant, dear hound, but mainly I came to ask if you wanted to join in our game. Florence is organising it"
"Hmph. Well, I suppose I've nothing better to do. Come on then, snail."

Near the roundabout, Florence, Dylan, Mr Rusty and Ermintrude were waiting. Well, Florence, Ermintrude and Mr Rusty were waiting; Dylan was asleep in the shade. All the waiting had tired him out. As Dougal and Brian approached, Ermintrude spotted them and began to trill "And here they are, our final brave warriors, up for any challenge! The armoured knight and the shaggy beast! Never to be bested!"
"I'll best you, you walking handbag" muttered Dougal.
"Now now, my canine compatriot" chided Brian. "Be pleasant, for she maketh the roses grow."
"Glad you could come, Dougal" said Florence. "We're going to play a game."

Florence began to explain the game. "It's called Juneathon. Today is the first of June, so we will go for a run, and we will run every day for the month and see who gets the furthest"
"We could end up pretty far out" came Dylan's voice from the shade. "I'll just, like, wait here and judge. Or, like, just wait here. Zzzzzzz"
"What about those of us with no legs?" piped up Brian "I'm not what you'd call a natural runner."
"You can ride in style upon my head, snaily dear" offered Ermintrude
"Most kind" accepted Brian, with a small bow.
Mr Rusty opined that he would have no time to run, since it was summer, and roundabout rides were popular in summer, so he would need to be tending to the machinery. In his place he called Mr McHenry, who agreed so long as he could use his tricycle occasionally. He offered to ride slowly, so he wouldn't get any advantage from the wheels. Dougal was less than happy about this, but agreed to run anyway for all his friends were doing it and he would hate to be a spoil sport. They all lined up, next to the roundabout, and on Dylan's command of "Like, go!", they all began running.

Florence was a very good runner, and decided on a short loop of the garden paths, but ran very quickly. She soon got back to where Dylan was asleep, wrote down her distance and tucked the note into the dozing rabbit's pocket. Ermintrude and Brian ambled away slowly, taking a longer route between the trees, stopping regularly for tea, or to munch on some flowers, or to admire the scenery. "That's a funny hat she's wearing" said a bird, watching them pass.

Mr McHenry walked steadily back to his potting shed, collected his tricycle, and began to ride laps around the outside of the shed. When he became dizzy from riding round and round he stopped, put the tricycle away, and walked less steadily back to Dylan, writing a note of his distance, leaving it, then going back to the shed to lie down.

Brian and Ermintrude returned later, having had a lovely day out.
"My thanks to you, my dear cow" said Brian
"Any time at all, snailykins. Same time tomorrow?"
"If you don't mind? I've enjoyed myself thoroughly today"
"Of course I don't mind, dear snail. See you here tomorrow"
And they left their notes and went their own ways, whistling and singing.

As the sun began to set over the garden, all the runners had returned and left their notes. All except Dougal...

*** To be continued ***

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Juneathon 15 - Walking on a Thin Line

Long thin map today.
"You can't stop me, I'm close enough to kiss the sky..."

Those were some of the first words that fired out of my headphones as I set off tonight, and I guess in a way it's true. You can't stop me. I can stop me, if I want to, but just for now I guess I don't want to. So I'll keep going.

"If pain and mania show what we are, I'll draw your skin and push us too far..."

I'd been down to the Better Half's house for dinner straight after work, and letting it settle and relaxing had taken a bit of time, so it was nearly half 10 when I finally wandered out the door. That said, cool evenings suit me a bit better than hot muggy days, so tonight was perfect. I hit play on the mp3 and was greeted immediately with the opening riff of the Guano Apes 'Walking on a Thin Line' album. From that point, tonight was going to be about trying to move quickly. The music dictated that.

"The beast is a rhythm, and the rhythm got me..."

Up the Otley Road isn't particularly exciting, but it's relatively level and a good steady push to start off with. I turned off at the petrol station to head round the back of Adel as 'Pretty in Scarlet' came on, one of my favourite tracks back when I first got this album, in 2004, while living in Hamburg. Around the back of Church Lane (round the spooky graveyard, not through it) and across the field with 'Electric Nights' and 'Quietly' kicking in. A quick stop to stretch just below the Lawnswood Arms, and then it was a game of 'get back before the album finishes'

"I agree, it's enough to be just me..."

By this point it was chucking it down. Warm-ish, but chucking it down. So I did what any sensible runner would do, took off my shirt, bundled it in my hand, and ran off down the main road topless and giggling. I did manage to make it back before the album finished, in fact I got back mid-way through 'Storm', which seemed kind of appropriate. Checking the tracker as I stopped it showed a 7.5km loop in 46mins, which is a touch over 6mins/km - a damn sight faster than I've run for most of the month. And it felt surprisingly good. Maybe more music is the answer, but as the last line of the song goes:

"I'm ready to run with the storm."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Juneathon 14 - 14 for 0

So, end of Juneathon Week Two. How's it been so far?


Distance wise, I'm on course for my arbitrary targets and exceeding my own expectations and perceived limitations. I've run two back-to-back 40 mile weeks, with multiple runs over 10km and three over 10 miles. Not something I would normally consider myself capable of. Physically I'm standing up pretty well, aches and pains are present but nothing that I would get alarmed about. I'm running off-road wherever possible, stretching before, during and after runs, warming up well on longer runs (they tend to start off at walking pace anyway!) and warming down pretty well. I've got the odd wee blister, but what do you expect?!

Unfortunately, I've hit the doldrums motivationally. My last four or five runs have been alright time and distance wise, but in terms of 'head space', rubbish. Tonight started badly and, fortunately, improved gradually (thanks in part to some textual abuse motivation from Ross) to end up with me in a good mood, feeling happy, positive and above all, comfortable. All of which is made even better by the fact it also turned out to be a 10-miler.

As we enter Week Three, the pressure's still on to keep that distance down, even if it's only for my own satisfaction. There's a few other pressures around that are taking up some headroom, so hopefully we'll get those dealt with as well and then Weeks Three and Four (and those last two heady days where we all push like crazy to cram in the last minute mileage) should hopefully pick up. I really, really hope so...

Juneathon 13 - The Dark (K)Night

Short lap last night, in the dark, sure to spending too much time viewing house and yakking with potential future housemates, 4.1km sprint lap around the ring road and West Park in just over 22mins, so about as fast as I get!

Back to longer plods tonight. Woo!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Juneathon 12 - Beckett's

A short jaunt in the rain today - round the back way into Beckett's Park, a couple of half-arsed, unenthusiastic laps, and then back home. Legs feel surprisingly trouble-free after yesterdays long run, but I'm still grumpy and un-motivated. Oh well...

That is all.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Juneathon 11 - Half time

Okay, I got my long run. It wasn't the long run I'd been planning, but it was a long run all the same.

And, for most of it's length, it felt rubbish.

I woke up cranky today, as opposed to the past week where I've just gone to bed cranky. I slept way later than I was planning and as usual that completely hoofed my Plan A for the day. Reverting to Plan B would have meant sitting on the sofa with the other half of last night's dinner and vegging out until 6pm when I'd acknowledge that I still needed to do my run for the day and stumbling out for an hour or so, arriving back still cranky and no better off and feeling guilty about it. It's an awkward situation where mind, mood and motivation seem to all be in the doldrums, maybe because of the distance I've already run this month or just because it's the weekend and I'm feeling a bit flat.

The solution was to stick some music on and just walk out of the front door, start the tracker, and see where I ended up, one junction at a time. Set off onto something familiar, that way your legs know where you're headed without your brain intervening. At each split, a quick decision - left or right? Right. Okay, go - without any thought to the distance, the incline, the route. Go for what looks interesting, investigate what you haven't done before, go home when you feel like it, when you get bored. Not the greatest methodology, to be honest, but a fairly successful one.

I got back to the house having stomped, gurned, sworn and plodded 20km. That made me grin a little, so like the last run of Janathon, I made myself go for another slow jog round the block to make it a half marathon. That made me grin a little more. The grumpy bear that went out has started to become slightly less grumpy, and more just a tired. Once he has been fed and watered and had a hot bath (and maybe even a beer...) he might be back to normal. At least, until tomorrow morning...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Juneathon 10 - SHORT!

Ha! I knew I'd manage one short one this week! Erm...

Is it a good sign that I'm perversely proud of only doing a short run? I think Juneathon may be doing something to my head...

Tonight I mainly jogged slowly to Sainsbury's and back. My sat tracker shows 3.64km, but I think I forgot to pause it, in which case that distance includes multiple laps of the supermarket trying to find muffins. That's muffins of the 'toast and butter' variety, not the 'double-chocolate-full-fat-American' variety. These are cheddar and black pepper ones which are good toasted with cream cheese and smoked salmon, as opposed to the other type which are bad for me but good with coffee.

I may have a long run tomorrow, just for a change...

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Juneathon 9 - Nifty Fifty

Slow, slow, quick-quick-slow. That was about the theme of tonight's run, but I'm happy to say it takes me up 80km / 50 miles for the month so far, which is pretty astounding compared to the fortnight it took me to reach the same point in January. Maybe it's the lighter evenings and warmer weather making long runs more appealing...

I set off up towards the Cookridge and the back of Holt Park and stopped for the customary 'pit-stop' at the shopping centre (see the last post of Janathon for details), but stuck to the road rather than the golf course track back to the Otley Road. A nice little cross-filed footpath took me over to the church (not as spooky in the daylight), before looping round Long Causeway, across the ring road to the Hollies and back up through Oxley. Not particularly fast, although after a hard 9 days, I'm happy that my legs are standing up to anything like 8:30min/km pace for that length of time. Tomorrow night is going to be a SHORT slow one, as I keep promising myself (damn my competitive mind and comrades-in-Juneathon) in prep for something a bit bigger over the weekend!

Juneathon 8 - Round and Roundhay

Late blogging of last night's run, I know, but it wasn't really that eventful. I opted for a slow jog around Roundhay park, heading up to catch up with Claire and Geoff at the Aire orienteering event (Sprint Series - too short and fast for tired little me) before bimbling off to grab the trig pillar just off the ring road, getting soaked through in an unexpected heavy shower in the process. I opted then and there to run back through the wood to try and keep a bit dryer, which was a good call because it meant I ended up bumping into Suzie who was also out for a run and joining her for the return leg to the Mansion.

See. Not eventful at all :)

Total distance 6-and-a-bit km.
Not that concerned about the time.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Juneathon 7 - Out and about

Last night was a recovery run. After the hilly moorland of day 6, my legs needed a little bit of a break, so a slow shamble was the order of the day, distance immaterial, but a day to just head out for a pootle and see what happened. In the end, what happened was just the top side of 8km in about an hour and a quarter's running - the full GPS file shows 1:40-ish, but I stopped to meet up with the better half and potter round Sainsbury's to pick up dinner. I haven't included the pottering time, or mileage.

And so, to the end of Week One stat-attack (because, as was pointed out in January, I am a geek):

  • Total distance: 65km / 40mi - The same distance as my longest week of Janathon, a point I reached at Day 11 in January.
  • Average distance per run: 9.28km / 5.77mi - 4.3km further than my Janathon week 1 average.
  • Total time: 8:47, giving an average daily run time of 1:15.
  • Average pace: 8:07min/km or 7.4km/h (or 13min/mi - 4.6mi/h) - a little quicker than my January average of 8:13min/km for the month.
  • Total beers drunk: 0
  • Total takeaways eaten: 0
  • Total times I've said "Eesh, my calves are a bit tight": Many
  • Total bits of fun pretty singletrack: Could be more
  • Total abusive/encouraging posts to friends: A few.

Roll on Week Two - I'll be starting with something different tonight, and going orienteering!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Juneathon 6 - The long haul

I've said in an earlier post that I want to spend less time in June reading maps and worrying about distances and more time just going out for a run. Contrary to this, I keep catching myself at the maps, making plans, looking at routes, going "Ooh, well, that would put me up to X-km this week... dagnammit! Behave!". Today's run started a bit like that, with a plotted, measured, planned route, but I'm happy to say that the planning went a wee bit awry when I spotted some pretty looking trail that looked like it'd be fun to run down, and the rest of the route varied between the planned and the "Ooh, shiny... less go see where that goes..." This is, I think, a good combination. Especially on lovely sunny summer evenings like tonight.

Sunshine on singletrack
I drove up to Guiseley, with the idea of looping round on to Baildon Moor to pick up two rogue trig pillars* that I'd planned to stitch onto an Ilkley Moor run, but never got the time (or inclination) They seemed to sit in the middle of an area with lots of pink dotty lines on the map, meaning possible interesting singletrack to wander along. The start didn't disappoint on that score, hardpacked snaky woodsy trail running up the edge of a field, parallel to the road, dappled sun shining through the trees. It was a pretty stiff haul up for a K or so, and then the footpath turned right and up along a ridge before dropping down into Hawksworth (not the one near Kirkstall, another one. Common name around these parts, methinks.) From here, field-edge grass track had its monotony broken up by the pair of Curlews swooping around above my head - I'm not sure I've ever seen a Curlew in real life before, only pictures, but the bill is distinctive enough! I stopped to watch a while, chomping a handful of Jelly Babies and a gulp of water, before pottering off again towards where the trail dropped steeply down to Low Springs and more pink dotty fun-looking lines.

Runners right, horse gallop left
From Low Springs (where the pink dotty lines did indeed turn out to be quite fun) came a bit of a long drag, up a gravel and tarmac lane past some very posh looking holiday cottages and expensive houses - at least, I assume they're expensive. I'm only going by the number of expensive 4x4 vehicles parked outside them. At the top, accompanied by nice warning signs, was a horse gallop. I'm not in much of a position to judge, but I reckon running down that would have been harder work for little me than it is for a much larger stallion, so I opted to go for what looked like a footpath to the right. Probably the best idea, I think; getting mowed down by an irate mare at full bore would probably have spoiled the day.

Trig #1 - Baildon Hill top
From the gallop, more sunshine, two 'frontal assault' pushes up hills and the first trig! Baildon Hill top. A quick stop, to let the guy taking a panorama get his picture without a small sweaty runner in-shot, the off downhill to cross the golf course (good running on greens, I've found. Very level...) and drop onto tarmac very briefly to climb to the second trig. I'd seen this one on StreetView (strange thing to look at, I know) as it's just off the Hawksworth road climbing north out of Baildon, so I knew it would be an easy find. There, at 11.25km run, I committed the slightly silly mistake of pressing 'Stop' on the tracker instead of 'Pause', hence why today's RunningFree update is logged as two runs. No tech issue today, just Operator Error...

Restarting the tracker, I plodded onwards, avoiding the nettles on the tight bits of trail - grippy shoes really are a Good Thing in those conditions, aren't they?! - trying not to get chased or stood on by the horses in the field with the bridleway through it, trying not to eat ALL the Jelly Babies in one go, for they are treats for when we have done well, like reaching the top of the hill without stopping. Although I did allow myself a couple when I had to stop to let some golfers tee off, on the basis that running across in front of three guys who are about to whack a small hard ball with a metal stick and who have the sun in their eyes was probably not a great idea. At least, not if I wished to keep a few things intact, like my teeth, and my consciousness.
Trig #2 - off Hawksworth Road

Pretty soon, after a fairly uneventful bimble up and over another golf course - what is it about golfers?! They seem to get everywhere... - I was back in Guiseley, with a mere kilometre along the pavement back to where the car was parked, next to the White Cross pub, the Prachee curry house and Harry Ramsden's chippy. Talk about temptation. I managed to resist, and simply drove home to pasta, meatballs, a hot bath and the slightly long-winded blogging of what turned out to be a 10 mile run! According to the Tracker 16.62km, 2:28:17. I'm happy enough with that!

Oh, and lastly, as an aside from tonight's run: I've said, many times, that entering the 'athons is about me and me only - I'm not competing with anyone else. Unfortunately, I'm quite a competitive soul at heart, and can't resist a bit of cheeky verbal, especially with Ross (Chooban), an old compadre and long-time AR associate entered in Juneathon as well. So, I've been guilty of a bit of joshing. And before we've even finished Week One. Oops... Sorry 'bout that Ross. We'll see how we both get on, eh...

*Note for newcomers to this blog. The author has developed some kind of bizarre attachment to the angular concrete lumps deposited around the country by the Ordnance Survey to aid in their mapping of the British Isles, and often goes to great lengths to 'bag' these pillars either on foot, by bike or for the few roadside ones, by car. When conversation turns to 'Trig-Bagging', the easiest option is just to smile and nod.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Juneathon 5 - Tech issues...

So, first technical hitch of Juneathon - we knew it was going to happen, didn't we. More about that later, but first...

Juneathon day 3. 2.8km, 27mins
Expanding on the two very brief blog posts from the weekend, I've been back up in the Lakes for the weekend as my Dad was going into hospital for his second full knee replacement. The better half and I drove up on Friday evening in the blazing sunshine, met my Mum at home and went for a quick bimble round a short local loop, the one I did on Jan 1st, but in reverse. We pottered off down the field, then started climbing sharply onto Brown Moor, watching her ladyship first fall over while trying to run uphill - she doesn't really run off-road - and get followed by first a herd of curious bullocks, then a few curious sheep. Perhaps they could sense the shared vegetarian-ness.We climbed over the stile and made our way carefully across the next field, full of cows with young calves - never the best thing to have in a field with a public footpath through it. From the top we turned left and made our way back down the hill to the road and back through the village to home.

Juneathon 4 - 8.7km, 1hr
After a day of tea-drinking, hospital visiting and general pottering, we got back to the village and Mum suggested heading along to our local (The Greyhound Inn) for dinner, as they do a very good veggie curry for her and the better half, and very, very good Cumberland Sausage for me. We'd got back just before 6:00, the table was booked for 7-ish, time for me to go for a run then. I'd thought about the Ireby loop, or a slightly longer version, but the time constraint meant I missed out on the extension through Ireby itself and back by New Park lonning, but the new(ish) bridleways section and a nice pic of the poppies growing in front of the old church made up for it. And so did dinner, when I got back.

Today, the weather turned inclement, so the bigger hill run I'd been plotting never worked out - I'll shelve it for another day later in the month when I'm feeling a bit more tuned in. It's a route I've never run, but have walked and biked at various intervals and I think it'll be a stunner, so we'll keep it for a good day. Instead, we mooched around Keswick a little, walked down to the lake and along to Friar's Crag (not mileage I'm counting, mind. 'Mooching' isn't a listed activity on RunningFree) and had lunch at the Lakeland Pedlar, then drove home and I though I'd get a slightly longer run in from here this evening.

Juneathon 5 - Approximately
The tech glitch is one of stupidity, really. While trying to answer a call while taking a picture with the ViewRanger mapping software and Sports Tracker running in the background, my poor abused wee Nokia decided it was out of memory, and proceeded to shut down on me. That panicked me a little, as I've only just had it repaired after it last decided to die on me, so I spent a little time trying to reboot it and opted not to run so heavy on applications. Unfortunately, because it is my all-in-one solution for my hectic life, this lack of mobile means I haven't got accurate timing or distance for today's run. I was out just under an hour and a half, by my rough reckoning (derived from "what was on TV when I got in" minus "what was on TV when I set off") and when I plot the route manually into Memory Map, it comes out at about 12km, so that will have to do. As there's so many little tracks in the woods, I can't be 100% on that, but it's a near-as-damnit approximation. It's a route I've done plenty of times before, through the Meanwood Trail, and probably one I'll do a few more times before June is out, so we'll get a measure another day and adjust if necessary!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Juneathon 4 - Home Turf

Slightly longer jaunt today, 8.7km from Torpenhow along to Prior Hall, through the lonning to the Ireby road, up the little bridleway (gated, well maintained, pretty flowers up the edges) and back to Cockshott bank, over the top and back home. About an hour's jog, nice and steady, with the odd stop to take pictures (below) or stretch tight calves.


It's nice being up in the old stomping ground, and I'm hoping to get out for a long fun hill run tomorrow. We'll see :)

Friday, June 03, 2011

Juneathon 3 - In Reverse

A nice short hilly loop tonight, around my old home of Torpenhow. In fact, a reverse of the horrible hungover Janathon-the-First run, only this time without the hangover and with the Better Half in tow.

Hannah in the Solway sunset.
A stop-starty 2.8km in 27 mins, but with a lovely sunset over the Solway to admire, who's counting the time?

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Juneathon 2- The Abbey Round

A lovely sunny evening round of Kirkstall Abbey and the Vespers, accompanied by Steve G, in his first proper Juneathon run. We'd waited until 9 to set off, as it's been a pretty warm day, and headed down to Kirkstall road, through the Abbey park, along the road and then up through Vesper Road, round the loop and back along Burley road to the house.

A nice steady 45mins, covering 5.3km, and a good stretch out after the longer run yesterday!

(Route map to come when I'm on a different computer!)

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Juneathon 1 - And so it begins...

First Juneathon run out, and a very pleasant day it was too! I'd spent various bits of today staring at Google Maps trying to work out where to run, what mileage I was aiming for, whether to go hilly or flat, tarmac or singletrack, high or...

...And then I remembered that those decisions, those hours of poring over maps and stressing about mileage, were the things I enjoyed least about Janathon, and that my best runs came when I sacked the maps, the minimum mileage and the agonising and just did what I wanted to do.

Hill #1 - Newlay Locks
With that in mind, I got home, stuck my shorts on, chucked a bottle in the bumbag and headed out. 1:20-ish later I got back, having had a lovely bimble from the house, down to Kirkstall Abbey, onto the Leeds-Liverpool canal, along to the Abbey Inn (where, reputedly, there is the exit of a secret tunnel from Kirkstall Abbey. Presumably so the Monks could nip out for a cheeky pint without the public spotting them), and then along the edge of the river, up onto the A65 and up through Hawksworth Woods, Butcher Hill, across the playing fields, and back home.

Hill #2 - Hawksworth wood
Final distance clocked in at 11.4km, which seems pretty respectable. Very glad of being able to dump the .gpx files from the Sport Tracker straight into Memory Map for the route plotting, because there's so many little snickleways and uncharted little bits of singletrack to nip through that I wouldn't have a hope in hell's chance of plotting these things without it. Oh, and in the name of StatisticalStans'sTesticles, my average pace worked out at 7.07mins/km, which is a little quicker than I was averaging in January, though it didn't feel any faster. That's probably a good thing, I reckon.

So, 29 more to go. Woo!

Juneathon route 1 - WestPark - Kirkstall - Bramley - Hawksworth - West Park.