Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Janathon '12 - Ooh crikey.

Blimey. Been a while since I did one of these isn't it! Let's try and catch up on where we've been and what we've been doing, shall we?

For a start, Janathon isn't really going particularly well for me, hence the gap in blogging. We'll come to the specific reasons why in a bit, but it isn't going... well, it's not going the way Janathon '11 went, nor the way Juneathon '11 went. Maybe it's a change in perspective, a failure to take it as seriously this time, or just winter lethargy and SAD getting in the way, but hey. I'm still more active than average, but let's say I won't be racking up the yardage like I have done the last two 'athons. That doesn't mean I've given up, though. That ain't happening!!

 We'd got up to Day 11, so I'm only a week behind. Oops. Let's start at 12 then!

Janathon '12 - 12: The Horseshoe of Doom
This was a 10km-ish lap from my place, along Meanwood Road and through town, then along Kirkstall Road to the Better Half's place. It was doom because after about 6km on the tarmac my calves and achilles started seizing up, so I ended up half walking, half jogging, half stopping to stretch for the next 4km, to no avail. I'm guessing it's just from more mileage than usual on road and hard surfaces (I haven't really had a good steady off-road run so far this month, save for Jan 1st!), but it hurt. A lot.


Janathon '12 - 13: Double Drop
3km from the Better Half's place to my office, uphill, cursing myself for pushing it the night before. 5km home around the Ring Road and back through Meanwood (via Waitrose for dinner) and into a hot bath to try and sooth out some of the aches and pains.

The way home was more of a 'fast walk' than a run, which annoys me a bit, but I'd rather not injure myself so I'd rather back it down and trek rather than try and 'push through it' and wreck. Ho hum. Music helps as usual


Janathon '12 - 14: Parkifying
A token short bimble to the far end of Meanwood Park and back. I'd love to claim this as a proper off-road run but it wasn't, it was on a hardpacked gravel track and the odd bit of frozen earth, was again a 'fast walk/jog' rather than a run, and my legs still felt lousy.

The afternoon and evening were spent over at the Better Half's, staying relatively* sober and taking lots of very embarassing pictures of other people. There was a large quantity of chargrilled animal, an icy shot luge, many cakes, firey things (provided by yours truly. Can't be known as Pyro and not play with firey things) and a small beverage or two. All the essential ingredients for a successful barbecue, really.

Janathon '12 - 15: Not running? Again?
Nope. This time, out kayaking. Instead of biking I went boating, to the Upper Tees to be precise, with York Uni Canoe Club and assorted hangers-on. The section (High Force to Low Force) is relatively short, but good fun grade 3/3+ with a couple of 4s. I made a mess of the Dog Leg (pictured) and ended up taking a silly swim after flipping on the boil line - in my defence, the 'Hearts of Gold' rock (just out of shot) is a nasty place to get pinned, and my sensible head thought it better to get out before that happened to me!
Janathon '12 - 16: To the pool
This one was a straight-off walk. I'd gone to bed at 10pm on the Sunday night (very unlike me) after a 3am finish and 8am start on Sunday, and with an LUUCC pool session to go to, so I walked up through the Woodhouse section of the Meanwood Trail, over to Hyde Park and down to the pool. Lovely hour and a half of playing around in my Squirt Boat (if you've never heard of squirt kayaking, it's worth having a look at) and then a nice gentle toddle back. My legs still felt manky, despite stretchings, beatings with a foam roller, hot baths etc, and it's something that's getting on my nerves. This is probably the point I decided to stop battering myself repeatedly and go for walks or walk/jogs to get in the mileage rather than force myself to run and get hurt.
Janathon '12 - 17: Round and round we go.
Another walk/jog to the Better Half's house, via Cardigan Road, Kirkstall Road (I seem to spend half my running life on Kirkstall flipping road, and it's long and flat, just the oppostie of what I like running on...) Morrisons (to get ingredients for a rather lovely fresh Tuna and Shiitake Mushroom Ramen soup) and up the hill to the house. Legs have started feeling a touch better, still very tight on climbs though, and the tightness and awkwardness feels like it's throwing other points of my gait out of line - left hip, Gluteus and hamstring feel 'odd'. Not painful, just 'odd'. I think I'll stick with the jog/walks for a while!
And finally, getting us up to date!
Janathon '12 - 18: What was all that about?
Another same-route wander from the Better Half's to the office. The hill in the middle of this bit (Butcher Hill) really is a little stinker if you're running. Great if you want to do reps on it, like the local running club do, but a sod first thing in the morning when you're cold and not with it and not warmed up. Ho hum.
In the evening, a fairly direct walk home, up to Lawnswood roundabout, down the Otley Road to Headingley, then down Grove Lane home to make it just shy of 7km for the day.

It does seem odd that just jog-walking like this, I'm still pulling in a fairly decent level of kilometrage, I'm just doing it slowly. I think some of the bigger runs, including my 15km'er on Jan 1st, and the level of tarmac I've been bashing, have made this year harder on my body than last year so far. I'm struggling to get into the swing of things, I guess. Oddly, a week of not feeling good and taking it easy, including one day with no running, and I've still covered 45km on foot in total, plus 5-ish in a kayak. I'm down on my first Janathon's total so far, but I would put that on not getting the longer runs in at the weekends so far. And frankly, I've said the last two times "I'm not bothered about the numbers" and lied through my teeth when I said it. Maybe this time I've less of a point to prove.Maybe I'm just getting lazy in my old age. Maybe all of the above...

... but I'm still not going to quit.

*Compared to the majority of people there, VERY VERY sober.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Janathon '12 - 11: Out and back (with muffins!)

Odd little bimble tonight. One of my housemates was having a 'dinner and bridge' night, so i decided to vacate the premises early. As I hadn't eaten, picking up food en-route seemed like a good idea, so after phoning the Better Half to make sure she was actually in the house, I popped in to Sainsbury's in Headingley and jog-walked over to Kirkstall with a bag of muffins (Cheddar and black pepper ones, as cited in previous adventures) and a block of Emmental. Pause the tracker at 4.05km (including the lap of Sainsbury's)

After a lovely stop at the Better Half's for a cup of tea and to toast my muffins (no, that isn't a euphemism, thank you very much...) I restarted the tracker and set off back the way I came, and returned home a little quicker and without the shopping to stop the tracker at 8.05km. Not bad for a short pootle of an evening! And proof that shopping must count as exercise (just for Maggie's evidence locker) as the extra 50m must have been around Sainsbury. Wasn't breaking any speed records for it, though. Not that I care!

So, onwards, to see what tomorrow brings! Night night :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Janathon '12 - 10: Retch and recovery

No, not the title of a new Jane Austen parody.

I decided after a relatively long run last night that I'd do a shorter one tonight. And I've been saying I needed to do some speedwork at some point. So I did. Try and run quite fast around the corner to the bottom of Moor Road, which has a little bit of an incline on it, pause and stretch out the sore calves, then five reps of walk-jog-sprint! up the road, with a steady jog back down and a little bit of stretching mixed in for good luck. Then a jog-walk back home

I'm adding in a different image today, instead of my usual Memory Map map. I'm adding in the mini-map and pace graph from the Sport Tracker console, because I like the spiky bits in the graph where it shows me sprinting. It amused me greatly, did that.

And now, to shower and bed. Night night!

Janathon '12 - 9: So, this running thing, eh?

So, after a weekend off, how to ease back into Janathon as we know it?

Frankly, I'd had a rubbish day on Monday. Not bad bad, just drained, tired, short on ability to focus and high on propensity for mind to wander. I got home at half five feeling, quite honestly, like going straight to bed. But no, there's this small matter of running to do. Hmmm...

One of the day's small joys was, as is often the case for me, and Excel spreadsheet. Yes, I have a small, sad, slightly odd life. But this was an important spreadsheet, for it brought a little moment of hope into an otherwise fairly 'meh' day. This was the little spreadsheet that contains a record of all of my Janathon and Juneathon runs, from 2011 and 2012. And this little spreadsheet also simplifies all of the big numbers and silly pace calculations and shows me a little graph of how far I ran in Janathon and Juneathon 2011 and how far I've run in Janathon 2012. "Simples", as a furry rodent of the genus Suricata suricatta might put it.

The small joyous hopeful thing this simple spreadsheet showed me was that, despite not having run over the weekend, I was still ahead of my Janathon 2011 cumulative mileage. That might not seem like a world-changing idea, given how much I've done since Jan 1st 2011, but it made me a little happier, and it made stepping out of the back door in my running shoes a little easier. So the MP3 player went on, and I trotted off for a short run...

... Which became a little bit of a longer run...

...Which got even longer...

...And when I finally came home it turned out to be an 11-and-a-bit-km run. Which was far better than I'd hoped for.

So, perhaps sometimes the best runs do come at the end of the worst days. Sometimes you have to have the 'meh' to fuel the furnace with. Sometimes a bit of The Avalanches 'Frontier Psychiatrist' is the tune you want to be stepping out of the door to. And sometimes, the flat hard bit in the middle is still flat, but isn't quite as hard as you imagine it. Here's to more of those times...

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Janathon '12 - 7 & 8: In which there is NO RUNNING!

Okay, so I failed. Frankly, if I could have fit in a run this weekend I would have. But in between other stuff, I just never got round to it...

I, the plaintiff, do hereby plead 'guilty' to the offence of 'not running'. In my defence I would like to submit the following as mitigating circumstances:
  1. On Saturday, January 7th, I did wilfully, and with malice aforethought, mountain bike 38km around the 'Beast' trail at Coed-y-Brenin forest. While for this I have numerous witness, they are also complicit in the same deed and therefore may not necessarily be deemed by the court to be competent / of sound mind.
  2. On Sunday, January 8th, I did once again wilfully and with malice aforethought attend Coed-y-Brenin forest, and this time made a mischief of myself in the company of others around 20km of the 'Tarw' trail.
I throw myself at the kangaroo court's mercy, and plead loudly that "I was doing exercise! I must 've been, my legs wouldn't feel like this if I 'adn't!". That said, as crimes go, it was a fun one. Must try it again sometime...

Janathon '12 - 6: Short and sweet

Okay, so I'm very behind with these things, I know, I know. But I've been away from the world to a place where there was naff all phone reception and no computer and frankly, it's been rather lovely. So there!

Day 6 was a short pair of runs, to and from work. The route's quite nice, similar to the route I bike but actually a bit easier on foot (no hauling bike up steep muddy "not a snowball in hell's chance" unrideable slope), though the long-ish drag up and round the ring road is, well, a drag. 4-and-a-bit km either way, so a decent haul for the day, but slow and a bit sore.

Next post covers and entire weekend. Spoiler, I know, but hey. What can you do?!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Janathon '12 - 5: What a difference a day makes

So, map of yesterday's shambles of a jaunt first. It was cold, wet and miserable and I'd really rather not have any more like that, if that's okay with you? Thank you

Today couldn't have been any less like yesterday if it had been upside-down. This morning was still pretty horrible, but come lunchtime the wind had dropped, the clouds had cleared and the sky was blue! I even got home this evening to find the power on and the heating fixed! Wonders will never cease...

So, for once I actually felt like I wanted to go for a run. And slow, short and shambolic as it was, I did! Lots of stops to do stretching-y stuff because my calves are still a bit wrecked and I never warm down properly (slaps self on wrist....) but a nice steady 6-and -a-bit km potter on a rather pleasant evening, for once!

And so, to bed. I'll do some adding up some other time. For now, sleep!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Janathon '12 - 4: Eurgh...

Well, that was fairly horrible.

Wet and windy plodding around a similar, but not quite the same, loop as yesterday. Bit shorter, since the weather here is, frankly, minging. And I set off without a waterproof and got caught in a bloody great downpour... Ah well, these are the days that make the rest of the month seem pleasant by comparison.

Not worked out distance yet, but was out about 45 mins. Well confirm and log when I get a chance to charge my phone (due to current weather conditions, house has no electric and no heating. Typing this on an old phone from under a duvet) and download the tracker file. It's just been one of those days...

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Janathon '12 - 3: 'Twas a dark and stormy night...

...and I really didn't feel like running. But I dragged my somewhat Frankensteinian carcass out anyway.

Slow jog/walk to warm up on the flat section along Meanwood Road, harder effort up the long climb to Hyde Park, gentler around the back of the park and then steady with short efforts to Headingley then simply concentrate on trying not to fall over from the traffic lights down Grove Lane and back home... a house with no heating, admittedly, but at least the hot water still works. Thank heavens for small mercies.

And now, to bed! Night night.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Janathon'12 - 2: A game of two halves.

Today was a bit of a bit-part day. Feeling pretty sore after yesterday (maybe I shouldn't have started on a nearly-10-miler) and with the weather looking cold and grotty, I abandoned the half-formed plan of doing the Back o' Skiddaw run that I've been saying I'd do for ages and went out for a brief walk with my parents. They're doing their own Janathon, walking and/or cycling every day, so it was nice to be out with them. Unfortunately my hips, thighs and calves were telling me to behave myself, so we had a nice (if chilly and windy)
5km-and-a-bit wander round by Harby Brow and over the fields, as shown below:

Part one - Over the fields and far away...
Unfortunately, I'm still playing by the rules of "If there isn't any running involved, it doesn't count", so once I'd got back to Leeds, I still needed to go for a run. My legs were still wanting me to behave, to sit down and immerse myself in the sofa, but my head decided it wasn't having any of that, so my head and I went out for a slow bimble around the block, dragging the legs along with us. It may have only been short, but it was a run, albeit a slightly slow one. I have a feeling there will be many occasions this month where I will have to ignore the protestations of my legs. They should know by now that I don't listen to them that often...

Part 2 - Round and round the rugged rock...
Oh, and as a little extra bit of niceness for the day, last night my friend Ann-Marie sent me the link to the Youtube promo video from last year's Grand Raid des Pyrenees, in which I get a brief cameo! If anyone's interested, I've posted it below, if anyone would like to watch (and yes, I'm the gibbering Englishman at the end!). I wonder what my next starring role will be?!...

Total distance: 8.69km
Total times saying "Ooh, that's a bit sore": Lots
Total cups of tea: 2
Total hot baths/showers: 2

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Janathon '12 - 1: New Year's Wobble

So, last Janathon I marked the first day of the new year with a 2.5km wobble, narrowly avoiding emesis on the way, having worked the bar in Torpenhow village hall for the New Years party the night before.
This year, same precedents, albeit with a much lower alcohol consumption (only 4.5 pints of beer, 1 pint of water and a cup of Rooibos tea), and I made it out on a lovely, sunny, scenic bimble around the 'homerun'. Couple of hours, just shy of ten miles, and very enjoyable.

Happy Janathon to everyone. I've started as I mean (but probably won't manage) to go on, I hope you all have as well.

Distance: 15.2km
Time: 2.04.09
Pictures taken: 11
"Happy New Year" 's to strangers: 4
Lumpy yawns: 0