Not in

I, like many other hopeful runners, stepped over the Virgin London Marathon magazine that was on my doormat the other day as I came back from the park. I peered at it hopefully, but left it there after reading the word ‘commiserations’. I did go back later and pick it up to torture myself looking at photos of people running, and enjoying, the London Marathon. Oh well, I guess I knew I wouldn’t get in, it took me six attempts last time so I should think about another challenge for next year. I posted my sad news on Facebook and had a few interesting suggestions, including this wonderfully named event in Cumbria. I think this is the kind of thing I would like to do actually, it seems friendly, challenging and most of all scenic. I have spent some time in Kirkby Stephen before, when I did a residency there, so I know that the hardest part will be not stopping too much to enjoy the view. Other ideas were the Paris Marathon and the Rotterdam Marathon.

But as I have thought about it this week, I have realised that actually I might like to try a longer, more regular sort of challenge, something that could keep me on my toes for a whole year. How about running 26 miles every week, I don’t mean all in one go, but over the course of a week? I know many people cover this sort of mileage each week anyway, but this would be hard for me and would mean running about six days a week and would take a great deal of commitment. I like the idea of something that I could sustain over a year rather than cramming into a few months at the beginning to make it to the marathon. To start me off, I will have the boost of the icy new cousin/little brother of Juneathon, Janathon! As the winner of Juneathon 2010, I feel I have to pull out all the stops and grit my teeth over the frosty month of January to see if I can top my Juneathon mileage. We’ll see!

In the meantime I will be supporting/following/cheering on Warriorwoman, who did get a ballot place in the London Marathon, lucky thing.

This morning I was delighted to see the rain had stopped so I pulled on my gear and left the boys constructing complicated Lego vehicles with cogs and all sorts. I quickly realised my Garmin wasn’t going to last the whole run, with just an hour’s juice on the clock, so asked Edward if I could borrow his iPhone. I had it in the iPhone armband, which can feel a bit like you are having your blood pressure taken, but is certainly firmly kept in place by the wide velcro strip. I felt good on this run but my knees were feeling slightly creaky; I really could do with a new pair of shoes. I had aimed to run ten miles, but the iPhone kept saying ‘Low Battery’, so I knew this was going to die on me as well, which it did at around 7 miles. At a guess I would say the remainder of the run was about two and a half miles, so just short of ten. I had another of my Goodness Shakes powders, this time using the gigantic bottle that came with them instead of the smaller water bottle I used last week, this does make a difference and meant I didn’t have to filter out powdery lumps with my teeth.

Now we will make the most of this glorious sunshine and ride up to Hampstead Heath for some leaf-kicking and conker-picking.


Cardiff in sight

Oh hello! Yes, my running has taken a sideline recently. I got into a good groove before we went away, running in the evening, doing sit-ups, stretching, that kind of thing, then we went to Cornwall for a week and I lost my mojo again. I eagerly packed my running kit before anything else, then promptly left it in the boot of the car for the rest of the week. I was having far too much fun playing in the sand, catching my breath in the sea and eating lots and lots of delicious cream teas. Drool. Oh, and quenching my thirst with this stuff:

I became rather adept at my new obsession, stone balancing, excellent fun and ever so satisfying when you manage a tricky one:

Anyway, that was almost a month ago, so I thought I needed to get back on course and took advantage of this Bank Holiday weekend and went for a couple of runs and three bike rides. The first run was a little tester to see if I was actually still alive. I was. It was windy and grey and felt more like October than August, but I managed about three miles and a bit (dodgy Garmin stats again). On Sunday I couldn’t find my Garmin anywhere (it turned up under the bed, as things do) so Edward said I could use his iPhone. I did comment that I find it irritating that you can’t just look down at your wrist to see how far you’ve gone, but this particular app tells you out loud when you’ve completed another mile. I did six. In October I am running the Cardiff Half Marathon, so that’s about six weeks away. I figure I could add a mile a week to the long run and things should be just fine, slow and steady.

I ran to Finsbury Park for this one. Again it was windy, but it felt nice to run around Finsbury Park outside the constrains of the Parkrun: there are hills, but I avoided anything as horrible as the one we run up twice during the 5k. On both of my runs this week I witnessed men peeing in parks, the first one I reprimanded, but this one just puzzled me. There was a fun fair in the park and he was one of the fair people who had obviously been spending the night amongst the lights and dizzying rides in his caravan. Now, I have very little experience of caravans, but I do know that they generally have a loo in them, don’t they? So why would you go outside and pee next to it? Dirty.

Time: 1 hour 4 minutes 45 seconds

Distance: 6.18 miles

Average Pace: 10.28

Calories: 932

How generous the iPod is with calories, I took advantage of this with an extra big bowl of my blackberry crumble.

Another reason for my lack of running is that I am slightly distracted by moving house. Our sale is going through now but we were having trouble finding anywhere to move to. We seem to have found ‘the one’ now and are looking forward to a smooth move. This has set me thinking about running routes. We picked our blackberries on Tottenham Marshes and I said I am going to miss them (as does Jogblog), this half marathon will be the last race where I will train on the marshes and canals, the routes that have seen me through two marathons and numerous other running challenges. I wonder if I will find anywhere as wonderful where we are moving to. One thing that does excite me is the possibility of being just minutes away from a running club, and running is the best way to explore a new area and find out where everything is.

Dig deep

That’s what Edward said at about 9.15 this evening as I was about to go out for my run. This is the first run of this Juneathon that I haven’t enjoyed, I’ve loved it all so far, even the one where I stood under a tree sheltering from torrential rain. I suppose I should feel chuffed that it’s taken me until run 24 to feel the strain. I had an appointment this afternoon and didn’t make it out before then due to the call of the paddling pool. On the bus on the way home, the driver lurched suddenly and I fell, banging my temple, my leg and the side of my hand, I was so shocked, I just sat there crying for a moment. I feel well and truly bruised! Then, due to pre-birthday excitement (there are days to go yet!), Hector didn’t go to sleep until 9pm, so it was a late one.

Edward very kindly let me borrow his new iPhone, giving it a loving look as he handed it over. I did feel slightly nervous running in the evening with such a coveted item glowing on my arm and, of course, very aware of its preciousness after the last one met its demise on the floor. I ran towards the park, and saw that it was still busy enough to run around so made my way in. A combination of poor air quality, humidity and tiredness caused my asthma to kick in and I felt like one of the characters in Hector’s Thomas the Tank Engine books, ‘wheeshing’ along the paths. In the short time I was out running it went dark, so I ran the last bit along the road, spotting yet more England flags – we broke all records today with a total of 107 flags, mostly Englad with some Brazil, Portugal and Ghana flags fluttering away on the vehicles of north London.

A house just around the corner from us.

The app I used on Edward’s iPhone was ‘Runtastic’, and my stats were:

Stats for Juneathon Day 24

Type of run: Solo

Time: 30 minutes 8 seconds

Distance: 3.11 miles

Average Pace: 9.41

Best Pace: Not known

Calories: 457


Football crazy football mad

It’s started. I think I’ve had enough already. A month of Edward glueing himself to the sports pages (more than usual) and listening to the likes of Alan bloody Shearer for their little pearls of footballing wisdom. At least he won’t be staring at his iPhone all the time, unless he wants lacerations on his finger tips that is.

Aaanyway, on a more exciting sporting note, I went for an evening Juneathon run. I just didn’t feel like putting on my running gear this morning, I wanted to wear something nice – and not sweaty – for a change. So we went to our usual Friday group, then had a lovely play in the park with Hector’s friend and I saved my run until Edward got home from work. The park is really busy in the evening, so many people out playing football, riding over the bumps in the freestyle area, plodding around the park…and watching football on their phones.

I had a request to pick up some beer on my way home, which felt totally wrong, standing in the queue in the corner shop clutching two big bottles of London’s finest ale (Fullers). It didn’t feel so wrong drinking it when I got back though.

Here are a couple of things I spotted out and about today.



Stats for Juneathon Day 11

Type of run: Solo run

Time: 29 minutes 57 seconds

Distance: 3.15 miles

Average Pace: 9.31

Best Pace: 5.30

Calories: 333


Stunt rider

This morning’s run was a family affair. Of course this means motivating three people out of the door, but it did mean I could run without pushing a buggy, a chance to push myself a bit. Once we did get out of the door, there was a fair bit of faffing as both Edward and I got our various GPS gadgets ready to go and we even had a fabulous countdown from Edward’s iPhone app: ‘5-4-3-2-1!’ blast off!

(another stuck kite)

By the time we got to the park I realised I wasn’t going to keep up with Edward, even pushing Hector he is fast. As a result I got to witness what happens when you are pushing the ‘smile magnet’ that is Hector: everyone they passed gave a wide smile or even a laugh then promptly gave me a blank stare. Very odd. I didn’t have much time to think about this as I was on a mission to catch up, whilst wiping the sweat from my brow, cheeks, arms…it’s hot out there, even at 8am, apparently we are going to have the hottest day of the year so far.

(Hector said: ‘Look, a ‘H’ in the sky!’)

We crossed over from park number one and into the bigger park where we did a couple of loops, passing the walkers, the Chinese walkers (one of whom was carrying her dog), the Turkish walkers and a few plodders too. When we got to the freestyle area, the boys made a detour to do some stunts and I kept going to do another lap. I have a feeling I will need to practice getting up these ramps and bumps as Hector will be wanting to do this every time we pass now.

Now we are getting ready to go and celebrate Max’s third birthday. For Hector it’s all about the cake: ‘Will Max have a big cake?’ it must be great being almost three.

Stats for Juneathon Day 5

Type of run: Family run

Time: 36 minutes 56 seconds

Distance: 4 miles

Average Pace: 9.25

Best Pace: 6.38

Calories: 444