Team colours

So, this Friday the World Cup will begin, the football world cup that is, the Walking World Cup is alive and well in my local park. Yesterday Highway Kind commented on the groups of international walkers I encounter on my runs, suggesting that this might be an interesting alternative to the upcoming competition. Today I decided to try to capture some of these walkers to add to the excitement. World Cup football fever whips us up into a frenzy that finds us focussing on what the players eat, what their W(ives)A(nd)G(irlfriend)S are wearing, how Wayne Rooney takes his own pillow on the bus with him and the finer details of Ronaldo’s fancy footwear, but down at the park it was all about team colours today.

The Chinese Walkers get extra points for their selection colourful hats and also for some of their team members breaking into a run, incidentally it is often the much older members that do this.

The Turkish Walkers however have really got the team strip sorted, with a subtle array of grey, brown and black velour tracksuits for those early morning training sessions.

And here you can get a sense of the strong camaraderie amongst Team China and understand how the Walking World Cup is as much about socialising and community spirit as it is about physical prowess (and you get a look at the hill training area these athletes cover every day).

Stats for Juneathon Day 6

Type of run: solo run

Time: 28 minutes 15 seconds

Distance: 3.02 miles

Average Pace: 9.21

Best Pace: 6.20

Calories: 317

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Challenges of running every day

It’s hard! Octoberthon is going well in many ways, but it’s such a challenge getting out every day. On Tuesday I didn’t manage it. It rained and rained and rained all day and Hector and I were all ready to go at one point and it started chucking it down again. We spent some time at the library and I decided I would head out when Edward got home…only he didn’t get back until just before nine and I didn’t fancy the streets at that time, mingling with the ladies of the night and their associates. Oh well.

On Wednesday the weather really picked up, it was one of those autumn days that makes me smile: crisp, fresh and sunny, so we headed down to the canal.

Time: 33 minutes 13 seconds

Distance: 3.17 miles

Average Pace: 10.29

Best Pace: 8.21

Calories: 358

Thursday was just as lovely, if a little bit windy, so we did the run-to-swimming-lesson-and-run-back-home run. I do enjoy this, it’s so much more enjoyable than the bus, but it’s hard putting on slightly damp running clothes after emerging from a deliciously warm swimming pool!

Time: 50 minutes 45 seconds

Distance: 4.74 miles

Average Pace: 10.42

Best Pace: 7.40

Calories: 453

Friday was another gorgeous autumnal delight, but I waited until the evening to run and really regretted it as the skies opened up just at the point where I said: ‘Ok, I’ll go running now’. I stared at it for a bit, procrastinated some then realised it wasn’t going to stop and I should just go for it. The rain did something great to my speed motivators as I kept up quite some pace for the whole three miles. It made me realise I might just crack that 25 minute 5k I would love to achieve. My enthusiasm was knocked somewhat as I neared home and heard some lads shout out: ‘Come on big arse!’. Hmmmm, thanks for that.

Time: 25 minutes 29 seconds

Distance: 3.02 miles

Average Pace: 8.26

Best Pace: 6.04

Calories: 298

Yesterday we all set out early on our bikes to Hampstead Heath where we enjoyed a flask of tea and our lunch near the lovely Pergola and then wandered through the trees and had a play in the playground. I saw Ricky Gervaise at one point running through the heath, looking like it was hard work. Glad it’s not just me that finds the heath a challenge! Talking of challenges, the outward trip to the heath is full on hills, hills, hills and I realise how useless I am at cycling; I might be running fit, but cycling makes my legs scream. As a result I decided not to run yesterday, I was simply worn out.

Since I did my big walk a couple of weeks ago I have been experiencing a new pain in my left knee, on the inside, some sort of patella thing I guess, probably just caused by all that walking and stair climbing. The funny thing is that it only hurts when I walk, it’s absolutely fine when I run and was ok when I cycled yesterday. This morning I set off to Finsbury Park as I fancied running along the path that we rode on yesterday. My knee was hurting though. I ran as far as the park, stopped and stretched and decided to run back home. As well as the knee, my right shin was aching too, so I didn’t want to push it too far and cause long-term problems. Damn it. I don’t know if it was because I had decided to run back home or if it was because I had warmed up, but the pain and the ache both eased a bit on the return journey…

Time: 33 minutes 30 seconds

Distance: 3.19 miles

Average Pace: 10.29

Best Pace: 8.03

Calories: 337

Octoberthon. It’s like Oktoberfest but without the beer.

Well, maybe the odd glass on a Friday evening.

I am feeling a bit sluggish and porky around the middle at the moment and, after my BIG walk last week (which I will write about when I get a chance, really I will), I feel encouraged and inspired to push myself a little bit further than I have been doing of late. So I have decided to take decisive action and commit to a daily activity. Remember Juneathon? Well, this is just like that but it’s in October and doesn’t necessarily involve daily blogging, which I found more challenging than the daily running (look, I’m making all this up, so I can make up my own rules and do what the heck I like). I will attempt to run every day, with a limit of no fewer than three miles and, as I will be perusing the Venice Biennale for a few days towards the end of the month, I will make up for those lost days at the beginning of November (as I said, I make up the rules ok?).

To start you off, I ran to Hector’s swimming lesson and back yesterday and boy did I look like some sort of lardy, asthmatic (yes, I am) beginner! I gasped up Hornsey Rise like a steam train, pausing at the top pretending to look at a digger and roller combo. Coming home was a little easier, but I still felt totally out of condition. Here are the stats:

Time: 52 minutes 59 seconds

Distance: 4.92 miles

Average Pace: 10.46

Best Pace: 8.53

Calories: 512

This afternoon I popped Hector in the running buggy in a desperate attempt to get him to have a sleep. Of course he slipped into gentle slumber within minutes of setting off and I enjoyed a saunter along the canal. There is a lovely new cafe near the playground at Markfield Park, so my longer runs will be full of temptation as the delicious-looking carrot cakes call me from the path of righteousness.

Time: 35 minutes 58 seconds

Distance: 3.47 miles

Average Pace: 10.21

Best Pace: 7.55

Calories: 377

So, does anyone want to join me? I found Juneathon a great motivator and this could be just what we need to get back on track for the dark months ahead. Has anyone heard about a place in the VLM and needs a bit of a kick start? Go on, you know you want to!

FitArtist goes a-travelling

I am still here, really I am. I’ve been too busy being away or preparing to go away. Last week we had a bit of family quality time down in beautiful Dorset. We camped on a cliff right next to a beach so it was a tad windy at times, but the weather picked up towards the end of the week and we got to do a bit of this:

sandy

We saw lots and lots of these:

tractor

Ate plenty of this:

cake

Met the neighbours through the mist:

moo

And even did a bit of this (I’m being brave putting this one up!):

swimmer

It was lovely to have a little break and lots of fresh air, even if we did feel we might be blown away at times. I did run on one of the days and I would say it is one of the most beautiful runs I have ever done. I ran up, up, up through the cows’ field, saying hello along the way, pausing to watch what I think was a seal bobbing around in the incredibly calm early morning sea, then tackled the biggest hill I have ever run up. I say run, but it was more of a hoist, heavily forcing each leg up to the next sod of earth I could get a grip on. The view was well worth the effort.

So, this week has been spent catching up and getting ready for the next big adventure (I haven’t run I’m afraid, so nothing to blog there, I’m feeling slightly lacking in the running mojo area…). On Tuesday we shall be catching a plane to Helsinki then travelling across country to the lakeland area of Kuopio for my performance as part of the ANTI Festival of Live Art. I’m ever so excited.

mail

Click here to read all about what I will be doing next Friday.

Brasher Neon – Bossa and Paloma shoe review

In September I will be going for a very long walk in Finland. This is all part of the ANTI Festival of Live Art in Kuopio. I will be walking the marathon distance along a repeated 1km route over the course of one day. Of course, to do this I will need a good pair of shoes, but what do you wear for an urban walk of such a distance that doesn’t venture over muddy ground but will be a challenge for any shoes? I asked the people at FitnessFootwear and they came up with the goods, the Brasher Neon – Bossa and Paloma.

First Impressions

It’s so light! It is a sturdy shoe with good support and a tough sole and toe guard but still manages to be incredibly light for a walking shoe. Oh, and it’s a looker too!

shoe1

Recently I have been finding my running shoes seem to be crushing my toes a little (have I grown?!) so I really hoped these wouldn’t give me the same problem – eight hours or so walking with toe-crush doesn’t sound like much fun to me. Thankfully they have quite a pointy toe area which is nice and roomy and I haven’t felt my toes touch the front once. Another problem area for me is the heel: I nearly always get blisters here with a new pair of shoes but haven’t experienced any problems here at all – hoorah!!

The Test

The weather has been crap, yes I know I keep going on about it, but I’m fed up of the rain now. This has meant a bit less walking around and fewer opportunities to try out my lovely new shoes. I have now given them a good few walks though (in the rain as well) and can safely say I am happy with them. One thing I noticed when I first walked in them was a little heel lift as I walked – they seemed a bit loose around the heel – but look, they have a nifty little strap to tighten the heel area to suit your feet!

shoe2

I haven’t got it adjusted quite right yet, but it’s such a great idea to be able to tighten and loosen this area depending on the time of day/type of walk etc. I have worn the shoes in the rain and didn’t experience any wet feet moments but my feet felt a bit toasty when I wore them on a sunny day (but then I do normally wear Birkenstocks so anything that covers more than 10% of my feet will feel like a wooly jumper to my toes!).

The Verdict

I love them! If you are looking for a light pair of shoes for urban walks or not-so-muddy-or-rocky country walks then these are for you. I have been wearing them out and about with a pair of jeans and think they look pretty cool, so you could use these if you do a lot of walking in the town or a walking commute. We will see in September how well they withstand an extreme walking communte!

Some links

Hiking shoes

Approach shoes

Brasher shoes

Getting muddy

I didn’t get a chance to write about my run yesterday so will do so now, with a fuzzy memory. I hadn’t intended going out straight after breakfast but Edward made the mistake of saying to Hector ‘Are you going running with Mummy?’ and of course he was ready and handing me my running shoes! It felt like hard work with my muesli and tea sloshing about but I kept at it and got the usual smiles and compliments from the groups of walking ladies. There are quite a few different groups who do a regular walk around the park: the Turkish ladies, the Monday morning ladies and the Chinese ladies – they are the best for entertainment value as they can often be seen going on the swings and yesterday one of them was riding her bike on the BMX/skateboard ramps!

It wasn’t raining on my run, but the ground was very damp from a heavy dew and, when Hector and I had a little game of football on the pitch, we got pretty grassy and muddy, in fact I had to get a stick to scrape all the mud off Hector’s shoes. Must take wellies next time. After the ‘match’ and a chat with a friend who was passing through, I did one more circuit and off home we went.

Time: 36.01 minutes

Distance: 3.53 miles

Average Pace: 10.12

Best Pace: 8.18

Calories: 425

Going slow(er than Highway Kind)

After yesterday’s encounter, I decided to go somewhere else today and also decided to walk: the weather is grim and it’s much easier to keep us both dry if Hector is in his sling and we carry a brolly. Luckily the rain kept off for most of the walk and we just got a bit wet towards the end. We headed down to the River Lea to take a stroll along the canal and to see some birds (via the library). The bit between home and the canal is horrid, a bit like walking alongside a dual carriageway, with really aggressive drivers – I watched with my eyes half shut as a bloke nearly got run over whilst chancing it with the traffic.

When we eventually reached the water, all was calm and serene and we stood and enjoyed some geese, pigeons and gulls. As we watched, a cheeky head poked out of the water then ducked back down – a cormorant! It looked so odd, popping up every now and then and disappearing completely in it’s quest to find food. We then enjoyed some swans and the diggers that were doing something on the opposite bank, digging I suppose, and what seemed like planting. Hector liked all this activity anyway.

The skies turned grey so we headed out through Markfield Park towards home. Aren’t starlings noisy?! There was a group of them chattering away on the grass, clicking and whistling.

We rounded off our walk with a trip to Tesco, where I filled my rucksack with heavy things – does that count as cross training: a dead-weight rucksack filled with books, rice, washing powder and milk on the back, and a wriggling baby on the front?

No Garmin was worn, but I worked it out on G-Maps to be 3.64 miles. I also worked out our bike ride from Saturday was about 7.51 miles and Sunday’s brief walk was about 2 miles.

So, I have now done 3/3 Juneathons and a total of 8.37 miles – I think I will just count up all the miles for walks and runs. The rain doesn’t seem to be stopping, so let’s hope the weather picks up a bit for the rest of June.

Number of Juneathons: 3/3

Total miles: 8.37

Some fellow Juneathon bloggers:

Warrior Woman

Jog Blog

Jogger Blogger

London Jogger

I Like to Count

Marble Cake