30 March 2009

Apart from garrotting the Trainer Fairy, this week I bought new running pants (tracksters?) in some hi-tech sweat-evaporating material and some yo-hot blister plasters. Gawd – the funky paraphernalia involved in putting one foot in front of the other. I was going to provide the inside track of a run in the life of a walk/run charader, but I have a work crisis and must get on.

Back in my good ol’ trusted Mikuno trainers with blistered feet swathed in bandages to dispatch Week 10. Three weeks to go!

Stats (I feel I am slowly earning the right to use this word…)

Week 10 of 13. 22 minutes run. 1 minute walk. 22 minutes run. 45 minutes. Session 3 of 3. Walk pace: 4.5 km/h. Run pace: 6.8 km/h.



27 March 2009


Well, the ticket to Boston is now booked. Fate is taking inexorable charge of guiding me towards a certain moment of humiliation in space-time. Even the guidebook has been purchased. I haven’t been to the States for over 10 years and when I went that one time, I went to New York. Now I’m sure that Boston is super, but it has to be said that the guidebook is somewhat thinnner than the NYC one and – apart from Harvard University – I can’t really think of anything Bostonian in terms of monuments and sights. Laidback tourism and pottering about is all very well, but I’m pretty hot on ticking off that Statue of Liberty, those Twin Towers (erm…) and that revolving restaurant at the top of the (Marriott, was it?) hotel with choppers zooming around at eye level between skyscrapers while I sip giant Woo-Woos. On the face of it, the lack of monuments and lack of alcohol consumption do tend to indicate that the whole Boston experience may turn out to be a slightly paler concoction in comparison.

Isn’t it ironic? was playing in the gym as I walked in. Which was ironic. Especially as that song isn’t about irony. But I suppose ‘Isn’t it just jolly rotten bad luck?’ doesn’t sound quite the same. You spend a heap of cash on fancy trainers, post pictures of them in a fit of enthusiasm and walk around in them all day to break them in and sort of feel a little bit like you’re starting to look and act like a real runner – and all they do is chew up both your feet. Thanks, ASICS. Why spend nothing, wear the good trainers you already had and walk out of the gym without a care in the world? Because…THAT JUST WOULDN’T BE LIFE, WOULD IT?

Hair of the blog

Alcohol doesn’t even exist.

Blog’s bollocks

Week 10 of 13. 20 minutes run. 1 minute walk. 41 minutes. Session 2 of 3. Walk pace: 4.5 km/h. Run pace: 6.8 km/h. Walk pace slightly decreased as I deserved a bloody break between these two big slices of running. This whole thing is starting to feel less like a charade, it has to be said.


26 March 2009


State-of-the-art kit…


…and a pair of free socks thrown in….

The socks are artfully angled not for the sake of gratuitous artful angling, but to draw attention to the fact that the socks are emblazoned with ‘LONDON MARATHON’ at the top in lovely red/blue letters. A microscope may well come in handy…


24 March 2009

Due to a few urgent work projects and the Great Banana Cake Debate (should I go to the gym OR should I make a banana cake?), I didn’t leave the house until well past six o’clock – in fact half past – and rolled up at the gym at 6.45 pm only to find it chocca with the nimble ones heaving away on all the machinery instead of being out getting drunk and having a good time. How on earth are they going to look back with fondness at their university years when all they did was read Dan Brown on an exercise bike? Anyway – evenings at the gym are a no-no. Because it was full, there was more noise from the machines which made them turn the god-awful music up even louder which meant my iPod had to blast my ears even more to drown out the decibel deluge around me. Grim. The generally accepted idea that gyms are tedious to run in is gaining ground, but there is a choice here: boredom or pain. For now, I choose boredom. I want to finish this programme as soon as I can as I’ve already been faffing about with it for far too long.

I will do the banana cake tomorrow. Such are the breathless plans here at the Shunningrunning Central Committee. I think I need a holiday.

Hair of the blog

Still none.

Blog’s bollocks

Week 10 of 13. 10 minutes run. 1 minute walk. 44 minutes. Session 1 of 3. Walk pace: 4.8 km/h. Run pace: 6.7 km/h. Walk pace slightly increased.


21 March 2009

Last night I strayed away from the running blogs (coz you runner blogger buggers DON’T BLOG ENOUGH!!) and started looking at other kinds of Internet inhabitants and geeezzz – talk about opening the door of the Fritzl cellar by mistake. Even my little corner of London is awash with brave and erudite bloggers fighting alcoholism, adultery, depression, abuse, child molestation, miscarriages of justice, OCD, death and divorce (and those were just the fun blogs) while frying their brains and nervous systems in despair and medication. A sonorous howl indeed. The frightening thought is that these are the blogging classes, the ones with computers and houses and education laughing through their tears as they pop another serotonin inhibitor – there must somewhere be another, far more cumbersome door behind which the voiceless are attempting to scream. I am shocked by and admire these bloggers for their willingness to be as honest as they are. I could never do it. I closed the door.

So it’s with some relief I return to the prim and pristine neutral moral ground of the running blog to announce that Week 9 is now done.

At the risk of providing the dreaded Too Much Information, I found today hard – but not in a physical way. I was never out of breath and I had arrived at the gym with high enough levels of TWITT (The Will and Intention To Train) and the programme for today said only 50 minutes. But it seemed in some way mentally harder. Maybe it’s because I’m actually starting to run properly and I glowed so much, I even had to use THE HANDTOWEL which so far has sat at the bottom of my bag and seen no use at all. Now I’m even glowing between my fingers. Is that normal or do I have some rare and mysterious digit malfunction? Oh, for the days of a leisurely dry-fingered stroll of 4 minutes and a charade of a run for 1 minute as one weaved amongst the evangelists and pimps! The nostalgia! The innocence of being an unwitting finger freak…

Hair of the blog

None whatsoever at all. I just can’t face it. Much less after the blogs I read last night.

Blog’s bollocks

Week 9 of 13. 2 minutes walk. 8 minutes run. 50 minutes. Session 3 of 3. Walk pace: 4.7 km/h. Run pace: 6.7 km/h. I did do 8 minutes of running 6.9 km/h, but let’s not get pedantic.


18 March 2009

Again I had a chance to sneak a look at the students whose motivation I frankly admire. I can’t imagine what would make me go to the gym if I was young, nimble, fit, beautiful and (probably) really, like, empowered. Actually, I can imagine: nothing. I would do exactly what I did do at university which was sit around a lot and drink too much and eat cheese. And what happens when these kids get off the treadmill after 15 minutes and look themselves in the mirror? Do they go: Oh, well, I’m still young, nimble, fit and beautiful so that effort made fuck-all difference so I think I’ll come in and do this all over again tomorrow so that I can see fuck-all difference yet again. And, by the way, what’s that middle-aged hippo over there doing looking at me in a funny way?

What is unnerving is when there is a whole row of empty treadmills like there was today and one of the nimble ones comes and takes the one RIGHT NEXT TO MINE. Why? There are certain nationalities that seem to do this. I remember getting on an empty bus in Spain with a friend and we took a double-seat each in the bus and someone got on and came and sat down – yes, right next to me. I remember walking into an (almost) empty restaurant in Russia where only one couple was sitting eating in a booth with a longish table and benches. Where did the waiter attempt to seat us? Well, at least he did until I started hitting him over the head with a blunt balalaika.

I kept the run/walk charade level without increasing either walking or running pace. Today felt easy. The two-minute walk actually seemed too long at times and the 54 minutes (down from last session’s 63 minutes) were no problem. I felt I could have both walked and run faster, but as the programme seems to know what it’s doing, I stuck to the programme without deviation.

Hair of the blog

None whatsoever at all. Big anniversary yesterday (suffice to say that the standard stint in Siberia is longer) and despite night out and fancy restaurant drank nothing but water and Diet Coke. Yo me!

Blog’s bollocks

Week 9 of 13. 2 minutes walk. 7 minutes run. 54 minutes. Session 2 of 3. Walk pace: 4.7 km/h. Run pace: 6.7 km/h.


16 March 2009

Daffodil Trio

First of all, daffs are de rigueur. So here are some daffs. I couldn’t find any in the vicinity of my sickbed (see below) so had to download them from where they grow on the Internet. Anyway – I was not looking forward to the start of Week 9 which was probably why I let things get in the way for the rest of last week and then I couldn’t fit in the gym on Saturday due to doing nothing remotely important other than overseeing a blind being put up in the bathroom – and then that day was gone. But yesterday I managed to get to the gym at lunchtime and punch in for Week 9. It was warm, the nimble ones were sunbathing on Goldsmith’s Green and the air of spring Sunday was complete.

The programme at this point ups the running in the run/walk charade from 5 to 7 minutes (which in percentage terms is…erm…quite a lot), but then cleverly throws in a nice 2-minute walking break in between to compensate which made things easy and Session 1 of this week was done painlessly. I even managed to increase the walking pace a bit and ended up expending a massive 500 calories. OK, I would have used up the odd 80 if I’d just stayed in bed for that hour, but even so…

Hair of the blog

Masses – due to friends coming round last night and wine being opened in an uncontrolled way. Consequently, spent most of today in bed – plunging to such depths of loathsome hideousness that many rash promises have been made. Although hangovers are of course simply yet another bi-product of Beelzebub’s ever-prolific bottom, maybe they are there to ensure that the human race does not poison itself into oblivion in the space of a week. On the upside, I did no work whatsoever and instead watched The Last King of Scotland on DVD. I will never ever ever ever drink anything alcoholic ever again.

Blog’s bollocks

Week 9 of 13. 2 minutes walk. 7 minutes run. 63 minutes. Session 1 of 3. Walk pace: 4.7 km/h. Run pace: 6.7 km/h.