21 May 2009

Boston map



19 May 2009

Coloured umbrellas

So – this is the time when I should otherwise have been deep in training for Boston, just before a bit of tapering followed by a smidgen of feeling nervous and apprehensive about an 8-kilometre race through unknown and possibly deeply hostile territory. Instead, I’m wrapping up projects and looking forward in a grandiose way to an (albeit short) holiday when I will NOT be taking my laptop and NOT thinking about work and NOT thinking about running. Well, I probably will think about running and why I’m not doing much of it – although the friend (BBB) I am staying with has a treadmill in her house and as she’s the person who got me into this charade in the first place, I feel I will have to show some sort of enthusiasm and do some running under her roof in a hey-I’m-having-a-nice-day sort of way. But most of the time I hope I will be thinking happy thoughts about sightseeing and shopping and lots of exciting American things.

But I shall also try gently to reflect that although I’m not doing the half marathon, although I’m not doing the 5-mile race, although I failed miserably at the 5-kilometre ‘fun run’, the running this year so far has overall been a success. I have gone from running 30 seconds at a time (and that felt BAAAD – I remember looking at the stopwatch 20 seconds in and thinking I wasn’t going to make it…) to running 50 minutes at a time non-stop – and alcohol consumption has been reduced by about 95%. So it ain’t all a blitheringly gaumless debacle.


Pre-holiday busy-ness. It keeps raining in that rather depressing and indecisive on-off way so I couldn’t be bothered to go to the gym. I am also rabbit sitting at the moment which takes up so much brain space that I can’t possibly leave the house and think of anything else. Well, I can’t now as the rabbit refuses to go back in its hutch, has in fact hidden in a corner of the garden and will have to be chivvied out with a broomstick and lettuce leaf bribes. It cannot be left outside all night as the foxes may well make a stew of it before the morning and it would be a teensy bit awkward to explain to friends returning elated from their Greek island holiday that no, sorry, erm, the bunny is also a sort of…well, non-runner.


13 May 2009

Fresh start

Well, enough of all this maudlin mopery. While wallowing in self-pity has its obvious attractions, there comes a time when one must stop believing one was the victim of a cruel conspiracy of events, the prey of pitiless fate and the sufferer of general sorcery and simply get on with it. So I have put away my tools of self-harm. I have placed the gin bottles reluctantly back in the cupboard. I have dusted myself down, hiked up my pantaloons and jolly well got back in the saddle. Onwards and upwards. Oh yes!

I obviously made the classic mistake of doing too much too soon, not preparing sufficiently well, overreaching myself, training erroneously, picking a distance that did not suit me… Yeah, right. Or maybe I’m just shit at running. Luckily, John Bingham (of No Need for Speed fame – see posts passim) has advice for people like me in a sweet little thought bubble called An Exercise in Joy on p 127: “The first time you must stop a run early, drop out of a race, skip a race altogether or end up finishing much more slowly than ever before, consider it a victory. You’re evolving as a runner. Take it in your stride – even boast about it“. So ha! Yay, people! Look at me! I’m shit!

Anyway, I ambled back to the gym today. I did 5 kilometres because that’s the arsing distance I was supposed to do on Saturday and I am actually capable of doing it – as long as it is under controlled laboratory conditions in hermetically sealed environments with only the radio tuned crassly to Kiss 100 blasting away for company. My legs still seemed to be slightly worse for wear from Saturday’s hard surfaces and nasty, nasty nature so I had a modest walking break in the middle today, but then did a sprint at the end which sort of weighed it up. Obviously, ‘sprint’ has been redefined here at ShunningRunning as meaning slightly faster than I would normally run and probably a whole lot slower than most other people move during their cool-down.


Post-race recovery. Distance: 5 km. Run pace: 6.8 km/h. Time: Forgot to look.


11 May 2009

Bag on head


10 May 2009


The day was perfect – sunshine, no wind, relatively cool. The park was in full bloom and looked wonderful. The atmosphere was friendly and upbeat. Only the result was grey and dismal as the whole charade was exposed right down to its elite dri-fit socks. Modest, but steady progress at the gym does NOT translate IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER into running ability on hard surfaces when you haven’t run on hard surfaces for months – no matter how excellent your socks are. After a great run in the gym on Friday which produced confidence and a real sense of moving forward, I thought the park run would be within easy-ish reach. It wasn’t. It was hard, it was demoralising and I didn’t enjoy it at all. Not one bit.

My 14-year-old running mate who hadn’t done any training whatsoever and hadn’t even bothered to put on a real pair of running shoes finished the three laps of the park in record time.

Halfway through the race, I was approached by two people with clipboards asking if I’d like to participate in a survey. When I explained to them that I was actually racing, they looked at me oddly and quickly backed away, relieved that they had narrowly avoided getting embroiled with some dangerously deluded loony who was obviously just sauntering aimlessly around the park.

Start too

This whole experience has thrown the running, its objectives, nay, the very tagline of this blog into turmoil and confusion. What now? What next? Can I take any more hilarity and humiliation? Can I be overtaken by Batman and people walking and still retain a shred of credibility as a ‘runner’? Tune in next week when I’ve probably topped myself.

Charade result: 2 laps out of 3. No goody bag or medal for me.


7 May 2009


Two pairs of Nike Elite (c’est moi!) Dri-Fit Running Socks arrived yesterday and were tested in a forensic way by my personal team of sock experts* this afternoon.

These socks are fabulous. The Dri-Fit fabric is very efficient and the socks came out as pristinely white (and orange and grey) as they went in. But more importantly, the footstrike cushioning (patent pending) works really well. Comfort all the way. Well done, Nike.

* The opinions expressed by my sock team are entirely their own based on independent empirical evidence and they are in no way in the employ of Nike or any other corporate entity. The socks were bought by ShunningRunning’s own Procurement Department.


5 May 2009


This was my view during my run this evening. Gym wall. I wonder if I’ve got the colour quite right? A sort of off-green magnolia idea. I forgot about not going to the gym in the evenings and MY treadmill – the last non-wall treadmill left when I arrived – was snatched right in front of me by a nimble young person who did not need to be anywhere near a treadmill. Anyway, the wall seemed to focus the mind and I did 5.5 km comfortably.

My replacement Nike+ iPod sensor arrived this morning and I await the device that will attach it firmly to my shoe with quite astonishing excitement. I need it for Saturday.


Dulwich Park fun run training. Distance: 5.5 km. Run pace: 6.8 km/h. Time: About 48 mins.