Music Free Zone

Today was never going to be a great run. The end of a long week, and a boring, slightly frustrating day at the end of the long week. Still, I got out there.

Today I tried an experiment, running to a spoken-word podcast instead of music. Tonight I ran to an episode of Pseudopod, the horror fiction podcast. Pseudopod is excellent — and I also highly recommend its sister SF podcast Escape Pod.

The episode that happened to be next in my queue tonight, though, didn’t end up appealing greatly to me, either for its story or for its reading, which was a shame, but I got through my run anyway.

Apparently there wasn’t any big effect on my time, though, as the RunKeeper log shows. I kept up a nice, steady pace, and got through 5km in 35 minutes.

I’m going to have to try this experiment again, maybe with Escape Pod — SF appeals to me more generally than horror does, so my chances of getting a story I like are slightly higher.

And at some point, I should try the scary option — going with nothing at all. No music, no words, just me and my feet and my breath. As someone who pretends toward Buddhist leanings, this should be a good opportunity for something similar to the practice of walking meditation. Which may be why it scares me; meditation can be such hard work…

Anyway. Sorry if this is a bit random and disjointed today. Like I said, long week. Hopefully I’ll be up nice and early on Sunday for a decent run in the morning after a nice day of rest, at which point I may be more coherent.

Another day, another 5K

I was a bit tired after a long day at work, so I kept to a simple, flat route and just did 5K tonight. It was nice, it was easy, the map and stats are here.

I think my “easy” pace must be getting a bit faster, as I did the 5K in 34 minutes and a few seconds. It’s also nice to see the pace graph looking fairly steady, but gradually speeding up as the run goes on.

Think I’ll try for another run on Friday, and then something a bit longer on Sunday, but it depends on what my social calendar has in store 🙂

Ups and the Downs

20091025-20091025-P1000735.jpg
Fantastic run today. I got an extra hour in bed because of the end of British Summer Time, which was a good start. Then I headed out to jog up Bridge Valley Road and around the Downs.

I kept to a nice, steady pace — as you can see from the RunKeeper map/log/stats — and did the first half of the Downs, up to the Water Tower, as usual.

On the way back, though, I decided not to let the normal path force me back onto the street at a pedestrian crossing, but instead went hunting on the Downs for a path that keeps you on the grass a bit longer.

I figured this was safe enough, navigationally — I’d just keep going until there was a huge cliff, then turn left. As it turned out, this is pretty much exactly what happened, hence the photo above. I took this from next to a bunch of guys with telescopes and binoculars who were looking out for peregrine falcons, who apparently nest around there. Cool!

This way back was a lot nicer than my previous road path, so when I’ve got enough daylight to do it, it’s the way I’m going to go. It also added a bit to the distance, so today I managed 6K, not bad for a route that starts with an 80 metre climb. And it felt just fine, all the way around!

Right. Time for a shower! Catch you later in the week 🙂

Easy, Tiger!

Today I decided to take it easy. I’ve been pushing myself a bit recently, going up steep hills, putting an extra kilometre on a run, going a bit faster. I figured I deserved a break.

So, rather than take a night off, I figured I’d just go back to the very end of the C25K and see how it felt. So, I ran just 30 minutes, along a flat route. In daylight.

And it was lovely. A really nice, easy run, exactly what I wanted. And, I think unlike most of the previous runs I’ve done, I’m now actually fit enough to follow that advice: that you should be able to hold a normal conversation while you’re running.

Not that I did, mind, as I was running alone, and the passing cyclists might have thought I was a bit odd. But it was good to realise I had the option 🙂

Anyway. At the weekend I’ll do something more challenging, maybe bouncing up to the Downs again. There’s more incentive when I know there’s a coffee shop open at the end of the run!

Quickie

Literally a quickie. I don’t normally run two days in a row, but I’ve got a deep tissue massage booked tomorrow to try to sort my back out, and I know it’s not easy to run for a day or so after that.

So to minimise the gap, I figured I’d go out tonight. I just did a nice simple 5K down the Portway. It was okay, and my new running top kept me warm without completely overheating me, even though it wasn’t as chilly as yesterday morning.

Looking at the log, I think I’ve shaved another few seconds off my 5K time, coming in at 33:26 for the 5K (you have to subtract the 5‑minute warm up and cool down at either end.) And my pace was more consistent today, too.

At some point, I’m going to stop pushing myself a bit further for a while, and just go jog 5K at a nice easy pace, and see how pleasant it feels…

Oh, and that photo I took during yesterday morning’s jog? It made the Explore front page on Flickr, and 75 people have tagged it as a favourite already. I’m quite chuffed; it was definitely worth stopping for 30 seconds to take it!

Misty Morning

I did something unusual today: got out first thing in the morning for a run.

I managed it — just a standard 5K along my old towpath route — but I wasn’t really feeling the love. I don’t know whether that’s because I’m not used to jogging at 9am, or whether it’s just because I was cold and not watching my pace too well at the beginning. Certainly the RunKeeper log shows that my pace was a complete mess.

Apart from the actual running itself, though, everything went well. That sounds weird, but I felt pretty good when I’d finished, I got an awesome photo with the new camera just past the halfway point, and I’ve felt pretty energetic and cheerful all day. Also, it looks like the run, while it felt crap, may have been my fastest 5K yet, at under 34 minutes.

So, hoping it was just because it was bloody freezing when I set off, I’ve now bought myself a couple of winter running tops from TK Maxx. That’s a good tip for the fat runner, by the way: running shops only seem to stock stuff for skinny, fit people. TK Maxx has plenty of good stuff in lardy sizes, too!

Anyway. I’ll leave you today with a photo of the Clifton Suspension Bridge an hour or so after sunrise. This one was definitely worth the jogging.

Rays

The SIx Million Millimetre Man

Tonight I avoided hills, and went out on a nice flat route, to bump up my distance a bit, and see if I could do 6K rather than 5K.

I’m starting to understand the phrase “to hit your stride”. The first third of tonight’s jog was quite ploddy, and I wasn’t enjoying it much. Then, fairly quickly, something just clicked, and it stopped being a problem.

I don’t know whether it’s psychological or physical or a combination of the two. It would just be nice to know how to make it kick in a bit earlier!

I believe it was musically assisted to some degree. If you enjoy guitars but don’t own a copy of The Stone Roses’ self-titled first album — maybe you were in a coma from 1989 to 1994, for example — then you should probably stop reading this and go catch up.

Luckily, I’ve had a copy since I was at university, and while the fact that the 20th anniversary edition has just been released makes me feel old, it doesn’t stop me loving it, and it was definitely She Bangs The Drums that played me into my stride, whatever else might have been going on with digestion and glycogen levels.

And from that point, it was easy. I got to halfway, turned around and headed back into town, and perked up even more when the Suspension Bridge hove back into view. Toward the end, when Pulp’s Common People arrived at just the right moment, I really went for it, doing some proper actual running to finish off.

So, that’s another six million millimetres under my belt. Huzzah! Full details here on RunKeeper.com.

Finally, my new camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP8, arrived! At some point, I’ll run somewhere during the day and take a few nice bright cheery shots. For now, you’ll have to make do with the Portway at night, looking out along the beginning of my running route 😉

Portway

Run/Reward

Just a quick update today. This evening was very much like the last run — up Bridge Valley Road, along Ladies Mile to take me to the far side of the Downs, where the water tower is, then the final bit of the loop back to Clifton Village.

Where I stopped off in a chip shop to get dinner 🙂 Well, I didn’t have anything in, and as I observed on Twitter, it’s better than not running to the chip shop!

Music today was Speech Debelle’s Speech Therapy again. I’m still impressed by it, and perhaps it’s got more to offer just because it’s not normally a genre I’d listen to. Thanks to the Mercury Prize committee for stretching my boundaries a bit…

Incidentally, the camera I ordered as my reward for finishing the C25K was despatched the other day, so assuming it actually arrives, there may be some better pictures gracing this blog soon!

Coffee Shop Run

I just nipped out for a coffee in Clifton Village. But I went the long way round, as you can see here 🙂

This run includes a 5‑minute walking warm-up at the start. So, just did a shade over 5km in about 40 minutes, including Bridge Valley Road.

IMG_0341.jpgThis picture gives an idea of what that involves. I took it from the Suspension Bridge, after I’d collected my reward, an espresso frappé from Coffee #1.

The cars on the road at the bottom of the picture are driving along the Portway, where I start my run. The high point of the run is about 10 metres higher than the point I took the picture from. So, that’s quite a lot of uphill 🙂

Anyway. Keeping it short and sweet today, as I’ve got a lot to do this weekend! Have a good one, folks; I’ll probably be blogging again on Monday!