Running on a Cliff Edge

IMG_0760 2.JPGToday was an okay run. I wasn’t very focused — losing an hour in the transition to British Summer Time can do that to a person; I still haven’t even changed all my clocks, so I’m living with one foot in the past — but that was okay. Sometimes being unfocused means your run is over before you know it, and that can be a good thing.

Today I got back into my more usual more-than-5K, less than 10K Sunday routine with a fairly slow 7K that took me out up Bridge Valley Road and around the Downs.

Bridge Valley Road is helpfully closed to traffic at the moment because of “emergency wall stabilisation works”. While it worries me that I’m running up a road carved into a cliff that needs emergency stabilisation, it was nice to be able to run right up the middle of it, instead of being relegated to the narrow footpath. And I conclusively proved that my uphill running really is faster than a walk by passing an exceptionally rare pedestrian on my way up! Hurrah!

The blocking off of the top of the road also diverted me onto a slightly different route around Clifton Down, leading me to a lovely little clifftop section I’ve not run along before. This was lovely running, views out along the Avon Gorge like the one in today’s photo. But still with enough of a wall to stop my fear of heights kicking in 🙂

Anyway. Off to see Chris Addison at the Tobacco Factory this afternoon, so I’d best go get ready. See you later!

Simple Sunday

Nice and easy today, after last weekend’s 12K effort. I was meeting friends at Bristol Zoo at 11, so I had to get up early to get running first. Which I did manage, despite the best efforts of the LUNs — my shorthand for my Loud Upstairs Neighbours — who managed to wake me up at ten to three this morning. They weren’t actually as loud as usual, so I managed to stuff some earplugs in and get back to sleep, thank goodness.

So, I got out before half past nine, and did a simple short route up the currently-closed-to-traffic Bridge Valley Road. Thanks, Bristol City Council, for the complete lack of pedestrian signage, and unsarcastic thanks to the fellow who exited the bottom of the road as I was starting up it, who let me know that I’d actually be able to get all the way to the top…

And that was my 5K. The RunKeeper log is a bit rubbish at the end, because I seemed to lose GPS signal for the last kilometre, but I’ve done the route before, and it’s definitely a smidge over 5K. My pace was about normal for a hilly route, around 8 minutes per kilometre, and it felt absolutely fine.

I finished off with a coffee-and-croissant breakfast from the ever-friendly Boston Tea Party, then came home to start my day with a shower — almost completely backwards from the normal course of events! And that was my simple start to Sunday. Another day, another 5K

Bring me Sunshine…

IMG_0701 2.jpgYup, as you can see by the scene behind the scary, wonky-sunglassed weirdo in the picture, it was a really nice day today. And I went on a route through Leigh Woods, which was gorgeous.

Not content with doing the 8K through the woods like I did last time, going out along the towpath, up the steep climb into the woods, and back across to Clifton Village over the Suspension Bridge, I also added in a little loop of the Downs.

And therefore set a new personal distance record, with a 12K route. I decided to stop running at bang on 12K, mostly because that was the upper limit I’d set myself — I didn’t want to go beyond 20% of my previous max — and partly because that gave me a nice five-minute cool-down walk to the little viewing platform by the Suspension Bridge, where I stretched for a while with some nice scenery to look at.

My hip felt fine. Everything, in fact, still feels pretty good. And it’s very good to know that I can do 12K including about 200m of total vertical climb, because that should make running 10K on the flat a doddle in May.

About the only thing I did differently from normal today was to use a rehydrating additive thingy in my water — I guess it adds a few things that you lose in sweat that normal water doesn’t have — and I ate a pack of some kind of carbohydrate gel goo, which said “three berries” on the side and tasted mainly of chemicals, from what I remember, on the way across the Suspension Bridge.

I think these probably helped to some degree, but I think I could still have managed 12K without them. I figure I should start experimenting with these things, as if I find something that really gives me a noticeable energy boost when I’m flagging a bit, then it’ll help a lot for race day…

The Eighties Are Coming to Get Me

IMG_0687 2.JPGI think the new shoes have done the trick. Something has, anyway, as tonight’s run was lots better than my last 5K effort down the Portway.

My hip feels fine, and I didn’t feel totally knackered from the get-go like I did last time, either. Which is all good. Even better, there were actually some traces of daylight left when I set out. It can only be a few weeks until I can get off the A4 and back onto the towpath on the other side of the river, away from the traffic and all the noise and fumes that go with it.

Tonight I used a playlist generated by Tangerine. I like Tangerine- and iTunes Genius-generated lists because they uncover things I never knew were in my music library.

This evening was no exception. There were some old favourites in there — although I really should put Madness’s Driving in My Car on the “not really for jogging” blacklist — but I had no idea that I even owned Madonna’s Love Profusion, Soft Cell’s Le Grand Guignol, or Placebo’s cover of Daddy Cool.

Back to recognisable stuff, my run finished off with a nice back-to-back blast from the 1980s, with the Pet Shop Boys’ It’s a Sin and One More Chance. I love It’s a Sin, but I was probably in my teens the last time I heard One More Chance… Ah, nostalgia.

Anyway. Probably won’t run on Friday, so I guess Saturday will be my next jog; then I might try to get out on Monday and Thursday next week to get back to my more normal three-times-a-week routine. Especially if it’s nice and light!

The Joy of Shoes

IMG_0666.jpgSo, picked up my new shoes on Friday — Mizuno Wave Inspire 6es — and walked lots in them yesterday to make sure they felt all right, and that nothing was rubbing.

And they were fine, so today I went out into the gorgeous Spring sunshine and did a simple 5‑and-a-bit‑K, just around half the Downs, cutting along Ladies Mile instead of doing my normal longer loop. I didn’t want to go too far, first time out in new shoes.

The new shoes definitely feel different — but they feel different like my old shoes did the first time I put them on, six months ago. I can feel them pushing my feet out a little bit, compensating for my tendency to over-pronate by pushing me a little more onto the outside of my foot.

So, hopefully what’s happened is what I suspected, that over the last six months my running shoes have gradually lost their magic as they’ve had seventeen stone pounded into them with every step, fifteen kilometers a week, and that’s what’s caused me to start aching a bit more recently. I’ll start to see if I’m right this week, if my mid-week run doesn’t make my hip ache so much. Hopefully it’ll feel easier than last week’s effort, too…

Running for Money

Hello, lovely readers! You’re looking great today. Have you lost weight?

Yes, you can tell I’m buttering you up for something, can’t you? Turns out that it’s only a couple of months until the Bristol 10K, which is happening on 9th May. My very first race!

So, as you might expect, I’m here, cap in hand, to ask for money. I’m running for St. Peter’s Hospice, a local charity helping people with incurable illnesses.

I’ve set up a Just Giving page to accept donations, and I’d love if if you could please pop along there and sponsor me.

It’s a worthy cause, and it’d help me run, too — I want to have something more than sore feet to show for this 10K, and making a donation to the hospice would be great.


Oh, and by the way: I love what you’ve done with your hair!