Start Me Up

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’ve been a teensy bit busy over the last little while. Not only did I nip off to the Islay Festival for a week, I also came straight back into a three-month nine-to-five contract that I’m doing on top of my usual work-from-home career.

I’m not quite sure what convinced me to nip out for a jog today, at long last. It might have had something to do with watching The Rolling Stones at Glastonbury yesterday evening.

I knew when they came on stage through Twitter, which seemed to be improbably full of people gobsmacked by the prospect of some old people looking old. (“But! But! They have wrinkles and everything! How can they be allowed to play music!?”)

Personally, I think it’s rather cool that the Stones were playing Glastonbury, entertaining people whose grandparents probably enjoyed them when they were young. There was only one thing that irritated me, and that was how clearly bloody fit Mick Jagger is. There he was, strutting around on stage with endless energy, bouncing up and down, albeit with lips wobbling independently of his body. This, from a man who looks like he was around when Jesus Christ had his moment of doubt and pain.

Mick Jagger is clearly both fitter and thinner at age 69 than I’ve ever been at any point in my life. So perhaps it’s that that shamed me into trying to get a little bit thinner, and a little bit fitter, by tromping up Bridge Valley Road to Clifton Village and around a very small bit of the Downs. If I can get back into doing it regularly, maybe I’ll at least make it to Mick Jagger’s age. Though I’ve never been that much of a dancer…

Anyway. I’ll leave you with something I’d probably not have seen without going for a jog, which is one of the new Gromit Unleashed sculptures, this one outside Bristol Zoo…

Gromit

Eight, ten… Thirteen?

I was only going to go out for a 10K last night, but it was a lovely evening, I was feeling fairly awake, and the towpath, though pretty muddy in places, gets even prettier past my normal turnoff.

I usually just use the towpath for a quick shady jog out and back a few kilometres, or to get to the far entrance to Leigh Woods for a circular route that comes back across the Suspension Bridge. But the towpath extends beyond there all the way to Pill, and gets increasingly countryside‑y as it goes along.

So, instead of turning around at the 5K point, I headed further out, almost to Pill, and hit the 7.5K mark before turning around. I did a nice, easy pace. It was warm, and this was the longest jog I was going to do since the Bath Half in March. Plus I stopped to take photos every now and again. Shame I didn’t take a real camera out with me, but I did my best with the camera on my old 3GS and Instagram…

I was further slowed by stepping out of the way for the occasional cycling groups and sometimes other joggers; the path between the end of Leigh Woods and Pill is very narrow indeed. All things considered, I’m happy enough with 1 hour 53 minutes for the 13+ kilometres I managed.

Here’s my snaps 🙂

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Getting Longer

Carrying on with the training regime for the Bristol Half, I nipped out this morning for my first 10K jog for a while.

Apart from the humidity and the occasional overly-muddy section of towpath (yes, surprisingly, it’s been raining in England again recently…) it went well.

I was taking it easy. I stopped for a breather halfway up the hill, and to snap a couple of photos, including one of a bloody great yacht about to sail through Junction Lock at high tide, so I’m not too unhappy with an hour and a half.

I’ll leave you with a snap of Hotwells from my warm-up walk 🙂

Zigsandzags

Long Time No See

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I had a bit of a break after my walking holiday. I’ve only been for a few runs since, this little 5K, a 6‑and-a-half‑K, and, yesterday, an 8‑and-a-bit‑K. So at least my distance figures are heading in the right direction…

I have been keeping up the exercise momentum in general, though. Most days I’ve been trying to head out for an hour’s exercise at least, whether it’s just a long walk (mostly involving hills, this being Bristol) or getting out on my bike. The cycling’s a fairly recent thing — I was prodded back into it by my green, sustainable friend Emmeline — and it’s been fun to get back into.

Cycling’s a bit lower-impact, too, which has been handy over the last week, because I’ve done something to my left ankle that’s left it a bit hurty. Not too sure what, and it’s not that serious, but I’ve eased back on the jogging because of it, and at least the cycling gives me a decent non-pounding alternative… Seems to be on the mend now, albeit gradually.

But. Definitely time to gently pick up the jogging, especially the distance, because it’s only six weeks or so until the Bristol Half Marathon, and I want to be better-prepared for it than I was for Bath…

I’ll head out for a longer jog over the weekend, and we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully my ankle will stand up to it, and I’ll break through the 10K barrier, if only by a bit…

I’ll leave you with an iPhone snap I took at the halfway point of yesterday’s 8K, down near Sea Mills station.

From Sea Mills Bridge

Illness

Bah. Just as I was crowing about how I’m getting better at getting back into running after a break, guess what happens? I get ill.

A decent dose of Man Flu this time, with some gastric involvement thrown in for good measure. I won’t draw a picture. Suffice it to say that running much further than the bathroom wouldn’t have been a good idea last week.

Still, this week I’ve been trying to get back into the exercise habit. Wednesday and Thursday I went for a good long walk — Wednesday I walked around the harbourside, and Thursday I went the long way around to lunch (up Bridge Valley Road and along Ladies Mile to the top of Whiteladies and back, for those of you who know Bristol.) And today I got out for my first run in ages, just a simple 4K along the towpath.

As well as illness, the current British weather isn’t helping. This has been the second of two just-about-dry days in a row for weeks. As I was heading out for today’s run, I passed the unusual sight of water pouring across the top of one of the harbour’s lock gates, which is pretty unusual.

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So, I’m hoping for better health and better weather for next week…

Back Again (Again)

I’m getting better at getting back to running. I normally take a week or two off after a big event-type race; this time, after the Bristol 10K, it’s been more like a month. But I’m okay with that, and I knew it was likely. I spent a week and a bit in Crete (though I did a 10K walk with my Dad while I was there, at least), then had to finish off the last couple of weeks of a contract in an office 9–5 job on top of my normal freelance work. The weather hasn’t exactly helped, either…

But, this week I’ve had no excuses, so I headed out for a trivial 3K down the towpath to get back into the running habit. I’ve found it’s always good to re-start with a tiny run, because you want the minimum psychological barrier possible between you and the running habit.

Today I was helped out of the door by the sunshine, and snapped this picture of the Suspension Bridge on my phone on the way past, to help remind myself why running in Bristol is such a lovely pastime.

Anyway. To keep re-building the running habit, I think I’m going to try getting out at least twice this week (I’d say three times, but there’s a vague plan to go and watch the summer solstice at Glastonbury Tor, which might leave me with less room in my schedule.) Then next week I’ll try for three, including a long one. And we’ll see how I do.

Enjoy the sunshine, if you’ve got it!

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The Right Direction

April was a good month. I ran twice as far in April — 62.5km — than I did in any month in the previous year. So that’s a definite “win” when it comes to building up my momentum.

There’s been a slight faltering, though, in the first week of May, as I only went out running the once. Social commitments, work, rain, and, I confess, too much beer at Thursday night’s Flickr meet, saw me put off running until yesterday.

But! When I finally ran, what a good run it was. Not only did I do a full 10K, but it was also the fastest 10K I’ve ever run!

I came in just under a minute faster than in the Bristol 2010 10K. Hopefully that bodes well for the 2012 10K, which is in a couple of weeks, on May 20th. But whatever happens on the official race day, it’s nice to have set a personal best in training.

This week I’ll try to get out more than once; maybe Thursday and Saturday. We’ll see…