The Sun and the Rain

With Autumn Fury In Our Eyes
You never know whether it’s going to be a good run until you get out there. Today I woke up at 6:30am with a headache. I got up, took two paracetamol, and went back to bed. When I got up again at 11am, I still felt a bit rubbish.

Nevertheless, because it looked like it might chuck it down with rain if I left it any longer, I finally got out for my weekend jog a couple of hours later. And it was fine. Although I’ve been feeling tired all day, mentally and to some degree physically, that didn’t seem to stop my legs moving. Result.

So, aided by an iTunes Genius playlist kicked off by She Bangs the Drums, which meandered through some lesser-known bits of my library, including some of Ian Brown’s solo stuff, and the Magic Numbers’ Mornings Eleven, which was pleasingly bouncy, I jogged nearly 7K, at a decent pace even though it started off with a relatively slow puff and pant up Bridge Valley Road.

And I’m glad I did. Especially as I’d not managed to have lunch by the time I made it to Coffee #1 and Chandos Deli in Clifton Village at the end of the run 🙂 Vanilla latte “for the win”, as I believe the youngsters are saying these days…

Today’s photo is a bit of autumn colour from the path back to Clifton Village from the Downs. Click through for Flickr bigness.

Everything is for the best…

…in the best of all possible worlds”.

I’d not noticed this bit of literally Panglossian optimism in BabshamblesDeft Left Hand before. But it seemed to be the theme of the morning, as I climbed up into the sunshine on the Downs, and my iPod randomly picked the most cheerfully British of Pete Doherty’s output, from Albion to The Last of the English Roses. Okay, some of Doherty’s cheeriness might be a touch ironic in places, but it’s clear that he’s in love with at least bits of his country at a fairly deep level.

And, jogging around the greenery of Clifton Down, occasionally picking my way through bits of fallen tree from the weekend’s storms, as the sun picked out the colours of the last of the autumn leaves, it was easy to take the cheeriness at face value.

So, yeah, a good run. I didn’t push it hard, just did a simple 5‑and-a-bit‑K, ending up in the Coffee #1 in Clifton Village. That did nothing to dispel my joy with the world, as I walked in and the girl behind the counter, who I’m pretty sure has only seen me three times before, smiled and said, “Large vanilla latte to take away?” Gotta love that.

This is a bit of a relief after my rubbish run earlier this week, frankly. If it had been an equally crap run, I might have decided to take a week off to give myself a break. As it is, I’m just going to take it easy this week, not pushing myself any further than 5K, and then see how I feel at the weekend.

Power in the Blood, Justice in the Sword…

20091101-20091101-P1000813.jpg…when the call it comes I will be ready for war.”

Today’s title is from Alabama 3’s fantastic track Power In the Blood, from the album of the same name. It helped me get off to a nice start on the Downs after I’d clambered up Bridge Valley Road.

I woke up to the sound of fairly heavy rain on a dull morning in Bristol. By the time I’d dragged myself into a fully awake state, though, it had dried off a bit, so I got out running.

I kept up with my plan to go around the Downs, but this time by a slightly longer route, still starting off by climbing from the Portway along Bridge Valley Road and along Ladies’ Mile, but then turning left at the top of the Downs, rather than right, to go around Circular Road and past the Sea Wall, before curving back towards Clifton Village.

That’s where today’s photo is from, by the way; I stopped for a minute or two in the howling gale at the Sea Wall to take a quick picture. It’s amazing how small in the distance the Suspension Bridge looks, bearing in mind I started off on the far side, on the road below it!

Anyway. I was going for distance, rather than speed, today, so it was a fairly gentle plod, especially at the beginning; I didn’t want to knacker myself on the eighty-metre climb at the start.

And it was successful, being my longest run to date. Looking at the RunKeeper log, I did about 6.5km (you have to take off about 300m for the 5‑minute warm up, which I walked) in about 54 minutes. I don’t think that’s bad, considering the hill. My pace looks pretty even, too, although the graph is a bit skew-whiff at the end; I had to edit the route manually after the GPS got a bit confused on the last bit of the run, probably because I went through some trees.

So, basically, things are going fine 🙂 I’m going to take a couple of days off now, and probably run on Wednesday and Friday this week.

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

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 😉



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!

The Tide Is High, I’m Holding On…

Actually, to be fair, the tide wasn’t high. My run took me along the Portway again tonight, next to the river, and it was very much low tide, with the steep, muddy banks of the Avon glistening on my port side.

But I was listening to Blondie’s Greatest Hits, so the song was in my mind 🙂

I’m surprised how blasé I’m getting about running now. When I got home, I quickly got my stuff together and got out of the door, conscious of the dwindling light, and just decided to do 5K.

So, a nice simple run, on the flat, tonight. It was fine overall, there was a good bit at the end. I was just coming around the corner on the way back, where the full width of the Suspension Bridge expands into view across the Avon Gorge, and the half-hour beep went off. So, I knew that if I could finish my 5km in less than six minutes, I’d have beaten my previous time.

So, I picked up my pace, just as Denis burst into my earbuds, and kept going fast for the last five minutes. In the end, I shaved a minute off my previous time, coming in at just a tad over 35 minutes. Here’s the full details where you can see my little tail-end burst of speed on the graph.

So, it’s all good. Think I’ll head up to the Downs again for the weekend’s jogging, so I can go when it’s nice and light…