Steamy Day

I was due for my midweek run yesterday, but I got a call from some friends who were going to go ride on a steam train with their two boys — would I like to join them?

It turned out that the steam train was on the Avon Valley line, starting from Bitton, which is, handily, on the Bristol and Bath Railway cycle path. Trying not to think about how far along the path Bitton is — since I started getting on my bike again recently, I’ve probably not done more than five miles in the course of a single day — I got on my bike and set off.

I did pretty well on the way there, though Bitton was further along the 13-mile path than I remembered, definitely closer to Bath than Bristol. Then I had fun on trains. Here’s me taking a photo of little Zach taking a photo of the Polish steam engine that was running the show yesterday:

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We had lunch in a good old-fashioned compartment as we rode along the little railway line, then had a cup of tea at Bitton.

And then I rode back, which was less fun that the ride out. My knees, especially my right knee, clearly don’t like long cycle rides without much practice.

At least the last stretch of the path back to Bristol is gently downhill. Once back in town, I headed for the Workhouse Cafe and a melon and apple smoothie for recovery purposes 🙂

Overall, I did about 35km cycling yesterday, about 22 miles (I stopped the clock at the cafe, but I cycled home from there, too.) It was a lovely sunny day to be cycling down the path, with the added bonus for my poor knees that I didn’t have to go all the way to Bath, at least 😀

I’ll leave you with a picture of some of the “lineside equipment” at Bitton station…

Pollen Face

Mixing Jogging with Duty

I don’t usually mix jogging with anything else. I go out jogging, I come back home. This Sunday, though, I had a favour to do for a friend that dovetailed nicely with the jogging. So, I jogged out to Easton, fed my friend Emmeline’s cat, and jogged back again.

This was good motivation, got me a nice halfway break where I could pet a cat and fill up a water bottle, and took me around some bits of Bristol my jogging doesn’t normally go.

Here’s a few pictures from the jog. On the way out, I passed a huge group of cheery cyclists heading out down the A4, snapped the blue sky over the Suspension Bridge, and took care not to get run over by a steam train. And then, of course, there was Me Me, at the halfway point, who’s very affectionate, especially when you’ve got a tin of food in your hand…

In the end, it was a 9K jog. It would’ve been 10K, but I stopped in a supermarket near home on the way back, so I walked the last kilometre weighed down with shopping 🙂

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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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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

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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Third Time’s A Charm

I’m managing to keep up the momentum, it seems. Just came back from today’s 7.5K around Leigh Woods. I’m still not back up to the level of fitness that lets me get up that hill in one uninterrupted jog, but it didn’t take long to get my breath back at the picnic table after the steepest section. Another few attempts and I’m sure I’ll be doing it in one again.

And the good news is that this is the third jog this week, so my plan to get back into the habit seems to be working out. Hopefully my return to 9‑to‑5 employment this week won’t hurt that. I used to do the very same job, in the very same office, full time, and still jog three times a week, so at least I know I can do it! I just need to make sure my momentum isn’t derailed by the change in working patterns.

I’ll leave you with a picture of the cold, cloudy/sunny day I was jogging through today, snapped with my phone during my walking warm-up.

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Quick and Simple

Spring is in the Air

The weekend before last, I ran 10K. Last weekend, I ran 7K through rain and mud to review those Adidas shoes. Both runs involved climbing from river level up to above the height of the Suspension Bridge.

Today, I looked out of the window at the spring sunshine, and decided to give myself a break. So I just did a quick 5K along the towpath. Sometimes, it’s nice just to go for a little jog! I might get out for something longer during the week.

Stretching my Legs

20120212 DSC02443On Sunday, I felt pretty good, and the weather wasn’t quite as damn cold as it had been on Saturday, so I set out to do a respectable distance. I did my first 10K training jog the year, though Leigh Woods (handily, my normal Leigh Woods route plus a loop of the “purple path” works out as pretty much exactly 10K.)

It wasn’t fast, and I had to stop for a minute or two to get my breath back halfway through the really steep bit, but it was pleasant and I felt pretty good all the way round. It’s nice to run through the woods at this time of year, though it’ll get even nicer as we head into spring.

I also made sure I took a route through some of the muddier, more slippery bits of the woods, so I could see how well my shoes gripped and how easy it was to run in them. I did that for a very particular reason, which will hopefully be revealed later in the week 🙂