Pleasure and pain

31 01 2009

It was pure bliss waking up today knowing that the tax return season is over. My New Year really starts on the 1st February.

I did a proper long run. The same route as the “camera” run but with no rests. My God the difference ! I can honestly say I suffered the whole way around the near 7 mile course. A tough one though with hills and then a strong head wind to contest with along the front.

My though process as I approached home (2 miles or so to go) and reached the front when the wind hit me was:

1. Oh that feels nice and refreshing.
2. That wind is a bit chilly.
3. This is tough running into that wind.
4. I’m cold.
5. I’m really cold and tired.

When I reached home there was no kick left just a steady plod. Average speed 9:15 per mile. The distance of half a half-marathon and I am now bearing down on the M25 !!


Oops wrong one !!



No time to run

25 01 2009

Unfortunately, since my last entry I have been a bit snowed under at work. I have done three short night time runs – all of about 2.5-3 miles but have had to work all weekend and so the longer weekend run had to give. The deadline for filing tax returns is 31st January and so it is much the same at this time of year – extremely stressful and not much time for anything else.

When February comes I will be FREE and as a bonus it is my birthday on the 3rd. I look forward to running without tax returns on my mind.

At work

At work


A camera run

18 01 2009

With a little more time on my hands today I was able to step up the distance back up to 7 miles or so. As it was quite a pleasant sunny day I decided to take my camera with me. I made stops to enable me to take pictures as I have been desperate to start photographing some of my courses – even if only for myself.

Early on in the run is Wood Lane. Not one for the dark. Strangely the national speed limit (60 mph) applies from half way down the lane – not worth trying given the potholes that get bigger and bigger ! One of my favourite lanes as you can see over the Dee estuary to Wales.

Wood Lane

Down to the Wirral Way as Wood Lane was flooded ! I climb the steps at the bridge and up onto Boathouse lane.


The sign welcoming you to Parkgate. Note the ship on the sign.


But where is the water ? What is green should be blue.


and lovely Parkgate and its prom in the distance. Rarely sees water but the Spring tide is one of those times.


Not that much to report on the running front other than I found it extremely comfortable. I will no doubt tackle the run again soon with no stops. I did run every inch though so I am definitely counting it as part of my run to Madrid.

Tomorrow a run in the dark I think so no pictures !


14 01 2009

I have done two brilliant technical computer things in my recent life :

1. Set up a Wireless network
2. Set up my own blog and website.

I have made a massive breakthrough and can now add a third item to the list. No… opening corned beef tins with the key opener they provide still defeats me !

Most of my music “collection” is on cassette tapes and LP records. My wife Helen was outraged when two years ago I added yet further to the goldmine by buying a further job lot of tapes from Ebay – probably 200 or so. I couldn’t resist, they were going cheap and I assured her that I would listen to them all and then keep the ones I liked. I might even convert them to digital format and store them on my computer.

At this point Helen knew that this would be too incredible for words given my technical ability and so I have had to shuffle the boxes of tapes around the house to avoid her threat of throwing the things out. Coming to think of it I cannot think where the vast majority are now !

This was before running. Now I am delighted I made that “investment” and didn’t listen to Helen’s threats. Sometimes she has so little faith in me.

2009 has seen a change to a “man of action”. I had wrestled with whether to spend £100 or so on a special unit that plugs into the computer or have a go myself using a much much cheaper conversion kit and software (£15 or so). I took the plunge.

The conversion kit arrived yesterday with a variety of leads, software and detailed instructions. In 2008 this would have stayed in the envelope for weeks if not months but in 2009 it is all change. I found some scissors and opened the envelope and attacked the project.

Helen could not believe it when she arrived home last night to be greeted by a Cheshire cat of a husband and the first music tape transferred onto the computer.

I now have a dream of converting all 500 tapes or so to mp3 format. This would be a real boost to my runs as running in big circles does get a bit boring.

I loaded my first converted music file on to my player this morning and ran with the Pretenders with a big smile on my face.

Two more runs since my last blog entry and I am still at Oxford. The M40 seems to snake around it ! Felt quite a lot stronger today at 3.5 miles so hope to do a 6 miler at the weekend.

Will take the camera out for a run soon and take some pics of the area.


My tape to computer recording setup

My tape to computer recording setup


9 01 2009

I was blown away today. Not by my fast running or form or anything like that but by the very strange phenomenon of 47:11.

Usually before I set off, if I am doing a run I have done before, I check my previous times on where I keep my personal log. I didn’t bother on this occasion because I just wasn’t sure how far I was going to run.

I set off with the aim of running one of two routes and when I got to the time of decision I chose the long one – my 5.2 miler. Now I haven’t done this run for a long time and had forgotten the time.

To cut a long story short I was delighted that I managed to keep going even though my legs felt very heavy at the end (more like 10 miles not 5). Before I got in the shower I recorded my time on my personal log : 47:11. I then had my shower and went off to work and forgot about it.

When returning home from work I thought I would just check my time to see how much worse it was against my previous runs (it had felt slow). This is what I saw (dates are US format):

1/9/2009 Run Distance Time Pace
Cottage Lane 5.2 miler 5.18 Mi 47:11 9:07

11/19/2008 Run 5.18 Mi 46:50 9:03
Cottage Lane 5.2 miler

9/10/2008 Run 5.18 Mi 47:11 9:07
Cottage Lane 5.2 miler

8/31/2008 Run 5.18 Mi 47:11 9:07
Cottage Lane 5.2 miler

I referred to this run and the initial coincidence on my entry of 19th November where I had run the same time twice at that stage.

Now three 5.2 mile runs taking exactly the same time to the SECOND !!
I am amazed, worried and perturbed. That is just too much of a coincidence. I obviously run like a programmed robot thing.


I am delighted with my comeback though and getting back up to a 5 mile run a week into my running is a nice achievement for me. I didn’t think I would be able to run that far so early into my commencement of training. I may be back on schedule before long. Seems to be taking ages getting to Oxford though !!

No laughing matter !

8 01 2009

Why is it that when I tell people how far I have to run ,and then explain I have nearly reached Oxford, they laugh at me ?

Come on – getting to Oxford is not bad – it is quite a long way !

Weather in the UK has been very icy and quite treacherous (-4 the other morning ) so to avoid injuries I have waited until temperatures reached freezing or thereabouts and the pavements are not too icy.

Ran again today and did ok – over 3 miles and felt I could keep going a while. Beautiful scenery on the Parkgate front and the break has really made me appreciate my running again. It is difficult at the moment to decide how hard to push myself but I am using my brain and not overdoing it. If I can get my long run up to 5 miles or so this week then I think that has been a good restart.

February and March will also be far less busy at work. I am dealing with the self-assessment tax return deadline at the moment of 31st January and so my running has to be limited this month – for example I am at work on most Saturdays.

Bring on January 31st then I will be released.


Recovered (almost)

4 01 2009

I’m up and running again after almost a month of enforced lay off which included a hamstring injury followed by flu followed by a chesty cough, headaches and sinusitis.

I set out yesterday to do 2.5 miles or so. It has been so long my legs have lost some strength but my chest/ breathing etc was pretty good considering I still have the remnants of a cough. I ran the distance twice (yesterday and today) at roughly 9 minute pace which is ok for me and apart from a little stiffness I feel fine.

It is a case of a couple of steps back to go forward again but health permitting I should be able to build up back to my previous form fairly quickly (hopefully by end of Jan). I am going to attempt a half marathon in early March at the latest and have my first marathon on 5th April.

I think it is a case of one day at a time and build up again (without rushing it). The month enforced lay off may help me in the long run who knows ?

More blog entries to follow soon…

and here’s the fella that knocked me out, the dreaded “flu virus”