Bristol is not a flat city. Built on the banks of the tidal river Avon, there have been people here since the Old Stone Age – some 60,000 years ago there were people living near here and to get almost anywhere in the city, apart from a north-easterly direction is going to involve some hills.
There are a few races that take advantage of some flat land – the recent 5k around the harbour and the Towpath series and of course my beloved Bath to Bristol cycleway, the BBC. Mostly though its hills that slope down to the river. Heading west the river passes through the Avon Gorge on its way to the Bristol Channel underneath the spectacular suspension bridge, an icon in the landscape. The bridge lies just to the east of the Downs which are a high point which everyone has to climb from somewhere to reach except for those lucky few people who live on the east side.
Its around here that I come to run if I am not heading out on the BBC, a loop around the downs and then over the Clifton Suspension Bridge and up to Ashton Court. There is a Golf course through which a bridle path has been made which goes up to the southern boundary of the grounds near a quarry and then passing around the quarry and re-entering the park one can run along bike trails through the woods.
In September there is a 10 km race here, the Ashton Court 10 km and the grounds are a pleasure to absorb.
Heading home via the Downs I was feeling stronger than I had for some time and as my weight is about 180 lbs – a little lighter than normal.
This was a two hour run yesterday and even though there were two hills that I attacked and subsequently felt, I was happy with how it went and look forward to developing this base over the summer.
Disappointed at not being able to get to new York for the 3100 this year. That’s life I guess.
Haven’t really done much running since October. There were the two mile races in Canada and the Ottawa Hyperthermic Half and a few runs here and there but not much really until the last week or so in Vancouver. Now I’m back in Bristol but not in as good a shape as Mark. Last week I made it to Warmley on the Bristol to Bath Cyclepath (BBC) – about 16 miles and I felt close to my limit there.
Yesterday went to Bitton and back which is 20 miles and again felt close to the edge and was tired for the rest of the day but happy to have done 20 and not feeling any semi-injuries. Today was a rest day – I seem to be running pretty much every other day at the moment. As I get back out there everyday I will start to record the mileage again.
With the first summer off for 6 years I will be enjoying shorter runs and indeed have been up on the Downs looking at the Welsh hills to the West along the Clifton Gorge. I havent planned anything yet but there is a 6 day in Sweden not to far away and also would like to be in good shape to run the Self-Transcendence 24 hour in Tooting Bec in October but, as I said, nothings planned yet.
8 am this morning, the windchill was something like -23 when we began only my second half marathon in Ottawa, Canada. The first was in the mid nineties with Manatita at the Hillingdon Half in West London.
It was so cold I was reluctant to take my jacket off and stow it for after the race, but sure enough, I had enough layers on that I didnt feel any different without it, just the mind. I looked across and saw a lady with frost in her hair as we were standing at the start line – a race for which I have to add I was on time for, thanks to Utsahi who got up early and drove me here and despite spending 20 minutes looking for the location. Continue reading
Sparse field this morning but it was seriously cold.The route is a 1 mile out and back alongside the canal. Underfoot was snowy but not icy.
Everything seems to move in cycles and with the end of the year I feel a new impulse to return to the roads and trails and begin the long journey that will end again in New York in August.
Today is the third or fourth day in a row that I have run and though i am running slowly, right now its important to establish a streak and to make running again a regular habit.Right now I am in Ottawa in Canada and this is the coldest capital city in the world and as i write it is snowing outside and way below freezing. Currently 7F (-14C) it’s not too cold today – not as cold as it has been recently.
However the river Rideau is frozen over for long stretches and today I walked from side to side across the thick ice.
Running is not so easy in these temperatures as the paths along the river are not ploughed. Streets are pretty clear though which is good when cold but when it warms up and the snow melts and then re-freezes at night, the city gets an icy glaze that is difficult to navigate. Not so many runners are to be seen these days.
Thursday 22 February
It’s been a pretty good week so far running 1½ tired hours every morning and the last two days run for over an hour each afternoon as well. Last Sunday ran to Boquia again only this time I didn’t run up to Salento. I’m saving that treat for next week. The Boquia run is about 3½ hours or just under. I had a little water break at the store and spoke to the guy that works there. I didn’t hang about much this time though on the way back I completely ran out of gas and I realised I should have taken something to eat at the store. Half way back there was a tiny store and I got some Chito’s and some candy to see me home. The weather was really warm though not too hot but still humid.
With a generous allowance of 9½ minutes a mile I’m up to 80 miles at least tonight, leaving me two days to run 20 miles. As long as I take it easy and don’t get injured I should make it beyond the ton again this week. I’m still feeling really strong, not tired and the only sore spot is from a little thigh chafing.
Friday 23 February
It was raining again this morning when I left home at 8:30, though the worst of the rain fell earlier so it was just a persistent drizzle. Iâ€™ve been listening to my mp3 player the last two days â€“ my how the time flies. I kind of feel like itâ€™s cheating because when I get engrossed in the music I donâ€™t notice the laps at allâ€¦ duh. But the point is that running without the music teaches one how to deal with running 2Â½ minute laps for an hour and a half every morning. I experience all kinds of noises from my mind, subtle and not so subtle trying to influence my thinking and one cannot allow these things to have any input during the long races. It is not an option. During the race I listen to music sometimes if I get down at all. The songs I have are a range of moods but I have a few tracks that can pump me up again if needs be. Of course this is not the real answer but sometimes it can get me over the hump, so to speak. Especially when Iâ€™m tired. Later in the day. This reminds me of some super moments Iâ€™ve had late at night when some kind of ecstasy has flooded me with energy and I feel like I can run forever as fast as I want. Those moments are rare but will never be forgotten.
Anyway, the sun has come out and I can see blue sky for the first time in days. I also have to say that the mountains behind Armenia are awesome in their beauty and majesty. They rise fairly steeply and thereâ€™s always clouds around the lower peaks so the high peaks are invisible on a day to day basis. I have only seen the highest peak once or twice since Iâ€™ve been here. Iâ€™ll take my camera and try and get some shots and upload some photos for you all.
The second run was for just over an hour. The chafing was getting annoying so I didnâ€™t extend it too far and took a few photos of the hills to the North-East of the city. The sun was setting and so by the time I got to within a kilometre of home it was quite dark. It was rush hour though and kids were piling out of school and people were going to church and going home from work – the traffic was hectic.
Itâ€™s been a pretty good week so far running 1Â½ tired hours every morning and the last two days run for over an hour each afternoon as well. Last Sunday ran to BoquiaÂ again only this time I didnâ€™t run up to Salento. Iâ€™m saving that treat for next week. The
Boquia run is about 3Â½ hours or just under. I had a little water break at the store and spoke to the guy that works there. I didnâ€™t hang about much this time though on the way back I completely ran out of gas and I realised I should have taken something to eat at the store. Half way back there was a tiny store and I got some Chitoâ€™s and some candy to see me home. The weather was really warm though not too hot but still humid.
With a generous allowance of 9Â½ minutes a mile Iâ€™m up to 80 miles at least tonight, leaving me two days to run 20 miles. As long as I take it easy and donâ€™t get injured I should make it beyond the ton again this week. Iâ€™m still feeling really strong, not tired and the only sore spot is from a little thigh chafing.
Ran well this morning for an hour and a half. Knees groaned a bit at one point, not really sure whats going on there. Walked for an hour this afternoon but held off on the run. I want to see if this knee thing is going to persist. Met a guy who lives just up the road and he introduced me to a little stepwork he includes into his routine, 89 steps up and then down – thats definitely going to help.
An hour and a half in the warm morning at my ususal haunt was a happy occasion apart from some knee sensations. I think my weight is having an impact so I have to adjust by food intake for a while until things look a bit thinner.
I saw a few runners today, maybe three or four,Â bit of a crowd, relatively speaking.
Tomorrow I hope to run twice. I haven’t got to that point yet for various reasons. But I did walk for an hour this afternoon and that counts so things are looking up again.
Back in the Saddle
I left about 9 to jog around my local route but there was an event taking place with lots of people so I decided to run a loop up to the north of town and back. It was quite warm and humid again.
Running isnâ€™t very popular here in Armenia. I only saw one other person on the road. I took a slight detour off the main road near the university and I saw a large swimming pool with only two people in it and next to that â€“ a cinder track. There were maybe a dozen people there, not many at all. I have to see if I can use these facilities.
So I ran up to a roundabout that marks the end of Armenia, for me anyway and in the middle of the roundabout is a steam train. Big old machine painted black. I donâ€™t think there is a railway in Armenia so itâ€™s not something that was used locally.
Anyway the roundabout leads north to Pereira south, in to the centre of Armenia and east bypasses the north side of town. This route brought me home in 1:04. No sign of any problem though my knees were complaining more than they have for a while. I think my host is feeding me too well and with a week off running I probably gained something. But no problems is very good. Tomorrow weâ€™ll stretch it out again and see if 2 hours is ok.