January – Time To Get Serious

Bitton Railway Station is handily positioned at the 10 mile point on my Bath to Bristol Cycleway route.

A couple of weeks ago I ran 20 miles. It’s been a long time since that happened and even though was a little sore and tired afterwards, I still felt good and happy to have had that experience. Getting back into a regular routine is taking a long time and I get it together for a few days and then there is a break as my attention gets consumed by other projects. Running has been down to once or twice a week/ten days for quite some time now but recently the urge to run has been growing again.

Yesterday I ran for an hour up on the Downs and am planning on running again in a few minutes for an hour again. Tomorrow there is a Parkrun up at Ashton Court so  that will be 2 plus hours of running. Using shorter races to give myself little stations along the way will, I hope, give me some further inspiration.

I have an account on Fetch and they have useful tools for keeping a training log. Also a nice little tool to map my route so today I found out how long my basic route is and how long it takes. It turns out that its almost exactly 5 miles and today I made sure it was a standard run against which to compare other runs. Today took 49 mins as opposed to yesterdays run where I stopped to stretch and massage my calves and which took 54 mins.

Even though it seems a little slow for the effort, its not so much the time I am concerned with as with putting the miles in on a consistent basis. Lately I have had all kinds of ideas to help stretch the envelope and get some long runs in. The weather is quite mild at the moment so we’ll see what happens over the next few weeks.

Ottawa Self-Transcendence 2 Mile Race

multidays.com logoThis post is by way of celebrating several things that happened today beginning with the 2 mile run along the Canal. Due to various events taking place this weekend, only Caitlin and I were at the starting line this morning. I thought it was going to be a solo performance and I rolled up early, for a change, yet something stayed my feet as I waited and waited not knowing what the time was and not knowing why I was waiting until I looked up and saw someone running overhead on the bridge looking down.

Company changes things. It turned from a solo jog into a situation where I had to try my best. It usually turns out that way anyway but now there’s an independent witness. It wasn’t a competition, I wasn’t racing Caitlin but she helped bring that something to the fore a little quicker. I ran 14:28 and Caitlin ran 20:03 a little slower than last week but as I haven’t been running much lately, anything will do.

The other thing is that this blog has moved today from its old stomping ground in a sub directory as a separate instance of WP to its new location – its own subdomain on Multidays.com. Its hard to figure out how many people actually read this poor specimen of a blog but now the website has the capacity to create blogs I am extending an offer to runners who would like to keep a free running blog – sign up and create their own space on Multidays.com.

20 km runs

Last weekend I managed three 20 km runs in 3 days two at Ashton Court and one out along the BBC with Suswara. Since then I haven’t made it out which should be of some concern as I have signed up for the Gothenburg 6 day race in Sweden. The race is free to non-Scandinavians which is how I am able to go and of course thanks to Ryanair for their cheap flights. The race starts on August 30th at 09:00 and some great runners have signed up and will be great to chat with.I made a post on the front page of multidays.com. Pam Storey will be going as well. It will interesting to see how she gets on.

Assuming I make it to the start, this will be my first 6 day race and something I have been wanting to do for some time so I am looking forward to next Saturday.
I discovered my best 6 day split is 584 km but I have no idea if I will be able to run myself into shape enough to top that. I would be very happy with 360 miles right now.

Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1 – 20 Km Trail Race 2009

Last Sunday the whole house ventured to Salisbury along with Cardiff compatriots Garga and Kokila to make a Sri Chinmoy Athletics Cub outing and we all ran the Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1 20 km race – all bar Garga who’s injured at the moment. Nice morning turned out to be quite hot as we set off under clear skies to run on trails and roads around the old town of Salisbury, famous for the proximity of Stonehenge which lies on Salisbury Plain, 8 miles to the north.
Kokila warned at the start to take as much water as was available at the aid stations and by the time we had climbed Old Sarum I was wishing I had brought my hydration pack as it was really warming up. The trail at that point was a foot-wide narrow rut and was a great opportunity to run in my North Face Voza shoes that I am currently reviewing and I had no problems with any feet issues.
The course runs along public footpaths and roads, bridleways and even (possibly) some private land. Every now and again the hedge would shrink and we were treated to some beautiful Wiltshire landscapes. The great weather enhanced the feeling that this was indeed summer… after all the recent rain and the greeness of life was tangible especially in the shaded section before and up to the 6 mile checkpoint. Coming down off the ridge the course came back into Salisbury along some water ways, idyllic scenes especially at one large castle like property that we came to after crossing a small bridge across a river full of lillies and a pair of swans.

I had started out a little faster than I should have and I guess I slowed a little as in the last quarter, 4-5 people went past me looking very strong but I hung on getting a little disoriented in the last mile but finished chasing a team from Totton RC, just edging the two ladies in a time of 2:00:27, good enough for 50th spot and 3rd in my category. Mark came home first in the team with 01:49:29, 24th overall. Suswara had a spectacular result with a time of 02:02:53 and somehow coming in first place in his category, LV35 and 12th female overall!! He still hasn’t explained how he managed it. Kokila had a great run finishing in 02:37:54 and still smiling. However Kokila also was involved in transgendering as she was listed as MV40, 80th in “his” category.

Afterward we decided to get a shower in the Leisure Centre, conveniently located nearby and I realised I had not brought my towel due to a lost wallet situation prior to departure. However, shower was imperative and worry about drying afterward so jumped in and cleaned up and the only thing I felt I could use was my cotton socks. It worked!!! Hard to believe but I managed to dry myself with a pair of cotton ankle-quarters. Then I wrang them out, put them on with my sandals and sat in the sun for half an hour having a post race picnic and by the time we’d had coffee and got back to the car, they were dry again. I love cotton socks.

Race website: www.salisburyfirestation.info
Race Results:20 km

Sundays

Last Sunday squeezed another 20 miler in on the BBC. Bitton is the goal and this week was not as hot as last. Last week I blew up on the way home just coming out of the Staple Hill tunnel – a 45 minute run home. This week with a slower but steadier, more relaxed pace I arrived home just a little bit tired but not completely wiped out as I have been feeling recently.
So this makes it three 20 milers in a row which is something to be happy about though weekly mileage is still very low.

Long Run

Yesterday morning, Sunday June 28th, was a reminder of where I am and what is going on in my running life at the moment.

I had been wanting to get out earlier on Sunday mornings to take advantage of the peace to be found at this time of the day before most of the locality has woken up and begun to engage the world. Also because of the warmer temperatures it is much cooler earlier in the day and thirdly, the traffic gets heavy later in the day with many users cycling solo, as families and as groups.

Saturday I like to prepare for the long Sunday run by hydrating and by having a large carbohydrate meal late in the evening. I ate a pasta meal early evening  and not really much earlier in the day to build reserves and also forgot to drink extra.

Sunday morning after a late night watching the delights of Glastonbury on tv and working on the laptop, I got ready hurriedly with less than 4 hours sleep in the bank, not eating anything before we left or drinking more than half a cup of water.

Ashton Court

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.

Solstice Run 2009

staple_hill_img_04371Disappointed 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.

The Barry 40 2009

The 2009 Barry 40 Mile Race

It has been a long road to Jenner Park for me and this year Mark Collinson mentioned that he would be going and we could make some arrangement together. So fresh from my Hypothermic Half Marathon in Ottawa, I agreed that it would be a great opportunity. Continue reading

The Mythos of Bali

It has been several years since I have managed to go on a Christmas trip and Prabhakar has just sent me a link to some photos he took while he was in Bali.
Balinese dancer.

I was fortunate enough to go to Bali a few years ago and these images remind me of how life on this Indonesian island still maintains its dignity and compassion. Prabhakar portrays a timelessness in the culture of this little country that has a similar size population to that of Wales, a culture that communicates through music and dance.
Bali has a Hindu minority that is nevertheless visible and integrated into the consciousness of the people. Shrines are everywhere and burning incense and rice offerings are familiar aspects of day to day life. From this devotional grounding has developed a rich culture.
Music is central to Sri Chinmoy, who visited a few times, and I am sure that this trip brought back a lot of memories for his students who have returned to Bali and which remains a natural environment conducive to connecting with the deeper rhythms that move in and through us on our journey. Thanks for the photos.

Checkout Prabhakar’s website for his Balinese gallery.
Wikipedia – Bali