In which I stumble around in the dark and review stuff

I’m an idiot. The mornings have been getting lighter since Janathon and yet I wait until after the clocks have changed before I decided choose to haul myself out of bed at 6 o’clock.

Having forgotten my Guiding motto (Be Prepared), I was desperate not to wake Ginge as I clattered around trying to locate suitable running kit. I emerged wearing appropriate clothes (all the necessary body parts were supported and covered) but looked like I’d been dragged through a hedge backwards. Styled, I was not. 15 minutes of faffing later and I was off.

Tweets by @jogblog and @kittenhuffers had recommended Audiofuel’s new track Thru The Gears and what better accompaniment to a 6am start than some “balls-out sledgehammer metal”? I haven’t been running with tunes recently (I’ve been running with Ginge instead, which has been far more companionable, even compared to Radio 4) because my Shuffle/headphone gizmo broke. I love my shuffle, but have normal, human ear shaped ears and thus the supplied Apple earphones (essential if you want some control over luxuries like volume and track) fall out of them if I do anything more vigorous than sitting. It seems ridiculous to make a product pitched at people who exercise and ship it with earphones that are quite frankly bobbins. Having said that, I do realise that Apple does not exist to make our lives better, only shinier.

Instead of the officially sanctioned earphones, I have been using my own comfy set with one of these little adapters made by Belkin. The Amazon reviews of these are pretty accurate, it’s a great, cheap way of converting your favourite earphones to being Shuffle compatible, but they can be a bit flimsy. The first one I had came to grief when I lost it in the car park – it remained intact and worked briefly, but then died (I suspect it had been run over as it was out there all day). The replacement set ended up with a loose connection and gave up the ghost halfway through an Audiofuel interval session (I carried on using guesswork and Garmin; it was crap).

I ummed and ahhed about replacing it, but decided to invest in a set of these Sonys which have the clicky remote control thing and I have to say that they’re rather lovely. I wore them the other day and they were very comfy and stayed in my ears without a great deal of adjusting. I wore them this morning and spent half the run having to replace them in my lugholes. After 15 minutes, I realised that this was actually due to user error… Very handily, they come with a little bobbin that you can wind your excess cable around and in my excitement, I had wound a bit too much. This meant that there wasn’t enough slack to allow me to move my head without pulling them out. After a bit of adjusting, they were back to their impressive best.

Thru The Gears has been brought to us in conjunction with Sennheiser, makers of high-spec, water and sweat resistant, non-falling out, ergonomically designed, acoustically open, Kevlar reinforced swishy headphones. I do not own a pair, but would be happy to review a pair if anyone would like to send me some. No, really, it would be no bother, I’d be happy to.

The track has been designed to show off the technical capabilities of the Sennheiser range, or as the lovely folk at Audiofuel explain, it includes “a variety of dynamic sonic assets specifically designed to enhance the listening experience through Sennheiser’s state of the art Sports Headphones. Revving motorbikes, Formula One cars and jet fly-by noises give an environmental dimension to the sound and add thrust to the “Thru The Gears” message.”

Unfortunately, because I wasn’t listening on a set of Sennheisers (which I would be happy to review, did I mention that?) I missed most of these until I was nearly home when I noticed the Formula One car. What I did actually hear was bloody brilliant. I had a fantastic run and found that Audiofuel worked its usual magic – my slogan for Audiofuel would be “Audiofuel makes me run faster without me even realising” (Sean, you can have that one for free). I managed to coincide the highest BPM section with the only hill on the route, but I bounded on without a second thought.

On previous runs, I have suspected that the Audiofuel trainer is, well, omniscient and this run was no exception. Any hint of slacking and the voice appeared; when I was strolling along thinking “well this is a nice way to start the day” – there was the voice counting me in “1,2,3,4” and I could practically hear the accusation “I said walk, not amble!” in her tone of voice . Finally, just as I was speeding up and thinking “I have no rhythm! I need counting! Why is there no counting?”, as if by magic, the counting started. Oooh, and best of all, because of Sennheiser’s heritage, I’ve learned that the German for ‘jog’ is ‘joggen’.

I can’t tell you my exact stats for the run because I forgot to turn my Garmin back on for the second half of the run (on Twitter’s suggestion, I did the track twice as a 30 minute session) . Whilst this deprives you of any technical data, it’s a reflection on how much I enjoyed the session that I didn’t get grumpy or annoyed when I realised that I had failed my tyrannical Garmin master (if it’s not on the Garmin, then it doesn’t count), I just bounced into the house and cheerily stuffed my face with porridge.

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