4 of 4

Running four times in a week should not make me as unfeasibly proud as I seem to be this morning. However, as it’s the first time in ages that I’ve managed it, you’ll have to let me have this one.

After the weekend’s autumnal runs, it was a return to darkness for the midweek ones. Tuesday’s intention was a 7 miler with Ginge after work. I am contractually obliged to try to weasel out of after work runs (the conversation tends to go something like “so we’re doing four miles tonight then?” “seven” “that’s three you say?” “seven” until one of us gets bored) and (even though I was actually looking forward to it) I duly obliged before getting changed. In the meantime it turned out tharp Miles had gone into hiding and it took twenty minutes of frantic hunting before he turned up in the pocket of my good winter coat (I still have no idea why), so we didn’t actually need my extra avoidance techniques.

After a mile or so, I looked at Ginge, Ginge looked at me and we realised that neither of us really wanted to do 7 miles in the dark and wet. We completely changed tweaked our route and diverted through the village. As we ran down a steep hill in the pitch black (both of us convinced that it had streetlights), Ginge remarked that the rain seemed wetter in the dark. When we returned to the lit path, we realised that the rain seemed wetter because it was wetter. With a mile to go, it was chucking down and we arrived home quite relieved that we’d adjusted our plans.

To reach my planned 4/4, Thursday morning was going to have to be an early morning one. I know I can do them, ultimately I enjoy them, but I hate the thought of them. Going to bed early would probably help, and yet at midnight I was still up (watching Batman of all things). I wasn’t optimistic for the next day. Normally, I wake up at 5.25, 5 minutes before the alarm goes off, and sure enough, I woke up before the alarm went off. Unfortunately it was half past two. And then four o’clock. And eventually 5.25.

I was dressed and ready for action in a record ten minutes. Unfortunately, once again, Miles had other ideas. Low battery and the presence of clouds caused us to go through the rigmarole of “are we indoors?” while he tried to locate his satellites. And then it started raining. Five minutes later I was cursing Miles for holding me up. Ten minutes later I was thanking miles for holding me as, in the time it took him to behave, the rain had stopped. I did my three miles and went home to read about the perfect porridge whilst eating my imperfect but very welcome bowl-full.

So that’s my week’s plan stuck to and completed. Tomorrow I will be running by the Welsh seaside and right now, this post is being brought to you from a a bench in Liverpool courtesy of my eGloves.

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In which I get up very early to enable me to hobnob later in the day

During Sunday’s mudfest, I asked Ginge if he would be running with me on Tuesday, he agreed, we said we’d do 5 or 6 miles. Sorted. Until ten minutes later when I realised that I couldn’t run after work because I had won tickets to the preview evening at the new Booths supermarket that is opening at Media City in Salford (where half of the BBC has been redistributed).

This would be my first dark morning run since last winter (somehow I kept them up all through Janathon). The alarm went off at half five. I dragged myself out of bed and peered through the blinds. It was dark (which I had expected) and it wasn’t raining (which I had hoped). I scuffled round in the chaos of the spare room to find the rucksack that I knew contained my hi-vis. It wasn’t there. I went back to bed.

“I can’t go running” I said to Ginge “I can’t find my hi-vis”.
“It’s in the porch” said Ginge.
“That wasn’t the answer I was looking for” I said.

I got up again, went downstairs and found my hi-vis in the porch. I went back to bed.

“I can’t run because I don’t have any audiofuel on my shuffle at the moment” I said.
“zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz” said Ginge.
I realised that was a pretty shameful excuse not to run, so I up I got, rummaged through the kit drawer, got dressed, set Miles to do his thing, trainers on, out of the door at 6.00.

“Are you indoors?” said Miles…

After nearly ten minutes of lurking nonchalantly in the alley next to our car park waiting for Miles to get a signal, I set off without him (he caught up at 0.2 miles today) and only had time for a quick two-ish miles to shift the cobwebs. I’m very glad that I went because I know that it should be easier next time. I’m also glad that I went when I did because the rain came just as stepped foot back inside the house.

Anyway, the morning run freed me up to enjoy the champagne and canapés at Booths. For those of you who aren’t lucky enough to live in Lancashire (or bits of Yorkshire/Cheshire/Cumbria), Booths is a magnificent regional supermarket who specialise in lots of lovely interesting and local stuff. The branch in our town has always been frequented by older customers who can have a chat with the friendly staff and buy a couple of rashers of bacon for their tea (I have done this myself…) as well as foodie types, hip young things and the bloke who I saw buying 35 pots of hazelnut yoghurt (and 1 blackcurrant) a little while ago.

Mini-cake and champagne

The Media City branch is going more for the foodie/hip young thing market rather than the older/yoghurty demographic (although Ginge did overhear a couple of more mature chaps who were comparing it to other stores in their I-Spy Book of Booths; it lost points for having stairs). As such, the presentation just seems that bit sharper and more styled than other branches.

All very artisan and rustic

Welcomed with a glass of champagne and music from the BBC Philharmonic, we proceeded to circulate around the canapés aisles. More often than not, we found ourselves in the beer aisle (and with over 200 types of bottled beers, that’s a terrible hardship to bear) which was better than the times that we found ourselves thoughtfully perusing cat food.

I could have been 72p up on the night if Ginge would have sat nicely on the shelf

I entertained myself by playing Booths Bingo (spotting a set of slightly specialist items), scoring 3 out of 4 with Symington’s Table Creams (I’m now very disappointed that Dr Oetker has dumbed down and appears to have scrapped the maple and walnut flavour, damn you Oetker), Force Cereal and Milo (I couldn’t find Camp coffee essence to collect my prize). I also realised that I lack the grown up skill of sipping from a champagne flute without looking like I’m necking it back like an uncouth ruffian.

What a magnificent fellow!

It made me incredibly proud that we have a chain like Booths in the area. I love my trips to Waitrose when we venture down south, but this is proper local stuff and is proper good stuff. It makes me happy that there’s people who love food and somehow manage to balance the very traditional with the very modern, the everyday brands with the small local producers, the stylish presentation with the friendly service. They also gave me a lamb chop encased in pastry – this made me very happy.

Juneathon day 7: Bleary

Tuesday night is the night that Ginge and I tend to run together. Today we had planned to meet up after work so that we could fill in some of my missing canal running around Wigan. Then we thought about it for a bit and decided that it would be so much better to have a night that involves no jogging, blogging or logging, but does involve watching Saturday’s Dr Who and drinking copious amounts of tea.

Annoyingly, my pre-alarm call Juneathon-panic waking up happened at the record time of 2.50 something this morning, which combined with the fact that I’d had trouble getting to sleep, meant that when the real alarm went off at half five, I could swear that someone had glued my eyelids shut overnight.

Eyes prised open, appropriate kit located, water drunk, out I go looking more than a bit startled – a mere 10 hours and three minutes since I had set off on my last Juneathon run. After doing a long run on Sunday and a fast run yesterday, I decided that today should be a rest day and I would just do two miles. Normally, when I have to do a short run, I try to do something useful with it (intervals, hills, just belting through) but today that idea was dismissed as nonsense. Instead, I chose to run a shortened version of a standard there and back, with the added excitement of doing it backwards in part (the route, not my running style – that would definitely have ended in tears) with the result that briefly I became trapped in a cul-de-sac because it all looked different from the other direction. The Garmin was checked for only distance, not pace and I was home to see a rainbow arching across the dark grey clouds before the rain came splatting down.

Day 23/30 – recovery v2.0

As yesterday, this wasn’t a recovery run in the training regime sense, but neither was it a recovery run in the sitting outside drinking beer all afternoon recovery. Today was a recovery from going to see The Bamboos at Band on the Wall in Manchester. This was very much a night out with the cool kids – lots of Interesting Hair and clothes that you can can only carry off if you’re very young and/or very thin. I am neither, but this didn’t put me off dancing like a loon. I say dancing, it was more of an erratic jig – the heavily pregnant lady at the front (and I mean space hopper up the jumper heavily pregnant) was putting me to shame with her moves. Added to mutton curry and warm chocolate tart, it was a rather awesome night out, especially for a Tuesday, and well worth the achy legs this morning.

I did have the time to go out for a longer run this morning, but was enjoying bed too much so I just did the standard 3 miles. Morning run again tomorrow – the evening will be taken up with doing a big shop for camping and getting the car packed up for our early start on Friday morning. I’m childishly excited!

Day 16/30- lumbering

Had another of my panicking that I’d missed the alarm mornings, eventually waking up 2 minutes before the alarm went off and then trying to ignore it. Well worth it though, I took myself down to the lodge and enjoyed the peace and quiet (I’m sure the anglers were thinking the same thing before I lumbered past). There was an amazing mist swirling just above the water, most of the birds were still asleep and all was still and calm. Rather splendid and made me wish that I was organised enough to take a camera with me.

Not a blistering  pace, but covered 3.5miles, which was an accidental extra mile and a half more than I’d intended. I think it’s going to be mornings for the rest of the week as the weather is promising niceness. I’ve realised that my head likes morning runs, but I think my body prefers later ones (except in the heat) – probably something to do with being forced to go from unconscious to running in less than 20 minutes. Unfortunately, it’s just going to have to lump it.