Monday, 23 March 2009

All Good Things

We had our first rain shower today for the best part of two weeks. This period of temperate bliss is over and normal Spring resumes.  While I like to think that not all good things come to an end, this ending at least holds the promise of Summer to come.

I'm in my last week of lectures (ever?) at the moment. Each one passes with almost ominous ultimateness. It feels quite surreal. They are just part of the bigger ending comprised in the conclusion of university and studentdom.

With the last long run before Prague out of the way, another ending looms. I'm not sure where I'm going to take this blog once Prague is done. I shall most certainly continue running with undiminished fervour. I'd like to expand to write more generally. I'll have a lot more time when my exams are over, but I lack creative direction for the time being. I'm as yet unsure, but hopefully I can also make this ending a beginning.

Two Fat Ladies

88 minutes on the 21K. A most satisfactory performance in spite of a slight stitch on miles 10-13.

I consumed large amounts of food throughout Friday and felt an abundance of energy in the middle third of the run. With 6.8m/m in the bag, I know 7.0m/m is within my reach for the actual event.

No more long runs between now and then. Maybe just a short one to keep things ticking over.

I took no photos on this run, and so poached some from Flickr. The flowers and blossoms were idyllic.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Hyde and Seek

We've had just about an entire week now of beautiful weather.

Seems like less.

Weather notwithstanding, I didn't want to get up yesterday morning. Really didn't want to get up.

I did, of course - once I couldn't dismiss the reality of the day any longer.

I made it out as far as Hyde Park, which was nice, as, besides passing through once or twice on decently long runs (and besides cycling along its western edge everyday) I haven't run there for a couple of years.

There was a lovely strip of mist everpresent in the distance between the trees. I ran three miles there, three miles in the park itself, and three miles back (on the good side of 7.5m/m). It's probably the most runner-friendly of all the parks - long paths and gentle slopes, nice surroundings. It's big enough that you could probably do a figure of eight to the tune of 6 - 7 miles without re-running paths. It's more popular parts aren't to be touched in nice weather in the afternoon, however, due to crowd density.

I'm saving myself at the moment for a final long run (on Saturday?) before Prague. Maybe I'll do the park again and run twice as far within it. I'm tempted by yomping over to Highgate, however, to re-live those happy jaunts from last year.

I'm hoping I'll still find plenty of impetus to clock up long distances after Prague...

Monday, 16 March 2009


Nicest day of the year so far. Brilliant sunshine. Warm, but with a gentle cooling breeze.

No leaves on the trees, still, but the smells of cut grass and pollen in tandem with birdsong and the occasional aeroplane flying overheard were wonderfully summerish.

I did my ten miles Heath loop. The hills were hard, but I managed a 7.6 m/m.

Highgate to the North East.

Some of the best horizons I've ever seen on the Heath. Not very well resolved on my phone camera, though.

It really didn't like all the light very much. I should add a passable camera to the ever growing list of things want need to buy myself at the conclusion of Uni in June.

With this morning's lectures over, I've now got to try to stay inside and study for the rest of the day. Won't that be nice.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

New and Shiny

I had a duh *slaps-forehead* moment on Thursday. I realised I needed new shoes.

Shoes are supposed to last 300 miles - I'd put three times that into my pair and while that didn't bother me in the least, it occurred to me that unaccountable sporadic knee, shin and calf pain are all standard symptoms of old shoes. Why the support and cushioning of running shoes should be so short lived, I don't know. I've always thought the high recommended replacement frequency was a bit of a license to print money for shoe manufacturers, but when running impacts start hurting your knees for no apparent reason, wotcha gonna do?

I went to the Holborn branch of Runners Need where they put the latest version of my current shoes (they come in year models, apparently) on me and got me on a tread mill where they captured video of my feet. This, I approve. Slowing the footage down allowed direct assessment of how my feet land as I run. I was happy to find relatively decent pronation straight off with the new shoes. When I'd been to the shop at the same time last year, I'd been overpronating quite a bit in my previous pair. I forked out an uncomfortable (but not particularly unexpected) amount at the till, but was happy with the service. I was also pleased to find the pair I'd bought was the manufacturer's flagship featured pair on their website. A high price, but at least it represented value in proportion.

I had a good run in them this morning. With exactly two weeks to go, there should be plenty of time for any teething problems to pass. Nothing off the sort this morning, however. I had a good fast six miles on unfamiliar roads out towards Harlesden (I remain desperate for fresh pastures)

The Wembley stadium is a land mark that seems to define every route I take west or north-west.

I found this massively dense cemetery. They were really packing them in.

Run With Angus

Primrose Hill on Thursday morning.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Empty Streets

Today is the one day this week that I don't have a 9am start. Ironic, then, that it should be the earliest I've risen for a couple of weeks now.

I got up specifically to catch the sunrise. 

There was a beautiful clear sky last night and I had firm hopes for a nice morning. Getting up at 6 (and out by 6:15) was just a  little too late to catch the 6:24 sunrise, however. The unbeatable time to run is just before dawn breaks. It's very hard to time precisely, but what I love most is getting the very beginnings of the sun on the horizon at the mid-point of my run (which, as often as not, is a hill).

Setting out, I realised just how much I miss being out decently early. Being out in streets devoid of life is quite delicious. So few of my runs over the last six months have been before the noise of daily commute begins. I'm going to make a habit of getting out this early over the next two months of revision and exams.

I took a new route today - through lower West Hampstead through to Parliament Hill. The area is viciously hilly, but it was good exercise.

I've always approached the Heath from the West from Kilburn, so it made a nice change to come up from the South.

Parliament Hill was a staple run of mine last year, from Holloway. I greatly miss the streets to and from the hill from the East - I am well acquainted with them in the early morning. From my current abode, the West Heath and the Kenwood estate have lured me away from Parliament Hill, but it really is unrivalled for an ideal morning panoramic view. 

I missed the sun's first peak over the horizon, but it was an exhilerating sunrise nonetheless.