Just like last weekend, I dragged myself out of bed and did a 10km run. Unlike last weekend I did it without the pack.

Distance: 10.04km
Time taken: 00:51:12
Average/Max Speed : 11.76/14.52 kph
Average/Min Pace : 00:05:06/00:04:07
Calories: 720 ******

I had fully intended to get the pack on again, but I was having a bit of trouble with motivation this morning, mostly due to the fact that there was a thick layer of frost over everything. So when I go to the back door, laced up my shoes and made sure the GPS had a connection, I realised that I couldn’t be bothered venturing back into the house to find the pack.

It had to be a morning run today as I’ve been across in Glasgow meeting up with some of the consolevaniacs for the semi-regular occurrence that is ConCon. Put simply, it’s a bunch of mates who used to watch an online video games review show who get together to laugh at/with each other and have a few drinks. Imagine that, eh? Gamers who socialise. Pffft! That age old stereotype will be collapsing in on itself any day now.

On the way home, I made time to listen to The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman. As a digital release, it’s available as a single, 64 minute track which is coincidentally the same time as the bus from Glasgow to home. What an album. I can’t imagine it would work as someone’s introduction to Sparks unless they’re into bizarre musicals about Swedish directors, but it has that classic Sparks feel running through it. I can imagine it being a staple in the car for journeys that last just that little bit longer than an hour.

Second verse, same as the first

Distance: 6.00km
Time taken: 00:32:03
Average/Max Speed : 11.22/16.00 kph
Average/Min Pace : 00:05:21/00:03:44
Calories: 425 ******

An exact repeat of yesterday’s run, not because I enjoyed it so much, but just because I needed to get some kilometres done and get back for food. Tomorrow’s run will be longer and with the pack, just to make things a little more interesting. But for tonight, I’m just going to pummel my leg muscles with the foam roller and then relax with a book. A full weekend is in the offing, so might as well get some rest this evening.

Just a little ‘un

Distance: 6.00km
Time taken: 00:31:49
Average/Max Speed : 11.30/15.36 kph
Average/Min Pace : 00:05:19/00:03:54
Calories: 423


I decided that I’m going to do evening runs tonight and tomorrow, so that I can have a slightly more relaxing time during the day at work. It also gave my legs a few extra hours of rest today, for which they were grateful.

I’ve been pretty damn tired over the last few days, partly because of socialising in the evenings and partly because the day job’s been tiring me out mentally. The work I’ve got on at the moment hasn’t been overly taxing, but several projects were coming to a head at once and I had to just get the headphones in and get things done.

That’s the reason you’ll see that I’ve scrobbled 52 Girl Talk tracks so far this week. If they were tagged properly, you’d also see that I’d listened to Vinyl Fantasy 7 a few times as well. I find that when I need to focus, there’s nothing better for that than a good mash-up album. It’s probably the fact that it’s all based around a relatively constant rhythm and no tracks stick around for too long.

I should keep a note of what music I reach for at different points. I know that when I’ve got something monotonous to do then I’ll reach for the country music. If I’m just getting on with programming without too much pressure or masses of brain power required then it’s shop, sharp punk a lot of the time. Documentation tasks normally call for some Cat Empire or Yo La Tengo. If I need to engage my brain but need to block out noise, that’s when I reach for the foreign language stuff (with the exception of Wir sind Helden who cover all bases), something like Yelle, Camille (the early albums, never the recent stuff) or Rammstein.

Or there’s always the ever welcome presence of some Sparks.




It’s dead, Jim

Well, Running Free appears to have disappeared again so obviously needs some more energetic hamsters to power the servers. It’s okay though, I can get the information out of Endomondo. To wit:

Distance: 9.52km
Time taken: 00:48:56
Average/Max Speed : 11.67/60.88 kph
Average/Min Pace : 00:05:09/00:00:59
Calories: 676 ******

Another run with regular running buddy Jacob today, though both of us were feeling a bit leaden. If evidence was needed it was long periods of silence as we just tried to keep enough oxygen flowing. Or maybe that was just me.

Tonight is the last Wednesday of the month, and the last Wednesday of the month is the traditional time for zombies! Well, given that we very, very rarely show zombie movies perhaps it’s not so traditional, but tonight was an actual, bona fide, zombie double bill.

I was only going to be able to stick around for the first film, but it didn’t disappoint.


An astonishingly bad film from start to finish. It’s clear from the trailer that Lenzi had no intention of using ordinary zombies, these ones run, plot and use automatic weapons. The film introduced characters with elaborate histories, only to kill them off with a crossbow in a small field. Heads exploded, women screamed, men were useless, it was all there. Highly recommended!

Best line of the night definitely goes to “We’ll go with Plan H, and keep Plan B for later”. Genius!

What’s our vector, Victor?

From the OP: “I’ll let you work out how that applies to running”. For tonight’s braindump of a blog, I’ll tell you how that applies to running, as I see it.

You’d think that victors in running would be the people who win races and yes, in some way, they are. However, that would mean there’s only one victor per race which would imply that everyone else lost. Which is bollocks since most of us haven’t a hope in hell of taking home that trophy (well, vouchers for a local restaurant and a bottle of cheap plonk) so why do it?

In running, a victor is someone who pushes themselves and feels good about it. I’ve known a number of people who set their fitness goals far, far too low. They start running and work up to a 5km race after a year’s training. I’m not saying that that first time you run 5km you shouldn’t feel like a winner, but since a race generally isn’t about taking home a trophy (well, a pair of Thorlo’s) it should be about achieving something else.

Victors push themselves under race conditions to do better or feel better. Ran 10km and felt like a sack of coal by the end? Well done! You just ran 10km! winnar! Next time you do it, have more breath by the end and take less time. winnar!

Victors look at different races or routes and think “I’ve never done that, sign me up!”. They don’t look at distance or terrain as being something that’s comfortably within their field of experience, they look for new challenges. Or they do the same race and think “where can I improve?”.

A victim knows their limits. Victors mis-quote Douglas Adams and say “I love limits! I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”

Distance: 7.14km
Time taken: 00:34:10
Average/Max Speed : 12.54/22.22 kph
Average/Min Pace : 00:04:47/00:02:42
Calories: 509 ******


Yo, dawg! I heard you like short posts!

Distance: 7.35km
Time taken: 00:37:19
Average/Max Speed : 11.81/71.48 kph
Average/Min Pace : 00:05:05/00:00:50
Calories: 516 ******

Just noticed the time and I’d quite like to start a new book.

Off the stool and on your feet

You know that bit in a pop song when the key changes and the sugary, manufactured band launch into the ringtone-friendly chorus for the last time? I’ve been having similar moments while running recently, except that those moments ruin songs and the running has improved.

The last few runs have followed a definite trajectory whereby I start off feeling absolutely terrible, heavy legs,lungs unwilling to work and a mental fatigue. I switch off for a few kilometres, thinking of anything but running. Then, not long after I’ve decided I’ll just do a short one today, I start to straighten up a bit, my breathing becomes less laboured and the legs wake up a bit.

That’s definitely what happened today, so the “I’ll just give it 5-6km” turned into another 10km loop. Surprisingly, I’ve run two new loops over the weekend and both have come out at almost exactly 10km to the metre. That’s some homing GPS I must have up top.

Distance: 10.12km
Time taken: 00:53:17
Average/Max Speed : 11.39/16.50 kph
Average/Min Pace : 00:05:16/00:03:38
Calories: 718 ******

Pack it up, pack it in

Run in the morning, or run in the evening? I was feeling a bit rough so the obvious choice would be to wait until the evening to have a better run, right? Just laze about for a bit in the morning, get the washing on, do the dishes.

Or, the alternative would be to decide that while I’m dehydrated, on the verge of a headache and it’s blowing a hooly and cold, I should stuff some old jeans into a small rucksack and start running with a pack to get used to it. The hell’s wrong with me?

The bag was only a couple of kilos but I’m more interested in finding out how it sits while I run, where it rubs, how I like to have the straps and all that. I’ve run with a few times but not for any particularly great distance so this is something that I need to start working into my routines.

Turns out I can also run a fairly decent 10km into the wind, wearing a pack, while sweating out a hangover.

Distance: 10.07km
Time taken: 00:53:10
Average/Max Speed : 11.36/14.93 kph
Average/Min Pace : 00:05:17/00:04:01
Calories: 721 ******

Running backwards for Janathon

Well, not, not literally, but I’ve taken to running familiar loops in reverse just for some variety in scenery. You still see the familiar parks, streets and buildings, but somehow it feels a bit more fresh. Unfortunately, running around where I work pretty much means you’re going to end up on the cycle path at some point and I’ve seen that in each direction many, many times.

However, at least yesterday’s run had the slightly new experience of shouting at a dog. As I was running along at one point, I saw that a small, yappie puppy was harassing a runner ahead of me. When I say “harassing” I mean he was running alongside, yapping loudly and trying to bite heels. The owners were ineffectually calling it rather than, say, coming down onto the path and retrieving it. As I neared the dog it turned its attentions to a girl walking in the other direction who was clearly unimpressed with it. Again, owners not doing anything about it.

As I got close, it decided I was a better bet so had a go. I tried to run past it, it tried to bite my heel. I spun on said heel and yelled “Voetsak!” in its face. The little shit turned tail and whimpered off back to its owner. The owner who was still watching from a distance.

Distance: 6.88km
Time taken: 00:33:44
Average/Max Speed : 12.24/20.34 kph
Average/Min Pace : 00:04:54/00:02:57
Calories: 499 ******


Ice Ice Baby

Suffering as I was, from feeling just a little bit tired, I decided that I’d make today’s run an evening one. In general, I’ve been a lot more alert through this -athon than I was during June. To be honest, during that race for big distance, I wasn’t exactly at my best in the afternoons at work.

Unfortunately, the weather’s been turning a bit colder of late which isn’t generally an issue from the wimpy view of “oh boo hoo it’s cold”, more that it can make conditions a bit treacherous. Which is exactly what it was tonight. A little bit of surface water on a thin layer of ice. Horrible.

I’d intended to do a reasonably long, slow run around the top of the town but that’s where the ice was. By the time I started heading back down where there was better grip, my legs were making their opinions known. So I just headed back in.

Distance: 8.05km
Time taken: 00:44:51
Average/Max Speed : 10.77/14.83 kph
Average/Min Pace : 00:05:34/00:04:02
Calories: 568 ******