Archive for the ‘running’ Category
[The Chippy Challenge: to eat more fish and chips in 2014; see original post for details.]
Evaluation: Too much batter but otherwise flawless. This assessment may be due to running 6½ miles in the cold on an empty stomach just beforehand.
Days since last: 1 (Bell and Compass, Oxford)
Monthly consolidations/compilations: January
“Boot and Bonnet and Everything On It,” was how the regular described the classic MG body, never mounted on a frame, that a garage nearby has in its yard for sale. He had initiated a conversation with the older couple who drove up in a classic Jag E-type and before long they were discussing where to find spare parts and when the next rally trip was going to be.
Copacetic, but they were hogging the fireplace, too, although the bar was a good second choice to sit. Soon, I was joined by a newcomer in Wellies. “Where’s your car, then?” asked Mr Spare Parts. “I didn’t bring it, did I,” replied Mr Muddy Boots but in his West Country accent that came out, “Oi dinta bringih, did oi?” “How’d you come, then?” Spare Parts continued. Muddy answered, “Arn me shanks,” and slapped one of his own thighs for emphasis.
Two-thirds of the fine, old house was dedicated to the dining area through some abbey-styled windows and heavy doors. The lounge was fairly atmospheric and the carpet was another version of the red-pub-rug that we put into our dining room or the one in the Alma I spotted last week. But, if I was going to linger I would need to get out of the rapidly cooling sweaty kit and into something dry, so I drank up and headed back out to the trails.
I felt like I was finished with my run and there wasn’t enough time to do any ‘normal’ tourism so I turned off the run tracker and popped in the first pub that attracted me. The Pig and Drum threatened SKA and reggae on a window poster and had Pink Floyd blaring Comfortably Numb out the doors.. sold.
Inside I found a staggering array of cider pumps and ales in the sparse, warehouse-like room. The bar lady was friendly and efficient and the guys hanging out were a laugh. The music was what you might call classic rock but very good choices of it in my opinion (some Stones but from Let It Bleed, and unusual choices with regard to Van Morrison and the Clash, as well); the sound system was crisp and quite loud. It is the pub I wanted to have when I was 18 years old, and now at 52 it taunts me with the banner that I could have it if I really wanted:
After the E-VIII-R postbox, the Mug House was the other target of my day out in Worcester. 700 years ago, it was the alehouse for the Church of St John Baptist and the church cemetery has, in the interim, expanded around the joint. Today, it was rammed with customers dining and drinking and steaming up the place but I really could have spent weeks in the low ceilinged rooms I explored before escaping to the tables by the graveyard.
The landlady has the letters FBII after her name above the door, an honorary that may not be as prestigious as, say, Fellow of the Royal Society or Fellow of (insert science or engineering society of your choice, here), still serves to endorse the high standards of this busy house. Oh, and if you’re lucky the winner of the 2014 Grand National may join you for a drink (but may not get his round in, with those unwieldy hooves).
Right. So, this was the thing I came to Worcester for, the Holy Grail to post box enthusiasts — an Edward VIII postbox, one of only 161 left nationwide. I was deathly ill the day before the Isle of Wight Marathon so the run I did to loosen up ruined me with regard to seeking out the one in Sandown a few miles from my hotel.
So, that’s the last one. Sigh. I’ve really enjoyed the postbox search; what next…what next?
I looked at my maps on the train and reckoned I would find where I was going easily enough without help of GPS or a compass or even the position of the sun (obscured as it was behind the clouds that rolled in as the train rolled north to Worcester). This is the sort of running I tend to do: fearless of getting lost or, more to the point, so prepared to get lost and find something new or unexpected that getting lost has become the norm, a welcome companion as the countryside and towns are explored.
So it was that I found the Alma which I knew from planning this trip last week was out of the planned way. However, I had already used my willpower running past a seemingly endless linear array of fine looking boozers and the stop to refer to the map forced my capitulation.
Several pumps called me as I reached the bar but I’ve been on a jag for porters, stouts, and milds lately and the Banks’ (apostrophe catastrophe notwithstanding) Mild got the call. The half dozen old guys (that had gone silent at the American accent emanating from this sweaty bloke) at the bar seemed to approve and went back to their conversation about jackasses that spend too much on fine wines. I wandered about for a minute or two admiring the Christmas décor and the pub carpet pattern similar to our dining room, then settled in with the ancients…the other, even more ancient ancients if I am being perfectly honest.
An almost endless stream of dudes with their young sons (in football kit) came through for pints and then disappeared off to my right (I was in the front window facing the bar). Perhaps to the garden, perhaps another room. Everyone there was on friendly terms and even I felt at home before my glass was half done. Everyone wished me well on the day without ever asking once about what the day entailed. Spectacular.
I use Map My Run because it works with the GPS chip in the smart phone I bought off a junkie in Amsterdam. Others do as well, but I’ve become accustomed to MMR. I came up with my own personal challenge to run 3 or more miles every day in the holiday season two days before the start of their Holiday Marathon Challenge. You get credit for your logged runs toward the distance of a full marathon and there are random draws for prizes for participants…none for farthest or fastest or largest number of runs, just participants (although to get in the grand prize draw you have to complete the virtual marathon).
One caveat: you must live within the 50 United States or Puerto Rico or a sovereign territory or the USA, which leaves me out of the prizes. Still, I’m rather enjoying the wee game so it might come as a surprise that I am calling on my brethren jackasses to crash the system while I continue –completely out of character — to play by the rules.
Why? Take a look at Day 5 as screen-captured at 4 pm GMT:
There I am with my puny 5 runs, one per day, averaging 4.4 miles per run at about 8 minutes per mile. Nothing to be proud of nor, indeed, to be ashamed of considering these have all been done on a broken toe and several whilst dead drunk. But, I have to hang my head beneath the “achievements” of the Top 3. Let’s parse their numbers, all self reported as can be your own:
“Lukas J” has run 195.8 miles in 26h 56m, or 39.16 miles per day averaging 8:15/mile throughout although, granted, this is spread out over 4 or 5 runs per day. Who can compete with this?
Perhaps “Tony M,” who is similarly impressive, fitting in 8 runs per day averaging 32 minutes per run of about 3.2 miles. That’s 8 runs over a ½ hour each every 24 hour day for the last 5…let’s hope he picks up the pace a bit.
The top female in this Cavalcade of Gods is “stacie g” who may be the most impressive, yet, with 2 runs per day averaging over 11.7 miles per run at an 8:04/mile pace. Marvellous.
So, I would ask that you lot register with Map My Run (if there is a ‘Tell Us How You Heard About Us’ part to the registration, mention this post) and submit similarly bogus efforts. Maybe record a run whilst driving 80 mph down the motorway, or a 24 hour long run every two days keeping a 6 minutes per mile pace…be creative. I’ll be slogging along, stopping at pubs every hour or so (maybe more frequently), and watching your efforts with earnest interest.
UPDATE: 20 minutes after the above screen capture, “Lukas J” logged 2 more runs adding another 10.4 miles. Awesome, or more accurately unbelievable. You all have a lot of bogus mileage to log if you are going to catch up:
UPDATE: At the end of 5 days, “stacie g” has gotten lazy and was displaced but I find myself most impressed by “Charles C” who is averaging 8 hours 49 minutes per day running, in 4h 52m chunks (obviously he has to take a break every now and then to charge his Garmin battery):
UPDATE: Well into day 6 (30th of November), our winner for most ludicrous entry of the day goes to ‘Brad L’ with 105.5 miles at a 4m 35s pace. I hope he’s one of my saboteurs: