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Monthly Archives: January 2014

I didn’t do Janathon this year.

I did attempt it last year and enjoyed it but as it comes to an end I am filled with a kind of sadness, a sadness because I know that my inbox won’t be quite as full of the blog posts from all the Janathoners attempting to make it to the full 31 days without a hint of an excuse, plus there will be the battles at the top of the leaderboard, the middle of the board battles and the general Twitter banter that comes from a group of people so diverse that you’d think they simply couldn’t find a common ground – but they did, exercise.

What is Janathon / Junathon?
Janathon and Junathon are a months worth of exercise, logging of that exercise and then blogging about the experience, or as a new addition micro blogging. It is an opportunity and excuse to perform some exercise every single day of a month. Some people, like me, would call this RunStreaking but to the ‘athon community this is much more than that, it’s as much about understanding you personal fitness as it is about the exercise.

As with ultra running it’s all about personal commitment and the support of those around you to help you to the finish line, infact the ‘athon experience is very much like an ultra marathon. The distance of 31 days seems epic at the start but once you get into your stride it all becomes habit, the endurance needed become second nature, the spirit that is built up through the blogging, Facebook and tweeting is akin to the moment when your head goes down at mile 55 and somebody just puts an arm around your shoulder and makes it all better and suddenly you can do that last little bit. I suppose the greatest connection between an ‘athon and an ultra marathon is the sense of achievement as you cross the line and know that you’ve done something really special.

What I got
I found a great deal of enjoyment in the adventures of others as much as I found enjoyment in the doing, I got into habits that I carry through to today such as reading blogs and writing blog posts on the train in the morning and then running to and from work, doing longer runs at the weekend. Janathon helped me set up my mantra for ultra running of ‘never give up, never sit down, move your fat arse’. I made some lovely friends along the way, some of whom I met, some of whom I didn’t but many of whom will be friends for a long time to come. Being a part of the ‘athon community is a good thing and I would recommend giving it a go when June comes round.

Why aren’t I doing it in 2014?
That seems a reasonable question and the answer is pretty simple – priorities. The first thing was I was injured at the start of January and therefore was resting when it launched this year, the second thing was that my ultra marathon training comes first and I find my competitive nature means that Janathon isn’t so good for those days when I need to be resting as I get obsessed by leaderboards and mileage and that should no longer be my obsession. I may one day go back to being an ‘athoner but not this time but if you ever needed a kick up the bum or some heartfelt feedback this is an event that can deliver both by the bucketload.

Try it in June and see what you think.

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There was something quite pleasant about tonight’s 12km, yes it was cool, yes it was at a reasonable pace and yes I didn’t get lost in Kensington however, the thing I enjoyed the most was that my Asics Tather, which have never really been a great running shoe for me, felt really good. I’d forgotten how light they feel compared to my Mafate 2 or Speedcross and I was able to launch myself happily at the various challenges of tonight’s distance. Funnily I enjoyed running in them so much I might give them another run out tomorrow.

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Well I did do some running but I didn’t do the extra 8km as I ended up trapped on a train for an extra half hour and I had cooled down too much by the time we pulled in. Annoyingly my second train had my stalker on it and he stared intently at me again. Weirdo – I ran out the station and home to avoid him, that’s me running in the dark last night above, trying to disguise myself from him

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So I did some running, took my Hoka Mafate 2 out for a spin in some thicker socks but my knee, which had been harassing me yesterday, continued to flare up but I did a few kilometres to make sure that even if I don’t manage 400km then at least I’m putting in effort to reach the highest possible target I can. It was pretty wet conditions last night but it all felt rather pleasant.

I jumped on my train, took my seat, played some Angry Birds Star Wars, returned fire on Words with Friends and started to read through some of the lovely blog posts that my fellow runners, bloggers and tweeters have been rocking on about. It was about 20 minutes into my journey that I finally noticed a man staring intently at me and even when I made that momentary eye contact he didn’t flinch. I was now very aware of him staring me I was being creeped out by it. It got a little worse when the train started to empty off a little and he moved seats to sit directly opposite me and stare more obviously.

What did he want?

He was a big lad and I didn’t fancy either a possible fight or worse a pick up line in such a a confined space. I put my iPad away and my iPhone, making a last tweet just incase I was about to become a murder statistic and then turned to face my aggressor, feet lifted casually onto the seat next to me to look like I was remaining casual. It was at this point that his gaze drifted down to my Hoka and I was able to more closely assess the man and consider the threat level. I decided he was just a weirdo but I was only a few stops from home and I’d be rid of him shortly. I stood up early as we approached my station and I stretched my aching post run a little as I often do while waiting for a train to pull in and in the last few seconds he stood up and positioned himself just within my personal space, breathing heavily. I knew he was too close because I could smell the tobacco all over him and there was a faint whiff of something fishy for lunch.

Now I just wanted to get off.

There are about 30 steps out of my station and the crowd made it difficult to get any headway and the man was close enough that I could still smell him. As I left the station I decided to do what I do best and that was run. Over a kilometre, under duress, I can still hammer out a sub 3.30 and that is exactly what I did – I had no intent on this unpleasant little man having any idea of where I lived.

In retrospect I should have perhaps made something of it but I didn’t. I wonder if it will happen again tonight? I’ll let you know.

But do remember runners, creepy people like this are rare and commuting is still pretty safe but always be mindful of the man who is watching you nonstop for half your commute home. And especially be mindful perhaps of the commuters on the South East train lines out of Charing Cross and London Bridge 🙂

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I’ve banged on extensively about the need (for me) to try different types of racing, so as regular readers will know I’ve done things like the Sweatshop 5km, been a member of the London Social Runners (and was a founding member of its Wednesday nights), adventure racing, track racing, road racing, every type of distance, I’ve even raced on the water and taken up cycling to further my adventures. But yesterday I saw a tweet from @VirtualRunnerUK inviting runners to engage in a virtual race with the benefit of a medal.

The idea is brilliantly simple, you run a specified distance during a specified period of time (seems like a couple of weeks) and then you bang out the mileage you’ve signed up, send in your proof that you’ve done it and a medal is despatched to you. The fact that the organiser is making money only for Charity makes this even more appealing and at £5 you’ll never find a better value race or better organised (because you’re organising the running bit yourself!). This, to me, all sounds like heaven and I’m thinking, well presumably 12 virtual races would give me 12 medals in a year?

Let’s hope that’s right because I’ve got an idea… while bumming around on Twitter I agreed to engage in a Twitter challenge with @michloise, the challenge was that she will break Sub50 10km and I’ll get back down to the sub42 (possibly a sub40) 10km. The problem for me is all the ultra running takes away from racing 10km races but if I had a method of earning medals and at the same time engaging in the racing without impacting my ultra running that would be perfect and here it is. So I’m now waiting for the date to arrive so that I can do my 10km and then kick back waiting for my medal.

Good luck to all the virtual runners taking part and more importantly to those runners that aren’t – why not get involved yourslf at http://www.virtualrunneruk.com

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I can never tell whether it’s over training or plain stupidity but tonight as I was in full stride I knew I’d done something wrong. I was only 2km in but my knee felt funny and by 4km, in the delights of Soho, I simply pulled up. Better safe than sorry I told myself. I’d rather fail to reach 400km in 30 days than miss the St. Peter’s Way (which I suppose that’s what all this effort is for). Foam rollering and ice tonight for me, maybe a vegetarian curry.

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