Friday, 31 January 2014

Thank you

I've run no more than four miles since Saturday. Work and obligations got in the way, you see, and its been a nuts week. But Andy and I are hoping to run a long way tomorrow and it will be good to get back into it. Also - it will almost certainly knack.

But while I'm here, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who's sponsored me to run both the Paris Marathon and the Edinburgh Half. At first, only the latter was going to be a fundraising run. There's only so many times you can ask your mates for cash, isn't there. But I figured 'what the hell' and stuck the two things together.

I'm running for a charity called Scat Bone Cancer Awareness Trust. And with good reason. 

My friend Rose was telling me all about her friend, Louise. Louise had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and had started blogging about it, Rose said. It sounded a grim read, I thought, and it was and it wasn't. It was also funny and fascinating, and as thought provoking as you'd hope it would be, really. Soon after I began reading it, Louise and I started following each other on twitter and, over time, I felt like I knew her a little better. We never met, of course. But with Rose's stories, and the blog, and the tweets, I built a little picture.

Louise died last May, at only 42. A month or so later (maybe longer) Rose said how a few people would be running the 2014 Edinburgh Half Marathon in her memory. As is often the case with Rose, this was less of a statement and more of a command, and it was clear I was going to be one of the runners - part of 'Team Lou'. Okay, I said.

And as when I ran the Royal Parks Half Marathon for charity last year, you guys have been terrifically kind. I've even had donations from people I don't know, and who are supporting a run in honour of someone they don't know either. That's a knockout thing, isn't it.

So (and this needs the capitals) Thank You. Everyone. And if you want to read Louise's blog, which is now updated by her husband Alan (also part of Team Lou. Well of course.) then it's here.

And here's that fundraising link again, in case you didn't get the hint already.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Leg Horror

Back in what would have been the late nineteen-eighties, some poor sod came off his motorbike on the A537 and his leg was bent backwards, from the hip, so that his heel touched the back of his neck. The story about this in the Macclesfield Express was headlined 'Leg Horror' and I can still remember my dad laughing out loud at it.

I've had my own, milder version of Leg Horror over the past couple of days. Saturday's run was the furthest Andy and I have been so far, and it took its toll on our tendons, muscles and general constitutions. But it was great, too. Great to know that we could even get that far.

At around midday, we started off from beautiful, sun-kissed Blackheath and some hours later we'd end up in what appeared to be scenes from the Old Testament, the weather was so bad. But more on that later and back to the start, at the top of Greenwich park, where  a group of Harley Davidson-straddling old fellers were blasting Eric Clapton's 'Crossroads' out of a boombox and revving their bikes' engines.

From there we headed down to the Cutty Sark and on through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, under the Thames. It was instantly fun and even though I'd had a night of terrible insomnia (look, what I'm saying is that you should be impressed) I began to feel that, hey, I was going to enjoy this.

Andy in the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, looking like a murderer or a minotaur or something.

From there, we stuck to the bank of the river around the Isle of Dogs, then up through grim Blackwall and instant befuddlement, as we tried to find the right subways under the roads of roaring traffic.

Along the Thames.

View from the Isle of Dogs.

And from there, we carried on up to Limehouse Cut and onto the path by the River Lea. That bit was great. Past Three Mills studios and along waterways that gave you wonderful glimpses of old London. There were barges, sure, but old painted signs that had faded on their walls, too. And even the occasional sunken rusty boat. I'm not joking. By now we seemed to be going okay - not fast or slow, but simply steady. The sky, however, was curdling and as the clouds got greyer and lower, the air was getting colder, and colder.

About six or seven miles in, we stopped near the Olympic Stadium for a cup of tea. By then there were lots of cafes along the river and canal banks, with punters spilling out of the doors wearing Steve Zissou-style hats and having hip conversations. The first place we ran into was actually a pub, but the second did tea - and was a strange little German Deli that on first glance could easily have been a branch of Wickes. The woman at the counter asked what we were up to, and when we said Marathon training she said how she could 'run 10km in about half an hour'. Okay, we said.

Walthamstow Marshes.

From there, we carried on up to Walthamstow Marshes and, by then, I was beginning to get pretty knackered. 'How far do you reckon we can get' asked Andy. 'I dunno man, we'll see. We'll see' was my breathy answer. What I didn't know was that we were about to read the map wrong, head out through Waltham Forest by mistake and stick another three or four miles on our route.

The River Lea.

It was here that things began to change. The clouds were startlingly close and it was beginning to get really, really cold. And then the wind showed up, too. Running into it was more difficult than I could have expected - and in some points it rooted me to the spot and practically turned me into a mime. And then finally - the pay off - and the heavens opened.

We ran down from Northumberland Park station in the kind of weather you only really hear about in the Book of Deuteronomy. If this sounds like hyperbole, it isn't. Not really. I was quickly soaked to the skin as the sky boomed and flashed above us. We headed down through Stamford Hill and spent most of it avoiding the yarmulkes and shtreimels being lifted from Jewish mens' heads by the wind. Everyone was dashing from awning to shop doorways, trying not to get blitzed. Everyone was saying 'fucking hell'.

Finally, at Dalston Junction, we stood shivering in the train station. 'That was some run' said Andy. I ag-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-eed through chattering teeth. Of course, by the time we got inside, the rain stopped.

All in, we covered around 17 miles. Going by an app that Andy had downloaded, we'd run 15 of those and walked for two. And we'd burned something like 2400 calories. This last bit has made me think about our training as, by the end, I was in desperate need of refuelling and, were this a marathon, we'd still have another 11 miles to go. It made me think about nutrition, and about what we take with us when we go out. Horribly, this may even mean energy gels.


The next day, I had to sack off the planned 'Recovery Run' (a four miler, to get our legs moving again) simply because my lower legs and feet felt as immovable as two 9-irons. Earlier in the week, I'd also cried off with a shivery cold.

Andy carried on with four miles each time and, this morning (Tuesday) I ran three before work. By the end of it, the sun had come up my legs weren't seized up as they had been for the past 48 hours. It really was as if the rust had fallen off. Funny how your body works, eh. 

Saturday's route.

Distance: 15 miles/ 24 km ( plus 2 miles of walking)
Time: AGES. Hours.
Recovery run distances: 3.4 miles/ 5.4m km (Elliot) and 4 miles/ 6.5km (Andy)
Times: Half an hour for each.
Total distance (Andy): 101.8 miles/ 163.8km
Total distance (Elliot): 106.6 miles/ 170.5km

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

22nd January

10.2km/ 6.3m
Time - An hour ten, but with a good ten minutes of walking because my ankle knacked.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

21st January

Today my head totally lost the plot. I've felt completely worthless all day. Given the chance I would've happily have just written the whole thing off from the word go and started again tomorrow. When I came home I bashed out 4.5 miles. It has helped a wee bit. A good reminder of why I'm doing this.

Distance: 4.5 miles/ 6.5 km.
Time: 45 minutes.
Total distance (Andy): 68.6 miles/ 98.4km

Total distance (Elliot): 78 miles/ 122.4km

Sunday, 19 January 2014

19th January

Boring and tiring but over with pretty quickly.

Distance: 4.1 miles/ 6.6 km.
Time: Just over half an hour.
Total distance (Andy): 64.1 miles/ 92.9km

Total distance (Elliot): 78 miles/ 122.4km

Saturday, 18 January 2014

18th January

Let's get out of town, we said, 'find somewhere we don't really know and run back home from there'.

Barnes is posh. One of those moneyed suburbs that you feel like you're going to get thrown out of for not wearing a tie. The pubs advertise rugby matches, not football. Every other car is a Range Rover or even a Porsche. And as we walked from the station down to the river (where we would start from) Andy overheard a toddler waxing lyrical to his mum about what 'value for money' Jamie's Italian was. They were standing near a sign that read 'Jazz Brunch'.

Before we started, we'd  taken a detour to take a look at the memorial to Marc Bolan who had crashed into a tree just off Queens Ride and died, back in 1977. Fans erected a statue to him 25 years later and in that time, it looked like they'd begun to confuse him with Anita Dobson. It was a strange little thing that shrine, with fading postcards and rain-smeared nik-naks pinned to a noticeboard and, next to the statue, a box full of old sunbleached paintings. A woman in a Renault Espace beeped her horn at us and gave the thumbs up. Glam.

But the run - the run! It was almost fun, you know. Almost. We started off by the river and immediately ended up on a long and winding muddy path where everyone else seemed to be out for a run, too. It was was interesting to be in a part of London that (even after 18 years of living here) felt like a different city entirely (albeit one where you wear your collar up and go rowing), and we kept the river on our left as we slowly but surely passed the bridges at Hammersmith, Putney, Fulham, Wandsworth, Battersea. All in all, it felt like a decent enough shift.

(Also: When Andy and I have run together before, we usually talk - or more accurately, whine - but this time we decided we'd need our mouths shut and our headphones in. Listening to podcasts helped for me. With music, I alway seem to end up with an unnatural tempo to keep up with, or I stop listening entirely and start thinking about the run itself. Spoken word requires that I listen, and so I don't have to think so much about my legs or how tired I am. Yet again, 'This American Life' proved fascinating and in parts, annoying.)

And I had no idea that there was an old Harrods Furniture Depository near Hammersmith Bridge. 
It's a beautiful building but ,Like with everything else, it's now flats. 

An hour or so in, we took a break at the Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park and drank a cup of sugary tea under its gilded statues, before heading towards London Bridge and planning to play it by ear from there. 

That cup of tea was when it started to get harder, I felt, and we ran a little slower after it. Perhaps it was because we had a better idea of where we were. More likely we were just knackered. But seeing the crappy spike of The Shard rising up above the rooftops genuinely made me think that 'oh, I know how long it is now' and the 'can't be arsed' voices in my head turned up their chatter. Also by then a lot of the buildings had gotten really, really dull - all these glass riverside properties with nobody in them - and less distracting. It was like running past a never-ending Bathstore showroom.

At Battersea Bridge, we had crossed onto the north bank of the river and run via Parliament Square, where I lost Andy in the midst of an Occupy protest. It was pretty tough to get by with the pavements clogged with those V for Vendetta masks, but once through, we crossed back over the river at Blackfriars and ran around the back of the Tate Modern (because the South Bank was stupidly busy and - again - tough to get by without having to stop and say either 'excuse me, excuse me, excuse me' or, if the mood took you, 'fucking move, would you'). 

An original plan had been to run all the way home but at London Bridge we knocked it on the head; tired, but also aware that we had to be careful about how far we're running when we go out. More experienced friends have said that it's easy to get carried away with it all, keep running and end up injuring yourself. So instead we bought some Yazoo chocolate milkshake (it made sense at the time) and got the train home. I was shattered - but then I should have been. We'd ended up running a few kilometres shy of a half marathon, after all. 

Twelve more weeks to go now. Christ.

Distance: 12.5 miles/ 20 km.
Time: Minus that cup of tea? About 2hr15m.
Total distance (Andy): 60 miles/ 86.3km

Total distance (Elliot): 73.9 miles/ 115.8km

Thursday, 16 January 2014

False dawn...

Today was cruel. Just bloody cruel. I ended our last run on a proper high. It felt like the 'best' (or least worst) run we'd done. Decent pace. Decent consistency. Not much stopping and starting. Still a good bit in the tank when we finished. In short, I imagine it's how running feels once you've reached a decent level of fitness. I remember thinking - maybe I'm there, maybe the fitness has finally come.

This morning I found out the fitness hadn't come. The run was only 3 miles long, less than half the distance we covered the other day and less than a fifth of the distance I did on Saturday's long 'un. But within 10 minutes of leaving the house everything felt wrong. 

My body felt heavy. My legs felt sore from the word go. I was puffing and panting and sweating and just feeling like I was running on fumes the whole way round. El ran far better and faster but it still felt that we were both struggling to match the other night without really knowing why.

While I've really enjoyed recent runs to the point I've risked becoming the type of dickhead who evangelises about how 'great running is', this morning I just totally hated it. Every minute of it. I think it was my body's way of reminding me that there's still a long way to go before we can manage anything like marathon distance. Or maybe it was just reminding me 'don't become one of those running dicks or I'll punish you'.  

Distance: 3.5 miles/ 5.7km
Time: 31 minutes
Total distance (Andy): 47.5 miles/ 66.3km

Total distance (Elliot): 61.4 miles/ 95.8km

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

14th January

The same old routes (almost always going through Herne Hill, or Dulwich Village) were getting a bit stale, so I suggested to Andy that we try a different direction. As different as it's possible to be in South East London, in any case. I mean, it's not as though we were going to happen upon some windswept moors.

So we headed out towards New Cross, with the intention of only doing four or five miles. And the new territory (which is far too grand a term) seemed to work. Our attention was taken off the slog, and the aches in our legs, simply because we weren't sure how long the roads went on for and didn't know which turns we should be taking.

The downside of this was that we got a bit lost, and lost each other at one junction (with Andy zipping past while I was checking the map on my phone) - and that added some extra distance. But it went well. Really well. No real stopping and starting, and a good pace all the way around. I think it surprised us both.

Distance: 6.3 miles/ 10.2km
Time: An hour.
Total distance (Andy): 41.2 miles/ 50.1km

Total distance (Elliot): 57.1 miles/ 85.6km

Runs of the Roses

My friend Rose, who I lagged behind in Leeds at the weekend, has started her own running blog. Take a look at for more. 

(Fucking hell. What exactly are we turning into. Before you know it, we'll all be baking our own bread - and blogging about that).

Monday, 13 January 2014

13th January

'Let's go before work', we agreed. 'And let's take it easy'.

So we took things a little slower than usual and only ran for a few miles. Andy had found his run on the weekend a lot less hellish (and easier to maintain) as he hadn't turned it into a series of mad dashes, interspersed with restorative walking (which, I'm proud to say, is my 'technique'). It made sense to try that approach again. Especially after my own run at the weekend had been so bobbins and painful.

The pace felt strange at first, as if we we were going far too slowly. But it ended up with ten-minute miles and, most importantly, we didn't feel whacked out when we got back. So maybe there's something in making a few changes. Less haste, etc.

And finally - good news. Thirteen weeks away today, The Paris Marathon will be over.

Sunrise and St Barnabas Church, Dulwich.

(I posted this picture of today's route to instagram, and my friend Hayley commented that we'd 'followed the route of Netley and Gull' - a reference to the Jack The Ripper murders.

The conspiracy goes that Netley, the owner of a horse-drawn cab, drove  the Queen's Physician 
Sir William Gull (and 'actual Ripper') around London so that he could ritualise with London's ley lines and sites related to Freemasonry. Some of those sites are supposedly around Herne Hill in South London (named after Herne the hunting god and somewhere that almost always forms part of our run). 

Now, most scholars dismiss all of this ley/masonic stuff as fiction and fantasy, but it's still a good story - and you can read more about it in Stephen Knight's 'The Final Solution' and also the graphic novel 'From Hell' by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell (the latter of whom is Hayley's dad).

Distance: 3.5m / 5.7km
Time: 35min.
Total distance (Andy): 37.6 miles/ 50.4km
Total distance (Elliot): 51.5 miles/ 83.9km

Sunday, 12 January 2014


I find that one of the worst things about running is that, if you do it a lot, you get achingly bored of seeing the same old roads and parks and pavements again and again and again.  So, as I was off to Yorkshire for the weekend I started looking forward to the idea of seeing something new, and to not knowing what would be around the next corner.

My Leeds-based friend Rose is training for the London Marathon and so she was happy to go running too. I was a bit wary of this. Rose is the friend who suggested I start running in the first place, who has about five different pairs of trainers, watches and gadgets and who is truly in love with the whole running shebang. I'm clearly a chancer who's trying his arm at this (or leg) and as we set our alarms for early on the Saturday morning, I wondered how I would get on.

The answer was simple: 'terribly'. It was one of the worst runs I've had in months and months. My legs wrecked and slapped onto the pavement like wet bread. I had to stop every five minutes. I was wheezy. I had no energy and I couldn't muster any 'inner strength', if that's what you call it. Instead, I spent the whole route watching Rose zip off into the distance. Awful (and who knows why it all went so tits, but maybe I was just knackered after a week when I'd run more than ever. But more likely, I was just shit). it was pretty dispiriting.

The scenery was lovely, though. After a couple of miles through non-descript streets and housing estates, we ended up at Eccup Reservoir - and watched the sun rise up over a cold, clear day. What was less lovely was my first gulp of Energy Gel, provided by Rose. 'It's Mojito flavour', she said, 'and it's actually nice'. It wasn't. Not at all. It tasted like a bad cold.

Eccup Reservoir.

Look at how pink my hand is on this.

Quite beautiful, eh.

Distance: Now,  I don't know the area and this map is from memory. Google says it shows 14.1km 8.7m, but I'm going to shave some distance off and say 13km/8.1m. Rose says it was less (I don't think she counts the bits where we - or more accurately, I - walked). But to hell with Rose.
Time: AAAAGES. Two hours?
Total distance: 48 miles/ 77.2km

Saturday, 11 January 2014

The plan backfired...

View from the Thames path. Hours later, Fulham got hammered 4-1 by Sunderland.

With Elliot away in Leeds, I dragged my belly out of bed to attempt my first real 'long run' since the half marathon we did last October. I say real 'long run' as this seem to be how runs over 10 miles are referred to in all marathon training plans. I still count 5 miles as 'long').

I decided I'd set out to run slowly but steadily and see how I went. I remember only too well how making the error of racing out the blocks at the half marathon meant I was burst by the 6 or 7 mile mark. This time I wanted to just go slow but, hopefully, far.

My target was to do 12 miles. It was a decent morning so I decided I'd head for the Thames. I felt like a change of scenery from the south east London streets and parks. I went from East Dulwich, over Vauxhall Bridge and along the north bank of the river. I ran down there to Albert Bridge, over to Battersea park and then found the Thames Path.

I'd never heard of the Thames Path before. It's a brilliant stretch that seems to go all the way from Battersea Park down to Richmond (it may well go further). Running with the water at your side is brilliant. It's nicely distracting from the pain in your legs and feet.

I kept going on the path down to Putney. I remember at this point thinking I could turn back and do a loop or carry on down the path. I opted to carry on - the one thing I hate about 'loop' runs is that you know exactly how far you have to go to home. For me, that can really sap your morale and energy. So the new plan was to go as far as the 12 mile mark and then I'd hop on a train home.

The plan backfired. I got to Barnes. I thought it'd be perfect. It was 12 miles in and I knew trains went to Clapham Junction where I could pick up the overground home. I was all set for a nice sit on a couple of warm trains, irritating passengers with a combination of horrendous B.O from my sweating and that horrible smug look that running bastards get when they've done a decent shift. After seeing SO many of those smug bastards on my run (particularly along the Putney stretch) I felt I'd earned the right to be one. I got up to the train platform to find out that trains to Clapham Junction weren't running.

So I was stranded in Barnes and needed to get to Clapham Junction. I looked it up on my phone - 4.5 miles. Transport for London said it'd take about half an hour or 40 minutes on a rail replacement bus. I decided to stretch the legs and run it.

This portion of the run was hard. But I really noticed the difference in how my legs felt compared to when I'd finished the half marathon. Today, they felt sore and slow but, unlike October, they weren't destroyed. I think this is mainly to do with the fact I'd taken such a slow pace along the route. I ran a lot slower than my half marathon but the difference is that this time I continually ran for 12 miles rather than stopping for bursts of walking.

When I reached Clapham Junction it was fecking brilliant until I realised I'd forgotten my Oyster card. I'd packed a few quid to buy water along the way and thankfully managed to scrape together enough for a banana and a water from Lidl (about 60p) and a bus ticket home (£2.40).

All in all it was a good run. It terrifies me that the 16 miles today's run ended up as is still almost a half marathon short of what we're taking on in Paris. But at this point it's all about miles on the board and I have to keep reminding myself that I'm in a lot less pain than I was after that October half.

Distance: 16.5 miles/ 26.5km
Time: A long time (at least 3 and a half hours)

Total Distance (Andy): 34.1 miles/ 44.7km

Thursday, 9 January 2014

January 9th

I knocked on for Andy and he shuffled out from his sick bed, coughing and hacking and limping and dripping with sweat.  'Don't make me go', he pleaded. 'Please'. It was pretty embarrassing.

But we did 10km (the same route as Tuesday night) and it went well, with Andy even managing the 'Sydenham Hill bastard' (which I didn't). Catching our breath at the top, we watched as a guy sprinted up and down the damned thing like an excitable terrier - up, then down. Up, then down - his sweatless head shining under the streetlamps.

'What a fucking wanker', we both said.

Distance: 6.2miles/ 10km
Time: An hour?
Total distance: (Andy): 17.6m/ 28.2km
Total distance (Elliot): 39.9m/64.2km

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

A day off, and an explanation about why we're doing this

A lot of friends are asking why the hell we're running the Paris Marathon in the first place, so here goes.



I took this picture on my last 'long' run. It was 22nd December. It was nine miles over boggy turf and stony paths, under a typically grey Glasgow sky and passing everything from woods and castle ruins to lochs and old WWII gun batteries. It was raining.

It was also fucking magic. Standing in that field overlooking Glasgow five or six miles in, my head felt totally clear. No worries, no stresses, none of the bollocks that routinely gets me down. The legs felt sore, but the head felt good. 

That feeling - the kind of weird high running can (but often still doesn't) bring after a few miles - is why I signed up for this Paris Marathon nonsense. Right now that feeling also seems painfully far away. I've been ill twice in recent weeks with a virus that really floored me and left me feeling pretty weak. I haven't been running really at all. I miss it (not something I ever thought I'd say) and I know that getting back 'on it' in coming days is going to feel hellish. A potent mix of pre-Christmas boozing and feeding and being ill will definitely have put me back to square one fitness wise, or near enough. 

But tomorrow I'll go and do it and next week it'll be a bit easier, and the week after a bit easier still. I started the whole Paris thing with a sixteen week training plan in mind. Now we're at the '12 weeks to go' mark that's going to have to be scrapped for a shorter, harder slog. 

So, as of tomorrow, the 'comeback' is on: it'll definitely be part-Rocky, part Rab C Nesbitt. It'll also definitely be worth it.


The short version is that 'Andy made me do it' but here's the long version.

I'd tried running a few times in the past but it always involved nipping out for no more than ten minutes, two or three times a year, and pretending to stretch if anyone came wandering past. And then I'd go home and eat and drink and, if the mood took me, smoke tabs. I can't be bothered to get fit I'd think, blowing a square smoke ring (and they said it couldn't be done). Up yours, getting fit. You're boring.

And then, in the Spring of 2013 I started to feel really, really low. To the point where it was making me so insular that I may as well have begun speaking to people through a fucking sock puppet. What I didn't know was that these feelings were the onset of a pretty spectacular bout of depression. What I did know was that I wanted to sort them out.

I finally mumbled all of this to a friend and she suggested I try running, pointing out that it might quieten my head to a level I could cope with. I thought 'well, you would say that wouldn't you. All you fucking talk about is running.' But, psch. I figured I should at least try. 

I went to buy a discounted pair of trainers from a shiny shop in town, which involved flapping up and down a shop floor while a man with two per cent body fat and strip-lit teeth considered my gait. 'Have you run before?' he asked brightly and I said 'yes' as convincingly as a man who tells his doctor he goes home after one pint. A day or so later I was out in a south London park, listening to a phone app tell me I was 'doing great' as my breathing crackled like a crisp bag. But it spoke to me in a pleasant voice, that app. So I kept at it.

Now. In the end, I turned to medication as a brain-salve but that's by the by. My friend was still right: Running took some of my spikier feelings and gave me a way of blunting them. Perhaps most importantly, all of my worries and anxieties were still there (and are still there for the most part) but they were and are quieter after running. Not that I'm a constant scribble of desperation, you understand. I can put on my shoes and head out whenever, now. But if I ever want to run away I can at least run. That's something isn't it.

I spoke to Andy about this new pursuit when he moved in down the road and he said hey pal, I'm running about too. Since then, we've accompanied each other on a prolonged stumble almost every other night - and we both took part in the 2013 Royal Parks Half Marathon (where, on an unseasonably warm October day, we lost each other at about the four mile mark but still managed to finish within 30 seconds of each other. There's something comforting in the fact that we're equally shit isn't there -but I would like to point out that I'm nine years older). We did that run for charity. Feeling you owe it to your generous friends is another thing that keeps you going, I found.

Afterwards, we both agreed we should 'keep at this' - and so that's what we did. I'm glad of it. And then without really thinking about it, we signed up for the Paris Marathon 2014.

It's looming pretty large now, that decision. As is the fact that later in the year, I'll be running the Edinburgh Half Marathon in honour of Emma Louise Page, who died of cancer early in 2013. The friend who goaded me into running in the first place goaded me into that, too. So if you feel sorry for me about all of this goading, you can sponsor me here. I'll stop saying goading now.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

7th January

Andy is still broken, so I headed out with headphones in and head down. 

I ran the first part (including that bastard of a hill, near Sydenham Hill station) listening to a really great episode of This American Life (about 'Accidental Documentaries', drawn from found recordings of families. Really fascinating.). And the for the last part - the downhill part - I ran listening to Bruce Springsteen's Thunder Road on repeat. It made me feel like darting through a prom, punching the principal and jumping into a revving car with some high-school sweetheart. 

I recommend it.

Distance: 6.2miles/ 10km
Time: 58 minutes.
Total distance (Elliot): 33.7m/54.2km

Sunday, 5 January 2014

5th January

Again, no Andy due to poorliness so my friend Ashleigh - visiting from New Zealand - came along today instead. The weather was quite pretty, really, with lots of low winter sun. It was muddy out, though. Muddy as hell, and we had to be careful not to slip and slide for much of it. It was a couple of hours of fell-running, really. 


Apey, in Crystal Palace Park.

Distance: 11.5m/18.5k
Time: Ages, and I wasn't really checking - but minus a 20min pitstop for sugary tea, I'd say two hours. So - slow.
Total distance (Elliot): 27.5m/ 44.2km

Friday, 3 January 2014

January 3rd, 2014

Andy's sick, so it was just me today - putting off the run for ages by blaming the weather (which was ropey) but also the state of my fridge, and the socks that needed pairing, and those books that needed putting into alphabetical order. But I finally got my arse into gear at around four, and ended up really enjoying it. 

There were no eight minute miles to be had today but it went well, and I did 4.6* miles in just over 44 minutes, something I'm happy with for now. Especially considering that some of that distance was up Kirkdale, SE23 - a relentless sod of a hill that looks gentle and short, but seems to go on and on and up and up.

And okay, okay. I ran DOWN that bastard near to Sydenham Hill station. The one I was supposed to run UP.

*And yes. I know we have to do six times that distance.

Wooo-oooo. Spooky, eh.

Dulwich college. I'm blaming the blurriness of this photo on how fast I was going.

Distance: 4.6miles/ 7.5km
Time: 44 minutes.
Total distance (Elliot): 16miles/ 25.7km