Tag Archives: Janathon


30 May

2011  got off to an ambitious start thanks to Janathon – a month-long pledge to run every day – but has since stuttered to a near halt.

The obvious solution? Sign up to Juneathon.

Now that I’m a veteran I know what I’m in for and I have a score to settle with myself after letting Janathon fizzle to an undignified end a week shy of the finish line.

Aside from prior knowledge and a sense of wounded pride other developments during the past four months make me hopeful of success.

Firstly I now own a bike, thus doubling my exercise options on an uninspiring day.

Secondly my boyfriend has suddenly discovered his running legs – which are annoyingly far better than mine – and is threatening to do Juneathon, which will inevitably make me jealous when he starts eating enormous portions of pasta without ever putting on weight.

Thirdly I’ve just run the Chatsworth House 10k for the second time in two years – and managed to take an extra three minutes to finish. That’s right I’m now SLOWER than a year ago. I am now signed up to Juneathon.

There is no beach holiday / bikini incentive as I have agreed to spend my summer holiday in Scotland.

Two days to go…


Cold comfort

28 Jan

Thursdays have become big run nights, they’ve also become the coldest day of the week.

Wednesday was a balmly spring day, today there’s beautiful blue sky and yesterday there was snow.

Admittedly it didn’t last long, but the flurry that greeted me as I left the house didn’t inspire much confidence.

I’d arranged to meet Janine and Lyndsay at 7pm, but Lyndsay had got stuck at work and wasn’t going to make it.

I don’t know what kind of rollicking Janine delivered via the medium of text, but Lyndsay arrived shortly afterwards in running kit.

We shivered out, stretched and set off along the waterfront.

Last week freezing fog meant we couldn’t see a thing, so last night it was a pleasant change to see Wirral across the water, lights twinkling away. There were a couple of ferry boats all lit up for evening cruises bobbing along too.

Pace was very varied as we’re all running at different speeds, but there were sections where I really felt I was in a good paced, but steady rhythm.

At around the seven mile mark I started to get bored and cold, but by this point we were running for home so that was incentive enough to keep me going.

Stopping, I suddenly realised how cold it was. My top which was a bit sweaty was icy. Nasty.

Still, worth it for eight miles. I’m now starting to think the Liverpool half at the end of March is very do-able.


iPhone interruption

26 Jan

I run with music on my iPhone which is very handy, until someone rings me. Four times.

KT Tunstal was warbling away and the sky was blue, and although my legs were feeling heavy from a late night run followed by a morning outing less than 12 hours later I was at peace with the world as I trundled round my favourite 1.4 mile circuit. Until the phone started to ring.

I ignored it. It rang again. I ignored it. It rang again. I slowed down to look at the number calling and ignored it. It rang again.

Me: (breathlessly) Alf, I’m out running. I’ll call you back.
Alf: What’s not running?
Me: (hollaring into handsfree like a loon attracting worried looks from passersby) No. I’M out for a run – I’m running.
Alf: Oh I see.
Me: I’ll call you back.

I was more than half way round by the time I got him off the phone, but at least did manage to get into my stride before tackling the uphill section of the route.

Anyway, I’m still glad I got out and did it this morning because it now means I’ve got a whole evening off and 36 hours till a big long outing with my running ladies tomorrow evening.


My big fat Janathon effort

25 Jan

It was blowing a hoolie out this morning, so I wimped out took the  decision to reorganise my run until later in the day.

Which then meant there was the small question of work and my French class to take  care of before trainer time.

Ray, our long suffering French teacher, today exacted his revenge by  springing a surprise test on us. He’ll regret that when he marks my  paper.

So with thoughts of French vocab, a pleasing smugness that Sky Sports has acted upon its HR policy and the incentive of another compulsive episode of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding if I ran fast enough, I set off.

Tonight I opted for three miles along a straight out and back route – not the most inspiring choice, but I wanted to run further than 1.3 miles, and in the dark I prefer to stick to main roads.

I’d be lying if I said it was a really enjoyable run, but it was OK, especially once I got past the escape route diversion and was thus committed to the whole lot.

A runaway puppy provided a bit of drama – I helped to herd “Scamp” back towards its owner who was chasing it across the road in her dressing gown, so that’s my good deed for the day.

Turning back towards home, running against the clock to see what kind of criminal frocks the show would serve up this week was very motivating and I made it back with 12 minutes to spare – just enough time to stretch, shower and assume position on the sofa for the jaw-dropping BFGW experience.

Distance: 3 miles
Time: 0:32:00
Pace: respectable

Iron Maiden

25 Jan

Arrived home quite stressed about a story last night and initially wanted to sit by the phone and wait for it to ring so that I knew it was going to be OK.

With this the plan I settled down on the sofa and flicked the TV on to find Britain’s Biggest Loser, a show which pits a gang of self-confessed fatties against each other in an unsustainable and morally dubious weight-loss competition.

Ethics aside, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the contestants who are all enormous and for whom exercising must feel like torture as they carry so much weight because they were really, really trying hard as they lumbered up steps and puffed away on the rowing machine.

Ten minutes later I felt so guilty I had my trainers on and was out the door. If Britain’s biggest losers can go for a jog then so can this Janathoner.

I kept it short – only 1.3 miles because I was stressing the phone would go while I was out, but I think they were fast because of this.

Itunes gremlins sometimes decide to transfer a playlist belonging to RAF Brother onto my iphone and last night this was the case, the result being that I was accompanied in my efforts by Iron Maiden.

The mood I was in, I quite enjoyed it and also it reminded me of him and what a good egg he is. In that vein I then thought “and boyfriend isn’t bad either and what a lot of lovely friends and running buddies I have and aren’t I lucky not to be a fattie and have my health and life’s not that bad after all.”

By which time I arrived back home, stretched, showered, took the phone call, realised everything was fine and I was worrying about nothing and went to bed happy, another Janathon day done.

Skylon, history and hangovers

25 Jan

Running was not on the agenda yesterday, not even slightly.

Boyfriend and I had been celebrating the night before and, truth be told, had become intoxicated.

If it’s any consolation as I sipped my fresh grape and ginger muddled martini shaken with vodka, Manzana verde, fresh lime and apple juice in Skylon overlooking the Thames on the South Bank I did think of Janathon.

Unfortunately not in a “I’ve got to run tomorrow, so this is the last cocktail” way, but instead I was trying to remember exactly what Highway Kind wrote in his fascinating blog post about the Skylon art installation, the Festival of Britain and Winston Churchill.

So Sunday arrived along with my hangover and other half wasn’t looking lively either, but because Janathon waits for no man we got the Walking London book out and set off to explore Chelsea.

He lives there at the moment, but this is a short-term arrangement, so it seemed like a good opportunity to explore Chelsea’s nooks and crannies before he moves on.

The three mile walk started in Sloane Square and looped around past the Royal Hospital Chelsea, where we saw several smart-looking Chelsea Pensioners going about their business, down to Battersea Bridge, along the embankment and then wound back to the King’s Road.

I’d forgotten how densely packed the history of the city is – we could barely move for blue plaques and statues.

Highlights of the walk included the home of one of my favourite novelists George Eliot, the church of critic of Henry VIII and devout Catholic Thomas Moore and the site of his former residence Crosby Hall (anyone who read and loved Wolf Hall will understand why this is so exciting) and the Japanese Cherry Tree in Roper’s Garden dedicated to Koizumi Gunji, who the plaque informed me was the father of British Judo. How Janathon.

The Chelsea Physic garden is every inch the Secret Garden, tucked away behind high walls among the mews, but still plays a role today in modern medical and botanical research. It was created in 1673 by Sir Hans Sloane and the Society of Apothecaries. Sir Hans wasn’t a bad advert for his herbal remedies – he died at the ripe old age of 92, which must have been something of a medical marvel in 1753.

We stopped also to contemplate the idea of Margaret Damer Dawson, a founder of the Women Police Volunteers, a female task force created in 1914 to control the behaviour of young women.

Cheyne Walk had the most varied and impressive claims to fame – you can read some of them here – but King’s Road takes the biscuit in the sheer extravagance stakes. It sounds obvious now I type it, but it was initially only the King’s Road – no plebs allowed – and acted as a means for the royals to drive to Kew without having any upsetting encounters with the great unwashed until 1830.

So to recap: Three miles, dozens of pub quiz facts and zero raindrops – I declare Sunday a success.

Social climber

24 Jan

Wouldn’t it be dull if Janathon was just about running? Why not train all your muscles to do one thing and then just as they get the hang of it, take them climbing?

You see other half is a keen climber and he’s convinced that I have it in me to scale Everest too.

And so it came to pass that we spent Saturday at The Castle, an indoor climbing wall in Manor House.

Wisely, he had invited a fellow spiderman to partner up with (the prospect of winching me up a wall on a rope, sapping all of his bodily might in the process, wasn’t alluring strangely) which meant I got to climb with other sensible friends who have a better grasp of concepts such as pain and fear.

There were seven of us altogether which meant I had plenty of time to catch up with friends, while preventing them falling to their certain deaths with my expert belaying.

One of the other novices had spent the previous Saturday at the wall taking part in a five hour introduction to climbing course – a Christmas gift from his girlfriend. 

“I’m a broken man” were his words the next day.

I sympathise as I woke on Sunday feeling as if I’d slept with a wire coathanger across my shoulders.

Clearly running all the time does focus on certain muscles, so I suppose there is something to be said for giving all the others a workout. And I mean all of them, even my fingers.

I’m sure it has helped my flexibility, although the only cardio was my heart hammering with fear as I looked down to see the ground 20 feet away.

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