Monday, October 31, 2005


Originally uploaded by Drift Words.
Time: 4:00:53

15 ok miles then 11 increasingly sadistic ones. So much pain. Even more

tomorrow. M clocked 3:45 so we are all happy. We ravage the goodybag and

look for our friends.

The sun's out at last!

cheers, matt.



Sunday, October 30, 2005


Originally uploaded by Drift Words.
What are we doing snaking around this carpark? Registering for the race

number, that's what.

The wind has gone down a tiny bit, and it sends brief showers now and

again. Dublin chatters cheerlily.

cheers, matt.



Saturday, October 29, 2005

Week 0. Day -2. Ready?

Originally uploaded by Drift Words.
Got my shoes and kit packed, my passport looks roughly like me, some gels and bars to top up the fuel tanks? Can I really be ready?

Thursday's strange sunshine saw me in the glistening meadow, jogging and testing the legs. This could be the last warm sunshine for 100 million miles or more, so I had to make the most of it.

We shall travel to damp Ireland, where Wilma's Whimper showers the roads with warm Atlantic.

I don't feel supremely fit and full of boundless energy. Some of my muscles don't behave athletically (or perhaps stiff and twitchy is athletic). Some of my nerves are fighting the others, and I've having difficulty doing simple tasks like matching socks and counting t-shirts.

I keep coming back to thinking of Mile 20 in London. The long windy road around Docklands. Come on, walk to that post, then run a bit more. You'll be fine. Go on!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Did someone turn the heat up?

My sort of colleague Mark (also a decent runner, as well as an impressive climate scientist) has stood up many times and predicted, well before the fact, that recent tropical storm seasons would have significantly above average activity. His group is using this sort of knowledge to improve understanding of property risk in those areas of the globe (insurance companies take note, premium payers take it in the wallet). Back at pub level, I muse that the remaining inhabitants of such areas will either be those too poor to brush up their CV's and shift North, or those sun and fun-seekers (like M's uncle apparently) who are loaded enough not to be bothered with insurance.

Over at Interconnected, there's a curious post about Northern latitudes opening up as the ice recedes, I quote his sources all jumbled together, like glacial rubble:
a new northern culture, connected by open ocean, global warming, and a different kind of aesthetic ... exempt the North from the traditional territorial discourses based on power, history and identity, placing it in a deterritorialized post-national paradigm in which spaces are increasingly imagined and communicated. The North emerges as one of the so-called "meso-regions", i.e. less determined by geography than by ideas, symbols, visions or strategic instruments, all aimed at mobilizing resources ...
I can't really see us being not determined by geography very soon, unless those people of JET/ITER etc get cracking and grant us all with free energy for life, but something about the optimistic tone of these essays reminds me of Iain M. Banks's dazzling energy-rich Cultures, who think of a planet as a small space and sculpt awesome artful living spaces with real style.

Try this Iain Banks "Culture" novel, Excession

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Week -3 : nearly there

So, three weeks to go to the Dublin Marathon (official site). The taper begins. I can't honestly say I feel Ready. However, I'm not injured, I've done a couple of good long runs, a dollop of speedwork. I'm not concerned about shoes or clothes (I will stick with what I have) and I know I can cope with carrying a few energy gels along with me during the race. More importantly, we have flights and a room!

Sunday's long run wasn't that great. My legs felt stiff and slightly unwilling. It could well have been the effects of the Yasso session (search for more about Yasso sessions) I did last Friday. This time I wasn't on the track, but on the local cricket/footy pitches (photo on Flickr). I ran for 3:30 at what felt like the pace of the the previous time on the track, and marked the locations. This was one and a bit times around the two fields. Ithen did 9 more efforts over the same time, starting from a particular bench and aiming to reach the scorer's hut at the end.

In between most of them, I jogged for the same time. As the session went on, my times drifted from the ideal by up to 10 seconds. In order to preserve the mathematical regularity of the session, I rested completely a couple of times. So I can say that I almost completed a 10 x 3:30 Yasso. Therefore I should be within reach of a sub 3:40 Marathon. I can't quite believe it but there it is.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Week -4 : coming along

I almost didn't train at all this week. The first few days were a torrent of to-ing and fro-ing, and I was just happy enough to stick with tai chi (another sword move – "Major Literary Star"), and glad of the recovery period. Legs were quite sore after last week's "half".

EDIT: I have been reminded of an hour at marathon pace on Wednesday, but I can't remember a thing about it!

Friday almost came and went without doing any running, but I squeezed in enough time to do a decent half an hour at threshold pace.

Saturday was pretty busy with 10,000 things, one of which was the purchase of new shoes (adidas Supernova control mk 7) and fuel (usual PSP, Go bars and Squeezy gel). Thanks, Malcom!

Today's long run took in familiar Wey path and North Downs loops, largely in fresh sunshine. The first two hours went fine, but I slowed and started to plod after that. I was out for three and a bit hours altogether, with tired legs glad to be back home.

Given that this was my really long run of the program ("only" two hours next week) I had hoped to be in better shape by now. Maybe some magical improvement will happen tonight, as I sleep. A lot.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Week -5: pretty good!

Let's see where are we? End of W-5. I've just got back from a half marathon in Cricklade, Wiltshire (near Swindon). Quite a small village race, 200-odd in the half, plus a few more in the 10 k and fun run. We had to plough through the back end of the 10k field at one point, but I wasn't complaining. I must be stressed (teaching soon aargh!) or still recovering from a cold, because my chest felt tight at 8 am this morning, as we were setting off to go. You know, that organ that keeps us all going? I joked about it of course, but didn't tempt fate by divulging my Flickr password. It would have to be serious for that.

We kept a good, slightly intense but steady, pace through the run. Most of the miles were about quarter-to-eight, with the odd one over 8:10 when drinking water and running didn't quite work at the same time. I could feel the chest saying "no more" during the last third, so the pace had to be judged quite finely. No major problems, though I could feel a knee getting tired in the last couple of miles. It felt almost good (running well should not feel good in the normal sense of the word), certainly nothing like the last half we did – at the end of August – when all I could think of in the last three miles was that old Foreign Legion adage "pain is weakness leaving the body". In that race I took a fair few walking breaks, but today, with the exception of the drink stations, I ran continuously. I coughed a bit at the end, so evidently the cold hadn't gone completely. Final time for me 1:42:32, with M slightly behind.

She complained of feeling de-carbed at the end, lightheadeness and not noticing traffic being the main symptoms. I reckon she needs to slurp the energy gels a bit more often during long runs.

Earlier in the week, we did a nice Yasso session (pictures): 8x 800 m intervals in sub 3:30, with moderate wind going up the track. Again it felt as if my lungs weren't totally clear, but the legs handled the pace pretty well. After the first one, judging the pace was quite easy. Not bad for my first such session!

We are feeling pretty confident about a 3:30 – 3:40 marathon, as long as we can hold a good long run together next week.