Janathon round up

Janathon summary

I think at best I could mark my Janathon effort a B minus. Good start, but could certainly do better. However, it certainly got me doing more exercise than I would otherwise have done for the first month of the year. I sort of scraped over the bare minimum of exercise for 23 days. I’ve never exercised for 23 consecutive days, so that’s a positive. But having fallen off the streak, I completely fell off the streak. In part that may well be due to the January squats, pressups & situps challenge having got to a timeconsuming and somewhat arduous level. In which case I just gave up rather than try and catch up. Now that is typical.

Take this weekend as a case in point. I should have run Friday, but it was really cold and we had snow, so I stayed in and worked all day, safely tucked up next to my radiator. In fairness I was shattered and promptly ran out of steam in the middle of ringing Friday evening, when I found myself yawning all through a touch of Stedman Cinques. Saturday I could have run, but again, had a fit of the really don’t want to be cold and can’t be arseds. Sunday morning we rang, then went shopping. Home and lunch meant it was an afternoon outing, if at all, but the sofa and a book seemed far more attractive than a run in a freezing cold wind.

I keep hoping that the weather and lighter evenings will mean that my desire to get out and run will be met more often and less easily put off. Janathon was interesting and I certainly enjoyed reading some of the blogs and exploits of the more committed participants, but ended up being rather so-so on my part. Could do better – should do better. Time to get myself in gear again.

Buts and butts

Janathon day 24 & 25

So it had to happened at last, day 24 of Janathon I did nothing that can realistically be classed as exercise. It was always going to be a busy day; setting the alarm for 7 am does not usually herald a day of relaxation. Walked into town and back for the shopping by 9 am, unpacked all the goodies and was out the house by 9:30. First stop was a new event, a monthly area 10 bell practice. The poor husband had been “volunteered” to run this, so not going wasn’t an option for either of us. There were a lot of people there, must have been 35 or so, but it wasn’t a bad practice. Not too many people trying to ring beyond their capability, but an awful lot of people with nil or very limited experience on 10 – we’re an area of mainly 6 and 8 bell towers and ringing on higher numbers is a different kettle of fish in so many ways. I got inveigled into ringing a number of times, managing to muck up Yorkshire Royal when both my course bells went missing in action. oh well – that’s what practices are for…

From there it was to the pub (as is traditional after ringing) and we had some lunch. The afternoon was another ringing event, this time the branch AGM, with ringing, service and tea before the meeting. I gave the ringing a miss here – long draft and cramped ringing room are two things I really don;t enjoy ringing on, the long draft especially. I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy them when I saw a central tower and a ground floor ring. Give me stairs any day – the more the better – it means the ropes are shorter. Fortunately there were enough people that I wasn’t required to ring, saving that over production of adrenaline for another day. The tea was a classic of the species. If you’ve never had a ringers’ tea, you’re missing out. It usually comprises buckets of tea, sandwiches (and other small savories) followed by loads of home made cakes. This spread did not disappoint, and I enjoyed an excellent sampling of cakes.

Meeting finished in good time and we headed off for the third event of the day, the church quiz. These are usually good fun, and so it was. After 2 rounds we had the lead by 1 point, but round 4 was questions on The Bible. Ringers are not renown for their diligent attendance at church, and we didn’t upset the demographic. 5 out of 10 was better than we expected, including a complete fluke relating to what the 10 unprepared virgins forgot. What made it more amusing was that we scored the same on that round as the team including the vicar and curate! oops… From the 8 question rounds we were half a point behind, but there had been 6 sets of puzzle sheets, that were worked on between the rounds and during supper. On these we headed the field by 4 points, so emerged as winners. Hurrah and general rejoicing, with an unexpected prize of a bottle of prosecco and a box of chocolates each. Some of the answers exercised the brain somewhat, but the body did very little in the way of exertion all day. By the time we got home it was approaching midnight, and straight to bed, ready for another 7 am alarm call on Sunday morning…

Sunday was a different story. Ringing in the morning was followed by getting home and changing to go out for a run. Exercise can be had, I just need to be disciplined about making time for it – and not have my days booked up doing other things! I headed out with a plan to extend the run and to up the run interval. 10 minutes run intervals, went OK for the first two, including the nightmare that it getting across top field. The farmer must have worked really hard on this field, as the soil is so light and fine. It was also wet still, so that I again ended up wearing most of the shire on my feet and a significant portion of it up my legs. Instead of heading right up the track and into the village, I’d checked the map, I could go straight on (ish) or right (ish), both of which would take me into the village and each would make the loop progressively bigger, thus extending the run. I opted for the straight on path. The first field was OK, the crops are clearly ahead of top field and the farmer has cleared the crops from the path, so clearly showing the correct route and (I assume) limiting damage to the crop by errant walker drifting in the wrong direction. The corner of the filed I had to hop over a ditch, trying to avoid putting a foot in the stream at the bottom, then climb over a stile. Then a second stile and into a smaller paddock. Here things took an odd turn. There was a hut with chickens and a solitary sheep in this field. They took a bit of an interest in me, and I soon found myself being surrounded by chickens and followed by the sheep. And then the sheep headbutted my behind! That wasn’t very nice, but I got butted 4 times as I crossed the field. I ended up shinning over a 5 bar gate to get out of the paddock, as the path wasn’t clearly marked, and heading for the gate seemed the safest option. At least it wasn’t a boy sheep! But I’m not risking my behind being subject to that again and will not be trying straight on path as an option again.

That kind of put me off my stride (well, wouldn’t it you?). The third & 4th 10 minute run intervals were rather disjointed, what with sheep, stiles, ditches, roads, gates, steps and the like. After starting and stopping a number of times, I allowed myself a bit of a longer walk break, the ran a 5th set of 10 minutes, 1 minute walk and 5 more minutes to run home. So I started and ended in reasonable shape, but the middle got a bit messy for multiple reasons. The run lasted over the hour, making that the longest run, both in time and distance, since I started back running.

There were a mixture of people out today, a couple of walkers, including a most elegant elderly lady in a fabulous purple coat and hat who was serenely gliding along with her dalmatian as I lumbered past, pink & black lycra abounded and blowing like a steam train. Then there was the lady walker who held a gate open for me, to allow me to run through it. I could have done with the 10 seconds respite to stop, open the gate and close it behind me; instead I had to just keep on going while she smiled broadly. But I wasn’t the only nutter out in lycra, one friendly cyclist, one miserable cyclist and a friendly (rather more speedy) runner were all passed today. The weather was a little less cold than it has been, although there was still a chill breeze that made me glad of the two layers. All in all, rather an odd day.

Get on with it

Janathon day 23

Friday and I’m working at home. My husband decides to take advantage of this and I’m told there are 2 parcels to arrive. Both on guaranteed delivery before 1 pm. Hmm. Well they’re certain to arrive just when I’m on the telephone, that’s sod’s law. But at least a 1pm end tome means that I can take advantage of being able to go for a lunchtime run again.

1 pm arrives and only one parcel has arrived. The tracking number says the second is on its way, but that’s not much help. the dilemma is: do I wait for the parcel, then run and have lunch, or have lunch, wait for the parcel and run later. I’m tending to the former as I know myself a little too well – if I put it off from lunchtime, I’ll put it off from later in the afternoon as well and suddenly my run wont have happened. The parcel eventually arrived at 1:15, which isn’t before 1 pm, but at least it wasn’t 3 in the afternoon, with me still having not run or had any lunch.

Quick change from jeans, jumper & slippers (I know my colleagues tease me that I work from home in my dressing gown & slippers – they have the slippers right, but I do get dressed!) and into running gear. 2 layers, gloves & beany hat today. It had been bitterly cold first thing, with the frost persisting in shady spots all afternoon – certainly there was ice still on the puddles and in the ditch as I ran. There was a cool breeze, but the sun was out and it was a pleasant day to be running. Just to the pylon and back again, using the same 7 minutes run to 1 minute walk that I started last week. And it all went surprisingly well. 2.7 miles in a smidge under 34 minutes puts my average pace at 12:36 minutes/mile. Which is pretty speedy for me, most of them have been in the 13s. Got to be pleased with that. It is indeed time to move up and stretch those run intervals – 10 minutes here we come…

Other than that, it’s just the challenge exercises to report: 160 squats, 88 situps and 27 pressups.

Oh, and I’ve finished the Christmas chocolates. That took longer than it usually does – I can polish of a box of Ferrero Rocher in about 10 minutes, so making a box last nearly a month has to be some kind of record for me.

Running nowhere

Janathon day 22

Can I count a day at work where it felt like I spent the day running from one meeting to another as exercise? No, I thought not. So it’s a good thing I did today’s challenge exercises isn’t it? 150 squats, 26 press ups, 84 situps.

Failing to deliver

Janathon day 21

You know I promised a run in yesterday’s post… well I’ve not run. The problem with dealing with the US is later afternoon teleconferences, in this case two of them 3 until 4 and then 4 until 5. Leaving at 5 I hit all the rush hour traffic, meaning it was well a truly dark by the time I got home. So I did 30 minutes step on the Wii while the lasagne was in the oven, then the challenge exercises. The schedule has a rest day today, but I missed Monday, so I made up for that and did 120 squats, 20 presups and 45 situps.

We’re due to have the shower installed at work this week, so maybe I can be uber organised and take my kit with me to work. Maybe not a lunchtime run, but running after work then driving home would make it a bit lighter and brighter. hmmm. I’ll have to think about that one.

It’s as cold as ice

Janathon day 20

When I went out this morning, the car told me the temperature was -4C. It was frosty and a bit slippy and the heating in the car got whacked up to full. By the time I came home this evening the temperature had clambered to a whole balmy 1C, but I was not upset that it was the local monthly 8 bell practice tonight and I wasn’t able to squeeze the time to¬† go for a run. Oh shucks. So you’ll have to count some ringing as exercise (take my word for it, it certainly counts) and today’s challenge exercises of 145 squats, 25 pressups and 80 situps. Run scheduled for tomorrow night – weather permitting, there’s a forecast for the white stuff tomorrow…


Janathon day 19

Just the exercise regime to report tonight.140 squats, 24 press ups and 76 situps. I don’t know who thought this daft idea up (nor which idiot thought it would be a good idea to join) but I’m bored now, can I stop?

Fabulous day for a run

Janathon day 18

Today was one of those days that are just fabulous to be out running. As we set off for ringing this morning, it was below zero and the world had turned white under a hard frost – fortunately the husband was in change of defrosting the car. By the time we got home, by way of ringing, Costa and Sainsbugs, it was gone 11 and the car’s temperature was showing we’d reached the balmy heights of 1C! How positively hot! The sky was blue, the air crisp and the frost remained heavy in sheltered places. What a great day for a run!

Off I went. Double layer of shirts, a hat and my gloves, just to be on the safe side. No error on starting the Garmin today, every inch was going to be counted. I start off running along a road that has a tall hedgerow on the south side, and I usually run along the sheltered side. In the summer this is great, as it keeps the sun off. Today this was less good, as it meant that the frost had remained untouched and there was, in places, a layer of ice on the pavement. As I got to the roundabout I passed a lady walking her bicycle, she’d just come off on the ice, so warned me to be careful. I was sticking to the verge side of the path, as the encroaching greenery at least meant that the path was a little less slick. The first run section, until I reached the turn, was more about staying on my feet than about progressing at pace. From there, the road heads more northerly, so had been exposed to rather more sunshine and was a lot less slippy. I’d decided that I would run the longer loop today, so at the Pylon it was across the field. I am seriously considering taking my camera with me next time, just so that I can take a picture of how much soil ends up adhering to my shoes after a run across a fairly recently ploughed field. It is no exaggeration to say that I barely kept running, due to the extra weight I was lugging about on each footstep. From there, the track was better, but the mud was slick and slippery, so yet more of this outing was spent trying to keep my feet under me.

After returning to the tarmac, it all felt a little easier, especially after having shed half a field along the path as I went. I was, however, feeling rather puffed by this stage. I allowed myself an extra long walk break at the furthest extent of my run, but promised myself no more freebies on the way back. And I stuck to that. As I returned to the last section, I decided that I’d try running on the sunny side of the road, to see if that was a little less slippy. I never run this side, but it seemed worth breaking that habit today. For the most part the sun has been on the path, so there was a much more secure footing. That felt a lot better and I reached the end of our road having clocked up 4.05 miles in under the hour. No, not terribly fast, but considering the conditions underfoot I think progressing at a faster than walking pace is about as much as could be expected.

It does make you wonder at the sanity of the runner though. It was cold out, and here am I saying what a great day for a run it was. There is something about being out in all weathers that gives you a distinctly warped view of what good and bad weather is. It’s certainly different from my everyday view of what good and bad weather might be. The dog walking couple I saw by the church described me as brave, as they passed with their wellies and waxed jackets. Off my rocker might be a more apt description. I love it!

Confession time

Janathon day 17

Just the tinsy tiniest of confessions due here. In yesterday’s post I promised to do the challenge exercises in the evening. Well I didn’t. Slap wrists. I know, I know, I’ll shortly be thrown out of the union and you’ll never talk to me again. I did some on Friday, which was a rest day; but that hardly makes up for doing none yesterday, which wasn’t a rest day. I could say that I think I’m beginning to get the the level I struggle to do even one more, but that would be wimpish in the extreme. In order to make amends, I will forgo my last rest day, which is due sometime next week, and catch up then.

So today I have (so far) walked into town and back for the weekly shop and done 30 minutes step on the Wii fit. I am loving the watch TV while doing step function – never explored that before, but it’s an excellent way of combining two activities. I have also done the 125 squats, 21 pressups and 64 situps I should have done yesterday. The day is cold, but clear and dry, so the rest of the afternoon may well involve taking the pruning shears to a tree that needs a haircut before spring comes. That might be a bit energetic as well.

Operator error

Janathon day 16

Friday sees me working at home, meaning that I can get out for a run in daylight, making use of my lunch break. And so it was today. It was clear and crisp out by the time I got out the door, but despite the lack of frost it was cold out. Gillet and gloves cold. I set off in good spirit, glad to be out and moving after the short, sharp col of earlier in the week. I’ve still got a bit of a sore throat and a cough that comes in fits and starts, but apart from that I’m pretty much back on form.

I decided that it was time to step up the running periods again, in spite of the hiatus mid week. And so I set off to run for 7 minutes. I never set off running from the house, I always walk to the end of the road before starting the Garmin and setting off to run. Well I say always. Not today, I didn’t. I was sure I’d hit the start button and that it bipped at me in response, but after crossing the road and getting to the industrial estate it was resolutely reading a screen full of 00:00:00.Oh no!

Fortunately I’d gone no more than 3 to 4 minutes, so it wasn’t as if the situation was unrecoverable. I made a guess that, as I hadn’t had to stop to cross the roundabout, that I’d probably been out for 3 minutes and started the watch there. First time I’ve managed to not start the watch. I’ve missed lap markers before now, or hit them twice or not turned it off, but missing the start is a new trick. Not one I want to practice further.

Not too far, as I was time limited. Just up to the pylon and back again. I know that distance usually comes in at around 2.7 miles, so that is what I’m claiming today as well. The Garmin only shows 2.39, but I’m missing some there, so it is only fair to take what I know I did run, rather than what I have evidence of running, That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. It was lovely out, and I was dressed about right for the weather. There was a cold breeze but it was a lot less strong than it has been – more swirly than anything else. I did manage to find a weather phenomenon that doesn’t seem to move round to face you on an out and back route, that would be the sun. part of my return leg was into the sun and with the damp surfaces it was really very bright out. Not long after I got back it turned cloudy and there was a sudden shower of rain, but I don’t remember seeing any signs of that while out – at least I got my timing right there.

Challenge exercise for today amounts to 125 squats, 21 pressups and 64 situps. I will get to those later (promise).