Monthly Archives: March 2015

Bike Commute: First Time

Today was my first bike commute to the new office. I had spent the last week stocking up a locker with the items I’ll need so I could ride with the minimum of items. 

I chose to ride my hybrid because there’s rain in the forecast for later and those slightly fatter tyres will help with the hills when it is slick. 

It took a mere eleven minutes to get from home to the office but it was pretty cold out there (32F/0C). This time is slightly faster than driving because there is a queue to turn on to a main road and then a traffic light at a right turn. None of these are really issues on a bike.  The traffic can be sidled past easily on the shoulder and the traffic light is mainly for people coming out of the turn so there’s no cross traffic. 

I have plenty of clothes and supplies at the office so I was able to change and freshen up (no shower as at that temp and distance I barely even ‘warmed up’). 

It was a good but very short ride and is all down hill; at least on the way in! The road surface is crappy from recent sewer upgrades but I can avoid the potholes. Let’s see what the ride home brings. 


A Quickie After Work

A change of work is also a chance to change your exercise habits. To this end I am trying to introduce a Monday evening run to my schedule. 

My office is located right on the Perkiomen River Trail so I took the opportunity to run towards the Lower Perkiomen Valley Park. It is a completely flat 1.75 mile run from the office to the point where the trail meets the Schuylkill River Trail. Given yesterday’s long run, I decided this was enough for a recovery run and turned around. Just a nice quick short run to shake the legs out a bit, and boy, were they tight. Getting moving was quite a labour of love. 

Other strangeness today… Well, getting ready for a run in the work gym changing rooms. It is a long time since I’ve had to change in a shared room and it felt a bit weird. It is strange how quickly you forget what it is like changing with others around. I gave up my gym membership about three years ago as I never used it; the outside is so much nicer even when it is raining. I’m sure I’ll adjust and get used to it again, eventually. 

Running Longer

After a month of shorter runs due to travel and holidays it was time to up my distance again. 

To get back in the spirit of things I did a ten miler this morning. And guess what? It was bloody freezing again. What is going on? It was 27F with a feel of 20F. I’d already packed away my winter running gear. Oh well. 

Although cold it was beautiful out today. A fresh spring morning with a clear sky and low sun. The bite of the air meant that I needed my ear warmers and neck gaiter when I started out. The warmer came off at mile two but I kept ducking in and out of the neck gaiter as my chin froze when I was running in shades areas. 

All in all I did ten hilly miles with a pace of 8:00 which is reasonable as I haven’t run that far for a while. My legs were still strong at the end of the run and I could have gone longer if I’d prepared more. 

Fast Devil’s Run

today I chose to run one of my favourite road routes, the one I call my Devil’s Run because it is 6.66 miles end to end. 

Unusually today I saw other runners. Even more unusually they overtook me goog up a hill at my one mile mark. However, they had clearly been using me as a target as they slowed down once they were in front of me. After a quarter of a mile right behind them i announced that is run ahead. I didn’t want them feeling uncomfortable with me immediately behind them. 

This made me up my pace but clearly they started using me as a rabbit again. 

My route is quite twisty and they were still behind me at my half way point, at about the same distance. I thought I could only see one of them though. 

On the return route I had to pause to cross traffic and the lady that was there caught up with me. We had a brief chat as we ran up the next half mile of road. She’s a competitive runner who is trying to place in a race this weekend. Her friend had to stop to retie a shoe lace while she kept going; clearly competitive!

I made my excuses and said that I’d drop back a little. I was spent after trying to keep ahead all that time. 

As I ran up the drive I was at 6.64 miles so I continued into the garden to make the ‘magic’ number.  

 As Mapmyrun says, 6.66 miles with a pace of 7:36. Given the first mile pace was closer to 8:41 the rest of the run must have been quite fast! Knackered now. Time to break fast. 

Back to Work and Early Runs

This is the start of my second day at my new job (which I am enjoying) and that means early run number two is now completed. 

Yesterday I ran 3.7 miles at a 7:30 pace but I don’t believe MapMyRun as it said my first segment was at a 6:22 pace which is close to my track speed!

Today registered at a more likely pace of 8:09 for 4.72 miles. Excellent. 

I’ve registered to join the gym at my company which has showers … Hurrah! No more stall washes with baby wipes. They also run and sponsor some 5k races locally so I’m going to volunteer to help out on those. I wouldn’t run them because ‘people’ (as the common phrase goes these days) but I could certainly help with the organisation. 

Time to Get Back into the Swing of Things

Yet another a-ha lyric, I’m afraid, but today marks the last weekday of my unemployment break. As such, it is time to get back into the swing of early morning runs before work starts next week. I went out for dinner and drinks with my new team last night and they  seem like a great bunch.

This morning I was still slightly late out the door (6:45) although it is better than what I had been doing while unemployed. Most of the time I was taking runs after eight or even mid-morning. 

My new office is only three miles from home so I am hoping to run, walk and ride there most days. I need to work out how to get clothes to & from the office and if I can store them safely. I’m looking forward to getting this setup next week. I know that they have an onsite gym and shower so that will be a big improvement over the strip washes with baby-wipes at my last job! 

Time to go and shower so that I can get out for breakfast. 

Just a basic four miler with a gentle hill today. 7:46 pace is quite reasonable considering I feel like a big bloated lump at the moment. I’m carrying about eight pounds of winter weight at the moment and am looking forward to losing that too!

Victory on Spring Mountain

I’m back in the good ol’ US of A now and trying to get over my jet lag. Travelling by plane always seems to suck all the moisture out of your body and leave you feeling a shell of your former self. 

To get myself moving again I did a walk/run with my friend on Spring Mountain, PA, walking up the Perkiomen Trail. 

The trail there heading north is beautiful and is finally free of snow and ice. There some areas of mud but it really isn’t too bad. It was so nice to go to a more remote location and be able to run by the river. 

My friend’s running is really coming along strongly. We did run/walk intervals for the whole of the six miles, including some interesting hills. Our average pace was 12:50 which is by far the fastest we’ve completed that distance at. We even had a sprint to the finish today. Yeah! 

We’ll be adjusting our intervals come April so it is good that we’ve now managed the complete distance with this setup. I’m looking forward to the next progression. 

Travel Running: Nottingham, England. 

I’m making the most of my visit to England and have come up to Nottingham to visit my brother and his family. 

Here’s a picture of me outside his house:

All English people live in houses like this one. 

Okay, I am of course kidding and this is Wollaton Hall (the location used as the home of Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Rises, apparently). 

The grounds of this house make for a great running route and I did a quick 3.4 miles around the lake and the field. Pace of around 7:37 and I certainly felt fast. 

There were a lot of other runners out and the majority of them did actually respond to my morning greeting. Hurrah!

The red deer here are very different to the White-tailed deer we have in Pennsylvania; far more rugged and seem to have a bit of an attitude. They didn’t like it when I ran close by then when they were taking their morning drinks from the lake. They were hissing at me and sticking their tongues out, mocking or threatening?

The park is a good place to run with no real traffic and plenty of different paths to use. There are a few conservation areas they ask you not to enter but they are clearly posted. It might have been nice to have a map of the entrance and some scattered about the park although I suspect that perhaps I should have just been a little more prepared when it came to route planning; just heading out the door in the general direction of the park may not be the best policy. ;-)

Given my, albeit light, hangover I’m happy that I got out at all. 

I Have Conversed with the Spiritual Sun. I Saw Him on Primrose Hill. 

The view atop Primrose Hill in London. One of the few hills in central London and it is right next to Regent’s Park. I had to run through the park to get to the hill. Once you cross Regent’s canal it is only a short distance to the Hill. 

There were many runners and packs of riders out again today. I hope you can make out the many London tourist locations in the photograph. In real life they seemed very clear. 

The quote I’m using as the headline was from William Blake, circa 1800. The view is lovely and isn’t too much of a climb, although I was glad of the photo opp to give me a chance to catch my breath. The quote is carved around the viewing circle at the top of the hill. 

While on the hill I noticed that MapMyRun had failed to start (again) so I restarted it and then tried to run a similar distance back to the hotel. 

Therefore, I’m going to say that I did about 6.5 miles today at a pace of 7:39 ish. Here’s the second half of my route. 

Yesterday’s conference was very good and I feel that I was able to contribute a lot to the meeting. Thanks to the British Computer Society for inviting me out here. 

I met up with an old colleague from Logica last night. It was across the city someway but I chose to walk. This resulted in me clocking 6.5 miles of walking on top of my run yesterday. 

I have some more walking to do today but not quite as far. I like visiting in London. 

Travel Running: London #3, Regent’s Park

I’ve been fortunate enough to fit in one last trip to London for the British Computer Society to attend their International Sections Conference before I have to start work. 

For this trip they booked a hotel that’s very near Regent’s Park so, naturally, that became my destination of choice for my first run. 

I started by running around the Outer Circle of the park and along the Regent’s Canal path. This part of the run was devoid of all but a couple of walkers. The London Zoo actually spans across this canal and you can hear a lot of the animals as they are waking up (no, you are not being followed by a lion). There is an aviary right by the canal, too. 

Once I’d completed the Outer Circle, coming back down around the boating lake, I ran the Inner Circle (see gate in picture above). 

There’s something about large parks in the centre of a city that makes my mind drift back to the centuries that came before. To think that this park is still very much like it was in the times of Conan-Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) is amazing to me. 

If it weren’t for all the brightly Lycra-clad people running and riding here, it could be anytime in history. 

The park is clearly liked by cyclists as there were several swarms of them circling the Outer Circle. I think traffic may be restricted here so it gives them a protected place to get some speed work in. Cyclists and runner have very different areas of the park to use so that restricts any conflicts there. 

There was also one lady riding around and around the Inner Circle. She passed me four times (opposite direction) while I ran around it. That would drive me nuts!

5.25 miles with an official pace of 7:39 although while in the park it was nearer 7:22 for the most part. The road crossings on the way back to the hotel slowed me down considerably on that leg. 

Given my lack of running during my recent vacation I need to start building up my distances again. This’ll do for today as I have to stay awake through the conference.