Down One Place at Number 2 (The Running Charts)

A Non-mover at #10 its the 5K a distance for anyone quick or slow.

Number 9 isn’t going anywhere its 10 Miles for when you want to let of steam but don’t have another 3 miles in the legs

Straight in at 8 its the 7 to 8 Miles – long enough to be tempo and not burn out, or useful if you want to extend that 10K if you have the energy or used as a long slow run with sections of speed.

Number 7 moves down five place partly because I’ve not done it for a while it’s the Marathon. A great distance and the training is the best bit.

Meaning number 6 has also slipped its the Half -or 13.1 miles, long enough to feel like you’ve ran and a distance you can keep the speed up.

So number five is Fartlek yet again not done this for a long time since I like to do it on a treadmill along with…

Non mover at number four Hill Sessions. Find a hill and run up and down, also great as you can mix up your routes with hills

Still clinging on at Number three where its been for 6 months is the 10K a distance that I can do at anytime at any speed – also my first major run.

Meaning number 2 has dropped from the top spot its Listening to Music. It somehow puts your mind of the task in question, but listen to the wrong tune and it throws your run out.

So back at number 1 is Just Running Yeah with no music or no set goal just a run and see where it takes you, add some hills if you wish, cut it short or extend it – but with no music allow your body to guide you.

Yes people last week I spoke about running with music again, this week I am still running with tunes, but todays run was so up and down with pace, what should have been enjoyable turned into a chore until I ripped out the headphones and just enjoyed the run for what it was.

The jury is still out on running with music as I feel that without it today the I’d have thrown in the towel after three miles. I am sure I will keep you informed.

Advertisements

Returning to my Roots.

This blog and let’s be honest has grown and travelled in several directions, a little like my running and that is where this blog was born. For some reason I felt that the internet needed another blog written by some one who wasn’t very good at writing telling the world about his exploits in the hope to one day cross a finish line in a 10K race allowing people a key hole look into the highs and lows of my 10K training and my discovery of running.

Well, to save you the hassle and bother of trawling through the archives I can confirm now that I did cross the finish line and my addiction to running was born. I carried on telling tales of my training, my injuries and of my running adventures and soon the blog snowballed into tales of work, dreams, walking and anything I felt there was to moan about.

Today I return to write about my running experiences. Its been almost a year since my last event and that happened to be in New Zealand. I have yet to get back into a full training session as work (What little there is) and my cycling has got in the way. Plus I have not felt I can enter… But now I am determined to train for a half and to get out there and start running regularly, however for some reason I have started to listen to music on my runs again and I feel this has been what was missing.

I always use to listen to music on runs, it would help me set my pace and some of my Personal Records have been thanks to my playlist, slow medium tempo songs to start me off which slowly build to faster dance or faster tempos – and using the same playlist for each race I would often race myself – I have to get to Stereophonic’s by mile 2 or I must have crossed the line before James comes on.

Now like most people I stopped listening to music because of the races I ran, many were on country roads or smaller events that were run on open roads as it wasn’t worth the cost or hassle to close roads so for safety headphones were banned. One of those very races was the Snowdon Marathon and so I started to train with no music to get use to it and you know what? I found I liked it. Didn’t at first, but I grew to enjoy it, being able to hear your surrounding and your body I found my running improved. I found I enjoyed running a lot more. I enjoyed races a lot more. I enjoyed not having that distraction of music and trying to fumble to skip a track or turn the volume up and off course hitting the accelerator because the beats were at 5 minute pacing.

But for some reason I decided the other night to slip on some headphones and listen to music on my 5K and while it was no quick run (one of my slowest as it was 25 minutes) it felt quick, the music distracted my mind from saying “you’re tired” “This hill is too steep” “Turn left it’ll take us home quicker” instead my head was telling me to turn right as they liked this one . So I tried it again today with a 10K and the same result. The music lifted me it carried me along.

While it was not super fast as I was still listening to my body in terms of pace, the music helped me to keep going and to zone off and be in the moment. Not sure how long it will last as when I ran with no music I felt in the moment but just recently running the same routes with the same scenery and not being able to push myself with times or distance as left me feeling deflated and adding music as some what for now   added a new sparkle into my running.

I’m still not 100% sold if I am a runner with or without music… But these last two runs have been very enjoyable with some musical accompaniment.

The Lonely Trumpeter

I walked to New World to get my usual fix of Cookie Time cookies that I’ve slowly become addicted to. As I walked the short distance to the metro supermarket the street was filled with a sorrow sound of trumpet. As I walked past I looked into his case and saw a tiny sum totalling no more than $4. As I entered the store he began ‘Its A Wonderful Life.’

This got me thinking about the singer I saw in Auckland the other week. Like the trumpet player the daily traffic of commuters rushed past to get there buses or trains not giving a single moment of their time to stop and listen. With this opera singer I along with another did pause. He a little closer. I stayed in the shadows so I wouldn’t feel pressured into contributing to the change pot that lay before her feet and made sure that eye contact was avoidable. She was really rather good. I along with the other guy stopped and listened for several minutes. He applauded at the end but failed to contribute to her livelihood and like me went on his merry way feeling just a little better for hearing a rather beautiful poetic voice radiating from such a talent.

Today along with the trumpeter and the memory of the opera singer, I noticed a guitar player. Again people rushed on by without stopping or giving a second look. Maybe it’s just part of the general ambience of Wellington. These sounds are part of the daily mix that go into the cacophony of Wellingtons sound track. Lets be honest the blind guy on Market Street in Manchester gets no attention from me, nor does the countless other musicians that plague Manchester’s city centre. To me it’s the daily background noise and like me, maybe Wellingtonians just drown out the music with their own thoughts or are able to just ignore and think nothing of it. The strange things about cities is you only notice the silence.

Normally I would dismiss these music beggars as well and just let the music form part of the symphony of my daily life along with car horns, sirens, alarms, engines and chatter. After all in the UK I will happily bypass and not even give a knowing glance. But after the report a couple of months ago, maybe even longer I now stop and listen.

The news article was about a violinist in a New York subway. Only one child stopped to listen who was promptly pulled away by his mother, several people discarded small change from their pockets in his general direction but no one stopped to listen. The player happened to be headlining at the theatre that night, as he was a world famous violinist and tickets for the performance were being sold for $400 plus. The point I suppose I’m making is that people pay small fortunes to listen to music being played live, but yet when it’s in the street and with no sign informing us of the musicians ability we happily walk on by. How many famous musicians or singers have we walked by and ignored only to think they were a busker. One of my favourite solo artists at te moment, regularly busks in cities that he has concerts in, and again people walk on by. Some, who knows may be attending the gig that night.

I’m just hoping that one day I’d be able to say I heard her on the corner of Queen street, or say see him, he was performing on Willis Street outside New Word the other week for free and you’ve just paid $400 to see him in a theatre.

Or maybe I will discard a bit if my lose change to say thank you.

They drive on the left

Right, I’m here and let’s be honest I wish I had started to blog about my adventures earlier in this wonderful place we call New Zealand. I know that you probably think otherwise but at the end of the day you have chosen to read or follow this attempt at literature so I can only conclude it must be entertaining in the smallest degree.

Anyway I’ve been in kiwi zone now for 6 weeks and while there seem to be many parallels with us Brits the kiwis seem to do other things different and in most cases they make sense. Lets start with the banks.

I set up my account in England, so when I arrived all I needed to do was activate it. I popped into the local ASB bank showed them the letter they opened a drawer and took out a card, placed it in the machine and asked me to type a pin in. After I’d typed the four digits, the card was removed and handed to me. Simple as that, no waiting for a card in the post. I asked what would happen if I lost or had it stolen how I’d get it replaced. Same procedure I was told, so no waiting for a new card in the post either. We then set up Internet banking in a similar fashion. There was no waiting for a username, then a pass code in another letter, it was just like registering for amazon or any other kind of online account. No sign of that stupid law of data protection, as was seen when the man in the vodafone shop phoned up on my behalf and quoted a shop reference number to the call centre staff before he began talking about my account.

It gets better.

Let’s turn our attention to driving. It’s on the left, and has two speed limits. 50 k.p.h for towns and built up areas or 100 k.p.h for open roads. Travelling at 100 makes it a lot easier to wrk out travel times as well. Also the roads, are simple. Everyone lives by the coast, and the state highways just run from town to town, so as long as you know north and south, and where your destination is then you can’t get lost. The downside to this is lack of road signs. Travelling from Picton to Nelson, I would have one road sign just outside Picton showing me I was heading to Nelson and it was 200 odd kilometres, and that would be it until I got to Nelson. Sure there would be a sign further on informing me I was heading to Nelson, but it wouldn’t give me a distance. They also seem to be very late in appearing. If for example I did need to turn off, the sign instructing me would do so on the junction, no warning to say Queenstown next left, or anything like that.

Another thing about their road signs is that there funny and shocking. Some of the highlights have been a sign filled with crosses, with the slogan, ‘you’ll be dead for a long time, so what’s the rush’ and another one that was DRINK DrIvE, with the DIE in drive in red. Others with coffins driving a car with a slogan ‘Tired drivers die’ and a picture of a zip to show how to merge onto a road.

The speeding limit is enforced heavily with only a tolerance of 5 over, and other road signs indicate this with the fines you could get. I saw one with a speedo that had 0 to 105 k.p.h then it went $150, 200, 250, and so on for each 5 k.p.h over. You also have no warning where the cameras are.

As many of the towns are far apart, you could be driving for 300km at a time, which takes around 4 to 5 hours. The roads may look straight on the map, but they are in Fact hilly, rising sometimes as high as 900 meters above sea level, with every twist and turn turn possible. You will see signs to tell lorries to test there brakes before a 6K down hill twisty section and every corner will have a suggested speed limit, which is in fact extremely accurate. But the roads help you as many of the bend will widen. Another neat idea is when turning right onto a main road you have a little slip road, to park yourself in, until there s space to join the flow of traffic.

The final thing to say about NZ roads are as there are not many motorways and the roads are like our country ones in the UK then you will find plenty of passing places that are signed as far back as 5km, which is just as well as tailgating and not rugby seem to be the national sport. The one major rule on the road and car parks is give way to the left, this applies on the passing places, if the car passing on the right has not managed to overtake those on the left he has to give way to them. The only thing I found really odd but it makes sense now is that the writing on the road is backwards. NZ has a lot of one road bridges, and I’ve often thought why they didn’t build them as two lanes. Whilst in the UK you would see ONE LANE BRIDGE written top to bottom, in NZ is from bottom up.

One
Lane
Bridge UK WAY

Bridge
Lane
One. NZ WAY as you read the words as you cross over them

Finally supermarkets and gas stations. People are employed to fill your car up, leaving you to go inside and wait and pay. These folk will also clean your windscreen. There does not seem to be a difference in price between the brands, even BP is the same price as the budget supermarket stations. What’s also great is at every pump they have a keypad where you can select the amount of petrol you want in dollars or litres so never again do you have to slowly squeeze the pump to get that last drop to round it up to 10.

Supermarkets are pretty much the same, except that some fruit goes by different names, it took me a good couple of minutes to find peppers on The self service. They have there versions of Tescos, Sainsburys and Spar. The big thing would be the prices for items are on the shelf above and you always have to look out for specials as food is expensive unless it broccoli as that’s like 30p, but bread is like 2.50 and cheese works out to be a rip off. Brands that were use to exist but seem to be shadowed by there NZ own. The only brand tat has prime shelf space is Cadburys and that’s expensive, in fact all chocolate is. Dairy milk is $2.50 which is £1.75 and its not that they import it, as they make it in Dunedin

Anyway hope you have enjoyed reading the differences. Ill be back soon to talk about some of my adventures.

My special place.

Really short one.

But for some reason and I am not sure why, I dreamt about death last night and what I would do if I died.

While the jury is still out on burial I know that I would like a bench to be placed on top of Snowdon. A nice circular one with a tree planted in the middle and if I did go down the route of cremation than I would have my ashes scattered over Snowdon and Cadir Idris.

I think this also cam about as a friend sent me a link on twitter ‘a song for @lddex’ The song was “Rambler” by The Houghton Weavers.

I like it, as the song is me…. and the line ‘But sooner than part from the mountains, I think I would rather be dead’ is true.

So let’s make this a legal document. When i do pass, I would like some sort of bench or tree to be planted on my favourite mountain looking over the place where i feel happiest.

the Song, Sung by a different group.

New Music

Now I don’t and have not for a long time purchased any new music and if I am honest I intend not to. Thanks to youtube and Spotify I can listen to new music or any music when ever I like without shelling out for the album that would be filled with eight other below average tracks.

Off course this means I do not really discover new music any more. I listen to the Radio and sometimes hear new bands and music that I will investigate and if they are worthy of an album purchase then I will part with my cash.

To be honest my love with music has grown old, and I tend to listen to stuff I like, or albums I already have along with the music chosen for my listening pleasure by XFM. However sometime when I want to hear some music that I have heard on the radio or see the music video I will search Youtube, and then look at the suggested videos and sometimes I will find some gems. The gem I have found recently has been out since 2006 but i have only just found him, and I love his stuff. Here are two of his songs that I currently am in love with.

The artist is called ‘The Tallest Man on Earth’ and the tracks are ‘Dreamer’ and ‘Spanish King’

Enjoy

A Call to all Runners

Very short post. As many of you know who follow me you will know that I have trouble running at a slow pace, well on the run today, I was running at a slower pace than I have been use to. Still far to fast to keep it up for more than 13.1 Miles but never the less, I was not doing my 6 miles in the usual 45 minutes. Now I put this down to one reason and one reason only and that is the music that is pumping into my ears. I always put my music onto a random selection so I will occasional have some up beat rock followed by some Miles Davis and then some dance track only to be slowed with a bit of Leonard Cohen. Surprisingly I normal keep within the same pace I have set out with even with a mix of songs, unless there is four or five up beat tracks and then I will up my game.

The question is what do other people listen to. I need my music to keep me company, unless I am running some where new and scenic and as I run for longer the idea of keeping myself company for two hours is not a thrilling one, after all I do know how boring I am. I do read these blogs back (the spelling and grammar mistakes may suggest otherwise)

However while I was out running the other day, there were two tracks that came on back to back from the same album, and I suddenly found myself slowing right down, and enjoying the running while listening to the words. The Album was ‘Jeff Wayne War of the Worlds’ this made me hit upon the idea that maybe I need to run to audio books. So here’s the question.

1. What do you run to?

2. Do you listen to Podcasts or audio books and if so which ones?

3. Which books would you recommend are worth a listen, (I’m not a big reader but I have done all the usual suspects) But are there some good books out there read by good actors that are better listened to than being read. I always enjoy the Radio 4 play and book at bedtime when I’m driving so maybe I have been missing out on this hidden world and lets face it I don’t want to be running around Manchester for 26.2 miles to ‘Soul Wax and 2 Many DJ’s’ at 6 min/mile. I do want to still be alive come the finish line.

Oh well I will leave to you many readers to discuss.

And before anyway says anything I know that Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds also has music in it, but it was the scripted story and narration that helped to slow me down.