• Monday, February 20, 2012
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bhundu powers towards the North Downs Way, near Cudham Frith and is about to drop down the Scarp.

I'm not sure if Jerry senses I am in need of a pick me up but he invites me to run with the HEROS ( High Elms Runners On Sunday) on err, Sunday. The morning is bright and sharp, but we runners are neither. We slowly gather in a loose circle and then disperse to various tree's and bushes for a wee. We scan the skies like old testament prophets for the satellites that will activate our GPS devices. We roll our shoulders and stretch our legs and do other important runner stuff. Eventually Jerry notices that we are all facing in the same direction and makes a mock run for it. We follow herd like and off we go. We climb and we climb some more. After we have climbed we climb again. We reach the North Downs Way. My quads complain but I don't, it is a beautiful day in God's country, I am among wonderful people and I am running. We do eventually descend and cross a rutted and slippery field full of cattle, I get between a badger and the herd and he doesn't like it. I don't like it either, he seems twitchy and irritable and shifts from foot to foot. I get twitchy and irritable and shift from foot to foot. We eye each other out and I try looking stern and authoritative. Apparently it works or he gets bored and I walk past on eggshells until I feel it is safe to run on. We climb stile after stile until I'm sorry that I haven't counted them. I feel the warmth of the sun on the slopes and the chill of the wind across the open fields. Mud coats my lower limbs and I am in my element.
When we return to the car park Jerry and I discover that neither of us has started our GPS's. We go and eat cake to cheer ourselves up.

Wooden men

  • Saturday, February 18, 2012
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My renaissance continues. I go happily into the mild rain and I run. I run better than the last three times, there is a hint of returning stamina and I feel a little more fluid, more Kenyan, less carthorse.
I crest a rise and hear on coming voices. Three male runners burst out of the tree's and rain, just like the magnificent seven except there are only three and they are on foot. They have on their serious runner, don't f*ck with me faces and as they split left and right to pass me I raise my hand, smile and say hi. They don't break stride. They don't bend their faces into a smiley return greeting. I don't exist, they cut me dead and leave me bleeding on the trail.
Next is a bloke in his thirties, built like a rugby player and plugged into an iPod. He is not dressed for the weather and is soaked. He has his I'm-only-happy-when-I'm-suffering face. Again I smile and again I'm ignored, no eye contact, no acknowledgement I am there, nada.
I run on and behold, another rain lovin' runner. This ones a racing snake, he has the coal lump eyes of an assassin, a whip cord build and groovy navy tights. At least with this guy there is a flicker of something in his eyes as he passes. Or maybe he has bad wind. A few minutes later I come across rugby guy again, he continues to suffer and has gone a nasty shade of red. I hurry past before I am forced to perform CPR.

kit intensive?

When did running get so kit intensive?
When I started running I shelled out for proper running shoes, bought a goalies jersey from a charity shop for a pound and stepped out the door. I didn't even have a watch.
Today I am sorting through the mountain of gear I possess to run in.
I haven't bothered to count all the technical shirts both long and short sleeve I have. Many I never wear because I tend to stick to my smelly favourites. I have two backpacks and a waterproof backpack cover (never used) I have a fuel belt and a bum bag. I have a gross of beanies, a waterproof cap and reflective snap on bands (never used) I have three pairs of tights, compression shorts and five pairs of shoes, five fingers/ cross country/ minimalist -  (one retired that I can't bear to part with) I have a waterproof smock and two rain jackets. I have two club shirts, three pairs of toe socks, one waterproof pair and countless normal pairs. I have two pairs of gloves and my sunnies. I'm not counting my water bottles although I do have two flasks. I do now have a watch and I use GPS to track my runs. 

I used to style myself as being an under the radar runner who epitomised the purity and simplicity of my sport and it is likely that I still have less than a lot of my peers. It is still to much.

Inspirational Zimbabweans part 1

  • Tuesday, February 14, 2012
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(photo from  http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=213175992034388&set=a.212920688726585.59297.185081874843800&type=3&theater)

So, my roots, heritage and heart are from Zimbabwe. It is a small, landlocked and troubled land but it seems to produce some amazing people with big hearts. Like Tendai Simai.
Tendai decided to run from Tower bridge in London to Ipswich, the equivalent of three marathons in a day to raise money to help pay for childrens education in Zimbabwe.
“In Africa the kids grow up in extreme poverty and for many, drugs is their way of making money to survive,” he said.
“I want to help children in rural village schools – life is tough for those kids but if they stick with education and sport their futures will be better."
  Tendai, a former Zimbabwean international basketball player succeeded in running the distance in 19 hours 20 minutes. His bio states:

Tendai is 7ft tall, wears size 22 shoes and is a very long way from home. He comes from Zimbabwe in Africa and he has never forgotten that fact.

In 2002 Tendai was brought to the UK to play professional basketball. Due to circumstances beyond his control once here, Tendai has found himself in the situation where he currently cannot return home. He has had to watch from a distance as the people in his country struggle and he has been away from his family for 9 years. One day Tendai will return home, but until it is safe for him to do so he needs to do something to show the people of Zimbabwe that he is still with them.

 For more information about The Zimbabwe Benefit Foundation, the charity Tendai is supporting, please visit www.zbf.org.uk

close to flatline

  • Monday, February 13, 2012
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I am disappointed in myself.  We shouldn't neglect the things that we love. Running has been my love and I think it may even have helped save my life after my major emotional meltdown in 2007. However, I've gone from being lean and sharp to feeling like a bloated cart horse.
I finally went out for a run this afternoon after six weeks of saying "tomorrow"
I lumbered around in the ice and the mud for 5.4 horrible miles at a snails pace.
I wish I had a decent excuse but this has been pure apathy and now I have a mountain to climb to get back to and surpass my previous fitness levels.
I have decided to work out a training regime for three fortnightly cycles and then reassess.