The armoury keeper Soerens carelessly sparked it off

  • Sunday, June 30, 2013
  • 0

 Ah, Delft, Holland. A lyrical little city between Rotterdam and Den Haag once flattened by 100 tones of exploding gunpowder. The armoury keeper Soerens carelessly sparked it off, killing over a hundred people. Now it's all soaring Gothic buildings and charming canals. It's history and bicycles and wonderful Dutch folk brimming with cheerful enthusiasm and a laid back lifestyle.
I was there on a Rotary International sponsored school trip, bridge building, team bonding and learning to socialise with other cultures. We ate like pigs because they kept feeding us. I can't recommend Dutch hospitality strongly enough, great people.
I did my homework before I left, typing "Delft running" into Google and finding that there is a large wooded area close to my hotel. The Delft Hout (Wood), a mix of trails, woodland and a massive lake. My kind of thing entirely!
I had to run it so I rolled out of my hotel crib early on Thursday, donned my Five Fingers and set off under a bright morning sky made for running. I love travelling and I love new places and new friends. I love expanding my horizon's and expanding myself. Running is such a wonderful way to explore new places. My run was brilliant, cool and peaceful under the trees and along the shoreline in a long, curving, counter clockwise arc. I'm not entirely sure how far I ran, based on the time it must have been around five miles before I had to make my way back to the hotel, a power shower, coffee and warm croissants. I wish it could have been longer.

I met Jerry at Hangman's Corner

  • Sunday, June 23, 2013
  • 0

My favourite post run drink.
The seven weeks between the half term and the start of the summer holiday in the UK is always tough. This is the time when at school we seem to condense six months into a short period.
The personal challenge for me is always two fold: somehow maintain some sort of running consistency and secondly try not to let tiredness get the better of me emotionally.
The time factor means that keeping this blog up to date is a bit harder.
All this means is that I have been running, not as much as I would like, but not writing about it. The running hasn't been especially noteworthy either.
My running is a struggle right now. I'm not sure if I'm getting older but it's taking longer to build a fitness base to work from. Last Wednesday I found myself running in an area of gnarly woodland I was unfamiliar with. It did me good, I had a time constraint and I wasn't 100% sure where I was. It forced me to push a bit harder and it felt like the beginning of a breakthrough.
Today, badly depressed, I met Jerry at Hangman's Corner and did eight miles which is probably the furthest I've run for six months. The best thing about today was that I felt my body shape was right which meant my feet were landing in the right areas and I was choosing great lines to run, it's the most nimble I've felt for ages. At times I even felt fit. It would be great if this is the case.
This week I'm off to Holland on a school trip, I'm hoping to get at least one run in.

 Gnarly woodland

Midge munching.

  • Friday, June 14, 2013
  • 0

Yesterdays run was all about Midge munching. Scientific name: Culicoides impunctatus. There were myriad swarms of these insects in the local woodland, especially around the boggy parts and the stream. It was impossible not to inhale them as I plunged open mouthed and gasping along the trails. Ironic really as they are well known for gathering in clouds and biting humans. Biting them is a bit like man bites dog. Or midge. I was a human cloud of one taking my protein on the fly so to speak. Midges are notorious UK summer pests, this species is responsible for 90% of the midge bites to humans. Bastards.
The following solutions no runner in midge country should leave home without:

  • Natural body smells – don’t wash, or use shampoo, scent or aftershave. This may cause concern for your fellow runners!
  • Citrus, lemon, citronella oil or candles – flying and biting insects hate the smell of citrus
  • Yeast tablets, or yeast in the blood from drinking beer
  • Bog myrtle
  • White tea tree
  • Witch hazel
  • Lavender
  • Garlic – odourless garlic tablets taken for about a week before any possible midge encounters.
  • Mosquito coils, the smoke will deter most flying bugs.
  • Zam-Buk – herbal balm and ointment
  • Face nets.
  • Mozzie zappers – these are battery-powered lights that lure the unsuspecting bugs to their doom, frying them on the hot metal mesh.

Thank you for yesterdays run

  • Saturday, June 08, 2013
  • 0

Dear Jerry.

Thank you for yesterdays run. It meant that I could drink Mexican beer in my garden afterwards.
I like Mexican beer, it brings back happy memories of friendship for me.
Thanks for taking the disjointed and insane ramblings of a 7 year old seriously and thanks for describing the riot that is my home as a haven of peace and tranquillity.
Thanks for the run and for agreeing that the nettles were too high and thick to wade through.
Thanks for not telling me I was a plonker for choosing that route. Thanks for the trespass through the field of yellow flowers and the horse place with the expensive 4x4's.
Thanks for the discussion on boundary lines and encroaching land. I know nothing of the law.
And I enjoyed telling you about my work and the upcoming trip to Holland.
Thanks for Arthur, a legend belonging to a legend.
Thanks for telling me about the effects of ultra running on stubble and thanks for your monkey feet.
Thanks for the anecdote about British over politeness.
Thanks for bringing balance and unique perspective to my life.
Mostly though, thanks for the laughs.

All blue lit and blushing

  • Saturday, June 01, 2013
  • 0

Now get this, London calling, yes, I was there, too
And you know what they said? Well, some of it was true London calling at the top of the dial And after all this, won't you give me a smile? London Calling
I never felt so much alike.

The Clash.

What motivated her to run? Was it a snatch of conversation, something she read or a half forgotten friend? Whatever it was, she left behind her pink brolly and purple bra. She left her friends clutching bottles of wine and cold takeaway meals, and ran alongside the river, this girl of stunning luminosity, all blue lit and blushing with laughter tones like warm earth. She ran into the rain following in the steps of the Romans, The Saxons, the homeless, the bankers and the whores. She dodged tourists in ponchos and Londoners in their blacks and greys, their eyes as flat as dead fish. I'd love to know her, this incandescent girl with the ponytail. I want to know what she thinks. I want to run alongside and ask her endless questions of time and space. I want to dance over puddles with her. I don't know her. I do know she stopped. She stopped and turned her arches and her beak and ran back. She ran home, past the men who guard her door, Ja, howzit, shit weather hey? And she ran all the way up the stairs.