Daft Runners London Series – Introduction and Burgess Parkrun! 4th January

We spent quite the period of time journeying around the United Kingdom during 2019. That was lots of fun of course, but it did give us a thought: perhaps there are some fun running opportunities closer to home? Perhaps we don’t need to brave the trains, planes or automobiles to get our running freak on.

Everything needs a bit of branding nowadays, so we thought we’d label our new plans for 2020 under the exciting title of: The Daft Runners London Series (cue dramatic music)! As part of this series we intend to run in every London Borough (33 in all), preferably at an event such as a Parkrun. At the same time, we hope to find some other, local hidden gems to share with you all.

So our first park run of the year is….Burgess Park! Admittedly that was obvious from the title. We rocked up after a quick journey on the tube to find a refreshingly busy start line on a surprisingly sunny day. It then occured to us that it was the first Park Run of the year, which explained all the keen runners with their New Year resolutions!

After a quick verbal tour of the park run by one of the kind volunteers, and an internal pep talk, we were off. Burgess Park is…well…lovely. There’s a long straight to start and finish of around 1km that tapers to an underpass, bit of a choke point, midway through. Then you take a sharp left turn and circle round the lake and rejoin the straight. Very picturesque indeed!

We also had the chance to see the quick runners (you know who you are) loop back round. I find it’s always interesting to see the more elite types as they sprint their hearts out. The nominated speaker at the start of the race had suggested giving them a high five. They did not look receptive to such an idea! We also had some mid-race entertainment from the local wildlife.

Pugilistic geese aside, I was extremely proud of this result, not only because we explored a new Park Run, but because I personally passed three prams during the run. Usually it’s the other way round, so it’s nice to get my own back a little (I know, they’re still much fitter than I am).

To round things off, we then had an exploratory run deep into south west London, following the Northern line past all the Clapham Common stations. It turns out a busy London highway isn’t quite as pleasant running as Burgess Park. Something to work on in the future.

Until the next Park Run!

Podcast link.

Mentions

Events mentioned in this episode:
Burgess Parkrun – Event Link

Podcast link.

2019 – Year in Review

Well. 2019. What a year of ups and downs. We started off with a breathless 10k in Stratford and ended it quaffing beer while running two circuits around Wimbledon park. Not too many ups there I suppose, but the middle of the year saw us striding across the hills around Edinburgh, the Isle of Arran, Snowdon, the South Downs, Liege in Belgium and…um….Benfleet in Essex.

So what have we learned? Not much personally. My Garmin says I’ve run around 1,300 kilometres this year with a total elevation gain of 15,387 metres. However, I’m not that much quicker and I haven’t really lost that much weight; and the weight I did lose wasn’t from running!  

However, we have had a great time doing it. Which is what counts really.

Favourite Moments

So what were our favourite moments? Finishing any race always releases a huge high. Especially the longer and more challenging ones. Sometimes there are also specific moments that transcend the race itself. Below are some highlights, but there are many more:

  • The moment I realised I could make peanut butter & jam sandwiches at the first rest stop on the Ultra Tour of Arran.
  • The moment I finished the Ultra Tour of Arran.
  • Both Craft Half-Marathons round Wimbledon Park.
  • Man vs. Mountain at Snowdon where a number of Hen Parties (?!) cheered our descent down the Llanberis Path.
  • When a fellow runner ascended the 374 stairs at the Montagne de Beuren in Liege (see below) dressed as Thunderbird One. Well, a five-metre replica made from cardboard.
  • The entirety of the Beer Lover’s Marathon in Belgium.
  • Watching all the fit runners pass by as they made their way through a double lap of the Dirty Weekend obstacle course. Well deserved applause.
  • Running over Morecombe Bay at low tide as a visible new weather front rushed in. The mist obscured everything apart from the petrified river bed before it started raining sideways. Surprisingly invigorating.
Thunderbirds are go? At least they gave you a cheeky beer at the bottom.

Worst Moments

A mixture here. Most of these really came from mistakes we made, from poor preparation to dodgy nutrition strategies and just being tired.

  • Vanguard marathon. Who’d have thought Croydon would be close to so many hills!? Well, anyone with a map. Never underestimate a race.
  • That time I was scrambling on the Ultra Tour of Arran and managed to face plant upwards into a rock. Somehow.
  • The two times I slipped acrobatically and landed on my rear end in front of other appreciative runners (Ultra Tour of Edinburgh & Deer Stalker).
  • When energy gels suddenly became my gut’s worst enemy midway through the Tring Ultra-Marathon.
  • When we had to drop down to the half-marathon distance during the Steyning Stinger (I blame Storm Gareth!).

Worst Bonking Moments (keep your mind out the gutters!)

A special ‘worst moment’ category here. For those not in the know, bonking is that awful feeling you get circa two plus hours into a run and suddenly you can’t take another step. Like someone has reached inside and pulled out all the happiness. There are more scientific ways of phrasing this of course, but that’s how it feels to me.

  • The second pit stop at the Ultra Tour of Edinburgh.
  • Every pit stop at Man Vs Coast.
  • The second steep climb during Man Vs Lakes.

Thankfully each time I managed to miraculously recover by stuffing my face and I learned to pre-emptively eat something before a particularly strenuous climb appeared. Maybe that’s why I haven’t lost any weight!

Anyway, here’s to 2020!

Detraining

Having hit December we have run into a lot of birthdays and Christmas celebrations (Yay!), spawning additional chores to get the house in order and purchase the necessary goods to have said celebrations. Of course, things have to be re-arranged to accommodate all this and one of the hardest things to be hit has been training (yay… oh, boo?)! Only a week into December and my watch had already determined my fate – I was ‘detraining’ and fit for nothing but being a potato sack leaning upon the bar of life. For most runners this would be a problem – however on the daft running ethos, this is par for the course. Pass the choccies!

Unfortunately, the course over the next year involves a 100+km event which I failed to complete last time I attempted it. Then again, perhaps I was training too much back then – who can tell with these things! Sure, I’ll take another glass of prosecco!

Not that I have been as poor at maintaining activity as my watch would have one believe: I have been to the gym at a reduced rate – and running has been pretty much absent from my schedule over December. Perhaps pull ups and a handful of squats will be enough – especially given the extra kilos of turkey I have loaded myself with. Maybe this is actually the way one should perform bodyweight exercising – I mean if you are pushing less weight that’s kinda cheating.

Over the next week or two, Jamie and I, through the drunken stupor that is the Christmas break will be looking through the other adventures for next year. I suppose we will have to run more to get past the 100km+ event(s?), but I think our training is going great for the next round of Craft Halfs and Beer Lovers Marathons… maybe too great…

Whilst we mull over this situation, enjoying well-mulled wine, I hope everyone reading this has had a good 2019 and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – see you in 2020!

Still Running, Daftly

Don’t worry: we’ve not abandoned the podcast! Nor have we given up on running to spend most of the time at the pub (not that we haven’t been putting the hours in there, too).

Over the last month or so we have conquered (well, survived) two of the three Man vs events – Coast and Lakes. In preparation for the third, and final event in the series – Man vs. Mountain – we have daftly ended up running the Vanguard Way marathon and the always challenging 13 The Hard Way. That constitutes an additional marathon we entered last minute that we vastly underestimate and a half-marathon that feels harder than some marathons!

Suffice to say we are well behind on our recording schedule. This has mostly been down to enjoying the summer – bbqs, cricket and beer – but rest assured we will catch up on episodes soon, Gareth!