Lots of Sugar

Not me – I’m still eating cheese, avocados, peanuts and salad (well, when I’m good I eat them)

No, the hot summer just gone has pumped the leaves full of sugar and as the nights draw in this autumn we get the rare treat of a beautiful display of colour. Reds, oranges, browns and yellows.

Running through these leaves brings back childhood memories.

Live in the moment – enjoy it now.


My latest experiment

My hiatus in posting on the blog is just because it’s easier to stick a photo on twitter and there’re only so many ways you can say I woke up, drank some coffee and went for a run.

I finished off my last pair of HOKA Cliftons after a 50km ultra marathon in late August (report later but basically I finished; I’ve been slower and faster) and realised the fact that the soles are made of a material less durable that nougat means that I end up wearing one shoe faster than the other. This shows up as a pain in my shoulders. And when I say pain I mean so painful I can’t run.

So like a man going for a public waxing of his back, sac and crack I had nothing to lose except my money and my dignity when I bought a pair of Altra Escalantes.

These shoes are part of the more is less running shoe phenomenon we are currently experiencing. To be clear – they want more of your money for less shoe. Like the Emperor’s new clothes, soon we’ll be paying €500 to be able to run in our bare feet.

They’re zero drop, zero support, zero sugar and very well cushioned for their weight.

Their unique selling point is that the toe box is big enough for someone born with a few extra toes on each foot.

They also reveal all the biomechanical short comings of your lower limbs. I’m building up my distances in them at the moment and have made it to about 15 miles (that’s code for I’m growing new muscles to compensate for the lack of shoe)

Apart from that the shoes are so light and lacking in seams and additional elements you don’t need socks for distances up to about 10 miles.

And finally. They’re as ugly as sin. But then the HOKAs were like running in platforms.

Cork City Marathon 2018

A short and belated report on the Cork City Marathon 2018. It all seems a long time ago now – 6 weeks – and any ill-effects of the day are long behind me at this stage.

The Cork marathon occurs just before the start of the State Exams for secondary school children in Ireland. A time of the year when the sun finally comes out to taunt the  kids with blisteringly hot (by Irish standards) days of unbroken sunshine (by Irish standards). The implication for the running fraternity of this sudden seasonal shift is that months of training in horizontal rain and single digit temperatures are replaced by a race day of double digit temperatures, high humidity and no breeze.

Thankfully my race plan was so modest the hot weather on the day was more of a discomfort than a show stopper. I was running with my Brother-in-law and we had agreed a get around in one piece pacing plan that saw us aim to hit under the 4-hour mark. Easy-peasy on paper.

As my thumbs started to sweat by the second mile and the flags hung limp I knew that the perceived effort for the pace would be high.

And so it proved to be. We cruised along for the first 10 or 12 miles chatting and commenting on the Noah’s Ark of runners we passed and then, on the Mahon walkway it suddenly seemed to be a much harder run than it should’ve been. The sweaty thumbs had become sweaty ears and other body parts normally immune from sweating and the lack of a breeze meant that the sweat was pooling in our socks and arse cracks at a rate faster than we could shift it. We stuck together until mile 15 where we got to High-5 our families and then we agreed to run at our own pace.


Mile 17 – Little did he know it was about to get much more painful

The exposed section of the course from miles 16 -20 proved little respite from the muggy conditions and like an unwatered flower we wilted further.  The copious amounts of water provided by the organisers, the classically sarcastic encouragement of the spectators: you’re flyin’  and the encouragement of my family meant that I made it around the second half of the course with a negative split on the first.  the last mile saw the traditional fast sprint that has characterised my failure to pace races recently. My Brother-in-law followed me home and we regrouped with his wife (running the half-marathon) and my family and walked home………….slowly.


I’m not moving but I’m still hurting!

A good day out.


A failure to pace leads to a fast finish

Proper Marathon

I have agreed to run a proper marathon next weekend. One with numbers and chip timing and loudspeakers and crowds and a big clock.

Back when it was colder my Brother-in-law suggested we run the marathon together. I wasn’t fast enough with my excuses so here we are.

This is the Cork City Marathon which I last ran in 2010 (I think). I have no great aspirations and hope to have a bit of fun on the day. My training for it was a bit haphazard but I got over the 20 mile mark a few times and still had my sense of humour at the end of those runs.

The upside to this marathon is that it has great crowds and lots of other runners competing in the half-marathon and the marathon relay. The downside is that everyone else is running faster than you.

The weather (by Irish standards) is looking a bit warm for Sunday morning so the best I am hoping for is to work on my tan and that some kid has a garden hose and wants some target practice out around mile 22.

My taper for the marathon is going the way I like it to go – no taper. I tried the 3 week taper with the big carb loading exercise before – all you get is heavy legs and a big belly. For my taper I shorten the mid-week runs to about 10k, keep the weekend long run at 20 miles and deplete my carb stores with fasted running and upping my fat/protein intake (salads, cheese, olives, eggs, nuts, etc).

Not for everyone but it works for me.




If you are so inclined you can travel back in time in the archive of this blog to see a post about a piece of architecture in Berlin; the Shellhaus.

You’re probably not inclined so I’ve saved you the effort and taken another photo of it. The form of this building made such a lasting impression on me 10 years ago that I modeled the shape of the back of my house on it. It is modern but organic, linear and curved all at the same time.

As this is supposed to be a running blog I can update you that I’m planning a marathon in three weeks and took these photos this morning while running in Berlin. Always multitasking.

shiny new escalator handrail. So monochromatic I thought I’d lost my colour vision.

Appel Enregistre

I was in Paris for work this week. I didn’t get a run in but had had an early morning run last Sunday which made up for a few days off.

I was browsing through a second hand music store on Sunday (www.ocd.fr) and picked up a few cds (anyone for some Willy DeVille?) and a dvd from Claude Lalouch – it came with a bonus track of C’etait un rendezvous. That was good enough for me.