Archive for Andy Joyce’s runs

12th November 2014

Today *astronautical*scientists (people with fish bowls on their heads and bell bottomed woollen trousers) landed a thingy-bob on a whatchamacallit. Very well done to them and their efforts.
Never appealed to me, the whole space thing. It is, in the main, completely beyond my comprehension. The fact that the ball of ice was traveling at 30,000 mph is a good way to make me pull a face like someone with a spot light being shone in their eyes, while they struggle to deal with trapped wind.
Fortunate in some ways that such a technically specific piece of engineering landed on a Comet. There should be plenty of spares at that electrical retailer. A crap retail joke for all the older Brits who remember the days when a trip to Woolworths on a Saturday afternoon to buy some Cadbury’s misshapes was the height of entertainment. Gosh, we were lucky!

Anyway, well done to all involved and if you ever need to train in a gravitational pull of an orbit, then I can always stop running and hit the pubs again. I will be back to my winter weight in no time.

Simple plod this evening. Enjoyed just going slowly and listening to some music, having ditched the accompaniment for the last three nights, which is long enough to spend with myself. I am going to make a playlist of the Layer Cake sound track – as I can’t seem to buy it.

Till then.

Day 103
Miles today: 3.00
Miles completed: 251.02
Miles to go: 791

Armistice Day

I was sent a lovely article today about the priest who apparently came up with the idea of the ‘Unknown Warrior’. For those that are not aware, the Unkown Warrior is a soldier exhumed from a battlefield somewhere on continental Europe and is, effectively, a symbol of closure for the families who never received the bodies of their loved ones. The Unkown Warrior was given a full State Funeral (reserved for royalty and the occasional Prime Minister) and lies at the great west door of Westminster Abbey. Article is HERE if you want a read.

The priest took to the grave with him, a lot of the information that might allow people to investigate the true identity of the soldier. He was pursued annually by people who wanted to know the information he had, but he never divulged it. And rightly so.

It just strikes me that there are few people nowadays that would be so gracious about retaining information for the benefit of others. In complete contrast you look at the utter berk who is alleged to have dealt the final breath to Osama bin Laden, who couldn’t keep his cake hole shut for more than three years, for vanquishing dues or to make a quick buck. Idiot.

What ever happened to the good old ‘pinky swear’ which, to 8 year olds, is a legally binding contract. You wouldn’t catch me telling you about the time that I saved a school class from a rampant attack of chocolate muffins.

Anyway, I do feel hypocritical as I spout forth the odd surreptitious fact, but nobody reads this so I can say what I like.


Day 102
Miles today: 3.00
Miles completed: 248.02
Miles to go: 794

Quinoa Porridge and Pasta

There is no question that a slightly restful weekend and slower runs has allowed my body to recoup some energy to allow me to put some effort in this evening. I got back well within 23mins, which I now do think is my quickest. I had a sustained period of fast running which was helped by my imagination of me being Jason Bourne “… I know that I can run flat out for 2 miles before I pass out.” I wish.

Anyway, as well as rest, I think that the protein in the Quinoa porridge and the brown pasta I had the night before really did give my legs that extra boost. I know I have commented on it before and it is not rocket science, but I still find it difficult to remember to do it. Eat carbs and proteins and drink water and it will help. I have been subjected to Quinoa for the last 6 or 7 years, thanks to my wife, and I have never really enjoyed it; whether in salads with pomegranate, baked biscuits etc. But the porridge (if accompanied by yogurt, berries or maple syrup) is acceptable. It is so good for you that it is worth holding your nose and thinking of England. I will have to again soon, to keep the protein levels up.

Till then.

Day 101
Miles today: 3.00
Miles completed: 230.02
Miles to go: 811


In the Roman infantry, centurions initially commanded a centuria or “century”. Centuries, or centuriae, developed from the Roman tribal system under the Servian reforms and could contain 200 to 1000 men. Later, generals and Caesars further manipulated these numbers with double and half-strength units.

Centurions seemed to receive a much higher rate of pay than the average legionary, twice as much or more (possibly as much as 17 times as much as a legionary soldier]). So in fact I have nothing in common with a Centurion (or ‘Thsen-tour-we-an if you are the emperor in The Life of Brian).

However, to think that I only have to go through what I have been through already two and three quarter times, is a nice feeling…I think. I might make more of a thing of it when I reach 200 and maybe treat myself to 3 miles running backwards then wallow in a bath of beans. We are in that charity style of lunacy at the moment.

Till then.

Day 100
Miles today: 3.00
Miles completed: 230.02
Miles to go: 811

Whatever happened to the humble 99?

Apparently the origins of the name are uncertain but one claim is that it was coined in Portobello, Scotland when Stephen Arcari, who opened a shop in 1922 at 99 Portobello High Street, would break a large ‘Flake” in half and stick it in an ice cream. The name obviously coming from the shop’s address. Apparently a Cadbury’s representative took the idea.

Another is that, for a long time during the 1990s, a 99 Flake typically sold for 99 pence, leading many to believe that its price was the origin of its name. However, for the majority of its history, the 99 Flake sold for considerably less than 99p. Not anymore (damn you inflation!) so the similarity was therefore only a temporary coincidence.

My favourite possibility is that the name came from the guard of the Italian king which consisted of 99 men and “subsequently anything really special or first class was known as 99.” It being brough over by the fantastic Italian ice cream men when they started to sell their wares.

Apparently the Cadbury’s website says that the reason behind the Flake being called a 99 has been “lost in the mists of time”. Funnily enough so are their morals, having sacking all the Bristolian work force, after the new American owners said that they wouldn’t. Where were the TUPE regulations there? I could (and want to) go on.

Anyway, the sheer enjoyment of ice cream is not lost on me. I am going to be partaking in the time honoured tradition of stuffing ones face with it next week. Bring on the Holi-bobs.
Till then.

Day 99
Miles today: 3.00
Miles completed: 230.02
Miles to go: 811

Sort of up and running

Being the techno wizard that I am I have been able to get the maps off my watch and on to the mobile computer laptop. They are slightly hit and miss (as and when I do them) but I will ensure that I go back and update the blogs with the maps I have so that they are as complete as the can be. Today I went for a run round Battersea Park again and it was not until I had finished (in my own world again – dreaming of the weekend) that I noticed the watch was off. I have no idea a what point it stopped recording me plodding round the park (good name for an exercise class) but it matters not as I can confirm I must have got round in about 45mins, such was my apathy. Apathy as well as a force 12 head on wind along the Thames, it was a real extra battle. I quite enjoyed running into it, but by once I had turned to go back the other way I was on the Southern side of the park in a an avenue of trees, where the wind was negligible so I didn’t have the benefits of it pushing me home. I must make more of an effort.

Till then.

Day 98
Miles today: 3.00
Miles completed: 236.02
Miles to go: 806

Oh Harold!

Where have I been? How have I just realised now that I have not done 5 blogs in a row? I am not quite sure what my excuse is. Busy I guess. Thank the Lord you say.

Anyway, my joints (specifically my ankles) are starting to creek again. They are long standing troubles that have plagued my existence since my conception. I have always had strong but very ‘clicky’ ankles. Whenever I walk they click. They have been so loud in the past that they have woken the baby up, just as I am trying to creep out of the room.

Not having a qualification to my name, I am not sure what causing the sharp pains. Currently I am guessing it is the constant use and development of the ligaments, muscles and tendons (if they are not all different words for the same things).

Anyway it makes things slightly uncomfortable and a little embarrassing at work when I hobble down the corridor looking like a clean shaven version of old man Steptoe. But nevertheless we must carry on. Maybe I should stick to taking the glucosamine and see where that takes me. Figuratively you understand.
Till then.

Day 97
Miles today: 3.00
Miles completed: 233.02
Miles to go: 809

Remember, remember something about November

What is it again? Oh yes, check your hedgehogs for bonfires.
Just getting in the rhythm for rhyme week. This is a little precursor of the gems you can expect from me, the “Rhyme-tone How Boy”. Not the easiest name to remember, but to be honest I wouldn’t bother; my efforts will not change the world.

Four centuries ago was a traitor called Guy,
Who tried to send Parliament up to the sky,
King James didn’t pause
To cut him in fours;
Although that’s not actually how he did die.

Doesn’t quite fit the proper rules of a lymeric, which is: “a stanza of five lines, with the first, second and fifth rhyming with one another and having three feet of three syllables each; and the shorter third and fourth lines also rhyming with each other, but having only two feet of three syllables”.

Who gives a monkey (where does that saying come from – anyone know?). All I care about is that I get to write naughty things in a Ye Olde English folk style and get away with it.

Till then.

Day 96
Miles today: 3.00
Miles completed: 230.02
Miles to go: 811

The Best Album in the World EVER (Vol. 7)

I never understood how they could advertise this. I do understand that it is a series of albums, but surely one would succeed the other, making the previous versions superfluous. You would have also thought that as opposed to revisiting the concept they would actually take some time to think about what actually was the best album, as opposed to rehashing it seven times.

Today reminded me of this series of albums as I was given the best present EVER. Two kilos of sirloin steak and two pints of local Chilterns bitter in a milk carton. Granted, it doesn’t sound like the best thing EVER, but simple things.

Talking of music, it still plays a part in the daily efforts, and actually focuses my mind. Last night I came in at 24.12, which I think is my quickest yet. Granted I had the conditions (cold air and a flatish surface) but I was spurred on by the playlists.

I enjoy the unknown risk of hitting shuffle play on the all song list. Last night started off with the solos of both Jimmy Page and John Bonham, to get me going, and eventually slowed to some Green Day (a melancholy number). This was not what I needed as I had started to race a cyclist. I caught up with her at the lights and over took; so to keep ahead I needed something that would make my mind ignore the shortening of breath and push on. Then there it was like seeing reinforcements arriving on horse back, through the heat haze of the horizon, Rage Against the Machine. The curve of her front wheel, which fleetingly broke into my peripheral vision, disappeared again as the adrenalin filled belches from Zack de la Rocha saturated my soul with added drive. The race lasted for about 15 seconds and like the bus that you were never going to catch, on the rainy Monday morning after you have slept in, the lady’s 7 stone frame free wheeled into the distance. That is how fast I was going, I was beaten by someone freewheeling.

There is no way in the world that I would have gone for a race if I hadn’t have music. The monkey in my brain would have told me to give up a long time before and to retake my seat on the bench of mediocrity. I will keep that monkey at bay for as long as possible.

Till then.

Day 95
Miles today: 3.00
Miles completed: 297.02
Miles to go: 814

Greetings from…

The route of month three

The route of month three

With the warmest Halloween on record (as if that should matter to anyone at all, but thanks to rolling news for letting us know) it was a very pleasant journey this month. If you remember I had finished September in amongst the cauldrons of Force Brewery in Cirencester. Not a hangover in site, such is the clarity of the beer, so I set off in high spirits. The rural roads of Gloucestershire are hazardous at times, but weighted heavily in the beauty sector. I pass the fields of Home Farm, near Tetbury, with the two Suffolk Punch horses waiting patiently to be rigged up to mow the nearby mixed meadows. The town of Tetbury is a nice looking place and interesting if you like antiques. I would not choose to spend too much time looking through other peoples cast offs so quickly hit the open road once more (after a sneaky pint in the Cat and Custard Pot – just to top myself up). Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the Westonbirt Arboretum, but I have seen it before and therefore didn’t feel the need, but do go if you’re ever in the area.

One of my waypoints is the market town of Chipping Sodbury, which has to be one of the poshest sounding places in the UK. Much like anyone can say the word bacon in a Jamaican accent by saying the two words ‘beer-can’, so to can you sound like the lord of the manor by saying ‘Chippin Sod-b-rare’. Anyway, I scuttle past the biennial Mop Fair being hosted in the town’s wide streets and make my way to the Severn Bridge, running parallel to the M4. As I approach the gruel coloured water of the River Severn, I am questioned momentarily by a man in a kiosk about the two vehicle’s I have on my feet. No they are not boats, just size 13 trainers, but the two pistons attached to my ankles are not any larger than a 0.1 CC engine so I surely must be able to cross without having to pay the French owners of the Welsh bridge £6.20 to cross. I successfully argue my case and as I crest the midriff of the bridge, in the distance I see Crickhowell, where I won a Rugby 7s tournament as part of an invitational team called the ‘Bug Bugs’. I leave those memories behind and continue North West up the unsympathetic (and seemingly never ending) hills to rendezvous with the Monthly Mentor from August, Tom. We meet in a village near his home, which boasts the fantastic name Llantilio Crossenny. He has brought with him a double slice of his famous raised game pie and we settle down for a rest and a pint of Herefordshire Pale Ale.

My next stop is the village of St Arvans in Monmouthshire, which was rebuilt in its current place, due to the residents of the original village (some 2 miles away) being eradicated by the plague, the only remaining structure being the old chapel. There was a recent fear that the saturation of the ground last year might raise the *infectious spores* up through the earth, from the burial grounds, the likes of which has been seen in Africa. But thankfully I have no signs of any such ailment and, after a quick check up on the pigs, I carry on. The Wye Valley AONB is quite breath taking. It is unforgiving terrain which makes your legs burn constantly but I am happy for it to do so as I have the finest end in sight. My third month ends with a tour of the tight valleys of Herefordshire. Through the acres of manicured cider orchards I can see the comforting familiarity of Yazor. I have no idea of the origin of the name, but to me it means honesty, generosity and hard work. I am welcomed into a friends farmhouse where the greeting is as warm as the tea and toast. We follow up with the best Welsh Cakes in England (no secrets revealed as it is Aunt’s recipe). I am spoilt by my hosts who will not let me lift a finger, other than to get myself upstairs into a bath. I return to find a neatly pressed shirt fresh from the designated laundry room and if I had a car I am sure it would be clean by the time I got outside!

All in all it was a good months run. I fear though, that I will not want to leave Yazor to restart my journey. I will have to, but for now I will enjoy lying on the sofa watching a film.

Day 94
Miles today: 3.00
Miles completed: 294.02
Miles to go: 817