25 May 2009

Bank Holiday 10k

I've only ever run a few races - a couple of half-marathons, the London marathon in 2006 and the off-road 15 miler earlier this year. Today saw my first 10k, the BUPA 10,000. I wasn't especially confident going into it. I don't really run fast when I train - no speed-work, no hills, no intervals etc - and that's what you need to do to get a decent time in a shorter race like a 10k. This was coupled with a poor "build-up", by which I mean going down to Plymouth with a bunch of friends for the first two days of a glorious Bank Holiday, involving some very picturesque beaches but also the usual self-destruction that such a trip brings (fry-ups, beer, barbecues, stupid games, pasties etc - thanks for hosting to Bobby J). The Saturday saw an epic game of beach cricket at Mothecombe and me pulling a hamstring whilst pushing for a tight second run. Finally, my sunburn wasn't making me feel the best.

All-in-all, I wasn't expecting too much from the race today, so when I found myself with the 'elite athletes' in Red zone A at the start - the first wave of runners to set off - I was a little shocked (I must have lied about my expected time on the entry form or something). Somehow in the end I think I managed acquit myself fairly well with a time of 41m 29s to finish as the 226th male out of 4,500 - there were a lot of people in fancy dress I guess!

In other news related to previous blog entries, I have now eaten in La Figa - lunch with Lu - and it was pretty good. I had pizza 'la figa' (of course). Surprisingly, it lacked anchovies. Secondly, my mum tells me that she thinks that my grandfather, Arthur Glover, was responsible for the grasshopper outside what was Martin's Bank on Lombard Street. Finally, it turns out Will le F has actually used the catapault thingy outside the Tower as part of his odd historical re-enactment job.

16 May 2009


It's funny. Somehow this blog is ending up less personal than I thought it would be. Having lived in London (basically) all my life, I thought it would end up reflecting a lot more of me than it has. I think that a lot of this is down to the disparity between where I run and where I've lived and played. As a stolid North Londoner by birth and one educated in South Hertfordshire, I have little connection to places like Victoria Park in the East End. Even the Regent's Canal was a fairly recent discovery for me, apart from the stretch just by Camden Market, where I did hang out for the odd evening when I was a kid, drinking warm cans of lager. Etc.

This post bucks the impersonal trend. I ran back to my folks' place for lunch - round to Camden, up across the Heath and the lazily-named Heath Extension, where my mate Jonny memorably had his rugby stag a couple of years ago. From there, I entered the extraordinary and, ultimately, unsuccessful social experiment that is Hampstead Garden Suburb. The top photo is of St Jude's church, close to where my nursery school was. The lower one is of my parents' house (and mine from the age of 2 until university), with my primary school in the background, poking above the hedge. What could be more personal than that?

10 May 2009

Go go Gadget arms!

I try not to get annoyed with the crowds that extend between Namco (a fabulous place - bowling, pool, cheap beer and that game where you dance when the floor lights up), past the London Eye and the South Bank Centre, extending all the way to the Tate Modern. Yesterday's run felt almost like Parkour, as I jumped onto barriers, round statues and generally tried to avoid the tourists. Yet I still prefer to run the route rather than changing course to avoid the throngs - I quite like seeing people enjoy my home city I guess - and occasionally you come across people like my long-armed acquaintance here.

04 May 2009

Animals IV

Whilst I quite like monkeys...

...I am particularly pleased that I know where to find a 3-foot steel grasshopper: