Forest Run

Woods

Janathon Day Two, and yesterday`s floodwaters have yet to recede.

I pitched up at my usual haunt for a bog standard three miler. But found the road impassable, due to flooding and the canal tow path was under water too.

So I made a quick scoot around to find an alternative. And a nearby forest delivered the goods.

I`d run in some of this forest before, but not this part of it. Sure, some of it was too muddy, but pushing on to higher ground, I found this
new route
…and even this…

Clear run

Between outlying road and in forest trail, I trotted out three miles in all.

Nothing supersonic about my speed, of course. And, anyway, I was more intent on staying upright than picking up the pace as there were lots of roots to trip over. (Yeah, excuses, excuses!)

Roots

And of course I took time to stop and stare…

Giants

Finished off the run on a nice patch of roadway so I punched out a little bit of interval training there, if only to experience the sensation of actually running, as opposed to just plodding along.

Ooohh, wind howling and rain beating against the window as I type! Is there no end to it? Might start a swimathon…

Wins:

Three miles done.
Interval training started again.
New route discovered.

Lies, Damned Lies and…

…then there are statistics.

Stats are fascinating though. We can fool ourselves up to the two eyeballs but the stats, that number, that measure will tell a different story. Might not always be the truth, mind. But they should at least make us think “Uh,oh. What`s going on here? “

That`s exactly what I thought when I reviewed my blog`s yearly stats. As you do. Here was I congratulating myself on writing a variety of posts-and some really clever, witty ones too!-about a variety of topics.

But the stats tell me most readers come here to read about Mary Berry and Yottam Ottolenghi.

Naturally my “Home page/Archives” gets the most amount of hits. And the “About” page gets a lot of traffic too. So, if I leave these out of the stats picture, here are my top five posts for 2013

In fifth place, and on 152 hits is

Yottam Ottolenghi`s Herb-Stuffed Tomatoes

Ottolenghi`s Herb Stuffed Tomatoes

Ottolenghi`s Herb Stuffed Tomatoes

I`ve got a soft spot for the Ottolenghi cookbooks. They make me trawl through the deepest recesses of the most obscure Asian food shops to find that quirky, but essential ingredients. And anything I made from is book plenty is both delicious and nutrient dense. Perfect running fuel. 

He was pipped into fifth position, probably because of all the fuss around The Great British Bake Off and, here in Ireland, The Great Irish Bake Off, this year. People can`t seem to get enough of baking these days.

So, in fourth place on 160 hits it`s  Mary Berry`s Fast Flapjacks

Flapjacks

With a creditable 224 hits, Running Wisdom is in third position

Ms Trunchbull

I`d like to think that post is popular because of my witty, no holds barred writing style. Red Hen at her eloquent best.

But the truth is there are people out there who are fascinated by the glorious Ms Trunchbull of “Matilda” fame and so arrive in search of the above picture.

At least I can claim a likeness to her, which is something, I suppose…

Now, in second position and on 312 hits is my post Men In Tights

Mankini Man

Mankini Man

Yep, again my own ultra clever attempt at humour. (Groan. I hate reading my old posts…) Or some of my male readers wanted to know my opinion on men wearing running tights. (Don`t Do It!)

But maybe people are drawn to it for the picture of Borat above? I have to say, I`ve a soft spot for guys that entertain us all with their Borat impressions midway through torturous long distance runs. Or anytime, really!

And now, let`s hear it with your drum roll and trumpet please…

…on a staggering 845 hits….

It`s…

Key Lime pie 2

            Mary Berry`s Key Lime Pie

Well, people arriving at that page haven`t come for the food photography, anyway.  Look at that crust? See how uneven it is? And the lumpen pieces of lime on the top…

Funny thing is, I haven’t done that pie since.  It`s full of the worst possible ingredients-condensed milk, cream and sugar. It should have no place in a running blog.

But of course, this isn`t a running blog. And it`s not a food blog either, despite three out of five top posts featuring food.

I think its sort of morphing into a lifestyle-in-Ireland blog.

If I were to stick with what the stats are telling me, I`d keep posting everyone else`s recipes and improve my food photography.

But I am more interested in running races, seeing more exhibitions, learning more about history and art in Ireland and beyond.

The stats reflect what the fly-by-night reader looks for. It`s followers and loyal readers that I`d prefer to blog for.

Your opinion matters more than the stats, after all.

So, if you get a chance, could you tell me what you would prefer to read about here?

 

Picture Credits:

Ms Trunchbull

Borat in Mankini

 

 

 

 

 

 

Streaking for Advent

Naked runners start race on beach watched by bathers

Wheeeee!!!! I`ve joined the Advent streak!

The Czech trip had left me feeling physically depleted.  Over worked and over there, I hadn`t eaten too well. And, since, promises to run while abroad were washed away in a tidal wave of Pilsner, I was thrilled, upon my return,to read the Guardian article on the latest health kick: streaking for Advent.

Alas, for mankind, I won`t be doing this streak in the nip. No. It`s far too cold for that. Instead, the streak involves just running every day right up til Christmas. Fully clothed.

So far, so good. (Well, it is only four days!) Teen girl enticed me out on Sunday for a short run. On Monday, I enjoyed a nice four miles along the promenade. Yesterday, I was content with a two mile trot around town. And this evening, a relaxing mile long trot sufficed.

Oh, there`ll be challenges ahead. I`ve a couple of full on days coming up. They will involve a work/fun combo with no space for streaking in between. Cue pre dawn run.

Now, I pride myself in my determination. Nay, my sheer grit. I ran a marathon after all.

But, in my book, there`s nothing as miserable as a pre dawn run. Except maybe running in wind and rain. And knowing my luck, I bet those pre dawn trots will feature both.

Oh, I can do lots of things before sunrise. I can read, eat breakfast, blog, even.

I`ll even actually crawl out of my bed and into the cold kitchen to the evening meal underway, or a cake baked, or a little housework done before dawn.

But, yes, all those pre dawn activities are all in the comfort of my own home.

A treadmill might be the answer for some but I`ve done enough gym stints to know treadmills and me are incompatible. I will simply have to brave the cold dark mornings.

So yes, a couple of challenges lie ahead with the Advent streak.

If I just remember now, not to accept any of my tired old excuses, and not to hit snooze on my alarm clock, I should be okay.

The above picture came from  The Guardian newspaper, by the way. It has a nifty little running blog which is worth checking out too.

And you don`t have started the running streak last Sunday. Join in any time. It doesn`t have to be a running streak, either. Why not chose an activity that you enjoy?

But, be good for goodness sake, and keep your clothes on! 😉

 

 

Credit:

Photo: Rafa Rivas/AFP/Getty Images via The Guardian newspaper

 

November Colour

After a spell of dry weather, the beech trees in these parts are sporting magnificent russet coats. They are wonderfully complemented by their neighbours in shades of green, zingy yellows, coffees and taupes. Quite a surprise really, as I`ve often billed November as a dull, grey month.

It`s one of the reasons I love my weekend runs. At this latitude, daylight is shrinking into a few brief hours so, like many others, I return home at twilight. Running under the moon and the stars in special in itself. But a quota of full spectrum light is needed too, and for that I turn to the trail and the forest on my precious days off.

It was here my running started three years ago. Drawn by the colour, the views, and the earthy smell of it all, I ventured, camera in hand to run and stop and stare. I`d like to think my photography has improved a little, and my running improved a lot. But I am glad of both because they leave me feeling better in body and spirit and mind.

November is a coy one. Quick to show her dark wicked side, she conceals her other glories well. So when you find a patch of blue in the sky, and a little time on your hands, get out there and enjoy!