Hitting The Hills, Hitting The Beach! in Venice

17 07 2012

Hills Venice by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

From England we headed to Italy to watch Operas at La Scala (Manon), the Arena in Verona (Aida) and La Fenice in Venice (Carmen), which were all brilliant in their own way.  The day we arrived in Venice, Mer couldn’t stand the heat (39 degrees) and so insisted on going to the beach.  The beach! I was expecting museums, churches, canals and gondolas and found myself on The Beach!  We had fun though and saw great views of Venice from the vaporetto on the way out to the Lido, I might even recommend it.  

But when we got back to Venice proper in the evening, it was time to take a look around and what better way to do it than to go for a run (very Woody Allen in Everyone says I love you I found out afterwards!)

It was lovely to meet Venice again by running up and down it’s bridges and getting cut off by canals.  I’d been once about 15 years ago for a day and it had rained and I hand;t thought much of the place.  But now, returning in a couple and enjoying The Beach and then a run, the magic of the place really came out.  It was also excellent hills training with all those steps to deal with and the breathtaking architecture meant we had run three or four kilometers without even realizing it.  We also got quite a lot of odd looks as we walked back through St Mark’s Square on the way back.  It seems Woody and Julia haven’t made running through the streets of Venice all that popular! 


Running away with it…

3 06 2012


Funny that this 5km easy was only a minute slower than my 5km fast on the previous run.  I guess that’s where I’m at at the moment, just trying to get the body used to the kilometres again and trying to find a good running form that will minimise injury risks.


First time I’ve run for an hour in the comeback.  Was very pleased to get to 9km and am confident I have ten kilometres in me, although not got any races on the horizon.  Although this did make me wonder for a minute or two if I shouldn’t be running Fiestas Mayas instead of organising #IHTOC50, but only for a minute mind.


Just a muscle loosener and a keeping in the rhythm after the long run the other day.


No run this weekend.  A week between runs, not the best!  But I still managed an easy five km, although one of the calves was tightening up towards the end – need to be careful and remember the number one goal is not get injured!


My first ten kilometre run of this comeback period.  I’m managing not to overdo things, at least running wise.


Many more hills ahead

9 05 2012

Hills by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

My first ‘hills’ run since January and a third lot of overdoing it in three runs since the return began.  Another six kilometres with the usual cross the bridge five times, rest for five minutes and cross it five times more before heading homewards.  Except I was enjoying myself so much I decided to up the pace over the last kilometre as well as I headed back around the small lake to the car and I managed to keep the pace up to around 6m/km.  Which meant no time for thinking anything except what I was doing running wise.  

The one thought I did have was that I felt much better after my last run and that my legs seemed to have recovered much quicker – was this a result of having a pilates class on Monday?  Did the pilates help the legs to recover better?  I have a class tomorrow too, so if I don;t feel leggy come Friday it must have something to do with it, because normally after a run like today I would be feeling it til the weekend.  Looking forward to the next run already, but going to keep it to twice a week for at least my first month back – that’s the only way I can stop myself from not completely overdoing it! After all, I have many more hills ahead of me to climb…

Hitting the Heights

11 01 2012


Having tried my best to ease myself back into the running routine without overdoing it after injury, I decided it was time to start mixing up the training a little more, time to hit the hills.  or in my case ‘The Bridge’.  Starting down the hill from Dorrego to Campos, easing past the polo grounds and then the racecourse, the idea is to cross the bridge over Dorrego at Alcorta three times with a minutes’ rest in between crossings, rest five minutes, repeat the three laps of the bridge and ease back home again.  

It was hard but enjoyable work and the body and the various suspect joints responded well.  Running in the morning definitely helped, once I had got the joints flowing I was full of energy and eager to push myself.  And this evening the body is finally starting to feel like I’m a runner again.  starting to feel a little lighter, a little more compact, which is pleasing but there’s a long way to go yet. 

Trying to sprint up and down the bridge leaves little time for thinking of anything other than body mechanics, but the rests in between allowed a few thoughts on Delta and Dogme and my running goals for the year.  Reasons being yesterday the IH Delta crowd all said they started their lesson planning from the materials, which would have been music to the Dogme disciples ears and makes me think maybe they do have a point (but thankfully I’m one of the lucky ones).  it will be a challenge to develop their planning to put the students at the centre of it – I’m determined to get them to do it within the Cambridge criteria (shouldn’t be too hard actually). 

And then I remembered I’d told one of the Deltees I was planning to do the marathon this year.  Getting ahead of myself as usual.  But what would be a realistic aim for him this year?  Perhaps rerunning the half marathon is a more realistic goal?  10km in under an hour?  I prefer the first of these because I think distance is more important to me than speed.  Since I run to try and find some shape (wish I could say stay in…), the more I run the better shape there’ll be.  So perhaps a half marathon is the aim for the year, be it in Rio in July or here in September, with one eye on the marathon in October if all goes well and I miraculously manage to stay injury-free this year.  Inspiring thoughts indeed…

Camille Pissarro – Toits rouges, coin d’un village, hiver Côte de Saint-Denis, Pontoise, 1877

14 08 2011

Camille Pissarro - Toits rouges, coin d'un village, hiver Côte de Saint-Denis, Pontoise, 1877

Pissarro has always been one of my favourite impressionists and this is one of my favourite works of his.  For starters the colours are full of life the reds of the earth and greens of the grass speak much more of life than the barren browns of the trees, but the patchwork effect of the fields bending up the hill and the criss-crossing branches seems to ooze life from even the bleakest season of the year.  The parallel patchwork of the rooftops hints at a harmony between man-made and nature-made whose logical manifestation are the ploughed fields – man and nature in creative union.  

The colours are vivid and vibrant but the overall effect is one of serenity, of a world at peace and in which we can appreciate the beauty of nature and the life of man together.  The bushes that protect the house mirror in form the trees atop the hill, which frame (and protect) all we see below them.  What would reward us were we to climb such a steep and curving hill?  Another blissful scene of village and valley?  

And looking at the green going up the hill, are they the three prongs of the fork used to plough the field?  Is the earth asking for man to give it back what it’s ceded in kind?  I have looked hard and long for signs of people in the picture, but I’m pretty sure there’s no one there.  And yet in the solidity of the buildings, buried staunchly in the centre of the picture by man and by the artist, there is a human presence with almost as much of an eternality to it as the seasonal landscape that surrounds and caresses it.  Perhaps Camille was trying to warn us that our environment will only last as long as we do, or was he giving us the confidence to think we’ll last as long as the earth itself? 

A picture to come back to again and again, it soothes the eyes but energises at the same time.  How I’d love to be able to wind my way between the trees and discover the village pub (for me the steep green roofed building, just in front of the mansion at the back of the village), slip inside and discover the artist having a well-deserved lunch break with the picture almost finished beside him.  

Happy Hills

23 07 2011

Hills by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

Wasn’t expecting to run at all today but after missing out yesterday with a sore foot was more than happy to go for a cheeky one with Mer this afternoon.  We cycled out to the orange juice man at the big lake in Palermo (Mer’s put a photo of me enjoying my juice and the sun on facebook) and then ran up to the new bridge near the River stadium.  The football team may now be B quality, but the bridge is A grade when it comes to some hill training, at least as such a flat city as Buenos Aires is concerned.

It was my first hill training since I started my comeback and it went well.  Five times up, skipping back down the stairs and walking back to the bottom of the hill before heading up again.  When we’d done the five circuits we ran back easily to the top of the lake and cycled home.

Not much time for thinking with all that stopping and starting but was lovely to get out in the sun and a few things occured to me:

I need to plan Wednesday morning well since I forgot I’m observing half an hour after #eltchat finishes, forgetful plonker that I am.

Tomorrow I need to start with coordinating and get a lot of it done, talking to all the possible workshop givers to get them all online so it’s as ready as can be as early as can be.

And tweet all day long, without getting distracted from my work.

And look into hangouts a bit more.

Maybe I should be approaching publishers directly about a course book – sending them a proposal like you would for a novel – I should at least be looking into it.

Running Roads

10 07 2011

BA10K 2009

Random updates on my runs, especially the races and the ones that help me think.