Monday 30 September 2013

Mists and mellow fruitfulness....

That blue/green jewel - the Oeschinensee
Running-wise, September has been a pretty lean month with a bare 38 miles logged in the training journal. But two of those runs accounted for 15 glorious miles, one under the shadow of the mighty Eiger's north wall and the other to that breathtaking blue/green jewel of the Oeschinensee, one of the prettiest places in the whole of Switzerland. So I've a bit of catching up to do if I'm to achieve a respectable mileage by the end of December.  In all my years of running I've never clocked less than a thousand miles but I'm in danger of doing so this year. Not that it will worry me if I don't. I'm very aware of the fact Anno Domini is beginning to cramp my style, that much of my get up and go has got up and gone, and my little legs can no longer travel as fast or as far as they used to do. I accept that, albeit a little grudgingly, just so long as I can still get out in sun and wind to enjoy all those wild and beautiful places that have become so important to me in the autumn of my life.
    Talking of autumn, it's easily the most colourful season of the year, a season to richly enjoy before it fades 
Autumn fruits...
into the bleak black and whites of winter. In order to capture this annual pageantry I've been experimenting with a new camera. Whilst on holiday in sunny Switzerland I became so impressed with results our friend Paul had achieved with his Canon whatever it was that I was seduced into buying one of the same make to replace my old Panasonic Lumix. If I needed further encouragement the one I chose, a Canon Powershot SX40, had been reduced from its recommended retail price of £299.00 to a more inviting £129.99 on Amazon.  As yet, I haven't really got the hang of it, given that the online manual runs to 241 pages - and I'm a very slow reader - so it's likely to spend the next few months stuck in 'automatic' mode. One disadvantage I've found, which wasn't mentioned on Amazon, is that although little different in size to my old camera, it weighs considerably more. I haven't quite got used to the lop-sided feeling when running with it on my belt.
Test run - for camera and new shoes...
   One of the first running photographs I took with it features something else quite new. Have a look at what I'm wearing on my feet in the photograph and try not to be dazzled. The shoes, a pair of Saucony Fastwitch lightweight racing flats, aren't exactly new but it was the first time I'd worn them and, to tell the truth, I felt a bit embarrassed. Fluorescent green might well pass unnoticed in a big race situation, but on quiet roads and trails they stick out like a sore thumb. A very big sore thumb. Fortunately the ground was bone dry when I took them for a test run so was able to cut across country, avoiding public rights of way and all known dog walking areas. First impressions are quite good so I'll have to be sorting out a nice 10K race to give them a proper whirl.   
   I'd bought these shoes using a £20 voucher awarded to 1st MV80 in the Kilburn 7 mile race, thus reducing their
Autumn tints by the suspension bridge, Hebden....
cost from £55 to £35 - a bargain, I thought.  They're intended to replace an ancient pair of Asics DS trainers I've used for racing and the occasional tempo run for goodness knows how many years. Given there's only a 4mm drop from heel to toe I wondered how they'd perform, so limited my run to around 4 miles in case of problems. There weren't any.  On stony paths, contouring across Castle Hill side, dodging between exposed tree roots down through the wood and across a bit of rough ploughland, they felt really comfortable - almost as cosy as my favourite MT101's that also have quite a shallow drop, but which New Balance have frustratingly phased out.  My only fault with them, so far, is the glaring colour which may blend well with the riotous autumn tints, but is most unfitting to a gentleman of mature years!


  1. I can just imagine the bliss of running along the Oeschinensee - perhaps I'll also get to experience that some day!

  2. Hope the weather plays ball and you can sneek in enough runs to reach that 1000mile mark. we runner are funny people and I know what it's like to need a couple more mile at the end of a year to reach a target (missed 5200km by 30 km back in '95).

    Hope to get to beautiful Switzerland next year...

  3. I'm sure your new runners won't stay so vivid for long. Good price for the camera too.

  4. Great write-up, thanks! I'm more a nearing-middle-age running fox but love your posts! Your photos always inspire me to get out in the wet English countryside and I never regret doing so!

    One thing I was looking in to when I found your site was how to run carrying a decent-sized camera. I saw your belt and further googling yielded a running belt, which hugs my camera in a pouch at the waist and removes all bounce associated with pouches or pockets filled with cameras. eBay and Amazon have many available for the price of a pint should you feel like a go!

    I also loved the MT101s but after finding the great MT110 and laterly MT10s I'm sold. 4mm drop, quick draining, decent grip, no cushioning. £35ish for both I've paid and love them. Not so great for roads but for tracks, trails, and pathways they protect your foot just enough while still letting you feel the ground for a more responsive and 'in touch' feel.

    (The only other product I'll endorse are the Sunwise Waterloo sunglasses, perfect for our changeable British weather!)

    Thanks for your wonderful posts; now, wellies or MT110s for tonights run!

    All the best,