Sunday, 29 April 2012

"Nice 'n Easy...

...does it every time". Wasn't that an old Frank Sinatra number? Whatever, it perfectly describes my run this morning. I managed to drag myself out of bed at ten past six for a nice, relaxed 45 minutes over the hills and along the river Kent. It capped a good week's running for me: An interval session, a hill rep session and a steady easy run. None of them particularly long - but I'm beginning to feel the benefit of the consistent approach. Also, much to my surprise, I'm actually enjoying getting out really early. Particularly this morning, as it looks as if the best of the day is over; it's clouding over and starting to rain.
Smileyrating  8/10

Friday, 27 April 2012

Up early (x10)

I started my hill rep session at 0650 this morning! I realise that this is not that early, but for us retired folk, getting up and out for this time was like being back at work! The hill in question is a small, steep lane, about 7mins 20secs from my front door. It's a place that holds, in a manner of speaking, fond memories; it's where, on one occasion, a startled sparrow flew between my legs as I was running down it and where, last year,  I fell off my bike and planted my elbow into the brambly wall that lines it! Nonetheless, it's a pretty, secluded, lane that has the added benefit of good blackberries in the autumn.
It takes me about 40 seconds to go from the bottom to the top and in my ten reps this morning my times were pretty consistent, conforming to the usual pattern of the middle reps being slightly quicker, numbers 8 and 9 being slightly slower and no.10 being slightly quicker because the old 'final big effort and then you can go home for breakfast' kicked in.

So, a satisfying start to the day, though what the blaclava'd farmer on his quad bike must have thought, as he called "Mornin'" on his way past, I've no idea!

Mind you, it was bloomin' freezing (hence the balaclava). The sun was out, but weakly, but the wind, combined with it being only 6 deg. C, made it really cold.
Smileyrating  7/10

Monday, 23 April 2012

Running and painting

Somewhat to my surprise, I found myself running intervals along the River Kent yesterday morning at 0655. Sheep and lambs looked up blearily at me. They'd hardly stirred from their night's slumber and must have wondered what on earth was going on as I lumbered past. Anyhow, I managed to do 5 x 30sec intervals as hard as I could and was shocked at how hard I found it. I was up and out that early (for me) because I've developed, over the years, the ritual that I have to have been out for a run before I watch the London Marathon on telly. And as I wanted to get Match of the Day in as well, it meant I had to get going early doors!
Normal service was resumed today, when I went out for a gorgeous run mid-morning. Basically, I just went out and ran around, linking routes together, with plenty of ups and downs, for about 45 minutes. It was fantastic. My average and max heart rates were a bit high; this probably just reflects my lack of fitness.

One reason I'm not in the best shape at the minute is because I've just come back from being in Spain on a painting holiday. One of the exercises we did was to use a small viewfinder and select a detail to paint. This is a great idea, because it really helps you to focus and cut out all the visual clutter that you get when you look at, say, a landscape. I did one of the wall of the hotel from the garden:

And another of a lemon tree The whole thing was a mass of abstract shapes:

Another exercise was to do a charcoal drawing in the olive grove and write notes about the percentages of each colour that was present. Back in the studio we had to cut up the drawing, rearrange it and paint the result, being true to our colour analysis. This gave a great abstract feel:

 I've been trying to use oils since Mrs HF bought me some for Christmas. I love them, but I've got a long way to go to get proficient with them.  I did this of Kate Rusby from a photo. (Sorry Kate, you're much lovelier than this). I quite like the hair and the jacket.

Before we went away, we went to see the Lucien Freud exhibition in London. Now that's proper portrait painting!! If you like that sort of thing, go and see it. It's fabulous.

More running next time...

Friday, 13 April 2012

Spring. What's not to like...

Gorgeous Springtime run early this morning. Fields full of lambs. The air filled with the liquid burbling of curlews punctuated by the piercing peep of oystercatchers. The hawthorn (or it may be blackthorn, I'm a bit vague botanically on this) is in flower; clusters of small, white, star-shaped blossoms turning the hedgerows into ribbons of white foam. They are fragrant too, but you need to be careful when you sniff them!
My route was a familiar one. I call it the 'Buzzard Loop', because I watched a pair of them circling above me on one occasion. It starts with a gentle climb and then contours along sheep-grazed grassland before dropping back down to the river. It took about 30 minutes and felt brilliant. The sun was fighting its way through the cloud, there was a fresh cool breeze and I got a sense of the land waking up. A cracking run.
Smiley rating 9/10