Settling into the autumn

The next week or so is quite busy with running events and gigs. I’m excited for all of it! And also for next weekend when I will return to my regularly scheduled dozing. The return to near-normality is nice but it can feel a little overwhelming to be suddenly doing All The Things.

The strange brief heatwave that made its way through the UK this week only showed its face in Newcastle on Wednesday, and that was quite enough for me. I’m done with hot weather now! Looking forward to cooler conditions for autumn running. It’s meant to be 13°C and cloudy on Sunday for the GNR and I really hope the forecast is right.

I made a decision earlier this week that I wouldn’t do the 22-mile run I’d scheduled for this week and would instead treat my 18-miler from a couple of weeks ago as my longest long run for the marathon. My body is telling me very loudly that a five-week taper is more likely to get me to the start line in one piece than a three-week taper, so I’m going to listen to it. I’ve got the GNR (13.1 miles) on Sunday, will do either eight or six miles next Thursday depending on how I’m feeling post-race, and six the week after, then a nice ten-day period of only doing mile-and-a-half streak savers and slow gentle parkruns leading up to the marathon. Fingers crossed it will all go according to plan.

This time next week I am hoping to report back on a slow but enjoyable GNR completion, two very long-awaited concerts, and the bulk of a game coded!

Black cat
Last week’s photo of next door’s cat. He sneaked in as usual while our groceries were being delivered and looked so comfy I let him stay for an hour or so!

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Republica – ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’

Sunday

The Beatles – ‘Hey Jude’
Tom Jones – ‘Delilah’

Monday

Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Town’

Tuesday

Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Town’

Wednesday

Boston – ‘More Than A Feeling’
Soft Cell – ‘Say Hello Wave Goodbye’

Thursday

Girls Aloud – ‘Something New’*

Friday

The Human League – ‘Being Boiled’

*RIP Sarah Harding.

Late night update

I’ve been very busy today finishing all my work for the week and getting stuff ready for weekend adventures tomorrow. I’ll update about all of that properly after the weekend!

Tyne Bridge
The sign is up. It was nice running along the Quayside yesterday and ticking off all the bridges!

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Duran Duran – ‘Astronaut’
Journey – ‘Don’t Stop Believing’
Vengaboys – ‘Boom Boom Boom Boom’

Sunday

Jackie Wilson – ‘Reet Petite’
Public Enemy – ‘Harder Than You Think’
Soft Cell – ‘Say Hello Wave Goodbye’

Monday

Vengaboys – ‘Boom Boom Boom Boom’
Duran Duran – ‘Give It All Up’

Tuesday

Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Town’
Madness – ‘Michael Caine’
Kanye West – ‘Stronger’
Apoptygma Berzerk – ‘Kathy’s Song’
Public Enemy – ‘Harder Than You Think’

Wednesday

Soft Cell – ‘Say Hello Wave Goodbye’
Lucas Pope – ‘Soldiers Of The Sea’

Thursday

Public Enemy – ‘Harder Than You Think’

Friday

Abba – ‘Thank You For The Music’
The Sweet – ‘Poppa Joe’
Duran Duran – ‘Anniversary’

A quick breather!

For today, anyway. Lots to do, despite the fact that my clients are mostly on holiday and thus so am I!

It’s been a busy week. Monday was a big accounting catchup day for my business as I’ve not had time to keep up with it over the last few hectic months. Tuesday was spent in Geth’s office at work, as they’re moving buildings again and we needed to pack up all his stuff so it can be transferred to his new office. Wednesday I had a hair appointment and took the opportunity to run a few other errands while I was out, and yesterday was 18-miler day on my marathon training schedule. I’ve also been doing initial planning and coding for my new game!

I was really anxious about yesterday’s run as my long runs so far this training block have been fairly miserable due to various issues. However, everything (mostly) came together yesterday, and I was able to have a really positive, steady run. I’ve recovered really well so am feeling a lot more confident about the remaining long runs on the schedule!

I know I say this most weeks but next week should definitely be quieter… I hope!

'80s font on crate
Some of the crates provided to pack up Geth’s office were clearly a few decades old! Loving the ’80s font on this one.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Elvis Presley – ‘Return To Sender’

Sunday

KC & The Sunshine Band – ‘Give It Up’

Monday

Duran Duran – ‘Save A Prayer’

Tuesday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Boss Theme A’

Wednesday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Boss Theme A’

Thursday

Duran Duran – ‘Invisible’
Duran Duran and Chai – ‘More Joy’

Friday

Queen – ‘A Winter’s Tale’
Carter USM – ‘The Only Living Boy In New Cross’
Ultravox – ‘Vienna’
Peter Gabriel – ‘Games Without Frontiers’

Eyes on the autumn

Twelve days to go until meteorological autumn begins. I am very excited.

Things have been quite well timed this week. Geth and I returned home from the last of our summer trips away on Tuesday, and I finished the last items for the last of my big summer work projects on Wednesday. Work has been very busy over the spring and summer, which has been great, but it’s starting to quieten down again now. I’ll be taking the opportunity over the next few weeks to get a new game made and to have some downtime with my much-neglected videogame collection. I’m also in the sharp end of marathon training now, so I need to get some rest and relaxation in when I’m not running!

I’m finding it hard to get out of the ‘I should be doing something work-related right now’ guilt and letting myself relax, but that’s sort of understandable after so many months. I hope I’ll feel a bit more settled in a week’s time.

Mull of Galloway
So many pictures from our last trip! This is another one from the Mull of Galloway.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

S-Express – ‘Theme From S-Express’

Sunday

Grant Lee Buffalo – ‘The Whole Shebang’
Shoji Meguro – ‘Heretic Mansion’
Duran Duran and Chai – ‘More Joy’

Monday

Duran Duran – ‘Reach Up For The Sunrise’

Tuesday

The Crüxshadows – ‘Return’
Fleetwood Mac – ‘Don’t Stop’
Duran Duran and Chai – ‘More Joy’
The Corries – ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’

Wednesday

Peter Gabriel – ‘Games Without Frontiers’

Thursday

Duran Duran – ‘What Happens Tomorrow’
Duran Duran – ‘Invisible’

Friday

The B-52s – ‘Roam’

Tarmac and nettles

Now that it’s the sharp end of marathon training, I’m settling into a bit of a pattern with my Thursday long runs: run through town to a quiet waterside path and then follow said quiet waterside path for requisite number of miles. This week I was back at home in Newcastle, which does not have a handy canal like Edinburgh and Colne were able to provide the prior couple of weeks. Instead it has a giant old river and a path that runs along it sometimes and sometimes not. As such, it required a bit more mental work in terms of making sure I was going the right way. I’m still having a few issues on the long runs, but gradually solving them one by one.

Work is gradually settling down, which means I can have a proper weekend for the next couple of days. Really looking forward to it!

Warning sign
No swimming! This sign has clearly been around for a while judging by the ’80s-style font.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Alan Hawkshaw – ‘Grange Hill Theme’
Madonna – ‘Borderline’

Sunday

Blondie – ‘Rapture’
Hot Butter – ‘Popcorn’

Monday

Welshly Arms – ‘Sanctuary’

Tuesday

Republica – ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’
Leo Sayer – ‘Moonlighting’

Wednesday

Duran Duran – ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’
Billy Ocean – ‘Love Really Hurts Without You’

Thursday

Shoji Meguro – ‘Heretic Mansion’
Duran Duran and Chai – ‘More Joy’

Friday

The Beatles – ‘She Loves You’

And a bonus track Geth was humming earlier:

Carter USM – ‘Lean On Me I Won’t Fall Over’

Might just sleep this weekend

Geth and I have had another nice few days away visiting family, but are back in Newcastle now. I’m looking forward to the weekend! Bit of parkrun tomorrow and then a good doze for the rest of the weekend, I expect.

I say this every week but I’m hoping things will wind down a bit soon!

Leeds-Liverpool Canal
Another week, another long run along a canal. It didn’t go so well this week so I need to think about some new strategies.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Searching For Friends’
Black Box – ‘Ride On Time’

Sunday

Odyssey – ‘Inside Out’
Duran Duran – ‘To The Shore’

Monday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Terra’s Theme’
Duran Duran – ‘Give It All Up’

Tuesday

Shoji Meguro – ‘Heretic Mansion’
Leo Sayer – ‘Moonlighting’

Wednesday

Hot Butter – ‘Popcorn’
REM – ‘Losing My Religion’

Thursday

Hot Butter – ‘Popcorn’
Smokie – ‘Living Next Door To Alice’

Friday

Yasunori Mitsuda and Anúna – ‘Our Eternal Land’

Summer adventuring

Geth and I are back in Newcastle after a few days in Edinburgh visiting Mum and Dad. It was so good to be able to wander around my home city again! I was still fairly busy with day job work, but I was also able to get some running in, including a long run along the Union Canal accompanied by Dad on the bike. The company and extra water (and choice of out-and-back route) meant that I actually finished my planned distance this week! I will be running along a totally different canal next week, but hopefully it will give me a similar boost.

Other than a bit of parkrun volunteering tomorrow morning, I’m planning a very quiet weekend!

Running along the Union Canal
Some beautiful aqueducts along the Union Canal! Photo (c) John Cooke 2021.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘The Place I’ll Return To Someday’

Sunday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Airship Theme’

Monday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Shop Theme’
Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Aerith’s Theme’

Tuesday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Eyes On Me’
Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Searching For Friends’

Wednesday

John Waite – ‘Missing You’

Thursday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Aerith’s Theme’

Friday

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – ‘Locomotion’

(It’s been a bit of a Final Fantasy soundtrack week.)

Occasional normality

It’s been another busy week at work and I’m really glad it’s the weekend. Geth and I are going to parkrun tomorrow morning! It’s finally back in England for the first time since that strange weekend in March 2020, and I’m very excited to return. Our home parkrun has a new name (formerly Newcastle, now Town Moor due to several other parkruns now existing in Newcastle) and a new course and a mostly-new core team running it, so it’s a bit of a new era all round. It feels very strange that we can finally parkrun again after so many false starts, but it feels like the right time. I hope Scotland and Wales aren’t too far behind.

Other than that I’m going to be chilling out with videogames this weekend, both creating and playing. I have returned to Final Fantasy I this week so I’ll be spending some time with that! I’ve also still got a lot of ParserComp entries to get through before the voting deadline next weekend, and I’m really excited to get some coding done as well.

The weather is still hot and not conducive to long runs. I’ve moved my long run day to Thursday, both because of events happening later in the training programme (to be precise, due to COVID-induced race lag, the rescheduled GNR falls precisely three weeks before the rescheduled-rescheduled London Marathon, and in a marathon training programme you’re supposed to do your 22-miler three weeks before marathon day, and I’m not doing an extra nine miles before or after the GNR! …so I’ll do it on the Thursday and have a gentle plod round the dodgily-rerouted ‘GNR’ three days later, no racing it) and because mental health wise I need FULL WEEKENDS at the moment that are not completely taken up with running, so it’s best to squeeze the long run in on a weekday instead. My last two long runs have ended up being cut short due to heatwave collapse, so next week I’m going to grit my teeth and attempt an out-and-back in the hope that, by the time I’m struggling, I’ll already be ‘on my way home’ and so it’ll be mentally easier.

Lots of groups and classes from pre-pandemic life now inviting me back, but as I’ve always said, these things will need to happen very gradually for me as I don’t want to jump straight back into Constantly Doing Stuff. Ignoring the FOMO and doing my own thing for a while longer.

Weeping willow
My favourite tree in the garden. It looks great in the summer.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Yuna’s Theme’
Crowded House – ‘Weather With You’
Don Henley – ‘Boys Of Summer’
Duran Duran – ‘Give It All Up’

Sunday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Cosmo Canyon’

Monday

Paul Weller – ‘You Do Something To Me’

Tuesday

Calvin Harris – ‘Summer’

And a bonus track Geth was humming that day:

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘To Zanarkand’

Wednesday

Therion – ‘Summer Night City’
Duran Duran – ‘To The Shore’

Thursday

Boston – ‘More Than A Feeling’
Levellers – ‘The Fear’
Duran Duran – ‘Shadows On Your Side’

Friday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Airship Theme’
John Waite – ‘Missing You’
Manami Kiyota – ‘Satorl Marsh (Night)’

Trying not to burn out

I didn’t have much of a weekend last week because I was too busy with work, and I’ve been working every evening till late this week as well. As such, I have zero brainspace left and I need some time off. Part of the reason I worked evenings this week was because I wanted today off so that I could have a three-day weekend, as I knew that the first day would just be a ‘staring into space’ recovery day after the last few weeks. I also aimed to do my weekend long run today in order to get it out of the way early. However it’s been really, really hot today – too hot for running comfortably – and I ended up cutting the run short after halfway, as the heat was making it unsafe. Next week I’ll get up really early so I can get out and back in before the heat gets too bad.

I’m really looking forward to the rest of the weekend now. Brain rest will be amazing.

Sofa
Laptop, loungewear, sofa. It’s been that way for weeks, but this weekend it will be that way in a non-work way.

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Dragon Quest Town Theme’
Duran Duran – ‘Invisible’

Sunday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Chocobo Jam’
Paula Abdul – ‘Straight Up’

Monday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Yuna’s Theme’
Duran Duran – ‘Give It All Up’
Simply Red – ‘Something Got Me Started’

Tuesday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘To Zanarkand’
Cast of The Sound Of Music – ‘Edelweiss’

Wednesday

Duran Duran – ‘Pressure Off’

Thursday

Robbie Williams – ‘Time For Change’
Duran Duran – ‘Winter Marches On’
Duran Duran – ‘My Antarctica’

Friday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Yuna’s Theme’

Muggy days and nights

There’s been a lot of rain this week, but the temperature has not lowered and sleep has been difficult due to the muggy night-time atmosphere. I’ve also had so much day job work I’ve not had time for anything else. I’m obviously thrilled that business has been booming recently, but I’m looking forward to a bit of downtime soon!

Not much else to report this week as a result. Hoping to be able to squeeze in some game creation as well next week.

South Shields
Another nice memory of last weekend’s visit to South Shields. Possibly the only visit I’ll have this year now that they’ve announced we all have to turn around and go back at the halfway point of the GNR!

This week’s earworm playlists:

Saturday

Liam Payne and Quavo – ‘Strip That Down’
Duran Duran – ‘Five Years’
2 Unlimited – ‘Get Ready For This’
Technotronic – ‘Pump Up The Jam’

Sunday

Jason Derulo – ‘Want To Want Me’
The House Of Love – ‘Shine On’

Monday

Arctic Monkeys – ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’
Don Henley – ‘Boys Of Summer’
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – ‘Locomotion’

Tuesday

Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Dragon Quest Town Theme’
Cast of Peter Pan – ‘A Pirate’s Life (Is a Wonderful Life)’

Wednesday

Koichi Sugiyama – ‘Dragon Quest Town Theme’
Cast of Peter Pan – ‘You Can Fly’

Thursday

Keala Settle – ‘This Is Me’

Friday

Nobuo Uematsu – ‘Let The Battles Begin!’
Alannah Myles – ‘Black Velvet’
Nobuo Uematsu – ‘The Trials’
Tracy Chapman – ‘Fast Car’