Two-wheels better than one... knee

Today I've completed 22 miles powered only by my legs.

Not quite a marathon, and, to, be honest, I didnt run, but hey, after two months of nothing 11 mile to, and 11 from work feels like something of achievement.

Shame I got caught in hail on way back. Still sodden!

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

++++ Updated to correct my horrendous typing, which I would blame on pedi

Deadline day

Ever since I was little (or littler - still only 5'7") I've tended to wake up in the early hours.

I think it's from my parents getting me and my sister u, dressed and into the car by 6:45 so my dad could get to the factory where he worked, and my mom then had the car so she could get to work.

When we eventually got a video (to the younger readers, that's a recordable hard drive made out of weird plastic tape, to the Yanks, it's a VCR) I remember me and my sister being excited to get back home as my mom would have recorded TV-AM while we were out.

Not that I was an Anne Diamond fan, but it included a 5 minute episode of Popeye or something similar at about 7:20.

When I got a morning paper round, I was always at the newsagents by 6am. Often I was there before the papers had arrived.

Even at uni, I got up early – albeit nearer 8am, rather than midday like everyone else in our freshers flat.

The moral is, I'm an early riser. My alarm goes off at 5:42 (no idea when or why I got so specific) and I'm usually in work before 7:30.

So, you'd think I'd be used to the sound of my alarm in the morning.

Not today.

It had a different noise.

And it went off at 4:30.

Now you might think 'big deal, just turn it off and go back to sleep'. Sadly my brain doesn't work like that. Once I'm awake, I'm awake. It's a pain, but I've gotta live with it.

So when I hit the 'dismiss' button (no idea why it's not called 'off', but what do I know about mobile phone design?) I mentally prepared myself for an hour of trying to get back to sleep, knowing full well it wouldn't work.

After about 20 mins of trying to bury my head in a way that made it dark enough to trick myself it might be time to sleep, but not too hot that I feel like I'm in a furnace, it suddenly dawned on me to check why my phone went off so early.

Annoyingly, it had locked itself so I had to fiddle around with the touchscreen keyboard thingy whilst still not entirely conscious, but after a herculean effort (and several fat finger mistakes) I was in.

Turns out today is the deadline for the ill or injured forms to be returned for next years London marathon - how organised am I putting that on there?

And also what the hell was I thinking setting the reminder for 4:30? Was I giving myself extra time so I could nip into London to hand-deliver it?

Anyway, it was a moot point as I'd sent it almost straight after I got it a couple of weeks ago.

So now, having given up on trying to get back to sleep, I spent the rest of my pre-alarm time running through the things I want/need to do to get to the end of The Mall next April.

I'm sure my list is pretty comprehensive by now, but the problem is to do most - if not all - of the stuff on there requires my to get past the first one - sort out knee.

Only three more knee class things to go then I get the verdict from the physio then I can actually think about running and might have something to blog about other than my morning ritual!

Cover your tracks

Now we all know it's only a matter of time before machines rise up and overthrow the human race in an orgy of blood-spilling and pain the likes of which humanity has never seen before.

Optimists seem to think we'll at least be kept alive as either slaves or fuel, but I'm not convinced by their arguments.

With technology pushing the ever expanding horizons of the possible further towards the limits of our imagination, it's probably only a matter of time before someone drops the ball, and the machines kick off.

In the meantime, technology is bloody useful, so we might as well take advantage of it before we meet a painful death.

Missing out on running this years London Marathon because of injury a couple of weeks before was a bit of a blow.

But, thanks to this blog and Twitter, there were a fair few people I 'met' online who I wanted to support, so I tried to find the best way of tracking them on race day and ended up trying to use the official Adidas tracker.

This didn't work brilliantly (one of the alert texts I got said someone was only halfway - two hours after he'd finished!

To my childlike and possibly naive mind, it shouldn't be so hard to track runs – especially with more and more phones having GPS built in, so, ever determined to use the interweb for exciting things, I decided to see what else I could find.

I've got a BlackBerry Storm (good fun, but turns out the screens not a fan of being dropped onto very hard surfaces) so I had a jolly fun time looking for exciting mapping applications that could meet my geeky needs.

And by Odin's beard did I find a few!

So, to pass the time I've been road-testing them, and my fave thus far is GPSed. When I say road-testing, I don't mean by actually running – my knees still screwed.

So, with probably more glee than necessary, I've been 'running tracks' for exciting things like, the trip to work (image below), a walk around the park, train journeys, and even around Ikea.

A track, is basically anything you want to track yourself. You tell GPSed to start, and it locates satellites (most I've had were 11!) to triangulate your position with freakish accuracy.

As you're running it shows you where you are, what direction you're going in, and how fast. When you're done, click stop and it saves all the info for you which you can upload to their site to look at properly later.

Apparently you can upload it to other things too, but I don't have anything else to upload to so haven't had the chance to try it.

It's been quite fun working out which mornings I get to work quickest and how fast I trudge around the park.

There have been a few glitches though – the train journey passes through a signal black hole so I got a freakishly straight line for part of one track. That has implications for the speed figure calculated, but as it was only for a short space of time, I don't think it was significant.

And I was on a train, so I probably don't really need to know how fast I was going.

Overall, I've bene finding it good fun, I just need to be able to try it running. No doubt I'll then find numerous faults, and once again berate myself for being crap at reviewing things.

Now, I'm sure it's only a matter of time before someone, or something, uses the technology for evil, but until the machines rise up and become our overlords (and I for one welcome them) I hope a few of you agree that this is one of the potential useful things we can enjoy before our painful and untimely deaths.