Finding myself unexpectedly in the City of Londinium, I very nearly allowed an impromptu tour of the local Porter houses to scupper my Janathon attempts.
It started with an extremely fine pint of Guinness in The Tipperary.
I always think of Guinness as a horribly bitter drink requiring at least one shot of blackcurrant to make it palatable. This glass was a delight of creamy smoothness and if hunger wasn’t spurring me on I’d have had another and another.
We moved off in search of a Chop House but instead fell into the Longroom at Smithfield Market where we sampled porters and salt beef.
I was attracted to the Espresso stout but it was truly disgusting – think of used coffee grinds steeped in cold water. It became, what I think is, the first unfinished pint of stout.
I followed it closely with a half of Black Isle Porter which proved to be a treat of creamy beeriness. It’s a potential winner in my month of stouts.
By the time I got home I was ready to fall into bed but the guilt of Janathon played on my mind. In the end I pressed play on Day 2 of Insanity and ended the evening on my hands an knees in a sweaty heap of pain.
The cat maintained his dignity throughout the 40 minute ordeal. He watched me through squinted eyes and maintained the illusion of sleep despite being bounced up and down by the heffalump attempting power squat jumps.
I made very good use of my Give Me Tap water bottle that I’d been sent to review. The concept is simple. Buy a bottle, fill it with tap water, repeat. An ever increasing number of shops and cafes are coming onboard and offering free refills so you should never be far from free water. There is a charitable element to the scheme with half the proceeds from the bottle sales going to fund water schemes in the third world. Apparently 2 bottle purchases can provide one person with water for life.
My knees have been suffering since the weekends run so I’ve decided to focus on some core training.
If I had any guts at all I’d be enrolling myself for a foundation course of crossfit but I’m sadly lacking in that department. Instead I have pulled out the Insanity DVDs so that I can sweat and groan behind closed doors.
For those that haven’t heard of it, Insanity describes itself as a max-interval, extreme workout. Which means that your intensity is high for a large portion of the workout, interspersed with short recovery breaks. It’s high intensity circuit training for the home.
I’ve started back on Day 1 of the 60 day intense regime and that’s means the fitness test. 25 minutes, 8 exercises where you aim for as many repetitions as possible within 1 minute.
The exercises include a lot of jumps – vertical squat jumps, burpee jumps, globe jumps etc and a few nigh on impossible push up based exercises.
They are remarkably cruel but I quite like feeling sick after a workout.
As it was only 25 mins long I thought I might attempt a 3k on the treadmill as well. That was until I swooned in a pre-faint as I approached the machine. I think one insane session a day is good enough for Janathon.
I struggled with today’s Stout after the workout. So it’s just as well that it wasn’t worth finishing. Meantime London Stout from Greenwich has an iron filing scent, a weak flavour, possibly of bonfires and a lingering sourness. Flat and uninspiring. So that will be avoided in the future.
There was a shameful lack of true exercise today. My intentions were good for about 15 hrs of the day but they just floated away by about bedtime.
Guilt made me swing the kettlebell before I laid down but I had to cut that short as the cat was threatening to leap into the path of the iron weight. I shall consider closing the door next time.
While exercising proved tricky, I had no bother with the Stout-Athlon challenge which is clearly proving to be no challenge at all.
I’m resurrecting my paleo diet as a means to focus on some weight loss and Lynn is dabbling with a wheat-free detox so we opted for a Sam Smiths Oatmeal Stout. Probably not very Paleo but is at least wheat-free.
Jolly nice it was too.
I mistook the absence of snow for evidence of a gloriously mild morning. It is easy to make meteorological errors when assessing the weather conditions from under a warm duvet. The truth revealed itself pretty quickly when I set off on this morning’s long run.
I was repeating last weeks circular route from Putney Bridge to Barnes Bridge and back. The icy wind, channelled along the Thames and ripped through my summery shirt and my barely clad extremities suffered greatly. I was squealing for about 30 mins before my inner furnace kicked in and was able to roll up my sleeves and revel in the hot, toastiness of a long distance runner.
It turned into a lovely run, I knocked 5 minutes off last weeks time by sticking religiously to my 3min run 1min walk strategy and listened with fascination to another Marathon Talk interview with Tim Noakes, this time discussing low carb nutrition and the paleo diet . I’ve never heard that guy give a dull interview.
I spent the afternoon washing and polishing my beloved Bonneville as it needs to be sold. I start a new job in February, I’ll now be working at the local hospital which means my opportunities for motorbike commuting are severely curtailed. Still, I now get to drown my sorrows with a motor inspired bottled of Stout: Old Engine Oil. A truly viscous, treacly brew with a massive flavour hit. A creamy, bitter treacle in a disappointingly small bottle. It packs a punch and I was surprised it only came out at 6%. The bottle recommends it to be served with black pudding which sounds perfect but I’ll be spending the evening at the cinema watching Les Mis so will have to make do with popcorn.
While a number of Janathoners were embarking on their first park runs (jogblog and femmerun), and others were trying new park runs (Travelling Hopefully), I’m afraid to admit I was still lying in bed. I was awake enough to witness the pre-parkrun hubbub on twitter but not sufficiently awake to do anything about it. By the time I stirred into action it was 11:30 and we were close to missing the first badminton match of the year.
We speed marched down to the Brixton Rec, rubbing sleep from our eyes and clutching our brand new Xmas rackets.
On the court I stripped down to my court gear, and released my pro racket from its sheath, only to discover a great big security tag slap bang in the middle of the strings. Nothing screams Looter like a security tag in the middle of Brixton.
We went home dejected, with one speed walk and one sulky walk notched up for Janathon.
Things were looking up though as Sports Direct decided we looked honest enough to release the tag without a receipt and we popped into the local retro junk store to find the worlds best seed/map drawer which will revolutionise my allotment life.
I was so inspired by my bargain find that we managed to squeeze in a trip to the gym to rattle off a 5k on the treadmill. Hardly a scenic parkrun but it gives me an excuse for a beer so who’s complaining?
Today’s stout was a can of Murphys complete with widget in the can. It gave a perfect creamy head and an interesting bubble action so its a shame the taste is rather flat and nondescript.
I can’t write a great deal as I appear to have wrenched my arm out of its socket.
It may have something to do with my latest fad.
It’s a recycled fad which previously dislocated multiple vertebrae so I count today’s Janathon exercise as an improvement.
The stout was a success but you surely can’t go wrong with a Guinness even if its the export variety. It was sort of sweet with a long bitter after taste and something else, something quite out of place. When I got half way through the bottle it clicked, it was either Ruby Port or Sherry.
Very nice though, I approve.