The squirrel's nuts

Danny Coyle
Wednesday, 4 May, 2011
I spent a week nestling in that most comfortable of post-marathon ruts following that sweltering day in the capital. I gingerly got back on the road eight days later for a swift five-miler before the pressing duties of pre-baby home improvements could be put off no longer. So, on what should have been a four-day weekend with opportunity aplenty to spend some quality time on my feet, it was filled with removing no end of junk from our spare room before turning it a more infant-friendly colour (Banana Smoothie Yellow, since you ask). I had noticed pre-marathon that my weight had begun creeping north and made a pledge that my next bout of serious training would focus on knocking off a few pounds. The motivation to do so comes in the shape of the 24-hour adidas Thunder Run at the end of July, before I tackle the Royal Parks Half Marathon in October dressed as a giant squirrel – of which more later. So, my first lunch break back at work I hopped on a spin bike in our gym next door and panted my way through 40 minutes of disco tunes, flashing lights and whirring legs. I have the saddle soreness to prove it. I followed up the next morning with a few miles before work on the mean streets of Hammersmith testing the new Nike + Sportswatch GPS, which you can read my review of in the July issue (on sale May 26th). In truth, my training is a little rudderless at present but somewhere in the muddle there is a plan to try and simulate TR24 conditions with a 10k before work, another at lunchtime and one in the evening. I may as well go the whole hog and fit one in at some ungodly hour of the night. As well as preparing me for a 24-hour relay race, it’ll double up nicely as practice for those witching hour feeds. Then there’s the squirrel outfit. Chester the Squirrel, to give it its full title, the mascot for the Royal Parks Foundation. The head is the size of a wheelbarrow, the body thicker than the coat of a Herbridean heffer, and visibility through the nose cone is about as high as a foggy morning on Dartmoor. I can run in it, though – I tried it out just two days after the London Marathon, so it can’t be that bad, even when the tail swishes back and forth, gently yanking my backside left and right as it goes. I need to start training properly in the thing sooner rather than later. Perhaps those midnight runs would be the ideal opportunity, folks round my way might take the piss if I go out in daylight. Not that they don’t already.

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