Categories
Personal

My 2019 Year In Running

It’s been a while since I wrote anything here, so I thought I’d reflect a little on what was a surprisingly active running year. I’m pretty out of practice with this writing lark, so apologies if it reads a little clumsy.

TLDR: It started optimistically. I got fat. I then lost weight. During it all, I ran some new types of races. By the end of it, I had clocked up loads of miles (2095, to be precise).

Started Optimistically.

I started the year with an accidental 18 miler, where I jogged to a Parkrun on New Years Day, ran it, found out there was another one a couple of miles away, jogged there, jogged that, got bloody nipples (there are photos in the previously linked Strava post, I’ll leave clicking through to them as an exercise to the particularly masochistic readers), and then realised that I was 6 miles from home with no public transport and Uber/taxis prohibitively expensive – so I jogged back.

It was a reassuringly smug (but slightly sore) way to start the year. Buoyant on a combination of adrenaline and Savlon, I gave myself a quiet mileage target of 2019 miles in 2019.

Got Fat.

In March, we moved house. My commute run grew 3 miles in each direction, the extra mileage led to an increase in appetite, the additional tiredness led to an inability to enact any kind of self-discipline, and like a shit Power Ranger, these attributes combined to create slow, inevitable weight gain.

I was eyeing the Rock’n’Roll Marathon in Liverpool as a late Spring race but ended up opting out due to an extra-stress-due-to-pork-pies-induced flare-up of knee bursitis. I get bursitis now and again, it’s a consequence of falling over a lot and not looking after myself. This was definitely the latter.

Lost Weight.

At the end of April, following my R’n’R did-not-start, I decided I needed to get on top of the weight situation or I’d see another streak ended. I have a long-lived todo to write more about my running streak – what happened to the original one, why I started another, etc – however, that’s a job for another day.

Using a spreadsheet I found on Reddit, I began to track my Total Daily Energy Expenditure and laboriously counted calories. I kept myself engaged by adapting that spreadsheet into a mini-side-project, teaching myself a bit of TypeScript, D3 and Gatsby. Again another blog post, but the repo/mini-write-up can be found on GitHub, and you can see my progress up until November on this little graph here. It stops in November because Christmas has happened and I’ve fallen off my chubby little wagon – again, another thing to come back to later, maybe I’ll get to it in my next year in review (i.e. the next time I update this thing).

New Types of Races.

2009 has seen me run 6 races. This isn’t all that prolific, generally speaking, but for me, it is a record. This year has also opened up new race experiences, from trail running, through to beer runs:

My “season” started in June, where I and a few workmates ran the Pizza 10k in Heaton Park. We did a 5k version in South Manchester last year, and this year it had expanded to two laps of Heaton Park. It’s a good atmosphere, has a fun & interactive warm-up (our three-year-old loved joining in), and we received an awesome pizza-shaped medal & a couple of slices of pizza at the end.

A month later, I ran my first ever trail race – the Royton Trail over by Tandle Hill in North Manchester. A small evening run, held over fun terrain, it was an absolute blast – and the egg mayo sandwiches afterwards were delicious. I liked the trail running experience so much that I actively sought out off-road races after this. A few weeks after, I was able to race literally across the road from my new house at the Hopwood Trot. I found it doubly hard due to it being 2 loops of an awful hill, but in retrospect, I think I performed well. I look forward to running that one again in 2020.

August contained the highlight of my year – the Marple Beer run. 4 pints in 4k. It was an entirely new experience, but one I’ve been passively training myself for since around 2013 – anytime I have a pint or 4 and then run home (would not recommend, by the way). Consequently, I performed way beyond expectations, to the point where I expect I’ll have to train extra hard next year if I want to get any faster.

October saw me take on another beer-related race – the Beer 10k, fortunately, this one was based at a brewery, and the drinks are consumed afterwards, rather than during. The pre-race intro was especially entertaining here – the race director went into all of the calamities that had befallen the race that day (from discarded drug paraphernalia being found during the pre-check through to a freshly fallen tree which required the introduction of a plastic “step” to help scale it) and had us all in stitches. Anyway, by this point, I was starting to feel the benefits of shifting the weight – I was down about 12kg and my times were coming down without really trying.

Which brings me to my most recent race – the 13 Arches Half. A beautiful trail marathon in and around Prestwich. My personal record for a 13.1-mile race was the Great North Run back in 2012, and I think based on this performance, I’ll be able to clear that if I run a bigger road half. I say this because I clocked in at 5 minutes under my PR – I’m not considering it a PB though because the mileage fell a fair bit short of 13.1 (0.4-0.8 miles depending on whose watch you go by). I wasn’t running this to any break records, it was a genuinely enjoyable trail race (even with it being a rainy mud fest), and I’ll go out of my way to run it next year.

Loads of Miles.

I kinda buried the lede with the whole table of contents in the tl;dr thing, but yeah, I smashed through my optimistic-at-the-time intention of running 2019 miles in 2019 by clearing 2095. It’s one of the reasons I’ve had an easy/fat December (my love of all things Stollen aside) – I cleared that target around the 7th December.

My lowest mileage month was January, where I struggled with ITB issues (I resolved to always stretch after that. I’m pretty terrible with resolutions of any type, it seems), but still managed to log 115 miles. And I peaked in October with 228 miles. No particular reason for that, mind – I was just loving running at that point in the year.

I have some plans for what I want to do next year, but I’m kinda keeping them to myself. I have found that what I once thought was some sort of personal-but-public call-to-accountability is in reality documented hubris. It leads to me making every “I’m-gonna-do-this-cos-I-wrote-it” promise an all-or-nothing-throw-it-out-the-window-when-things-go-awry weight around my neck.

And so, I’m gonna stop writing now. Mostly because I’ve run out of hyphens to spew over WordPress. Cheers for making it this far.

Categories
Links

Link from Pinboard – Adactio: Journal—Several people are writing

“I told him that I’m going to be writer number 1001, and I’m going to write something great that nobody has written before.” This is a good list of reasons to reconsider how neglectful I am of this stuff. Link.

federated from Pinboard
Categories
Technical

Couple of thoughts on React

Pretty sure it’s nothing nobody has noticed already, but I farted out some thoughts about React a while back. I figured I should publish more of this type of rubbish: I have been watching Kent C. Dodds’ fantastic Advanced React Patterns course on Front End Masters. It occurs to me that a lot of the React patterns and principles which are being uncovered and taught to us all by the likes of Kent relate quite directly to more traditional patterns & principles – in the Gang of Four sense, regarding SOLID and further. Some examples off the top of my head:
  • Render props feel like a sensible way of implementing dependency injection.
  • Pretty much every major React pattern is a different take on Inversion of Control.
  • Compose-all-the-things is generally a decent approach, good React seems to encourage this.
  • Redux implements Event Sourcing and the concepts of CQRS in an extremely elegant manner.
  • The Single Responsibility Principle underlies the entire concept of web components and React itself.
At first, I was quite snobby about it all: “They’re just coming up with new names for old things”, “all of this has happened before and will happen again”. But when you think about it, this is such a visual way to implement and explain these patterns. It’s a lot easier to explain event sourcing with “it’s like a distributed redux”. The metaphors feel simpler to solidify when a method hidden in a class called `component.setDependency()` or a hugely overloaded constructor (`new Component(dependency1, dependency2, dependency3);`) becomes ``. I find that coupling, and its costs are so much easier to visualise when you can see the logic spelled out in this way. I think this has a lot to do with React making interfaces so explicit. If you’re writing sensible components, it is trivial to convert from React’s XML to the correlating UML in your head. (If that doesn’t exist as software yet, I expect it will eventually.)
Categories
Links

Link from Pinboard – time to stop pretending i’m just here to read — s-peak-in-tongue-s: cardboardfacewoman: …

“Colocative substitution” – my new favourite concept Link.

federated from Pinboard
Categories
Links

Link from Pinboard – Intersection Observer comes to Firefox ★ Mozilla Hacks – the Web developer blog

Yay, a native way of firing an event when an element appears on the page Link.

federated from Pinboard
Categories
Links

Link from Pinboard – How to run secret ZX Spectrum message from Radiohead’s OKNOTOK C90 tape

Amazing Easter Egg. Some weird noise on a new track in the OK Computer reissue is actually a Spectrum program. Link.

federated from Pinboard
Categories
Links

Link from Pinboard – The Travis CI Blog: Start Every Meeting with a Personal Check-in

Focus and presence were very much things I took for granted before I started managing. I now realise that these are both limited resources. This feels like a nice tool to have in our arsenals. Link.

federated from Pinboard
Categories
Links

Link from Pinboard – A Unified Styling Language – SEEK blog – Medium

I finally understand the React-driven CSS-in-JS movement. Great read. I’m still not entirely sold on it, but I understand it. Maybe I need to use it in anger, get a feel for the pros and cons. Link.

federated from Pinboard
Categories
Links

Link from Pinboard – The Guardian is getting 60 percent of its Google mobile traffic from AMP – Digiday

Interesting to see some real positive data around AMP. I’m still not sold, but those are numbers that are hard to argue with. The stories around accidentally creating invalid articles and the fallout from that are also interesting. This all in contrast to Guardian dropping Apple News and Instant Articles. Link.

federated from Pinboard
Categories
Links

Link from Pinboard – Replacing Disqus with Github Comments · Gazoo.vrv

I love this, I have no idea whether github would be ok with this if everyone did it, but it’s a nice solution to the comments problem Link.

federated from Pinboard