Not scared of the dark 

The shift from Sitges summer to Amsterdam autumn is messing with my body clock, especially adding in the factor of always-early runs here against hardly-ever-early by the Med.  Hits me when the alarm goes off and the sky outside is still dark even though, at the moment, it’s light by the time I go out.  Having said that, the streetlights were still on by the canals today.

I felt in need of a bit of eye candy today so went along the Keizersgracht as far as Vijzelstraat and back along Prinsengracht, with a loop round the Noorderkerk at the end.

5km, 26:40

20 months of 5+ k-a-day.

631km remaining 

(King Edwin of Northumbria re-fortifies York’s city walls and builds the Anglian Tower; Samo’s Slavs defeat Dagobert’s Austrasian Franks at the battle of Wogastisburg; Sisenand overthrows his father Suintila as Visigothic ruler)


Better late than later

Great internal debate this morning as I woke up still terribly tired and with churning insides.  Was within an ace of either just going back to bed or getting into work extra-early with the prospect of a possible 10k run this evening (ye Great North Run approacheth, after all).

In the end did neither and just took  a bit of extra time to get myself together and out into the early streets.  As is almost always the case I felt good once I was up and out.  Did a big criss-cross of the northern Jordaan before crossing Haarlemmerplein and doing some more zigzagging through the streets of Westerpark.  Home via van Haalstraat and Anjeliersstraat.

5km, 26:26.

636km remaining.

(Chintila elected ruler of the Visigoths after the death of king Sisenand; after defeating the Byzantine forces at the battle of Yarmouk, the Muslim Arabs complete their conquest of Syria; the city of Basra is founded)

Waking in darkness 

In Amsterdam again.  A decent first night’s sleep for a change but still a shock to hear the alarm at 6, even more so because it was still night.  By the time I was up and out the early light meant I was at least not running in the dark.

Along Prinsengracht just past Leidsestraat, up Leidsekruisstraat and across to Max Euweplein and the top entrance to the Vondelpark.  Home along Nassaukade.

5km, 25:55.

641km remaining.

(Byzantine emperor Heraclius dies after a 31 year reign, having lost much of the empire to the Muslim Arabs.  He’s succeeded by Constantine III and Heraklonas, neither of whom see out the year (Heraklonas is exiled after Constantine dies); Prince Oswiu of Bernicia conquers Gododdin (the Old North) as far as Manau (modern Scotland); Muslim Arabs conquer Alexandria after a 14 month seige; Fustat (later Cairo) is founded)


It may seem frivolous to apply Nietzsche to castellers, but it seems phenomenally apt this morning that “that which does not kill me makes me stronger”.

Our 4de8 yesterday evening fell, and fell hard, just after the dosos were in place and the rest of the canalla were still ascending.  Lots of bruises, pulled muscles, cricked necks and the odd black eye around in the aftermath (nobody’s too badly hurt thankfully), but also a steely determination that the next time we will make it and the reliving of the euphoria of success we felt on July 30th will be even sweeter for yesterday’s failure.  We didn’t even have the bittersweet carregat for consolation, and that just won’t do for the Jove.

The disappointment and disbelief directly afterwards were the worse for the absolute knowledge and confidence that the second carro gros was ours for the taking.  It was there in the fact that we’d already done one four weeks earlier with absolute authority, in the impressive practice sessions and the memory in our muscles of exactly what to do and when, how much the effort would be, how much it was going to hurt.  That too will fuel the comeback. All the stronger.  Sempre Jove.

(5k sweaty morning run to the Dolce security hut and back.)

5km, 26:12.

646km remaining.

(Nearly 1000 years of Greco-Roman civilization ends as Alexandria is recaptured by the Muslim Arabs; Jeddah is founded on the Red Sea; centralized government established in Japan)

Round Two

Great assaig (practice) last night for this evening’s castellers performance at the Ajuntament.  All went well so we’re going for the repeat of the 4de8.  Bring it on.

Slipped out for a run this morning while the family dozed after last night’s late finish (we were still practicing in the square at about 2330).  Just a normal Paseo with the morning sun already pelting out the rays.

5km, 24:55.

651km to go.

(Caliph Uthman ibn Affan compiles the Qar’an in its present form; Œthelwald of Deira (kingdom between the Humber and Tees) succeeds his uncle Oswine after he is killed by Oswiu of Bernicia (roughly today’s Northumbria))

A trough between peaks

A ‘nothing’ evening yesterday with FM all but finished, so a relaxing evening at home with the kids and friends.  Today it all ramps up again later on for us castellers as there’s a practice this evening for the attempt on the second 4de8 of the season in the big FM actuación tomorrow at Plaça de l’Ajuntament.  Som-hi!

A work day punctuated by a lunchtime run as usual.  didn’t even think about going anywhere but the vanilla Paseo route, very pleasant and red hot, the beaches utterly thronged.  Which, if it is a word, is not one I’ll be using again in a hurry.

5km, 25:35.

656km remaining.

(First Islamic civil war between Muhammed (yes, that Muhammed)’s widow Aisha and his cousin & son-in-law Ali ibn Abi-talib (fourth Caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate) – Aisha’s forces are defeated at Basra and she is exiled to Medina;  5-year old Dagobert II of Austrasia is kidnapped after his father’s death by the court chancellor who exiles him to an Irish monastery and makes his own son Childebert king instead)

Shuddering climax

Festa Major reached its orgasmic climax last night as the various dance, correfoc and processional collas converged on the Baluard to join the castellers of the Jove who did our pilar de 4  while the fireworks went utterly mental and all the gralles  played their final tunes.  Difficult for it not to be an emotional moment, utterly intense, quite deafening and very humbling to be a part of it, even if it was just helping to support Joan’s right leg; someone had to do it.  That’s the magic of Festa Major – everyone has a little part to play to make the whole thing as awesome as it undoubtedly is.

Pretty much back to normal today.  Work this morning of course and I went out at lunchtime into another sizzling summer’s day.  A bit out of inspiration and with no desire to do anything particularly challenging, I did a vanilla run along the Paseo and back.  Kept up the pace a bit and enjoyed the slightly cooler headwind on the return leg.

5km, 24:32.

661km remaining.

(Devon-based Briton tribes are driven to the coast by king Cenwalh of Wessex; Shi’as and Sunnis can’t agree on who succeeds Ali-ibn Ali Tabib, the first Shi’a imam who is assassinated at Kufa; the Umayyad Caliphate is founded in Damascus; under empress Saimei, Japan invades Kyushu)