Feb 5, 2015

I completed this week’s lap of Centennial Park in 16:12, almost a minute faster than last week’s 17:11. I felt fine in the lungs, although I did have to work a little bit harder. I’m making better progress than I expected with these laps. My intention is to get down to under 13:30 by the time the City to Surf comes around in six months time. I could go a lot faster now, but I’m taking it easy both for physical and psychological reasons. No reason to associate a lap of Centennial Park with too much pain just yet.

In these blog posts I pretty much only talk about running issues. Some readers may think, therefore, that that’s the only thing I concern myself with these days. Not true. Yes, I like running and do a lot more of it than the average person in the street, but I actually am involved in many other non-running related activities. But this blog is about running, having evolved from the run around the world. Branching out and discussing other topics and opinions is an option, but I don’t think it’s what readers want to see. That’s why I keep it to running. And, for the Facebook readers, what you see is simply copied and pasted from the tomsnextstep.com web site blog, in case you were wondering.


On This Day


Feb 5, 2012

Distance today = 50.60 km; Total distance = 1824.21 km; Location = Buckland, NZ –  37 13.140′ S, 174 55.035′ E; Start time = 0856, Finish time = 1616



Let’s start with today’s dramatic moment. I had just bought a drink at a service station in the small town of Mercer, on the highway to Auckland. I noticed that I had covered 28.4 km to that point, and used the Google Maps Directions function to see that it was 4.7 km to the main intersection in the next town of Pokeno, which would take me to 33.1 km.

I started to run, and after roughly one kilometre I glanced at my watch, which should have been reading approximately 29 km. However, it was reading 1360 km. What the ……?

It didn’t take me long to realise that the GPS system had malfunctioned, most probably placing me momentarily out in the ocean somewhere before returning to my real position. In addition, it had my average speed at 341 km per hour.

Luckily I knew precisely what my distance would be when I reached the main intersection in Pokeno – 33.1 km. I simply reset my GPS watch when I reached the intersection and headed on for another 17.50 km. Therefore, my total for the day is 50.60 km. It means there are two Garmin data sets for the day. If you look at the first one, you’ll see the anomaly in the speed and elevation.

So, after all that, I’ll now report on the rest of the day a little differently – with a mixture of Australian rhyming and other slang. I realise not everyone will understand what I’m talking about, but perhaps that’s a good thing, given the subject matter.

The early day was uneventful, until the drama described above. Soon after that I stopped for a dog’s eye for lunch, then hit the frog and toad again. Eating and running usually result in nature calling, and I soon found myself needing to look for a place for a Lorraine (sometimes called a Johnny Tapp). One place looked promising, except there were a couple of tin lids playing nearby. I moved on and found somewhere that looked perfect. I was about to drop the dacks when I spied a row of bee hives (that’s not rhyming slang – I mean real bee hives). I could just see the headlines “Runner stung on Kyber Pass while attempting a Brad Pitt”. I hightailed it out of there, and continued my search. Needless to say, everything eventually turned out OK and I finished strongly with another 50+ km. Once I got back to our accommodation I cracked open a Terry Dear, and started writing this Rodney Hogg.

I trust you enjoyed this example of the Australian vernacular, even if you have no idea what I was on about.

Tomorrow is my last full day of running in New Zealand. The following day will be a short run to the airport. We’ll be then taking a few days to get the travel and logistics sorted before I’m on the road for the US leg, starting in San Francisco. Stay tuned.


Feb 5, 2013

Distance today = 55.74 km; Total distance = 16,056.01 km; Location = Cebolla, Spain – 39 56.584′ N, 04 34.402′ W; Start time = 0926, Finish time = 1800


I had my flattest day so far in Europe. There was hardly a hill in sight. It was another long one, but I felt good, particularly towards the end.

It was great to begin the day by running out through the tunnel section of a castle. I imagine there once were big gates to keep invaders out. We discovered that Somerset Maugham once stayed in that very castle, and there is a strong chance his “corner room” was the same one we slept in.

The run took me on more gravel “service roads” beside the freeway. I was glad when I reached the end of that section as I entered the large town of Talavera de la Reina. It looked to be a major commercial and industrial town, so I couldn’t recommend it to the tourist.

The last 15 km was on a very smooth and flat road, and I was able to get into a real rhythm. I’m hoping tomorrow will see more of the same.

For some reason, the tracker appears to have stopped working. I have just noticed that it updated correctly till about mid morning and, although it seems to be working on my phone, the updates are not appearing on the web site. I assume there must be a problem on the FollowMee website. Hopefully it will be corrected soon. My real position is further to the east than the tracker is showing, at the town of Cebolla.

PS The winner of the trivia question from two nights ago was Bernie Breen, although there were many others who answered correctly.  Of course, February 3 was the 54th anniversary of the plane crash which killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper – what Don Maclean came to coin as “the day the music died”.