Sunday, 5 April 2009

Franc v. London Underground: The Challenge Summarized

Moaning about mass transport is one of the many skills I have developed over the past year to help me fit in. Problem is, it's often justified.

To be fair, the Underground (aka: the tube) is the oldest underground railway. It does a remarkable job, consdering that.

One morning last fall, while complaining about the train, it occurred to me:
My apartment is about 10k from my office. As the train ride from Putney to Farringdon takes 50 minutes and I have a 10 minute walk to the train, then I can get to work faster by running than taking the trains.

I have proudly shared this observation with others throughout the winter, claiming that soon, the showdown would occur.

It is now time to start planning:
1. I have paid for my underground ticket online, so my journeys will be logged from hereon. This will allow me to determine an average journey time for training purposes.
2. Route research has begin. I recognize that I can't literally outrun the train along its path of travel. Not at first, anyway!
My intention here is only to prove that I can run between points A & B faster than the train will take me. I am confident that I can do this as a matter of time and distance; however, navigating traffic lights and pedestrians will require me to do this a bit faster.
3. I need to actually get off of the couch and run. An injury to my IT band teamed with months of cold and darkness means that I'm not as fit as I was when I first made these claims. It also means that I'm not yet ready to train.

Training will begin as soon as my physiotherapist says I can run again. That's probably not going to be for at least another month, but I'll post about it when I can.

Once I can again comfortably run a 10k (at any speed), a date will be set.

The big day:
During the evening rush hour, I will kiss my husband goodbye and put him on the train at Farringdon. Then, I will run home.

Success criteria:
He will arrive home to find me in our apartment drinking a beer. Thus, if I am not inside of the apartment, beer in hand when he arrives, I have failed the challenge.

In the event of failure, a new date will be set.


  1. I am jealous! I wish I lived in Europe! Nice blog by the way.

    C. Taylor Brown
    English Experiment

  2. Thanks! I've got to say, it has been a wonderful experience so far. I hope you can try it as well sometime.

  3. I'm rooting for you!! I know you can do it!
    Pick a delicious beer! The prize should be one you can run towards with glee lol! Without sarcasm, I would suggest "La Fin du Monde" by Unibroue.

    - Chanya

  4. Chanya, In recognition of your excellent suggestion, La Fin du Monde will be the official beer of the challenge.
    I love Belgian abbey beers- and those made in the same style. So much yum!
    Now, I really just need to get off the couch and out running! With any luck, I'll be able to before I am due for a training update!