Monthly Archives: January 2009


I didn’t want to run this morning.

I think the combination of a pleasant day yesterday, the knowledge that the day was always going to be a rush (no, I can’t do less. Just got to pack it all into a shorter time; they’re the rules. If I didn’t have rules, where would I be? No, not France!) and not being a particular fan of morning runs all conspired to make me less than enthusiastic.

Still, the race preparation must continue and today is the cut-back distance 9 miles, so not too daunting. But maybe that’s part of the trouble – somehow I didn’t feel fired up. And it was cold.

Putting my head out of the back window to feel the temperature, it was hard to convince myself I didn’t need a fleece top, but I settled for a base tee, long sleeve top, tights and hat. And creamed my hands as effective gloves for the chill. Didn’t stop my right wrist complaining, though.

Yes, yesterday was a good day. Waking to blue skies and no wind, I excitedly went to the parachute club, considered downsizing canopy, decided against it since it was windy (the reason to downsize is complicated, but one advantage is more speed, thus more chance of forward movement in winds at altitude) but also 5 weeks since i’d jumped, so I wanted to focus on safety, not technique. And what a result. Going backwards at 2500ft. (I just did turns and track in freefall, nothing fancy), I kept a steady heading on the front risers before turning for the landing field, clearing the runway, and a bit of left brake kept me nicely sideways until I was lined up for a landing at about 300ft. Couldn’t have planned it better.

Smart. So I landed, packed and fucked off home to take the motorbike for a 40 mile spin, whereupon I froze to death.

Which is where my wrist started hurting.

Still, despite a lethargic spot at 5 miles, the pace was what I wanted (no spring in my step, though – it felt like I was pushing all the way) at an average 8.15, which is flattering since, but all but 2 of the miles were in a 10 second group starting at 8.14) and now i’m done and feel fine.

Time now for a shower. And some cheese. And a mince pie. Before far too long in the car. Followed by a partee.



I think so. Well, if the reference is toward the weekend, at least.

Yep, it’s Thursday and i’m not in tomorrow. Smucking fart. So tonight’s 3 miles, at a relaxed pace, seemed all the more pleasant. If only it wasn’t my last 3 mile run before I taper in April. And if only my relaxed run hadn’t coincided with two really fast boys making me feel I wanted to up the pace as they sped past. But I was strong. I stayed at a slow pace, enjoyed the sea being miles out, got chilly on the return leg into the wind, but felt my legs were resonably recovered having felt awful this morning.

I’m reasonably confident the 9 miles at the weekend will spring me nicely into next week as the distance steps up again.

If only Mark hadn’t made me jealous of him enjoying 4 and 5 mile runs with no pressure to go silly distances. Ah, well. Hopefully it will indeed all be worth it. And the Stelling Minnis 10k at the end of May isn’t so far away, after all.

So; one mince pie, 8.06 average pace (well, it was flat), early weekend. Done.

Oops, wrong route.

Oh, yes. Today at work felt like a trial. Then I decided not to do a boring 6 miles on the seafront.

Don’t want to get bored, see. So I headed off for the old town but turned left. Thinking, quite innocently, that i’d do a little loop and find myself back on the prom after a shuffle behind some shops, instead I headed steeply uphill and didn’t stop. How uphill? Try a 9.22 quarter mile split, then a decent one, then a 9.15. So, a slow first mile, then. And I was blowing up at that.

Today was meant to be a pace run, so the garmin was set at 8.12 on the virtual partner and I was shocked with it 49 seconds adrift after 1.8 miles, but wasn’t worried since I hadn’t done a slice of downhill by this point, but was lost. Well, that’s a relative term – Hastings isn’t a big place, but I hadn’t been  on the roads I found myself on, so trusted my instinct until I found a main road I could link towards the seafront from (the route was in fact quite good, if i’d wanted a hard run. Straight up the steepest bit to the highest point in the old town. Good for 10k pace training, i’d think. Shame the job will be finished and Hastings a distant memory before i’ll get a chance to make use of it). When I found it, I was also rested so set about crucifying my virtual buddy and got back my 49 seconds in a mile.

That’ll teach him.

Unfortunately, my left shin also got educated. In the art of “Oh, shit, I messed up the Hastings half preparation last year and this feels the same”. So I eased off the pace, set about the last stretch of prom with an eye on the Garmin to keep my pace sensible and my last section is spot on 8.07, which felt nice and relaxed, so all felt good and my leg currently feels ok. Ish. I’ll take the bandage off when I feel brave enough.

Tomorrow, my 3 miles will be slow. Promise. And Saturday will be an easy run in preparation for next week. With a 4, 7, 4 and a 14 mile run, it’s a hike in mileage and I don’t want to blow up, so it’s time to be sensible.

Yeah, right.

Still, overall pace was a fine 8.04, so i’ll be happy with that.

My latest batch of mince pies are the greatest, even if Cathy will claim otherwise and probably prove it on her refreshed site. She is a girl, though, so cooking contests can be won. But when will she run and blog again? And when will we see some inspirational tunes from her, eh?

2.5mm rain, too.


Those’ll be the calories my Garmin calculated I used during 3.1 miles at 7.40 average pace, then. Somehow it seems a bit steep, but thankfully is easily replaced by one of Delia’s energy bars. A new batch of which I baked last night. Following the success I felt baking my second batch if mince pies on Sunday night.

But i’m running out of time. Between work, running, blogging and eating, I don’t seem to be doing anything. Which is pissing me off a touch.

I like running. I almost enjoy blogging. But I also enjoy all sorts of bikes, the odd social outing, the garden (luckily on hold during these months), making odd bits of furniture and all sorts of odd things. None of which is getting a look in. But, i’ve wanted to do the London Marathon since the very first one, the very thought of it is still exciting me (even when I have dark periods worrying about a calamitously bad time and being pissed off with myself for being a let down), so i’m prepared to bury everything until it’s done. That’ll be another 12 weeks or so, then.

Hopefully I can consume enough calories to equalise the loss that’s ongoing at the moment, but I guess lighter equals faster as long as I don’t collapse, so at least the pain won’t last as long…

Still a mince pie a day. Started in earnest on the sit-ups again last night, my thinking being that if i’m going to be stick thin, I may as well have ribs and a six pack.  Fuck, am I going to get fat when this is all over.


Forgive me, for I have slacked. Been slack. Slacked off.

Yesterday, I ran. But after getting to London, having a cold shower (hope the boiler’s fixed soon, Cathy) and forgetting work, I couldn’t face the trauma of a keyboard with no letters, so put off the process of blogging until now.

So, it was to be a 12 miler, my schedule dictated. So a 12 miler I would do. But with the prospect of work, this equated to roughly the Hastings half route , complete with the hills in the first 4 miles. And some more in the 7th mile, with the bastardised route I chose to pursue. Nice.

Still, my legs felt ok after the week, albeit my left shin was sore, causing me some concern for the down slopes, if not the ups. I don’t know why it’s hurting (well, apart from being thrashed for 25 miles a week. That’s not a good enough excuse, though.), but I decided to take precautions, so added my compression bandage before setting out. Which I think was the right thing to do since it feels fine now.

The run was again in broken sunlight, very nice, with little wind. I set off slowly but within my 8.40 slow run target, and looking at the splits now, starting slowly is the way ahead. The overall average pace was 8.19 with mile 8 an aberration at 7.54 but otherwise all within quite a tight pace range. I felt fresher in the last 3 miles than last week, too, so maybe I was still getting over a slight cold last week, but it’s nice to know I can be slightly under the weather and still hit my target pace.

But I was struck by the fact that i’m still not up to half race distance yet. Shit, it’s daunting.

What’s encouraging though is my average pace over the last 95 miles. The total setting on my Garmin states 8.13 average time. That’s long, slow runs included with the 5 and 6 mile pace runs. Since 8.12 is my target time, it’s looking promising. Assuming things hold up at the 18-20 mile mark. About which I have no idea.

Still, there are 13 weeks to go, so i’ll not get over optimistic yet. But things are feeling good.

Anyhow, i’m tired now, as well as being hacked off that i’ve managed to make my life a constant rush. So, it’s bed time.

I’m still maintaining a mince pie a day, have baked 9 more tonight, recorded 14mm rain last night so guess I won’t be able to get to work by my shortest route tomorrow with the river being all over the road and that, and am making so many typing mistakes, i’m now fully fucked off.

So i’m gone.

2 in 1

Yep, i’m afraid that’s what it’s come to. Wednesday was so busy after all, I simply ran out of time to blog.

The day began at usual time, I packed my tools into the car, loaded up stuff for two runs and left. And a thoroughly enjoyable day ensued removing towel rails, swinging doors and bodging bookcases, ended with a run around a new area.

Having been to the church for his wedding, I was expected to know where the sea was, but was clueless, so Martin drove me around the corner and on a rough route for the evening run. So I set off, found the sea at Whitstable on the sunny (for it was) North Kent coast, and ran. The view of the wind turbines out to sea was a lovely change, the sea was calm, I found the local skatepark (decent concrete bowls and a skate style flat bank/step area – looks worth a visit, even if it is a bit small and my BMX skills are diminishing with every week I don’t get out on it), and most of the “out” run was occupied with comparing the beach huts. Hundreds of them.

It was all very nice, really. And I turned around having run, quite literally, out of promenade and changed route to the bit overlooking the prom for the reverse route with a mile tacked on the end to make up 6 miles. In 8.10 pace, average. Very nice. And then it was to London for an evening, straight to work today and a cheeky 3 miles along the seafront of Hastings this evening.

Now, this morning the sea was so angry, it was inspiring, but thankfully it had died to nothing for this evening. I think it’s due to rise again tonight, but i’m not running tomorrow, so pah! The shame is, my left shin is starting to hurt a lot. So i’ve got a compression bandage on to try and ease any real problem before it becomes one. January isn’t over and yet i’m thinking my legs are falling off. Not great. But it’s been worse, so i’ll not panic yet.

And then I read

And, despite not running to music (I like the voices in my head too much…), I do weights and that to tunes. The form seems to be to list inspirational music to get you going. I don’t listen to anything else, unless trapped in a car with 43 days worth of ipod blah, but my best of the best are: (in no particular order)

Heavens Cry – Till Tears Do Us Part; The lighter side of hard house

Iron Maiden – Aces High; Classic metal

Vincent De More – Fly Away; Uplifting trance

Metallica – Fade To Black; Metal. My choice for my funeral. Inspiring.

Megadeth – Hangar 18; Metal. Classic. Go on, Dave!

Iron Maiden – The Trooper; Metal. Live version – faster, beefier, better.

Faith No More – Epic; Beyond genre. Class and timeless good time tune.

Drax and Scott Mac – Angel; Trance

Ozzy Osbourne – Crazy Train; Classic metal.

Energy 52 – Cafe Del Mar; The best trance tune of all time.

So, I think that’s it. Clearly the best mix ever, mostly listened to on LP, so not done as a mix; it’d probably mince my mind.

But there’s an idea…

Still doing ok on the mince pies. 12mm rain last night and it’s lashing down again now.

I should be in bed

I think i’ve bitten off more than I can chew tonight. I’ve run, eaten, packed tomorrow’s tools (a day off work to…work. But in a practical way swinging doors and doing stairs and stuff of a fantastically entertaining nature. Nice.), packed non perishable food for Thursday’s lunch, packed clothes for tomorrow evening, Thursday work and now i’m blogging.

But it’s all taken too long, i’m too tired and must sleep. Else i’ll probably cut fingers off and stuff tomorrow and I don’t want that.

Not after nearly crashing on ice on the way to work this morning. Oops.

So, tonight’s run was 3 hilly miles, not intentionally at a sprint, but a 7.38 average pace tells a story, I fear. Saw a man running with no movement (you know, one of them smooth as silk fliers who end up winning races and stuff. Swine. Nope, i’m not jealous, not at all. No.), so quickly he had to lean to get around the corner I saw him on, as well as 3 newbie runners, all new kit and huge waistline and walking pace, which was nice to see on the hills and not the seafront for a change. As I say, I didn’t mean to thrash it, but did mean to put in a final sprint and the last 0.25 mile split says nice things at 5.38 pace, which is good since it’s another uphill. Pleased with that.

Tomorrow will see 6 miles around Chestfield/Whitstable area. Be interesting to see if the Garminn gets lost!

Still on a mince pie a day, took the plunge and baked some of my own to try tomorrow; if I don’t blog, I may be poisoned, or hopefully busy with my splendid girlfriend, but i’ll catch up on Thursday. 1mm rain last night. Not a patch on 15mm on Monday, or 11mm over Saturday/Sunday, but it all adds up.

Stick man

So, today is Sunday. Not that I ran today, you understand, just that yesterday I worked, ran and drove to London and ran out of time to blog, so this is again a catch-up on a keyboard with no letters. And I keep making typos as a result. Bad keyboard.

Still, yesterday was an 11 mile day. The route selected was a run up the middle of Hastings from the seafront past Sainsbury’s to the Ridge, where I joined the half marathon course and followed it back to site. The first 5.5 miles of the half course was supplemented by 4 miles up the same overall climb, so I kept the pace sensible and in fact slacked behind my 8.40 target to the scale of 15 seconds through mile 4, leaving me 16 seconds behind my virtual man at the top of the hill. But, sensibly with this being a training run and the first time i’ve been over 8 miles since last March (and on the back of 12 midweek miles), I didn’t rush. Just pulled the time back over the next 2 miles and carried on pulling ahead to the finish.

The weather was glorious, sunny and warm with a wind not proving a problem but for the fishing fleet not getting out, hence a load of  “no fish-winds” signs outside the seafront fishmongers (yep, I extended the bottom leg of the run to extend the true half  course to my truncated 11 miles, if that makes sense). Until the last mile into it on the way home, which was a slog. But to get to 10 miles as fresh as I was, I was delighted.

Then, arriving in Walthamstow, I was donated a gift. A “The Stick”. And, being the sceptic I am, I don’t think it works.

But, having had a go last night and a stretch and waking this morning to the words “I’m stiff. I think my legs have seized”, I gave it another go. And. Well, I didn’t realise but 5 minutes later, i’d swear I had someone else’s legs and felt fresh as the proverbial daisy. And still feel amazing 3 hours on. I think there’s magic going on. And i’m going to carry on trying it to prove it.

So, 11 miles, 8.33 average pace, fresh legs, loads of rain over the two days but a gauge in Headcorn and a blog in London so I can’t see it, and general happiness. 2 mince pies yesterday, one of ’em homemade. Yum.


Right, 12 miles – I don’t fancy Queensway without a path at all, but much less fancy a loop of the seafront. Any suggestions?

The 8.11 from leg ache

Woke up this morning feeling really tired, and didn’t really recover, to be honest. My legs felt as though yesterday had been the hardest run in the world, despite being flat, and no matter how much I drank or ate or walked, I couldn’t shake the desire to find a warm corner of the building and curl up asleep.

But i’m a responsible site manager, so took to abusing the office staff instead, while escorting directors and the like around the job, before losing the will to live and getting changed.

So, running kit on, I turned on the Garmin and before i’d noticed the screen change, it had a signal. So off I went, flat seafront route bound, to ease my aching legs with a slow run that turned into a 3 miler at 8.11 average pace (i’m sure the device lies to flatter me sometimes). Today there was zero traffic, I picked and chose my crossing points on the road, it was so clear, but I was glad to get back in and look forward to tomorrow’s cross training.

But not until i’ve gone to an early bed.

Sport tracks wouldn’t upload the data automatically, so I had to import it from a file (i’m surprised I managed it, but I must be getting better at computers after all) i’d exported temporarily from Training Centre. That’s despite shutting down to try and sort it. Hopefully it’ll sort itself for next time. But it’s the runs that count, not the recording of them, so i’ll worry not too much.

The usual mince pie was eaten, forgot my banana so the energy bar was essential. And today, it tasted fantastic. Think i’ll be baking mince pies myself though, somehow, judging by the shelves this week. Worried? Mmm, maybe.

Old Town, my arse

Today, I had the excitement of looking forward to a 6 miler. But unlike my enjoyable runs in the past, up the hills for a 6 mile circuit to Sainsbury’s and back, this one wanted to be a) done at pace and b) in such a style that it didn’t cripple me before my 11 miles around an interesting route on Saturday. Yep, it’s all about the long runs, now.

So, today would be mainly on the seafront.

The sea has been (on the 3 occasions i’ve glimpsed it) the calmest i’ve ever seen it today – it seems a gentle easterly set in and the harbour arm (well, the bit the fishing fleet launches next to, anyway) was sheltering the leeward side, the result being truly flat calm seas along the front. Which made not a jot of difference at 5.30 when I set out, except to bring the temperature down to chilly.

And as I set out eastwards on the first leg of the run, as well as chuckling at the optimistic “Old Town” tat shop names (why the insistence on local traders hoping a name associating things with the “nice”[it’s all relative – this is still Hastings i’m referring to!] part of the town, I have no idea. I guess it’s better than “Shite Town” names, but the trades descriptions acts would at least find them selling appropriate goods with such honesty), I was dismayed to find the tired leg of the run would be into wind.

I was more dismayed, when I turned around, to find the wind on my still cool (only a mile in) back was actually horrible and chilling to the spine. Nuts. Still, looking at the Garmin, it encouraged my time to come down a bit, so it’s not all bad. But again, with my maths on the move calculating how far away from site I should run so the turnaround point brought me back at 6 miles, my fourth mile was the quickest at 7.45 while I didn’t check my pace at all, which in a way is pleasing. But hopefully the incentive to sprint when i’m not paying attention will soon diminish. I didn’t spend anywhere near as much time as usual checking how much I was beating my virtual partner by, but my mile times are consistent (apart from the fourth) to within 5 seconds of each other. Seems i’m finding a pace. Shame it’s 19 seconds a mile quicker than i’d planned to race at.

Ah, well, I can always slow down.

3 miles tomorrow. Another mince pie today. And a banana. And a 360 calorie energy biscuit thing, which was very nice, but I think I over-toasted the pecan nuts – something to address on the next batch.

This marathon training might make me fat, yet!