Monthly Archives: July 2009

A day late

Oh, yes. Following my painful run on Monday, Tuesday was a late evening at work which, as luck would have it, interfered with my planned weights session. So, what with still suffering a painful ankle that could do with more rest, I decided to cycle in again yesterday and do the weights a day late, thus leaving today for the run.

Perfect.

But for getting wet on the way to work yesterday and being in the car this morning through gorgeous sunshine. Ok, so the sun gave way to rain, but it wouldn’t have made me wet either way. Poo.

So, at twenty past five, I got changed and set out for a sprightly 3 miles around the lanes, deciding to do the route backwards. And, hopefully, reasonably easily.

So when I set off and felt puffed out all the way through the first mile, I was a little perturbed. But then I realised it was a run on the back of two days on the bike, so my rhythm was shot and I simply took a little while longer than usual to settle down. The first climb went quite well, the flat after it was fine, my toe hurt a lot on the next downhill (but I won’t mention it) and the last uphill left me panting far too much, but with only a mile to go, all was well.

A stop to let a dog decide whether to say hello, wait for it’s owner or carry on regardless provided a welcome break but also destroyed what little rhythm i’d built up, but back at the office I reflected on a good jaunt, one run closer to the half and another week at work done.

Tomorrow, i’ll be mostly driving and enjoying Cathy’s birthday present, Saturday will lead to a “I haven’t a clue what run to do, not having kept to a schedule and not having a 5k route to race” dilemma but i’m sure it’ll work itself out.

Oh, the excitement of a non-training programme!

A list

Not as in “A” list, just a list. Of things that mostly either hurt before, during or after running. Just for a change. And with bullets, if I can make them work. And if you knew how excited I was to work out how to use bullets just 2 years ago, you’d probably shit yourself. A bit slow, I am.

  • All day; my right hamstring. Continued to do so while running.
  • As soon as I started running; left ankle. Just inside the inner bone initially. Spread to the whole ankle after mile 1.
  • About a mile in; right calf. Mild, but niggling.
  • About 2 miles in; left shin, developed from the ankle, I think.
  • About 3 miles in; left knee. Very mild, but unusual.
  • All the time, everyday; Left big toe. But i’m not allowed to mention it. Jogblog says so.

And now i’ve been shopping, drawn my dinner (google the web-page or look on Facebook – it’s amusingly ok and fun!) and put out bins and stuff, I’m left with the hamstring, toe (don’t mention it) right calf and, rather bizarrely, left calf.

I can’t imagine why everything’s gone on the blink, it was only 3.5 miles, yesterday was a nice stretchy day after the run and the pace wasn’t too hot. Time to see if everything settles down over the next couple of days and I carry on, or have a rest for a bit and start again.

We’ll see. Maybe it’s the rain and that taking their toll. Maybe my body wants a moan. Well, it was enjoyable enough, so i’ll see how it goes. And none of them feels serious.

Which is nice.

Sunday?

Well, yes, it would seem so.

After a poorly planned Saturday left little opportunity for doing everything, I actually had to get up and get organised this morning to get out for my planned 6 miles. And with a dislike for morning runs, it wasn’t a nice thing.

Still, getting myself in the mood with a bit of shelf painting, I donned shorts and trainers and headed out the door.

Now I can’t claim it was exactly flowing in pace or style, but as the miles passed on what’s certainly my favourite route, things were quite nice. And a right turn instead of a nasty loop allowed me to run until a decent turnaround point was found down a lane i’ve only paced down once.

Very nice.

Had to take my glasses off for the last two miles owing to an inability to stop them bouncing wildly, but that felt strangely satisfying in itself, so all in, a decent stroll out to increase the miles.

And only a shower of rain yesterday. Will this summer never cease in the delights and wonders it brings?

Probably.

Wet. Ness.

Bored with the rain, now. Between 7 and 8.30 last night , 8 mm fell. Not an astounding amount except for the precipitation not being exceptionally hard. At least it could have been accompanied by some thunder or something. Instead, it just seemed to add to the dullness of the season.

Ah, well.

The mood felt compounded by an inability to get to sleep, so this morning I was waaaaay tired and glad the car was to be the choice of transport to work. Shame really that I couldn’t strap the Garmin to the vehicle for the 3 mile plod around the lanes – at least then, it might have shown some spirit in the pace.

A nice run all round, though. Knowing I wasn’t feeling full of beans, I set out for a slower pace, didn’t force things, lost plenty of seconds on the uphill stretches and just loped home on about three cylinders. Starting off chilly, I was surprised to sweat so much on the journey, but I guess I still need a haircut so can’t grumble.

Well, couldn’t. Not until the rain again pounded the windscreen on the way home. At least I wasn’t cycling through it, unlike last night.

Can we have some summer, please? Spring’s pissing me off now.

Tender

I think that sums up my legs at the moment, anyway.

Sunday simply disappeared in a sea of shopping, grass cutting and doing stuff (including fantastic co-ordination in cooking a roast and making mince pies at the same time, in order to pop them in the oven afterwards; it was astounding. Shame I forgot the last bit and turned the oven off. Oops.)

And today at work, the morning slipped away in a sea of crane approval paperwork and frustration to leave a hectic afternoon that also went far too fast. Until 5.15, when I stopped and pulled on my running kit for 3 miles on the hilly bits around site.

The first decision for the run involved using a path I found by mistake, looking for short cuts on the cycle to work – it’s not a shortcut, but does avoid three corners where I nearly got run over last week. The second involved running at a comfortable pace. But this one went awry straight away when I was again feeling frisky.

I have picked up on a Garmin flat spot, though – after a quarter of a mile, my time goes amazingly downhill – I lost 9 seconds in about 200 yards today, similar erratic behaviour to last week (but I wasn’t paying too much attention last week and thought it was my pace playing up). Then, about 200 yards later, i’d gained 12 seconds overall. And the split was repeated on the return journey, despite me being about 100 yards away on another path for the return leg. Very strange. Especially when the distance tallies well with Gmap-pedometer distances. I’ll not worry about it too much in future.

So, I ran along a path beside a field instead of the road, found I had all the drive in the world for my uphill bit, eased off for the stretch along the top of the village, then powered down the hill before the big climb back towards site.

Only now am I feeling sore. I’m going to stretch for England while I clean my teeth later (the only time I don’t think of stretching as wasting time. Sorry if it makes me weird!), hoping to get some stiffness away from my calves. I’ve got tomorrow to cycle to work, which should ease things a touch more, so overall i’m well pleased with how things are progressing.

And I think i’m about to pick my first ripe tomato of the year. Fantastic.

Success!

Well, a little bit compared to last week, anyway.

Following on from not having the energy for 5 miles last Saturday, I had an extra bit of toast yesterday morning and hoped. Since last week, i’ve exercised every day at least once but, due to all of the exercises being different, feel surprisingly good. I’m hoping that a good mix of weights, running and cycling will stand me in good stead for the middle distances i’m attempting shortly, with an eye on what really works for my marathon training over the winter as the inevitable mileage build up begins on the runs. Basically, if I can avoid one run a week, i’m going to try.

Still didn’t help yesterday as I put running off all day until 5 o’clock came around and I still felt lethargic, though.

But with the pizza dough rising and Cathy making me feel guilty (don’t know how when she’s got an unblogged run and weights session to catch up on, to say nothing of a running schedule to maintain, but there you are. I’ll get caned for that sentence soon. Make the most of it before I get the cold shoulder, I guess!), I pulled on some running shorts and looked out of the window to be greeted by rain. Again.

Ah, well, the clouds looked as though they were on the move, so it wouldn’t last, I guessed, and left the washing out as I set off.

Planning to beat my brain and get rid of last week’s associations of failure, I did the 5 mile route backwards. I don’t think i’ve ever done it that way before, but I fancied a change and also a set pace so thought i’d give it a go.

Away from the house, all I was doing was checking my virtual partner to maintain my pace. And it took some checking, always finding myself sprinting off at an unsustainable pace. I’m sure the cycling to work is making me a monster for fast first miles. It was good to keep the pace somewhere near my target, though, especially since this is the start of mileage increase. Bad that after a mile I thought I had it cracked and stopped checking so regularly only to find that in the second mile, I gained 20 seconds on target, though.

Somehow, my pace felt easy, my feet felt light and with little effort, I was flying. To the point that if I compare my pace for the target “long, slow” run with Cathy’s Runners World calculator and my target half marathon pace, I was 85 seconds ahead. With no increased breathing, no stress and no effort, that can’t be right. RW seems to be 20 seconds slower than Hal Higdon, but what that means for either a) injury potential or b) my target pace, I simply don’t know. But, as determined a while ago, i’m ignoring structured schedules and running what feels right. So I carried on.

The rest of the run felt somewhat the same. I had to dodge 3 pairs of cars on the route (cars on the lane passing opposite directions right where I was – how’s your luck when I only saw about 25 cars total) and the rain kept up until half way around, but it was all good. After mile two I kept checking the pace to make sure I wasn’t going silly fast, but settled into a gradual improvement and insistently didn’t pick things up for the last half mile to home.

I got in hot, but generally fresh and happy. No time for a blog, what with pizza to make and eat and everything that having a shower entails, but generally pleased.

And here I am, blogging on Sunday morning while I decide if the rain’s going to hold off so I can do outdoorsy type things again. With fresh legs indicating the pace was realistic after all. Now, if I can convert that pace to the race, the target is very much on. Still a long time to go and a correspondingly large distance to increase, but I think i’m up for it.

Haven’t felt this positive for a very long time. A good cold due to knock me off my perch, anyone?

Bath – home of the drop-out?

Today has been mostly spent wasting.

Another day of my life in the car and on a course that both turned out to be needless. 2 months ago, course instructions came through which I queried as a course i’d already attended. Then it was in Brentford. This time, Bath. No-one even had the decency to reply to my queries and, the company being so inflexible there’s no arguing, I duly attended. So today was that day and a 4.30 start was followed by 3 hours driving 170 miles to Bath. Then, 5 minutes into the course, it was confirmed that yes, it was the same course as a year ago. Barring 3 photos that had been updated, it was in fact exactly the same.

Cock and balls.

I hate my employer.

And being so far away, the bonus of finishing at 3.30 isn’t even a bonus. More a “if it’s really less than a day’s course, please don’t patronise me by making the driving part the largest bit of the day”. Still, the train would have taken a trip overnight to make the start time, so at least that trauma wasn’t an option.

So, last night I had the foresight to consider coming home through the rush hour and the lack of running time afterwards. So I packed my running kit with the thought of giving the Garmin a trip around another part of the country.

And, at 3.30, having got changed in the car park (another piece of evidence in Cathy’s armoury of proof in having a boyfriend obsessed with exposing himself!), the Garmin got started.

Now Bath must be the home of the wino. I’m sure of it. Maybe I have got too sheltered, but around the corner from the office, I passed two drunks rowing about who was most obnoxious. Giving them a wide berth, I carried on a little loop to take me to the canal that i’d found at lunch time, having to cut through a million students on the way.

It was truly a nice afternoon (following the rain of the morning), so crossing the road to the canal, I was hoping for a nice jog along by the water. Only to be nasally assaulted by the unmistakeable stench of stale piss, body odour, cigarettes and cider emanating from three more drunks on a bench, this time taking their frustrations out on their dogs. Holding my breath, I dodged them to line up, about 200 yards away, a typical drunk woman, this time with two dogs to complement her bedraggled look as she leant over the park railings, vomiting.

I was getting the hang of this, I thought.

Still, the route cleared as I passed a sign that indicated the canal path (or route, at least…I didn’t follow it all the way!) went all the way to Bristol, a mere 15 miles away. Seemed a civilised way to join the two areas. If only the next bench hadn’t hidden two more drunks having a dry hump. Not nice. Not nice at all. What the hell route has all these people in such a state while college kids, skaters and runners like me are all carrying on as though nothing odd is going on?

I didn’t like it.

Still the next mile and a bit was ok. Nice and sunny, nice and flat and the only other drinking was a group of 4 college kids distributing some Strongbow into little Panda Pop size bottles to each other. Ahh, how sweet – serving an apprenticeship in cider for the main event when they join the proper drunks a mile away. Still, at least the girls still had their make-up on so I guess they were only having a laugh, not a lifestyle choice.

And then I turned around, headed for the car, took a little detour that felt like it would take me to the same place without having to vomit over the dirty drunks and true enough, did, and got in the car.

For a wasted 3.5 hour drive home.

So, the Garmin has seen Bath, I didn’t get any more out of the place than I did when I was last there in 1992 with the college, a broken wrist and worse hair than I have at the moment, but I think it looks quite nice for a proper look in a year or so, maybe. Does anyone know if Bath is worth a better look? Or shall I take two poor trips as proof that better places are everywhere to be found?

Just over 3 miles, 7.19 average pace, rubbish day.

I’m off to bed.

Typical

I’m sorry, but it is. I book a week off and it rains for 5 days of it then, just as I return to work, the sun shines all day with fantastic temperatures and I get all annoyed at my luck. Still, that’s all it is, and (ah, there goes my English teacher again – a comma followed by “and”…great!) it does at least prove i’m the luckiest man on the planet…all of it bad.

Still, I did elect to drive to work and run this evening, which is exactly what happened. In such heat, my hair really is getting a bit of a joke. I’ve almost agreed with myself that i’ll attempt to go for the longest i’ve ever managed without getting it cut, but with another 4 weeks to go, I don’t think doing it through the summer will prove the most sensible idea ever. We’ll see.

However, the run was odd. My legs couldn’t get used to running to start with and my first mile was an erratic affair, not assisted much by indecision as to route. I chose the one where I nearly got run over 6 times in the end, so I won’t be repeating it in a hurry, but it was a nice change, with two decent hills in 3 miles, so i’ll have to adapt the route out and back for my hill repeats, I think. Assuming I do them, of course. With my legs being as sore as they are, however, I might leave it a few weeks before I go for that particuler option.

It wasn’t a bad run, though, I feel better for it, and at least the half marathon campaign has got off to a good start.

Out of energy

This week, i’ve mostly been off work. Which was nice.

But (hope my old English teacher reads this – starting a paragraph with “but” used to give her all sorts of facial colours in frustration at how retarded we were) after Monday’s run, my legs have been sore from the knee down to add to the constant pain in my left big toe (which i’m not allowed to mention. It’s the toe that fucked up last September, which I won’t give the doctor the pleasure of telling me what’s wrong with it, only to have him smugly say nothing can be done. Or that it can be done, but i’d have to stay off it for 8 years or something. It’s only a toe. But it does hurt. Lots. All the time. And no amount of stretching, pulling, resting or bending does anything to help it. Hot or cold, the pain’s the same. Even Ibuprofen gel doesn’t help. But I won’t mention it. Oh, no.), which has been a bit annoying since the weather’s been so shit, running might have been the one thing i’d have got something out of. Instead, in an attempt to enjoy the week, I did some shelving, more shelving, shopping, getting new tyres on the motorbike, preparing a window for paint, an afternoon out looking at rhinos, elephants and monkeys and a single skydive.

I guess the soreness is due to not enough running for over a week followed by a quick pace for 4 miles, but it usually goes much quicker. Still, today it felt ok, so after going out to buy paint (got wet on the motorbike again. While it hadn’t rained at home all morning. How’s your luck?) and actually getting to apply some undercoat to the window, I set off for a slowish 5 miles.

But only got just under 3 when I had to stop.

Yep, stop. Simply couldn’t find the energy to carry on. Empty stomach, shaking legs, the lot. And I had lunch and breakfast. Very odd. Took about 2 minutes of swearing, shaking, drinking, quivering, wondering what was going on and swearing some more before I got going again, with barely a spring in my step.

So, pissed off, I took the shortcut home for a 3.5 mile route, made a cup of tea, had my last energy bar (hopefully blog it on Planet Veggie tomorrow if the promised rain hits us all day. If it’s not raining, i’ll be painting, going for lunch on the bike and skydiving. Sorry.) and now i’m having a sulk.

Which might go on for a few weeks, but hopefully will lift with a shower and a beer later.

Still, with 13 weeks until the Royal Parks half, hopefully I can sort fuelling issues out before then. Maybe it’s just a glitch having eased off the cycling to work thing as well as changing routine quite so dramatically for the week. I’ll see next week, with any luck.

Yep, work on Monday. Yippee.

Or is that oh, cock? Still, hopefully fewer than 440 days to go.

Back to it

This week, i’ll mostly be off work.

Which, as far as dedicated exercise goes, can be taken as both good and bad. Good that yesterday was the first for ages that i’ve had the energy to properly weight train; good that today I went for a proper training style run; good that I also went out (in a fine old fashioned, knuckle-dragging “get your knee down everywhere and anywhere you can, you slacker! style) on the motorbike, despite the good being tempered by getting soaked on the way home, which incidentally was done by the shortest possible route (24 miles) owing to a nail in my back tyre (3 punctures in 5400 miles having been 18 years previously without one. Something’s not right!) and a desire to not have to push; bad because my 16 mile cycling option for exercise isn’t done on auto pilot.

Okay, then. On balance being off work is a great thing.

Still, I couldn’t summon the enthusiasm for the run this morning, so went at my usual after work time, partly out of habit, partly because it works for me and partly because it’ll feel natural when I start to pick thing up in mileage ready for the Royal Parks Half. I think there’s 14 weeks to go, so it’s about time to start, I guess. I’m not going to try and stick to any co-ordinated training plans this time. I seem to be stuck in the above a novice but not intermediate runner capability. I know i’ll get injured or worn out or both if I go for 5 runs a week, know i’ll perform badly if I use a pure novice plan, so have decided to do what I feel to be right in order to enjoy the thing.

If that means not running for a bit, that’s what i’ll do. If it means running more because I feel like it, then so be it – but i’ll keep an eye on both plans to ensure I neither slip under the novice or exceed the intermediate plan in any time period. My difficulty is going to get the balance right for doing a good time. I fancy a sub 1.40 time if I can, but know this will be at the sticky edge of my performance envelope. It corresponds to the equivalent time on McMillan’s running calculator from my poor race in the Ashford 10k last year (felt slack and pace-less), so should be achievable with a good performance on race day, but I just don’t know.

Guess all I can do is try. And today, my 4.2 mile loop was outed at a surprisingly quick 7.15 average pace, so at least I know i’ve got the pace at the moment, albeit for about a third the distance.

It feels nice to be in control of my running, though. After the stick-to-the-programme London plan that went awry to getting fed up with Juneathon, it feels nice to just make it up as I go along. Almost back to the spirit of four years ago when Geoff called the Canterbury half marathon out of the blue when I wasn’t training at all, with 8 weeks to prepare, when a time of 1.48.15 for the hilly course was a miracle of effort over preparation.

I fancy a bit more of the same. Shame it’s with a bit less youth!