Monthly Archives: January 2011

And a fun run to finish

Having achieved one of my initial targets for Janathon (running and blogging it everyday) but having failed at all others (interval sessions mixed in, being uninjured, enjoying vast swathes of the running time!), it’s with some relief that the final run has been almost enjoyable in itself.

Having successfully put in a mile that I enjoyed yesterday, I decided today that I wouldn’t be going to running club tomorrow to feel the luxury of not “having” to run to the fullest. I’ve promised JogBlog we’ll go on Thursday instead. My promise for tonight was that, since my pains seem to have reached their temporary peak, I’d take some Audiofuel out for a jaunt around Park Farm.  That promise eased into the idea that I could slip in an interval session before I have a running rest.

So I left the house with no music on, plodded up the road in dutiful easy paced style to have a warm up, eased around the top corner at snails pace to allow breathing to be as natural as possible before I crossed the road and tuned straight in to 175BPM of running inspiration.

Keep your feet to the beat indeed!

30 days of Janathon; three colds; a crippling stabbingly painful left foot bridge; a floating, moving, aching but sharp pained right shin and a current chest full of fluid when I breathe hard rendered me most uncomfortable, I must admit.

Before the month, 175BPM was my pace of choice for a pacey but manageable 2 mile outing. Tonight, I decided it’d be better in shorter bursts so did links of 175 pace followed by equidistant (ish) recoveries. The interval splits are themselves much slower than before the month, indicating I am now shortening my stride to maintain cadence. A result of the pain, I guess. I now have a benchmark run to gauge recovery and improvement as the year goes on. Tesco corner to the corner of the park can be my new marker for performance review.

Something good has come out of the month.

But now it’s over. A great month of seeing everyone else’s journey to this point makes me look forward to the year ahead with great anticipation.

I hope to see many of you reading this participating in Juneathon as well as continuing to exercise/jog/blog as the non-event months progress. One of the most interesting things about setting up the Google Reader for my Junathon judging last year was seeing how few bloggers kept up much intensity in activity throughout the rest of the year. Inevitable initially, I agree, but it took ages until many regulars became, erm, “regular” again! I hope Janathon doesn’t do the same for us all, but it’ll be great to keep seeing how you all do over the coming months.

Still, for me there is now a garden to concentrate on at weekends; windows to make in the evenings; a house to renovate/decorate to Jogblog standards over the coming months/years; lots of cycling to do; a motorbike to ride; oh, and  Jogblog to make happy in all the bits of time in between.

Hopefully the year will go well from here.

Happy Janathon. Roll on Juneathon and keep up the good work.

I know I will be.

1864.38 miles to go.

Is it over yet?

If I make as many spelling mistakes in the next few words as in the bit I’ve just scrapped, this will be the shortest blog ever. If it just stops in the middle of nowhere, you know what went wrong. Fingers just aren’t working.

Woke up early and then fell back to sleep this morning, then arose to a chorus of unhealthiness as my cold infested lungs and nose attempted to kickstart themselves for the day. Great start!

I got out and felted the shed roof before lunch to then allow for shopping and dicking around with roof details (not happy with the junction between shed roof and log store roof but it’ll wait until summer when I can be arsed to stand and fiddle with it in the warm instead of the cold breeze) after, but with the promise of Jogblog cycling with me as I trotted along if it was still daylight, timing was crucial to allow a run with company.

I fancied my latest 6 mile loop and that’s where I headed. Foot pain and leg pain haven’t increased since last night and my chest feels a bit cleaner than it has, so 6 seemed doable as long as I took it easy and, with the low sun providing a counter to the lazy cold wind, it was at times pleasant enough to be out enjoying it.

The run up the hill towards the bit in the middle of nowhere was nasty into the biting wind but the other side proved nice enough past the best treehouse in the world ever and around the owl sanctuary but, just past this, JB suggested I show her the route over the bypass which she couldn’t find for a sea of builders in the week, so I dutifully did. Unfortunately, because it’s an unmade path of gravel and stones, she fell behind pace and I looped in tight circles waiting for her so she didn’t take a different route home (I had no keys!) and put in the slowest mile of the run to leave me, with a mile to go, 33 seconds behind my target run pace of averaging 8 minute miles which, on my knackered lower legs, is about as much as I can withstand in pain terms. Unfortunately, upon seeing this information, I decided to accept a challenge to myself and make sure I could grab back the time.

A few seconds of fumbling with the Garmin to change it to virtual partner, a removal of the hat into JB’s bike basket and a few deep breaths later and I was off on a challenge.

Pace duly upped, I eased up the only real slope of the mile without gaining much on target, then put the breathing into gear as far as possible without commencing a coughing fit and increased leg tempo, holding it high enough to be confident of a sub 7 minute mile for as long as I could until I started puffing and had to slow for coughs.

Mercifully, no coughing came until I stopped at home.

The final full mile pace was 6.56. From 33 seconds over target I managed (with a super quick sprint over the final yards) to finish 39 seconds under target when I stopped.

As well as getting to within a whisker of my Janathon target of 124 miles for the month (RunningFree online has fooled me! Because of the way it rounds miles up or down, I thought I had 117 miles yesterday. I did, but didn’t know if that was nearer 116.5 or 117.5. It turns out it was very near 117.5. So near, in fact, that today’s outing puts me on 123.5 total for the month. Yip, yip, yippee! Only half a mile tomorrow to meet my target!), the run encourages me that even with a nasty cold there is some fire in the lungs and ability in the body somewhere. I’ve got to convert that final mile pace into a 13.1 mile run before the year’s out to reach my goal, but I’ve got to be hopeful it’s possible as long as I can get rid of my niggling injuries and train properly.

Highway Kind has been suggesting (for about 2 years, patient fellow that he is!) I find someone professional who can help identify a) what’s wrong and b) how I can avoid the constant repetitions of injury that I’m experiencing. It’s about time I took his advice, I reckon. A month of activity has degenerated into a month of whining about how I’m not doing very well in the pain stakes. My mileage has suffered, as has my comfort and my health. And my desire to go out and improve myself, I fear.

It’ll be good to get back to normal after tomorrow and see how the next month treats me with more rest, a few interval sessions, a bit more cycling and loads more gardening thrown into the lifestyle mix.

About a million Janathon blogs to read up on now…all of them about to make me feel inadequate and insignificant, I guess! Fair play to you all and good exercising. Look forward to meeting some of you over the coming months; keep updating the Facebook page, if nothing else, to let us know who’s doing what events so meetings can be arranged (Wittersham 5 mile, Grim Beast of the East and Stelling Minnis 10k are my immediate adventures). It’s all fun running, really.

1867.24 miles to go.

Always a way

As the end of Janathon 2011 is nigh and my health seems to be on a downward spiral (I’ve typically had a bad cold in the third week of February the last two years, not for three bloody weeks in January!), I looked at Running Free last night and realised that if I wasn’t such a lightweight I’d have been able to log an average 4 miles a day for the running month. That’d be 124 miles total, by my reckoning.

Having lost all my early week decent average miles to two poor evenings, my mind wandered to how I could log some runs without making myself even more ill. The possible answer was multiple short outings.

This morning was both cold and grey out as I worked on the shed, which maybe isn’t the best thing to be doing while a bit ill but no-one else will do it and spring will soon be on us so it simply won’t wait. Just before lunch I launched myself at the longer looping route around Park Farm towards Tesco for a paper. 2.6 miles later and I was home, complete with running nose and (un) healthy cough. But a bit closer to my goal.

Lunch, a few drinks and some shed detailing later (going to felt the roof tomorrow hopefully) and I felt it time to see if I could add a couple more miles to the tally.

The wind has got up horribly and it truly is a bit bitter out, but out I went and a very slow pair of miles into and across the wind made me feel pretty rotten to say the least.

An increase in tempo for the last half mile had me warm by the time I got in but the worst bit of the day is getting to a mile out from home and having a splinteringly sharp pain resurrect itself from inside my left shin. A proper drop in pace showed it to be nothing immediate to stop for, but I’m a bit scared for tomorrow and the last half mile was a kill or cure test, really. I’m sat here with a bit of throbbing so am about to have a shower before massaging the area (it’s a bit tender to hammer it at the moment) to try and improve things for tomorow.

I’m now a tantalisingly close 8 miles from my target – 4 miles each day. Bang on the average I’m targetting. If the leg’s gone bad I’ll fail. If the cold gets worse overnight I may well fail. If I haven’t got the energy tomorrow to do a fair run, I’m not sure what I’ll do on Monday. I don’t fancy a full 4 miles Monday night, I’m so bored with my local night-time routes, but I feel so determined that I want to do it, somehow I think I just might.

Odd how the goals have changed over the month. I’m truly looking forward to a chance to heal and get back to normal through the rest of the year now.

Roll on summer!

1873.36 miles to go. Which means, if I manage 8 more miles for the month, I’ll be 22 miles below target for the year. Which, with a lot of cycling in the summer when the running mileage decreases from here, just might be manageable. Be interesting to see how it goes, anyway.

Eye Sore

Or even eyes sore. Both of them. For once again this lovely January I have a cold.

A proper eyes sore, nose running, sore kidneys, no energy, coughing lumps, why me three times in a month let alone a year cold.

Such is my dismay and feeling of incredulity that tonight’s run was to Tesco for some medicine. Only on a very rare occasion do I take things for ailments that will get better by themselves but since this cold seems to have not left my system all month, I’m giving my drug of choice a go.

 When I was 21 and first joined a site management team and fell ill halfway through the day and Ray Jones (great site manager, very funny, best arguments with a surveyor (Mark Bausola) ever regarding which generation of builders ruined building, him stating the young generation ie. Mark; Mark stating it was ruined by Ray’s lot who spoilt it with the tricks that lead to the boasting in regard to rip off theories that gave rise to the argument that it wasn’t like it used to be…it went on for months every time Mark came out. Unfortunately Ray died of cancer three years before he was due to retire; Mark died of several massive heart attacks that made him a vegetable for six months before he went at the ripe old age of 42. Neither seems very fair. But it never does.) gave me a Beechams Powder which made me feel like superman for about 3 hours which I considered a miracle, I’ve resorted to them in hours of need.

I know now that Beechams are vivisectionists and probably should find a better way of doing research, but if the bunnies and beagles feel half as good as I do after a dose of their medicine, I honestly don’t think they’ll be complaining. And if they do, I’m sure a good hair-wash in some new shampoo and another cigarette will make them feel happier about life when their next test is due. (For those of a sensitive nature, I promise that paragraph is an attempt at a joke. I’ll get my coat.)

So the run was a slightly extended route to the shop, the run back a slightly extended route on that coupled to much coughing and spluttering and the overall distance was a pathetic 2 miles.

Powder consumed and fluids downed and I almost feel human. Once I’ve put the washing away and had a coffee, a relatively early night will hopefully allow another Janathon exploit tomorrow.

1878.49 miles to go.



I just scrapped another long-winded, dull, self obsessed post about how woeful my Janathon has been.

It hasn’t, really. I’m still running even if it is on two lower legs that are ruinous balls of fire. But it’s my choice and I can always stop.

While I may have a bit of a limp and can’t decide which way to go with it (to protect my left foot or right shin…ever the dilemma!), getting up in the morning is a challenge to see how much pain the stairs will bring on…and, sadly, I quite like that experience.

My cold seems to be coming back yet again and I really do want time to recover – but not as much as I want to put in 4 runs, even if they are pitiful excuses and a shadow of my true running ability.

I’m properly looking forward to having no booked races, but want to get pain free for Wittersham and see if I can enjoy a race on fresh, fit legs after the best taper ever (I might well do no running at all from next Tuesday until the race, just because I’ll be able to!).

I want to keep the fitness I must have in preparation for the 32 miles a day I intend to do cycling to work as soon as the risk of being flattened on a dark back road subsides.

Basically, I guess, I’m looking forward to the changes the turn of the seasons will bring. I’ve got to the stage where I feel January has been wasted in running and blogging and reading blogs while the world has passed me by. But in a parallel to marathon training, at least it’ll stop now – last year it continued right through to the end of April.

I think I’m going to go to bed now. It’s late, I’ve a big day tomorrow (Managing director, contracts director, chairman, client, prospective new developers and two bank representatives coming to see how incompetent I am at building housing estates), and have I mentioned I’m a bit sore?

Ah. Sorry.

1880.53 miles to go.

Almost enough

I felt great yesterday after the run and a nice steak went down and satisfied both meat cravings and hunger pangs in one solid meaty feast. Unfortunately I was late to bed as a result and post midnight arrivals in the land of nod coupled with a few miles run twinned to pre-7 o’clock starts and 5.30 finishes has left me with energy reserves teetering on the grumpily low.

It was as much as I could do to cut the wood for the fire this evening after the run. Discovering I’d forgotten to purchase milk was a chore too far. I was in the process of deciding which bike to take when I just gave up and (rain being a bit of an excuse but not a good enough one) climbed into the car.

Bad. Very bad.

I simply hate using fossil fuels and lazy cop-outs for stupid errands but I feel I’m too tired to fight it today, so will just live with it. The chance to tick another mile off the 2011 challenge hasn’t gone unnoticed, either, and if I happen to be at 2010 miles and heading out for a swift mile on NYE, I’ll think back to tonight and punch myself.

The run was an ordeal of mind over feet, really. My garmin kept relating that I was missing the split times to average 8 minute miles (I never saw it exactly on the mile markers, but with 48 second increments to calculate where I stood in relation to the target and time aplenty on my hands through the plodding pace, I can easily work out where I am). And none of the times I was working out worried me; just being out was reward enough for this period of the challenge. But it is now odd when I look at the splits to find an initial mile outside target and all subsequent splits being below the target marker. So a run done without being decidedly slow to boot. Marvellous.

Time to head for bed and a much needed catch up on zeds, I feel. Tomorrow will bring challenges aplenty, I know – I’m just hoping going for a plod doesn’t become one of them and lead me into the temptation of an extremely short outing.

1883.75 miles to go


I went to a club tonight.

A running club.

The Ashford and District Roadrunners club, to be accurate (I think!). It was, as much as anything, a try out to a) break the monotony of always running alone with no reference, conversation or shared enjoyment; b) get Jogblog over there to meet some likeminded runners and restore her mojo and c) hope to bring enjoyment and knowledge to my outings.

It was, despite being wet, a thoroughly good outing. Everyone seemed amicable enough, JB got dragged out and ended up doing a great distance (albeit slowly) despite last minute reservations and I ran my slowest run of the last three years over any distance except when hobbling the marathon on a broken leg but had a good time and want to find out more about it all, I think.

My only reservation is in deciding I’d head back for a five and a half miler instead of joining three of the others for seven miles so as not to keep JB waiting too long, only for her to get back having done over seven miles herself about 45 minutes after I’d started to wonder whether she’d gone and left for home already.

Ah, well, no harm done.

My legs feel fresher than when I left, I need to decide how to shuffle any schedule around club outings and whether Tuesday or Thursday wil be a better evening to run, but I think I’ll be back.

Still not sure whether it’ll be next week when I should be enjoying a night off after Janathon or quite when, but it will happen, I think. Maybe a fully paid up club runner will emerge from the tatters that are my legs after all. A sociable occasion tied in with a jogging outing?


Ps. I wasn’t told of any rules, so have no worries about breaking any of them – if I shouldn’t be talking about it, I’m sure someone will tell me.

1887.86 miles to go

The final hurdle

Yep, I’m counting down to the end of the annual festival of excuses already which, with 7 runs to go might be abit early, but it’ll so appreciated when it arrives I’m going to make the most of it!

I coerced Jogblog into coming out on her bike while I ran tonight, which wasn’t as good as it seems. She got as far as the end roundabout, having promised her chocolate, heat and all sorts of things to actually do some Janathoning whereupon she decided she didn’t know where I was going since I’d opened up a good gap while she was waiting for traffic (the idea was to stick to cycle lanes so she wouldn’t get run over) and I “Jayran” if that’s a term to cross the junctions. Her answer to this was to turn around so, while I was around a corner and out of sight, I had no idea what she was doing. I do know that she knew I had a key, though, so I wondered if she’d taken one or not so returned homeward in case she decided to sit outside and beat me up when I returned if she couldn’t get in. Happily, she had a key and just made excuses when I asked what had happened. Bah.

So from there, I set out again to complete the run.

Both legs were painful, to be fair – the right shin and left foot as well as bits of toes where cut from the weekend and a bit of residual shin ache in the left side. Apart from the usual, they’re just over-use hiccups, so I can deal with them I think.

4 miles went reasonably smoothly.

Tomorrow is JB’s second promise to go to running club. If she really wants to and isn’t ill again, I’m keen to join her. I want to see what a club is all about but fear that, depending on the rules, I may not be able to talk about it. Experiencing such a thing might be good, even if my legs are in tatters at the moment. The worst thing might be that if I enjoy it I’ll want to go again next week, when next week is the first of February and thus the first evening I can be lazy and not run.

Oh, the dilemma.

Still, my body seems to be accepting the mileage at last. I did upper body exercise last night and didn’t feel over-exerted at all. Nicely achey due to it having been a couple of weeks since a good workout, but not exhausted like I feared. Odd that I couldn’t push the sit-ups until they hurt, though. I just felt weary and tired instead.

It’ll all come good though, I’m sure. Did I mention a mere 7 runs to go? Ah, thought so.

1892.45 miles to go.


A good evening eating pizza in Canterbury (Posillipo restaurant…very, very good if you’re ever in the city and want decent food at good prices, not chain rubbish cooked by spotty students) was followed by a sprightly start to today involving cleaning the car and progressing the shed.

I was never going to get the shed finished but at least it’ll be roofed next weekend and capable of storing what it’s designed for – the paint may have to wait until it’s dried a bit, but it’ll all but be there.

Lunch brought a pause to proceedings, followed by shopping and then the planned run.

I wasn’t sure how far to go and have been spying many other runners as their mileage increases in marathon training and the like and fancying putting in some long runs, but knowing I have the luxury of no firm race dates, as well as the frustrations of plenty of niggling injuries.

Well, thankfully, sense had the upper hand and mileage plans were sensible. As I set off, my stride was very heavy and ungainly; I was frustrated by the lingering cold, annoyed by how dark it’s been all day and generally in need of a mood lift. The best I could find was that this is the penultimate weekend of Janathon and I was still running.

After a fashion! My legs were everywhere, but about half a mile in, I focused on my gait and pulled myself straight for a relatively comfortable half mile. I decided on a varied directional loop of normal roads until I got to Bliby Plastics’ warehouse, where I hatched a plan to do a road I’ve only done once before because it puts any distance between the pigeonholed mileage I usually aim for. Or so I thought. But today might just suit it, I reckoned.

It was indeed a revelation. A slight climb up the only hillock for miles, it skirts some gorgeous houses and fields before dropping you past the most ornate treehouse I know and past the owl sanctuary. Very good for taking the mind off tired legs. And, as it turns out, happens to be exactly 6 miles of running. Perfect.

The return was a direct affair with a bit more pain becoming apparent in my toes. Which, it turns out, is ridiculous and completely self inflicted stupidity. Upon returning home, I took my socks off to look at my left foot which felt like it had blistered. Worse – the third toe has been cut on the underside by the next one’s nail. Balls. Even worse – the right foot second toe has been cut identically by the third. Just for being lazy and ignoring my nails for a few days too many. Both feet now with added blood to go with the all round pain. I could say Bah!

Ah, well. At least they match the blood blister on my left second finger I obtained by being a dick with the shed.

Sore digits all round.

On a bright note, I feel full of energy and have had two great sleeps this weekend. And with the last full week of Janathon to go, even I feel a lift in mood and think the end is at last in sight.

1896.49 miles to go.


It seems frustrating that the country is shadowed by a huge, unmoving area of high pressure and I seem to be stuck in an area that insists on precipitating most of the time.

The high should be creating stability, despite creating coldness due to location and time of year, but I don’t much like cold rain and drizzle non-stop – it’s putting a right downer on proceedings.

I set out to the post office to update my driving licence photo and decided I’d take the bike and tick off a few more of the 2011 miles I’m counting. The back wheel spun each time I pulled away from a junction (it seems slicks and winter temperatures and wet tarmac aren’t very compatible…makes for very cautious cornering and braking, to say the least! Maybe I’ll stick to the mountainbikes until it dries and warms a bit.) and as I arrived at Stubbs Cross, a heavy drizzle settled in.

After the few minutes inside it was properly raining so my paper went down the fleece and all I could do was settle down for a couple of miles of misery into a headwind and driving rain.

Blocking high pressure indeed. Still – could be snowing!

So upon getting home I gave the shed door a coat of paint in the garage before lunch, popped out to deliver JB to the station and buy the roofing felt then fixed a few more weatherboards in the gap between showers before a change and start of the run.

I didn’t have any enthusiasm for a decent distance but wanted to avoid the evening routes at all costs so settled into a slow rhythm with all the running pressure going through the outstep of both feet to avoid any more lower leg pain than felt absolutely necessary and plodded through the occasional light drizzle for a relaxing 6 miles.

I have to say, I felt more enthusiastic about the run having got home but it wasn’t too bad. The left foot seems to have settled into manageable pain, the right shin is in a state of flux – neither getting worse nor better but is far better than just over a week ago. I don’t know what to target tomorrow until I get up and assess the weather and what I might get done. I really want to press on with the shed, but we’ll see.

So now it’s to Canterbury to meet JB and Gary for a pizza. Nice.

1902.53 miles to go.