Category Archives: Mince pie eating

A day behind

Yesterday at work was ridiculous. Despite trying to get organised enough to set myself up for a crane visit to place some chimneys and despite organising things so that I’d still be able to do my job over the whole site and not on a single portion of it (we’ve 62 houses under way now…none of them finished. It’s busy.), the laziness and ineptitude of those around me fucked things up again. I found myself forsaking breaks completely and was starving and thirstier than ever when I got into the office around 4.30, only to have one final push to try and get things ready for next week before leaving and finally getting home a fair bit later than I should.

Still thirsty and hungry, I went to bed promising a morning run but already feeling less than up to it.

11.30 came around and a route to do about 6 miles and collect Cathy’s bike from the station for a cycle home was hatched.

Somewhat optimistically, it turned out.

From early this morning I was drinking lots due to feeling dehydrated. Breakfast did nothing to ease my hunger. I set out in poor form and never improved.

I sacked off the planned route for a journeyman slog along the bypass towards the station, then detoured into Victoria Park for a loop. I planned to make this as long as I could. It turned out to be surprisingly short!

From heading away from the bike, I felt worse with every stride. A very small loop and an exploratory loop of the station to research the cycle route signed entrance (which proved my theory that there wasn’t in fact a route at all!) saw me feel ever worse until I arrived at the bike in a shattered state after just 4.6 miles.

The Garmin trace on SportTracks shows a deterioration in splits of disturbing proportions over the last two miles which backs up how I felt.

I then got overtaken and cycled away from on the pedalling part, so little energy was in my limbs.

I guess the positive is having a bad run but getting one done. Albeit short and not very fun. The negative is now (late Saturday afternoon) still feeling parched, having sore and tired eyes and doubts that I’ll be able to recover full distance form before a re-scheduled Grim in 4 weeks.

I’ll try. Theres a Christmas holiday to recover in, after all. Maybe I just need some mince pies.

A blog. I’ll call him Andrew.

And so the holiday that has grumbled on through constant 20 plus mile per hour winds and too much occasional rain for my and my underused motorcycle’s tastes has nearly exhausted itself.

Which was much the same as me when, after another little loop to increase my mileage to the planned 11 before heading up the hill and home, I bumped into my amazing girlfriend on her way to a business lunch with the local business elite (networking, apparently. That seems to me to equal spring rolls, bhajis, sandwiches and all else to make me jealous) whereupon I stopped and said hello befiore realising I wasn’t sure I could get started again.

The first 4 miles were surprisingly easy considering i’d slacked off yesterday’s run because of impending weekends away and sore knees, the hilly bit of the run went as most hilly sections do (but hilly is an overstatement – the road rolls a bit but the total climbs probably amount to about 4 inches, so please take my whining with a pinch of the necessary) and tired me out enough to reach for a jelly baby (always yellow. How many yellow ones in a pack? Far too many.) before the busy road past the Hawkenbury pub. Which, as usual, caused me to stop 3 times for lorries in opposing directions and messed up my rhythm completely.

But I shouldn’t moan, I guess. One of the re-starts made me perk up and realise what’s going wrong on the longer runs. As I get more tired, i’ve noted my form dips and I start to get out of symmetry, roll my shoulders as well as lengthening my pace and falling onto my heels more. I use the heels style deliberately sometimes to force a change in style to allow leg recovery, but hadn’t noted the other traits until today. And addressing them made the next couple of miles seem much easier. Whether through ease of running or through concentrating on something else, I don’t know, but it’s surely something to monitor in the future.

Still didn’t make it any easier to turn from home and do an extra 2 mile loop, though, just as I was feeling well worn out. My knees seemed to bear the brunt of the extra effort required and for the first time since the Hastings half 18 months ago, my knees feel as though they’ve been through a lot. They survived marathon training relatively unscathed so i’m not really worried about things, but it’s something to make sure is fixed before my next outing.

Which should be a shorty over the weekend, but being away and that may turn into Monday after work as I settle into some sort of routine before the 11th. Assuming the house doesn’t sell (having no holiday left to house hunt if things get serious, training time is the next obvious slot to nibble into!), things look promising for the race itself – enjoyment is the re-affirmed goal. With a time to be proud of hopefully being a bonus if things go well. I’ve prepared the energy bars, baked mince pies and everything this week – some good had better come out of them!

And so, to Cornwall! Well, after i’ve visited the pub in a couple of minutes, of course.


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.

Another Juneathon over

And no, it doesn’t seem anything like a year since the last one.

Last year, I was knackered and awaiting a rest. Because of my failure and return to occasional blogging (assisted by loaning my computer to Cathy and not being invited into her room to use it more than occasionally…apparently the end of Juneathon is one of those occasions, but roll on Dell returning my house to normality!), I feel well fired up.

Tomorrow will be another cycle to work day. I actually look forward to it every time, now. Despite my legs being absolutely ruined after the football – I think I should improve my stretching and mix things up more if the state of my inner thighs and ankles is anything to go by – this morning’s pedalling certainly helped things. Shame I can’t stop sweating like a horse and need to take on so much fluid every time, it actually feels like a chore.

It’s far too hot for me to run at the moment, though. I did a few weights on Sunday so will attempt a few more in a minute in an effort to return my body to some form before Royal Parks training kicks in and marathon training comes straight on the back of that. I’ll aim for one good and one bad run each week while it’s this hot – next week, i’m off work and not going away so will attempt to get up early to get a run in before the temperature rises too much. Then, it’ll be day trips with Cathy, bits on the house, motorbike, skydiving and fun all the way.

Bet it rains every day! Oh, and my turn to bake mince pies. And i’ll try to blog my energy bars.

Well done to everyone who did better at not exploding themselves during Juneathon than I and roll on next year. Thanks for all the comments on my blog, too.

Just hope the next year doesn’t seem to go as fast as the last one or June will feel as near as the dark nights of December do now.

Oh, dear.

Wearing out

A day of humidity followed the morning cycle to work, which may have been the highlight of the day.

Very little wind, all of it behind me, didn’t set things off too badly. The day itself was busy, but in a productive way for a change, and the rain shower that seemed to be thunder everywhere but work did little to clear the air. It did, however, seem to strengthen the wind, which was into my face all the way home. Which was later than usual, what with having to lock up and that.

Still, Cathy had surpassed herself with a free curry mix, so that went down a treat. Followed by the worst attempt at mince pie making i’ve ever done (couldn’t get the pastry right…swearing and everything…not very good!). Followed by a run. Of 2.5 miles. Slowly, with an aching pair of lower legs. Just the niggling sort that I want to go away.

Still, it’s June. Yay for that. Just need to get around to blogging my energy bars. I’ll sort the photos and do it.

ps. Haven’t given up on the sit-ups, just not including them here. Maybe do a summary at the end of the month. 4mm rain.

Heart rate fun

After a week that seemed to go on forever, yesterday wasn’t a particularly good day, at least as moods go. I don’t know why, the day just wasn’t good. Despite mowing the lawn, clipping the hedges, taking the bits I can’t compost to the dump as well as clearing a bit more space for  a new log store that hasn’t started yet because there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all that and hoover, change beds, wash, go out and everything else I want to do, I just felt I wasn’t achieving anything. Shelves, roof boarding and other essentials just aren’t happening.

Can I win the premium bonds and retire, please?

Still, today I promised a ride, possible skydive and run. But it’s too windy for a jump (they’ve been taking lifts up this morning but I don’t fancy it on a large canopy). So the motorbike went well this morning instead.

And I fancied a bit of a change. With Juneathon starting tomorrow and that, i’ve been thinking about alternative activities, one of which might be a play on Cathy’s new  rowing machine. Only to do so and make a proper job of it, I fancy trying the heart rate settings. But i’ve not a proper knowledge of my peak heart rate, only knowing it races along at rest as though i’m about to arrest. The pain is, I didn’t think i’d ever do heart rate training, so my Garmin 405 hasn’t got the bits to measure me. But I know a 301 that has. So I talked Cathy into lending me it, cycled with her to Ulcombe (a relatively quiet, bloody steep and long hill), strapped myself up and started running.

My starting rate was about 135. My first relatively gentle ascent (getting the 4 mile ride there out of my legs in the process) got my rate up to 165bpm, but turned out to be about 0.25 miles, so a bit far according to the book i’d read on the subject last night (well, 3 pages of a book, anyway…I feel an expert now!), so after a slow jog down, the next climb was a bit more vigorous, got 172 bpm, and was 0.17 miles. The next got 176bpm so for the final sprint, I raced on up to my first marker and carried on a bit.

I don’t think I quite got things right; despite feeling i’d blown up, 3 paces after I stopped, I felt ok so gave another sprint until again I felt things were over. Clearly I shouldn’t reach a false plateau so must learn to drive through it next time to see where I end up, but as a base I seem to have a peak of 187bpm, achieved just after stopping the second sprint. Which might be about right, I guess, but i’ll confirm it the next convenient weekend after June to see how the month changes me.

My blogs will be shorter, for sure. I’m going to run out of time each day, I fear. My plan is to cycle to work every day for the month (well, apart from when i’m in Brentford on a course!) which is 8 hilly miles each way, run as much as I can (hopefully at least a mile each day, plus the Crisis run, the Staplehurst 10k, a bit of training for it if I can but I don’t know how a run and the riding will leave me, energy wise, and I can’t afford to get massively over-tired). I’ll try to keep up the weights on Sundays and Tuesdays, will add some sit-up-type-crunch-type odd things i’ve developed each day and keep a running total of them, as well as doing more press-ups than normal (well, not more quantity than normal, just more frequent. Might try for a fast set as the month ends, see how many I can do in 30 seconds.)

Basically, just co-ordinate everything into a month of intensity and try not to get ill doing it.

But again, can I have some more time please? I hope Cathy’s ok baking the mince pies, I think I might struggle with that one!

So, roll on Juneathon. Hopefully everyone’s ready; good luck whatever you’re doing, have fun, and record it. I’ll struggle with that bit on the 4th and the 12th so will catch up the following days.

Exciting, innit?

A new loop

Today was sunny, warm and pleasant in a true “it’s nice to live in Kent” way. Distractions conspired to disrupt my plan to cycle to work (i’ll be doing that tomorrow), so I lobbed my running kit into the car and promised a jog instead.

Now the weather was superb and working on a 16 hectare site (according to the architect yesterday) surrounded by fields and trees made it feel like summer’s here, backed up by the need to drink loads more than usual and rue the idiots who insist we can’t build without covering ourselves in layers of protective clothing to make work as nasty as possible. But it’s a touch warm for running, really, especially at 5 o’clock in the pm.

Still, knowing i’ve a 10k planned for a month’s time and the Crisis run in a fortnight (anyone else want to join us for a pizza after? 5 so far, Cathy selecting the venue so the pizza should be fine…), heat is no barrier to training and i’ll be running through the summer for the Royal Parks Half, I guess, so may as well get used to it. And it is nice to be able to worry about the heat and not my leg, after all. Which is still sore, incidentally, but in a way that doesn’t scare me for future health and if I want to run, I reckon that’s better than climbing walls and being a grouch. So i’ve promised to keep the pace down until it feels perfect and just enjoy the runs.

Which wasn’t happening today for some reason.

I felt heavy, dead on my feet (no spring in my step, no surge, no push) and weary. The first mile was easy enough but after that, even on the downhills, I had no drive or spirit in the run. Maybe because of the race on Sunday and my lack of preparation, maybe just a bit tired but whatever it was, I seemed to trudge along the road. Even running a new route didn’t lift me but it was nice to see new things, evidenced by my taking a road too early, causing a detour to regain a road I recognised to take me back to site.

Still, generally it was fair enough. With hills everywhere, or so it seemed, averaging 8.07 doesn’t seem too bad. My leg feels sore at the moment and thinking back, it wasn’t very comfortable in the middle part of the run, so care is still needed, I reckon. I don’t know when i’ll be fully through it, but hopefully soon enough to enjoy a sprint or two again before I get too old!

Just got to hope Cathy gets better soon, then Juneathon will be a challenge. Hopefully though, fitness won’t coincide with her new computer, else i’ll have to start making my own mince pies again, and that would just be pain unlucky!

Not idling


Despite having been beaten by the hair gel of Monsieur Andre (seen his time, hope he walked, it’s a tragic waste of an entry. Rubbish.) and been made jealous by Adele (Fit Artist) for getting it done, my days haven’t been wasted.

The calf is having the odd twinge in all sorts of odd places now, so I guess it’s well on the way to healing, but Stelling Minnis is looking over as far as a competitive time is concerned and if  6 miles is going to hurt it again, it may be i’ll have to watch the others and cheer. For the first time ever, i’m being sensible about it. Yay! So, my efforts have been towards getting the bike suitable for a ride to work.

Last week, I bought some road tyres, pumped the suspension up to hard tail status and rode the 8 miles in on Wednesday. All uphill, it took 36 minutes, without wanting to arrive worn out for the day. Coming home took 30 minutes with the same effort. That’ll be the hills, then. But the tyres are ace, my carbon footprint is a shade smaller and I felt good, despite my leg feeling sore all day Thursday (not silly, you’ve overdone it sore, just a “go easy on me, i’m not healed yet” sore.). So this week, i’m planning to ride in on Tuesday and Thursday if it all feels ok. Oh, and if the weather’s reasonable, of course.

Oh, and the weights are being hurled around every other night, as they should be, which i’ve missed since the running took over. I feel better for that already.

So, today I took myself off for the self prescribed skydive and it was good. Very good. After nearly crashing the motorbike on Friday evening, the weekend turned out well after all. This time in 52 weeks, it’ll be another tale. Hopefully of a well earned, satisfying time.

Royal Parks half is booked for October, I don’t know what else to aim for, so maybe i’ll play it by ear and throw in some late entries as the summer wears on. After I start running again, of course. Roll on Juneathon.

Oh, and the mince pie consumption is still on course. As is Cathy’s, especially after I made her 12 more last night. That’ll nearly last until she moves down.

Walk of Shame

Tomorrow, i’m afraid, i’ll be giving up.

I’d been keeping my pathetic hope alive today that I might still not waste a winter’s training by being able to bury myself to get the marathon out of the way. Well, “out of the way” it certainly won’t be.

There’s simply no way i’m going to be able to place one foot in front of another for 26.2 miles next week, no matter how many drugs I might consider taking to get me there. My attempt at a run this evening had almost stopped before it started, but not wanting to accept that the pain was real, I carried on for a few hundred yards before giving up and coming home. Why does a calf muscle tear on a training run so close to race day when it’s done so well up until then?


I’m gutted. Fit Artist has shown me the way to do it. Good luck to her especially. As will several thousand others, all of whom seem to be capable of not cocking things up. Even Peter fucking Andre is going to prove he’s better than me. My God, i’m going to have to cut off my testicles in shame. Being beaten by an antipodean, coiffured, pop prancing twat just because my leg’s weaker than his hair gel. The shame.

Still, as I stroll to the post office to post my “sorry i’m a fuckwit, but i’d like to defer until next year and hopefully be more capable then” form, i’ll be planning my races for the year. I just hope I can get some sort of running ability for the 17th May and the Stelling Minnis 10k, my favourite ever ever ever race, but judging the speed of recovery, i’m doubting it. I’d settle for a 50 minute jog just to be able to get there.

Damn. Cock. And balls.

At least my blog name doesn’t refer to running; I think i’ll start to list things instead. How about times i’ll want to rip my leg off over the next week in jealousy at everyone who can run? That’ll be a long one to kick things off…

One mince pie. 12.5mm rain. One despondent individual not going to be running the FLM ever. Hope Virgin don’t fuck up next year and the run still goes on…And the weather had better be fair next week – I feel a day’s skydiving coming on to take my mind off things. I’ve not jumped for fear of damaging the leg further on landing, but a good blast of adrenaline may just take my mind off what i’m missing.

Heaven’s above, the timing of my fantastic girlfriend’s move away from London was even planned around a convenient base for my run. Still, at least she’ll be here shortly. The year might not be a write off after all.

And I guess i’m guaranteed not to put on any weight for a year at least!

I’m so depressed, I don’t even fancy a drink. Poo.

A mixed bag

A quiet week on the exercise front has been anything but in all other respects.

My birthday meal was reasonably successful, Sunday was spent in the garden planting tomatoes on (all but 2 appear to be ill, so new seeds have been sown this evening and are in the propogator) and getting set for spring, then Monday was off to Cathy’s.

A mild bout of decorating her second room rapidly escalated into completely re-building it in 3 days, which involved 9 sheets of plasterboard going upstairs. Now, i’m not entirely sure how that runs with my muscle repair, but I think I carried it off safely and my stretching seems to be going ok. It felt very sore yesterday, so today’s trip to the physio was eagerly anticipated.

And as 4.30 came round, I was reminded what proper pain is as she found the spot straight away and made me wince like I was a week ago. Which is nice, since it does give a check that the pain has massively reduced. With only 2 weeks to go, she’s not sure it’ll be sorted fully since the calf does take longer than quads and other larger muscle groups, but the nerves are with the tears apparently, so when the healing’s done, the pain will stop, simple as that. And if there’s that much less pain in general use, the damage has reduced.

I’ve still got to wait a week before i’m allowed to run, and then only a slow short testing jog, but that’ll do. It’ll give a week of testing runs before I commit to exploding it around 26 miles, which will be all I need to make a rational decision. But until then, i’ve free reign on the bike. So tomorrow, i’ll be out in honour of Jo and Phil as they head east. Only i’ll be enjoying a bit of off road mixed with some tarmac no more than 6 miles from my doorstep.

Only big cock up of the week has been going for 3 days without mince pies.

Maybe that’s why my leg feels a bit sore. Time to stretch. And keep the mantra going that I will do the marathon, even if it does ruin me.