Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Christmas done, now bring on the hills!

Well, that is Christmas over with for another year. Sorry about the lack of blogging, Christmas and training got in the way but now I am back! 

So since I last blogged on Dec 21 I have had a bit of a change in training, with outdoor running being beefed up and the treadmill taking a bit of a step back.  This is because I will be running the marathon outside and while the weather is a bit better I am taking advantage of it!

However after the food poisoning I thought it best to start back on the treadmill and last Thursday I set out to try and beat my best distance record so far and go for 16km. All was well until I got to about 8km and I felt my left knee tighten up. Again. Bugger. I know to step back and let it get better, so just rounded out 8.5km in a decent time and then had Friday night off.

Saturday morning, aka Christmas eve, I got up and with no breakfast and just half a pint of water I set out to do my first outdoor 10km since the Run to the Beat half marathon and it was alright. Not great, with an average speed of 5.40 minutes per km (vs 5.25ish in the gym) but decent none the less and around the kind of pace I want to do the marathon in. And I saw two sodding green parrots! Just flying around, near the Thames. Seemed happy enough.

On Christmas day I only did 6km, around the same speed as the 10km the day before but how many of the rest of you got up and went for a run before opening even one present? Hmmm!!!!!!

Then yesterday I had a real change, with outdoor running in a mentally hilly location. My average speed dropped to 6.07, something I will be looking to improve a lot in the next few weeks, but it was not a bad benchmark to set for the first time out, esp as I am still getting over Christmas.

Tomorrow should be another early morning and the same run again, a bit quicker this time!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Stupid body fail

Hmm, this mixing life and training thing has come back to bite me on the ass.  I had Sunday off as I couldn’t be arsed to go for a run, but promised myself that I would do a nice long run on Monday to make up for it, with another one on Tuesday, small jog on Wednesday and something mega on Thursday.

However, my body has other ideas.  I had a normal day on Monday and then hit the gym directly from work.  I then had a really positive session, smashing through 8.5k (just over 5 miles) in 46 and a bit minutes, with no slowing down to a walk. I could have gone on as well but was meeting some old work mates for some Christmas drinks, so had a quick shower and left the gym.

Now, this is where it starts to go wrong. I had a few beers and some chips etc, nothing out of the ordinary. However on Tuesday morning I was feeling pretty rough, and just assumed I had a bit of a hangover. I had a bacon sandwich (standard hangover cure) and ploughed on through work. As the day went on though I felt worse and worse, culminating in being sick at work, a lovely experience. I then experienced the symptoms of food poisoning (according to the Internet) so went home.

So unsurprisingly since Monday’s positive work out I have done nothing and can’t see me doing anything after work today, which is a pain as the plan was to go to the gym and then onto a birthday party, but there you go.

Hopefully I can still get a workout in after work tomorrow, but we shall see….

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Brass Monkeys

Blooming heck, that was cold.

After my adventures on Thursday (see below) I had Friday off from the gym.  In addition I even stayed in and just had a night in front of the telly with a baked potato for dinner. Yep, it's all glamour here.

But this was no selfless act, oh no. I was up at 7.30 on Saturday morning, having a slice of toast and a pint of orange squash before setting off for my first  The deal is it is a free, timed, 5km run across loads of different places in the UK and even abroad. So I found myself by the swimming pool at Highbury Fields at 9.00 on Saturday morning. And my, was it cold.

I couldn't find my long sleaved running shirt but at least managed to locate my Skins running tights. Yes, that's right, tights. I used these when I lived in New Zealand and didn't join a gym, so needed them to go running at night and not be totally freezing.

NZ (Auckland to be precise) is a bit warmer than London and I really noticed that on Saturday. There were patches of ice on the ground and I was properly cold, even though I had jogged to the park as a warm up.

I was ok for the first lap of the park (just under 1km) but then the effects of Thursday really hit home as I was coming up the hill. My legs just felt totally empty and it was a bit scary how little energy I had. I mean, I am a lot worse at running in the morning than in the early evening but this was a joke.

I thought I might be able to run through it but as as I went round and round I had even less energy. At one stage I thought about giving up but then if I did that then I would feel guilty about going to London Field's Brewery in the afternoon. So I ploughed on and did 5km in 28 mins 12 seconds. Not total rubbish but well off the pace I wanted.

Still, I have set a bench mark. Pity I am not in Highbury in the next few Saturdays to try and beat it, but I will be soon enough. I jogged home after and had a cup of tea, grateful to be back in the warm!

It is now Sunday and I have had another day off as my knee feels a bit sore, but back down the gym tomorrow to run on the warm treadmill. Joy.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Woahhhhh, we’re 1/3 of the way there……!

Yep, I know it doesn’t scan very well, but I have now completed a 1/3rd marathon! It was a close run thing though.  Recall, in my last blog (Tuesday) I had been for a 7km run on Monday night and the last 1km was a killer as the after effects of a cold were still there.

Well, I played football on Tuesday evening (won one, drew one for a not-too-bad end of season) and we then went to the pub for a few post match beers.

Or five beers to be precise, in around 2 hours. Normally five beers in an evening would be fine, but so close together…well, Wednesday morning was less than brilliant, and I was down to go for a 35 minute run after work, before going out for a few more drinks and then a comedy gig. Just as I was leaving work I downed a lemsip, hoping it would take the edge off the final bits of my cold before the run.

Except that was a bloody awful idea. It made me feel really sick and I thought I was going to throw up on the treadmill. Not a great situation but I still struggled on and did 5km in 30 minutes before having a shower and meeting friends for another five pints.

Now, this is not the way to prepare for a good long run on Thursday. However, I had yet another days leave to use up from work, so could afford to lay in. I had some toast for breakfast and some noodles for lunch. Carb loading.

Then, I hit the gym around 4, set the treadmill to 11.2kph and got on it.

And then got off 1 hour, 16 minutes and 30 seconds later, having not stopped at all and completed 14.0km. Phew! I was not expecting that – I was looking to do another 10.5km run, but after my friend had done her 12.8km run I thought I might have a crack at that as the 10km marker approached, and then I thought I might as well go on and do the 1/3 distance. Brilliantly, I reckon I could have gone on for another couple of kilometres as well, but I was already running late (pun intended) to go and babysit for some friends, so had to jump off and hit the showers.

I am feeling quite tired today and my left knee is sore (as it often is) but apart from that I feel generally fine. There is hope still that I might actually pull this off!

So, a day off today, and I had a bacon sandwich as a reward for breakfast. Not exactly helping with the fat bloke aspect of this project, but I don’t get them at home so I thought I deserved it. And I weighed myself on the rubbish scales and came in at 99.4kg, so things are deffo going in the right direction.That is now thin enough to skydive (100kg is usually the limit) and I might even do it once the race is over......

Looking ahead, I might do the Highbury Fields 5km run tomorrow morning. Not a great distance but a nice little cool down after Thursday’s exploits. But if it is snowing then I am staying in bed!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

I’m back, I’m back as a matter of fact

Yeah, take that cold! I am back on the road! Or treadmill at least. Yesterday I managed to go for my first run since last Wednesday, despite still having the remnants of my cold kicking around in my system.

I made the decision not to make up for the two sessions down on the plan that I have missed and instead carry on at the point where I would have been anyway. This is because it was a 90 minute ramble and a 35 minute run, both things I can do anyway and I don't want to get too far behind, esp with a long holiday coming up.

It was a funny old run to be honest.  I started off in really good form. Now, I usually find the first km or so a little bit of a chore before getting into a rhythm for the next 4km or so before slowing down for a minute or two and then picking it back up for another 5km.

Yesterday, the first km flew by, as did the second, third, fourth and fifth. At this stage I started thinking “maybe I could do a decent 10km here”. Then I went one step further. Over the weekend I caught up with a friend who is doing the Paris marathon, which is one week before the London event. Having the inevitable training chat, she said she had “only” done 8 miles the week before, and that was her longest run. That’s 12.8km! That’s 30%! Just under a third distance, with still more than four months to go! So there I was thinking maybe I could do that – just make it to 13km, then stop so I don’t knacker myself out for football today.

However it didn’t quite work out like that. At about 6.5km (35 minutes) I felt really tired, with my cold suddenly catching up with me. It was a really odd loss of energy and I struggled onto 7km before hitting the cool down button and doing the 5 minutes walk. I was only down for a 35 minute run, so felt pretty good about things generally and am alright today, so hopefully that is the cold more or less over and done with.

Which leaves me free to play football tonight and then another 35 minute run tomorrow. Another day off on Thursday so I might have another crack at a 10km in the afternoon, though I am at a gig on Wednesday night, so will see how I feel in the morning…..

Friday, 9 December 2011

Snot very nice, maybe I can hire the A-Team?

Grrrrrr, sniff.

As you can tell, I have got another stupid cold, and am not happy about it. I have no idea why I have had three colds in as many months, I have had a pretty decent run (pun intended) through 2011 but that is all over now.

Still, I managed to get out for a decent 30 minutes on Wednesday, knocking through 30 minutes as dictated by The Plan, as I have now started refereeing to it.  In fact I did it with no great problems at all, despite the fact I could already feel the cold coming on.

I put this down to my awesome new trainers arriving! I now have some Brooks GTS 11 and I realise how “dead” my old trainers are.  I had been putting off getting new ones as I didn’t want to change trainers in the run up to the half marathon I did at the end of September and was then a bit skint.

However I wish I had done it earlier! The support, the comfort, the spring in my step, it is like having totally new feet! It’s a pity I haven’t be able to use them since then as I was down for 35minutes last night, but just sat at home eating a pile of veggies and watching the A-Team film. It is total rubbish, but strangely watchable. I would watch the sequel but it appears it didn’t make enough money, so there is no A-Team 2 forthcoming at this point. Boo!

So, anyway, as soon as I have cleared this cold or it has at least receded I will be back running. I am meant to be doing a 90 minute ramble on Sunday, but there is no chance of that although maybe I might be able to do a 30 minute light jog. We shall see.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

A new route, Banksy paintings and the weigh in...

Sorry for the recent lack of blogging. No excuses, just didn’t get round to it.

But I have been busy running, oh yes! And that’s what it is all about in the end.

So, last time I blogged I had ran a ¼ marathon the day before, in a not too shabby 57.30 (see below).  After that I need to have Friday off, and after work went out to celebrate a friend’s 30th birthday. I may well have had a shandy too many, and didn’t feel like running on Saturday morning. Or Saturday afternoon. And I went to see Ash at the superb Highbury Garage on Saturday night.  They are promoting their Best of Ash album, and tickets were only a fiver! A really great gig, and lots of bouncing around and not much beer, which equals exercise in my book!

On Sunday morning I actually set an alarm and got up for a run so I wouldn’t waste the day! Now, I am not good at running in the mornings. I find I have way less energy and my legs feel stiff, no matter how much I warm up, so I just trend to avoid mornings and run after work. Not an option here but I didn’t need to run fast, as I was only down for a 75 minute ramble. In the end I went for a slowish 7.5km run up and around Stoke Newington, an area we are thinking of maybe moving to next year.

The bits I ran through were pretty nice, and I even saw a few paintings/graffiti by Banksy along the way (depending on your point of view). In fact that is a lie. I saw loads, all over the shop, some really good and other less so. Now, I think some of his stuff is pretty impressive, but the number of them kinda takes the edge off it, especially when there are around 20 that I know off in a 30 minute walk from my house.

Anyway, I digress. After a slow run we went to Kensington palace, which we didn’t know has currently got the builders in. So instead they have scaled it back to become the “Enchanted Palace”, with the state apartments shut off and other bits and bobs added. It was ok, but probably not worth the £12 admission.

I then had yesterday off, and decided to do a big run, even though the training plan (now in week three, it is flying by) only says to do an 30 minute jog. I went to the gym (too cold to run outside for long!) and did 45 minutes instead, covering just over 8km.

Plus, I weighed myself. Now, I know I said I would do regular weight updates, but I haven’t really weighed myself much and when I have not much has happened. In addition this set of scales is different, as I was at a different gym. Nonetheless, it said I am now 99.4kg, down from 100.7kg when I started this blog around a month ago. Not a massive drop, but I have had a cold in that time, plus a few big nights out. So, a move in the right direction and hopefully this will gather pace as the training ramps up! No training tonight though, football instead. It’s all in the game.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Woah, we’re ¼ of the way there, woaaH, livin’ on a prayer

Yep folks, you guessed it from the headline, I am now ¼ of the way there! Not through my training plan (sadly) but last night, against all hope and expectation, I smashed through 10.5km.

Remember, I was only going to do a 35 minute run.  I spent the first 3.5k listening to more Partridge (Ah Ha!) and got into a decent rhythm.  I then slowed down to flip over to my running play list to get through the remaining time before pumping the speed back up to 11.2kph.

Now, I have taken to running with my gym towel over the distance counter, otherwise I find myself just staring at it, and you know the old saying about watching kettles.  So I was motoring along at a decent pace and had not checked my distance for a while and was surprised to see that I was already at 35 minutes, and around 6.5km in.

From there I thought I might as well carry on to match the 8km I did on Monday.

At this point I will admit that I was busting out a few moves on the treadmill. I get really into the music and if I have the energy I find myself having a little dance along with the music, esp if it is something like the Prodigy blasting out.

I got to 8km 3 minutes faster than I did on Monday and still felt ok, so then progressed to 8.5, then 9 and at 9 I thought I might as well just power on to 10km. On the way, I thought I might as well do the extra half km, making the distance ¼ of a marathon.

And then I did! I got to 10km in just under 55 minutes and then cracked the speed up to 12kph and smashed through the final 500m in 2 mins 30 seconds. Bo ya!

Then had a curry and went out for beers with some mates, thereby undoing all my good work. But still, ¼ done and I am well ahead of my training plan. But that doesn’t mean I can take my foot off the gas, still got to do my 75 minute “ramble” over the weekend. Whatever a “ramble” is…

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Knowing me, knowing you,. Ah ha!

It looks as if I am getting ahead of my training plan, but I am sure that will come back to bite me in the ass at some point soon, sort of. Last night I was meant to run for 35 minutes and to be honest I felt as if I was running with the wind behind me for once, as I didn't have to slow to a walk and it all felt relatively ok.

However, I actually only ran for 30 minutes, as I was running late to meet a mate and didn’t want to keep him waiting for too long. Bit it was a lovely run, I felt full of energy and could have gone on for another 5, 10 minutes I’m sure. In the end I did 5.6km in 30 minutes which is not too bad.  So, although I was 5 minutes under yesterday I did run an additional 20 minutes on Monday and am off to the gym again tonight on what should be a rest day!

I think one of the main differences to yesterday’s run was a change in music. In fact, I ditched music all together. Ah Ha! Instead I am listening to “I, Partridge”, the Alan Partridge autobiography on audio book. I’m not normally one for audiobooks but this is classic as it is read by the man himself, containing quotes such as “I woke with a start. At first I assumed I’d trumped myself awake again.” And “Putting a damp spoon back in the bowl is the tea-drinking equivalent of sharing a needle. And I did not want to end up with the tea-drinking equivalent of AIDS.” Not only did this distract me but I found it easier to hold a steady pace, something that I have been struggling with, so maybe this is the solution. It might also help me catch up with some of the podcasts I listen to.

Anyway, back to running and I should only be doing 30 minutes tonight but am going to go for 35, which I should be running on Saturday, and then have a crack at 7.5km outdoors on Saturday on a new route. Ohhhh! But it depends on how Friday night goes to be honest..And the rain. And the cold (though i do own some running tights - picture to follow!). On the other hand, I am far more motivated now than this time last week (see Monday's post for why).