Archive for January, 2011

31
Jan
11

up and up

Midweek, I dug out the VFF’s and set off for a little early morning 5k run. No problem, I hear you mutter but, as I haven’t used the VFF’s for a number of months (too cold/slippery for something so minimal), my calves and right ankle were complaining after a couple of km and I decided to forego Fridays planned 10k evening plod as the calves were still tender. Which left only my Sunday Long Run… and the last big run before the Wokingham Half Marathon.
A few runners I know think it is weird that I have the desire to “run the distance before I run the distance” – but basically I will run an equal distance to that of the upcoming event as a training run a few weeks before I actually attempt the race. I have never seen this in any training regime and it is probably medically and biomechanically foolish but I find it helps boost confidence. In my mind, I know that I can complete the distance and can use that as a stick to beat myself with motivation on race day. Adding insult to injury, I had in my head a route – a route that I had cycled last year with Hauling My Carcass as part of our “preparation” for the London To Brighton Cycle Ride. I remember this portion of the route being approximately 12-15 miles with a couple of hills so I thought it over Saturday evening and decided that I would get up on Sunday and tackle it.
The first few kms were hard but familiar as I followed my normal routes and begun to warm up. At little over 5k, rather than begin the loop back home, I veered off and so began the succession of long, slow hills. And suddenly the footpaths disappeared leaving me to run in the road with cars racing past just inches from my elbows.
The hills went on for so long that they began to feel normal, like it had always been this much of a slog to run. The upside to this was that as soon as the ground levelled out, I felt like it was taking no effort at all to propel myself. Running downhill felt like I was positively flying. The last few kilometres, although flat, were mentally hard and made harder by coming up half a kilometre short of my intended Half Marathon Distance so an annoying little loop was tagged on the end. It wasn’t fast (2:14:13) but there were some impromptu stops to dive out of the way of oncoming traffic or work out where I was in relation to the route I should have been taking and the length of the inclines (some were 2-3kms long) meant that I arrived home tired but reasonably pleased with what I acheived.

Fortunately, that afternoon was SonNumberOnes birthday party so the rest of the day was spent “refuelling” on fruit juice and birthday cake.

Soundtrack to this post: The Jim Jones Revue – Elemental

Advertisements
23
Jan
11

longer

The joy that was Grim last weekend brought with it the realisation that I have 4 weeks until the Wokingham Half Marathon. Having cried off last year as I was nursing some injury or other, I am determined to do it this year. With this in mind, I realised that reluctant but workmanlike 10k runs are not going to help me complete 13.1 miles so I had better get out on some longer runs to get the legs used to going a little bit further.
Monday night’s run, carried out without Garmin but following a well worn route, came in at what I estimate to be about 13kms so I started the week on a bit of a high note. I did however, forget to eat something mid afternoon so about 8k in was fantasising about Coca-Cola and flapjack – clearly my body was doing it’s utmost to remind me that I need some fuel in the tank before heading out in the evening.
I’d loosley planned a swift run in the VFF’s for Friday evening – it has been an age since I used them and felt that the temperature had risen enough for me to venture out in them. Unfortunately, it was not to be as I encountered a large amount of incompetence at work which served to hold me up and then the Gods conspired against me by initiating an accident on the A14 – meaning a journey that should have taken me 1 hour took me just over 3 and effectively ate up all the time I had to get out and run.
So it came to pass that I, with a guilty conscience for not getting more miles in during the week, had to get up this morning, crawl past the rest of the sleeping family and get out for 16kms first thing. The first 5kms were hard – it was grey and damp out and I could think of many places I’d rather be than running along the side of a deserted country road early on a Sunday morning. I was out for about 1:40 and in that time saw less than 5 people – clearly anyone with any sense had awoken, looked out of the window, and sensibly got back into bed. Still it was nice to know that by 10.30, the run was in the bag and I could justifiably spend the rest of the day at the brother in laws eating and lazing on his sofa.
And finally… there has been much talk of “goals for the year” amongst bloggers. 2011 miles or 2011 kilometres seems to be a popular goal but does seem a very long way whether metric or imperial. Fortunately, fate gifted me an idea yesterday as I was filling out my entry form for the Hertford 10k… so far, I have a race planned in every month until June…maybe I should try and compete in one running event each month throughout 2011. Perfectly do-able and a nice set of 12 short term goals. Jan-May are all planned with Crisis Square Mile pencilled in for June, Royal Parks Half (hopefully) in October and another Grim in Dec. Leaving July, August, September, November to fill… shouldn’t be too hard but any ideas are greatfully accepted.
Soundtrack to this post: One Step Beyond – Madness

16
Jan
11

grim challenge race review-smells like team spirit

Kurt Cobain would, no doubt, be spinning in his grave if he could see the dreadful wordplay above but it was too good an opportunity for a pun to miss. Besides, it sums up the ethos of Grim so well it would have been rude not to.
I’d been looking forward to this for weeks… the postponement from it’s original date only serving to make me more keen. So it was, a little before 9a.m. in a field somewhere near Aldershot, myself and Hauling My Carcass stood shivering and discussing how we “should have brought a wooly hat”. The weather forecast had said 9 degrees (positively tropical in comparison to the last month) but failed to mention the chill factor of the wind making it feel more like 2 or 3 degrees.
We had arranged to meet with FitArtist (see her review of the day, complete with pictures here) by “the yellow skip near the Beer Tent” so wandered over, met up and watched Hector play in the puddles before heading to the start. Having done the race before, I knew what to expect but there were a few nervous looking faces around. “Remember, if it looks like more than a puddle, it probably is” and with those words from the announcer we were off.
I learnt two things last year. The first was that there is no point avoiding puddles as it only prolongs the inevitable so it is best to get the first soaking over with early on. With this in mind, I decided at the first sizeable puddle, to run through it. The second piece of wisdom that I discovered last time was that the puddles tend to not just be puddles – they can be deceptively deep and very uneven. I remembered this half way through the first puddle of the day when I took my second step within the water and found that the ground just dropped away from under me causing me to trip and fall forward into the puddle. It wasn’t a text book face-plant but wasn’t far off and I scrambled back up and carried on, very wet and with one hand covered in a strange green clay-like slime from the murky depths. This obviously raised a “dropped plate in the school dinner hall” type cheer from all the onlookers assembled near the start.
Grim is not a race to be taken too seriously ( in front of me at one point was a gentleman who had the legend “if you’re at the front, you are taking this too seriously” written in marker pen on the back of his shirt), so HMC, Fitartist and I had decided to stick together, picking our way single file through the sometimes congested trails. The race covers many different types of terrain and the first 4 miles is full of knee deep puddles and varying surfaces. Through particularly deep or tricky puddles, we clung to each other for stability, sometimes catching others around as they stumbled and it is this cameraderie that really sums up the event. It is a silly idea – running around an army vehicle testing site – and anybody who takes part is advised to bring a sense of humour – there were a few people who looked like they weren’t enjoying it but they were very much in the minority with most prefering to muddily smile their way around the course. There were tough parts – running across exposed scrubland headlong into a wind, the only audible sound the crackle of runners race numbers flapping violently in the gusts. Other parts brought a smile to everyones faces – the muddy waist high swamp followed by the waist high puddle full of hundreds of little yellow rubber ducks. I was fortunate to have Fitartist just behind me for most of the time so my race was punctuated was little gasps, shrieks and giggles as she plunged into swamps and through puddles.

Oh no... another Grim/music related pun!!!


After the big swamp/puddle at between 4 and 5 miles, the race becomes mentally and physically tougher as it opens up to long stretches of running through woodland paths and up several inclines on already tired legs. The sounds of the finish line drifts across the route, making the end sounding closer than it actually is and the last mile is full of short, tough inclines and slippery descents. Both HMC and Fitartist seemed to be struggling toward the end, the former because this was the furthest he had run in the last 6 months and the latter because she has been running each day throughout Janathon. Had I been in either of those positions, I would have been significantly further down the field so hats off to them both for pushing so hard. A final loop with the finish in sight, one more wade through a big puddle and we were, 8.8 miles later, wet, smiling and over the line.
It is such a great event – well organised, fun, unlike anything else I have experienced. Fellow competitors are a friendly bunch and the sense of satisfaction (and this years very cool finishers t-shirt) are great.
And now I remember why we vowed to do it again the moment we finished last year. Fortunately, this year there are other Grim events so am now off to sign up for their Beast In The East….

Soundtrack to this post: Tommy McCook – Heatwave

09
Jan
11

wrong way round

Ah, the wonders of modern science. After 4 days of no running and with my toe back to normal (thanks to the miracle of Flucloxacillin one tablet four times daily an hour before food or on an empty stomach, complete the prescribed course or as otherwise directed blah, blah, blah), I awoke this morning fancying a run. And after last weeks run up the Downs with Hauling My Carcass, I also fancied a run that was hilly. A quick look outside didn’t fill me with confidnce as it looked very icy but not to be put off, I wrapped up and set off. Hertford is not known for it’s rolling hills so instead I’d decided to do all the hilly bits of my local runs so that the majority of the run would be uphill. Being fundamentally lazy, this meant tackling the routes in the opposite direction to the way I normally attempt them (ordinarilly I’d aim to minimise the ups and and maximise the downs). The overnight drop in temperature ensured that any surface not in direct sunlight was covered in in an icy layer that made running either up or down any incline tricky – I resorted at times to running with my arms outstretched to keep my balance. I am sure I looked like a overgrown child pretending to be an aeroplane.

So, another slow run (10.6kms in 1:05:28) and looking at the breakdown, my pace dropped to over 11mins/km on one of the inclines, but it was to be expected as I’d rather arrive home in one piece a little slower than risk speeding up and landing unceremoniously on the floor after losing it on an icy patch. Time for another quick run (or two) during the week and then it’s Grim on Saturday.

Soundtrack to this post: Marilyn Manson – The Beautiful People

05
Jan
11

of seasonal excesses and toenails

Having spent the last 2 weeks in a seemingly non-stop eating frenzy punctuated only by bouts of sleep, it is nice to know that things will at last be returning to normal and that I am no longer in danger of developing Type 2 Diabetes in the forseeable future. The New Year’s exercise kicked off on the 2nd with a trip to beautiful Surrey for a run with Hauling My Carcass. He and I no longer work together and, with our homes now being at opposite sides of the M25, we don’t often get the chance to run together so Sundays 10ish kilometres up (and back down) the Epsom Downs was great and blew away some of the cobwebs. It was followed by a fantastic lunch during which we realised that we did exactly the same thing on 2nd Jan last year. OK, the location was different (last year was Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common) but the meeting up for a run and returning to a Gnocchi Bake to refuel could rapidly become a 2nd of January tradition.

Yesterday was my first day back at work in almost 2 weeks and by the end of it I really needed to get out and run. So once back home, I quickly changed in to my running gear and set off in the dark. I’m not participating in Janathon as I have a Grim in 10 days and then a Half Marathon in early Feb and another potentially planned for March, but do need to up the mileage so settled for an extended loop of just under 13 kilometres. I’d set off full of enthusiasm and about half way realised that I’d had a sandwich for lunch and nothing since, so the second half of the run was executed on a very empty stomach and was spurred on knowing that the quicker I completed the run, the sooner I would be able to eat. Running past a number of take-aways in the town was purgatory with the delicious smells wafting from them and still a few kms left to run.
I then awoke during the night to find the toe that lost it’s nail a few days ago was now very painful, had doubled in size and had a split near the remaining bit of nail that was weeping something very unpleasant. So a quick trip to the doctors first thing confirmed that it had indeed become infected and I was sent home armed with antibiotics. Still, the course of antibiotics should sort it within a few days which should be just in time for Grim. I love it when a plan comes together…

Soundtrack to this post: The Horrors – New Ice Age




RSS Unknown Feed

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Fit Artist

RSS Unknown Feed

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Ware2Barefoot

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Unknown Feed

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Unknown Feed

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

contact

Vision Treadmills at Fitness Superstore

Advertisements