Posts Tagged ‘Morning Run


no internet no problem…


For the last 2 weeks, I have been unable to access the internet from work. Most people would immediately think that must be a bit of an inconvenience – not being able to catch up on the news at lunchtime or browse stuff on Amazon when things get quiet but it actually meant that it was almost impossible to get any work done at all. No emails. No access to online job systems means not being able to log jobs, raise Purchase Orders, close jobs down or raise invoices. I felt like I was suddenly being given work but with no means of getting it accomplished. What would normally be reasonable deadlines suddenly become very tight once you take away the luxury and speed of almost instantaneous electronic communication and the ability to send large files at the click of a mouse. The only way around it was to take to working one day at work and the next from home – ensuring that if I was at home, I could catch up on the previous days emails and jobs without too many distractions and hopefully get myself a little ahead so that the following day spent back in the technological dark ages did not inconvenience me too much.

The upside of this was the time that was normally taken up with my morning commute was instead used for a 10 – 11km run first thing. I would arrive home from my run, fire up the laptop, shower and be “at my desk” for 9am. Safe in the knowledge that the days run was complete and I was feeling focused and ready for the day . And, after almost 2 weeks of this, to go back to an hour’s commute each morning and the struggle to squeeze in a run was beginning to slowly gnaw away at me.

So on Sunday morning, I was up and out and determined to get a decent run in. It was fairly quiet out and I decided to forgo my usual route and instead head out on a route that I was using this time last year whilst training for the Berlin Marathon. An 18km mix of woodland trails and pavement that takes me out to the town I grew up in, around and back. It was the furthest that I had run in a few months and by the time I had finished I felt suitably weary but happy. So much so that I have just entered the Ware 10 Mile run which takes place in just under a month. The race is local to me and I have wanted to tackle it for a few years now but have always had to give priority to other things. This year, there was space in the diary and I am very much looking forward to it. Part of the course is very familiar to me although approximately 50% seems to be through areas that I do not know. It will be nice to discover some new routes to run whilst enjoying the fun of an organised race. I’ve the feeling I may need a few more long Sunday runs between now and then…


moving target


I was feeling a little paranoid last week. I can go for months and months without incident on the pushbike and then…


Last Saturday, I was up early for a brisk 12km run. There is something quite satisfying about arriving back home knowing that your run for the day is complete before most people have had breakfast. Sunday morning was similar except that, with the Dunwich Dynamo in just a few weeks, I decided to head out early on the bike, get about 50km done and be home in time for a cappuccino and some toast when the rest of the family decided to surface. About 20km in, I narrowly avoid being mown down by a bronze coloured 4×4 that came hurtling onto the roundabout that I was already on. A split second decision on my behalf, on whether to try and stop or just keep going as fast as I could, meant that the fast moving hunk of metal missed my back wheel by a few centimetres. About a minute later, the rush of adrenaline kicked in and I trembled my way through the next few kms. A few lovely, sweeping countryside kilometres later and I am back in town where another car narrowly misses me – this time by overtaking me and then turning immediately left in front of me.


I arrived home feeling a little shaken and incredibly lucky. After recounting the incidents to Mrs Eatingtrees and being told to “be careful”, I smugly enjoyed the rest of the day knowing that my exercise for the weekend was in the bag. Incredibly, the next day on the way to work, a car decided to slowly drift across the road and into the side of me whilst I was on the motorbike. Luckily, I managed to manouvre myself out of the way but not before his hubcap had worn a hole in my overtrousers. Another near miss and another upping of the paranoia quota.


Playing it safe, I decided that this week I would just concentrate on running – a quick 10k one evening after work and then 12km first thing Saturday before it got too hot. I was out by 8am but even then it was beginning to warm up. By the time I was nearing the end I was choosing which side of the path to run on based solely on which would offer the most shade. It seems that the weather has gone from Early Spring to High Summer in the space of a week and I find the transition from around 10 degrees to nearly 30 degrees saps my energy and turns runs into slogs. I am sure in another few weeks I will be used to running in these sorts of temperatures just as an Early Autumn sets in…



pain in the…


I’d been wary of going out for a run since last weekend when I had the beginnings of a migraine whilst cycling back from Cambridge and then a proper go-to-bed-in-a-darkened-room one the following day after a relatively easy 11km run.


What if this was it? What if this was how it was going to be from now on? I did plenty of research (for “research” read “googling”) and the mid / post run migraine seems to be a very common occurrence amongst runners. Theories range from a lack of salt, to dehydration to the musculo-skeletal – all of which could have been contributing factors last week. Certainly I didn’t feel dehydrated at the time but the amount of liquid I felt I needed to drink on the Sunday evening would suggest that I was at least partially dehydrated. And I had had a nagging pain in the front of my shoulder which seemed to slowly spread to my neck as Saturday’s ride progressed. Or it could be the Thunder storm that was rumbling around and finally broke just as we were on the home stretch.


Anyway, Monday and Tuesday were spent with my customary post-migraine thick head. Not so much an actual headache, more a nagging, dull throb – mostly barely perceptible but lean forward and BAM! there it is, pounding at the inside of my temples. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were so hectic at work that I would arrived home ruined, have something to eat and then find myself hankering to go to bed just after 9pm.


So Sunday morning, I drank plenty of water as soon as I got up, bumbled about for a bit until the big grey clouds dispersed a little and then I headed off. Almost exactly the same route as last Sunday’s Father Day Migraine Inducing Run but the difference was this time I felt fine. Spritely, almost. Legs, rested for a week, felt strong and springy, my lungs opened up and I was breathing easily, towards the end of the 11km, the sun began to break though and I would have been happy to carry on were it not for the fact that I needed to get home in time to go and collect SonNumberOne from his Nan’s.


So, feeling much better having shrugged off the psychological shackles of the running induced migraine, I also seem to have rediscovered or re-invented my running mojo a little bit. This week at work promises to be a little less hectic than the last few so maybe, just maybe, I can treat myself to a few mid-week runs instead of just a hastily executed weekend dash.



Seasons Greetings

Without wishing to jinx anything, it appears Spring might have just about arrived in the UK. Waking up, squinting out of the window again this year. We have a 150km training ride planned for 2 weeks time and breaking into a grin is a sure sign that things are looking up weather wise. Saturday and Sunday were both just about perfect for a run and a cycle and I was able, as I got up and out of the house early enough, to squeeze in both this weekend.

Saturday’s morning of sunny spells was perfect for a run and I completed 16.6km – certainly not at a pace that would set the world alight, but steady. I had had an odd “injury” after a few of my previous runs – the day after a run, my foot would “creak” when I flexed my toes. It wasn’t especially painful but it is quite worrying when your foot feels like a rusty hinge. A quick bit of Googling informed me that the cause was usually mild tendon inflammation – so wanted to see if slowing down and concentrating on my form would help. Which it appeared to do. Sunday came around and there was no pain and no creaking. Hurrah!

So, creak free on Sunday morning, I jumped on the singlespeed and just headed off. I planned to cycle for 2 hours – basically one hour in one direction chosen at random and then turn round and head back. I set off through the Hertfordshire countryside and managed to pick out and unusually hilly route to Barnet along country roads. I love my singlespeed and have never suffered “gear envy” before but on Sunday I found myself up out of the saddle and grinding my way up hills only to be passed by roadies in lycra calmly overtaking me, legs spinning and looking relaxed. One even informed me as he passed that he “wouldn’t want to be riding a singlespeed up this hill”. Thanks.

Still, it is all good training for when Hauling My Carcass once again tackle the Dunwich Dynamo but for now, this ride would blow some of the cobwebs away.

Almost precisely 2 hours later, I was back home, just shy of 50km in the bank. It was not even 11a.m. Which left me with that fabulous smug feeling that you get when you know you have done what you needed to do and have the rest of the day to relax in the sun.


weekend whirl


With only 2 weeks to go before Hauling My Carcass and I attempt to cycle from the UK to Maas in Belgium to run the Maas Half Marathon, spring finally arrived in the UK bringing with it the fear that I have not prepared enough.

I have reached the “Paranoid” stage in my preparations – a stage that I am sure is very familiar to many of you: The race looms and you feel you are underprepared. But there is also the secret fear that if you train now and injure yourself, you could put the race in jeopardy. I managed to talk myself out of the paranoia by promising myself that if I ran on Saturday morning, I could spend Saturday afternoon celebrating Record Store Day by meeting up with some friends in Berwick Street and whiling away the afternoon soaking up some sunshine and buying some music. Incentives, even when they are to yourself, are a great motivator.

So, bright and early Saturday morning (and it was both bright and early), I set off for a 16.6kms run in the sunshine. I seem to have plateau’d in my running and now hit a point at about 12km where no matter how hard I push, I doggedly travel at the same pace. Frustrating. But it was still 16.6km in the bank. And it meant I could go and play in the sunshine in the afternoon…

Sunday was cycling day. I’d decided that I also needed to get some miles in on the bike and so I packed the bike up with everything that I intend to take on the trip to Belgium – firstly to make sure it all fitted and stayed put, and secondly to get used to cycling with panniers and bags loaded down with 6 days worth of stuff – clothes, washbag, tools, running gear.

It was beautiful cycling through the countryside in the early morning sun – I’d deliberately taken an undulating / hilly route to begin with and then decided just to keep cycling until I was approximately half way through my desired distance and then turn round and make up the return leg as I went along. The uphills were tough – the extra weight slowing me down and adding an odd pendulum effect to the sway of the bike when up out of the saddle. The flat and downhills were lovely with the weight working in my favour. Just shy of 60kms done and I arrived back home with a big grin on my face. I felt great.

The weekends activity took its toll that evening when, after dinner, I sat down to watch a programme on television and found myself struggling to keep my eyes open after a few minutes. But it was a satisfied sort of tiredness – the sort where you feel justified in getting a good night’s sleep because you’ve earned it.


random distances, diminishing returns

Fourteen Kilometres. Eight miles, one thousand two hundred and thirty yards in old money: Six months ago when training for the Berlin Marathon, this would have been considered a “short run”. I would have cheerfully kissed Mrs Eatingtrees goodbye and, with a spring in my stride, bounded off. On a grey and cold February morning with limited running in the previous four weeks due to illness, it feels like a massive effort. Almost from the off, my legs are heavy. My breathing doesn’t ease up until about 5km in by which time my legs are so leaden that it feels like I am wearing sandbags on my feet rather than my trusty Vibrams. I cunningly avoid hills but even short inclines feel like hard work. I grit my teeth and get on with – using the time to daydream and try to distract myself from the effort and discomfort.

Once the end was in sight, I realised I was going to come up about 200m short of 14km so continued on past my turn just to round it up. Like 13.8km really wouldn’t do but 14km would. And 14km was just an arbitrary minimum distance that I decided that I wanted to run that morning. Us runners really are an odd bunch when you think about it – we set ourselves goals and then when we beat them, set ourselves tougher goals (gotta beat that personal best) and then feel devastated when we don’t pb every time. Or we decide on a distance that we want to run and coming up 200m short is not good enough. My own personal peccadillo is that if I have to stand and wait at the side of the road for traffic to pass, I feel like I have stopped for a rest and therefore not run the full distance. Which is why you’ll often see me running on the spot whilst waiting to cross. Or running along the kerbside, up and down the traffic looking for an opening that I can nip through. This sort of compulsive behaviour in any other pastime would be seen as odd or possibly borderline compulsive. But not us runners. We positively revel in it.

Soundtrack to this post: Atoms For Peace – Feeling Pulled Apart By Horses


i will survive

So have you missed me? It has been a while. Problem is, I was abducted by Aliens. No really. Except these aliens weren’t the vicious  HR Giger / Ridley Scott variety. No, these were nice ones that let me out for a run once a week.

So then, to paraphrase Gloria Gaynor, “Now I’m back. From outer space”

The combination of Xmas and a once a week opportunity to run has meant that the fitness that I built up whilst training for the Berlin Marathon has quickly vanished. My once a week runs were 10-12k but that was all. I did squeeze in a couple of reasonably long cycle rides between Xmas and New Year that made my legs burn and my lungs scream and, at one point at the top of a steep incline, had me almost certain that I was going to vomit.

No good at all. Particularly as the clock ticked over from 2012 to 2013, the realisation that this years challenge is in just under 5 months time.

Some of you will know that Hauling My Carcass and I have a little adventure each year in the shape of a European running race. It usually takes the form of a Half Marathon (except for 2012 when we did the Berlin Marathon). We have run in Prague, Lisbon and Den Haag. We have flown to destinations and driven to destinations. When discussing this years escapade, we wanted something a little different. So we decided to run the Maas Half Marathon near Liege in Belgium. Looks like a nice little race, smallish and flat. Then we decided that flying or driving there would be too similar to what we had done before so we decided that we will cycle there. Over 4 days. Starting with an overnight ferry from the UK to the Hook of Holland and then cycling 80-100km a day down through The Netherlands and into Belgium. We have a day off / day’s sightseeing the day before the race and then we get up, cycle to the race, run the race, cycle to the Eurostar terminal in Liege and get the train home. All things being equal, we should be back home in the UK about 12 hours after the start of the race. So 400 odd kilometres, culminating in a 21km run and then a train home from Europe. And you wonder why people worry when HMC and I are left to our own devices for a while.

Preparations are well under way, B&B’s are being booked and routes planned. I have begun buying bits and pieces that I will need for the trip starting with a pannier rack from Amazon – a bargain but supplied with the crappiest alloy nuts and bolts you ever did see. The the alloy had the consistency of dried chewing gum and the bolts rounded off the second a spanner got near them.

A quick trip to the LBS was in order to see if he could sell me some bolts. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any he could sell me as he refused to let me pay for them. Instead he patiently went through his collection of stainless steel nuts and bolts and supplied me with enough to fix my bike rack – for free. He then gave me a discount on some other bits I was buying. Brilliant customer service and I shall definitely go back there for any other bits and pieces I’ll need for my trip.

16kms run in the cold today and I didn’t feel too bad.

So just need to get up to running 21.1kms.

At a reasonable speed.

After cycling 400kms over the preceeding days.

Suddenly 5 months doesn’t sound like very long at all.

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