Tuesday 26th June 2012 – Taking it easy

Making the wrong decision

When I woke up this morning and turned my alarm off, I had that “can’t be arsed” feeling, I was tired and in no mood to haul my ass out of bed, even though the sun was shining through the window and it looked like it was going to be a lovely day.

I decided there and then to stay in bed and get an extra hour sleep, or at least try to.

This, as it happened, turned out to be very much the wrong decision to make, for the rest of the day I had the hump. I was annoyed with myself for not getting up and going for a run. A run wakes me up and sets me up for the day…I know that, yet felt it would be better to stay in bed.

Making the right decision

I stewed all day. I regretted not running this morning. I was snappy with people when I could be bothered to speak to anyone.

I didn’t like it. I decided to go for a run this evening instead, and to make up for being such a lazy arsed git this morning I’d run 10k instead of the 5k I was going to run. I’d managed to cheer myself up a bit, and was now looking forward to a nice steady run on a summers evening. Assuming the rain holds off, I’d be able to get a good pace going and be taking it easy, nothing too manic.

Slow and steady

So once the boys were bathed and in bed, and wifey was settling down to read them stories with Gruffalos and diggers, I was throwing my running kit on and heading out.

I’d planned a simple, slightly undulated route that took me around the village and headed over the A12 down passed the BMW dealership, up to the Sainsbury’s roundabout and then head back over the A12 and the 2 mile straight through the village home again.

The temperature was nice, the roads weren’t too busy, and I soon settled into a good stride and pace. I wanted to take it steady and try to maintain an even pace throughout. I needed to work on this in preparation for the half marathon and marathon I had entered.

Happy again

I ran just over 10k (6.65 miles), in just over an hour. Not a record breaking run by any means, but I had managed to run steadily. I was happy again.

Taking it easy.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share

Saturday 23rd June 2012 – New routes

A new route

With boredom comes complacency.

I’ve been running the same router variables of it for ages now. Sometimes adding a bit, sometimes running a little less. New routes are needed.

Today was time for a change. It’s Saturday so that’s long run day, minimum of 10 miles required for today.

I had planned a new route along county lanes in peace and quiet (for the most part anyway).

The early bird and all that

I woke up earlier than expected this morning, I was up and about, running kit on and doing stretches way before our cockerel had even thought of addressing the world with his cocka doodle doo.

I had a new route to try out. Out the door and raring to go (waited a while for the bloody satellites to align with the GPS), a sprightly chirp from the watch meant we were all ready to go.

The route took me along the main road into Boreham, I turned left at The 6 Bells, down Plantation Road, left again at the end of the road onto Church Road, and down hill for a few hundred yards towards the river. Over the bridge and beyond…

Running alone

This was new running territory to me, I’d ran as fas as the bridge before and then ran alongside the river. I’d just passed the 2 mile marker before the bridge, and I knew that at the end of this road was a roundabout at junction 18 of the A12.

This was the back route. This was the scenic route. This was lovely.

I was running along the road, listening to the semi hypnotic sound of my footsteps hitting the Tarmac and the steady rhythm of my breathing. A tapping noise to my right caught my attention, there about 50 yards away clinging to a tree was a woodpecker, merrily pecking away.

The road was quite flight, a few very slight hills which were only 100 or so yards long, enough to make me breath and push a bit harder. I reached the roundabout at about 4.5 miles, ran around it (keeping to the verges) over the A12 and then back on myself, heading back along the country lane, retracing my steps back towards the river and the bridge…and then the hill.

I reached the bridge and stopped for a few seconds as I took an energy gel and washed it down, preparing myself for this new never before challenged hill. I took a steady run up and tried to maintain my pace as I conquered the winding hill step by step. This was so much easier on the way down…

Back through the village

At the top of the hill the road bends round to the left, I could of gone right, back up Plantation Road, but kept running ahead, past the church and up towards the main road where I turned right.

I felt great, the fresh morning air filling my lungs, the peace and tranquility and all at a good pace. I turned right onto the main road, about a mile and a half to go. I took a cheeky left at The Cock Inn and ran up and over the bridge across the A12 and back to the main road – nice to work the legs a bit before the final half mile home.

I managed to complete 10.1 miles in about 1 hour 27 minutes. Happy and ready to take on the rest of the day.

Here’s the route and the splits

Tuesday 5th June 2012 – Improving my running pace

Trying a new route again

The other day, in fact the other day when I tested out my new GPS watch, I tried out a new route, this took me along the back country lanes through to Utling, then back up through Hatfield Peverel and home, all in all about 6 miles.

The first time out had been good, and this time was no exception, my aim was to beat my previous time, even to beat it by 2 seconds would be an achievement. I was also trying to improve my running pace.

I’d been out for a quick 5K yesterday, and hoped that I hadn’t used up too much energy.

Getting connected

Using too much energy was the least of my problems. Remembering to switch the GPS tracker on the new Garmin was my problem. I’d turned it on whilst I was stretching and warming up, and then set on my way.

I’d pressed the ‘start’ button, but it wasn’t until I was about 3/4 of a mile into it, and I heard the watch beep, when I looked I realised that it hadn’t connected with satellites, all I had done was to take it out of sleep mode. So if you ever buy one of the Garmin GPS watches make note!

A 10K run

The cock up with the watch had put me off a little, I was hoping to do a proper like for like run with the one I did the other day, now I wasn’t going to be able to do an accurate performance comparison. A like for like comparison on my pace and mile splits wasn’t going to happen.

Never mind though, I was here now and going to make the most of it. It was a lovely clear morning. There’s something about running along the country lanes and breathing in lung fulls of fresh air that make running that little bit more enjoyable.

The run up through Utling was good, I felt fine up until I hit Hatfield Peveral, the hill run up through Utling had taken me a bit as it had last time, I knew it was coming but forgot just how much of a bugger it was. By the time I had reached the Duke of Wellington pub, I had my breath and my legs back.

I turned left at the pub and headed towards Boreham, thankfully there was a little down hill run before heading back up the 3/4 mile up hill stretch before getting back home. The hill run was made simple by counting ten steps at a time, it didn’t seem too imposing and before I knew it I was at the top of the hill and home!

Here’s all the technical stuff!

Thursday 31st May 2012 – Running through fields

The running club

Thursday. Can only mean one thing. Today’s run would be with the running club.

I had no idea what the route would be, who would be going, what the weather would be like, but I was very much looking forward to it. On the few occasions I have been so far, each one had bought a new challenge and pushed me that little bit further.

The first week was a new route and a quicker pace, last week was the 5K time trials. I wondered what this were would bring.

Off roading

I checked out the Springfield Striders website earlier today to see what route had been put up for tonight. It was titled ‘Taj Mahal’. It showed a route from the club HQ up towards Boreham, then cutting down hill through fields, along the River and back up hill along the roads to HQ. A good 5-6 mile route.

Here’s the off roader!

Tuesday 15th May 2012 – 5 mile runs

Early mornings

I was 05:10am when my alarm went off this morning. I’d been awake for 5 minutes already, laying there waiting for the beeping noise to begin, attempting to wake me from my sleep. But this morning I’d beaten it!!

The sun came streaming in through the curtains, I think this may be what awoke me to start with, that and the fact I was itching to get up and go. I’d woke up a couple of times during the night, just in case I’d forgotten to set the alarm or I’d slept through it.

I was up and out in about 25 minutes, stretched and raring to go.

5 mile runs

Keen to get my miles up in preparation for this coming weekend’s race, I planned a 5 mile run. This is fast becoming a favourite of mine. I used to settle for 3 miles (5k) for a morning run, but these days find that 5 mile runs give me more of a workout. It just means getting up 20 minutes earlier of a morning.

I headed from home and turned left towards the village, looped around the back of the village past the church, and then down towards the A12, cross that and then head back on myself. I know that my 3 mile distance is when I get to the turn around point on the A12, and I have at least a 2 mile run back home.

I managed a 5.35 mile run in just over 45 minutes. A nice steady pace on a beautiful sunny morning.

Here’s the 5 miler!

Edmund Carr Charity Races

Entering races

In the couple of years that I have been running I haven’t really ran in many races. I’m not sure why really, probably because I hadn’t thought about it, perhaps because I hadn’t felt strong enough or confident enough to enter a race or complete one.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t want people to laugh at me, or mock me for running. This may stem from school sports day at senior school. I never took an interest in running or anything other than football or rounders really, so when sports day rolled around and I was asked to step up to the 400m as someone from our ‘house’ had dropped out I was a bit reluctant to do it. But had no choice really.

I started off ok, ran hell for leather for the first 200m, got tired immediately after, and slowed right down. I can recall people shouting at me to run faster, I had been coming second, I dropped to third, then fourth, then last. Where I stayed. My legs were jelly. I was out of breath and the finish line never seemed to get any nearer. I wanted the ground to swallow me up. My so called mates all took the piss out of me. I bloody hated running.

I remember being quite apprehensive at my first race, the Saucony 10K last September, I wish I had run more since then.

Planning ahead

I intend to enter into more races, I think it will help to motivate me a little more, so I have put my name down for a couple of races over the next few months.

I have entered the Amsterdam Marathon in October – apparently there are some wonderful sights during the race and the party afterwards is far from a sombre affair!!

Before that I have the Southend Half Marathon in June. A reasonably easy half marathon course by all accounts, happy to be running it with two great mates, Crispy and Rob Cameron.

This weekend though I have entered the Edmund Carr Charity Races. Its fairly local, in Great Baddow village, and is a 10 mile hill filled event. To be honest I am quite nervous. Lots of questions and thoughts running through my head like; have I trained enough? How am I going to run without my music? What if I fail to finish? What if I get injured? I guess they are normal questions to be asking and everyone is maybe just a bit nervous.

God knows what I will be like for the half marathon, let alone the full marathon!

I’ll let you know how I get on.

Saturday 5th May 2012 – Half marathon training

Bank Holiday weekend

It’s May Bank Holiday weekend, I have a couple of runs planned for this weekend. Looking back at my stats for April it is quite evident that I need to get some runs under my belt if I am to have any chance of finishing the Southend Half Marathon next month.

To be fair, I have ran in excess of 13 miles on numerous occasions, and completing the course shouldn’t really be a problem, but you know what they say…’practice makes perfect!’ and I intend on practicing quite a bit.

Half Marathon training

This morning’s plan was to get out and run 10 – 15 miles at a steady pace. I didn’t want to do anything silly, especially seeing as I had a 10 miler planned for tomorrow with my mate Crispy.

Looking out of the window it was evident that the recent rain wasn’t about to cease at any time too soon, judging by the clouds in the sky and the puddles on the ground, although it wasn’t raining at the moment, I hoped we may get a drop during the run, it’s always quite refreshing to feel the rain on your skin when running.

I headed out, setting off for the usual back route around the village and then down into Chelmsford. At four miles everything was good, I was running about an 8m 40s mile.

At mile six I felt a little burning sensation on the underside of the arch of my right foot, it got hotter with each mile and I could feel the hot spot spreading. At mile 8 there was s familiar burning sensation beginning to bubble on the arch of my left foot. Bloody typical.

I had no choice but to keep on going. After a couple of miles the pain became, well, pretty much bearable. God knows what the blisters looked like, I felt the one on my right foot pop at one stage, the warm watery mess oozing out into my sock.

No pain no gain

The final 5 miles of the 12.5 mile run were probably slower than I would of liked, I was pleased to pass the 10 mile point with a good couple of miles to go. My legs were beginning to feel it, I’d run a couple of miles quite tentatively when I felt the blisters coming, this affected my stride and my pace a little, I just knuckled down and pushed on.

The 12.5 miles took me 1 hour 52 minutes, not exactly speedy gonzales, but a respectable time none-the-less.

Once home, I stretched and warmed down, and then inspected my burning feet…what a mess! I hoped they would be OK for tomorrow.

Here’s the blister festooned run!

Sunday 1st April 2012 – I only went out for a quick 5K!

April Fool’s Day.

A pinch and a punch, first day of the month.

It’s the 1st of April today, April Fool’s Day. The day of pranks, jokes, jesting and jibes.

For some it is anyway.

Family time.

I spent the day with the family, chilling out, the sun has been shining for the best part of the day, we’d been to feed the carp and the fish at Little Easton Manor, it’s always nice to watch the big carp coming to the surface, basking in the sunshine, walking around the lakes and feeding the ducks.

We ended up driving to Sandford Mill Lock and walking along the river. This was where I had ran yesterday morning, along past the lock and into Chelmsford. It was nice to actually see the things that I missed yesterday whilst concentrating on not tripping over and navigating my way along the narrow tow path.

The best laid plans and all that…

I decided that for my Sunday afternoon run I would come back along the tow path for a short distance and then back up to home, probably about 5- 6 miles. I didn’t want to run too far cos my legs were aching like a bugger from yesterday, to be fair I doubted I would get much further than 3 or 4 miles.

It was mid afternoon, the sun was still out, I headed out, 2 miles down to the river, I aimed for a mile or so along the river then head back home.

Typically, I kept going. I ran along the river for a couple or three miles, I was heading towards Sandford Mill Lock again, a quick sat-nav like route calculation, meant I turned right at the lock, and headed along the country lanes back up to the main road.

The additional distance meant I was heading for a run nearer to 8 than 6 miles. I had passed 3 miles ages ago. My legs were killing me. I was close to ringing Wifey to come and pick me up.

Ah the shame of that thought! I kept on going.

It’s all uphill.

The run from the lock towards the main road was up hill, then there was more uphill running as I headed towards the A12, at the 2 mile from home point I was absolutely knackered. My legs were on auto pilot. I was gasping. Still, 2 miles to home, not that bad.

The dreaded hill, from 1.5 miles to 1 mile is a hill. It gets me every time. I’d forgot about it. How I managed to get up it I don’t know. But get up it I did!

I happily staggered through the door after running over 9 miles. I stretched, got changed and limped to the sofa…

This is the route and the run.

Saturday 31st March 2012 – A river runs through it

A change of route

Saturday again, my favourite day of the week. My ‘long run’ day.

I’d been checking out some alternative routes lately, although I was quite happy to pound the pavements, I needed to do something different. Something to keep me on my toes, as it were.

We’re fortunate enough to live out in he sticks, and being a sensible chap, I have always stuck to running along the roads, especially in the dark mornings, always crossed the road on a zebra crossing, never talk to strangers blah blah blah!

Across the fields there is a River, this river runs, as you would expect, for many miles. We’ve walked along parts of it on many occasions, mainly in the summer. It had never once occurred to me that I could run along the tow path.

Off to get some fresh air!

I had worked out a route that took me along the road for a couple of miles, down to the river, then run along that for 4.5 miles which would lead me into Chelmsford town, then up past the prison, around Springfield, through Beaulieu Park, then back over the A12 and towards home.

I reckoned between 14 and 15 miles.

The first couple of miles were down hill, it was lovely, the sun was just beginning to rise, the birds were singing and I had a good feeling about this run.

Whilst running along the river, I tried on several occasions to kick myself repeatedly. Why? Well for not running this route before, that’s why.

It was stunning, the water was tranquil apart from the odd coot or duck paddling across it, the air was fresh…it was quite very close to perfection. Seriously, why had I not run along here before? I passed locks and old lock keeper’s houses, I ran past horses and cows eating the early morning dew covered grass, old gunner huts strewn across the fields. It was so much nicer than running along pavements.

The only down side was the ground, it was hard, cracked and uneven, tree roots threatened to trip me every now and then, and it affected my pace and stride. I was running slower, and the undulated ground made me more cautious.

Back on the road.

The river led me into Chelmsford town center, back on tarmac and pavements, my slower pace along the river meant I had conserved some energy, which was handy because the run up Springfield Road was a killer, my calves were aching.

By the time I reached mile 10 I had picked up pace a little, and was running at about 8:30min miles, although it seemed as if my legs were on auto pilot, it felt as if I had no control over them!

The uphill run between miles 12 and 13 almost finished me off. I have a mental issue with this hill. It nearly beats me on every occasion.

Happily I completed a refreshing 14.6 mile run in approx 2 hours 15 minutes, not a record breaker by any shot. But very enjoyable none the less.

Here’s the route!