LETJOG14 – Week 2

Weekly Runs

So, for me my running week starts on a Sunday, that’s mainly because I use Map My Run iphone app and that logs my runs for me, and it starts on a Sunday!

I have yet to start my 8 week trianing programme, that will commence in a week or 2, depends what happens in the next two weeks with regards to gym work and any runs I can get in – I need to get back into a steady pace and run. Something that is slowy coming back to me since the crash.


For me, this challenge is all about the running. There are 874 miles to cover in this LETJOG14 challenge. Some people are cycling it, some are running it, some are doing both. I think there is even a chap incorporating swimming into it too!

But I think the challenge is more difficult running and running alone. Outdoors.

I could incorporate the 20 miles cycling I do each week going to the station and back. But I haven’t, it’s all about the running….Lands End to Jon O Groats (LETJOG14).

That, by the way, takes nothing from everyone involved in this challenge, it’s not a simple feat we are taking on. This is just my preferred way of completing it.

Weekly Stats

Sunday – 5.1 miles (click here). Not a great pace, but a good distance to start the week off.

Tuesday – 6.0 miles (click here). I was not looking forward to this one, my legs ached, but that soon went once I got going. A slightly better pace, and a slightly longer distance, to the point that I could have kept going. I put it all down to Wifey’s home sweet potato and tuna fish cakes!

Thursday  – 3.7 miles (click here). My first run at lunch time at work for ages! I forgot how much of a pain in the arse it is having to dogde tourists, duck out of photos, avoid being hit by buses, and on the plus side how beautiful our capital city is. My pace was mental quick, felt good throughout. Looking forward to getting out there again next week.

Saturday – 3.7 miles (click here). Out in the afternoon sunshine, a quick and steady run around the village with my average pace under 8 minutes per mile. Very pleased.

Weekly total = 18.5 miles

Total covered this year = 24.4 miles

Distance left to cover = 849.6 miles.

To follow everyone’s progress on twitter, search for the #LETJOG14 hashtag!!


Felsted 10K 2012

The Felsted 10K 2012

Today I would be running the Felsted 10K 2012, I have never ran this race before, all I know is where it was, that it wasn’t cut off from traffic 100%, the course said it was flat and slightly undulating, so I could expect small hills, nothing major.

Oh and I also knew that it had been raining continuously for a good week now, and it was still raining today. This wasn’t a bad thing, I would much rather be running in the rain than in the scorching sunshine (see Southend Half Marathon).

I also knew that I had ran 10k at least 100 times, albeit the majority of those runs were not a race but pounding the streets on my own. I wasn’t particularly worried, I thought it would be a fantastic race, my main concern was for Crispy, he was running it with me, and it was only his second proper race, the first was obviously Southend Half Marathon. The Felsted 10k 2012 would be his first race at this distance, and on this terrain.

Although, he was competent enough to run 10k, and had done so on numerous occasions.

Before the start

I picked Crispy up with plenty of time to get there, assess the situation, warm up and be relaxed for when the race started. We arrived and were guided into a field to park the car, a quick change, consume a quick banana with some water and then walk up to the start.

Plenty of people were milling about and nattering, others were preparing themselves (some taking it a little too seriously in my opinion), we chatted with a few people we knew and then did a bit of a run to warm up as well as some stretches.

At 2 minutes to 11:00 everyone was behind the race car and ready to go.

“What’s the race plan then Westy?” Crispy asked me, I replied with “take it easy for the first couple of miles and then maybe pick up the pace a little, strong finish!” Thumbs up from Crispy.

When the starter went off, we all surged forward, everyone jockeying for space and to settle into their own stride and pace. Crispy and I surged on, darting in between other racers, working our way through the field.

When will I learn?

After about 4 or 5 minutes I found myself running along on my own, Crispy was no where around me. Where was he? What had gone wrong? A quick glance at the GPS told me I was running at just over 7:00 mins per mile. Shit!! I’d done it again, set off far too fast, I slowed down to just over 8 mins per mile.

Crispy caught me up, “Did you have a birth plan for either of your two kids?”   The question threw me a bit “No” I replied, “They both came too early for us to put any plans in place” (one was 8 weeks early, the other was 5 weeks early). “That explains why you went tearing off then!”

We ran side by side for a bit, but I’d knackered myself by setting off way to fast, Crispy gradually eked away from me, my legs felt like lead. I was running slower and slower, I ran steadily at about 8 mins 30 secs per mile.

Perhaps I shouldn’t of ran 10k yesterday, perhaps I was over doing it lately, who knew? All I knew was I was 2.5 miles into 6 and hating myself for running off too quickly. My mind raced with calculations, I wanted to finish between 50 and 55 minutes and in the top half of all racers. I’d be surprised if that happened at all today.

Hindsight and all that…

The Felsted 10k 2012 was not the race I had hoped it would have been for me. Crispy on the other hand had a blinder! He finished in 46 minutes, I was very pleased for him, I on the other hand finished in 50 minutes, OK so I had beaten my 10k PB by 3 minutes, but I was not happy about the way I had started.

I need to learn to start a lot slower.

Here’s the course and my splits.

Thursday 5th July 2012 – 5K time trial

Running club

Thursday. Running club this evening.

I checked out the website this week to see what route we would be running (I remembered this time). According to the posting we would be doing 5k time trials. Brilliant, the last time we had done this I had crashed and burned half way through, far too quickly out of the blocks.

Subsequently I had finished in about 25 minutes, a gasping wheezing wreck.

Well that wasn’t about to happen again. This time I would pace it a bit more.

5k time trial

Before the run I did my usual stretches and took on some water.

We headed out, a mile or so run down to the park where we would be starting the time trials. I kept at the back, a steady jog to try and conserve some energy.

I knew the route of the trials, 2 laps starting along the riverside, over the bridge, back down through Chelmsford University, cut back through the side road, over another bridge – and repeat.

It was a nice, flat run, and good for setting decent times.

My time trial

I started off quickly and was kicking myself inside, I knew I’d do that, I wanted a slower pace to start and then increase and push for the last half mile. I was running under 8 minute mile pace.

I kept going, breathing hard but maintaining the pace. I looked at my GPS, a quick few calculations, I could beat 24 minutes at this rate.

I ploughed on, I slowed a little but nothing major. I came over the second bridge and headed for lap two, still feeling ok, still breathing hard, but all the while pushing hard. I had the 24 minute target in my head.

Half way around the second lap I could feel myself slowing, perhaps I hadn’t quite paced this out correctly.

A left turn after the Uni, across the bridge and then turn right, the last 100 yards or so to the finish line, where 80% of the rest had already finished. I stopped my watch 23m:59s….

Here’s my 5k time trial PB

Tuesday 3rd July 2012 – Running at the same pace

Running at the same pace

This was the beginning of my last week of ‘solo’ running for a while. As of next week I would be working to a marathon training plan, 16 weeks of tempo, easy and long runs in the build up to running the Amsterdam marathon at the end of October.

Today I wanted to cover 5 miles running at the same pace. This may sound easy and probably is for some people, but it’s something I tend to struggle with, so this morning I was going to practice it.

A simple route around the village at a manageable pace was the plan.

Setting off too quick

As per normal I set off a little too quickly, this is becoming a very annoying habit I have, and something I need to work on.

My pace slowed down after a mile or so, my target pace of 8m 20s to 8m 30s per mile, seemed manageable. I set out and headed down toward the village.

A quick right at The Cock, up and over the A12 and back not only adds distance to my route but throws a short sharp hill in both the beginning of my run and at the end too.

Back down to the main road, left at Plantation Road and then around the back of the village to the top of Church Road.

On Target

I turned left then, past The Lion, down hill then up to the A12 junction, over that and back on myself for the 2 mile run home.

So far so good with the pace, although I had slowed a little, something which I expected to do, I hadn’t gone over the 8m 30s per mile mark, I felt pretty good too, the legs were holding up nicely and my breathing was steady.

The last two miles were good, the uphill run back toward The Lion was easier today (I’m sure that’s just a mental thing). I tried pick pace up a little once I’d come back down the hill by The Cock and started the last half mile home.

All in all a good run this morning, happy with it.

Here’s a good 5 mile route

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.

The Edmund Carr Charity Race 2012 – The Race!

Pushing your limits

Most of us will go through life plodding a long, taking each day as it comes. Never pushing their limits, never knowing anything other than their 9 to 5 job and their 2.4 children. Washing the car on a Sunday afternoon, walking the dog. Kicking the cat.

There’s more to life than that. Life is there for the taking. Life has so much to offer us, and many opportunities to take.

I guess we get into a comfort zone and are happy to plod along.

And I think that’s what I was doing with my running. I was in a comfort zone, I wasn’t doing anything to push myself, and becoming increasingly frustrated with it, plodding along at the same pace and along the same roads.

The Edmund Carr Charity Race 2012

To gee myself up and give myself some targets I entered a couple of races. A 10 mile race. A half marathon, and a full marathon.

Today I ran the 10 mile race. Today I ran the Edmund Carr Charity Race 2012.

I’d kind of prepared myself for it. I knew it was quite an undulated course, I was fairly confident that I had plenty of undulated runs under my belt to take the course on. How wrong I was.

Under starters orders…

The race was at 11am. I was up at 7:15, nervous and agitated. I just wanted to get there and get cracking.

Wifey and the boys dropped my off at 10:15am (they’d be back in a while to see me off and to watch me cross the line – great to have my family supporting and cheering me on!). There were hundreds of people there, stalls selling running kit and trainers, there was people doing zumba, bouncy castles, hot dog stands and a large scaffolding structure which was the start / finish line.

I just wanted to get running, at 5 to 11 all the runners were summoned to the start line, there were several hundred of us. As I was walking I felt a tap on my back, I turned around to see Wifey and the boys ‘we’ve been looking for you everywhere Daddy, are you going to win?’, their two beaming faces were exactly what I needed, they distracted me a little from what I was about to do. I kissed them all, and nestled myself at around halfway in the bustling crowd. 

I relaxed a little. I looked up at the clock, still a couple of minutes to go, Fatima Whitbread, who was starting the race, was just climbing up into the starting podium, the air was buzzing.

A small part of the crowd counted down as the clock went from 10:59:50 to 11:00am then the claxon sounded and away we went, a loop around the field and then onto the roads.

The race.

Firstly a big thank you. There were plenty of volunteers acting as marshalls or handing out water and sponges along the route, these people sacrifice a couple of hours out of their day to help out and make sure the race goes to plan and without any upsets or surprises. A pat on the back and a round of applause for these guys. A huge thanks to those that handed me much needed water and a freezing cold sponge.

The first mile was simple. Although I had forgotten the first rule of running at a steady pace and got carried away with it all, I legged it as soon as the claxon went, first mile around 7 minutes 30, second mile was the same, although a little slower as we were running up the first long hill of many, third mile was a little slower but still under 8 minutes, I needed to get back to a sensible pace or I wasn’t going to make it.

I was running at around 8 minutes 20 ish, and fairly comfortable, then we’d hit another hill. Obviously down hill was ok.

I’d been warned by a couple of people about the hill climb at around mile 7. The 3 previous had been tough-ish, but this one was mental and nearly caused me to stop and walk. Mentally I was about to throw in the towel, then this old chap ran past me midway up the hill. ‘What the f…?” Well if he could bloody well do it, so could I, and anyway, I’d not got up at silly o’clock on numerous mornings just to walk around this course. Plus I didn’t want to let Wifey and the boys down, I was going to complete it.

This was, I am guessing, something like the ‘wall’ that marathon runners hit. It was horrible.

I plowed on, relaxed and enjoyed the last 3 miles, I took in the scenery, I laughed to myself every time someone over took me, if I had let it bother me I would of lost my concentration…quite a few people over took me too!

Running up the last hill, less than a mile from home I got a burst of energy, I turned left into the grounds and headed for the finish line. 

I ran past people that had already finished, medals hung around their necks, they didn’t look half as knackered as I felt. There were plenty of people still clapping and cheering. I ran onto the grass and headed for the line, I could hear ‘go on Daddy’ from the boys, I looked but couldn’t see them, I remember over taking the lady in front of me as we were about 15 foot from the line, she’d been in front of me for ages. The clock above the finish line said 1:23:29, I had done it.

We were ushered single file to collect our medals, Wifey and the boys ran over and gave me a great big hug. I was spent.

I felt great. I had achieved something. After 5 minutes I wanted to run it again! Why does that happen? 

Here are the results, I am in at position 337.

This is the route and the stats!

Sunday 29th April 2012 – Rain rain go away

Bloody weather!

For the last week or so now it has pretty much rained all day every day. Although we have a hose pipe ban, and according to the weather lady on TV this afternoon, over the past 2 years the monthly rain fall has only been above average for 3 of those months. The monthly rain fall has mainly fallen below average, hence the hosepipe ban.

Some places are expecting 50mm and over. 2 inches of water. Not much really, but this meager 2 inches brings with it ‘amber’ flood warnings.

Still, at least the boy’s like to sing ‘rain rain go away!’

Running in the rain?

I have been a bit lax on the running front lately, the wet mornings and evenings, puddle (small lake) covered pathways and grass verges have not been overly enticing to run on…not overly helped by the sound of the rain beating down on the bedroom windows, and the bed feeling extra warm and snug lately.

New running stuff.

I ran in a lightweight running jacket on Tuesday (the one that Virgin send you when you don’t make the ballot for the London Marathon – this was from last year), I thought it would make me claustrophobic, but it didn’t, I was actually quite comfortable. So I looked into buying one.

I went to the local Asics store yesterday afternoon and bought a new one, a nice lightweight black one (like the picture), also managed to get myself a running cap. I am not one for wearing baseball caps or running caps, so I felt a bit odd trying it on in the store, let alone running with one. I got the one in the picture.

Rain Rain Go Away

All morning I had been itching to get out, it had been raining constantly, a light drizzle, then heavy – constant. I couldn’t wait to wear my new cap and running jacket, my new protection against the horrid weather.

Around mid afternoon I declared that I would be going out for a run. I threw my kit on and proceeded to piss-ball around for ages with the jacket, my ear phones and my bottle belt (which was new too), I was getting the hump, I need to work on my running preparation time, especially for morning runs. I finally managed to get out of the front door.

Two minutes into the run, the rain stopped…the clouds parted, and for the next 45 minutes the sun shone gloriously as I trekked out a 5 mile route.

I was gutted, I was so looking forward to running in the rain, getting drenched and testing my new attire.

This is the non rain drenched run!

Tuesday 24th April 2012 – Running to perfection

In the mood

I didn’t manage to get out and go for my run this morning, as I have done most Tuesday’s.

It had rained today, like it had most days for the past week. That was up until mid to late afternoon, when the clouds parted and the sun began to shine through. The wind died down and things started to dry up. I sat at work and contemplated getting out for a few miles this evening.

I was still annoyed and frustrated from Saturday’s bad run and was keen to get out again. I needed to get my mojo back – and quickly.

This evening’s conditions were almost perfect. I put my kit on, said good night to the boys, kissed Wifey and headed out. My aim for this evening’s run was 3 – 5 miles, I settled into a good early stride and a pace of about 8m 40 ish, things were looking good.

Running to perfection.

At 3 miles I was feeling really good, this was such a contrast to Saturday’s run, I recalculated the route for a definite 5 miler, and at the turn around point I thought ‘just one more’ and kept going. This led to ‘just one more’ and another, before I knew it I was on mile 7 and not even out of breath, my legs felt fine, no twinges, no aches…I felt as if I could of run all night.

Heading through Springfield, I came to a roundabout, which on my normal long runs I normally turn back on myself and head home – but for some odd reason I turned left at the roundabout and followed the path into the darkness. The path soon came to an end, but I kept running.

I certainly shouldn’t have turned left at the roundabout, the ground was undulated, too close to the main road and no street lighting. I was guessing where my feet were landing, I couldn’t see a bloody thing!

After about 350 yards there was another roundabout, with street lighting! Hooray, I could see again. I threw a left and turned back up the hill, I was still feeling OK.

Heading home

Back up through Beaulieu Park and over the A12, 2 miles to home.

No niggles. No issues. Not even a single ‘white flag’ moment. My mental state was tip top this evening.

I don’t know how I have had two such different runs, what causes it, whether it’s mental, whether it’s the running conditions, it’s odd.

But I know that if it hadn’t been so late and Wifey was expecting me home about 45 minutes before did actually get home I would of kept on going.

I ended up completing 10.3 miles. And smiled all the way through it.

Here’s the route

Tuesday 17th April 2012 – Upping the ante.

Back in business

I was up and out early this morning, I had some miles to clock up.

I’d thought about doing a quick 5K, but seeing as I have an impending 10 mile race at the end of May, a half marathon mid June and a full marathon to run in October, plus what other runs that I can find that takes my fancy – I needed to do some marathon training, so I thought it best to try to run a little longer.

Practice makes perfect.

So I aimed for 5 – 6 miles. This is a manageable distance to complete before work, normally takes me about 40-45 minutes.

I also need to work on maintaining a good pace. Looking back at recent long runs of 12 – 15 miles, I average around 8m30s – 9m miles, I would like to get nearer the 8m30s miles and keep that as a constant. This pace would ensure I finish races in a respectable time. I need to get some more practice in.

Changing things up a bit.

Also this week I am going to do somethings a little differently;

  • take water with me to drink on the short runs (I don’t normally take anything with me on 3-5 mile runs. I am hoping more liquid intake may help with performance and recovery.
  • wear more layers – I always go out in a short sleeve running top and shorts. I want to see if layers affect my running performance.
  • Run Tuesday 5-6 miles, rest Wednesday, run Thursday 5-6 miles, rest Friday, long run Saturday 13-15 miles, run Sunday 3-5 miles.
My target is 25 – 30 miles per week, with the intention of slowly increasing to  35 – 40 miles per week within about 4 to 6 weeks, this should help towards my marathon training greatly.

Amsterdam Marathon 2012

At the beginning

When I first started this running blog, I intended to blog about all of my runs throughout the year no matter how short or far, how important or insignificant, rain or shine…or even snow. I hoped that I would be able to blog about some races I had entered, deep down I wanted to enter a marathon and blog about that. What is a running blog without a marathon?

The Marathon is the race every runner wants to compete in, no matter what country they live in, it’s what we all aspire to.

For some, running it once isn’t enough, some people have run 100′s. Believe it or not there are folk out there who run races upto and over 100 miles per race, these are Ulta-runners.

Dean Karnazes is one of them, he’s become a bit of a hero, I listen to his story of how he ran 50 marathons in 50 US States in 50 days. Some of the crazy stuff he has done, makes my 5k weekly runs seem a little inadequate.

It’s good to talk.

A few days ago I spoke to my good friend Rob Cameron. Rob is a runner. He has ran the London Marathon, competed in a few half marathons and is very focused in his approach to his running.

Rob mentioned that he had applied for, and would be running, the Amsterdam Marathon 2012. This appealed to me. Greatly. TCS Amsterdam Marathon

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to run the London Marathon, but there’s something about it that just seems like a load of commercialised chaos. I would rather run a marathon that has a few less entrants, a little more low key and a bit different.

And the Amsterdam Marathon has just that. As does the New York Marathon, but that’d cost me a fortune; leaving Wifey alone in the Big Apple for 4 hours or so could have a negative effect on our bank balance, and there’s only so many shoes you can get in one suitcase!

Plus the Amsterdam course looks a little more straight forward!!

Training programme

So now I have 6 months to get my self into shape and prepare myself for my biggest challenge as a runner.

Thankfully Rob is as dedicated a person as I have ever met and although he lives 150 miles away he will not allow me to slack on the training.

I think the fact that I am not starting from scratch should help me. I have run 13 miles plus a few times so far, I have run in all weathers, I have run up hills, along rivers and got up at silly o’clock far more frequently than others to go out and run.

All I have to do is sensibly increase my distances, and ensure I do not get injured.

The Amsterdam Marathon 2012