Monday 7th May 2012 – Silence is golden

A gentle run

I had the whole day to myself today, initially I had planned to go out and run. To run wherever my legs took me and for as long as I could, perhaps I could of completed between 18 and 20 miles today. This was not going to happen.

My aim was to eke out a gentle 5k. I probably should have rested totally today but I had to run. If I don’t get out for run I feel agitated and narky, I get the same feeling when I’m hungry lol.

I’d ran over 20 miles the past two days, so over doing it today wouldn’t be a great idea. Plus my Virtual Running Partner, Rob Cameron (my mate and trainer / adviser who I am running the 2012 Amsterdam Marathon with) advised me not to run at all considering the last two days running distances.

He’s the boss!!

Silence is golden

Sometimes I am such an idiot.

I should of covered the blisters with some form of protection. I clean forgot. By the time I was half a mile up the road my right foot was throbbing, I should of stopped and turned around and walked the half mile back home, but no, clever me kept on going.

The numbness kicked in after a mile or so.

And besides I had other things to distract me, like my breathing and my footsteps. I could hear them clear as a bell. This may not sound odd to you, but it was quite new to me. I was out running without music. Without my iPhone. The iPhone was being repaired (cracked casing – common fault apparently).

This was probably a good thing, as the forth coming 10 mile race in 2 weeks in Great Baddow was a street race, and due to health and safety rules, iPods or other forms of music players with ear phones were not allowed. So to get out and run a few miles without music was all good preparation for that.

It was a little odd at first without the music, but what I really missed was not hearing the running app announce my pace and distance at each mile interval. I had to manually update my workout on the laptop when I got back, thankfully I’d worn a stopwatch to record my time.

A good time

I completed the 3.5 miles in about half an hour, my blisters were a mess again. I’m not going to run for a couple of days now. They need to heal a bit before I try to wreck them again.

Here’s the run.

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Thursday 3rd May 2012 – Swans in flight

Alarm call.

Yesterday morning my alarm went off at 5:10am, I woke up, blinked and turned the alarm off, then annoyingly put my head back on the pillow for ‘a couple of seconds’, next thing I know it’s 5:50am and I am waking up AGAIN!

I was very annoyed. I hadn’t been up early on a weekday for a run for what seems like ages, and I was very much looking forward to getting up and out yesterday, especially as it was raining. It put me in a crap mood for most of the day.

Well it wasn’t going to happen twice!

Frustration

I intended to get a decent run in this morning. The plan was to complete 5 to 6 miles. Not running yesterday morning had left me feeling frustrated, going for a run always makes me feel better.

I’ve been used to getting up early 2 or 3 times per week and going for a run for a while now, I’d somehow slipped out of my routine and become a little lazy, and this was annoying me. What was double annoying was bloody over sleeping yesterday!

I hauled my arse out of bed, got my kit on and headed out.

Determination

The air was fresh yet a little damp and there was very little wind, ideal running conditions for me. The sun was just beginning to rise, but the clouds hindered it’s full glory much as they had done for the past couple of weeks.

My target was the long route around the village to the top end and back, this was about 5.5 miles. The first miles or so was a struggle but I soon settled into a good pace of about 8 minutes 40 seconds per mile.

Heading back from the A12 interchange roundabout I was just about to attack Mental Hill (I call it this because it plays havoc with my mental state especially when its in the later part of a long run) when out of the corner of my eye I noticed 3 swans flying in unison above the field to my right. There’s something beautifully majestic about watching swans in flight, this out a smile on my face and I pumped my arms and legs and I ran up the hill and headed homeward.

I managed to complete a 5.3.mile distance in a time of about 46 minutes, I was happy. It had been a good run.

Hopefully Saturday’s run will be just as good.

Here’s the quick run.

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

Saturday 21st April 2012 – I miss my mojo.

The long run

Having completed a couple of strong runs already this week I was quite determined to get 15 or 16 miles under my belt today.

In my mind I had my pace all sorted out, my route was roughly mapped out. I was good to go.

It didn’t happen though.

I’m not sure why either, which makes it more frustrating. My stride was out, my pace was all over the show, this didn’t help my mental state.

‘Sod it, turn around and go home’ I thought several times during mile 3. As you know I hate to give in, I fought through the mental ‘white flag’ moments and kept going. I dug in as much as I could, but something wasn’t right.

No fun for me.

I simply wasn’t enjoying myself. I wasn’t motivated enough to run. Something that had been affecting me a fair bit lately. I couldn’t get my head straight for long enough to get into my stride.

I listen to motivational audiobooks on running on most of my runs, I listen to other runner’s stories and how they cope with mental blocks and their own ‘white flag’ moments, and I tried to incorporate their tips and techniques into my own run.

I could of listened to those motivational stories all day today and they wouldn’t of helped.

I desperately need to get me my running mojo back!

The run.

I managed to limp to just over 6 miles. Limp is probably too harsh a word. My ‘hit and miss’ run lasted just over 6 miles. That sounds a little better.

Here’s the run.

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

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.

Tuesday 27th March 2012 – Done it!

155K Challenge

At the beginning of this month I set myself a little challenge; to run 155K in March. That was 5k per day. Obviously not running that each day, but to achieve it over the course of the month.

By the 14th March I was well on target, and even thought that I could reach 200K, I contemplated increasing the challenge, but I didn’t. Good job really, as I went 5 days without managing to get out and run at least twice, on a few occasions I never managed to run as far as I wanted to, and once or twice I gave in to the elements.

Crossing the line.

This morning’s run took me to exaclty 97 miles this month, that’s 156.106 km

I was half aware of how many miles I had ran so far this month, and figured that by around 6:30am I will have completed the challenge.

I managed between 4 and 5 miles, it was probably the 3rd mile that took me across the 155K line – challenge complete.

What’s next?

For what I thought would be a simple challenge it turned out to be more difficult than I imagined, mainly because of the reasons mentioned before.

I am going to set myself another challenge though, probably go for ’5 half marathons in 4 weeks’ or ’200K in a month’.

For now though I am very pleased to have completed this challenge.

Here’s the run!

Sunday 25th March 2012 – Getting back on track.

Best to take it easy

After the disappointing run yesterday, the distraction from the bouncing water bottle around my waist, and the niggling pain in my right calf, I knew I probably shouldn’t of gone out for a run today.

But my calf was feeling better, I had rested it for most of the day, and anyway, I always go for a run on a Sunday, difficult to break a routine.

I needed to run, yesterday had played on my mind quite a bit, I was annoyed with myself for allowing myself to become so bloody distracted, although part of me was thinking ‘sod it, I am not going to run for a while, I’ve had enough’, I knew that if I didn’t get off my arse and run today and sort my head out then I probably wouldn’t complete the challenge.

I had to get back out there.

And it’s not as if I was going to go hell for leather and crack out a 10-15 mile run, I was only going to go for a quick 5K to get the blood pumping.

To the roads…

I took it easy. I tried to hold myself back a bit, not wanting to put any unnecessary force or trauma on my right calf, I settled into a steady pace fairly soon and was quite content to just plod along.

I refrained from running that extra little bit further or increasing my pace too much, I needed to ensure my leg was ok, after all I had the 155K barrier to break through this week, and I wouldn’t be able to do that with a knackered calf muscle, or any other injury come to think of it.

Happily I managed to complete 5K in about 27 minutes, injury free!

This is the link to the run.