Saturday 17th March 2012 – Waking up is hard to do.

I’m so tired.

Last night whilst sitting down and chilling out once we had put the boys to bed, I was nodding off and it was only 9pm. This may not be unusual for you, but it is for me. Well quite unusual anyway. I can normally stay awake without a problem until we go to bed, which isn’t late, normally around 10 – 10:30pm

I’m not sure why I am so tired, could be a number of things like, work, dehydration, early morning starts, a busy week in general, or a busy few weeks. Or a combination of all of them.

So, when the alarm went off at 6:00am this morning for me to get up and do my weekly long run, my initial thought was ‘bollocks to that, I can’t be arsed’.

My second thought was, ‘that’s not the attitude Paul, its’s 14-15 miles this morning, get up’

Angel on the left shoulder saying ‘get up and run’. Devil on the left saying ‘sod that, stay in bed’

..half hour later..

I eventually got up, got changed, new trainers and running top, and headed downstairs. The day had already started, the sun was almost fully up and about. Time to hit the road. I stretched and off I went.

Immediately wished I had put a long sleeve top on. It was cold. What the f*ck was wrong with me? The cold weather doesn’t normally bother me, I love running when it’s cold. I put it down to old age, I turned 36 last week, almost 40, that had to be the reason.

Heading for 14 miles

I had a plan to go out and run 14 – 15 miles today, I wasn’t going to let the tiredness beat me but after the first 4 miles I was shattered. The cold air had woken me up a little bit, but I just felt like I would never manage 5 miles let alone 15.

At the end of 5 miles I had a decision to make. Turn right and head home which would mean an 8 or 9 mile run, or turn left and try for the target. Head said ‘right’, legs went left. Brilliant.

Ok, so now it got a little serious, I had to do the run. No matter how tired I was.

Breaking the mental barrier

I ran through Chelmsford town center, or City center as it is now know (it got promoted a week or so ago), bumped into my mate Steve of John’s Blinds who was setting up his market stall, then headed along the river, up Springfield Road, through Springfield, then Beaulieu Park, and up towards the A12.

To be honest by mile 7 I was so focused on the run, and was actually enjoying myself again, I clean forgot I was tired. By the time I got to the roundabout over the A12 I had 2 miles to go, it was looking like I was pass the 14 mile mark. This spurred me on.

I finished at just over 14 miles, in just over 2 hours, in fact 5 minutes longer then it had taken me to do 13 miles last week.

It was in fact a bloody good time!

I was shattered.

You can see this run through most of Chelmsford here.

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Saturday 10th March 2012 – A birthday treat!

Happy birthday to me…

Today is my birthday. I am not going to disclose my age, but let’s just say I am getting closer to 40 than I am to 30.

It’s a day I have been looking forward to for a few weeks now. Not only was I looking forward to spending a day with my Wife and boys, but I had a little treat in store for myself.

Not the sort of thing I would of treated myself to a year ago, this was a true boundary pusher, and I was very excited about it.

This was what I had been building up to over the past few Saturdays.

I was going to run a half marathon. Not a race as such, but the distance equal to.

Lucky 13.

I already had part of the route planned out, it was the same as I had done for the past couple of weeks, but this time I was hoping to add a mile or so to the 12 or so miles I ran last week.

As always the first few miles were simple, the first couple warmed me up and got my legs pumping, always mindful not to push it too fast, there was a long way ahead of me.

Miles 3 to 5 were along my new favourite road to run along, at the roundabout at the end I turned left instead of right as I did last week, and ran across the field and along the river towards Chelmsford town center. It was nice, peaceful and I made a mental note to run this way again, but further along the river. Summer mornings, before 6am would be very special.

I ran into Chelmsford town and passed the handful of people either getting their shopping done early, going to work in the shops or heading home after a night out on the piss, turned right at Argos and headed up past Springfield Road.

Up the hill I passed the Prison, and towards Aldi, back on to my normal route, left past Aldi cross the bridge over the railway line. Through Springfield, up towards Beaulieu Park and then back past Sainsburys.

As I ran up the hill towards the bridge over the A12 the app chirped up with 1 hour 30 something and 11 miles, this was good news, I had calculated the distance nigh on spot on, I had just over 2 miles to run, and had hit 11 miles.

The pace had been steady so far, and I was feeling really good, the thought of actually completing the 13 miles was making me smile as I ran, I had Michael Caine making me laugh with stories of his past (seriously, you have to get his audiobook!!), and  I was well on target to complete the 13 miles.

The last 2 miles were good, the final half a mile was mental, the closer to home I got, the further away it seemed. Not that I really minded, I was enjoying myself.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I wanted to get home to Wifey and the boys and spend my birthday with them I may just of kept on running!

Good times.

Prior to the run, I reckoned I could achieve the 13 miles in under 2 hours, calculation loosely based on 10 minute mile, 6 miles per hour. Therefor 12 miles in 2 hours. I was running around 8m 30s to 9m 00s miles, so I was probably going to run 12 miles in 1hour 45 – 50m ish. And the lucky 13 miles in about 2 hours.

Obviously this would all depend on hills, pace, my knee (it was hurting a bit lately, not sure why), my sore toe, my calves and my mental state.

I needn’t of worried too much. Although my toe and knee were quite sore I completed the 13.11mile run in 1hour 58 mins 04 secs.

I was very happy, and could now relax and enjoy the rest of my birthday with my family.

This is the half marathon route here!

Saturday 3rd March 2012 – 20K and a new PB

Saturday morning running!

Saturday. My long run day.

I had no idea how far I was going to run today nor what route I was going to run. But I figured I needed to crack out at least 10 miles to keep me on track for the 155K I intend to run this month.

So when the alarm went off at half past silly o’clock this morning, I didn’t hesitate in getting up and getting my kit on. Back to wearing just a single layer, short sleeved and definitely no hat today. I was far too hot on Thursday whilst running, and the claustrophobia was kicking in.

If I was to run a good distance today I needed to be cool and comfortable.

The key to a good run is…

Actually I don’t really know what the key to a good run is. All I know is this morning, my stride hardly changed from the moment I started, my pace throughout was consistently between 8m30s and 9m00s per mile. This morning’s run seemed perfect.

I wasn’t held up by traffic turning in and out of roads I was trying to cross, my laces never came undone, I didn’t get a stitch, my shoulders never ached, and 7 of the 8 other runners I passed said good morning to me! Which was nice.

The route.

the first 3.5 miles was my normal route, up to the village, round the back road, to the other side of the village, down to the A12, over the A12 and heading for Springfield, left at Sainsburys, down towards Buy and Queue, hang a left again.

I was now at around 4 miles, I was gong to run down to the next roundabout and back up and then continue as I had done on the 10 mile run the other week, but as I was feeling OK, I kept on going. I headed along the road, past Asda, up toward the retail park roundabout, turned right and ran toward the bypass. Along the bypass, off the slip road and toward Aldi, right at Aldi then left at the bridge over the railway line.

By now I was up to about 6 miles, no niggles or knocks or stitches so I just kept going.

I was trying to calculate how far I could potentially run this morning. I reckoned I could probably get to 12 miles, give or take a few yards, this spurred me on, if I could do it, then it would be my furthest distance yet.

If I could do it? Of course I was going to do it. I was determined to do it now.

10 miles down, at least 2 to go

I continued the run through the middle of Springfield, then up and through Beaulieu Park, back down toward Sainsburys, then turn left, past the BMW garage, up the hill and over the A12 again. Little app lady piped up “….1h 30 something minute…blah blah 10 miles..”

I was going to break my 10 mile distance record, and I had a good couple of miles to go. I was running with a big grin on my face, down the hill, up the hill (I hate that hill, it’s the worst hill I have to endure..and normally I am ok with them), on past the park. App lady again “…blah blah blah..11 miles” my pace quickened slightly.

Threw a left at the Cock Inn to run up the bridge over the A12 and back (it’s about 350m and the hill gets the heart thumping before the final half a mile back to home).

Back onto the home straight, the final half mile push, pace quite a bit faster now, I switched the music off and listened to my breathing and my trainers as they bounced off the road, trying to get them in sync with each other.

App lady kicked in just short of home “..blah blah 1 hour 48 minutes….blah blah 12 miles”

I’d done it – 12 miles. A new distance PB.

That should take a fair chunk out of the 155K challenge!

You can see the route and the times here.

Editors note: my legs are aching to buggery, perhaps I will just do 5 miles tomorrow!

Editors thought of the day: “no matter how slow you run, you are still faster than someone sitting on a couch!”