No Excuses.

Let The Running Commence….

…well maybe not today, but possibly tomorrow. Or perhaps the day after?

I want to run but….

…I’ve got an excuse. I had a really bad car accident at the beginning of October and have been unable to run or train properly or go to the gym. I have been out for the odd run here or there, just to de-stress and unwind. Or to run with Wifey; who ironically picked up her running enthusiasm just as mine was lost in a 70mph wrestle with bloody great lorry.

To be fair, as good as an excuse as that is, it still doesn’t and hasn’t really stopped me from running or curbed my enthusiasm for running; far from it. Not being able to get out on a regular basis has been bloody frustrating, but I have enjoyed watching Wifey go from strength to strength as she trains for her first half marathon in June.

Something to aim for.

Her aim is to conquer the Southend Half Marathon, and whilst she only manages to get out once or twice a week she is already hitting 8-10 mile runs at a steady pace, it’ good training for a half marathon, 13 miles at the beginning of June should be a walk in the park for her.

I have entered this race too, and aim to cross the line with Wifey. I have ran it twice before, it’s a fairly easy course, simple route, and has lots of support from the crowds, especially when it’s hot and they hose you down!

For me, the race is 6 months away, by then I should have finished my physio, and be nearing the pace and good physique I was in back in October. But it gives me something positive to aim for, and in training I should eat away into the 800 plus miles that forms this LETJOG14 challenge.

But for now…

… I am going to break off another strip of this massive dairy milk bar of chocolate and pour myself another glass of port and lemonade…perhaps I will get my running kit ready for the morning and go out before work….?

Tenner says I don’t though!

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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!

Wednesday 28th March 2012 – Enthusiasm

Wake up! Wake up!

I’m Knackered. Fact.

Don’t know why. I’m not doing anything majorly different. Struggled to get my arse out of bed this morning.

When I went to sleep I had all the enthusiasm in the world to get up in the morning, get my kit on, run down stairs and then run the streets for half an hour.

This morning’s enthusiasm levels were as low as a snakes belly.

I miss my bed.

That aside I got up and went downstairs. I looked out of the window, the clear dark sky gave a chilly impression and my thoughts immediately aimed themselves at my warm bed. Brilliant. Why couldn’t my thoughts aim themselves at the run? The fields? The roads? My pace?

I stretched slowly, paying more attention to stretching my calves out, I didn’t want that niggle in my right calf to come back, definitely didn’t want to get an injury this morning, having to walk home would be a royal pain in the butt!

Once out on the road, breathing in the crisp fresh air, blood pumping and listening to other runners inspirational stories on my ear phones the smile came back and so did the enthusiasm. It came back in bundles.

What creates enthusiasm for running?

It’s the feeling of freedom. No it’s not. It’s the sense of peace and quiet. No it’s not. It’s appreciating the elements. No it’s not. It’s the feeling of achievement when a run is completed. No it’s not.

To be honest it’s a mixture of all of the above.

When I run I sometimes think about running different routes, I wonder what it would be like to run in warmer or colder countries, run along beaches, up mountains and this helps to keep me going, it keeps my enthusiasm levels up and the inner drive alive.

Getting up in the morning, however, remains a struggle sometimes!

Here is today’s 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.

Saturday 24th March 2012 – Distractions

I should of stayed in bed.

It comes around so quickly. Seems like only last week I was getting up and getting my running kit on.

There was something that wasn’t quite right about this morning though. I’m not sure whether my head was in the right place or what it was.

Perhaps I should of stayed in bed. In fact in hindsight I probably should of stayed in bed.

Left foot, then right foot. Repeat until finished.

A run starts with putting one foot in front of the other and then repeating the process whilst using your arms to help propel you forward. Opposite arm to leg.

It’s quite simple, yet this morning it was like I had never run before. I had about as much¬†rhythm, co-ordination and balance as a Dad dancing at a wedding. My stride was out of sync with my arms.

After a couple of miles of this I was frustrated and getting really pissed off with myself. I had a 15 mile target set for today, at this rate I would be lucky to get to 5 without kicking myself up the arse and falling over.

Distracted by the bottle.

This week I purchased myself a new water bottle which is on a belt thing that you tie around your waist to save you carrying it while you run. I figured with the weather getting warmer and my runs getting longer (mixed with the fact that I keep neglecting to take water out with me on the longer runs – school boy error) I should take some water on my runs with me.

For the first few miles it was bloody uncomfortable, it kept bouncing as I ran. This was really distracting. The bottle was slipping around my waist, I found myself running at a funny angle to prevent it from moving. This was messing up my stride and pace.

I tried tightening the belt, but it worked it’s way loose time after time.

In the end I had to refrain from thinking about it and focus on the running, by which time I was 7-8 miles in, and my right calf was beginning to hurt.

Best to be safe than sorry.

My right calf was aching quite badly, there was no way I wanted to risk damaging it any more than I had already. I decided to cut the run short, and headed back home.

I took a short cut home, taking 3 miles off the intended route, 12 miles was ok but I wasn’t happy. I had been too distracted by the water bottle, it had interfered with my pace and posture and now I had a niggle in my calf.

I need to get used to the bottle!

You can see the route here.

How hard can it be to run 26.2 miles?

Personal challenges

As I have mentioned before I like to set myself a running challenge from time to time. A sensible challenge, one that will push me just that little bit further.

Over the past few weeks, on my Saturday morning run I have been increasing my running distance, and trying it add a mile or so to my previous weeks distance.

Currently I am up to 14 miles, which is good, I never thought I would reach that distance.

I need to do something more though. I need to push myself a little bit further.

Bishop’s week of hell

A year, 18 months ago, maybe a little longer, I struggled to run a mile. That’s a lie. I struggled to run half a mile. But with a bit of determination, grit and positivity I got there. If you had said to me a few years ago that I would be running 20-30 miles per week and entering running races I would of fell on the floor laughing. But here I am doing just that. And more to the point I am enjoying it, it has become part of my routine now.

I recently followed John Bishop’s week of hell, where this normal guy, with no previous desire to run, row or cycle got off his arse and did something for Sport Relief 2012. He wanted to raise 1 million pounds.

To get from Paris to London.

This included a 185 mile bike ride from Paris to Calais, rowing 26 miles across the English Channel from Calais to Dover and then 3 back to back Marathons to cover the 82 miles from Dover to London. All this in 5 days. (It took him just three hours to do the journey the other way by train).

He enlisted some professional trainers to help him get ready for this challenge, and he had fantastic support from other celebrities, fans and family members or help him get through it.

It almost broke him…but he did it. And he managed to raise a couple of quid too!

Anything you can do…

This got me thinking.

No. I am not planning to copy his challenge. Simply because I couldn’t get the professional training and support to do this, nor could I get the French rozzers to give me a police escort out of Paris, nor could I get the time off work to train or to carry out the challenge.

I need to run a marathon. I need to actually compete in a marathon. First of all I need to cover the 26 miles as part of my run. In fact I want to try to run 30 miles in one go, this way I know that I would be able to run the 26 without much of a problem – in theory anyway.

Sunday 18th March 2012 – a wet t-shirt.

Mothering Sunday

After yesterday’s run. The feeling tired. The aching legs. I knew I had to get out and do a quick run today.

I had to get out and re ignite myself. Get my arse into gear and pick myself up. But family first. It’s Mothers Day.

I got up with the boy and we had breakfast and played while Wifey had a lay in.

We’d planned to go and visit my mum for lunch, then back to get bits done and have dinner. I would go for a run before dinner. There’s no way I can run on a roast!

A target of 5 miles

The clouds had threatened rain for a little while, and I thought I would be able to get out before the heavens opened and I got drenched.

How wrong was I?

It started spitting after half a mile, then full on raining by the time the lady app had announced my 1st mile. Thankfully it wasn’t torrential, but it was hard enough and heavy enough to cause my running top to stick to me and become a little uncomfortable.

I really wanted to do 5 miles. I almost managed it, cranked up a 4.84m run. I was a little disappointed with this, but after the 14 miles yesterday it was probably wise not to push myself too far.

You can see the run here.

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.