Time for a challenge!

March Madness

As you know I need something to challenge me. I need a goal to drive to. Take the 10 mile run I achieved a few weeks ago. I had it mind to run  the 10 mile route, and built up to it over a few weeks. I achieved it.

And by achieving it I felt good, it built my confidence as a runner, and has given me further confidence to enter other races (more of that in another post).

So this is my aim, I am going to attempt to run 155K in March. There are 31 days in March, and I am aiming for 5K per day! Some of you may be thinking ‘that’s not much of a challenge!’, but it is to me.

It’s really that simple!

Is it really that simple? What am I going to need to do to achieve it? Well I don’t intend on running every day. I still need my rest days. I figured I need to do 20K during the week, and make the rest up at weekends, rest days will be Monday and Friday as normal.

I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a bit of a mission! but that’s what a challenge is all about right?

Challenges present themselves as different things for different people. We all run at different levels right, some are quicker runners, some short distance, some better at long distance, some trail runners.

Then there are some folk who are lazy fat bastards who sit on their arse all day taking the piss out of people that like to keep fit and eat healthily, they have no get up and go, no drive or real focus. They will never achieve anything. They are miserable, and to a point probably jealous!

I do not wish to be like that, I intend on bettering myself, and if I can do that whilst doing something I enjoy, then good for me!

Healthy diet and plenty of rest!

I eat quite healthily, but I think I could eat healthier. More fruit, less bread. I need to drink more water, every day I mean to drink more, but get caught up in what I am doing or distracted in one way or another. So I need plenty of focus.

I know my Wife will support me, and perhaps join me on the occasional run.

Fatigue will play a major factor in this challenge. I am normally comfortable with running 5K in the mornings, but a challenge is meant to get you out of your comfort zone, so I will be upping the ante a little and aiming for 7-8K if not more. This will tire me out, therefor more rest will be needed.

How I am going to manage that I don’t know!!

Inspiration

I read a lot of other people’s blogs and articles, and gain a lot of inspiration from them. Some set themselves similar challenges and goals, some are just setting out on their running experiences and others are hardy marathon runners. All of these people are just ordinary folk like me.

If they can do it, then so can I.

 

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Sunday 26th February 2012 – a 10K triumph.

Tiredness caught up with me

I haven’t been out for a run since Wednesday.

I couldn’t get out of bed Thursday morning, for some reason I have been so damn tired lately, and trying to motivate myself Thursday morning was hard work. The alarm went off at half 5 and I just thought ‘you know what..I can’t be f*cked!’

I know it’s the wrong attitude, and it’s not like me to be like that, but I have been seriously struggling lately.

Friday is rest day.

Saturday I normally get up and try to do 8-10 miles. But yesterday I was up early and picking up a rental van to go and shift furniture from my Mum’s house back to home. I had planned a run in the afternoon, but got caught up in tidying a load of crap out of our house and getting it ready to take to the dump today.

So today then!

Can I be arsed?

Well today I wanted to do a minimum of 5 miles. Getting out of bed was a mission, my back was aching from humping stuff around yesterday, the ‘can I be arsed?’ thought went through my head a couple of times.

I got up, got changed. went down stairs and stretched and went out.

10K run

Seeing as how during last week the temperature had risen, I went out with just a single layer, and no hat.

Typically we had a slight frost last night, so the initial chill to hit me was quite a shock, but I soon warmed up.

The first mile was mental, couldn’t get into my stride, shoe lace came undone twice and I was thinking ‘a quick couple of miles and I’m done’, by mile 2 I was enjoying it, I knew I had missed it, I’d had 3 days off, struggled with motivation and drive, and now I was back. Just as well really seeing as I have got a big plan for March!

Miles 3 and 4 were a breeze, I was heading back towards home after the 4th mile and aiming for a 6-7 mile run (10K run), keeping it manageable and sensible considering lack of running this week.

Happily I clocked a 6.86 mile run, if you want to see it, here it is.

Wednesday 22nd February 2012 – the temperature is rising!

Bright and early??

One thing I am noticing about the early morning starts lately is that it’s slowly but surely getting lighter earlier.

This helps when running on roads where there are no street lights! It also helps mentally too. It makes getting out of bed easier.

The hardest thing about going out running early in the morning is actually getting my arse out of bed. Once I am up and getting dressed I am fine.

midweek mildness

Over the past few weeks I’ve been wearing two tops to help keep warmer and a hat to keep the heat it. This morning I made a mental note to myself that tomorrow I wouldn’t need the hat and extra top.

The temperature is hovering around 4 to 6 degrees in the morning now, that’s close to tropical considering a week or so ago I was out running in minus 5!!

If I feel too hot when running I get claustrophobic and agitated and don’t enjoy the run a much as normal. So less is better.

today’s run

Apart from being far too hot and agitated this morning, the run was pretty good. Exact same distance and almost same time as yesterday. Need to keep up with the consistency.

There was a bit of a wind whipping across the fields, which slows you down a bit when running into it, and on occasion took my breath away. But it was all good.

Same again tomorrow. Still preparing for the big challenge.

You can see the route here.

Tuesday 21st February 2012 – Back in the game

Tuesday’s are back!

Hauled my arse out of bed this morning, keener than normal to get up and get going!

My legs were feeling better, I was feeling less crap than last week, apart from a slight sore throat.

Pushing myself a little further

I got my kit on, done my stretches and hit the road. I was desperate to get back into the routine, back into running 3 mornings during the week, and long runs at the weekend.

I am building up to something next month, I have set myself a bit of a challenge. More of that in another blog.

For this morning, I edged a few hundred yards further than normal, with my normal pace, not too fast, the sort of pace I find myself settling into without even thinking about it.

Happy!

A good time and barely broke a sweat. Going to up the ante a little for the big challenge in the coming days.

Here is the run.

Saturday 18th February 2012 – 5K quickie

Still feeling rough

I wasn’t planning on running too far today. I’ve not been feeling great all week, managed to get out and run a couple of times, but it’s the weekend, and I didn’t want to spend it feeling sorry for myself.

For the last few weeks I have been getting up and pushing myself to the 10 mile barrier, which I happily broke last week.

This weekend however, I stayed in bed and had a lay in.

Back home

I was going to run today though. I had it planned to run.

Wifey and I were heading up to London to watch Phantom of the Opera this evening, the boys were staying with Nanny, so that’s where I was going to run. Back near Mum’s.

I’d got a route in my head, wasn’t sure of the distance, but had it roughly at around a 5K run.

5K quickie

I headed out from Mum’s house, ran down towards my old local pub, The Crown at Roneo Corner, turned left up towards Rush Green, left again at the lights up towards Barking and Dagenham College, past the college and towards the borders of Dagenham.

I managed to swerve Dagenham by about 150 yards by turning left into The Chase Nature Reserve.  I ran around the lakes, past the fishermen sitting there wrapped up under their big umbrellas watching the waves, around the cemetery and past the stables, crossed the bridge over the river and back up to the main road towards Mum’s.

The Chase holds lots of memories for me, I played over there a lot as a kid, I got drunk over there a lot as a teenager. Now I am running through it.

Over all, despite the rain and the wind, it was a nice run, my legs are back to normal now.

The week ahead

So, I  managed to run a quick 5K, good to get out and do a different route too.

Hoping to get back into the swing of things a bit more this coming week, especially after feeling crap last week

Oh and in case you were wondering – Phantom of the Opera was awesome!!

You can see the route and time here.

Thursday 17th February 2012

Deep breaths

I wasn’t in the mood for running this morning, I didn’t feel great when the alarm started yelling at me, felt even less like running when I lifted my head off the pillow.

I stumbled about getting ready, I felt sick and my throat was on fire, today’s run was going to be hard work. I kept taking deep breaths to try and stem the sick feeling.

I just about managed to muster up the energy to do a quick stretch and warm up.

Holding it together

To be honest I probably should of stayed in bed for the day, and probably for the next couple of days, but I wanted to run.

Within a mile I was sweating like a trooper, OK so we’d had a slight increase in temperature over the last few days, but I hadn’t sweated like this since I first started out with running and had trouble running half a mile.

Perhaps sweating this out was the answer, so I ran a little faster and a little farther this morning. Yep it was a struggle, but it’ll be easier next time.

Click here to see the run.

Wednesday 15th February 2012

Missed one!

I’m not sure what happened yesterday, I wanted to get up and go for a run, but whether it was the aching legs or sore throat and feeling like I wanted to sleep for a couple of days, I stayed in bed, and had a lay in.

I still felt like crap when I woke up.

Slowly slowly catchy monkey

Ok so no monkeys are involved in this run, but I did try to run slowly, honest I did. I wanted to take it easy, lately I find my pace is far too quick, even on the longer runs, which is frustrating.

Why is it frustrating? Because I have entered a couple of races. Last time I raced I burnt myself out after 3 miles, and struggled to get round the course. I don’t want that to happen again.

I woke up feeling like crap again this morning, my throat was roaring, my head was banging, but there was no way I was staying in bed another morning.

Everything was pounding

The run was hard. With every step my brain felt like it was rattling around in side my head, half a mile in I wanted to be sick. And because I felt sick I wanted to finish quicker, so I was running quicker….so much for taking it easy.

To be honest I was happy to finish without chucking up everywhere. Let’s hope tomorrow is better…

You can see the run here.

Sunday 12th February 2012

My legs are hurting.

“I think I may have pushed myself too far yesterday!”

That was my initial thought when I woke up and felt the dull ache in my legs. But did I actually push myself too far? Could I of pushed harder? Probably.

I think I should of gone farther. The fact that my legs ached means they got a good workout yesterday and are not used to that distance, it doesn’t mean I couldn’t of run any longer.

Rest or run?

My legs said rest, my head said run, head wins every time (not always a good thing).

I wanted to get out and clock a few extra miles up this weekend, I needed to get my body used to longer distances.

I’d still be having 2 rest days per week as I always do, that’s plenty right?

Come on legs, keep up

After chilling out and getting a few bits done in the morning, I headed out around mid afternoon.
I wanted to do at least 5k, hopefully more.

To be honest it wasn’t the best start. I’d spent a few minutes longer warming up and stretching seeing as my legs we still aching. I couldn’t find the pace. My stride was all out.

I was concerned about injuring myself, so perhaps I was a little tentative. Concentrating on being careful was preventing me from focussing on just bloody running.

I got the first mile out of the way painlessly, eased into the second mile, all ok there. My legs we easing up, the blood was pumping and I was off. Got to a junction where I normally throw a right to head into the home straight, decided to chuck a left and head up to the main roundabout, I ran all the way around the roundabout and headed back onto the 2 mile home straight.

Relief

I managed to crack out a respectable 5.06 miles, the legs held out. I was very happy and relieved.

Don’t know what I was worried about in the first place!!

You can see the route and times here.

Saturday 11th February 2012 – 10 Miles!

A week with out running

I woke up this morning full of excitement with a little bit of fear / concern thrown into the mix.

I was determined to crack the 10 mile barrier this morning, but due to the recent crap snow and ice I hadn’t been out for a run since last Sunday, so either A) the long rest would be a great help or B) the long rest meant I was a little out of practice and was going to struggle some what. I hoped it was option A.

I’d been keeping an eye on the conditions of the pavements and pathways, and they had been improving daily, but I wasn’t prepared to go out running in the dark on a still icey path. Today would be the day. I could feel it.

A touch of frost?

Running kit on, downstairs for a stretch and a warm up (feed the cat), check the weather outside…and low and behold it was clear, although it seemed we had been on the receiving end of a very heavy frost. Temperature check, minus 4. Crap.

The sun was just poking it’s nose over the horizon, the cockerel was making a row in the garden, time to hit the road!

Setting a pace

Something happened as soon as I started running this morning; on the opposite side of the road was another bloke running, from the village up the road into our village, nothing odd in that, in fact nothign odd at all, but he was properly running. Not jogging slowly or quickly. Full on running.

Well that was me ruined. Instead of settling into a nice pace to start off with, seeing as I wanted to push myself that little bit further this morning, I wanted to catch up with him. Not only did I want to catch up with him, I wanted to over-take him.

I did neither. He was way too fast. A hardened pro no doubt. After 150 yards or so I realised 2 things; Firstly I was not going to catch him, and secondly my legs were fricking stinging! Bollocks.

I needed to concentrate on the job in hand!

The first two miles flew by, albeit I was bored, and my pace quickened a little, I wanted to get the first 4 miles out of the way, and into the meaty bit.

What a fool I am.

Having torn through the first couple of miles at about an 8m30s pace, I got a stitch at 4 miles, this lasted until mid 6 to 7. I was struggling. The stitch was really pissing me off, I couldnt shake it, but was glad to be at 7 miles, and new that I had plenty in me to keep going.

The stitch, and not my pace or technique, had been my point of focus and I needed to get back into my stride…which took me about half a mile.

Home straight

At 8 miles I knew I had 2 miles or perhaps more to go, the home straight is 2 miles long give or take a few yards.

Down a hill, up the other side, a mile of flat straight, chuck a left up a short hill and back down, at this point my right calf was cramping a little, no time to worry about it, I was almost home. Left again, half a mile to go. Pace quickened again, running full out for the last few hundred yards…

10 mile barrier…BROKEN!

I’d done it. It had taken me a couple of months to achieve it slowly, but surely.

Very pleased. I am now ready to book in for some 10 mile runs, and 10K runs.

You can see my route and times here

Hold the ice!

Running on ice!

I haven’t been out for a run since Sunday afternoon.  I normally rest on a Monday, and head out on a Tuesday morning.

But, seeing as we still have snow on the ground which has been slowly melting then re-freezing, I don’t think it would be too sensible for me to go out running at silly o’clock in the morning in the dark…on ice! Although the mornings do seem to be getting a little lighter.

Grumpy

As I have mentioned before, not running can put me in a grumpy mood. Especially if I haven’t been for a run on a day I had planned to go out! It’s very frustrating.

I think the early morning runs help to wake me up and to clear my head, allowing me time to focus on what tasks I have to complete that day, and organise them in my head. Although to be fair, I very rarely remember the order in which to do them! ha ha ha.

My next run will be…?

Who knows? The weather remains so cold. It is Wednesday today, the paths in the village remain icey and snow covered, therefore the morning runs are not going to happen.

The next time I run could be Saturday, that depends on how much snow we get Friday evening (if the weatherman get’s his predictions correct again!).

Until then, the frustration is building up…may have to just run and run on Saturday morning, no route planning, just get out there and run for a couple of hours!