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.

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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.

Tuesday 6th March 2012 – Running with Michael Caine

Tuesdays…

I think I’ve mentioned before that I really like my Tuesday morning run. I’m normally rearing to go after a long run at the weekend, and getting Monday out go the way, no one likes Monday’s do they??

After only managing to crank up 3.43 miles instead of the intended 5 miles, I was a little behind on my planned distance for the week. So today was time to get back to the game plan and get back to the 4-5 mile morning run.

My name is Michael Caine!

I have been scouring music albums to find something that could set me at a decent pace, much akin to that of last Saturday – that was an ideal pace and something I have wanted to achieve for a few weeks. There are a few running albums out there, but a lot of the songs I found annoying and knew that if they were to come on whilst I was running I would be frustrated and it would put me off my run.

I do have some great tracks to run to, perhaps I will share them in a future blog post.

Then I had a thought. How about an audio book? It’s a steady constant sound, perfect for settling into a stride.

I scoured iTunes audio books and came across a few great autobiographies, but one stuck out the most.

The one and only Mr Michael Caine CBE.

The run.

To be honest the run was a bit of a blur. I was so bloody engrossed in what Mr Caine was saying I could of run until he finished telling me his story.

I may have found the thing to keep my pace and stride settled. A very comfortable run, and a very respectable 4.81 miles, which is another 7.74k off the 155K.

Only 114.45k left to go!

You can see the run and the route here.

Editor’s note: I can highly recommend the Michael Caine autobiography, especially the audio book as he narrates it himself.

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.

 

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!

Sunday 5th February 2012 – it’s snow joke!

Who believes the weatherman?

For the past week now the weather forecasters have been predicted a heavy fall of snow in the south and east of England. Would we get it? How right were they?

Remember Michael Fish in 1987? “contrary to what some people are saying we will not experience any strong winds” I remember watching that and thinking nothing of it. I woke up the next morning and our street was a mess. We’d experienced the strong winds.

Apparently we would start getting snow at around 9pm last night. Well by about 10 past 9 it had started.

They had got it right.

Mad dogs and Englishmen, go running in the midday snow!

After digging the car out this morning at 8 o’clock to go and rescue Wifey, who had gone out the previous night and not made it home due to the heavy snowfall, then coming home and taking the boys sledging, then heading home for hot toast and a cup of steaming hot chocolate, then out into the garden to have a snowball fight and build a snowman, I was itching to go for a run.

I wanted to run in the crisp white snow.

Didn’t quite happen that way though.

You throw like a girl!

The paths, we still covered in snow, it had been walked through, but was still untouched in some places. I started to run, but found it a little slippery and was running like a ballerina. Hmm the roads looked nice and clear now.

I ran on the roads instead.

I got funny looks off of most of the people I passed. I don’t think anyone was expecting to see a bloke in black shorts and a bright yellow running top at that time of day in that weather, and at that pace!

I ran in the road all the way around the route, at one point up ahead of me was a group of people, all ages, from sensible adults to 9-10 year olds, about 8 or 9 of them all talking and larking about. I paid them no attention, kept eyes front and my pace steady…got bloody bombarded with snowballs!! Kids I can understand, but adults?

None of them hit me, is it because my bright yellow top put them off or was I just too darn quick? Or were they just simply crap at throwing?

The run.

The run was a little shorter than the normal 5K route, as part of it was just too snowy to run on. But the pace was quick (not because I was being chased by people hurling snow balls at me), and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Glad I ran in the road and dodged cars rather than run on the pavement and slip and do myself an injury!

You can see the chilly dash route here.

Wednesday 1st February 2012

Cold?

As you may of noticed, we’ve had a spell of chilly weather of late. It started off frosty and cold, the roads and paths were icy, and white-ness sparkled everywhere.

Then it’s just turned into cold weather without the frost. Which is odd. And very cold.

Can we expect some snow? I hope so.

Colder than a penguin’s under-carriage

Someone sent me a tweet asking if I wore tights whilst running in this weather? I said “no, tights are for women and bank robbers!”

I have since thought about this a little more, and perhaps the sensible option would be to purchase or invest in a pair of lycra running shorts? But to be honest, I just see them as being a bit girlie. I am probably wrong. But for now I will persevere with just a simple pair of shorts, and expose my legs to a brutal chilly battering!

This morning it was -2 degrees C.

My poor legs were still stinging around lunchtime!

The run

To be honest, what is there to say about a run in the freezing cold? My legs suffered the most, and not from aches or pains but from the exposure to the elements. As I said they stung for ages. My own fault. But I am now wearing two top layers, albeit the top layer is short sleeved.

Hmm, should I be wearing gloves too?

In conditions such as they were, and in darkness too, I perhaps should of stayed in bed. The odd ice patch here and there were not welcome surprises, a major slip or accident could of injured me for the long haul.

Not a position I want to be in. But, I enjoy it. I love getting out there and battling the elements. I love that sense of achievement when I have completed the run, no matter how far.

And I don’t think even snow would stop me from going out and running.

You can see my route here.

Saturday 4th February 2012 – the whole 9 miles!

The weekend has landed

I lay in bed last night thinking about what route I would run today. I wanted to break the 10 mile barrier, desperately.

I recalled the 8.42 mile run from a couple of weeks ago. Remember last week? I didn’t run due to wine over indulgence, and if I am honest, I had to test a few of Wifey’s cakes too.

I had an idea of a few extra roads I could incorporate, hopefully it was a mile and a half plus! and it would take me beyond that 10 mile barrier.

No pain, no gain and all that!

Normally my longer run starts out as a bit of a mission, the first mile or so bore me if I am honest. The same route, the same streets, the same houses, occasionally the same dog walkers.

Mile 3-5 are a little more interesting. Mile 4-5 I hit a mental barrier, I struggle a bit, my running style goes a bit wonky, my breathing is all over the show. Mile 5-6 back in the zone and heading home.

This morning was cold, as it has been all week, at least minus 2 or 3, a bit of a brisk wind and dark. I did a lot more stretching than normal, the last thing I wanted was to cramp up or something more serious. This played on my mind a little.

Keep on running

I have learnt that once you get into a decent pace you can pretty much keep on running until your legs fall off. Not quite literally obviously. But if I didn’t finish at my house, or if there was no finish line, I think I could keep running.

Not like Forest Gump. But I think mentally I could run and run. Not sure what  my legs would say to that mind!

The run.

I incorporated the additional parts of the route, I felt good, my legs were stinging (my thoughts frequently moved on to lycra shorts), and finished my run in 1h 23m 10s. A whole minute slower than the run a couple of weeks ago. The difference was that run two weeks ago was only 8.42 miles, this morning was 9.28 miles.

My pace was quicker, the distance was longer. I had done it again. This was the furthest I had ever run. Part of me was very happy, the other half of me was gutted that I hadn’t broken the 10 mile barrier.

Gotta do it next time!

Post run notes

My legs are quite achy, more so than they have been after previous long runs. Not sure if it’s the pace or the weather, or maybe I didn’t warm down properly.

You can see the route here.

Tuesday 31st January 2012

I love Tuesdays

I bounced out of bed this morning. Then almost bounced straight back in, by Jove it was cold.

I had a busy day ahead at work and was determined to get out for a run, especially after having had a rest day yesterday. Plus a run in the morning always puts me in a great frame of mind for work, especially if I have a manic day ahead.

It gives me an enormous sense of achievement especially if I wake up in a bit of a negative frame of mind.

Chilly to say the least

Looking through the patio doors, there was no sign of frost, it didn’t actually look that cold, brilliant. I enjoy running in the cold, but the temperature has dropped quite a bit over the past few days.

I stepped outside, immediately the wind whipped around my legs. “what the f£@k am I doing?” I thought. My excitement about running was almost blown out of me by the wind.

I stuck 2 fingers up at the wind and hit the road.

My run

Running into the wind is never fun or particularly easy. Running into an arctic type wind is harder still. I normally find myself increasing my pace, which I hate to do, but it does keep the blood pumping quicker, and my legs sting a bit. Oh and the cold wind blows into my tear ducts and causes my eyes to leak, cold tears steam around my cheeks, my vision gets blurred. But my legs keep going.

A slightly quicker run then, not surprising. Felt good.

Glad I did it.

Same again tomorrow.

You can see the results of my run here.

Sunday 29th January 2012

Worth the wait

I missed my run yesterday. I missed not getting up early and cracking out an 8 miler.

On the flip side I did spend a relaxing few hours with a couple of mates and a few cheeky bottles of red on Friday night, which was most welcome. Hence the lay in Saturday morning, 2 paracetamol and a pint of water and a squiffy head. And no run.

Conversation got around to my running and blogging, during which my mate James said “how about we go out for a run one weekend?” (or words to that effect).

So we arranged to go out Sunday afternoon. Before dinner obviously. Can’t run on a roast!

Running with friends

James hadn’t run for a few months. We’d been out for a run before, but that was back in the summer. My pace and breathing wasn’t as refined then. I was running 5k as quick as I could time after time and not really achieving much.

I had a 4.5 mile route in my head for us. James arrived about 4pm, we warmed up and headed out.

This would be strange for me, I hadn’t ran with anyone else for months, I was used to my own company, plus I wouldn’t have my music on.

It’s good to talk

I have driven past runners who have been talking to each other, and often wondered how they manage to talk and breath at the same time as running? It’s not as bad or as difficult as it looks.

I really enjoyed the run. It was nice to have some company, and good to see James cope quite comfortably with the pace and distance considering it was his first run for a few months.

Very much looking forward to doing it again.

If you want, you can see our route here