LETJOG14 – Week 9

 Focus. I need to focus.

Again, I was determined to get some decent mileage under my belt this week, I haven’t run as far as I thought I would have done in this LETJOG14 challenge. I was desperate to do a 10+ miler!

I didn’t manage to get out on Sunday, nor Tuesday and Wednesday, but it still turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag this week, one disasterous run and one cracker!!

This Week’s Runs!

Thursday 3.2 miles – I had been looking forward to a long run after work, I had the route planned in my head, I knew what pace I wanted to do, I’d had a decent lunch…..by the time I got home I was ready to rock n roll. I got changed, kissed the clan and headed out.

First issue was waiting for the GPS Garmin watch type thing to connect to a satellite, that took about 10 minutes, it was ok though, I was still motivated dispite the cold, I pressed start on the watch and start on the Map my Run iphone app thing, and headed off. It wasn’t until I’d gone about a mile and a half when I realised that I hadn’t heard the app lady shouting out my splits / distance at a mile…I look at my phone which is strapped to my arm, and it hadn’t started. I was sure I had heard her say ‘begin workout’. Bloody wench!! Apparently not.

So, I had to pause the watch, knob around with the app – which didn’t want to play – and then start off again. I’d lost all motivation, especially when the app started telling me random times and distances. I hadn’t even gone two miles yet, and had no desire to continue. Messing around with the app had pissed me off, so I trotted back home.

Hence no ‘click here’ option for this run. I was gutted, but no point in continueing – I’d lost focus.

Saturday – 11.54 miles (click here) - After the app meltdown on Thursday, I needed to get out for a long run, so I tried again on the Sunday.

The route back in my head, a pace somewhere between 7:50 and 8:20 per mile was the target. I was in the zone and ready to run.

Straight down through the village to Boreham Interchange, over the A12, up past the BMW garage, then Sainsbury onwards towards BnQ, over the roundabout (mistake: this took me onto the dual carraigeway / bypass type road, luckily there was a small path), down to the roundabout with the dodgy carvery on, chuck a left, a little bit down hill towards the retail park, right at the round about, then right again, uphill now, left at the lights, follow it all to the Young Offenders prison, right at the lights, more up hill all the way to Aldi, left over the railway bridge, towards the second round about, swing a right, uphill again towards Beaulieu Park, just over two miles of uphill running I was fudged but my pace was pretty constant.

I plodded around Beaulieu Park, back around to Sainsbury, left past the BMW garage, up and over the A12 and headed back home on the 2 mile straight.

And yes it has occured to me that I may describe the route, but you guys probably haven’t got a clue where I am describing….hahaha

1h 34 mins. 11.54 miles. Av pace 8:12. I was well happy.

Weekly total = 14.72 miles

Total covered this year = 121.37 miles

Distance left to cover = 749.63 miles.

Next target – 150 miles (not far now)

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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!

LETJOG14

Time Flies

It’s been well over a year since I last blogged about running, it’s not because I stopped running, far from it, and it’s not that I didn’t want to; I just never got around to it, or forgot or some other lame excuse!

I changed jobs so my running routine and mileage went right out of the window, gone were the early morning 10k runs and weekend long runs, I was just about managing a couple of 5k runs in the evening. I even stopped going to my running club.

The last thing I blogged about was training for the Amsterdam Marathon (which I am happy to report I completed in 4h 15m).

A New Challenge

Now, a mate of mine called Dan Bowsher has completed many runs in 2013 in aid of charity, and has well and truly got the running bug. And fair play to him, he’s done a fantastic job, and the blisters and training have all paid off!

He has now come up with another challenge, and that is to run the distance from Land’s End to John O Groats in a year.

Simple? Well it’s 874 long, chilly, hot, mentally straining, hilly, wet, blister enhancing miles. As he says, it’s only about 15 miles per week, and a good challenge for beginners and seasoned runners alike.

Count Me In

I like a challenge, and reckon that this is something that I could do and fit in around current work hours etc etc yawn…..

The thing is, I had a bit of a bad car crash back in October and am awaiting a 6 month session of physio on my back. I haven’t really ran properly for the last 3 months, I have had to pull out of races and my pace is nowhere near where it was.

But this little challenge has given me something to aim for. It’s given me a reason to blog again. And if this blog helps to encourage 1 other person to do this challenge then that’s a bonus too! 

LETJOG14

Dan has set up a hashtag on twitter to follow #LETJOG14 (Lands End To John O Groats) and is encouraging others to join in and blog about it!

As of Wednesday 1st January 2014 I shall be capturing all my runs no matter how small on Map My Run, and updating my blog at least once a week.

So if you fancy it…..? Either tweet with Dan on his twitter account or Big Running Year twitter account, he would be more than happy to add you to this growing running community. LETJOG14

Tuesday 3rd April 2012 – Quick. Brisk. Painless.

Quick, brisk, painless.

Three words I wanted this morning’s run to be.

After I had put some miles in at the weekend, and my calves were aching like mad, I knew that to try and do too much would be silly. So a quick, brisk and painless run is what I was aiming for. Well, two out of three ain’t bad!

Quick and brisk it was; painless it was not.

5K is easy

I have a 5k route around the village, it is the one I do probably 10 – 12 times a month, for me it is pretty easy, I must of run it over 150 times.

This morning would be no different. Apart from the pain searing through my calf muscles.

The weekend runs had taken their toll on my legs, I think it must have been running along the tow path that caused it. I need to test that route again to see what affect it has on my legs.

For now thought, here’s the run.

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!

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!

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.

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!”