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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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.

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.

Wednesday 14th March 2012 – 10K for breakfast!

Target in sight

I couldn’t wait to get out and run this morning. I’d set my target of 10k to take me through and beyond the 100k barrier for this month so far and toward my 155K for the month (although this I now very highly probably going to increase to 200K for the month).

I got out of bed, got changed into my running kit, which included my new Asics running top that Wifey bought me for my birthday (which has to be the most comfortable top I have got, short sleeve, light and breathable) and my new running trainers.

10K heaven

I tip toed downstairs so as not to wake everyone, drank a pint of water, stretched and then hit the road.

I never thought I would say this but 10K is a good distance for me. I enjoy it. It allows me a couple of miles to warm up and four miles to enjoy myself. All done in under an hour.

My first race was 10K back at the end of September. I struggled like a bastard that day. It’s amazing how much my running has improved in the past 5-6 months through continually getting out and pushing myself.

Practice makes perfect and all that!

It must be the trainers

I haven’t felt so comfortable running as I have the past few days. This could be down to the new trainers. It could be the fact I listen to audiobooks and not music. It could be that I am just naturally improving and growing as a runner and the trainers and audiobooks are coincidental.

Who knows? All I know is that this mornings run was fun. I really enjoyed it. A good 10K run before breakfast.

This takes me well past the 100K barrier so far for the month. and only half way through it.

My next run is Saturday. Although I’m popping out for a ‘couple of pints’ Friday night. I may leave the run until Sunday.

You can see the run here.

Tuesday 13th March 2012 – The challenge continues

Over halfway

When I set myself the challenge to run 155K this month, I thought it would be relatively..er..difficult. Maybe that’s the wrong word, I’m not sure, but I am finding it quite easy.

At the moment I am up to 83.22K, that’s well over half way, and we are just coming up to half way through the month. Today’s run on top of this and add tomorrow’s one also, should take me around the 100K mark, and that would be my halfway run.

So, I am thinking of increasing the challenge to 200K.

Upping the ante

Initially I thought I would struggle to complete this task, and to be fair, the only thing stopping me now would be major flooding, a huge snowfall, the shits or an injury.

The weather is getting warmer, so no chance of snow,  I am pretty sure the village has never been subject to any form of flooding as it is quite high up, I watch what I eat (although I could catch a bug from the boys if they pick anything up from school) so no chance of the shits (famous last words!!). Seems only an injury can stop me then. There’s probably a 70-85% chance of that happening.

The increase would ensure that I have a target to aim for, the 155K would come and go too quickly. I need a target, I need something to motivate me, and push myself towards…otherwise I become complacent.

Today’s run

I was up bright and sprightly as always for my Tuesday morning run, the target was 5 miles.

A very enjoyable run, a slight chill in the air ensured I got off to a good pace, the new Asics feeling so very comfortable, I wish I had invested in them weeks ago!

I managed a very respectable 5.07 miles, this is 8.16K and takes my total to 91.38K. Not far off 100K now.

Let’s see if I can break that barrier tomorrow.

You can see the run here.

Sunday 11th March 2012 – New 3030s

Asics Gel 3030 (photo courtesy of Direct Sports) New Asics

I finally managed to get myself some new running shoes.

I was lucky enough to get a couple of quid for my birthday, and seeing as my trainers are 18 months old, if not older, and I wondered if they were contributing to the recent pains in my knee, I thought I might invest in a new pair.

Plus I have begun increasing my distances gradually. Definitely time to change.

Serious advice

The chappie in the Asics store was very helpful, I finally had my gait sorted out, with the assistance of of the shiny fandangled machine and some squats of all things. Much to the amusement of other customers in the store.

I never realised that there were so many types of running shoe. Seriously, all made for different arch levels and gait and stride etc. Apparently I stride on the outer edge of my foot and then my foot turns in, which is quite common, but I needed something to support and counter the arch collapsing.

The gel in the sole of my current trainers was probably shot to bits too, a potential contributing factor to my aching knee. By all accounts you should change your trainers every 6 months. I should be on my fourth pair by now!!

Time for a test run

I couldn’t wait to get out and give the new trainers a bit of a test run. They’d felt very comfortable in the store and now I needed to get out in them.

A brisk 5 miles should do the trick!

The difference was immediately noticeable. Especially the cushioned feeling as my feet hit the pavement / road. I was sub consciously aware that my feet were turning in as I ran and found myself trying to counter this action, this was helped by the arch support in the shoe.

I’m not sure if it was either, both or neither of these things that helped my knee, but the lack of discomfort in my knee was noticeable when I had finished.

Whatever the reason it was a great little run, and I am pleased that I find running 5 miles now just as easy as running 3. I have a feeling that 5 miles will be standard distance from now on in.

155k Challenge update

So far I have covered 51.71 miles which is 83.22k. Well on track for the 155k I set out to do this month.

I have a feeling I may increase the challenge to a straight 200k!

This is the run.

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!