Janathon Fail

I have bad news. Day 5 – didn’t happen. Was a rest day on my training plan so I had to find something else to do, but I had a busy day visiting a friend and it just didn’t happen. I could add up the walks I did to and from the station and at the other end but that’s cheating in my mind. I defined activity as covering a mile in one go, and I doubt if I covered a mile in total.

So what now, carry on as if nothing happened? Stop completely? I am of course going to carry on exercise but I feel like I have broken the Janathon spirit. I can’t blog every day as it seems pointless. Aaargh :-(

Janathon Day 4

I feel like I’m already losing momentum but onwards! It’s Saturday, so there is an obvious choice for exercise: back down to an unbelievably somehow colder, wetter and muddier Nonsuch park than three days ago for another 5k!

The pre-run announcements brought the news that the run was very nearly called off – and only survived due to a course change that eased the wear and tear on an already well worn area of the route. A few friends of mine were meeting at Gunnersbury parkrun today but I opted for the extra 90 minutes in bed, owing to the night shift I completed both last night and have my eye on doing tonight too! I’d have been a bit gutted then if Nonsuch had been called off when I had very good reason to be elsewhere but, truth is, I was worried about it having seen the park a few days ago. As the run director spoke he echoed my feelings, namely we are borrowing a public park and if our presence combines with the wet weather to the detriment of the park, then we have to take time off. I thought it might be borderline and so it proved, but the run went ahead!

I wasn’t convinced that my 27:50 PB recorded the other day wasn’t an absolute fluke, wind-assisted or something similar but I hoped to go comfortably (by which I meant without busting a gut) sub-29 today to show I could run in the same ballpark but without feeling any pressure to run quickly, especially given the conditions were worse underfoot than that day. I ran off and didn’t look at my watch for once, just running and listening to my body as I went. Felt tired down the back straight on lap two again so eased it back, a lot like last time. I didn’t go for it on the final straight like before and afforded myself a first glance of the watch around 20m to go – and saw my time was very similar to last time! I came in in 27:59, just 9 seconds short of my PB! (I placed 119th/206 overall – Nonsuch highest – 97th/135 of the men and 7th/8 in my SM30-34 category)

It wasn’t until I analysed the runs (god bless you Garmin) that I realised that as well as similar times, there were two very similar runs!

Run Comparison

Purple is today, green my PB a few days ago. Very similar throughout, but standing out like a sore thumb is the final kilometre, in which I was 10 seconds slower today. The rest of the run is balanced – slightly faster KM1 midweek balanced by slightly faster KM2 and 3 today, and an identical KM4. My decision to not push the final kilometre is the cause of my slower time today!

On another note, I’d love for my 27:50 to be 5 x 5:34 – that’s what I aspire to be, a runner who can comfortably pace myself. One day!

A final photo to finish with, the state of my running shoes and legs after the run. It was certainly a muddy one! (I’ll share any official photos of me that may appear as/when they do!)

Muddy Legs

Muddy Legs

Running Totals
Running: 21.72km over 5 runs in 2:13:32 (avg 6:09/km)
Swimming: 3.13km over 2 sessions in 1:50:43 (avg 3:33/100m)

Janathon Day 3

I totally failed in my pledge to bring you more visual content this time round, well at least in a photo/video kind of way. I promise there will be a graph though!

Today called for merely 25 minutes of jogging but having made a good start to my “swim more” target for the month, wanted to use what might be the last opportunity I have for a good few days and hit the pool too. It’d be a very slllooooowwwww jog from where I am to the swimming pool if I went the direct route and took 25 minutes, so some route elongation was required. I routed myself via – dum dum duuuuuuuuuuum – the scary hilly bit.

There exists slightly to the east of me a small valley-type thing (I am sure someone will correct me terminology-wise) which means runs rarely venture that way as I have to go down and up this thing and it is, to me, rather steep. I probably summon up the courage to venture across it once every fortnight or so but the gym is this way and whilst I can do the down and not up to proceed there directly, my favoured elongation took me bang smack through it. Graph time!

Day 3 Elevation

Now unfortunately I had to zoom in to show you the true profile of the scary valley but this has the effect of removing the scale from the y-axis – so let me fill you in – in negotiating it I dropped from an elevation of 76m down to 62m before ascending back to 79m. So down 14m, back up 17m. It’s just over 500m of running in which this all happens, so not mega steep but hardly a gentle incline either! It terrifies me but I took it on today and well it made me wonder what all the fuss was about. The rest of the run was satisfyingly downhill which allowed me a nice high pace for my, ahem, jog, and I even had to run past the pool to get to 25min as my estimate of distance I’d need to cover was a bit too conservative!

Pool time and it was the busiest I have ever known it in my short swimming “career”. The pool is halved into lanes (of which there are 4) and a non-laney bit (aka children jumping in repeatedly zone) so I, feeling rather fraudulent, have to head for the lanes as if I am some sort of real swimmer. Still makes me laugh! There is a random lane then Slow, Medium (swim clockwise in those) and Fast (anti-clockwise in that one, not yet worked out why. Not that I ever go in it). I generally head for the slow lane but it had 3 in it already and the Medium lane was empty – so I broke the system a little but I think I was at least as fast as the slow swimmers so all’s well, and all that. As the session went on more joined me, some left, more came in and it was busy enough to make me have to time my lengths to avoid getting in the way of others who were a touch quicker. I decided to get to 1000m and call it a day but then suddenly it got quiet – three of us remained and we had a lane each, the random lane being taken over by what looked like a lifeguard exam. As a result I vowed to push on to a mile, and then further to an hour. In the end I did 1.7km in 1:00:06 which broke all my previous swimming PBs and made me very happy indeed!

Then home via the doctors (repeat prescription, asthma) and the supermarket (toilet rolls FYI!) and I crashed. Went to sit in bed and upload my activity and blog, and next I know I am waking up at 6pm. I am on nights at the moment, which might explain it, but I am coming home and sleeping a decent time before waking up. The same thing happened after the New Year’s Day run-swim combo – am I actually shattering myself with too much exercise? If so – that’s pretty cool! Though has implications I need to be aware of for days, like today, when I have work to go to after exercise. Maybe only swim when I have time to nap afterwards!?

Running totals
Running: 16.73km over 4 runs in 1:45:34 (avg 6:19/km)
Swimming: 3.13km over 2 sessions in 1:50:43 (avg 3:33/100m)

 

Janathon Day 2

As promised, here is me running in the mud yesterday!

Nonsuch parkrun #124 - 27:50(There are  8 in total: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8)

The hat seems to have drawn most attention on Facebook. Not my PB that has my parkrun best edging towards 5 minutes quicker than my first ever attempt (and 7 minutes better than my slowest time), nope – the hat. It’s simply a Barenaked Ladies hat that I acquired on their most recent UK tour. I posted a recent song of theirs into my Juneathon blogs as I recall, so we may as well repeat the feat here, this is a live version of “Tonight is the Night I Fell Alseep at the Wheel” – a song with a sweeter meaning that the title doesn’t necessarily elude to!

So anyway that was yesterday. On to today:

Training 02 Jan

I did what the calendar said. I am not sure this can be strictly defined as interval training, given the amount of walking (32 of the 43 minutes in total) but I did enjoy it: such a workout crops up more or less once a week in my training plan and it’s a chance to really push my pace. A slight error in mealtimes (I ate not long before going out) meant I held back a little today, though. I have a favourite stretch of road for these type of days too – the long, straight uphill one near where I live. It gives me a chance to both take on scary hills and run way beyond a pace I could maintain comfortably for very long. I think it benefits my fitness more than I thought it would, and so it is always a pleasure when mini-intervals/walk-run day comes around.

That’s your lot blog fans (comment if you are reading, be nice to know if anyone is there!) as I failed to get any pictures to supplement the blog with today! I shall endeavour to write more tomorrow!

Running totals
Running:
12.43km over 3 runs in 1:20:32
Swimming: 1400m over 1 session in 0:50:38

Janathon Day 1

As I suspect I won’t have been alone in doing, I began Janathon 2014 with a special New Year’s Day parkrun!

Type: Run – General
Duration: 0:27:49
Distance: 4.99 km

My local parkrun is Nonsuch parkrun and I genuinely love it. When I started attending parkrun last year I was more intrigued by the concept of “parkrun tourism” than rooting in one place, and decided that I should aim for 50% of my runs to be at my home event, the rest on the road. As it happens I am sort of sticking to that anyway but this is entirely by accident – I have been a tourist only when I had a reason to be there – meeting friends, or a wedding or football, for example. But I no longer plan to go away from home just for the sake of it; it’s nice seeing the same faces every week and I am a big fan. I love parkrun in general actually but I am sure there will be further opportunity to wax lyrical about that later in the month!

Final corner of Nonsuch parkrun #124 lap

Final corner of Nonsuch parkrun #124 lap

This was by far the wettest parkrun I have ever run – not in underfoot terms, where Skipton parkrun #16 takes the award and then some (that event was so soggy that I DNFed following three falls and vowed never to show up to a parkrun without the correct footwear on again) – but definitely if measured in terms of volume, temperature and wind assistance of the stuff falling out of the sky. Motivated by my slippery Skiptonian experience and also actually (so I had been warned) words of advice from a running friend of mine, I got myself some basic trail shoes the other day and set about testing them through the squelchy Nonsuch Park mud. The mud is bad enough to have caused the course to return to it’s “B” configuration, used when parts of the main “A” course become too squelchy and so today was to also prove a first time around that configuration of my home run for me. I had a disappointing end to December’s training – I had my weekly long run, this week of 100 minutes, on the 29th and achieved merely 800m further than the 90 minute run of the week before. This was followed by a 45 minute run on the 30th which I had to abort, I just had no legs left about a third of the way up a steady incline. Learned a lesson about fuelling there. More on that another time too! As a result of these two disappointing runs in a row I gave myself yesterday off (75 minutes were actually scheduled), figuring that my body was trying to tell me something, so feeling a little like a failure I was determined to have a good showing at parkrun today to make up for three days of mediocrity.

I have gotten into the habit of running down to the parkrun as a warm-up for parkrun itself but I elected to take the bus today as I had been at work all night, only getting home at 6:45am, and feared energy levels could be at a premium. I arrived at the start at 9:45am (for a 10am start) and as the course was a 3 lapper and I am a 30-or-so minute 5k man, knew I had time for a quick sighting lap as a warm-up. I ran it backwards as it happens too, as I wanted to assess the grips levels of my new shoes (I’d summarise as only slightly better traction accelerating but a lot more in the corners – but it was still flipping slippery) and so wanted to do the grass(/mud) bit first. The lap allowed me chance to observe not only how slippery the unpaved section was, but how many huge puddles existed on the paved/gravel section that makes up the first half of the lap! There were three or four that a lot of people would just find as they ran lap 1. I knew which side to be on already as a result of my research, woo!

Pre-event announcements revealed a healthy proportion of first timers who were welcomed as warmly as I was back in July, a reception I reciprocate every time I attend. And then we were off and I was off too, new shoes, new confidence and knowledge of puddle locations. One man was down in the first corner as I arrived, slipping on the mud on the inside apparently, but he picked himself back up as I went by. I don’t recall seeing anyone caked in mud go past so assume he stayed behind, but I may just have not paid attention. My pace was a bit speedy for my liking, I did the first km in 5:28 (I prefer to start slow)  and followed that with two kilometres around 5:40 each – my mind tries to do mental maths and I worked out that my parkrun best of 28:10 was probably suddenly ballpark if I could maintain my pace. But I couldn’t, legs started to ache, I’d gone bit too fast, and for the first time ever I noticed that the main straight (down “The Avenue”) had a slight uphill gradient. I just pegged it back to get to a pace I could finish in without stopping but I must have picked it up again without noticing as the fourth kilometre came in at 5:57 – still faster than the 6:00/km pace I had wanted to maintain – another sub-30 would have done my confidence no end of good after the recent disappointments I had felt.

I didn’t even notice the autolap for 4km get displayed on my Garmin though, and was still in the running-to-finish-without-stopping mode I had put myself in when I started to feel it a bit earlier in the run. As we passed the gentleman reading out elapsed times at the second-to-last corner my instincts took over and I started to up my pace for a push to the finish. I hadn’t heard his time for me as he offered it at the same time I thanked him (another one of my things that I like to do) and I didn’t catch my time when I looked at my watch, only that my average race pace was 5:-something per km, which I was happy to see. I picked off one runner, then another, then two who were slipping to bit too much on the mud (the edges of the course are definitely the place to be!) and the finish line popped over the horizon. I went for it, and crossed the line, stopping my watch as I did so. I took my token and as is customary, the volunteer shouted my number as they handed it to me. This was the first of two moments of slight disbelief in a row as they shouted the number 126 - my previous best number at Nonsuch was 217. OK so it was New Year’s Day and that probably pushed numbers down a bit, but I was way further up the field than normal. Then I checked my watch. 27:49. 27:49! I had broken my PB for sure. Normally my parkrun timed time is a bit out but there is no way it’d be more than 21s out! WOW!

Imagine my fuzzy new PB feeling, even though I know it is unconfirmed. I think I have taken of the order of 20 seconds off my previous best. Then imagine coming home and loading up my parkrun history and finding that my previous best was actually 28:49, not 28:10. My muppetty brain knew it was 28mins-something and obviously remembered the 10 second bit and mis-recalled that I had bobbed under the 29 min mark by it. My PB had actually come down by around a minute, not 20 seconds! What a way to kick off 2014!

The official results actually clock me in at 27:50, 126th overall, 90th amongst the men and 7th in my SM30-34 category, with a PB improvement of 59 seconds! If any pictures of me crop up on the official Flickr page I’ll be sure to share it with you (there was a camera pointing vaguely at me at one stage but I was right behind two other runners who I suspect were the actual targets of the photographer. Still, a photobomb is still a photo :-)) Here are a few I took myself to try and capture the weather and muddiness for posterity:

DSC_0087 DSC_0093 DSC_0092 DSC_0090 DSC_0089 DSC_0088

And that wasn’t the end of Janathon for me today! I got home, showered, ate, analysed my GPS log in various ways, wrote the blog post up to here and am still waiting for my official result to come through (they were having all manner of issues with soggy barcodes, they loved my posh plastic one) so when the pool stops being “Inflatable Fun Session” I’m off down for an hour or so whilst I wait for news which I’ll then add in above as if it had always been there. Cunning eh?

The swim reminded me very much of my last one – in that I froze my backside off waiting for the bus to take me there. It eventually tuned up and I got going – I decided to have a couple of distinct swims – one to attack my “Cooper” time as listed at Endomondo, and another to try and get to a meaningful distance, which settled on 1km. I duly broke my swimming Cooper by some 30m and set of on my longer swim which I thought I was taking easier – but I went and broke my Cooper PB again! Only 3m this time. It’s obviously all a bit weird as I am timed in 25m chunks and so it’s based on average speeds but I have to way to track with any greater resolution, so I’ll take it!

I very good first day of Janathon then, and just what the doctor ordered. More random ramblings tomorrow, until then!

Janathon Day 0

It’s difficult to imagine me with a runner’s physique. Not that I aspire to have one, but as I mentioned yesterday, whilst stamina and speed have increased, weight hasn’t really decreased. Well, lets look at the stats again:

Weight Graph

Each tick is 2.5kg (5.5lb) – the nearest data point to Juneathon comes in at a value we’ll call x – and the nearest data point to today has me at a somewhat healthier x – 5.3kg (x – 11.7lb). Somewhat healthier, but not a massive drop off by my standards. I have previously dieted in a rather viciously lazy way – literally calorie counting via myfitnesspal.com and existing on 1200 calories per day. The weight dropped off like a stone but always ended up back on again. It would be a nice side effect to get into better shape through all this running, and I suppose there is a clear downward trend if you look back all the way to March (I was x + 4.5kg in March so a total loss of 9.8kg (21.6lb) between then and now) and with that I am more than happy!

Before my month of massive exercise apathy in late summer I was really getting in to swimming – and not only did I find it massively enjoyable but was feeling the benefits too. At the time I was on my Great South Run training plan and so was running more or less every other day and I had begun supplementing this with swims on the off days. These days I am running a lot – 5 or 6 times a week – so Janathon isn’t really needed to motivate me to do running exercise but I would like to try and use it to get me back in the pool. I have a lot of performance to come swimmingwise, as my technique is shocking to say the least. If I could get myself doing three sessions per week for the month, then I would be very happy indeed.

This will then form the basis for my targets for Janathon, with some recycled from last time too:

Goal #1: complete some form of exercise every day in January – a given. Log and blog it too!
Goal #2: ensure the minimum distance covered each day is 1 mile – on running days this should be easy, and most days are running days.
Goal #3: hit the pool at least three times each week for at least 45 minutes each time (maybe even a mile if it’s a running rest day!)
Goal #4: improve on the total running distance achieved in December

I will be logging everything on Running Free as required by the Janathon rules, but I also log things on Endomondo, Strava, Garmin Connect, RunKeeper and mapmyrun so if you wish to follow my progress, by all means befriend me on whichever of those is your favourite!

To Janathon then. Good luck everybody!

Janathon Preview

I should update the imaginary reader about what has happened between Juneathon ending and Janathon beginning, which it does of course in just two days time! Lets hit you with stats first and then fill in the story afterwards. These are how all my PBs as listed by Endomondo compare:

I ended Juneathon on a low, abroad suffering from bad asthma induced by a crazy chest cold and my only relief was sleeping on the balcony and random cough medicine, to which I became slightly addicted. My inhaler ran out on the final day of the trip and as such I suffered all the way home. The walk from plane to car at the terminal took an absolute age and running became stalled. Still, I had an epic 5 mile race around the Olympic Park to plan for and so I got myself back out there tentatively and started building up again. The day of the race dawned and I ran around the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London. I savoured every second and would do it again in a heartbeat. I ran on the very same track that all the heroes of the Olympic and Paralympic Games did the year before. I loved it, despite having to give up running and walk approximately half way around.

The National Lottery Anniversary Run - 57:57

This was to mark the re-birth of training proper, which had stalled and become intermittent since the Portugal problem detailed above. I was signed up to the Great South Run in October and so had three months to get back out there and train to be able to run double the distance I had done in the Olympic Park. With the help of the Great Run website I got myself a training plan and started hitting the streets every two days and building myself up. I also, finally and after many months of persuasion from many, got myself down to parkrun and immediately loved it. The training plan seemed to stall itself somewhat – as I started it appeared to schedule building me up week-by-week but it soon got into a loop where it would change my plans to be exactly the same as the previous week. I shrugged, made a “meh” sound and just kept blindly doing what it told me. No idea if this was a bug or it was telling me my progress was either insufficient to move on or so sufficient I was fine doing what I was! parkrun is amazing and I go whenever I can, wherever I can. At the time of writing I have now run 13 (shift work handicaps me) and volunteered at 4 and – well more about it another day!

Nonsuch parkrun #101 - 32:03 Nonsuch parkrun #104 - 30:35 Burnage parkrun #57 - 32:12 Preston parkrun #64 - 32:34
Nonsuch parkrun #108 - 32:41 Nonsuch parkrun #112 - 34:30 Pymmes parkrun #134 - 29:10 Nonsuch parkrun #118 - 29:27
Nonsuch parkrun #119 - 30:09 Nonsuch parkrun #121 - 28:49

The Great South Run didn’t happen*. My training fell off mid-September and despite making plans involving a very convoluted rail journey to still get there and attempt the run, I managed to sleep in and miss my train! I actually woke with 20 minutes to get myself together and get to the station for a train which would have to run on time to give me a shot at getting to the start with minutes to spare. I decided to stay in bed but the shame of missing it stirred something inside me, and the next day marathon training proper began and it is ongoing! The regime is intense but has been building me up nice and steadily. I keep surprising myself with what I manage to achieve and even find myself over-analysing as I run and generally assessing too much doom and gloom in early stages of runs that turn out OK!

Only one more race to bring you up to date on, I did a 10k race in South London and was desperate to go under an hour. In any event my race PB of 1:17:22 was a sitting duck such was my progress and I duly wiped over 15 minutes off it!

RunThrough Broxton 10k - 1:01:02

So yes, since Juneathon I have gotten better at this whole running thing. In the six months that have passed I have wiped 5 minutes off my 5k PB, 15 minutes off my 10k but also more importantly I can sustain a run for at least 75 minutes, probably longer, and can pace myself much… well put it this way, I can now pace myself! I understand how the effects of going faster influence me and how much to slow when I need to – I even have definable leg muscles now! Very happy with my progress and whilst it is always a bit of an effort to drag my still fat (that is one thing that has not changed) arse out of the front door every day now it is cold, I will continue to do so!

I’ll be back tomorrow with a few more ramblings and what I’m hoping to achieve out of Janathon.

* it did happen, I just didn’t race in it

Introducing… Janathon

Janathon ParticipantRemember Juneathon? I blogged incessantly for a month back in June about my attempts at exercise that month. To summarise, I was on the NHS Couch to 5k plan at the time and supplemented it with long walks and a few gym-my things in-between too, with a minimum requirement of a mile each day. It all (sort of) petered out when I was hit hard by asthma whilst abroad and that made me sad :-(

Well they also do this thing called Janathon and it’s largely the same. I enjoyed it in June and I thought I’d get involved again. I have some goals I wish to achieve both long-term and just in January (more about those another time, I’ll do a “preview” post in the days leading up to it) and this will be a good way to document, share my experience and add back some all-important accountability again. I’ve been exercising between then and now, this isn’t a New Year health kick – I’m very much looking to “continue the good work”, only – for a month, I’ll let you know about it…

You should mute #janathon on Twitter now if it’s not your thing. Just a little heads up. And maybe unsubscribe from this blog. Maybe. Haha. NO NO stick around! I need your encouragement!

Merry Christmas, and see you in January!

Preston Parkrun

This blog used to live, and then it died and then I got into exercise and it re-lived. And then it died a little bit again but I just had a day I wish to document! It was full of lovely strangers, which is more common than often perceived, however the niceness today made a great impact on my day in many ways – not “for-the-sake-of-it” niceness, but they really helped me out.

So, parkrun – many have been extolling the qualities of these free weekly 5km runs for a while now, and I always managed to put off going for one reason (excuse) or another. I finally made my first visit two weeks ago, and immediately saw how enjoyable they were. Such a lovely community feeling was apparent throughout, and I already decided to return as frequently as possible. Last week a trip to Brussels (come on Brussels, London has over 40, you are lagging behind!) meant I couldn’t take part, and today I was getting in my first of many visits to this place this season:

DSC_0028[1]

For my sins, I am a Blackburn Rovers supporter. I get to as many games, home and away, as work allows – and with today being our first home game I even splashed out on a day of annual leave. With the whole day off, parkrun came into my plans. I scoured the map, and formulated a plan – the 0605 train from Euston to Preston arrives at 0836, and with the park being more or less round the corner from the station, Preston parkrun would be perfect. The train could even run 10 minutes late and I’d be fine, but any more would be pushing it.

The journey was agonising, lots of long slow periods, and every stop we seemed to be getting later and later.

eus-pre

By Crewe and 12 minutes late I had decided parkrun wouldn’t be happening, and that I’d just go and do a bog standard training run, possibly around the same park but away from the course. I don’t quite know what came over me, but leaving Wigan I whacked on my heart rate monitor (oh yes, I epitomise “all the gear…”) and on arrival at Preston, I just got out an ran. The station clock said 085743 as I alighted from the train, so I would be very late, but I could just find the start and run it. My time would be severely handicapped, of course, but that’s not the point. I got to the start at around 0905 and saw the team of volunteers. Niceness #1

“You look a bit lost, are you OK mate?”
“Yeah – I know I’m a little bit late, but can you point me in the right direction, I still want to run the course?”
“Drop your bag, let’s go, I’ll take you round the first lap. Come on!”

The man in question was a funnel volunteer, and in fact was handing out the finishing position barcodes. The course was three laps so he had time to take me round the first lap before returning to his post to see home the first finishers – comfortably in fact, the leaders were only starting their last lap by the time I had completed my first. OK, so, the very nature of parkrun is to encourage all-comers to turn up and give it a go (and I absolutely recommend you do!) but essentially what you have here is a complete stranger from out of town rocking up to your event LATE and still being welcome with open arms. More than that in fact, he helped me pace myself for that lap, something I struggled with on the other two laps. For me this is what epitomises what is good about the concept. OK so it’s a little bit about running and performance but for a lot it is simply taking part and for me – there’s a sense of community in there. Yep, even for me, who hadn’t even known the event in Preston existed a few days ago, I was part of the Preston parkrun community today. I love it.

Run done (my official time was 34:19 but obviously I effectively ran it a few seconds faster) my next plan was to kill the warm-down and have-a-shower-before-sitting-in-a-stand-full-of-people birds with one stone by going for a swim. A pool was located but my tardiness (or more, my train’s tardiness) had meant I had not had chance to get any cash out. Still, Preston is a big busy place: I figured I’d come across a cash machine on my way to the pool. I did, I came across four in fact. Two charged me for using it, so I went on and gambled on finding a free one. The other two were out of order. I reached the pool (West View it was called, a bit out of the centre but allowed me a nice walk) therefore hoping a card could be used. I went in and approached the desk somewhat sheepishly, suddenly feeling a little alien but pushed on my the warmth I had been received with at the run.

“I have a couple of questions for you”
“OK, I can help”
“Can I have a swim?” (I knew I could – I had scouted the timetable in advance – but I was breaking the ice)
“Yes! Yes you can!”
“Can I pay by card?”
“You can, but you’ll need either 10p or £1 for the locker… do you have any change?”

I didn’t. This was an issue. I couldn’t just leave things lying around. I gave the answer and asked if they could not just charge me 10p more and give me it, but this wasn’t allowed. Niceness #2

“I tell you what, I’ll lend you 10p and you can just give it me back when you leave”

Yep. A perfect stranger rocks up looking sweaty, has no money of any description and his debit card declines (it had been blocked due to suspect activity that turned out to be me) and you still trust him enough to lend him money. Ok, it’s “only” 10p, but still a nice touch!

£3.65 on the credit card later I was in, and in the changing rooms where disaster strikes – the 10p I had been lent get stuck in the locker mechanism, which means it won’t lock and I have no 10p to give back to the woman on the desk who gave it to me so trusting. A mild panic sets in and I start hitting the thing to try and make it work. My saviour comes in the unexpected form of a stark bollock naked elderly chap – a regular it seems. Niceness #3!

“is it a new shiny 10p? They get stuck… here”
*he produces a butter knife from his bag and starts proding around – the 10p is freed*
“I’ll swap you, I have an old one – here you go!”

Yep, I took money off a naked old man. I am reliably informed incidents of this nature are quite common in pool changing rooms, and as I intend to frequent my local pool a bit more often it is clearly something I am going to have to get used to! As a tweeted at the time: life has taught me to ride by the seat of my pants when it comes to unusual situations like this, so I just went with it. Alls well and all that!

I had a swim, which I thoroughly enjoyed and it certainly did the job intended, and left (having got my own stark bollocks out in the changing room, but not whilst helping someone!) returning my 10p as I went. Walked back into town (calling the bank to unblock my card on the way) and to the station to head to Blackburn (a 45 minute wait, of which 30 were a delay – caused by the large number of people wanting to travel to Blackpool apparently – for my train). The game ended 0-1, we lost to a goal scored in second half injury time, and then home via Manchester in time to catch the highlights on TV.

In total I covered well over 17km on foot, 6 of which were running, and came across loads of very very nice helpful people. It’s “grim up north” they say; but my homelands more than make up for that in hospitality. And then some.

Juneathon Review

It has been almost a week since the festival of activity and excuses finished, so what can I take out of it?

It is difficult to focus on that really, as I have been unable to go running since it finished; the asthma issues that dogged my final week have been on-going. I actually feel like I have reset to the level of fitness I was at on 30 April when I was about to start c25k, and I find that quite distressing. All through the training so far, I have been aware that training injuries occur and that they can set you back, but I hadn’t quite appreciated just how, and definitely hadn’t envisaged having asthma as my first training “injury”. It was severe and actually aggravated by what has felt like a severe chest cold, possibly a chest infection. It’s now coming to a level I can consider normal, and that is a welcome relief.

My relieving inhaler ran out on the final day of my holiday and I elected to just “cope” rather than see any doctor out there; I knew I had another at home that I hasn’t brought lest I lose it! (lesson learned). What followed was the most painful 18 hours of my life. Walking from the plane to the car at Gatwick was horrendous, just simply horrible. An insight into what life must be like for some, and an experience I never want to repeat.

So it’s easy to feel disappointed with the month as a whole, but only because it didn’t finish how I wanted. Truth told, I’ve done no exercise since (whilst running has been off this week, had we been in June I would have been able to do something lower paced, but I just haven’t) and this has been noticed. In fact it has taken this blog to give myself some accountability. I need to run. I’m off for a run. Back soon.

Whilst I’m away, enjoy this song from Barenaked Ladiesnewest album, as filmed on their current US tour by one of my favourite YouTube Channels, “kdc&cc – souvenirs of shows we saw

Back.

asthmatestrun

Hard run, and can I take it as a sign of fitness drop-off that my HR was up but my pace down compared with the runs immediately before my issues kicked in? I think so. So glad to get back out there though, and even though this was 5/6 minutes run-walk-run alternating, I feel it has done me some good. It has made me determined to get back on track, so onwards and upwards from here!

SO anyway, to get back to reviewing Juneathon – I remember thinking on my “rest days” throughout, where I was “only walking”, that I was cheating the spirit of Juneathon a bit. I know by definition I wasn’t, but with so many runners and riders out there I thought I was a weak imitiation. It’s only now I realise that doing something – anything, no matter how far or how fast – is way better than doing nothing. Albeit partially enforced, this break has unwound a lot of my hard work, but now I am getting back to being physically able to run, I am more determined than ever to get back on track.

The other thing Juneathon did for me is dust off this old blog. I stopped blogging regularly during what I called, in an email to a friend at the time, “crises of confidence, identity and ambition“. In fact the whole thing, plus my social networking presence, very nearly went as a result. In short, I didn’t know what role my blog fulfilled both to me and to the internet as a whole and was mildly scared by the lack of control I really truthfully had. I haven’t quite overcome these crises, just gotten comfortable with them being there. Ignorance is bliss and all that. Having something to actually blog about was very nice and I enjoyed getting back into blogging, which, lets face it, is a dying art. Going forward, I might well blog some more – on here. I have another one in the pipeline that I am intending to launch next year, but it would be nice to kept this resurrection going.

So conclude – exercise is good, but perhaps you don’t appreciate just how good until you are forced to stop. And blogging is good too, but only if you have something to actually talk about.

 

Juneathon Day 30

Last. Day.

image

The end was a bit of a whimper, a mere 4km walk down the same beach I’ve been walking down all week. Asthma playing up again, and the tide was far enough in to necessitate walking down the soft sand, and man is that difficult. Lower leg muscles aching by the end!

All in all it means Juneathon ends with the following totals:

Walking 88.41km 18:26:34
Running 63.60km 7:44:05
Treadmill running 5.52km 41:55
Elliptical training 3.02km 18:00
Rowing 1.96km 8:31
Swimming 0.52km 28:51
FINAL TOTAL: 163.03km 27:47:56

I’m going to go ahead and ignore the fact that this means my “running totals” everyday must have been way off and focus on the fact that I have met nearly all my goals for the month.

GOAL #1: complete some form of exercise every day of June – DONE. Every last day, even if it was just a walk.

GOAL #2: ensure the minimum distance covered each day was a mile – DONE. I can’t remember ever doing “just a mile” either.

GOAL #3: improve on last month’s running total of 68km – DONE. I’d have settled for 68.01km but combining outdoor and treadmill running yields a total of 69.12km.

GOAL #4: complete couch to 5k – FAILED. I should have done this, but I have fallen short. I am determined to put this right next week.

I will post one last time when I have had a few days to reflect, but I can say for sure that it has been a very enjoyable month and it was an enjoyable motivation to have. I sense July may feel a bit empty without it! Thanks for putting up with me, and I’ll be back, Jerry Springer-like in the week with my final thoughts. Thanks for having me.

Endomondo + Running Free

Juneathon Day 29

Fear not my friends, the month of twitter spam is almost done. Until January.

I felt ok again today, so after a beach walk I hit the gym again!

juneathon29i
The walk down the beach ended with me being too lazy to put my sandals back on, so I had to dance my way across the hot footpaths to get back to the apartment. Not my brightest idea. You might say going to the gym wasn’t particularly clever either…

juneathon29ii

I just don’t seem to get on with that gym. It is very warm (no air-conditioning) but despite running more slowly, I found it to be too challenging. A stark reminder that I have a long way to go then. This is my second failure at W9R2 of the c25k, so I am going to scratch the whole week and try it again, all three runs, starting next Tuesday when I get back. Fingers crossed I can put this week of ill health and poor running behind me and complete the program just over a week late when I am back in more familiar surroundings.

I rounded out with a little go on the rowing machine, but this was totally nothing to write home about, I rowed a mere 300m in just over a minute, then decided that exercise and I were done for the day.

juneathon29iii

One day left then, and its target will be pre-defined by the running totals.

Running totals:
Distance: 161.37km
Time: 28:39:01

Well. I was going to say that my target would be to do at least whatever gets me over the 100 mile marker, but that is at 160.9km and so is already behind us! I will do whatever comes tomorrow then; no scope for ending the month in style I am afraid, but I have enjoyed it nonetheless!

Endomondo (W Rn Rw) + Garmin Connect + Running Free (W Rn Rw)

Juneathon Day 28

A rest day, so went for a walk down the beach and clocked up 7km!

image

In fact I made it all the way to the end of the beach in that direction, which was cool. Nothing much more to add, so here are some photographs I took today:

image

image

image

image

Running totals:
Distance: 156.94km
Time: 27:43:01

Endomondo + Running Free

Juneathon Day 27

Back on the boat! I’ve been splashing around, clinging onto a life-jacket for a few days, but today I clambered back onto the boat!

Since I arrived there’s been an obsession with running on the beach, so today I gave it a go. The tide was well on its way in so the availability of nice firm sand to run on was at a premium, and in fact I discovered not too far into it that it was pretty much a no go. Turned around and walked back and started off the day therefore with a good 1800m of beach walking!

juneathon27a

I headed to the gym to see if I could get some running in; I’m meant to be doing 30 minutes this week and I set off with that as the target, but given my recent illness was open minded. I actually made about 20 minutes before I decided to call it a day, so I technically failed… But it felt so good to be back running that I didn’t really care!

juneathon27

I found treadmill running pretty difficult; lack of scenery perhaps? I definitely enjoyed being back on it, and am kicking myself a little for not setting a little slower speed and sticking out the thirty but happy to be back on it. In two minds as to whether to put c25k on the back burner for the rest of the week and get back into it once I’m in my natural habitat, filling the rest of the week here with adhoc exercise as I feel like it. Hmm, dunno!

But in short, it feels very good to be back.

Running totals:
Distance: 149.93km
Time: 26:05:37

Endomondo (1 2) + Garmin Connect (2) + Running Free (1 2)

Juneathon Day 26

Whilst I am happy to, as much as possible, embrace the “festival of activity” side of this month of Juneathon, I’d been hoping to avoid the “festival of excuses” part, and had made it to day 25 before the only occasional but oft crippling asthma gave me a reason to make excuses. They, unfortunately, continue into day 26 but allow me to update you on my progress!

Another sleepless-ish night was endured but you notice things that help even slightly. The bedroom of the apartment (for the week, I’m away from home) seemed to be the place that tightened things up the most, indeed things seem to settle down substantially, bar an amazing overriding sense of soreness brought on by all the coughing, when I go outside. In the middle of the night, frustrated, I went out on the apartment balcony and subsequently fell asleep rather quickly. I came back inside around 4am and got coughy again, persevered for a while before heading back out around 7. Plan for tonight is weird but obvious – I’ll be sleeping outdoors!

Hopefully this will continue my progress, which I’ve noted today. Still ill, and very sore in there, but things seem better! Week 9 Run 2 is postponed again but I’m hopeful it can happen tomorrow, fingers crossed!

With running out of the question, I went for a short walk in order to satisfy the mile-a-day criteria I set for Juneathon. I took to the beach again but the tide was in really far so I only had soft sand to walk on, or face a wait of a few hours (can cross “googling high tide times” of my list of things to do) – so I elected to go for it, and boy was it difficult! It felt more like hiking (and I’m inclined to classify it as such on Endomondo) and really showed up how ill my respiratory system is, but I made a nice 2-and-a-bit km and it got my heart pumping so it’s all good.

Hopefully back on track tomorrow, watch this space!

Running totals:
Distance: 144.64km
Time: 25:21:32

Endomondo + Running Free

Juneathon Day 25

AKA Asthma stops play. I am not seriously asthmatic, but enough for it to render me unable to do much, and today for some reason (me suspects a chest cold or some kind of infection) it has hit me big time, so Week 9 Run 2 is unfortunately postponed. Came up with the genius plan instead of walking to the nearest pharmacy and trying to get something to help, log the walk and call it Juneathon. So that’s what I did!

image

That’s Asthma told

Outbound, I opted for the beach. Well, the rep advised a taxi but that’s not really permissible is it, and knowing that he was running a walking tour into town via the beach tomorrow I decided that there must be a way down via the beach. Log into hotel wifi on phone, download map of area for offline use, and off I go. The tide was pretty far in and therefore most of the sand was really soft, so the walk was bloody hard work. Didn’t have much luck at the pharmacy (they recommended hospital if it gets worse) but the trip wasn’t wasted as I was able to pick up some souvenirs to avoid having to repeat the walk later in the week.

Came back by the ultimately more easy road-route, and ended up with a not too shabby 6.53km for the day!

juneathon25

I should also add that I did an exploratory walk last night in which I tracked an additional 2.34km, which means I’ve added 8.87km since we last spoke!

juneathon24pTomorrow then? Hopefully my chest will settle down and running can return. Already worried about losing training momentum, but sometimes, shit happens. Hopefully a more positive Juneathon Day 26 awaits!

Running totals:
Distance: 142.46km
Time: 24:53:35

Endomondo (1 2) + Running Free (1 2)

Juneathon Day 24

Busy day today meant copping out and doing Juneathon by walking instead of driving into town to do some shopping. ASDA took £82 that I will never see again, but part of that was a new t-shirt from George. I always like a new t-shirt.

juneathon24

Whilst out I received a text message from a friend who recently completed a cycle ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats. I am massively impressed at, and envious of, his achievement and that has been added to the list for the future. Like running, cycling is something I have zero proficiency in so I am many training sessions from being able to take on that. He mentioned jointly doing a coast-to-coast run in the north of England which seems a lot more doable and so I’m in. Once I’ve got a bike like.

Running Totals:
Distance: 133.59km
Time: 22:41:00

Endomondo + Running Free

Juneathon Day 23

My routine for my run today was massively interfered with. I have a little bluetooth headset that has an SD card in it to allow the playing of music (or in my case the NHS c25k podcasts) as I go. I had it with me but the play button just would not work. No music for me then, mojo: messed with.

It’s fine though, I knew what the podcast would have entailed so knew I had a walk-run (30min)-walk to do. Today was the first of a series of joint training sessions held with a few friends of mine, so I took an early morning train (and couple of buses – long story) up to the London Borough of Hackney for the meet-up. The other two did their warm-ups on the spot so I joined in, and so there is no warm-up walk tracked as there simply isn’t one! Straight into it then, and off the other two went, and quickly! My aim had been to keep a steady 6:30 per km going and seeing where that got me, but we set off at 5:45 pace and I more or less went with them. I say more or less, I dropped behind, but the pace settled into 6:00 per km and I stuck with it. They were both ahead of me, but in my sights, and whilst I worried about maintaining the pace I decided I wanted to keep it up for as long as I could, and try dropping it off without stopping running if I had to.

The stadium and orbit from the other side, as seen last year

The route was from Kingsland Road in Hoxton/Dalston, then down the Regent’s Canal to Victoria Park and round it. Shortly after the 2k mark I caught the guy who was in “second place” of the three of us and passed him. The other was on a 90 minute training run so was off into the distance. Bizarrely, given it wasn’t a race, as soon as I wasn’t in “last” I felt more in control of my own pace, and it dropped a little – the Avg Pace field on my watch showing I went from 5:58 to 6:05. I had a lot of scope to drop it down further but the bar was set, and I wanted to try and keep things around the 6:00 mark for the whole run if I could.

It was DIFFICULT. The last time I set off at this kind of pace, I burnt out and failed the run. The thought occurred to me as I went, and made me more determined not to repeat the experience. On one stage I turned a corner and saw the Orbit and top of the Olympic Stadium – Victoria Park is really close to it – and the memories of all the good will and inspirational views of athletes in their prime nearly a year ago returned; and made me determined to win my own little battle. Finally, the thought of not graduating the couch-to-5k on Thursday, like I have announced to the whole world via this blog that I will, really really made me determined not to fail.

I did NOT fail. 30 minutes, 30 minutes that were painful towards the end mind you, but 30 minutes nonetheless. I could have carried on and even at walking pace I’d have got a new 5k PB – but that seemed like it was cheating the program. I covered 4.89km in the time, so I didn’t need to go much further – in any event I claimed a couple of new PBs (“Cooper” 12min and 3mi) and more importantly, I gained a massive feeling of satisfaction; I pushed my pace, albeit unintentionally, and made it. I bloody made it. OK so I ran with someone who did 15km in 90 minutes and I am nowhere near that, but she kindly pointed out that once upon a time she had been where I am now. I am so focussed on the goal but so terrified of failure that I find myself frustrated and scared in equal measure – but the signs are all positive at this stage, for sure!

I have to say though – somewhat disappointingly for regular readers of this blog – my attempt to count the number of other people running fell flat on its face today. There were about 10-15 in the first minute, and the rate of spotting didn’t relent much for the whole thing. I lost count very quickly, so unfortunately I will have to retire the count. Who’s have thought that the Regent’s Canal and Victoria Park would have proved so popular on a Sunday morning? :-P

juneathon23

After the main run I then completed some warm down walks and another quick jog with the slower of the training partners. These totalled thusly:

juneathon23t

So 13.71km all in all. A good day then!

Running totals:
Distance: 129.86km
Time: 21:51:43

Endomondo (1 2 3 4 5 6) + Garmin Connect (1) + Running Free (1 2 3 4 5 6)

Juneathon Day 22

It’s dubbed by some “the greatest motor race in the world” – I refer to the 24 hours of Le Mans, which is taking place right now as I type. I am settled in to watch – I originally decided to try and do as much of it as possible, but I remembered that some friends and I have agreed to meet for the first of what we hope to become regular running sessions in the morning, so I will have to go to bed at a sensible time.

Le Mans 2013, as I watch

Le Mans 2013, as I watch

Realising TV coverage started around 1315, I had to get out and get Juneathon done early to enable me to see the start. I also wanted to get some food in to allow me to enjoy the race, so I did the cheeky thing of combining a walk into town and the supermarket with Juneathon. I easily achieved my mile-a-day target, power-walking when I could but otherwise enjoying a rest day before I begin the final lap of c25k tomorrow.

juneathon22

 


Running totals:
Distance: 116.15km
Time: 19:33:11
Other runners seen: 39 (+0)

Endomondo + Running Free

Juneathon Day 21

For some reason I couldn’t get in the mood for the run today, and kept delaying the decision about when go out, never mind going out itself. Eventually it was set: a noon start.

juneathon21

I probably had a bit more in the tank left at the end than usual so maybe on my customary downhill finish bit I could have squeezed out a little more pace maybe? Or maybe I’m a bit fitter?

All in all a brilliant run. Bring on week 9!

Running totals:
Distance: 114.28km
Time: 18:52:32
Other runners seen: 39 (+2)

Endomondo + Garmin Connect + Running Free

Juneathon Day 20

Day off from running so to the walk! I did to the post office and back via Morrisons with a bit tacked on to make it up to a suitable amount – in the end I made it to 5k!

juneathon20

 

My Garmin died on the way so I had to splice in another trace from where mine cut off. Easier said than done, but I got my head round it in the end. Required me working out the difference between longitude and latitude, which I thought I knew but apparently not!

I got round to some mild post-production on my running video. I don’t want you to hear just how unfit my breathing sounds so I had to speed it up, so here is my 40 minute session in the space of 5 minutes. Please don’t click play if fast moving, flashing images mess with your head in any way!

It’s fair to say that this is an experiment that I will need to do some more work on…

Adios!

Running totals:
Distance: 108.62km
Time: 18:10:06
Other runners seen: 37 (+3)

Endomondo + Running Free

Juneathon Day 19

Another double day, a walk first followed by a later training run. The overriding theme of both sessions though: hot.

juneathon19i

Ok so 22C doesn’t seem that bad but it must easily be the hottest day of the year so far. I walked into town and back and it was intense. I was dripping with sweat and the pace wasn’t even that high, I just remember thinking, over and over, “I have to run in this?!”

juneathon19

It wasn’t much hotter but it certainly wasn’t cooler. I’m a worrier, and I was worried. I had 28 minutes ahead, and my aim was, as ever, to finish. To run every last second I should, and feel able to continue if I had to. Worried about the weather, I set off at a pace that felt so slow, I debated if I could walk faster! Luckily the graphs show I was clearly faster than my warm-up walk!

I also decided to enact a long standing plan to attach a miniature 720p camera that I own to my shoulder and test out running-cam. The video filmed ok, with issues as expected with vibration and angle (shoulders aren’t flat, who’d have thought it!). It need to do a bit of editing and I didn’t have time today (I’m on my way to work as we speak!) but hopefully I’ll be able to bring you a bit of running-cam in the next few days. Until then, here’s a still from it. Please ignore the date/time, I didn’t set it in advance so it’s s bit out!

junathon19vc

The important thing to take away from this is that I completed the run and I completed it well. I finished by pushing my pace up a bit and it felt good, in fact it felt better than the pace I’d been running. I’m left to wonder if I was too conservative to begin with, but that’s for the future to work out. Another 28 minutes, without stopping, under my belt. Another challenge passed. Lots to be optimistic about!

See you tomorrow!

Running totals:
Distance: 103.51km
Time: 17:04:08
Other runners seen: 34 (+2)

Endomondo + Running Free
Endomondo + Garmin Connect + Running Free

Juneathon Day 18

I did a walk then. Cos I just discovered it and I’m feeling nice, here’s the map Running Free made:

Type: Walk – General
Duration: 0:48:26
Distance: 4.14 km

I especially like it because it has a map from OpenStreetMap.org, of which I am a big fan, and also because it has put it over there on the right and is letting me blog down the side of it. I don’t obviously like giving away my address too much, but I could live ANYWHERE on the green line so go nuts :P

It was meant to be a short one but alas another 4km is clocked up. I once again went exploring the neighbourhood and looked at houses I would love to even consider owning one day. Get your Google Streetview man down “The Highway” in Sutton SM2. To me, these places look like absolute palaces. I reckon we’re looking at £1-1.5M a shot here, maybe more. It’s bizarre to think that there is such a pay/lifestyle contrast in such a small area around where I live – when I think of this kind of money I picture country estates or penthouses. Green-eyed like you wouldn’t believe!

I have just given away one road on the map that I don’t live on. Or have I? Maybe I am bluffing. Maybe. Heh.

The weather is so humid at the moment – it was 82% again tonight and I felt it after a few minutes of walking. Reminds me of the occasions as a wee boy when mummy or daddy would talk about it “needing to rain”. I am a big fan of warm weather mind you, so I’ll stop complaining. I am, from a running point of view, dealing ok at the moment – methinks this might be down to the pace I am running, but then when you realise a 5:30:00 marathon would be on at that pace you start wondering if the pace is really that bad!? The trick will be building the stamina to be able to keep that going, and that will be a trick indeed. But training is in its kindergarten days right now, I can’t wait to crank it up and start Fartlek-ing and hill-ing and all the other joys. No really – I can barely run 4k right now and I have my sights firmly set on 10x that distance. Bring it.

I must apologise to all enthusiastic parkrunners for my continued snubbing of their events, despite in fact promises that I would attend. I keep getting nervous about going before I have reached the end of my 5k training programme. You don’t take your driving test before you are ready to do you? So I will pledge now, when I am able to freestyle my training (i.e. after the end of next week hopefully) I will parkrun whenever I can. All being well therefore, I will debut on 06 July. Watch this space!

Running totals:
Distance: 95.06km
Time: 15:45:22
Other runners seen: 32 (+1)

Endomondo + Running Free

Juneathon Day 17

After a leisurely 16km yesterday, I am saddened to have to report that the slightly more intense 5.5km I just ran was harder work. How on earth is that possible?!

juneathon17

This was, as regular readers will probably know, the first run of Week 8 of the 5k training plan I’m on, so for the first time ever I was asked to run 28 minutes without stopping. And I totally delivered on that, despite a first builder’s lorry and then a car blocking my path. Into the the road and round, no sweat (actually a lot of sweat as it happens but that was more to do with the weather!) The course was back to something more “normal” for me, after the downhill PB-fest that was Saturday, but lacking creativity I settled for laps of a local “block”, changing to the block next door when the builder’s delivery lorry thing was evidently going to be in the way for a while. In the runnign section I managed roughly 4.3km in the 28 minutes, which averages out at around 6:30 per km – so a 5k time of 32:30 if the pace is maintained. This is actually a slower pace than I did the 20 minute run of week 5 in, so my prospects of doing the advertised 30 minute 5k are pretty slim, but I am still not concerned – get me running 30 minutes without stopping first and then we’ll work on the speed!

I’d like to propose, at this stage of my training, that a LOT of one’s limitations when running are entirely psychological. For me, fear of failure is huge. Now, I feel like I am running close to the maximum I could give for these longer runs, but past experience with going too fast, too early in a run looms large in my mind and as a result, maybe I am holding myself back? But then, by definition I am not, as my goals in these training runs are stamina based and not distance or pace based. I could run 2k or 10k in the time allowed, but provided I run throughout, I am on course. Long term I must not be afraid to push myself a little to try and learn where my limits are, or even to try and redefine my limits. And long term isn’t too far away; if I complete every remaining run first time, I will be a couch-to-5k graduate in just 10 days time!

I also wish I had a completely flat course I could use, as I am still left guessing at the effect of gradient. Psychology plays a role here too am sure, but with the exception of the downhill course I used on Saturday (W7R3 and also previously on W3R3), every course is significantly up and down (by definition, as they all start and end on my doorstep). The location of the ups is important (I thought), but then today I did the uphill bit 4 times over. Not at the start to get it out of the way like I’ve tried to in previous runs, but repeatedly throughout the run. I knew when I was on an uphill bit but that was mainly because I was thinking about how I’d need to get through it all the way down the prior downhill section. Definitely need to get the bee out of my bonnet regarding them – maybe some hill training after the course has finished will do the trick?

5 runs of c25k left. Hard to believe that only 7 weeks ago I was asked to run for ONE minute, and 40 seconds through I was looking at my watch urging the seconds to tick by quickly before I collapsed in a heap! There is only one fault with the NHS podcasts that I can think of – they haven’t got Polaris by Ash on there (I know, licensing, it never would be). That track is the one that was playing as I finished the Great Manchester Run hobble and so is my favourite running track (not that I get to run to it much, I’m always on the training podcasts!) ever.

Running totals:
Distance: 90.92km
Time: 14:54:56
Other runners seen: 31 (+1)

Endomondo + Garmin Connect + Running Free

Juneathon Day 16

AKA the day of many walks!

juneathon16

 

I had a late shift and came up with the ingenious idea of killing a couple of hours by getting the train to work (New Cross, SE London) from Tattenham Corner (erm… North Surrey) instead of my nearest station in Sutton (South London).  Sutton to Tattenham corner isn’t that far, but it’s far enough to make me all sweaty at work which was niiiice. I compounded this by realising I was running early for work and so throwing in an extra walk from Brockley to New Cross (you’ll need a map for all this I am sure) – so by the time I got to work I had done a leisurely 12.32km and was feeling nicely tired, and my brow was suitably shiny.

THEN I rounded off the day with another 4.14km, to take my total up to 16.46km for the day, in a total time of 2:57:56. Yay!

There follows a selection of pictures from my walk. I had intended to blog more about my route and why I took it but I have little time so hopefully the captions will do this for me!

Someone was having a fire and I tried to photograph its smoke. Fail.

Someone was having a fire and I tried to photograph its smoke. Fail.

A wood next to a prison - the perfect place to walk alone!

A wood next to a prison – the perfect place to walk alone!

Loose underfoot - had been debating future training runs here but not so sure now

Loose underfoot – had been debating future training runs here but not so sure now

It was a bridleway, but I'm not a bridle. Hope that's OK.

It was a bridleway, but I’m not a bridle. Hope that’s OK.

The exit of the scary wood dumped me on the same road I ran on yesterday

The exit of the scary wood dumped me on the same road I ran on yesterday

Then before I knew it, I was in Emmerdale!

Then before I knew it, I was in Emmerdale!

A217. Driven up it many time, never crossed it on foot!

A217. Driven up it many time, never crossed it on foot!

I love bridleways it seems!

I love bridleways it seems!

Yeah, so, a path. Lovely.

Yeah, so, a path. Lovely.

Tattenham Corner station (for Epsom Downs racecourse) - I made it!

Tattenham Corner station (for Epsom Downs racecourse) – I made it!

I still have more general training anecdotes and observations to share, but it will still have to wait. C25k Week 8 starts tomorrow!

Running totals:
Distance: 85.33km
Time: 14:14:11
Other runners seen: 30 (+0, how weird!)

Endomondo (1 2 3) + Running Free (1 2 3)