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:
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.
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.
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 Ladies‘ newest album, as filmed on their current US tour by one of my favourite YouTube Channels, “kdc&cc – souvenirs of shows we saw“
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.
The end was a bit of a whimper, a mere 4km walk down the same beach we’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:
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
Fear not my friends, the month of twitter spam is almost done. Until January.
I felt ok again today, so after a beach walk to help Sam get her stuff done, I hit the gym again!
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…
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.
One day left then, and its target will be pre-defined by the running totals.
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)
A rest day, so we went for a walk down the beach and clocked up 7km!
We in fact made it all the way to the end of the beach in that direction, which was cool. Along the way we discussed at length how much our bodies suck (had a relapse of the asthma problem overnight) and looked forward to the boat trip we recently planned.
Nothing much more to add, so here are some photographs I took today:
Endomondo + Running Free
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 we arrived we have been a bit obsessed with running on the beach, so today Sam and 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 we discovered not too far into it that it was pretty much a no go. We turned around and walked back and started off the day therefore with a good 1800m of beach walking!
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!
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.
Endomondo (1 2) + Garmin Connect (2) + Running Free (1 2)
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 our 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, we went for a short walk in order to satisfy the mile-a-day criteria I set for Juneathon. We took to the beach again but the tide was in really far so we 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) – we 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 we 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!
Endomondo + Running Free
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. We 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 we did!
That’s Asthma told
Outbound, we opted for the beach. Well, our 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 we 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 we got. 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 we were able to pick up some souvenirs to avoid having to repeat the walk later in the week.
Sam poses by the sea, mid-walk
We came back by the ultimately more easier road-route, and ended up with a not too shabby 6.53km for the day!
I should also add that we 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!
Tomorrow 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!
Endomondo (1 2) + Running Free (1 2)
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.
Whilst we were out we received a text message from a friend of ours 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 we are 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.
Endomondo + Running Free
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. Sam tells me that every day. 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?
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:
So 13.71km all in all, including when I was shadowing Sam on her Juneathon. A good day then!
Endomondo (1 2 3 4 5 6) + Garmin Connect (1) + Running Free (1 2 3 4 5 6)
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
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.
Other runners seen: 39 (+0)
Endomondo + Running Free
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. Sam then announced she’d try to run with me – she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to do the whole thing or not but would do as much as possible. I hoped she would be able to keep up, it is so much nicer running in a pair! I made a private decision to slow up my pace if I had to, and off we went!
I didn’t have to slow my pace though, and we both made it to the end. Beyond the end, in fact! Sam decided that she had to run until her watch said 5km, and so we probably did 31 minutes (bodes well for my final week of c25k and its 30 minuters!) in all. 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? Sam had reserves though, and on the same downhill course I set the 5k house record on, she would probably kick my ass! Just needs a little more self-belief sometimes that girl!
All in all a brilliant run. Bring on week 9!
Other runners seen: 39 (+2)
Endomondo + Garmin Connect + Running Free
I just found out that I have posted 30 items with insufficient postage on them. Sorry everyone, if you get stung for more (though so far everyone has reported receiving with no further charge, happy days!).
Day off from running so to the walk! We did to the post office and back via Morrisons with a bit tacked on to make it up to a suitable amount to please Sam “easy stroll famous last words” Cawley. We made it to 5k!
My Garmin died on the way so I had to splice in Sam’s 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! Sam’s watch doesn’t monitor my heart rate though, rubbish! Sam’s doesn’t even monitor her own heart rate, according to every HRM she has ever tried, she has no heart. She seems to still be living though, so we think they are wrong
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…
Other runners seen: 37 (+3)
Endomondo + Running Free
Another double day, as I accompanied Sam on her morning Juneathon walk before having to do my own scheduled run after she had left for work. The overriding theme of both sessions though: hot.
Ok so 22C doesn’t seem that bad but it must easily be the hottest day of the year so far. We 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 saying, over and over, “I have to run in this?”. I left it until Sam went to work, it couldn’t get much hotter being my thinking.
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!
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!
Other runners seen: 34 (+2)
Endomondo + Running Free
Endomondo + Garmin Connect + Running Free
So, we did a walk then. Cos I just discovered it and I’m feeling nice, here’s the map Running Free made:
||Walk – General
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
It was meant to be a short one but alas another 4km is clocked up. As usual when Sam and I get out for a walk together, we went exploring the neighbourhood and looking at houses we would love to even consider owning one day. Get your Google Streetview man down “The Highway” in Sutton SM2. To us, 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 park runners 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? I know I did the Great Manchester Run, a 10k, at the end of week 4, but I gave myself special dispensation for that as I was in fact only there to support Sam. So I will pledge now, when I am able to freestyle my training (i.e. after the end of next week hopefully) I will Park Run whenever I can. All being well therefore, I will debut on 06 July. Watch this space!
Other runners seen: 32 (+1)
Endomondo + Running Free
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?!
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 and so is my favourite running track (not that I get to run to it much, I’m always on the training podcasts!) ever.
Other runners seen: 31 (+1)
Endomondo + Garmin Connect + Running Free
AKA the day of many walks!
Sam was away you see, and I had a late shift. I 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 Sam announced she was coming home and would meet me on my way home from work, before we did her Juneathon day 16 together! So I have 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.
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
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
Then before I knew it, I was in Emmerdale!
A217. Driven up it many time, never crossed it on foot!
I love bridleways it seems!
Yeah, so, a path. Lovely.
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!
Other runners seen: 30 (+0, how weird!)
Endomondo (1 2 3) + Running Free (1 2 3)
I do hope you are still reading. I am very envious of Sam’s writing style; a very easily digestible, entertaining and encapsulating one that manages to make every post a winner. Mine not so much, I think I am overly “scientific” if that’s the right word. But that ain’t changing today so let’s go!
I am on the couch to 5k plan to kick off my get-fit regime, and today was the last run of week 7; the fourth consecutive 25 minute run of the plan. It went well, but I think my chosen course had a lot to do with that!
I did around half a kilometre more than any other 25 minute run, but I was running downhill for way more than any of the others! The result was a new 5k PB by over a minute, and a nice feeling of achievement. I know that I was cheating a little, but I felt good. The next run of 28 minutes will test my new found confidence. Watch this space!
I have a lot of more general training and fitness based anecdotes and observations but I will have to share those another day, as my break at work is not long enough to write a huge post today. Juneathoners: we are half way!
Other runners seen: 30
Endomondo + Garmin Connect + Running Free
A long walk into town instead of wimping out and taking the car, and it yielded 3.3km to the cause. A nervy moment walking past a load of schoolkids who looked at me funny. Maybe they weren’t used to seeing such an athletic man walking by! Ahem. Run tomorrow.
Other runners seen: 30 (+1)
Endomondo + Running Free
There follows a tale of two runs! Oh yes, it’s day thirteen and things are stepping up a notch!
Well, not really. Sam had a busy day today and was worried about fitting her run in, so last night when the clock ticked round to midnight it seemed a brilliant idea to head out so she could get her Juneathon obligations out of the way early!
It started out as just a kilometre, then maybe three to get Sam over 50k for the month so far, then we added a bit on – might as well make 4k – and so there we go. A thoroughly enjoyable walk round the neighbourhood, checking out all the houses we’d love to own one day!
That would not suffice as my main day 13 activity though, as it was scheduled to be my next c25k run today and there was not to be any getting out of it, so once Sam had left for the day I was out again!
It was a run I found reasonably difficult but importantly I kept going. Seriously hoping I start to find it easier to do these long runs soon, and I suppose as long as I continue to complete them then I am building my stamina and hopefully the progress wil follow. But man was it painful, the effect of the late night exercise maybe, or only having had breakfast before hand? I am learning how my body likes to prepare for running every time I do one, a little bit, but I still need way more data on that. Today I had an awful acidy taste in my back of my throat all along which wasn’t nice. Still made it though!
Other runners seen: 29 (+1)
Endomondo (1 2) + Garmin Connect (2) + Running Free (1 2)
Hello everyone. I’m blogging from work! Though on my break naturally. I have between now and 1856 to fill you in on my rest day activity!
At least a mile each day I said, so that was what I aimed to do. From work I can occasionally see a grassy area but I’ve never visited it; in fact I didn’t even know it’s name! As soon as my break started (after rigging up my bluetooth thingymebobby to call Sam, who is sick at the moment) I headed for it.
I immediately learned its name, thanks to a great big metal thing at the entrance! So this is Fordham Park then. It was small in area with a wide path running around the edge. A couple of laps was sufficient, with distance to and from the park added on. Nothing much more to add so I’ll leave you with a couple more pictures and see you tomorrow!
Other runners seen: 28 (+8 – popular park!)
Endomondo + Running Free
A case of both a weather-related first and weather-related par performance: for the first time ever, in both the 11 days of Juneathon AND the 44 days of my entire training regime, I ran in the rain today. Well, OK, it was very light drizzle, but it was there. Normally I avoid the rain, even on the occasions I have run on a rainy day, I have managed to avoid the worst of the wet stuff and run in a gap between the downpours or before it comes in. In that respect today’s par score was also achieved, as it threw a heavy shower shortly after I got in. I have to say, it was quite nice to run in the drizzle – it nicely countered the usual “heating up” process I go through when running and so I now fully understand the attraction of the showers that were provided mid-course at the Great Manchester Run – though in all honesty had it not been for my mp3 player I’d have been through that like a shot…
Today’s run stats:
AND also my new footpod tells me I did a total of 5398 steps during the run (at an average cadence of 76spm on each foot) which is a cool stat. Now I know this stat I immediately wonder what a good value for cadence is – 90 seems to be the magic number so lots of room for improvement – I like this. Endomondo doesn’t seem to give a damn about the cadence my watch records so I might have to screengrab another website to show the world how many mini-earthquakes I am causing each time I blog in future, but Endomondo gives me Golden Trophies which are the best! I got none today
Thinking about it, I was never likely to unless I took a chance. The whole of week 7 is the same as the final run of week 6 – i.e. a 25 minute run with a warm-up/warm-down. Having failed at this run the first time I attempted it, I learned a harsh lesson about pacing myself. The pace for the whole run (including warm-up and cool-down periods) was 7:18 per km as you can see, but for just the running bit I again slipped into a comfortable 6:30-6:45 pace to prevent burning out over the course of the whole run. To push some PBs I’d need to up my pace, and then the risk is failing to complete the entire run. I want to stick with the plan, and if I do that I am sure that my fitness will build naturally and the PBs will come without being forced.
On Saturday night I ended up discussing running with Mr Ross Turnbull, who I hadn’t realised had been running himself for a few years now. He talked of his need to test himself to improve, or he’d end up getting comfortable at a certain pace and just end up running that the entire time. Something to bear in mind for the future, but also advice I embraced a little bit today. I set out with every intention of simply repeating the route I ran last time out – it is tried and tested afterall. As I approached the road I would turn down to effect this, I decided I wanted to test myself, so I kept going, putting myself on the route I used when I first tried Week 6 Run 3 - when I had failed. It keeps me going uphill (albeit gradually) for longer (more or less 2km in one go) but my main problem I think had been badly pacing myself. I was determined to try holding myself back to a comfortable pace and seeing what happened. I am pleased to report that it went well!
Don’t get me wrong, I could feel the gradient, but I didn’t push too hard and so I was equal to it. I ran the entire 25 minutes, bar a few seconds when crossing a road to stop myself failing to run the whole way on account of blunt force trauma to the abdomen! I got to the end in the nice state of “probably could have continued, but was ready to stop” I have found previously, and despite knowing no golden trophies were coming my way today I was (and am) very happy with my progress.
Other runners seen: 20 (+1)
Endomondo + Garmin Connect + Running Free
D’ya know what 10 means? We are 1/3 done! Wait, you knew that? Well of course
I am actually rather enjoying it. I suspected I would, but already it’s to the extent that the thought of only 20 Juneathon days left makes me wonder what I’ll do with myself in July. The answer is, of course, to keep going. My training goals are rather long term, of course…
Today was a training programme rest day but of course there is no such thing in the world of Juneathon so I took the opportunity to go out and calibrate my new foot pod. As such, the training run was split into three parts; a warm-up walk, the calibration run, and a warm-down walk:
I ran the running bit at a 6:00 km pace which is a bit quick for me as noted previously – but I only had to go a kilometre so I got away with it. It actually tired me significantly, another warning that I need to master walking before I can run (substitute in running paces as required). Here in fact is a photograph of me as taken shortly after beginning my warm-down walk:
Nice sticky-uppey-workouty hair
Anyway I am pleased to report that my foot pod is now calibrated (presumably accurately!) so I am all gadgeted up! No longer will the thought of a dataless treadmill run strike apathy into me!
Week 7 of c25k begins tomorrow, wish me luck!
Other runners seen: 19 (+1)
Endomondo (1 2 3) + Running Free (1 2 3)
I did it, I did it, I did it! 25 minutes running, non-stop, done. Week 6 completed, though I possibly cheated by repeating one run twice, but it felt well within me today and a world away from the stress and pain of Friday. I will very happily move on to week 7 as of Tuesday and another step closer to graduation I hope!
So what was different today? Having blogged yesterday about my preparation being rubbish for Friday’s run, I prepared for this run in pretty much the same way – copious amounts of alcohol the night before. I had no idea this would be the case, the sneaky as ever other half arranging a surprise party for me up Eversholt Street. Twas an incredible night, she booked a comedian/musician by the name of Adam Kay to play for us. I’m very fond of his stuff, and thoroughly recommend (if you can stomach his sense of humour) having a click through his YouTube channel! Then the guests! Massive thanks to everyone who came!
I’d post more photos, but I didn’t take any! These ones are stolen from Sam as it is. Also in the daytime we had been to see Matilda the Musical in the Cambridge Theatre – OH MY GOD that show is amazing. Jumps straight to the top of my “best shows seen” list, and I might even go back and see it again. Absolutely flipping amazing. Go, go now. Or, y’know, whenever there are tickets available
So, to drag this back on track, not the best preparation again, though I dealt with the hangover appropriately (read: water, water, lots of water) and more importantly, ate. I am very much of the opinion that the pre-run meal of just a bowl of Rice Krispies contributed to my downfall on Friday. I am not experienced enough to know whether the extent of these effects is much beyond psychological or not, but it felt like it made a difference.
Two other things probably massively helped. With the pain of the Friday failure fresh in my mind, I lowered my pace for this run. I was kicking around the 6:45-7:00 per km mark, whereas on Friday when I started the running phase, I ended up settling into a 6:00-6:30 rhythm that ultimately collapsed. Not a big difference but boy it felt it. The other thing, which was a direct consequence of this, was that by dropping my pace I matched Sam’s pace – she is taking it easy due to a rib injury – so we were able to run together. This is probably old news to a lot of established runners, but running with Sam was so much more enjoyable than running alone. It’s an effect I think I also felt at the start of the day 5 run when Sam and I had also run together – a run on which I went on to break my 5k PB. We have resolved to, as much as possible (it’s dependant on our rates of improvement, presuming any occurs, in our individual training plans aligning somewhat) run together if we can.
It’s bizarre but at the aforementioned 30th activities I caught up with some friends for both the first time in ages, and what seemed like the first time in ages, and the hot topic? Running. Not because they know of Juneathon, or that they know much about my training plan, but because we all, independently, are seeking to keep ourselves (or in my case, get myself) into something resembling decent shape before age begins to ravage us. Plans are afoot for a regular running-based social meet-up to occur and this can only be a good thing.
Tomorrow is a rest day but it will be running based I am afraid – I got a foot-pod for my birthday and it won’t calibrate itself, so I’ll take the opportunity a day off affords me to get it all set up.
9 days in and still going strong; or in terms of the whole “get fit” plan – 35 days in and as keen as ever. My poor PS3 feels ever so neglected, but could I have gone and got myself a hobby that’s good for me?!
Other runners seen: 18 (+2)
Endomondo + Garmin Connect + Running Free
Greetings from Central London!
I am staying in a swanky hotel as part of my “getting on a bit” celebrations, but the good news is I am not relenting as far as Juneathon is concerned, oh no!
Sam and I hit the gym this morning, and it being a rest day I decided to rule out the treadmill immediately. I did a couple of gentle sessions instead on the cross-trainer and the rowing machine, which despite being gentle I found to be bloody hard work! My target was a mile on each, which I achieved by far and only just respectively!
I should also report that we went in the pool last night and despite it being only 13m long, I decided I had to set a target to achieve there too. My swimming technique leaves a lot to be desired; I kept finding myself holding my breath!? Stopping regularly to catch it back, I ended up doing a total of 500m in just under half an hour, and have sore shoulders today as a result!
I have reflected a little on my performance yesterday morning and have decided to repeat just that run and see how it goes. If I fail it again I’ll repeat Week 6 – if not I’ll move on. It is only when running regularly that things like rest and diet’s effect on your runs becomes noticeable and with hindsight it is clear to see that my preparation for yesterday’s run cannot have helped. That’s not to make excuses, and if I struggle again then I will repeat the week with no quibbles. I just want to give myself the chance to try again.
Right, to the theatre! Does applause count as Juneathon exercise?
Other runners seen: 16 (+7)
Endomondo (S C R) + Running Free (S C R)