Wednesday, 23 December 2009

'tis the season

There's no way I'm running before Christmas due to a fear of falling on my arse and breaking something (i.e. Me!) and this crappy Man-flu that came from nowhere on Sunday night and is settling in for the Christmas period so therefore, have a wonderful Christmas with your friends/kids/parents/siblings (delete as appropriate) and enjoy all your food/presents/booze. May they all be plentiful.

Here's to a few days off (and hopefully some running) between Christmas and New Year and then hitting it hard come January!

Happy Christmas!

Your slightly overweight and balding Hauled Carcass.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

I've slacked a bit but is this the answer?

I've not been great with my running over the last week or so with only a 5 miler with LG on Sunday to my name. In fact to be honest, I'm being put to shame by LG who ran another 4.3 miles yesterday while I went for something to eat and drink with some buggers which was better than actually running! Speaking of which, it's lucky I plan my runs via runningAHEAD before I go out as I managed to get lost yesterday. Twice. In the same place. With a map. Is it worth buying a Sat-Nav just for occasional use? For me, it's like a Garmin. Very useful when you want it but most of the time, I can't really see the point!

Anyway, I digress. Which I'm sure most of you are used to by now.

This blog needs to have a point (well at least should) so here's today's. Like a few others I'm sure, I was recently sent some free downloads of Audiofuel tracks. In fact I was sent most of the same tracks by 2 different people which was nice but a little overkill maybe. However, it has been something I've looked at before to try it out so getting the chance to is all good but here's the thing, as I've been running with LG a lot recently, I haven't really had the chance! As I'm running slower and not pushing myself, it's not the best time to try it but soon, you will have a review from me. In the meantime, my LG used it yesterday so those thoughts are here.

But first, if you haven't heard of Audiofuel, let me explain as best I can. It's not for me to sell this to you so these are purely my thoughts. OK, Audiofuel say:  'AudioFuel is custom composed running music with a beat to match and drive your stride'. OK. Good logic, run to a beat and keep to a pace and therefore have a good workout. They have low, mid and high intensity.... or blue, green and red intensity or indeed..... 'walking and running', 'running' and 'fast running' intensity. Within these they have coaching and non coaching versions. The difference being that the coaching versions have an over-enthusiastic man telling what you're doing like occasionally counting the beats to make sure you're at the correct pace etc.

I was sent a green 'coaching' version and a variety of red tracks. They all last around 40-45mins which I think is quite a good time for a run. With LG being a beginner, only running properly for a month and running on average just under 10 minute pace, the green mid intensity seemed the sensible option so off she went.

LG's thoughts were as follows: In a nutshell... she really enjoyed it. It builds you up to a good pace moves your pace up and down and she felt comfortable and only struggled when it went at 165bpm for a while. One of the negative things was the 5 minute warm down you get. LG was still getting home and wanting to do a fast finish and the voice in her head (as it were) was telling her to slow down. This was resolved by skipping back to the beginning again and listening to that bit to speed it up a bit.

Then came the bad bit. Her pace was 10.22 for 4.3miles which is the slowest LG's run in a while and she didn't feel she was having to push it through most of the run. I'll be interested to see where the 'fast running' intensity gets me when I use it in a few weeks time. Where's that going to pitch me? 8:00 pace? 8.30 pace? 9:00 pace? They're just guesses but seems to be a gap there  somewhere. Maybe someone can let me know. Maybe they're not designed for pace runs and more and all round workout in which case I quite like just to plod along. Does anyone know if the tracks have their own 'pace'? i.e Mid intensity means 10:00 pace??? Hmmm. I'm looking forward to giving one of these a go but a little sceptical regarding how far I can run for and whether I'll end up half a mile from my house and told that it's then end? How do I judge how far to run when I'm not sure what pace I will be running at?? I'M CONFUSED!!!!!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Christmas is coming and there's nothing I can do

After Saturday's Grim, there was no way I was going for a run on Sunday. Why would I? Last time I checked, pain wasn't something I particularly enjoyed and I was still feeling pretty stiff due to the lack of post race stretching. The Lovely Girlfriend was convinced she was going to go out for one though at which point I thought it might be nice to get on the lovely single-speed and keep her company. Then Sunday morning came and LG decided that she had too much to do to bother running today and would rather spend half her morning in Tesco buying more food and wine than we could ever eat!!

Then she got back and we had to go out and buy a Christmas tree that I promised we'd get as we have people coming round in the next week and she wanted to get creative with the decorations. Now I'm guessing I've lived a somewhat sheltered life in my 30 years because those things are bloody expensive!!! I don't know whether it was just London prices but after looking around a couple of places, we she eventually settled on one we she liked. We phoned the bank for a mortgage application and were luckily given an answer straight away. 'Yes you can have the money to pay for a tree that will be up for a max of 4-5 weeks before dying and then you can to spend one of your early January weekends queuing up at the recycling centre to get rid of the stupidly expensive tree!' I was then employed as a lumberjack to haul said tree around. I must say I was disappointed to find that the tree didn't come with a free flannel shirt as part of the package.

That was enough for me. I put the tree up and went into the bedroom to read my book while LG did her thing. Then the christmas tunes started!! Consider my limit of christmas cheer reached!! I told LG I was going for a run to eek this christmas out of me and stretch the legs a bit and happily, she decided to come with.

An out and back route through the common was called for and it felt OK. I mean my legs felt like lumps of wood attached to my hips but a slow 4.14 miles was completely in 40:54 and (41:10 for LG) which put her on 9:57 pace which was her best over this distance yet. Plus best of all, I avoided the christmas overkill in the flat!

I must point out here that the flat does look very nice but what's wrong with the week before christmas?? Bah Humbug!!

Anyway, Tuesday night and another run was planned. Our 4.21 mile loop that has a downhill to start and then a very long bitch of an uphill for the last mile and a half. I know I'm running slower than I usually do but I'm really enjoying running with LG at the moment. I don't feel like this is just my little hobby anymore. We run, we chat and I encourage. It's good fun. Yesterday's time was great. We ran together and LG smashed her previous PB of this route by finishing in 41:02 (9.45 pace) which included a downhill first mile of 8.45!!!! That knocked a minute and 19 seconds off!!

One minor problem with yesterday is I appeared to have aggravated my shin splint problem on my left leg possibly by that first faster mile without proper warm-up but I'm at a loss of how to get rid of it. I've tried the whole rest, ice, compression, elevate thing but to no avail. Any suggestions welcome and hopefully they'll be more in depth than a guy I work with who's answer was 'pain killers'. He has got a point but I'd prefer to try and solve the problem rather than just mask it.

Finally, I've managed to persuade LG into a Christmas Morning 6 miler! We'll be down at LG's parents and I intend to eat, drink and be merry so a 6 miler first thing will get rid of my guilt when I go for seconds at the dinner table or have a second mince pie for desert! 6 miles along the coast of Worthing on Christmas morning. I think LG's starting to wonder what she's got herself into!!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Grim '09 Race Report - A being a kid day out

As the alarm sounded at 6:45am on Saturday morning, I was reminded quite strongly, why Mexican food and multiple margaritas is not the best preparation for running 8 miles in the cold wet muddy conditions of Grim. Or for any run at all in fact. Therefore I turned off the alarm, rolled over and went back to sleep.

Well that's what I should have done. Instead, I hauled myself out of bed and started to check the race packing I'd done when I was a little tipsy the night before to see what I'd forgotten. The answer was socks and only socks which i didn't think was too shoddy. Clearly I'm better drunk than I thought.

LG made some porridge, I made coffee (black, strong, sweet) and with LG wrapped up with more layers than a child with an overprotective mother, we hit the road.

We met up with eatingtrees in the car park and it was clear that his enthusiasm for this event had waned somewhat in the 7/8 months since signing up. He was determined not to get cold! I was standing in shorts!! After wandering to the starting arena, we met up with John and Adam from The Running Bug (very nice they were too) and discussed how horrible i thought this was going to be. At the start,  Adam said to me, your feet are obviously going to get wet at some point, just try avoid to avoid an all out soaking at the beginning.

I failed miserably. Within 200 yards of the start both feet had been fully submerged, were about 2kg heavier and I now had the prospect of running 8 miles with very cold and very wet feet. It's quite nice though, as you carry on running, your feet warm up a bit (until the next puddle anyway). There was a real sense of team/everyone together/fun out on the course and I loved it. Nearly everyone was smiling (even eatingtrees by this point). The miles ticked slowly by and looking at the watch was pretty much pointless because this thing was never about speed and you can only run through a puddle so quickly before you fall on your face and I didn't intend to do that. Some parts of the course doubled back on themselves which did make it fun to here the screaming as the cold water that you'd gone through 30 seconds ago was now making someone else miserable.

The main cargo nets and mug part caused a bit of a back log as loads of spectators lined the track with cameras at the ready. Below is myself and eatingtrees once we were through the worst of that bit. We're smiling and everything!!!

After this part of the course and a few more puddles went past, we had a bit of a dry section. At that point, my feet started thawing out and I realised that I appeared to have a stone or something under my toe which was annoying and slightly painful although I had no idea if it'd done any damage due to the numbness. After a while and with more water numbing the feet again, I forgot about it. That was until I loaded the washing machine yesterday. This is the INSIDE of my socks, calf support and shoe. How the hell did this stuff get INSIDE my sock?!?!?!

I was trying to pick up the pace a bit as I felt I could do it comfortably and I have to say, in the whole 8 miles, i only felt tired for about 200/300 metres within the last mile. Then I saw the finishing loop and I had a new burst of energy coming through the final water bit and felt like a gazelle as I went past a couple of people. I said felt like, not looked like.

And over the line... In 1:33:29. Time? rubbish. Do I care? nope. Will I do this event again next year? Without a doubt. I honestly smiled through the entire thing and can't think of any other race I've done when I've had a grin on my face from start to finish. I can't recommend it enough. Join me next year. Be Grim!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

The end

Still yet but happy. Great fun

At 5 mile mark

Not dirty enough- must try harder!

The cargo net area

The calm before the crowds

Dry and relatively warm

Yet to start... The mud awaits

Friday, 4 December 2009

I know it's going to be horrid

but I honestly can't wait for Grim tomorrow morning. eatingtrees is a little more apprehensive it seems but come on, mud, water and running around?!?!?! I bet if I asked eatingtrees' SonNumberOne or SonNumberTwo, they'd love to do it. It's just like being a kid again without your Mum to tell you off, like when you came in from football training covered almost head to foot in mud because it was more fun to slide around on your front in the puddles than attempt to play football (which could have contributed to the fact that I was crap at it. Oh and sorry Mum).

I'm looking forward to meeting up before hand with a few of the guys from The Running Bug forum which should be a laugh and who have done it before so can scare the crap out of me before we start, with stories of ice, broken legs etc.

But as I mentioned in my last post, as long as I can teach LG how to upload to the blog tonight, there will be pictures online from around 10.30ish of the mud, water, grinning blokes and general carnage that I feel will follow.

Only one run since the last post, a 3.5mile easy run with LG on Tuesday night. I was meant to run last night too but was being lazy tapering and fancied a glass of wine instead. For these big races splashing around in the mud events, it's all about the preparation I'm told. Oh bugger!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

I thought the Grim Challenge was meant to be next weekend??

What I wasn't expecting on my little route today, was to be half way round, with socks that could be wrung out, trainers that would have been drier in a washing machine on full cycle and mud splattered up the backs of my legs!! However,  with the rain hammering down all night yesterday and still going when I stepped out this morning, what I should have been expecting was to be half way round, with socks that could be wrung out, trainers that would have been drier in a washing machine on full cycle and mud splattered up the backs of my legs. Add the water running/dripping off my cap, the long sleeve top and a bright yellow gilet, it really did look like I'd got dressed in the dark and then fallen in the Thames!!

However, since the only point that I'm not a heavy breathing, red faced miserable looking get is at the point I step out of the flat, looks really aren't top of my priority list! I spent 1:05:31 doing an impression of a drowned rat for 7.2 miles which again is another step up in distance at an easy pace of 9:06 m/m. An enjoyable run to be honest but would have been quicker had I not run the first 2 miles with LG (at an again improved pace of 9:30 ish) and then because I had to at least try and avoid the mud puddles for about a mile and a half, that slowed me down too.

Today's run was never about speed though, I needed to know that I could get close to next week's Grim Challenge distance of 8+ miles again and I did so without any really worries which is nice even if the weather was not!

LG ran her own route which she made up as she went along and once mapped upon returning, she'd smashed her previous best non-stop run by 1.35 miles to complete 4.2 miles in 42:21 (10:06 pace) which is a massive achievement!!

Exciting news.... (ish) Through the power of technology, and me learning how to use my phone, providing I can teach LG to do the same thing, pictures of myself and eatingtrees trying to run round an army vehicle testing course, will be on here during our actual run next Saturday morning so while you sit there with your coffee and bacon sandwich you can look at 2 idiots pretending to have fun while covered in mud. Now there's something you don't see on the internet everyday.... oh, hang on.... 

Friday, 27 November 2009

I'm told it's curry week

So a chicken, chick pea and spinach curry was made with 2 side of bombay aloo. In case you were wondering, it tasted bloody lovely!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Stress relief without the wine

My job sucks sometimes. It really, really can suck. It's just too quiet and then there are the internal politics. I know most people have them but with mine yesterday, it really got on my nerves and I reached my limits!

So much so that the planned run with LG nearly didn't happen. I just couldn't be bothered to do it. Then I decided that a bit of stress relief without heading for the rack that sits on top of the fridge was probably a better option so we dressed up in a few layers to fight the wind and drizzle and headed out. I had a 5.04 mile route (44:59) planned that would run the first 1.87 miles (18:37) with LG before she headed for home and I picked up the pace. I did the remaining 3.17 miles in 26:22 giving me an 8.19 pace for that bit which I'm was pretty happy with considering at least half is on a crappy uphill! I also felt a damn sight better than when I started!

Twas the longest I've run since Royal Parks, felt OK (although I had my first stitch on bloody AGES) and finished strongly. With Grim only 10 days away, the rest of my week will consist of a short easy run on Thursday evening followed by an 8 miler of some sort on Saturday to get rid of the cobwebs ready for the mud and water that awaits me.

And what of LG??? Well what can I say. She keeps telling me she can't run but I think stats of 2.87 miles (longest ever) in 28:34 without stopping and recording a 9:57 pace (quickest ever) after running properly for only 2 weeks prove her wrong in a massive way! She certainly can run and seems to be enjoying the accomplishment that comes when you finish!

We have signed up for a Richmond Park 10k at the end of February and I have a feeling, she'll be pretty damn close to going under an hour by then. It's 3 months away so plenty of training time left and for someone that says she likes to run in the rain, pretty perfect weather too!

Final note... Keep your eyes peeled for a redesign coming very soon! I've gone and got all creative on your asses!

Monday, 23 November 2009

This is what a runner is

You go to a brand new city that you've never seen before, eat some wonderful food, drink a little lot more than you should, see the sights and have a thoroughly wonderful time but then upon your return, your thoughts turn to how flat it was and 'I bet I could do a good Half Marathon time round here'. That's what Rotterdam was to me this weekend. A great industrial city which I reckon would be pretty quick if you can avoid the tram tracks! Maybe 2011. I already have Lisbon lined up for next year.

The trip was to celebrate me arriving and surviving into my 30's. Who would have thought! Anyway, myself and LG booked a lovely hotel that had all the good things that makes you enjoy a trip more and also a gym... that we used.... and in LG's case, on 3 consecutive days!!! (I think it was the guilt about the amount of great food and drink consumed). Just 2 days for me though, the final morning hangover told me to stay in bed as I'm not as young as I used to be. Who was I to overturn that decision?

Quick point, is there anything as painfully dull as running on a treadmill??? OK, I assumed it wouldn't be great but it's mind numbing. Your brain doesn't have to work at all! Not to push harder, not to skip the puddles, not to jump the cracks, not to trip on the kerbs. Where's the fun if there's no chance or getting wet, dirty or injured? Fitness??? I think not!!

Anyway, because I have lovely parents who still buy their elderly son presents, I now have a fantastic long sleeve Adidas top plus with some cash, I've been on a bit of a sock spending spree. New running socks ordered today (including a set of compression ones to help the shin splint thing) and now I just have to decide what to spend the rest on and no I don't want/need/desire a Garmin!

So overall a fantastic birthday weekend all round of which there are some photo's on Facebook for anyone who knows me there.

Update on the running club... Not a sausage. 2 weeks, they haven't even managed to tell me if the money has even gone over. I'm hoping this is just a blip and the general organisation is better but the plan is still there. I need all the help I can get after being pulled into doing some training runs with a mate for his marathon. A 12, 15 and 18 miler await next year all pre Lisbon with the possibility I might sign up for the Wokingham Half too slap bang in the middle of it all! Joy.

Only 2 weeks til Grim and the longest I've run his Oct is 4.1 miles. This is going to hurt!!!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Playing in the puddles

The sun was shining and it was lovely and cool so yesterday afternoon, we joined the hoards of mums, dads, children, grandparents and young couples who were dressed in their hats, coats and wellies to go and play in the puddles around Wimbledon Common. Unfortunately, we didn't get the memo and were dressed in shorts, t-shirts and in LG's case, VERY white running trainers. The weren't white for very long. I think you can tell how focussed people are in their running by whether they try and hop, skip and jump over the puddles and therefore are slowing down and risking a slip or if they just aim to miss the majority of them in a rough straight line and if they catch the edge them then it doesn't matter as trainers dry when put on a radiator! We were, as we should be, squarely in the second camp and had the wet socks to prove it.

I ran to the windmill with LG at her pace and completed the 1.32 miles in 13:33 which is a good pace for LG at 10:15 m/m. At that point, LG turned and headed home and I carried on to the golf course at a slightly higher pace. I didn't know that speed I was running at but it felt comfortable and once I'd finished, I felt I could have gone on so I was quite pleased with the final 2.82 miles as it came in at 8:40 pace. Nearly 40 mins of solid running without stopping after a 4 week break is a good thing to know. Most important part of the entire thing though.... I loved being out again so whatever I've lost in stamina in the last 4 weeks, it's good to actually WANT to run again! Next ones are planned for Wednesday and then Saturday while we're in Rotterdam and I can't wait!

Lovely Girlfriend's stats
2.5 miles run in a time of 25:45. That's another half mile added to last week's distance, and at a faster pace than last week's. Signs of improvement already. I'll have her signed up for Lisbon in no time!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

I did a run and everything!

Yep I know. Strange for someone with a blog about running but one day short of an entire month without a run, I went out last night. Wasn't my idea either! I'd just opened the wine (not one of LG's greatest choices to be honest. Some poor Argentinean organic thing) and LG said she wanted to give her new shoes a test run so I thought it's about time I got out again too. For me, it was a slow, easy building up again couple of miles. Making sure those little niggly injuries I seem to have spent since May dealing with were clearing up. It seems most of them have. The only one I'm unsure about it the 'shin splints' pain I had. Have woken up this morning and I can feel it. I wouldn't say painful though so if I carry on wearing the support, I reckon it'll all be fine in the long run. So 4.5 miles cycling and a 2 mile run. Not too bad for the day.

The star of the show though was LG without a doubt. Apart from one abandoned mile at the beginning of August, she hadn't run since 28th June at our Thame 10k so I find it brilliant that she completed the entire 2 miles without stopping once and in a time of 20:39!! That's 10:20m/m with no training and just by putting on a pair of trainers and going. I'll get her into the Lisbon Half yet, you wait and see. Of course, she's continuing with the 'can't and won't' theory at the moment but it can't last!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Eu estou indo a Lisboa*

This week appears to be 'do something stupid you probably shouldn't week' and I'm doing pretty well so far!

Firstly I've put my application form in and sent the payment over for joining the Wimbledon Windmilers. It's a running club. I'm going to pay someone else an annual fee to do what I've managed to do on my own for about a year and a bit. Why?!? Well in all honesty because:

a)it's something different
b)I think it will improve me as a runner
c)I'll meet/run/race with and against others which will be a bit of extra motivation and
d)It'll help with the whole hills and sprints part of my training that I tend to get a little lazy on. Oh and I'll also get a discount when I sign up for races. OK then, not as stupid as it first seems.

Secondly, I've registered for the Lisbon Half Marathon in March. Because there's a lot of down-hill sections at the start, it's meant to have some serious PB potential which is a good kick up the back side and to be honest, the other option on that weekend was Fleet. Now no disrespect to Fleet but come on. Lisbon or Fleet. What would you decide?? OK, again, not the worst decision.

Thirdly, for this little Lisbon trip, I've booked the hotel. I'm hoping that LG and eatingtrees aren't expecting too much from their £13 a night. I may regret this decision!!

Fourthly, LG who hasn't shown the strongest enthusiasm for running since the summer, yesterday went and spent £80 being kitted out for new trainers especially for her feet and running style. Now £80's not a bad price but I now know she has no excuse not to get running! I suspect she may regret that decision once I start nagging about 10k's and H.M's.

And finally... the person who said this will remain nameless but, yesterday when I was talking about Lisbon this person said 'Is that in Northern or Southern Spain?'. My silence said it all. This person has a vast knowledge of the world so I think I'll have to put that one down to a lapse but if you read this... you know who you are and should be ashamed!

*Babelfish did the translation and I take no responsibility for it! I no speeka portugeeeees.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Hold Up. What's this then??

'Someone appears to have put a post on Hauling My Carcass' blog'
'It can't be him though. He's not been on here for ages'
'No, not since that Royal Parks effort anyway'
'You don't think he's got his lazy arse into gear do you'
'Doubt it'

But alas. It is me. I have returned. Not that I went anywhere and have still been catching up on many other people's musings but when you have a running blog and don't do any running, it limits the subjects you can write about somewhat!

I have run 0.0 miles run since Royal Parks. Zero, Zip, Zilch, Nada. That really is pretty horrendous but it's done me good. Firstly, I want to go out and run again so that's the first step and secondly, I haven't felt many of the twinges for a while now. Obviously I haven't run either but I'm seeing that as a good sign anyway.

My plan was to get a run in on this coming Saturday morning. Maybe start with a Park Run 5k in Wimbledon but I seem to have developed a pretty crappy chest cough this week so may lay off it for another couple of days as I really could do without the first run I do in a month not feeling like it's going to kill me. Then I'm going to get a few 10k training runs done in the next few weeks so I'm a bit more ready for Grim which I have little doubt will be the most horrendous experience of my life!!

Last year, January and Feb were my favourite months for training. I had a real focus and was really enjoying it. I'm hoping for something similar in a couple of months time too but I've also decided that I'm going to join a running club on Jan 1st. (I'd join now but I'd have to repay the subscription again in Jan so seems silly to do it now). I'm particularly interested in the hill, fartlek and speed work they do a couple of evenings a week. I struggle with these bits on my own so doing it in a group will help the motivation and then if I continue to run on my own at the weekends, I should be in pretty good shape come March next year. Speaking of which, I need to sign up for a couple of events I reckon! People have mentioned Fleet, Reading and eatingtrees and I are thinking about a little jaunt to Lisbon but any other recommendations of some good races? Half Marathon distance is the limit I might add!

Right, that's me done, thanks for coming to visit, even if it was by accident. Now go tell your friends that the slightly overweight bloke who hasn't done any running recently has updated his running blog. That should get you a blank look if nothing else!

Monday, 12 October 2009

It hurts to move - Royal Parks Half - Race Report

So I'll start with the answers from last weeks post. Can I walk? Not really. Left knee painful so even left the bike at home!! I will try and walk home from work later though. How drunk? Surprisingly not which is one up on last year? And the toes? A couple of bruised ones and a few blisters but I still have all 10 toe nails so bonus!

And the race. First things first. I got my PB!! Very happy with that. Didn't reach my goal for the end of 2009 but a PB is a PB and a PB knocking off 3 mins 39 secs and coming under the 1:55:00 mark for the first time ever is extremely satisfying. My new time is now 1:54:51! Sometime in the future I have to look at knocking off 4:52sec which with the help of a little calculation works out that I need to find 22 secs per mile. Now that can wait til next year!

Getting up at 6am to get some breakfast is never nice on a Sunday. That's earlier than a normal weekday for me!! Left the house plugged into the ipod and an audiobook to kill time on the bus journey up to Hyde Park. Got there. Started raining. Now on no weather forecast I checked did it say anything about wetness! Mind you, better than last year with the sun burning bright I guess. I just hid under a tree and waited for eatingtrees to turn up, mind you, all I could think of was this story!!!

De-bagged, ready to go at 9:15 for a 9:30 start we wandered/shivered down to the start and put our fingers in our ears to protect from the rather loud PA system... and we were off! Starting the race as ever with eatingtrees, we clocked the first mile around 8:42m/m (which in hindsight may have been slightly out distance wise) and then by mile 2, we had settled in around the 8.30 ish for the 2 mile marker. We continued to plod along with me running on eatingtrees' heel until around mile 4 when he started to drop back a little and I continued on my own. Some strategic planning with LG meant that she was waiting just after the half way mark with wine gums and cheering which really did help and knowing that I'd be seeing her again sometime after the 10 mile point kept my spirits up. Mile 7 hit and I ran through it in 1:00:31. Pretty much bang on where I wanted it to be. If I could now run a 54min 10k, I would have my time under 1:55:00. The race was on. The playlist had been resurrected on Saturday evening so play was pressed and Foo Fighters set me on my way.

Lost a contact lens around 7 and a half miles which was annoying but luckily my vision isn't too bad so carried on and if I needed to see anything far away, I squinted a bit. Miles 8 and 9 seemed to go pretty well and were nowhere near as painful as I remembered last year. Past mile 10 and I knew that LG would be waiting and yep, there she was. Camera first and then the declined offer of more wine gums and I must say, I was feeling pretty good at this point. I even managed to stick my tongue out!


Mile 10 to 11 seemed to go really well and I was still feeling fresh and then back on myself for half a mile. Around the bandstand, another wave from LG and then the slight climb to 12miles. I felt myself slow at this point so my mentally having to tell myself to carry on and keep pushing. Through the 12 mile at 1:44:2* so a final mile at a similar pace and I was there. The start of mile 12 pushes away from the finish so I kept myself going at this point before the hairpin after a couple of hundred metres.

Now it was the home straight. I hate this bit of this race. It must be 3/4 of a mile and for quite a lot of it, you can see the finish line and it just doesn't get any closer! I knew I didn't have any kind of sprint in me so I pushed to try and keep what I felt was a pace I could finish at. I could see the clock. It's had just gone 1:56:00 and I knew it had taken around 1:30 to get through the finish at the start so I was nearly there. The last song of the playlist finished so I just got through the last 10/15 steps and it was done. Clocked stopped at 1:54:53 and then had to hold myself up a little on the barriers. Job done and a message through later confirming time of 1:54:51. Happy boy.

Loaded with Mars bars, Lucozade, water and banana's we got changed and with eatingtrees and LG, we headed to the pub to meeting Cathy and Shaun. Drinks were drank, pizza was munched and a thoroughly good time was had by all.

Now I have 3/4 weeks off which will be lovely... especially knowing I've gone into a mini break on a PB!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

And now... the end is near... and so I face

the very likely possibility that I'm going to cry during the Royal Parks Half on Sunday!

I haven't done a listy blog for a while so here goes:

Reasons I'm gonna cry:
-That shin thing started hurting again last night so stairs are a bit of a bugger at the mo (I'm sure it'll be fine)
-I nearly drowned yesterday. I was only cycling home
-I haven't run since getting very lost on Saturday. What if it happens again and I don't make it back in time for Sunday? (hmmm, there's a thought)
-I've never walked during a Half Marathon. Sunday might be a first
-Training has been 'limited' recently. I have loads of excuses none of which are valid except the word 'Lazy'

Reasons I don't need to cry:
-If I finish and stay alive. I eat pizza and drink beer with friends, old and new
-I have the chance of finishing a big event and if I push, maybe, just maybe, they'll be a PB around somewhere
-Once it's done, I don't have another race until Grim 8 in December
-Once it's done, I'm giving myself 3/4 weeks off
-Once it's done, I'll only be 12 days away from going on holiday with my Lovely Girlfriend

See, I reckon that's a good balance of good and bad stuff.

How my mood could be improved:
-Sleeping through an entire night just once!
-Getting less text messages from my parents telling me how much of fantastic time they're having with the orang-utans, monkeys and snakes of the Borneo Jungle and yes, I'm extremely jealous. My parents are having more fun than me at the mo. Surely not fair!!
-Not having my wonderful, clean and simple bike fitted with mudguards but I was fed up with wet pants so the decision had to be made
-1 or 2 certain people within my company being able to organise a piss-up in a brewery if it was needed

Why my mood is already quite good:
-We're nearly at the weekend (I'm ignoring the whole 'run' thing)
-Today I was given 3 new albums by Ian Brown, Bombay Bicycle Club and XX and I love getting new tunes
-I get to see my Sister and family in a couple of weeks time
-I'm pleased my parents are having a good time even if it is without their favourite son
-I finished writing a blog post and ended on a high!

Check here on Sunday evening Monday at some point for full race report including delights such as: Can I walk, how drunk did I get on one bottle of beer after the race due to dehydration and also an exclusive insight into the state of my toes! Nice

Monday, 5 October 2009

Training falls off the rails. Backwards. While upside down

So how do you deal with a situation in which you have one training weekend left before a half marathon and you've lost all motivation to put on your trainers?!? Yup, I bet inviting a mate down from the north, drinking too much and dragging his non running butt round Richmond Park wasn't top of your list either but alas, that's what I did!

Last time I checked, this thing formed some resemblance to a running blog so that is the part I will blog about and not the fact I stayed unbeaten on the pool table for 3 hours. No, no, that wouldn't be right! The running part had been arranged in advance and he'd been doing some 'training' to accommodate this part of the weekend. The plan was just under 6.5miles, around the towpath between Putney and Hammersmith bridges. That was until we went to the pub on Friday and decided that it would be a better idea to go to Richmond Park and run the loop. Just a little longer at around 7 miles but a nicer area in general to run in.

Richmond park is a loop. There is nothing to argue with here, it's fact. Just ask the 74000 cyclists and 23000 runners who appeared on a Saturday morning dressed an some quite amazing lycra in it's various forms. People use it for running, cycling, duathlon training, walking, hiking and probably some other things that I haven't worked out yet.

This is a map of the Richmond Park loop.

And this is what we actually ran!

There are some serious navigational issues going on there! So an extra 1.8miles than we thought. Getting completely and utterly lost by trying to avoid going out of the park and making one monumental wrong turn. It took us around an hour and a half with the walking, stopping and asking directions thrown in but it was pretty good. Northern bloke, to his credit did extremely well and more through stubbornness than fitness, wouldn't let himself walk unless we couldn't run due to the fact we didn't know which direction we were going or the terrain didn't allow it.

So to my own personal battle with running. I'm going to have a break from it. 4 weeks or so when I don't force myself to go out or feel guilty if I don't do a pre-arranged run. If I really fancy hitting the pavement then I will as this'll be a good thing but after next weeks Royal Parks HM, nothing until mid/end November. I want all the little annoying and niggly injuries to sort themselves and just want to enjoy it again and forcing my way through November isn't going to make that happen!

There will still be blogging as I think there may still be the odd run and to be honest, there's many other geeky hobbies I can bore people with blog about but lets take the pressure off and start to enjoy it again. Decision made! However, anyone thinking they need to push themselves through and pick up the pace should wander over to Fit Artists blog and join her for Octoberthon! Rather you than me though.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Rat Race - Race Report (P.P.P.P.P.P)

A nice warm up event for the Royal Parks. Some short running distances with some fun little tasks thrown in and on a Saturday evening so not too warm with a good camaraderie between the competitors for good measure.

The actual truth was slightly different. It was tough. I mean really tough. I just clocked the route on (see it below) and as a team called 'No Hair, Don't Care', myself and eatingtrees, ran 11.53 miles. That doesn't include the balance beams, stairs, climbing over walls, ten pin bowling, karaoke ('Karma Chameleon' sung as Tenors for some bizarre reason) having my chest shaved, diving around in an inflatable ball pool and eating pizza. Add to that the fact you have to avoid getting hit by buses, taxis, bikes and run around without scaring, running into and getting in the way of members of the general public! It's not easy!!

I was expecting quite a good atmosphere with all the competitors but I have to say, it was pretty disappointing! There were a few people who nodded hello and helped with the checkpoints but there was a bit too much everyone out for themselves and taking themselves a little too seriously. I mean come on. Any event that includes some of the task listed above is meant to be fun. That's what we did as a team. Just enjoyed it as much as possible and it was good fun. Even with 20 mins left of our allotted 2h 30mins, we were still pushing each other on and giving each other all the encouragement we could. Saying that though, it was bloody wonderful to finish!

Generally it was well organised with the majority of marshals being helpful, shouting encouragement and giving clear instructions. However, it also had moments of complete farce! Firstly, no Baggage area?!?!? A start at Tower Bridge where you're encouraged not to drive and turn up from 11am for a 5pm Start but with nowhere to keep any luggage?? Pure stupidity. Surely some of the £35 fee could have gone to this. As it was, LG had to come out from home at 7pm on a saturday evening to bring some stuff for me and eatingtrees. For which, we're both very grateful! Maybe some of the sponsorship could have sorted this instead of the beer tent (before 2h:30m race), or the bungee jumping. There wasn't enough to keep people entertained for that amount of time! Mind you, maybe part of our fee went on getting a 'free pint leaflet' at one of the local pubs. Well it would if said pub hadn't been shut on Saturday night for a private function. Did someone not check this???

So Sunday morning and I ache a lot!  11.53 miles is the longest I've run since the Prague HM and wasn't the easy event I'd convinced myself it would be! It was fun and I'd do it again but I do hope a few things are thought about in the future to make it better for everyone. Rant over!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Forgive me Ron Hill for I have sinned

Last week was a bit of a wash out. Only 8 miles on the bike and 2 (not a typo) miles running. For the bike, I have valid reasons due to 2 gigs in North London and a day away with work. It's not good as I really, really wanted to cycle in too. Especially when the alternative was dealing with the general public and those effing school children in the morning! See! A valid excuse. What do you mean 'what about the running?'. Oh OK.

This is not one of those 'I can't do it, give me sympathy posts' I promise. I just didn't want to. During the week was a little tough due to the reasons above but I could have done a little more I reckon. As it was, the only run consisted of a run to the shops to buy my dinner (and wine) and then back again. Albeit a tad slower due to not wanting to damage the wine! Then the weekend and the planned 10 miler came.

7:30am Saturday and on comes Xfm to wake me up. I switch it off, get out of bed and use the facilities. Come back into the bedroom, walk past running stuff, get back into bed and LG says 'Aren't you running?'. Response. 'Nope, can't be bothered!'. And in all honesty, I'm going through one of those moments. I put one foot in front of the other for anywhere between 5 and 13 miles and can guarantee my time within a few minutes. When I run faster, I hurt. When I run slower, I get bored. I mean come on, does it really make one iota of difference if I run 13.1 miles in 1:58:30 or 1:54:30?? Does it matter that much?!?! If I do amazingly well and reach my unlikely goal of 1:50:00, will my life change? Nope. Will I lose the belly I've paid for since I was 18? Nope.

It's not that I don't want to run anymore, I do! Especially with things like Rat Race this coming Saturday and Grim 8 in Dec. They're going to be such a laugh and I'm even looking forward to the Royal Parks. I love being able to run reasonable distances but not for the first time, I kinda hope I haven't got into VLM when we find out next month. I just don't know if I can put the massive effort required and come out the other end still enjoying it. We'll see I guess!

I'm sure come next week I'll be back where I was a couple of weeks ago and wanting to get below that 8:23 m/m again but for now, sod it!

Monday, 14 September 2009

It was a rubbish Plan anyway

No honestly, rubbish! OK it wasn't really. Pace wise it seemed to be working but picking up a brand new limited edition twinge or pain every time I did a speed session was becoming extremely annoying and I was starting to think that I'd end up pulling, breaking or maiming something the week before the Royal Parks and considering everything I'm doing is building up to that race, it seems a bit silly to keep pushing in the same vain.

I think (fingers crossed, touch wood and all that) that if I stay injury free from now, I can get a PB at the Royal Parks. Now there's a statement!! But it's true. It'll be hard work but I don't see why I can't do it. I believe it to the point that if I don't succeed, I'm going to be devastated! It won't reach my main goal of going under 1:50 but I think something around the 1:54/1:55 is possible if I'm prepared to push myself.

So training is now as follows. Either: a)Distance runs at relaxed?!?! pace or b)Shorter runs at a quicker pace. Easy, simple and no sprint sessions that make my shins hurt like hell.

Based on this new theory and following last Sunday's successful Garden City 10, I got myself out of bed a 7am Saturday morning, had a banana, a bit of lucozade sport and some water and then around 7.30, headed out for 10.07 miles. Managed it in 1:31:06 so about 4 mins slower than last week but with no cheering crowds or race adrenalin, I wasn't too disappointed. Even more so when you add in the fact I had absolutely no mile markers all the way round. Everything was just on the basis of 'just run'. No picking up the pace or anything so if that's my standard race pace I'm OK with that. Also, the last mile and a bit is all uphill. Not the greatest end but good training. That means in 7 days, I've run 23 miles and cycled 16 miles!! Result!

So another week and I reckon a couple of short and quick runs during the week plus going to see Mumford and Sons and JET on Wednesday and Thursday means that it's looking like a good one. Add another 10 miler next weekend and I'll be in good shape.

Final, final, final minor thing... I'm doing a Fire Walk for a great charity called Rainbow Trust. I would be absolutely delighted if you could give something to the cause. I'm only asking for £1 from anyone who wants to give something. It's nothing really and will really, really help. If you do, click on this link. Thanks so much! Oh and I've made sure it's 10 days after the Royal Parks Half. I don't fancy it with burnt feet!!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

My route hates me but my fish loves me

There is no other reason that I can think of about why I find the shortest, flattest, most simple and non-looped route, the hardest one I do! 2.93miles. No traffic or roads to cross. Scenic. No up and down curbs. Pretty flat. How is this not easy for me!! Why does it hurt so much???

I'm thinking it has something to do with the fact that it's under 3 miles. It means that by the time I get into my stride, I've almost finished. It means the run I do is the first 20mins of pain and then a few minutes of finishing. I had a target time of 8 m/m yesterday which would have been 23:26 and just couldn't do it. I finished in 24.31 which is 8.22 m/m. That's the pace I'd need to run the Royal Parks in to complete it under 1:50:00!! I struggled to do it for 3 miles!! Madness.

The evening continued with it's usual after run thing of Biofreeze gel and compression sleeve on my left calf and shin. Not sure what to do about this injury really. I go through the 10 miler fine wearing the beautiful compression sleeve I mentioned the other day. You remember the one right? Yes this one. It means I'm confident of doing the distance but could really do with the ability to walk after the shorter runs. Maybe I'll just have to wear it for every run I do. Have anyone tried running in compression socks? Do they work with regards to stopping the aches and pains arriving too early?

Got to see LG last night which was good though. She's very busy at work and is constantly being sent round the country at the moment and working 17 hr days! Hopefully it won't last much longer though as I tend to buy things and find new hobbies when I get bored and she's not there to keep an eye on me. Even more so after hearing that eatingtrees is building himself a fixie now. A building stuff project!! I'm very jealous.

To my new toy that arrived last week then. Well what can I say. It's bloody awesome and I love it. Review??? Well it's a bike. You pedal and move. It appears that I've already started the 'accessorising' of it though. Semi-slick road tyres (specialized nimbus), and an NC-17 single Speed Freewheel 13t sprocket on the way to make it a bit more of a challenge and to give me more speed! Eventually if my plans to do a triathlon next year continue, I'll need to sort myself a geared road bike but for now I couldn't be happier with this one!!

Anyone who knows me through facebook will have heard about mine and LG's forced adoption of a fish (as it was left in the flat when we moved in). Well we have now got rid of the horrible bowl he was in and got 'Flinty' (called because he's as black as flint and we moved in the weekend we won the ashes) a new tank, filter and gravel and this coming weekend, we will have a friend join him and a bit of greenery. I'm not sure how you tell what a happy fish is but he's certainly moving around a lot more and also quicker so we're taking it as a good sign!! 

Hauling My Carcass: Saving the planet one bike and fish at a time!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Garden City 10 - Race Report

In hindsight, my decision to not do the Surrey Badger HM and instead, gatecrash eatingtrees' local event, the Garden City 10 was a brilliant idea. 3 less miles, some company for some of the race and starting an hour and a half later all point to a wonderful decision. To that, add a most magnificent lunch cooked by Mrs eatingtrees and a double apple shisha and mint tea prepared by eatingtrees himself as well as some great company... Come on, who could add more to that to make a perfect Sunday. OK then, add a trip to the local pub in the evening with LG. Sorted!!!

Having seen a little of Welwyn Garden City before and by speaking to eatingtrees, I didn't hold out much hope for a picturesque course and with many underpasses, subways and a bit of industrial estate thrown in, I was right but it was a very well organised event. From collecting my chip and number, all the marshals and the volunteers at the end, everyone looked after you so well. It had a really community feel which certainly makes a race of this kind.

The route was a slightly bizarre one with a mile out, 2 loops of approx 4 miles and then a mile back. I thought the loops were going to be painful mentally but I have to say that only being 4 miles each seemed to work for me. They never usually do but I think it helped with not having a clue where I was. It meant that on the second lap, I could think 'oh the gravelly path next to the industrial estate', not too long to go until that road with the trees up the side!

Being the longest distance I've run since the end of March by about 3.8miles, I was slightly concerned how I'd do on this but I'm happy to report it went pretty damn well. The first 10k was only just outside my 10k PB and I only dropped a little for the last few miles as I finished in 1:27:11 and finished 263rd out of 414 finishers. The great thing is, as I've never done a 10 miler before, I have a new PB by default. RESULT!!

So all in all, a good event if you want to get the miles under your belt which I certainly did. Would I do it again, yeah more than likely. It's that perfect mid point from a 10k to a HM so fits in with most training plans very well. Now a rest day today before the interval sessions start again tomorrow. Oh Joy!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Thank you

to anyone who kept their fingers crossed. The new toy arrived!!!

Another day, another run

The speed work was put on hold as there's no doubt about it, I'm just injurying myself so I thought a gentle run home would be OK. I have just ordered one of these though so hopefully it'll do be some good in the future!

2.91 miles according to runningahead but time wise? Absolutely no idea. See since moving, I still haven't been able to find my running watch which is really starting to get on my nerves now! If I had to guess and knowing my pace, probably around 25mins. How's that for scientific!!!

So the Surrey Badger Half Marathon. It's not going to happen for me as I'm not alive enough I'm afraid but instead, I'm going to join eatingtrees in his Garden City 10. Firstly getting to run with someone will be a lot more enjoyable plus running 3 miles less is as good an incentive as I could ever want. To be honest, fits in better with the training schedule too. So many benefits and not many downsides so seemed like the sensible option.

Lastly, I'm going to ask a favour if I may. Today (Friday) I'm hoping for something to happen. Please can you keep all your fingers crossed all day. If you do I'd be very grateful. I'll let you know why later on. Pretty please?? Ta Muchly.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Back on The Plan

I stuck to The Plan and everything. I mean if you ignore the entirely missed 8 days from last week anyway. What I mean is I stuck to The Plan today!! (or yesterday actually because it's morning now).

Anywho, after getting held up at a printers all afternoon (yes my job's that fun) and missing lunch, I was slightly concerned that I may not have the energy for this run but then I realised that that would have been just another excuse. I did need something to eat though and as I've given up chocolate and cheese for September (not that I'd eat cheese before a run anyway) there was very little to snack on. That was until I found the pickled onion Monster Munch, 2 packs actually plus half a bottle of Lucozade. 10 minutes later and I was ready to go albeit with slightly disgusting burps.

This weeks Tuesday session was 2 x 1m (at least 8 m/m pace) and then 4 x 200 sprints.

The 2 x 1 milers went very well (7:39 and 7:28) but the 200's?? Not so much. See, I may have mentioned a couple of hundred times that I've moved house. I'm now surrounded by hills and whereas the mile loop ends up in the same place and therefore has as many ups as downs, the 200m is straight up a hill so my times of 40s, 41s, 43s, 39s aren't as good as the lovely flat course I had been doing. Admittedly I could run down instead but where's the fun in that!!!

So a few aching muscles from the speed work (shin pain and yup, you guessed it, left hand side) but overall, I'm marking today down as a success. I'd forgotten how that feels!!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Musings from my week

I don't usually do these weekly posts because... well in reality, my weeks are never that interesting but I figure I have to list my poor excuses somewhere so why not here?

When he last left you, our intrepid hero was unpacking boxes and wondering when his legs were going to come back to life. I'm pleased to tell you that 7 days on, he was still bloody unpacking and still ached! You'll also be pleased to know that he was also going to stop talking in a 3rd person narrative!!

I hate moving. Well moving house technically. If it was just 'moving' then this blog would become redundant pretty damn quickly but there is absolutely no pleasure in moving house though. Forget all the lovely new surrounding thoughts, the making a place your own, the finding things that you forgot you had, it'll all vanish after 7 days of unpacking the same boxes, building and moving the same furniture and still not being able to find where you stored the sodding charger for your toothbrush!! Iliketocount and Jogblog. DON'T DO IT!!

Obviously you know what's coming, yup, I didn't run last week. Instead of Tuesday's run, there was 3 hours of building flat pack furniture. Instead of Thursday's run, there was my workplace keeping everyone here for an hour after the usual finish time, the need to go shopping for bits and pieces for the weekend and also, the need to get all the camping gear together and pack some clothes (including the running gear I might add).

We'd decided to do something a bit stupid this bank holiday weekend. Firstly because when we booked it, we didn't know we were going to move house the week before and secondly because when has it ever been a good idea to drive to Devon on the August Bank Holiday weekend. None the less, we needed a break from the numerous plastic crates and cardboard boxes that has seemingly taken over our life. We'd found a great little campsite that is very eco friendly with the way they are trying to do everything. From the no cars on sight, the eco loos, the fire pits on every pitch and the really nice people running it. It was great and I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone heading down to that area of the UK. The only problem is the complete and utter lack of paths which means I didn't fancy running somewhere I didn't know when I'd be running in the actual road so there went another weekend!

The nagging thoughts of the boxes waiting at home and the fear of the traffic that would be come Monday morning, we decided to head off Sunday instead to give ourselves more time dedicated to finding that toothbrush. However the best thing was that I was able to go for a run on Monday morning! YAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!

I headed off around 9:20am for a 4 mile out and back route around Wimbledon Common which is near the new flat. I got lost! On Wimbledon Common!! Embarrassing! I took the wrong gravelly, stony path and only realised when I looked up to see an underpass in front of me. I remember thinking 'ERMMMMMM???'. That was the extent of it actually but instead of turning or stopping, I just carried on regardless and found myself running through Putney Heath and past a lovely looking pub that needs to be checked out called The Telegraph. Soon after, I worked out where I was again and trundled home and checked my route. Pretty much bang on 5 miles in approx 45 ish minutes (I didn't take the watch obviously). It was quite nice to be honest although I reckon it'll be a horrible route in Winter. Mud, gravel, dust and no lighting but for now, it's great.

So, it's Tuesday morning and I guess I better get back on The Plan tonight. I have the Surrey Badger Half Marathon on Sunday and haven't run over 6.5 miles since April. I'm thinking that it's going to be a tough, tough race for me. Last place is a distinct possibility but all I want to do is complete the distance as it should give me a lot of confidence going forward towards the Royal Parks. After that though, I may have to swap my Saturday and Sunday runs around as LG keeps arranging things for Saturday nights which although lovely, isn't the best possible training practice. I want to go back to my long run on a Saturday morning. That worked well leading up to Prague!

Things I've thought about this week

-Halloumi Cheese should be used as a fire protector. The stuff just doesn't catch
-I need to run to stop myself getting cramp
-I want to do Michael Palin's '80 days trip'
-I'm going to struggle to run a Half Marathon next weekend
-We need a bigger tent when HMC and LG's camping adventures begin again next year

Monday, 24 August 2009

Hard As Snails 10k Race Report - Cripples day out

I will state this now. This weekend was probably the most painful weekend I've ever had!!

Starting on Friday evening and after a home made curry, myself and eatingtrees made our way to the pub for a bottle of beer or two. It should have sent out signals that when we were walking back (not late I might add) with me limping on one side because on a pain in the hamstring and shin and eatingtrees' calf being extremely tight, that we weren't in the best state to attempt the hills but despite this, I was looking forward to it. It would be a different kind of race than I'd done before and judging by the hills, it'd be a tough challange.


We weren't wrong! That, without doubt, was the toughest race I have ever done and the only one I've ever had to walk some of! I wanted to stop, curl up in a ball and be left to rot next to a tree after 3k. Mind you, even that wouldn't have been possible as I'd have only rolled down the bloody hills again! Those first 3k were just so calf tightening it was untrue. I just didn't realise the extent to which you use different muscles (or the same muscles differently) when running up hills. I'd always run shorter, sharper hills and not these long and steep killers. I just couldn't get my mind focussed on anything other than the pain and not from injuries for once.


The next K was pretty much all downhill (albeit in sand) which we picked up the pace a bit and rested our weary legs on the way and then the 4km mark appeared. And we turned. Eatingtrees took the camera and this is what lay ahead!!


This now made it a long walk although many of the people attempting to run were doing so at the same pace as we were walking so it seemed a good idea. We got to the water point (5k mark), then headed downhill into the forest. This was purely an attempt to stay on your feet as I have to be honest, I'd take it easy even if I was walking down this bit. We then reached the 1km incline that we'd come down previously. Remember the sand? Even worse trying to go up it. You get absolutely nowhere!

We finally made it to the top and heard some lovely words. 'Pretty much all downhill from here' said one of the marshalls. He was mostly right but by then I considered stepping over a tree stump an incline so I still was able to hate the last 3km too. It was pretty painful but you couldn't lose concentration because you'd end up eating mud, bark and sand as you hit the floor. Some specators who'd finished around 3 days before us shouted 'only 200m to go' which made me lose my concentration, go over slightly on my ankle and then release the worlds biggest torrent of 'colourful' language ever! I managed to stumble in the direction of eatingtrees' shoulder which kept me upright and we both heading for the line using what can only be described as a hobbling limp sprint. Timings were dubious but together with eatingtrees we clocked it around 1:07:22. That's nearly 16mins above my PB which says it all really.

So then. Painful, mentally tough, horrible surface and my worst ever result. Will I do it next year??? Yeah probably, it'd be rude not to!

What I won't be doing next year is moving house straight after. 2 days of heavy lifting and lots of stairs. My legs, back and shoulders haven't ached so much in a long, long, time. Luckily, I managed to bribe, beg and borrow the services of eatingtrees on the Saturday afternoon and evening to help with the heavy lifting and I'll state this now. Sir, you are a true gentleman and we couldn't have done it without you. Thank you.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Rubbish and the Countdown

Due to the left hand side pain flaring up again, I didn't run last night. The Plan said the same as last week (2 x 2miles at 8min pace plus 4 x 100m sprints) but the fact my hamstring and 'bit between the calf and shin on inside of leg' was hurting a lot, I thought it best not to try it 2 days before the Hard As Snails 10k as I'm going to have enough trouble getting up those hills as it is. For anyone that didn't see the 3D flyover last time, check this out!!

eatingtrees is coming round tonight and kipping over due to the early start although his accommodation isn't exactly luxury. He'll be sharing the room with a LOT of boxes, bags and general rubbish as the move also starts tomorrow. However, a lovely veggie curry was made last night so that should make it a bit nicer for him. Well until the 5k mark tomorrow morning anyway!

LG has decided against coming when she found out we were leaving at 6.45am so no crossing the line photos as we finish (on our hands and knees) for us which is a good thing considering the state I'll be in. A 10k where I just want to finish and the fact it'll take well over an hour doesn't bode well. Plus it seems that eatingtrees has been practising on the hills whereas the steepest thing I've seen recently is the letting agents fees!!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

I'm a Twit er

Yep I've decided to actually use Twitter so if you have an account, let me know your details so I can follow you! I'm @haulingmycarcas

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Can anyone tell me how they run?

I certainly can't. I have no idea. I could guess and say that I'm a heel striker (apparently 75% are) and that I lean slightly forward. Am I right or is this just how I want to see myself? No idea! All I know is that when I started running, I did exactly that.... I just ran (albeit slowly and woefully). In what other sport would you not even consider the technique of what you're doing. I mean I'm think about a triathlon next year and I've already started reading about swimming technique and I doubt I'll even see a pool for the next 2 months!!

I have never, EVER thought about technique when I run and without a doubt, 8 weeks prior to my 'goal' half marathon is not the time to change or be thinking about it but I have to be honest, it's got me thinking. I'm sure many of you have thought about this type of thing before and looked into various techniques but this is only something I started to look at yesterday purely from reading a thread on The Running Bug about barefoot running. Before you read any further, these are, as ever, just my babblings. They are not scientific and I'm not recommending you do or change anything.

Barefoot running is not the way to go when running around the streets of London as you'll spend most of your time avoiding the dog crap and the little bits of glass and I know there are shoes such as the Vibram Five Fingers that are meant to be good at recreating the effect of barefoot running without the crap and blood on the bottom of your feet but at around £100 for something that might or might not help in any way at all??? I'm not sure. The theory though, being that you run more on the fore/mid point of your foot. Don't believe me? Try running barefoot across your living room. I bet you don't heel strike!!!

Anyway, from reading about this, I started reading about the POSE technique which is a running technique developed by a Russian guy we'll call Boris (look, if you want the scientific and detailed approach, you're clearly on the wrong blog). Boris looked at some runners and decided that if you concentrated your effort on the lifting of your feet rather than the landing and kept your shoulder, hip and ankle in a straight line then you can reduce the force on your knees substantially because you will naturally start landing on the mid/fore foot. (Although on that particular website, I can't find the info where it mentions the additional force on the ankles plus the achilles tendon and calf injuries you'll probably suffer by trying to change/adapt without proper training but there you go).

My conclusions from this and the various YouTube videos was that this is a lot of work and ideally needs a proper coach and in all honestly, that's not going to happen. If you want to read more about it, this is one of the best articles I read on the subject. Seems to be pretty balanced.

So what could I look at with technique in mind that might actually help me without causing me more injuries, pain and falling on my face. Well unhelpfully, not a lot until I know how I run but my plan this week is make a conscious effort to see how I run and how my body is positioned when in progress. Maybe I'll get LG involved with a video phone and analyse it properly but that's getting very geeky even for me. What happened to the 'just running around' I enjoyed as a kid? At least I didn't have to think about that!

Monday, 17 August 2009

That's another ruined plan then

It's written in the stars. I'm sure of it. Well I would be if I believed in any of that stuff but seriously, why when I get into a more structured training schedule, do I always come down with a cold! I'm only a week into it and had to cancel yesterday's 8 miler as I couldn't stop the nose running and make the sneezing stop. There are also the constant headache's but I'm kind of used to them now. I'm dosing myself on Redoxon and Echinacea in order to beat it and apart from a slight pain in my chest on 2 minor occasions (not constant), it's all in my head so I should be OK to carry on with intervals on Tuesday ahead of Hard As Snails on Saturday morning with eatingtrees.

Saturday's run was a 4 miler which I faltered badly towards the end but was quite happy with my 33:56 (8.29 m/m) overall. My first mile was an 8:04 though so it really does show the current inconsistencies in my pace. I then snotted, sneezed and sniffed my way through packing the flat up. There really is something monumentally wrong in the world when you have to pack a rucksack or suitcase and don't even get to go on holiday!!

As for next weekend, with the race on Saturday am and moving for the rest of it, I really have no idea when I'm going to be able to fit my long run in. The Plan seems to have gone out the window on day 6. Well that's 2 days longer than Juneathon lasted then! I'm just going to have to accept that my 9 week plan is now closer to a 7 week plan and I'm just going to have to work a hell of a lot harder!

Friday, 14 August 2009

The Plan. Exercise Day 2 (and a little milestone)

Another day, another interval session but one with a difference. This time, The Plan called for 2 miles at 8m/m pace, 800m walk and then another 2 miles at 8 m/m pace. This was followed by 4 x 100m sprints giving everything I had left. This turned out to be not a lot. After what can only be described as a truly awful week at work, I had a lot of anger to get rid of. Just a year ago, you would probably have found me in a pub drinking copious amounts of alcohol, drowning my sorrows and trying to forget that the day had happened. Now I'm running instead?!?! AND I haven't even hit my 30's yet! Mind you, I can't deal with hangovers any more either which may have something to do with it!

So, onto the results!

2 miles. Target time: 16:00. Actual time: 15:26. (7:43 m/m)
Hell yeah. That's what I'm talking about!!
2 miles. Target time: 16:00. Actual time: 16:04. (8:02 m/m)
Cock it. So close. Got too complacent after the first effort me thinks!
100m sprint. Target: all out sprint. Actual time: 14 secs
Happy boy. It can only get worse.. and it did!
100m sprint. Target: all out sprint. Actual time: 15 secs
Thought as much
100m sprint. Target: all out sprint. Actual time: 15 secs
More consistent than the 2 mile efforts though
100m sprint. Target: all out sprint. Actual time: 15 secs
Home time and oh crap, I know what's coming now!

Yep, it was time to see if there were any benefits to an ice bath. After speaking to the brother-in-law the other week and reading the thoughts of I run because I love food, it was time to try it. I only did limited stretching to see the effects and I must say, the hip/hamstring/back ache pain isn't as bad today so I think this is the way forward with a bit of light stretching especially for the Saturday then Sunday runs. Hopefully it will aid recovery.

One thing I must say though is that the standard tired muscle aches I'm getting at the moment are very similar to when I first started running. It seems they have to learn to run all over again now I'm trying to pick up the pace. I'm wondering if the way forward for any new starter is to run at a faster rate at first instead of just trying to get a longer distance. That way at least you're training your muscles to run faster from an early point?!?! Scientific proof?? Hell no, just my random mumblings as ever.

Enjoy your weekend, I have a 4m pace run on Saturday and an 8 mile relaxed run on Sunday. Oh yes, I'll need to fit packing a two bed flat into boxes somewhere along the line too.

Just realised this is my 50th post!!! Never thought it'd get this far so cheers for reading!