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!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Ironman UK report. And no, it's not mine!!!

This is my mate's Race report for his awesome result in the Ironman UK. Check it out here.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Proper Day 1 now. The actual exercise one.

D-day. The beginning (of the end?). The countdown to the 2009 goal has begun. Here we go with The Plan.

Oh Bloody typical!! HMC goes for a training run and the bloody sun's out which just makes it harder. Hey ho, can't blame the weather come race day so off I trundled to the park for some interval sessions.

It's week one. The Plan will bring me in gently so this should be a walk (or run) in the park. Was it? Christ no. This has continued from what has to be my second worst* ever run that happened on Saturday morning when I didn't even get to my turning point before stopping and run/walking back. Wow, that must have been a tough run you set yourself I here you cry. Was it? Was it fcuk! I didn't even make it to the 2 mile mark before I turned round! Rubbish. Anyway, back to today and the intervals.

The Plan reads that I have to run 1200m (at my target HM pace) so 6 minutes then, walk 400m to rest, then run 2 lots of 800m at a 10k pace (which is 3.48 for me on The Plan) with a 200m rest and then 4 x 200m sprints (with 200m rests in between) just as fast as I can without collapsing on the floor in a puddle of my own sweat and vomit. The results:

1200m. Target time: 6:00. Actual time: 5:42
800m. Target time: 3:48. Actual time: 3:42

800m. Target time: 3:48. Actual time: 3:39
200m. Target: as fast as possible. Actual Time: 36 secs
200m. Target: without vomiting. Actual Time: 35 secs
200m. Target: stay on my feet a little longer. Actual Time: 35 secs
200m. Target: stay alive. Actual Time: 35 secs

I'm not unhappy with that. Timing wise it was OK but I'm sure it shouldn't hurt that much!

I was in new trainers though. My trusted New Balance 1063 (UK 9, Width 2E in case anyone has some they want to send me some in exchange for a shameless plug) turned up which is nice. One thing I've noticed is not a massive difference between old and new though so I can this with confidence. If you're a 14 stone bald bloke with a heavy tread, an extremely high arch and around a 9min mile HM pace then these could be for you. They seem to last quite a while anyway.

'The new dirt and white colour scheme'

Something else I noticed today is the e-mail from the team at the Royal Parks Half. I'm guessing it's fake and a bit of spam though because surely no one in their right mind would think that 'violet and raspberry' are particularly good colours for a fat bloke to be seen in!! Although the clincher for me is the design on the back. They say 'an uplifting message for all those people behind you!'. I think 'will make you an instant hate figure for all those people behind you!' is slightly closer to the truth.

'The picture from the spam e-mail'

*My worst run was just before I started this blog while running home from work at a time my training was going very well indeed. On a 3 mile run, I wanted to stop after a mile. Did stop before a mile and a half and was on a bus before the 2 mile marker. Truly pathetic!!

Monday, 10 August 2009

Royal Parks Half. 9 Week plan. Day 1


Sometimes, things just work out better than you can imagine!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

I've tried to make this post more interesting than it is

Hullo there. Sorry it's been a while. There is a valid reason though. I would have bored you all to death and then been charged with manslaughter. This would have been a little harsh considering a)you wouldn't have known about your imminent death before you started to read and b)being charged just for babbling the inane thoughts that come into my head on a weekly-ish basis would just be plain wrong!

See nothing much has happened on the exercise front recently. I mean I've been doing the whole running thing and stuff with a couple of interval sessions that hurt my hip for 2 days afterwards and a couple of 4-6 milers at a slower pace just to stretch my legs out but apart from that, nothing. No revelations, no interesting sights, no funny incidents. Just general running stuff and lets be honest, we all see that every time we go out.

My hip/back/hamstring is still causing me problems but seeing as I've tried stretching, resting, icing, and running slightly differently and absolutely none of it works, I've now decided that ibuprofen and caffeine are the way forward with maybe a little freezing gel once I've finished. HOWEVER... there's another issue. Do I put the gel on the bit the feels like it hurts or the bit that may be causing the bit that hurts to hurt and if it's the second one, which one do I pick before I end up plastering the stuff all over the left hand side of my body and going numb on one side?!?!?!

I've have found myself reading a triathlon magazine the other day though. I wouldn't say inspired but certainly interest has come from a few friends of mine. A couple of them doing really well in the Sprint triathlon in London and another very disturbed man who completed the UK Ironman on Sunday in 11h 30mins and finished joint 165th!! That's 140.6 miles in total!!! That's a 2.4mile swim, 112miles on the bike and then a full marathon! I'm never going to be that insane but the Sprint or Olympic distance next year??? it's definitely a possibility!

There are other reasons for the non blog too. Firstly the moving house is still ongoing and looks like it will be fine but honestly, is there anything more painful in life than dealing with an estate agent who appears to have got his organisation skills from a Christmas cracker? Also, the people who I was planning on buying my beautifully crafted bike from decided that, after I'd ordered my cycle-to-work scheme voucher would be the best time to change it to out of stock and very helpfully answer 'I'm not sure but probably not' when asked if it was coming back into stock. Insert mad panic trying to find the bike in stock somewhere else. Hopefully, it looks like I've found somewhere. A small independent shop rather than the big corporate green and yellow bike place that employs the drones like the first time so that's good.

Anyway, fingers crossed that come 3 weeks, myself and LG shall be in the new place, with the bike, chilling out and deciding what evening to risk our mental state and well being by heading to Ikea. Ikea... Oh crap.... I'm off to cry in a corner. Actually, maybe a run would help ease the anger build up of a trip there!!