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