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!