Sunday, 24 January 2010

Saturday Afternoon 12 miler... kind of

After more filing of the bike frame on Saturday morning, I got myself in my running gear for my prearranged 12 miler round Richmond Park with someone that is actually going to be doing the marathon come April. I wasn't quite sure why I was doing it but with a couple of HM's coming up over the next couple of months, it couldn't hurt. I quick bit of checking before I headed out made me realise that the 12 miler would actually be a 13.42 miler as it would be 2 laps of the park but never mind, needs must.

I headed out and we were running a comfortable pace along the ups and downs of Richmond Park and frequently dodging the cyclists (on the pavements?!?), dogs, pushchairs, children and couples out walking. Along the last 1.3 miles of the first lap, I had a moment of clarity and worked something out. I wasn't even close to enjoying myself. It's not that I was finding it tough, it's just that I was still running on badly maintained paths, alongside roads and if I'm going to do that, I'd rather be doing my shorter quicker runs. I like my longer runs along the river. At least there are no cars. With half a mile to go, I was jogging extremely slowly, not at all out of breathe and had more interest in picking the dirt from my fingernails (blame the bike work) than where I was running.

Decision made. The car was parked at the end of lap 1 where my mate was waiting and having a drink. At that point, I said my goodbyes and went off home. 6.71 miles completed in a very long time! Some day's, I think it's better to cut your losses than try and continue and this was just one of those days. Now I'm off to find a 15 miler course for a run in 3 weeks time and this one won't involve Richmond Park or laps of any kind!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Second run of the week. The impossible dream

When I was doing my A-levels, I used to spend nearly all my holidays putting together cardboard display units for various films and products. It was repetitive and didn't exactly get your brain working but it did give me money to spend on a 17/18 year old boy's favourite thing... the pub. I thought this would be the most dull, mind numbing and frustrating thing I ever did but at least it gave me money. Today, I found something worse. I have spent the last 3 and a half hours sanding down 2 parts of a bike frame trying to remove the paintwork but 10 times more frustratingly, the bloody decals that they cover in about 3 tonnes of lacquer. I have blisters on my blisters! It's a relief to have done it though as tomorrow I'm taking a trip to eatingtrees' place in order to get the cable guides removed. By force. With a big grindey, sawey thing! YAY!!!

Enough of the bike thing for now though, I went for another run this morning. The same 4.14 mile course I did on Tuesday when I ran it in 8:04's. Now if you run a distance in 8:04's, tell me you wouldn't want to run it again and get under the magic 8m/m barrier. Christ I did, so that was the plan. I have 2 markers on my run that I clock the time. One around 1.3 ish miles out and the second at 2.07 miles, i.e. the turning point. I was exactly the same time on both points as last time. To the second on both occasions. Freakishly consistent for me. Therefore, all I had to do was make up a measly 20 seconds over the remaining 2.07 miles to come in under that all important mental barrier. Did I??? Of course not. I made up a measly 11 seconds which means I now need to do it again. But knock another 9 seconds off over the course of 4.14 miles. That is absolutely nothing but for some reason, it seems so hard to contemplate. Anyway, at least it's a challenge for next week I guess as Saturday's run is going to be a 12 miler around Richmond Park. Now that, I'm not looking forward to!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Not too much of interest

Another week's gone by and only 1 run to speak off. That was my 4.14 mile out and back route that I do but as I know I've been a bit slack recently, I pushed myself and was delighted to have come back and realise I'd run the thing in 8:04 pace. I'm putting it all down to it being the first run in the brand new shoes of whiteness. It was so nice to have grip, bounce and comfort back!! This is my 3rd pair of New Balance 1063's and I personally, really can't go wrong with them!

Job seeking is continuing but currently just ticking by with the housework, shopping oh and yes, building myself that new bike I mentioned last time. When I say building, I mean destroying. Went back and got the bike out of my parent's garage on Sunday and then dismantled everything I could off it. HOW MUCH FUN IS THAT!?!?  Now it's all the sanding of the paintwork (not the most fun in the world) and buying the essential parts that I need to make it into a lovely looking single speed. Watch this space for before and after shots in a few weeks time!!

Right I'm off. I'm sure there's another load of washing to do and sanding to be done. If I'm really good, I may even try and run more than once this week but we'll see!!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Sorry, it's been a bit of a week!

4.14 miles in 35:39. That's 8:37 pace which i didn't find too shabby considering it was on compressed and compact snow and I'm not at the peak of physical fitness. That was Tuesday morning. 7 days since my previous run! NOT GOOD!! It's this bloody snow. After yesterday, I was quite happy and convinced that by the weekend, I'd be able to do an 8/10 miler to stretch the legs out. Then I received a call this morning... It just said, 'have you looked out of the window?'. Straight away, my hopes sank. That would mean more time before I could get into my new trainers. ARGHHH!!!

Yesterday's run was in my trail shoes. Purely for the grip and stability. With a lot of compact snow, you can't see the dips, holes and camber of the paths/roads as much so you need all the help you can get. I also gave one of the audiofuel tracks I was recently sent a try for the first time while out and about. Now I haven't been listening to any music on my recent runs so this should be interesting. I get the point, I really do. The concept is fantastic. I tried one called 'Full Tilt' that doesn't have a personal trainer telling you to pick up the pace and my thoughts are that if you are going to try audiofuel, get one WITH the coaching. I found that without it, because this isn't my usual style of music, I just zoned it out and ignored it completely and therefore i suddenly kept noticing that I was completely out of time with the beat and struggled to stay with it (faster or slower) for long at all.

I was made redundant last week which is a bit of a bitch but it at least now allows my to run during the day. Well when the snow stops for any amount of time anyway!! The rest of my day's since seem to have been spent on phones or email sending messages to anybody who may be able to help with the whole employment problem. On the plus side, I finally got round to picking up my guitar again after months of neglect!

Another bugger about the job is I'm giving the bike back. It was on a cycle2work scheme and I'm not willing to pay the amount they want to keep it. However, I have a plan on that front too. In my parent's garage is my old bike. 5/6 years old. Cheap and a little bit of a heavy beast but a bike none the less. I'm going to join eatingtrees in building my own single speed from that. I reckon it'll cost me around £20/25 so that's the new plan. I just need to get back my parent's and convince my Dad that he doesn't want the bike really!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Last run before the ice age!

As the weather men had continued to shout that the world was officially going to end last night and we'd all be snowed in forever and a week, I felt I really had to get my backside out before the pavements spent the next week being covered in a layer of ice. Snow and slush I can deal with but I draw the line at ice.

After Saturday's trip out with eatingtrees, I was still aching quite a bit and didn't fancy this one too much. However, I had a personal battle to win. I had to get myself back under the 9 min/mile pace. I had slowed considerably recently and the last time I went under 9 mins was for the Royal Parks Half in Oct!! That's a long time!

I dressed up in that 'slightly' over-compensating manner and was therefore far too hot within half a mile but rather that than cold at the moment! (I've just calculated and I was wearing 9 items of clothing excluding my trainers!!). Ooops

The route was what I appear to have called my '5 miler - Winter route' on runningAHEAD. In other words, it has street-lighting and paths. Ticks all the boxes for me!! A quick description is first mile is downhill (pace of 7:50) second and third miles are flat (8:47 and 8:15) and then the final 2 miles or so are all up hill (hence pace of 8:58 and 9:17 for the final 1.04 miles).

Net result: 5.04 miles in 43:07. Pace: 8.34 m/m. RESULT!!!!! With some snow in my eyes, some pain in my calves/calfs?, hips and toes (where the sodding hell are my new trainers!!!) and not the most exciting route in the world, I'm pretty happy. Now I just need to keep it up and hope this bloody weather sorts itself by the weekend. I want to pick up the mileage!!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

First one of the year. Let's hope it gets easier

Welcome to 2010. The year of the average runner.

I got my Christmas Day run out of the way early enough and went on to complete 4.5 miles in 45:29 with LG and then spent the rest of the day eating and drinking. Just as it should be at Christmas I reckon.

However, due to all the usual excesses, I really should have done more running over this period but due to the man-flu pre and stomach bug post, well, I didn't. A plan was called for and after getting in touch with eatingtrees, a plan was formed. He was going to come and visit on Saturday and we we're going to get rid of the cobwebs.

With a night of -3 degrees and a running temp of 1-2 degrees, the tights were promptly added to shorts (no-one needs to see my arse in tights), one long and one short sleeve top, a woolly hat, a buff and a pair of gloves. I don't like being cold.

I found a course that looked good which I hadn't done before and we headed out on our arctic expedition run of 10.77 miles.

The following, are things I should have learnt by now. When you plan to run nearly 11 miles, at least one of the idiots doing it, should have some form of liquid with them. Neither idiot did! Secondly, I need to remember nipple tape when running further than a few miles and thirdly, check the elevation!! When you've hardly run over 5 miles since October, 816ft of elevation hurts when adding nearly 6 miles to your recent distances.

IT WAS TOUGH! The last 3 miles were run completely in the knowledge that it was quicker to get home running shuffling than to walk. Dehydration and absolutely zero energy do not encourage quick finishes.

A wonderful lunch had been cooked by LG of Gnocchi and Butternut Squash bake which was devoured very, very quickly. I could feel the energy seeping slowly back into my muscles. However, running that distance with a severe lack of training got me back big time. My hips, calfs, thighs and ankles were causing me more pain than a new inmate experiences after his first visit to the prison shower. I slept with a lot of ibuprofen last night.

Now we're in January, I need to up the mileage and pick up my speed in order to be ready for Half's in February and March. I can't have any more excuses really. Hopefully the new trainers should arrive within a few days which are badly needed because both the others are now dead. No bounce and no grip. Not a good combo.

Final note is an apology to the 2 cyclists in Richmond Park. Sorry, we weren't aware that you and your Lycra-clad arrogance had right of way around the entire of the park and we are mere mortals in your attempts to play 'Tour de France'. Here's hoping there are many punctures and buckled wheels in your futures.