Monday, 31 January 2011

Longest run since March 2010

A little late this one but Saturday morning saw me head out for my long run of the week. I've always preferred to do it on a Saturday as it means it's done for the weekend and I don't have to worry about having that extra glass of wine on a Saturday night. It also means I can get rid of all the frustrations from a week dealing with people who seem to defy common sense on a regular basis.

I had the route planned and therefore I knew the distance. 16.72 km or 10.39 miles. Whichever way you look at it, it was a reasonable distance but I was continuing the rise in distance approaching Wokingham. I started the watch and headed off for the ups and downs of Surrey.

I still haven't run with music since the Lisbon Half in March so I tend to just let my mind wander and forget about things. It's kinda nice actually. The majority of the run was the same as last weeks effort but I only had one point that I knew my time from last week. That was after 11.4km and last week I hit it at 1:00:16. This week, my legs felt a little heavy so I was delighted to see I was still around the same. 1:00:40. 24 seconds difference over that distance. It may not be the quickest but at least it's consistent!

This was also the point where I headed of in another direction from last week and 2 hills blocked my path to my house. I just trundeled on at this point knowing that the less I whinged about it and thought about it, the easier and quicker it would be. I turned into my road for the home straight (traditionally 1:50 to 2:10 minutes of running). The watch said 1:26:04. There was my goal, come in under 1:28:00. I was moving at the speed of light (or so it felt, it was more a quick hobble by that point) but in the end, I came in exactly on 1:28:00!!

The rest of the weekend was spent with the family as my parents came to visit which was lovely but with my sister living in Cairo and still out there at the moment, there were lots of phone calls and checks that her and the family were still ok (which they are at the mo but can't get flights out). A Sunday afternoon walk in the hills of Headley Heath finished off the weekend well and helped stretch the legs out a little more too.

I actually feel that I could go back to the Ashtead Running Group now and not embarrass myself so maybe in the next few weeks, I'll head out there again.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

I feeeeeeeeeel good!

It's about bloody time too but over the last couple of weeks I've really started to enjoy my running again and obviously I know, the more I do, the more I will enjoy it. Saturday's planned run will take this months mileage to just shy of 87km or just over 54 miles. If I remember rightly, that's about London to Brighton! Considering the last 4 and a half months of last year, I managed a total of 44.5km, I think I'm allowed to be happy.

Yesterday's run was an 8.14km loop on some ropey pavements with some below average street lighting and it felt great to stretch the legs out again. 2 things I did that prove to myself that I'm enjoying it. Firstly, I purposely did the route in the direction that means I have 2 tough uphills to deal with and secondly, I managed a sprint finish.

Before I set off, I pitched a realistic time to myself of 42:40 to 43:10. Precise I know but I think I'm generally pretty accurate with my times although I have no way to plot the progress during the run. I'm not a Garmin man you see. Including my sprint finish, I stopped the clock at 42:01!! Happy boy again. 5:09 p/k (8:18 per mile).

My run this weekend will top 10 miles and will be the longest distance I do prior to the Wokingham Half. I'm hoping to do it in under 1:32:00 but it's going to be tough. However, I'm now confident I should be able to firstly finish, the Wokingham Half and also, come in under the 2 hour mark. That'll be a good base for the Hague City Pier City Half the following month.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

5.74km short of 3 weeks

The homeless lollipop man headed out again today in the knowledge that he needed to run a few km's to firstly continue to break in the new trainers and secondly just to do it with the up and coming Wokingham Half coming round far too quickly. Considering I only did my first run in 3 months 20 days ago, I'm delighted to say that I managed to do 15:36km in 1:21:44. That's a pretty good pace of 5:20 m/km (8:33m/m) for me. Even better when you consider it was on the standard kind of route you get in Surrey. i.e. Hilly. Profile of today's route

Then we had George's swimming class which I had missed last week due to playing around in the mud and he certainly seemed to enjoy it although being up an hour and a half earlier than normal this morning meant he was a bit tired and didn't enjoy his dunking quite as much.


The beard is also staying for now as it'll take more effort to remove it than to keep it and I reckon with a little bit of effort, it could be like the beard belonging to this fine upstanding citizen.


Work on the dismantling for Mrs HMC's new bike is also underway. It's going to be a beauty when it's finished. Now I just need some light evenings to get on with it. Hmmmm

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Homeless Lollipop Man

With the Wokingham Half only 3 and a half weeks away, I had to get out tonight so I could stretch my legs and therefore be able to go for a longer run at the weekend. As I mentioned in my last post, Grim was the longest I'd run in 5 months and as the cold wet clothing doesn't promote sitting in a field and stretching, my knees have been feeling tight on the stairs and also my ankle was sore from rolling it slightly in the mud.

I put on the usual array of running clothes (shorts, long top and buff) and then my bright yellow gilet, my dark woolly hat and my flashing armband then looked in a mirror. Oh dear. I really need to shave. The big beard and woolly hat combo screams homeless and the fluorescent gear shouts lollipop man. It's a combo I'm ashamed of and proud of in equal measure.

Today was also the first run in my New Balance MR1064CU's which so far, so good but that's all the review you're going to get until I start seeing some freebies! At least they're cleaner than the 1063's  right now.

Grim Beast in the East has also been booked and put in the diary but it's looking like it could be a costly weekend considering it's the weekend closest to Mrs HMC's birthday and I'll be dragging her to a muddy motocross circuit in Kent on a Saturday morning! I guess I better start saving...

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Grim and Bare It! RACE REPORT

I just love Grim. It's such a mad event and I said last year about there seems to be a camaraderie between participants. Apart from a few people at the front, there doesn't seem to be any need to actually race at all. It's just a muddy fun-run. 14.21km of fun-run but a fun-run none the less and I love it.

With eatingtrees being designated driver for the day, off we popped after a night of little sleep (thanks George) and promptly arrived in a car park quite far away from where we wanted to be. A few walks from the car and back quickly made us realise that although the temp said 9 ish degrees, the wind reality was something altogether different. 2 questions at this point popped into my head. WHY DID I NOT HAVE A LONG SLEEVE TOP ON and WHY DID I NOT HAVE A WOOLLY HAT WITH ME!!! Idiot boy.

I had a cotton T-shirt on over the top of my running top and this was intended to be cast aside at the last minute before the start. Nope. Not with that wind. I quickly re-attached my number to the old t-shirt and now intended to run with both. It was a good decision!

We met up with Fitartist (and the support crew of Edward and Hector) and planned to run it together. No need to push all the way with something like this. Grinning/Smiling and shrieking when water reaches the parts other puddles can't reach is the way forward. We all found it pretty tough going but it wouldn't be fun if it was easy.

My chip time came in at 1:45:40 which is about 45 minutes longer than I've run at any point in the last 5 months so the feeling of crossing the line was wonderful. An awesome T-shirt this year I must say...


Mrs HMC, our resident photographer and supporter wasn't able to be with us this time due to George's first swimming lesson (which he loved may I add) but there are a couple of great photo's over on Fitartist's blog

A final shout must go out to eatingtrees who not content on dragging fitartist through the first big puddle he found, then promptly lost his footing and went splashing around within the first 200m. Only another 14km to go with soggy shorts and a bleeding knee then!!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Nur nur nur nur nur nur nur nur BAT RUN!

Thought it best to stretch the legs prior to Saturday's Grim so I planned a little route during the day and headed out for a run while leaving Mrs HMC to put George to bed.

I pried open my trainers and broke off the mud holding them together and slipped my feet into them. Toasty warm due to leaving them on a radiator! A head torch was donned and a little flashy red light arm band type thingy was attached to my arm. It was quite a mild night in Surrey so no hat was needed and after 5 minutes, I was wishing I'd chosen a short sleeve instead of a long sleeve top!

I'd planned a little loop I hadn't done before which had been checked for paths on Google Streetview. Quite a nice run actually that included a great little section with very little street lighting and lots and lots of bats for company and then another part with a view where the sky had some quite cool effects going on. 6.22km was completed in 33:33 which is back to my normal pace as I'd removed the 2 BIG hills from my route.

I have also bitten the bullet and ordered the New Balance 1064 which should arrive soon and it also means that Saturday's Grim Challenge with eatingtrees and fitartist could be the final send off for my last ever pair of 1063's! They've done every race bar my very first half marathon. It'll be a sad day.

Oh and I forgot, this years Half Marathon European adventure has been planned. This year.... The City Pier City Loop on the 13th March. Myself, eatingtrees and Mrs HMC are going on a road trip!

Monday, 10 January 2011

A cry for help! New Balance trainers

Right, this is my problem. My New Balance MR1063WN 2E are coming to the end of their life and I have only used this type of trainer since I started running as they are the right width for my extremely high arches and have NEVER caused me a problem when running.


They have now been discontinued and I can't find another pair for love nor money (or indeed a long Google search). They have been replaced with the 1064 which although they look lovely, numerous reviews say that they feel a lot stiffer and aren't good for anything much longer than a 10k.

I have a Half Marathon in Feb and another in March and I have no idea what shoe to buy but I need to get it soon to have a chance to break them in.

I'm not going to lie, changing trainers scares me. I know numerous people who have gone on to develop Iliotibial Band Syndrome as soon as they've tried new trainers and that can't happen.

Does anyone know: a)where I can still get hold of a pair of New Balance MR1063WN 2E trainers in a UK9.5 or b)what the hell I buy to replace them if not?


Saturday, 8 January 2011

Up, up and away into the puddles

With Grim happening next Saturday, I headed out on another run this morning in order to stretch the legs and try and have some chance of surviving next weekend. I planned to do the same route as myself and eatingtrees did last Sunday and duly headed up the hills.

There were lots of sights to see today. Firstly, a pond full of even more dead fish than I saw last weekend (frost got to 'em), a prick in a BMW overtake someone at a stupid speed in a 30 zone (we can only hope he will end up in the pond before he hurts someone), a miserable runner in black who did not return my 'Good Morning' (first time this has happened since getting out of London), a big hill that hurts a lot...

...many, many horses some of which were dressed in pink, lot's of puddles, lot's of mud, a few cars, a cheery 'Good Morning' man getting into his car and some cloud.

Today turned out to be better training for Grim than I could have ever imagined due to the last 3 days of rain we've had. At the end of the long downhill and just before the longer uphill, there was what can only be described as a flooded road. There was nothing for it and the water poured in over the top of my trainers. The bridal path was also just a mud fest which made it tough going and then the entrance to Ashtead Park was also ankle deep mud.

I got to the point where I head home around 3 minutes better than last Sunday's and still felt OK so decided to extend it a bit further. That's where my legs really started aching and the very reason I'm sitting in compression socks right now! 11.33km in 1:06:07. Not quick but with those hills, it never will be.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Motivation and a goal

My motivation turned up today in the form of a bald man with glasses. Eatingtrees made his way down from up north to go for a run around the Surrey hills. It was my first outing for about 2 and a half months so it was going to hurt and if it was going to hurt anyway, I may as well choose a route that at least causes some level of discomfort for eatingtrees too.

A trip that was just shy of 10km and had many a hill, bridle path and road running section was completed in just over an hour and thoroughly enjoyed. It was a good start to 2011.

My 2011 goal is the same as a few others but a bit more lightweight as I have to be honest, if it's too difficult, I'll just give up. 2011 KM either by bike or by running by the end of the year. 2010 for various reasons wasn't really a good year for exercise so this goal is doable but still a push for me. To put this in perspective, since the 17th August until the end of the year, I ran or cycled a grand total of 58.5 km! See, it's not going to straight forward!