Posts Tagged ‘running’

It’s June.

Which means it’s Juneathon. A month of activity/exercise and blogging. You know…that thing where you start of saying that you’re going to be all fitness and health for a month and then manage a week if you’re lucky, before then either slinking away hoping nobody notices, or proudly announcing your failings to the blogging world, amid encouragement from all the other slackers to eat all the biscuits/cake etc.

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I’ve not blogged for ages. A lot has happened. 
Unfortunately one of those things has been me getting older, which results in a number of things, 

1) I’m slowing down.

2) Bits of my body are failing me.

4) I can’t remember all the other things that have happened.

3) I get a bit muddled.

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I recently turned 40. I didn’t have a big do. 

I thought about inviting all my friends round but they don’t really know each other so I figured I’d visit them both individually at a later date.

Instead, I took a couple of days off work in April and as my wife and kids had different Easter holidays to each other, after seeing the kids off to school we headed up into the Peak District. 

We enjoyed some lovely views and a glass of celebratory bubbles at Froggat Edge…

…and stayed over in some “accommodation” nearby…

…which, despite the completely inappropriate use of punctuation, was actually really nice. I woke up the next morning while it was still dark and treated myself to a little run along the edge, snapping few nice pictures along the way…

It was a nice birthday trip away. 

Plus we saw some cool cows we weren’t expecting. (That’s a sentence that can surely only be expressed by someone aged 40+ , right?)

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Physically, little runs are all I seem to be able to manage at present and have been for quite some time now. 5k …maybe 10k at a push. I can do these without too much agro. But anything more and my left achilles gives me jip. It’s just letting me know it’s there, mostly just whispering, but if I start getting cocky and try to run further/faster, it shouts at me.

To combat the reduced running (and associated weight management problems I then experienced) I’d been going to the gym a bit more instead, and was enjoying this – a regular circuit of free weights, skipping and stretches (yes….stretches…I know…get me). This was going well, until a slight niggle in my right arm became more than that. 

Long story short – it’s tennis elbow. I didn’t realise it could be this painful. I genuinely thought I’d somehow broken something. 

And now, about 4 months after I first noticed something, I can wake in the early hours and be unable to straighten my arm.

 It will go… eventually… apparently… I’m told. But it may be months….it could be a couple of years… But the gym circuit has now been cut from my routine too.

There have of course been subsequent weight management issues associated with this.

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Those of you who have read my previous postings may know that I’m quite ‘All Or Nothing’ when it comes to my health. If I’m being fit and active, I’m often also eating well. As I’ve not been very fit and active, my nutritional intake has also been less than perfect. 

Now as confused as I get with what my idea of ‘perfect’ is anyway… High fat/low fat, carbs good/bad, etc (and at this point I want to say, please don’t try to advise me, you will only seek to confuse me further!), what I do know is that eating the amount I have been as often as I have been, has not been great for me. 

The subsequent weight management issues associated with this no doubt aggravate my achilles issue, affect my motivation, etc, etc. So I need to do something.

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I still manage to enjoy the odd game of tennis. I gave this a rest for a while to see if it helped the elbow. 

It didn’t. 
And I’m not giving it up indefinitely so I’ve decided it’s a case of taking a few painkillers before a match, gritting my teeth and getting on with it!

My boy, who’s eleven (funny name for a boy, I know) and I are playing in a league match together as partners this Saturday. I’ll let you know how we do.

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I’m not (always) daft. It’s not like I’m going to go mad and try and do 100 press ups, 100 sit ups, 100 lunges and run 10km every day or anything*…

*…I …errr… I… I  did that a couple of weeks ago…. For one day… And then couldn’t get out of bed the next morning… So that’s not a good idea people. I have done this so you don’t have to.

 Today, I have started gently. Some stretches. A few sit ups. Let’s not go mad. I’m determined too teach my daughter, who’s six (funny name for a girl, I know), to ride her bike this half-term holiday. I shall be doing that later today, too.

So there’s my update. My first Juneathon post in a long while.

 It will be all or nothing, I’m sure. Either the full month of activity and blogging or a miserable fail followed by blogging silence. 

And let’s face it, I’ve already got my excuses in.

10k  taper ?

Posted: November 19, 2016 in Injury, running
Tags: , , , ,

Tapering? For a 10k? Is that really necessary?

Well, no. No, it isn’t. But that hasn’t stopped me from inadvertently experimenting with it as a tactic. Because, as previous blog posts have shown, I’m a proper science type person an’ that.

Either that, or I just generally haven’t been running much recently and now that 10k I signed up for ages ago has come around.

It’s known as a ‘pudding run’. Intended to have connotations of Christmas and because you get a Christmas pudding instead of a medal at the end.

It is  NOT called that because it is run by puddings. Except for me, that is.

I feel like a right pudding, currently. Caught in a bit of a cycle of being a bit overweight, making running harder, not enjoying running as much, not running as much (/eating all the food), being a bit overweight, etc. I decided to hit the gym a bit for some variety.

Don’t worry, I shall not bore you with tales of my reps and weights and sessions and motivational quotes and the like (yawn). Suffice to say I do a variety of things and do a few circuits of said variety. I was feeling stronger and generally quite good… until I attempted something a little beyond me…

…That ‘something’ was getting out of the car on Thursday last week.

Yes…I don’t know why I thought I was capable of exiting a vehicle on my own without anyone to spot me.  Doing so without a warm-up was clearly just sheer recklessness. The result was an initially mild ‘mmm…That twinges a bit’ that gradually intensified into a ‘I don’t think I’ll ever be able to paint my toenails put my own socks on again!’. 

I don’t really know what I’ve done exactly but it’s somewhere between having my spine ripped out (like on the retro computer game Mortal Combat) and maybe pulling a bit of a muscle.

So here I am three days post-injury, and able to walk at least, but really not sure about tomorrow’s 10k. I still have hope… Especially since immediately following that, I have a tennis match to play.  That is ‘immediately after’ as in I have warned my tennis partner to expect to see mud-splattered legs when she’s serving.

If I’m honest, and I had to choose between the run and playing tennis, I’d choose tennis. But:

 1) I’m greedy and I want to do both.

2) I’m tight and I’ve paid for the run already.

3) If I do do the run and then find I cannot play tennis/walk/breathe properly, my son (aged 10) would likely do a good job of standing in for me in the tennis and I’d enjoy watching him.

I shall no doubt write a blog post next week about how it’s ALWAYS the right thing to rest an injury.
:-/
I’ll keep you posted.

Well just at the point I was considering giving up running, I get sent these from the lovely people at new balance… New Balance Vazee Coast

As you can see, they include a certain amount of ‘knitting’. The sort of main fabric they are made from… which looks great… but maybe that’s the point. They look and feel more like fashion trainers to me.  I have been for a short run in them (and I hope I don’t regret saying this) but I don’t particularly like them for running. I would run for the bus in them, sure, and if I was late getting my kids to school like this morning.

I still like them, I do. But more to go with my jeans than with my shorts, I think. On a night out maybe… if that ever happens again… but not to one of those places that says “No jeans. No trainers.” … obviously because they’d say, “Oi! No!  You’re  wearing jeans AND trainers” …and who could argue with that logic?!

As you may have noticed, the word ‘running’ has crept back into my blogging vocabulary.

🙂

It has… eventually… but not after getting worse first. I shall fill you in.

You see, in addition to the pulled hamstring in the dads’ race at sports day… I then, after eventual (well… partial) recovery, played a game of tennis and ( to give you the shortened version) I managed to pop my quad! Have I told you this before? * checks previous blog post* Nope, I haven’t. Well there was an audible ‘pop!’ and I couldn’t walk. It was shortly followed by a repeat of the hamstring pull and subsequent melancholy for a few weeks with me complaining of getting old and falling apart.

I resolved to ‘control what I could control’ and took to doing some weights and core work, together with taking some protein supplement (after many days of extensive internet research) to aid muscle recovery. It felt like it was working, albeit slowly.

A holiday to Wales came at the right time, and I was able to go out for a short morning run on most days, which I slowly lengthened….

…and…cue the photos…

And who could blame me for going out each day when this was the view in the morning… (filter included to help provide a sense of the feeling I got while looking out at it)…


I even managed Wepre parkrun on the journey there… Laps around a field it is not…


…and even the wetter weather closer to home hasn’t stopped me heading out…

 

Some of the recent weight gain has started to shift, and things are generally a bit more positive again. Though my ankle keeps reminding me I’m still not exactly the picture of prime physical perfection. Obviously… if it wasn’t for the ankle though… I’d be on the cover of a men’s fitness magazine 😉

This Sunday will see me and my boy head out on a 5k run organised by the company ‘Decathlon’ as part of their free race series. I really don’t know what to expect. The free T-shirt and goodie bag got my son to say he wanted to do it… about 3 months ago. When I reminded him yesterday though, he didn’t seem so keen :-/

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Part 1 – packages

Spoiler: This post contains a full frontal photo of me in a rubber suit with my package clearly visible.

At the end of this month, I shall be racing a triathlon for the fist time in a long time. So long has it been, that on Wednesday last week, I thought it prudent to check that my triathlon suit has not drastically shrunk during its time in my drawer.

It has. A little. But I was able to squeeze myself in. Just. I hope it returns to its normal size in the next few weeks!

It has been even longer (about 3 years?) since I wore my open-water swimming wetsuit. I thought I’d perhaps try that on too. This took longer. It even required a break part way through – to cut my nails for fear of tearing the rubber in my efforts to wrench the obviously aged and stiffened material further on to my muscular, svelte frame. I can’t believe this suit has shrunk as much as it has!

After the leg/bum/tum workout that was the application of the lower half, I crouch down and manage to get one arm in, using the ‘slowly standing straight’ method of pulling the remainder of the wetsuit into approximate position. 

I figure, as long as I don’t need to breathe at all during the swim section of the triathlon, I shall be fine. 

Using a combination of yoga poses, near dislocation, and the sheer determination that only wetsuit wearers possess, I managed to actually put both arms in AND zip the zipper all the way up!

Yeah baby!

Woo hoo!

*Dingggg Dongggg* 

What??!

*Dingggg Dongggg*

!

An actual ding-dong. A someone-at-the-door ding-dong. A day before son’s birthday, might be a parcel, best not ignore it, sort of ding-dong.

I have no choice. I go and answer it. I try in vain to explain exactly why I’m wearing an overly tight-fitting rubber suit on one of the hottest days of the year so far as I collect the package – clearly seen in the photo below (I knew instantly that this would be a blog post  – and one that would require a photo with a caption!).image

I have decided that every day, between now and May 28th, I shall put on the tri-suit/wetsuit combo as a method of training. It ticks all the boxes:

Strength
Endurance
Flexibility

…and it’s quite motivational! :-/

Part 2 – pants

I was recently offered some more Chaffree underwear for free – I declined.

I have written before about Chaffree underwear. They asked me to. They sent me some free to try. I like them – a lot. If I didn’t, I would say. They work – if they didn’t, I would say.

Question – So why did I decline some free ones?

Answer – Because they’re worth buying! So I bought them.

In the interests of transparency, I have to declare at this point that having bought myself a further two pairs, Amanda, the Chaffree boss-lady, sent me an extra pair anyway.

So if you’re reading this and your thighs don’t chafe, then fine. No problem. Keep doing what you’re doing. It works…

… but if you do… seriously consider giving these a go. I wasn’t asked to write this. I want to. Because I love you. 

Not entirely true. 

I don’t reallyknow who you are. You could be anybody. I might know you. I might have met you. I might even love you, I suppose. Mum and dad occasionally read this blog. Hi Mum. Hi Dad. I love them. The rest of you… well… You’re lovely too I’m sure… But  the point is I did just want to write this as I wouldn’t want any of you to suffer unnecessarily with the pain that comes with chafing, especially when (but not limited to) running.

If you’re a blogger/runner/professional-underwear-reviewer then find them on Twitter (@chaffree) and get in touch with Amanda, as I know she’s always on the lookout for bloggers who write betterer than wot I do an’ that.

Part 3 – PBs

It’s been a little while since I got a 5k PB [ ‘personal best’ that is – for the benefit of my aging parents…and American people 😉 ]. Not since my little PB streak inspired by a new Garmin and a bit of weight loss before Christmas. But a couple of weeks ago, my son’s school hosted their annual 5k charity race and we both got PBs. He broke his by 4 minutes(!) to go sub-30 with 29:20, and I took about 30 seconds of mine to go sub-22  for the first time ever with a 21:45.

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In case you were wondering… that package in the wetsuit photo…it was some new running shorts that I won through completing a challenge with ‘Running Heroes (if you sign up, use referral code 6w7m for extra points!). It wasn’t a present for my son. I could have hidden and not answered the door and it wouldn’t have mattered.

A 38 year old, thinning (hair rather than body-type), brunette runner has recently given an exclusive interview to this blog describing essentially how, following the onset of mysterious foot pains that threatened to leave him unable to ever walk again, he was able to miraculously turn his fortunes around in just three weeks!

I caught up with him over a coffee in his kitchen recently to establish the facts of this extraordinary case.

He takes a sip of coffee, lets out a long sigh and sits back in his seat as he places a cigar in his mouth and nonchalantly places his feet on the chair next to him. His hamstrings are so tight that the resultant release of energy catapults him backwards into the floor. He eventually recovers, shifts uneasily in his chair, takes another sip of his drink and a bite of his cigar before beginning his tale as if the events of the last thirty seconds never actually occurred.

“It was amazing really” he begins, recalling the events of the past month. “I went from being fully active – running, swimming, performing stunts aboard the top of a train, and Morris-Dancing at weekends – to being unable to place my foot to the floor without shooting pain. And I had no idea why!”

“I even wrote a blog post about it,” he continues, “to try and cement in my own mind that it was in fact real.  Because everything I write in blog posts is real and actual fact!” He slams his fist on the table and takes a further bite from his cigar as he says this.

“Runners fall into one of three categories when it comes to injuries,” he asserts with an air of authority in his voice…

“Category (1) – I’ll be fine. It’s just a niggle. Nothing that a good hard track session or ‘undulating’ long run with full mandatory ultra running kit won’t cure!

Category (2) – I must immediately make an appointment with a consultant orthopaedic surgeon and demand an MRI / acupuncture / a personal 24 hour round the clock physio / an invasive operation 

Category (3) As if there’s a category 3! There is no other option. Category 3 is clearly a joke. There is nothing to see here.” 

He snorts, laughing a little too long at his own non-joke as he proceeds to eat around the edge of his cigar before dipping it in his coffee. After a moments silence, I urge him to continue….with the story…not dipping his cigar in his coffee.

“I have always been a category (1) personality but losing the ability to weight-bear when shoeless had me stumbling around for answers. I thought my tennis match would let me accurately assess the extent of the injury but I had the wrong week, then it snowed on the right week and the match was cancelled. I ran to my car after work briefly last week but apart from that and lifting a few weights, exercise has been pretty non-existent. To be honest, I was quite fed up and I had very little mojo to do anything even if I could have. Maybe this saved me.”

He pops the rest of his cigar in his mouth and gets another identical one from the TWIX packet next to him…

“So there you have it.” he says, as the interview reaches its climactic conclusion, “I basically didn’t do anything. Didn’t take painkillers. Didn’t take anti-inflammatories. Just rested. And it got better.”

WOW! I’m left speechless. As I attempt to adjust to the enormity of these events. How one man, by resting, has effectively turned upside down conventional wisdom with respect to running related injuries.

He pulls me over to one side and whispers in my ear…

“Do you know, in hindsight, I reckon it was doing the can-can in bare feet on the tiled kitchen floor with my daughter a few weeks back and following that up with a few sessions of that ‘Shape-Up’ game on the Xbox – again, without shoes. I reckon it was just some sort of…well… bruise. 

Maybe I’ve been a bit over-dramatic.”

I am in shock. I have wasted too long writing an article that I could have headlined ‘Man recovers from bruise!‘ and so I collect my belongings and leave, slowly shaking my head, and without saying another word.

As I get to my car, and for the entire drive, I panic that I cannot find my wallet that I was sure was in my trousers earlier…but when I get home later that evening it turns out, I find it down the side of the sofa. 

The following day I smile to myself and think.  That runner bloke and me… we’re pretty similar really.  

I crack open a TWIX, dunk it in my coffee and look forward to my rearranged tennis match on Sunday afternoon.

It’s been a while. I’ve been too busy eating cashew nuts, mince pies and chocolates… often at the same time.

So here’s a little catch up on various goings on…

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I received an email from the lovely people at New Balance, informing me that they had some new kit and had a few items for some lucky running folk to test.

This included the fantastic looking (though pricey!) winter running jacket (the Beacon) pictured below.

   
 
Unfortunately I was not one of the lucky runners to get to try this out for myself as I was too slow. They didn’t check up on my 5k PB or anything (I don’t think), I just mean that by the time I’d responded to the mailing they had all been snapped up.

I don’t know if the email responder was just feeling very Christmassy or what, but basically said (and I paraphrase here…), “Sorry we don’t have any jackets left for you to try. Here’s some trainers instead. Which would you like?”.

A couple of days later, these arrived for me. 

 
A pair of 1080 v5 running shoes. 

Well thank you very much 🙂 and Happy Christmas, New Balance PR people.

These retail at £110 on the New Balance website but I dare say they might be cheaper elsewhere (I hope that sentence hasn’t resulted in me being removed from their virtual Christmas card list).

I then noticed this post on Twitter from Laura at lazygirlrunning… 

 
She then asked… (and I responded)

 
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And if I’m to take her word for it… 
 

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So… How could I compete with that?!

Well… Like this… 
 

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…and this…

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A few days later, I decided to take them for a proper test run.

Now it just so happens that some days I start work late and finish early – to let me still do the school runs,  but the kids had finished school and my hard-working wife was also off work so I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to do a run commute to work.

It was a great idea. I allowed plenty of time, I took a lightweight bag and I hit the road. 12.7 miles later (this is why I don’t regularly run commute) I arrived at work in fine form and was set for the day.

The shoes were super comfy, cool, and roomy. I have quite wide feet and these come in a wide fitting so there wasn’t a hint of blistering despite this being their first proper run out (I’d worn them around the house for a few days just to look swanky, of course), and naturally they do look pretty swanky.

So running to work, all be it a fairly long way, was a great idea…

…running home on the other hand…

…well…

…I made it…

…but it was certainly no negative split!

Now, on the downside, I’ve found the 1080 v5 is great in the dry, including track (canal path) running but they feel  quite slippy on wet tarmac, I found.

Also, in scientific tests, they’re rubbish at cooking…

  
Despite this, they would be my shoe of choice at home currently for a long run as they are wonderfully cushioned and feel like they could really take some big mileage without problem.

They don’t, in themselves make me any stronger or fitter unfortunately, so that big mileage… well that’s up to me.

I’ve signed up for a twenty-miler and an open-water triathlon in 2016. I might also do the Wolf-Run that never quite materialised for my brother’s 40th birthday. Apart from that, there’s plenty of parkruns to be had. My 5k time was reducing nicely, in line with some necessary weight-loss. I ran a hard parkrun yesterday though and was about 90 seconds slower than my PB. Christmas nibbles are to blame for that…or more precisely…me eating lots of them.
I’ve decided against officially ‘doing Janathon‘ this year. You know, that ‘exercise every day in January, blog every day in January’ thing. I have been so useless at regular blogging, that I’d probably only manage one post a week at most. I might try for that, anyway. Good luck to you if you’re doing Janathon proper this year.

Best wishes for 2016.
Run well…even if you don’t run.

On Saturday (err…a little while ago now – not the one just gone – this has taken me far too long to write), I thought, “What I need on my blog is a write up of a race that I enter on a whim having not run for a couple of weeks and while I recover from an injury.”

You see the week before, THIS HAPPENED (<<<blog post link). 

In summary (and this really is the short version),  the Friday was my work’s Christmas do to which I had cycled, eaten perhaps (definitely) too much, drank a very balanced amount (balancing the food out), and danced way too much, finally getting home to bed at about 02:00 on Saturday morning – the same morning that I ran my 50th parkrun and my 9 year old old son ran his 10th. Not to mention (which is a weird thing to say because I’m now about to mention it…) meeting up with parkrun tourism royalty – Louise Ayling (aka abradypus). We headed straight from there to the tennis club where I promptly pulled a muscle in my calf and found even just walking very painful.

Naturally, the obvious next move from this point of limping around for a few days, was to get chatting to some folks running an ‘undulating’ (and we all know what that means!) winter half-marathon the next weekend and express interest in the possibility of getting a transfer place.

Yes. That’s a good idea. Don’t run for a week because you’re injured then enter a hilly undulating half-marathon that next weekend. Nice one.

I only found out I had a transfer place for the Sunday’s Turkey Trot on the previous afternoon (official entries are sold out within a few days in September time). I was at a football match when I got a message from a lovely chap called Alan (a contact of Katie’s over at runyoung50) saying that due to injury, he’d not be running it now, and if I could collect the number, it was mine for no charge (though a £5 charge is made by the organisers on race day to cover admin, and surplus is donated to Rainbows Children’s Hospice). He happened to live only a 5 minute run from the football ground so I figured if I could make it to his without pulling the calf muscle again, I’d be fine. I was fine. And I now had the number.

The Keyworth ‘Turkey Trot’ was the first ever race I properly ran (not including school sports days and carnival fun runs when I was growing up).  I mean, I’m still growing up obviously, but originally I ran this when I was training for the London Marathon in 2000. And now I was going to run the ‘Turkey Trot’ again. 

Pre-race on Sunday morning… It was chilly… But should it be shorts or tights? 
It was shorts… 

 
…but it was also hat and gloves all the way!

I have no idea what time I managed in 2000, but on training runs of this distance nowadays, anything close to two hours lands me in contentedville but I certainly didn’t want to take the place of an injured runner only to end up not-finishing as an injured runner myself.

I think this may have kept me from the usual ‘sprint finish’ that I attempt in the first two miles of any long run. Splits ended up fairly even actually (well, even for me), considering the hilly undulating nature of the course profile. 

   
…and the heart rate showed a good*, steady increase… (*is this good? Or would that suggest it is not sustainable for say a 20 miler or marathon? I don’t actually know)

  

I don’t really do race reports very well. So that’s it.

I got round. I enjoyed it. I was even happy with my time. Yay.

A little stiffness in the legs for a couple of days followed, and as I gave blood on Friday afternoon, I also gave parkrun a miss the following Saturday morning. I hit a few tennis balls with my son later on, though…
…and…

…when running for a drop-shot…
… pulled that calf muscle again!!

Gimmicks. Exercise. Motivation. Sticks. Carrots.

I used to think that if you needed a gimmick to get you exercising, then it was taking something away from the enjoyment of exercising for its own sake and you might as well not bother.
Apart from that, I thought, gimmicks were a waste of money. 

Quick image search for exercise gimmicks…

   
 

Sheesh! Yup. This is still the case, I’m sure, for a lot of things. But can they work too?

I barely use it much now, but I found the Wii-Fit was great for getting me (and particularly my son) active on a rainy day. And yes, all the arguments about getting outside, getting wet, getting fresh air, etc. are indeed very valid.  We both still enjoy getting outside of course, but occasionally it’s a laugh to see him attempt a rowing race (and in the process, do approximately 50 sit-ups whilst barely being aware of it).

Do you remember those bracelets, worn by sportspeople, that harnessed the magnetic powers of the atmospheric chi lines of powerful nature magic causing ions that flow around the chakra plexus? Well… clearly they didn’t work…

Trion:z bracelet link

Triniton (‘trying it on’) spoof version link

[Edit: oh my goodness! Even the original version reads like someone has written it as a spoof!]

But did they work? A placebo effect, for all of its placebo-ness, is still an effect, is it not?

Now I’ve been losing a bit of weight recently. Not tons (obviously) but enough to feel that at the start of a 5k run, I should, all other things being equal, be able to run faster for the same effort. Result was, I did. PB. Thank you very much.

But did I put the same effort in? Or did I just have a bit more belief in myself?

A few weeks later and I have purchased a cheap Garmin (with Heart Rate monitor strap) via a well known online auction site. I run a 5k again. I get another PB. Thank you very much.

Now clearly, a Garmin doesn’t make me run faster. Maybe, it was that I could leave my phone (and therefore my run app tracker doobrie-wotsit) at home, thus saving me from carrying an additional few grammes around the 3.1 mile route? Maybe it helped me stick to the required pace better? I think it’s probably this.

Another week, a bit more weight loss, a bit more belief, another PB, and before I know it, I’ve gone from struggling to break 23:00 minutes for a 5k to now be only eleven seconds away from a time beginning with 21:something.
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The same is often true of the weeks I run when I have bought a new pair of running shoes. They turn out to be PB weeks. Anyone else find this?

(Obviously you don’t necessarily know which week I’ve bought new running shoes. I was thinking more of you and when you have new shoes.)

I am still using my various running points accumulators too Bounts and Running Heroes . The same run, tracked via GPS app, gets me points for both of these. After approximately a year of use, I recently exchanged my Bounts points for £15 in gift cards. For runs I would have done anyway. Bonus.
image

If you haven’t yet signed up to this and you already use a tracking app then you really are missing out on money for nothing. (P.S If you do sign up then using the code Avery1132 when you do will get us both additional points)

The points are also still building for Running Heroes too but the rewards aren’t so good, I find. However I have found the weekly challenges very motivating. They vary in difficulty/effort, but if you complete them, you get entered into prize draws for various goods. This has sometimes meant that I’ve been out for runs I might otherwise not have been motivated to do. I’ve still never won anything yet, mind you and I doubt either of these reward schemes would interest me if I had no interest in running in the first place.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I’ve barely run at all. Darker, colder nights and a chesty cold that’s been hanging around have resulted in just a half hour walk/run last weekend and a very leisurely parkrun with my son (which was great) the week before. The Garmin has sat on the sideboard, gradually running out of battery and the only points I’ve been accumulating have been of the sort counted by dieters. 

So what will get me back out there? I tell you what… It’s very unlikely to be a bracelet or a games console or a fetching silver space-sauna-suit, and it won’t be an app or a watch or the promise of points or a high-protein flapjack or beetroot juice or the lure of a sub 22:00 5k*.

(*mmmm….actually, if I’m honest, it might be that last one, at least in part.)

Here is a picture of a boot…

  
(Well, my tag line isn’t “random thoughts and running shorts” for nothing, you know!)

There is a link, though. I gave blogging the boot after June. I kind of just stopped enjoying writing it. So I stopped.

The same was true with running, to be honest. I knew I wouldn’t stop for good, but it was good to have a break.

In hindsight, I could have turned the blog into an interesting, “how I found my mojo” story, but given that I didn’t know how long it would take, it could have got very boring indeed.

Certain stresses have come and gone, but some remain.  Most are self-imposed, hence leaving the blog dormant for a while.

I’ve been running when I feel like it. I’ve done the odd parkrun, played a fair amount of tennis, taken the kids out on bike rides.  

The mojo isn’t fully back. But I am running again, which is a start.

Here’s that picture of the boot again…

  You could say this is a re-boot. A small reboot, at least.

What is new since I last wrote? 

Well we now only have one rabbit since ‘Colin’ (classic rabbit name #1) was found as stiff as a board in his litter tray a few weeks ago. ‘Hoppity’ (classic rabbit name #2) seems to be coping well without him mind you, and my children have very much taken it in their stride too. I later overheard appropriate questions between them like, “do rabbits cry?” and, “I’m a bit sad Colin is dead, are you?” so at least they aren’t sociopaths.image

Child2 is now at school full-time, but at a different one to her brother, so I am ‘enjoying’ the logistical delights of school runs, pick-ups, after-school clubs, sports coaching, and general communications.

I have, as yet, failed to invent some new business and make my millions from home in the past couple of weeks…but equally, I have resisted spending millions to try to artificially fill the gap left by my children abandoning me during the day… so I reckon that evens out.

I had got a bit sloppy with my eating habits recently, as demonstrated by my complete inability to lose enough weight to reward myself with a half marathon entry recently. But I’ve made progress here too and have entered for a brilliant 20 miler (the Ashby20) in March next year.  That is the total extent of my race calendar for the future.

Oh, and off the back of an additional 3kg weight loss, I got a parkrun PB a couple of weeks ago 22:28 (which was probably due to the psychological boost of feeling lighter as much as the actual physiology – I nearly threw up on the finish line).

I’m not exactly wasting away yet, mind you so my longer runs still have the potential to be a fire hazard due to the amount of upper-thigh friction. Thankfully, the lovely people at Chaffree got in touch recently to say, “Hey Notmuchofarunner, do you still pose a risk to woodland areas when you do a trail run, due to the high probability of starting an illegal chub-rub fire? If so, would you like some more of our rather wonderful, seamless, anti-chafe merchandise? (Especially since you wrote that random lovely blog post about the last lot we sent you)”

…or something like that. 

Anyway, I said, “yes please, thank you very much”, and so I have some more most excellent running undercrackers. They are seriously brilliant for running in, but I’ll say no more now for fear of coming across as some kind of underwear fetishist. Read the link for more info (about ‘Chaffree’, not underwear fetishism).

I was even motivated enough to for a quick 5 miles in before breakfast this morning, though due to clicking the wrong button it got recorded as ‘5 miles of alpine skiing’ on Strava. Now edited.

That’ll do for now. Just to show intent. I’ve not given up. It’s just a run/walk, blog/don’t blog strategy.
image

(Or ‘randomness take two’)

Same photo … Different blog post!

 

 Yesterday’s random sweet plucked from the randoms packet (from which I had to elicit some sporting activity) was a tennis racquet – boring.

Today, it was this…

  
A space rocket! Yeah! 

So I trained to be an astronaut!

Well obviously not. 

It was suggested that I do 100 burpees because I would have to shoot up like a rocket to do them. I thought there would be very little chance of me even leaving the ground after 100 burpees so I declined that suggestion.

I opted instead for the easier option of moving at 4 times the speed of sound.

Well… A leisurely 20 minute run to check on a couple of our geocaches that I needed to check were still in place.

On the way back, I placed my phone on the ground, set the timer, and ran over it.

So, just like a rocket going past my house, I’m moving fast, defying gravity, soaring through the air, and I’m barely visible…
image

…Unlike a space rocket however (I imagine), I landed in a big pile of dog poo and subsequently did the dog-poo-foot-slide thing all the way home (which incidentally had little or no effect as I was wearing trail shoes and I’ve just forced it into the gaps).
I’m left them outside and I’m hoping for a thunderstorm tonight!