Welcome to my blog. The blog posts are mostly about my runs and my 'Life Lessons from Running'. You'll find too notes of things and people that give me inspiration. There's so much to be learned of life, a huge abundance of learning about oneself and the world; and life offers so much for the picking. I hope you find something here to inspire you. If you'd like to get in touch. Feel free!

'If you wish to drown, do not torture yourself with shallow water' (Bulgarian Proverb)
'The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation' (Thoreau)
'To live according to (my) rational nature and not like a stray dog' (Thomas Merton - The Seven Storey Mountain)
'Take a look at life as it is lived and see for yourself that the world only moves for you when you act'. (Werner Erhard)
'You'll never know how far you can go unless you are willing to go too far' (Steve Chandler - Fearless)

Thursday, 19 June 2014

What a Week

Last Saturday, as I was beginning Level 11 of my training plan, day 1 I decided to do the Key Stage first i.e. 55 minute run. But I was eager to try 10 miles as I'd had an easy recovery week. So, my 55 minute run turned into a 2 hour run.


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I'd wanted to get into double figures. I felt that if I can do 10 miles now, then 13 in September is more than just a possibility.
 
It was a beautiful morning and the views as I got up towards Standish were excellent. I tried out my new water bottle belt, carrying some diluted orange and 4 Asda fig rolls as an energy top-up. I'd remembered that I used to eat fig rolls in my younger hill walking days and that they were excellent for giving me an energy boost. I don't really fancy buying and eating gels, which are expensive anyway. Fig rolls might be a bit dry but they are easily washed down with a mineral replacement drink. I could feel the benefit of both.
 
So that was one personal best this week - furthest distance, longest time, most calories. And my average pace was pretty good too, slightly less than 12 minute miles.
 
Yesterday was my second big event of the week. I entered the Hawkeshead 10k. It was my first race in 9 years. I'd thought of doing it a little while ago but dismissed the idea. As the time drew near I gave it more thought, so with Linda's encouragement we decided to do an overnight so I didn't have to drive back.
 
All day long I was feeling nervous. It was a very hot day - 25 degrees. Because of the nerves I had a jippy stomach. I tried to convince myself that position at the end of the race didn't matter, but I certainly didn't want to come last. Within the last 6 would be ok and a possibility in light of the results of previous years and having finished training 10k's in an hour and 2 or 4 minutes. Race pace is always quicker. I read that the course would be 'undulating' so I allowed for that. I needed to stoke up so had Cumberland sausage and mash at the Red Lion in Hawkeshead at 5.30 and 2 pints of orange and soda for hydration. I still felt a bit rough by the time the start came round and had had to go on the toilet twice.
 
The race started. It was still a very warm evening. I'd put myself at the back because I didn't want to get in the way. I was a few places in from the back. After half a mile the hills started and they were relentless, one after the other with hardly a flat section of any decent length to get your breath back. I was passed by one young woman and then that was it. I let a woman a few yards in front of me pace me as I could see that she might have been marginally stronger than me.
 
At 2 miles the stomach pains began and were with me all the way round. Not bad enough to stop me but not good. I managed to keep up. The woman stopped for a drink and I passed her but then let her by again because I didn't want to be in front. It's easier trying to keep up with someone else than trying to stay in front of them. Half way came and a drink station which was very welcome. The woman stopped again and then I let her past again. About a mile or more from the finish she stopped for a drink again and this time I couldn't hear her behind me so I pressed on in front of her to the finish.
 
The scenery all the way round was lovely but on the return leg there were stunning views of the Langdale Pikes. As I approached about 9k I could hear the cheers of people on the finishing line. I was on my own when I came to the finishing chute with Linda waiting for me. I'd done it. It was hard but I'd done it and felt very proud of myself. 1 hour 7 minutes. A very good time in view of  the hills and the heat. I wasn't last. I was in the last half dozen which I'd predicted. I'm still waiting to see the results. It's whet my appetite for more.
 
 
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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Recovery Week?

I decided to take this week as a recovery week but also to try out my new Altra The One running shoes. Excellent service from Accelerate means I had the shoes in 4 days even returning the first pair, too small. I've done two runs in them this week just over 3 miles. Yes, they are zero drop but with some added cushioning which makes them distinct from my Vivobarefoots. I bought them thinking that they will be better for me on longer runs.

 New shoes of any kind mean different characteristics and I've been surprised at how just a small difference in shoe style, shape etc. can make a big difference in the feel of a run. The added cushioning seems to be reminding me of my old running shoes in which I used a heel strike style of running. So I've had to concentrate on my form and be more deliberate in forefoot, midfoot striking. With this in mind, it will take a bit of time to get used to them and for them to get used to me. So, I'll spend my training weeks in my Neos, and my recovery weeks in my Altras.

 On the plus side, my average running pace is a bit quicker now after three stages of my Run The Edge Level Up 13.1 training plan, nearer to 10 minutes than 11 minutes miles, which is good. If I can keep that pace up for a 10k then I've got every chance of doing a half marathon in 2:15. We shall see!!!

Today's run:


Saturday, 24 May 2014

Stage 9 Completed

Out at 6.30 and a lovely morning contrary to the forecast. I think it was just a window in the weather. My final day on Stage 9 and the long run - 45 minutes to run. I followed the route I took last Bank Holiday Monday at the beginning of the month. On that occasion it was at the beginning of the week after a couple of days rest. This time it was at the end of the week and weighing 4 pounds heavier than I was three weeks ago, due to being away on holiday; and my decision to finish with 'dieting'. Towards the end of the run I could see that I was just ahead of my previous time so kept it going as best I could. Eventually I finished a few seconds ahead. All in all it was an improvement because last time I abandoned the stage but this week I've completed it. The stages aren't easy so I've decided to think more about how I tackle them, what order to take the days in for example and to have a 'recovery week' in between each stage with shorter, slower pace runs and a distance run. But all in all I'm pleased with the three stages I've completed now. There's 9 more to go before the event. I'm looking forward to getting fitter and maybe a bit faster at the same time. If I can complete the half marathon in 2.15 I'll be very happy indeed. And that means an average pace of 10.20. Well, we'll see. Here's today's run

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Stage 9 Day 3

Today was a simple run 20 minutes. I topped and tailed it with a 5 minute or so jog. But I also ran up Beech Hill Avenue, the most challenging hill around here. Altogether my pace was very good for the challenge. So I'm definitely getting fitter. And I wasn't wiped afterwards too. Rest again tomorrow and then the long run on Saturday. Then we'll see if the revised plan worked any better.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Holiday Running

We went to the island of Mykonos, Greece last week for a holiday. I got 2 longer and 2 shorter runs in. The landscape is very hilly but beautiful and of course it was sunny and warm even between 7 and 8 in the morning. I didn't take my TomTom watch but had Endomondo on my BlackBerry so used that to record the runs and take to take some photos and publish them on the app too. Here's a couple of the runs and photos:


Stage 9 Rethink

After trying to do the long and short run first I felt really wiped out so decided to abandon stage 9 until after my holiday and then to rethink it. It's obvious that a rest day either side of the long run is sensible with perhaps the short run between the long run and the tempo/ladder etc. runs. So, having got back from holiday last Saturday, on Sunday, still being off work I did Run 10 jog 2 Run 15 walk 3 Run 10 jog 2. It was hard mainly because I didn't get much sleep on holiday and certainly didn't sleep at all well on Saturday night. So I started tired. Here's the run:
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This morning I did the second Run/Jog - Run 20 jog 2 Run 10 jog 2 Run 5 jog 2. Again it was hard even though I'd had a day off in between. When I started out I felt stiff and wooden but eventually got going. Here's the run:



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So, these runs are really pushing me. I'll see how I get on with the rest of the stage and then I'll have a proper rest week next week before Stage 10. My hips are a bit painful today after this morning's run, my right one especially. It's not bad but it's an effect I've not experienced before. So let's look, listen and learn.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Stage 9 Day 1 - Run 45

May Bank Holiday Monday and the third week of my half marathon training plan. A lovely morning so off I go. I decided to do the key stage in stage 9 of my plan today for 7 points and work down from that during the week instead of up to that. So it's a 45 minute run today, which means piling it on for 45 mins after I spend 5 minutes warming up jog and then slowing down for any remaining time after the 45 mins. I ran my best pace for distance. 6 miles in slightly over 60 minutes. Still not the 55 minutes I achieved for 10k in the Great Manchester Run in 2005 but then I'm a bit older aren't I? Also, my run this morning included trail as well as road which usually means a slower pace for me and a pretty long uphill stretch from Crooke to Shevington, longer than I did in my last two runs. On my way up to Shevington suddenly I found myself imagining a pacer just in front of me, which was me as I was in that GMR years ago. Weird but effective! Over all, quite an achievement. Stiff legs will be the penalty I think.



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