Sunday, 29 December 2013

Christmas Day Run

For the first time ever I did a run on Christmas Day. It's here. I really enjoyed it. It was a lovely morning as dawn broke. I wished dog walkers a 'Merry Christmas'. A couple of them had the 'bah humbug' look on their faces when I spoke to them. But I enjoyed it anyway.

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Post Christmas Training run

I kept the distance shorter purposely as I want to do some basic building up now. Did some fartlek between lamp posts.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Life Lessons from Running 4

A couple of weeks ago I ran 7 miles. Today I ran 8.3. It's here:

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Sometimes you get a 'second wind'. I'd intended just to do 10K but as I passed the 10k mark I felt I had more in me. Just how much I wasn't sure. My route home would take me up hill a little but as I was going up the hill I felt that every part of me was working in harmony. So I just went with it. I ended up doing 2 miles more. Life lesson? There's always more inside us than we realise. So keep on pushing!

Here's the Endomondo 'print out' for the run:

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Life Lessons from Running 3

'You never know how far you can go unless you are willing to go too far'. You'll see that quote in the header to this blog. Last Thursday I ran 7 miles. It's the longest continuous run I've ever done. I think I could have gone further too if I'd tried.

I ran along with the complaints my body was making which weren't too bad. I just thought more about my running form as and when the complaints arose and it generally took care of them. When I turned for home though that's when I began to feel it most.

I was very proud of myself and have been ever since. I expect I won't run as far as that again for a while. I want to concentrate on building myself up with shorter runs, tempo runs etc. and concentrating on practising better form.

But it's true that you 'don't know until you are willing to try'. All along I was thinking too, 'what could I do if I had no fear?' Now there's a question!

Here's where I ran:

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Life Lessons from Running 2

There's sometimes an awful randomness about life. Yesterday morning I was up really early and went for a run. Almost home, I tripped over something and fell. I didn't really hurt myself, just grazed a knee. When I looked, I found that I'd tripped on a circular piece of wire about 18" in diameter. I must have trodden on it with my right foot and tripped on it with my left as I strode forwards. What was it in the fates that ordained that I should trip on something so randomly placed on a paved footpath over 3 miles into my 4 mile route? Had my pace been different or had I been a foot either side of the path I was taking I'd have missed it. So first of all there does seem to be an odd randomness about some of the things that come along.

Second, it was dark and maybe that's why I didn't see the wire. Or maybe it was because I'd decided to carry my spectacles in my jacket pocket rather than wear them. As I wasn't using my heart rate monitor I didn't have anything to look at (except my phone if I'd wanted to) so I'd decided not to wear them. Maybe that's why I didn't see the wire. Lesson number two from yesterday is that sometimes we make life difficult for ourselves. Running in the daylight wearing my specs would help me avoid such incidents.

Oddly though, after I'd fallen I found myself running better. I think that's because I was focussing more on my running form. Maybe sometimes it needs us to fall (or fail) and get up (and start again) before things improve.

Here's where I ran:

Monday, 21 October 2013

Getting Lost - Achieving More

I got lost yesterday and ended up running further again than I've done for years. 6.08 miles to be precise. Almost 10k.

I decided to run out into a bit of more local countryside adjacent to home, figuring it would be easy to get back onto one of my usual routes around Crooke. It would have been, had my map reading skills not deteriorated in the 50 years since I last used them. And I really ought NOT to trust my own in built sense of direction, because I have none. When I got lost, having followed my own in built sense of direction, I suddenly remembered that my run was being tracked by GPS. So looked at where I was on the map on my phone and in less than a couple of minutes I was back on the right road. We didn't have GPS 50 years ago when I learned to read a map.

The upshot of getting lost, as I said, was a greatly increased mileage. I was rather at my limit when I got back but I had no ill effects. My hip was quite ok, probably due to the increased range of motion climbing styles and running over rough ground in the wood and on the trails.

I'll do it again soon and clock what I'd wanted to do the first time. I ran in my road shoes but the paths I ran on were mainly dirt trails except for the beginning and very end so next time I'll try my trail shoes on it.

I really surprised myself that I was able to run that far without injury or lasting effect. I must be fitter than I think! :)

Saturday, 19 October 2013

It's Wonderful To Be Back

I was driving down one of my running routes only a couple of months ago thinking about how I used to run that way and that I'd probably not be able to do that ever again. So to be able to be out running again and now running without walk breaks too is simply wonderful. I ran to the point where I was thinking that, last Thursday morning and then all in all ran 4.5 miles. It was the longest continual run I'd done in about 8 years.

Not only am I running but I feel fitter than when I used to run before. Studying and trying to put into practice the chi-running form has meant that I'm running without injury. No more shin splints and rice(ing)! I've just got to build up the distance. Having walked for months with an injured foot has meant that my left hip sometimes hurts. But I'm doing exercises to sort that out. And running in a more relaxed way is helping too.

Being able to run again I'm able too to enjoy the scenery especially out in the countryside. But a glorious sunrise can add even to an industrial or residential landscape. Below are a couple of photos I took with my phone last Thursday. Unfortunately my phone crashed after I'd taken one of them. By the time it booted up again Endomondo had recorded a 40 second kilometer. Can't even do that in the car!

Here's where I ran and the photos:

Sunrise over the Leeds/Liverpool Canal

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Autumn's Here

This morning dawned sunny and clear and COLD compared with recent days. It was time for a thicker top. A degree or two colder or a bit of a breeze and it would have been tights, gloves and hat too I think. Look's like autumn has finally arrived. I think, though, that it will be a warmer winter this time around, than it was last year.

Whether it's cold or warm it's always good running into the rising sun. I think I've commented on it before. Nothing better as far as I'm concerned - darkness to light. It's a sort of parable of how we'd all like life to be. And it's certainly what the gospel is about.

It was day two of my Endomondo training plan. However, there's no voice over telling you what your pace is for the various intervals so the app's deficient in that respect. Apparently there's an update coming at the end of this month. Here's where I ran:

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Night Run

I did a night run tonight. And it was the first of a training plan to take me to 5 miles in quite a few weeks time i.e. by next March I think. Anyway, the run went well. I tried Chi running form focuses on my lower body and relaxing my hips and shoulders. My left hip still hurts a bit after about 25 minutes. I realised the other day that this probably stems from when I injured my foot and was limping for months. So I'll have to build up and straighten out my hip. My foot is now fine and in fact hurts less when I'm running than when I'm walking.

I enjoyed the run. It's here. Endomondo GPS is a bit short on the mileage calculation, about .2 or .3 of a mile so I have to edit it after each run. What I've recorded is more accurate and is measured on the Runkeeper and Daily Mile maps.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Birthday Run

Today was my birthday so I treated myself to running the route I did last Saturday but clockwise this time. It took me a few minutes longer and with less stops. That was because the hills were longer though not as steep. I'm learning about these things as I go along. I just thought it would take me less time because I knew the route and didn't stop to take photographs. How wrong I was! But I must be getting fitter because now, just 12 hours later I feel very much recovered.

Here's the run:

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Too many cars. Too many people. Too Late

I decided to do my half hour training run this morning. I wanted to do the run when it had come light so it was almost 7.30 when I turned out. that time, people had got going and there were too many cars and too many people for my liking. I saw 4 other runners. I'm maybe used to seeing 1 other or none at all. So the streets felt crowded.

So it looks like I'm going to be running with the Pre-dawn Runners again until at least the end of April. I don't mind because I'm used to it from when I was running before. And I really enjoy watching it come light if I'm that bit later. Of course, when I'm out in the countryside on the trails it will be in full daylight. And there's no noise and car fumes there!

That' where I'll be tomorrow. Bring it on!!!

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Darker Mornings

On Monday last I did what I call a training run, something straightforward, straight up, straight down. It's the first one detailed below. It was a dry morning, just come light. The longer nights now mean that if you have to be running before or after work, lots of your running is in the dark, which is an experience in itself.

This morning I ran to Crooke by the the canal and then back along the road. It's detailed second below. It was just hinting at coming light as I set out and it had been raining quite hard just before I started but had slackened off quite a lot. But it was very wet underfoot, nice for splashing in the puddles!

It was very gloomy by the canal, the water black and forbidding. Although I ran on the grassy parts of the towpath on the paved parts I tried to run at least a body length away from the canal. I didn't fancy swimming on such a morning! It was nice to follow the towpath trail when it became earth rather than block paving. Canal boats were moored at the side as I approached Crooke and a light on in one said at least that one was inhabited. I saw nobody at all on this length of the run.

I ran back through Crooke village and along the road. My left hip started to complain a bit on the uphill sections which it doesn't seem to do out on the countryside trails. Must try and discern what's going on there and give it a bit of exercise between runs to strengthen it.

It was nice and always is nice to run 'into the light'. Being rainy though, it was still a bit gloomy when I got back home. Endomondo GPS said I'd done 3.76 miles but plotting it on the map turns out to be 3.91. Nearly 4 anyway which in 49 minutes was a PB. Not that I'm that much bothered about PBs except they give me an idea that I'm getting fitter.

Here's the details of both of the runs:

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Parbold Hill Widdershins

A beautiful sunny autumn morning and I decided to just go with it, enjoying the fresh air and the morning. There's one or two photos here and my log from Endomondo. I found the route much more easily because I'd done some homework checking the route out on Google maps alongside the footpath as its marked on the OS map. You can tell how out of date the OS maps are as you can see on Google maps how trees have grown, houses have been built and paths have been diverted either officially or unofficially.

Here's the route and details of my 'performance'. Oh, and if you were wondering what 'widdershins' means, it's an 'old religion' word for anti-clockwise', which indicates less than a source of blessing, if you see what I mean. Next time I'll do it clockwise!
And some photos:
Boars Den Tumulus

All is safely gathered in

High Moor

Autumn Skyline

View over the Lancashire Plain

Parbold Church and Ashurst's Beacon

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Standish/Shevington Loosener

Went out on my bike this evening. The nights are really drawing in now that the autumnal equinox has passed. I set out at dusk and in about 20 minutes it was quite dark. Time to be lit up as much as possible on the bike. It may be safer than in the day time because with high viz jacket and all the reflecting fabric as well as lights on the bike itself I should say that you really stand out in a way you might not in the day. Anyway, here's some detail of the ride:

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

On the Verge

I needed to go for a run this morning. But I didn't relish the prospect of a lot of road. So I decided to run by the canal on the grass verge of the tow path and then on the grass verges of the road. That meant that about two thirds of the run was on grass. I didn't like the long flat of the canal bank though. I much prefer the ups and downs. My left hip began to be a bit painful by the time I got to the top of the hill but I managed to get back without doing any damage. I just took it easy.

Here's where I ran:

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Endomondo Challenge

Endomondo Challenge: has joined the challenge'Running Rotten Egg Award September (Most km - Running)' on Endomondo. Check it out on:

Well, I'm 5461st in the challenge out of more than 14,000. Lets see how near to 1st I can get!

Life lessons from running 1. (might be the only one)

I was going to do another trail run this morning but to be honest I couldn't be bothered driving into the countryside. There's some trails within a mile of home, over reclaimed industrial land which I'll probably explore over the winter. Anyway I decided to do a run on the road around home.

Wherever I could I took to the grass verges and I ran on the grass in the park. I also took advantage of any tarmac surface if it was the only alternative to paving stones and tried to keep to rough tarmac.

As I think I said before, trail running is more like a very vigorous massage of the feet and legs because of the changeable and uneven terrain; grass, mud, earth, stone. This contrasts markedly with the hard monotonous surface of the pavement where the high repetitive impact puts much greater stress and strain on muscles, ligaments and bones.

So this morning I was much more careful and discerning about the surfaces on which I ran. Uneven terrain is harder to negotiate and if you aren't careful it's easy to trip, stumble or fall. But together with running up hills, it provides better, more thorough exercise than monotonous hard surfaces. I find that hard, even ground and descents take much more out of my feet, legs and hips. So what you would expect to be worse for the body is actually better for it. That certainly applies to me anyway.

We think that when life is at its most comfortable and straightforward and easy going, we are better off. From what running tells me, it's the ups and downs, the uncertainties, the challenges in life that make us 'better'. As C.S. Lewis put it in The Screwtape Letters, 'the road to hell is soft under foot, without turning, without signposts and leads gently downwards'.

This is where I ran today:

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Up and Running

I'm running again - trail running mostly which I'm enjoying very much indeed. The movement is far less repetitive and so my body doesn't feel the strain as much as in road running. My foot is ok and it feels great to be back out in the fresh air again. Here's my latest run.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Monday, 27 May 2013

Off we go Again

I've been sort of started on new diet and exercise regime seriously for the last three weeks. Really just working up to where I am now. I've invested in a set of Withings Body Scan scales and I'm waiting for a Fitbit tracker which will hopefully be delivered tomorrow. I've signed up with Runkeeper too which integrates with MyFitness Pal and the Withings Scale. So I can monitor just about every calorie taken in and worked off.

Over the past week I've worked off 5lbs. which is good going but I'm now settling into a more modest rate of weight loss. I'll be happy with a pound a week which is my goal. So I'll reach 13 stones by the beginning of August. My long term goal is 11st. 7lb. by Jan 1st 2014.

Nothing like a worthwhile challenge!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

And some more

I weigh 86.7 kg. My body fat is 28.6 kg. My BMI is 27.4. One step back two steps forward. Steady progress downwards. That's what I want!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Lost some more.

I weigh 86.9 kg. My body fat is 32.4 %. My BMI is 27.4.
Getting to know the functions of my new Withings scales and apps. The best pieces of kit I've ever had to help me lose weight

Monday, 20 May 2013

Hey there ! Check out my physical activity data

I covered a distance of 2.87 km. I burned 197 calories. This represents 31 minutes of moderate activity.
Second outing since injuring my foot over 6 months ago.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Reminder of my Youth

We went to the Lakes last week and had a trip to Langdale. It was a beautiful day and it reminded me of the very many long and enjoyable days fellwalking when I was younger. I want to do it again!

New Bike


Linda's bike

Linda had a new bike for her birthday. It really made her day. This is her first outing getting used to it in the street

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Snow At Last

Last night 25th January, we had some real snow at last. Here's a couple of videos

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Bike Ride

Been for my first bike ride for over 12 months - 'Round the Block'. Very short, but that was the idea. I need to simply get a feel for the bike again first of all over the first couple of weeks or so. The weather's not all that good at present so if I'm looking for dry days I'll have to go when I can. Just looking out of the window it's beginning to snow, very lightly. Minimum preparation time is the order of the day. Bike clips and helmet on and GO!

Anyway, I've got over the threshold on this day 2

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Starting Again - Again

I haven't run or done any exercise at all for coming up to 4 months now because my foot just 'went'. Having to be on it way too much after the injury made it a lot worse. It was getting better but last night it just 'went' again. So, I've put new ordinary peddles on my bike so that I can just sit on it and ride. Other than a pair of bicycle clips to keep my trouser legs out of the chain and my hard hat on I don't need any other special gear.

I'm missing the exercise and the fresh air so badly. Maybe it's not the best time to start cycling again with snow forecast for early next week but, so what, I have to start somewhere some time. It's driving me nuts being so sedentary.

I went to the doc's with my foot, much good that was. So I'm still hobbling walking Alfie, who we've got back at the mo and just getting around. But at least I can push my bike peddles without much pain at all. So it'll be around the block for a couple of weeks to get the feel of it in my body, head and heart before I venture further or begin to push myself to get a bit of this weight off that I've acquired in my forced idleness.

So, here we go.........

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