Wednesday, 26 March 2008

A change of scene

A lovely week in Herefordshire to recuperate after the madness of Holy Week. We spent our time in a delightful village called Weobley, in the equally delightful Mellington House. Alison & Chris were so helpful and friendly, and the self-catering cottage that we had was great - give them a visit if you're in that part of the country.

Having done no running at all since the Sport Relief circuit, I was eager to get in even a little exercise. So on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, after a day's gentle bimbling round local towns, shops and tourist attractions (click here for one of them), I headed out around the village: right down the main street to the church, round the bottom of the church, back up the other side and in to the top of the high street. FetchEveryone decreed this route to be 0.69 miles, so three loops gave me a two mile run.

A really pleasant evening, and a pretty place to be. The ewe and her lambs looked at me as though I was mad.

However, this took me back to (mostly) running on roads with minimal pavements. Which meant road camber. And by the end of the second run, I had to admit that the ankle was starting to ache again, and that was somewhere I just didn't want to go; so my two little evening runs were the sum total for the holiday. Roll on my next podiatry appointment.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

A soggy red nose

... well, I should have had a red nose, I suppose, but I looked enough of a clown as it was!

This was the Sport Relief Mile Day. You could choose to run 1, 3 or 6 miles, so I reckoned that 3 miles was reasonable; because of the length of the loop chosen, the actual distances were 1.05, 2.85 and 5.55 miles.

When I woke, it was tipping it down. Not only that, but a high wind - not fun. Leaving my visiting friends in bed (very wise of them), I drove into Norwich, met up with Elaine and her son Peter, and Kim (not running this time, but was there to cheer us on and took lots of photos - thanks, Kim!), and lined up with vast numbers to run round the city centre.

Whatever bright spark (Noel Coward, actually) said Norfolk was flat had clearly never been to the centre of our county town. The hills around the centre are noticeable, to say the least! The route took us down the side of the marketplace, along to Chapelfield, around the Chapelfield Park area, and back round to the Forum. After my third lap I was more than ready to stop - the thought of doing the six mile version didn't bear thinking about - but at least I was OK with doing more than a mile.

Peter, being a fit teenager, was far faster than us; like an eager labrador, he effectively ran much further than we did, as he kept running ahead, then turning back or running on the spot to allow us to catch up! I knew from our training runs that Elaine would have no problem with the distance, and as she has the light frame of a runner, rather than a plodder like me, I wasn't surprised when she and Peter vanished in front of me during the last half-lap or so, and came in exactly a minute ahead.

However, I was pretty pleased to find that I'd maintained at least a sub-11 minute mile throughout - the photo of me crossing the line proves my timing(see clock top right)!

Aching a bit, but not too badly; very, very wet (I was glad I'd brought a change of clothes, and especially shoes - my trainers were twice their usual weight by the end with the water, or that's what it felt like); and very hungry, I was glad to go off with Kim to meet Malcolm & Sue for tea & a scone in Jarrolds. The post-race photograph with Elaine & Peter is perhaps the least flattering photo of me I've ever seen, but at least I look happy!

With a bit of luck, by my next outing (Race for Life, May) it will be (a) in better weather and (b) I'll be nearer to the fitness point I left last November!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

It takes two

I've always known that I love both running alone and running together. The former gives me quiet times in my favourite places; the latter gives challenge and pace.

This evening I met up with Elaine, who has just started running - although is very fit to begin with. We took the one-mile circuit from the gym and round the car park, as last time. Managed a steady mile, stopped briefly to stretch; second mile, ditto. I'd mentally committed to two miles, as this was what we did last time, but as we stretched, Elaine said "Are we doing the third mile?" - bearing in mind that we're running the Norwich Sport Relief three-miler on Sunday! So off we went again, and it was great. Had I been alone, I'd probably have given up after #2 and gone home...

We were pleased to find that our running time was 32:40 for 3.03 miles - a pace of 10:47, which was very encouraging. Now we just need to do it on Sunday without the breaks!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

A leisurely swim

Spent 20 minutes on the machines at the gym; then with Kim's arrival we went to swim (she has a very painful trapped nerve at the moment, so running or weights sounded like a bad idea for her). It's good to feel that the ankle is sufficiently recovered that I can do front crawl again! (The "flipper" action of the feet was just too uncomfortable until now.)

Sunday, 9 March 2008

A bit faster

I went out this evening for the usual 1.75 miles to Morton, and for the first time since I got off the bench, felt (just occasionally) that lovely comfortable-run feeling. I took the pace up just a little, and was pleased to find I'd done it in 18:30 - a 10:34 pace, which is nearly as fast as I've ever managed. Now I just need to get the distance up as well!

That was only my second run since this time last week, however - it's been Wednesday and Sunday both of the last two weeks. Need a bit more than that. Kim is now back, and we plan a swim on Tuesday; and a run with Elaine on Wednesday. There had better be at least one more - I'm doing three miles next Sunday!

The hip seems to be sorting itself out - that was no problem. The odd, mild discomfort in the toes of the right foot is still there, but seems a bit better. However, I've felt pretty "creaky" in the last couple of days - even my old lower back problem seems to resurface occasionally - so perhaps a visit to the osteo is in order. Honestly - how many therapists does it take to look after a runner?!!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Another running partner

Elaine wants to do the Race for Life in May. As she's started where I did a year ago, I was really happy to be able to take her out as Kim did for me. I plotted a slightly extended route from the front of the Longwater gym - the usual way round the car park and back - but going round the back of the gym too, so it made it exactly a mile's lap.

Actually, she's FAR fitter than I was last year; had no problem keeping up the continuous mile, and we only paused between the two laps we did because she had a bit of a stitch. An 11 minute pace, which was comfortable for us both.

Monday, 3 March 2008

A guide to healthy eating

Thanks loads to PastaQueen for putting me on to this wonderful cartoon. I think I'd move the easy & untasty three upwards - I happen to like them - but otherwise I couldn't agree more.

It comes from the awesome ("A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language"). Apart from the math, sounds like my kinda guy.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

And they're off again...

Back in another happy place, actually. The Race for Life 2007 was really where it all started. I was originally planning to skip it this year, in favour of doing a 10K race happening the same weekend; but having been back running for a month, I think the likelihood of getting up to that distance by early May is a bit remote, to say the least. Not to say foolhardy, given the frustration of three-months-crocked.

And when my friend Elaine said that she had just started running, and wanted to have a go at the RFL... well, it had to be done! So here's the renewed web page.

As you'll see, the target is very modest this year. That's because I still want to do a 10K - and for it to be the other Cancer Research race, which happens around September (they haven't published the dates yet). So I'd prefer to call in the goodwill factor from my wonderful family and friends for that one instead.

But if anybody feels like making it "as well as", that would be wonderful...

Just do it

This is better.

A day with lots to do, paid and unpaid, business & domestic; therefore the motivation to get off my backside and take a break from the PC with a quick run down to Morton.

Around 5pm, still in daylight; the evening turning muggy and cloudy, but dry. 18:45 - fifteen seconds off the last time; pace 10:43 (hooray!); still that weird discomfort in the toes of the right foot, but otherwise fine. Left hip nagged a bit only after I'd stopped.

That's good. Little and often. And I see from my diary that I've been managing only an average of two sessions a week over the month since I started running again. Nothing to do with injuries - only laziness. 3-4 per week is what does it for me. So what if it's only 20 minutes per session? In those immortal words, which I should have emblazoned on a t-shirt, "half-assed is good enough"...!