Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas everyone!!!!

We have a fantastic Christmas Day and the boys got spoilt once again. I hope everyone had a great day and has a happy new year.

I have had a fantastic year which started with my 32nd birthday and 14st 7lb of laziness, then came the Olympics and the start of my running life. And now at the years end I have completed a personal best run of 13.1km and now weigh 13st 2lb.

With lots planned for 2013 I'm sure it's gonna be just as brilliant as this past year. I hope all your New Years are just as good, and don't forget to keep running everyone.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Muscle memory good or bad?

It had been a week since my last run and it will probably be my last before Xmas.

Christmas is always busy and it throws you out of your routine but the look on the boys faces will be priceless. It will be worth the added weight and the missed runs to see their smiles as they tear open present after present. Clark met Santa for the first time the other day and after a split second of confusion his face lit up. I think this Christmas is going to be great.


So the run yesterday was essential, and it was tougher than expected too. After a week off I was expecting it to be harder but not as hard as it was. I planned to run for an hour and just see how far I went. About half way round lap 1 I changed the route slightly which added about 1.2k, I was only doing this so I could hopefully finish my hour at the end of 1 of the laps and doing 12km in the process. My previous best 12k is 1hr03mins so I was gonna have to work for it if I was to finish in an hour. After the extra 1.2k plus my normal lap I had done 4k and was feel ok. It was at this point that my muscle memory kicked in unexpectedly. At this stage of my normal run I would be on a nice flat if not slightly down hill stretch but because of the added 1.2k I was on an uphill. My legs suddenly got heavier and my calfs felt like bags of sand at the bottom of my legs. As I powered through to 5k I was very close to quitting but managed to keep going and complete lap 2. I was still contemplating on just finishing there but I kept telling myself to do 1 more lap, especially as I won't get another run for a while. My muscle memory was completely throwing me off my rhythm at times when I should be finding it steady I was struggling and vice-versa. I even managed after 8km to pick up the pace uphill too, I'm not saying I was able to do a quick sub 5min km but it was quicker than the km around it. My times were getting slower as my legs were getting heavier and heavier at the start of lap 4 and I reached my 1 Hour limit just before I reached 11km. As I had add the extra bit to lap 1, I was just coming up to the Farmers Boy at 11km so I had to run through my 1 hour limit and I pumped myself up for the final km back home. I finished off my 12km run with a 5.26km and managed to judge it so I finished a couple of 100 metres from home.

Muscle memory good or bad? Well I would have said it was a bad thing if you had asked me halfway through my run. I also would have said a good thing if you had asked me on my normal run. So I think it depends on how much you want to push yourself, or how varied you want your fitness to be. If all you do is 1 run week in week out then muscles memory is good but if you want to do different things and different runs then its a bad thing.
It also depends on the sport you take part in, for instance in Golf muscle memory is very important but Football not so much.

I have started to hand out a couple of the Flyers for the Fun Run to people I know I won't see for a bit and the rest are getting sent out after Christmas in the Children's book bags.

Well have a happy Christmas everyone and don't forget that after Christmas to Keep running everyone.


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Huddersfield Santa Dash and a PB distance!!!

This past Sunday Dexter and I had our first proper run together, it was the annual Huddersfield Santa Dash. We were running for Kirkwood hospice, I was in a Santa suit and Dexter got antlers and a red nose. We knew this prior to the run so we dug out an old reindeer outfit, which was for 2-3 year olds not 4 year olds. It still fit him sort of, he could get in it comfortably but his arms and legs were sticking out by about 6 inches. So to keep him warm we put his thermals on underneath and being white they actually added to the outfit. There was a really good turn out and atmosphere at the start as we waited to be set off, there were lots of photos taken by various people and lots of smiles too. Sarah-Jane and Clark were there to watch and to cheer us on, but Clarks Nemesis was there so the cheers turned to screams of fear. The Kirkwood Hospice mascot (Kirk Wood) is gonna haunt Clarks nightmares for a few years I think, he has never been so scared of anything as he is of Kirk Wood.

The Santa Dash was only a mile long round some of the street in the town centre but I was gonna be the furthest that Dexter had ever run before. He did really well he kept going all the way round didn't winge once and at 1 point even let go of my hand and ran off ahead, so I had to speed up to catch him. He was totally focused and even the shouts of come on Rudolph didn't make him take his eyes of the run. We had great fun and at the finish we met up with Sarah-Jane and Clark and Grandma and Peter turned up too. We collected our certificates and then went for a bite to eat, before going home for a sit down.

After a couple of different runs over the weekend it was nice to get back to my usual route yesterday. I was debating weather to go yesterday or tonight but as it was only gonna get colder I was glad I went when I did. It was still cold and the floor was covered in frost so I had to watch my step as I ran, more than usual anyway. Even thou I was taking it steady on the slippery roads and pavements I still managed to keep a low 5 min pace. I could only put this down to eating a big meal an hour before and having extra energy. The cold wasn't getting to me either as there wasn't any wind to chill my bits. I did get a few more looks of "what are you crazy running in this weather in SHORTS!!!" but I was nice and warm and was flying round the route. I knew I was doing well when I reached lap 3 and hadn't slowed much and was still running within the 5 min/km where as I would be into the 6 minutes by now. I even managed to dip under 5 minutes on a couple of km, and when I started lap 4 was considering lap 5. At the end of lap 4 I was nearly at 11km in 58 mins so I decided to do 1 more km and reach 12km and a new PB distance in 1hr03mins. I did the 12km in less time than it took me and Feebee to run 11.2km on Saturday. I was 'not to sound like a teenager but' buzzing and if it wasn't so late and nearly Clarks bedtime I would have done more and maybe even completed 5 laps. I hope to do another few of these before Christmas Day, as I won't get time for running over the holiday and visiting family.

On the fun run front we are at last ready to put out the flyers and next week will give a few out to people I know are up for it. Then after Christmas and new year when the kids are back at school we will give out the rest to take home to their parents etc. This way the fun run could be part of their New Years resolutions and shedding the extra Christmas pounds.

Things are going well but remember keep running everyone.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Plan B route and icy conditions

It's Saturday morning and what to do, I know lets go for a run. I had organised to drop the boys off with Grandma at 9.15am but the boys decided that today would be the day they slept in. Dexter came in to wake us at 9.05am and Clark was still asleep and I had to wake HIM up for a change. I'm not complaining about this at all it was a pleasant change and as I write this I can still feel the benefits. This meant that I didn't get to my mums with the boys till 10.45am and then didn't meet up with Sarah-Jane till 11.20am at stables.

We were finally ready to run, testing the Plan B route for the Shepley First School Fun Run. It was pretty chilly up on the tops and with the added wind chill I had to wear jogging bottoms and my hoody. We set off down the road towards Broadstone Rd to join up with the Plan B route and it was at this point that I had a Rocky moment. I was running down the road in my jogging bottoms and my hoody with the hood up in the cold, boxing the air and running with Sarah-Jane and her horse FeeBee. Hold on a minute go back a bit, HORSE that's not Rocky, that's when the Rocky moment finished. It was replaced with a very surreal moment I was running with a horse and FeeBee was running with me, side by side. We turned onto Broadstone Rd and headed south on the Plan B route, we were running at a steady late 5 minute pace and I was happy with that considering the conditions. As we progressed it came apparent that FeeBee was actually running with me and I mean at my pace, she could have gone faster but decided to stay with me. This became more interesting when Sarah had to hold her back because we were on a downhill, I could carry on at my own pace. By the time Sarah-Jane and FeeBee were at the bottom of the downhill I had pulled away from them a bit and as the road levelled out again and started to rise again they could speed up again. This is where FeeBee really showed that she was running with me, she started trotting faster and was catching me quite quickly. Then instead of trotting past me she drew level with me and slowed to keep pace with me, Sarah-Jane wasn't making her slow at all.
As we hit 3km we also hit the turn at the most southern part of the run, here there is a short but steep downhill and then quite quickly again we were on our way back northwards and uphill again. This part of the route is almost completely lined with windmills, and FeeBee did well not to shy away from them as they were surprisingly noisy in the wind. We were still on uphills and it wasn't until we hit 5 k that they levelled out a bit and at 5.5k they completely level out. The first downhill in a while came at 6k and was a welcomed feeling as i could catch my breath, which as quickly as I caught i lost it again. I was on auto-pilot and admiring the windmills as FeeBee pulled up along side me and snorted the loudest snort you've ever heard and made me jump out of my skin. We had a little giggle then we hit another downhill so I pulled away again, until we rejoined at the junction of Browns edge Rd. This is also where the Plan B 10k route meets back up with the Plan B 5k route from here the 2 routes are the same as they turn up Upper Maythorne lane and past the Pig Farm. This part of the route today was very icy and at 1 point Sarah had to get off FeeBee and walk her across it as it was safer than ending up underneath her after a fall. I pulled out a lead again because of that and was soon at the junction onto Windmill lane and the downhill to the finish line, or at least where the finish line would be on the Fun Run. I waited here for Sarah-Jane and FeeBee to catch up so we could run the last stretch back to stables together, when they arrived we set off back down Broadstone Rd towards stables and FeeBee was again running by my side. We hit a downhill again so once again I pulled away from them and was only a couple of hundred metres away from the gate to stables when I heard FeeBee almost cantering to catch up with me and then slowed as she reached me. We arrived at the gate and I opened it and FeeBee ran up the track back to stables leaving me behind, I think she wanted to win the race. As we reached stables I stopped my Endomondo App and we had run just under 11.25km in 1hr05mins and considering the conditions I was very pleased. Sarah-Jane was happy too as FeeBee had done really well and they don't get out on rides much in winter.

I was very happy with the Plan B route it was a great challenge it was a tough first 5k and a nice steady slightly easier second 5k. The roads were in good condition despite the ice and the views were spectacular at times and the windmills added something else. I think I may have to push this route to FOSFS a bit more now and see what they think as the only down side is we won't finish at Cannon Hall Farm. It still would be a shame not finish at Cannon Hall Farm as they have been very helpful whenever I've been in touch, but this new route makes more sense.

As ever I will keep you all informed of any updates

Keep running everyone.

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Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Finding time to run is always difficult in winter

As the days get shorter and the temperatures getting lower it is hard to find a good time to go running. Rob and I try to get out Mondays and Thursdays but we don't always manage both days, sometimes it's Monday and sometimes it's Thursday. There is also the odd time when we don't even manage that and it turns into a get out when you can. When the temperature drops it becomes very difficult to drag yourself out. Yesterday was quite cold but the wind was like jumping in an ice bath and back out every time a gust caught me. I was running my usual laps and after 3 laps I was ready for quitting, the wind was a drain on my energy. So it was a pleasant surprise that my 8th km was sub 5 mins and my fastest km of the run. I finished my 11km in under 1hr so I was really happy, but it wasn't long before my legs were knackered.

I not sure when I'll get another run in before the Santa Dash with Dexter on Sunday. I might be running Saturday morning but its not set in stone yet, it depends if there is anyone to look after the boys. Because Sarah wants to go for a ride on her horse FeeBee and I hope to run along with her. We are going to try a route for a 10km run, it might be a plan B route for the Shepley First School Fun Run. We may have to change because of things beyond our means to comply with council and police rules and regulations. If we do have to change, this route we are hoping to test look really good and could mean that organising the Fun Run on the day would be easier. I'll let you all know what's gonna happen when I know and I'll also let you know how the plan B route is if we end up running it on Saturday.

Keep running everyone.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Fun Run interest and a couple of runs

This last week has been interesting and in a good way at that.

Monday Sarah-Jane and I went to see Lenny Henry for her birthday, which was really good and nice to get out. Then on Tuesday Rob and I went for a quick run and it was quick for 2 reasons. 1 because Rob has just recovered from a slight knee injury and this was his first run in a couple of weeks. And 2 because it was Sarah-Janes birthday and I wanted to spend a bit of time with her.
We did 2 laps of our usual route and managed to do 5.5km before we gave in. Whilst on the run I told Rob about how the Fun Run meeting went and how much interest it got.

Then on Wednesday the fun run really start to take shape, and started to grow. I had emailed Shepley Spring the night before about supplying some water for the run and being slightly cheeky asked for some sponsorship money. The reply I got was not what I expected, I had though that I would get a haha nice try lad or maybe a we will give you some water but that's it. Instead I got a very helpful answer, they said of course we will supply you with some water and would you like some T-Shirts too we could get some for you in school colours and with logos on.
This also gave me the idea of medals for each participant too so I looked into it and you can get all sorts of different colours shape and size. Later that day I was introduced to Nigel who is also a parent from School and a runner as well, and he runs for Denby Dale running club too. They set up races all the time so Nigel gave me some good advice, we had a chat about the run and he told me I would have to inform the council and police. He also convinced me that we need to have a registration fee on the run to cover cost etc, and said that it should be a minimum of £5. I don't think we will need all that but if we don't us all the money it can go to a Charity that the school supports. I got some good ideas from Nigel so was glad to meet him.

Thursday came and it was basically full of emailing and ringing people, I had emailed Kirklees and West Yorkshire police. As the Fun Run ends at Cannon Hall which is under Barnsley Council I had to email them too. I got some replies from Kirklees but was still waiting on the rest, but with the reply from Kirklees they gave me some numbers to ring on case they don't reply to my emails.

Friday was different to rest of the week, it was Dexters first class assembly and Grandma, Clark and I went to watch. Dexter did really well and so did the rest of the class. I also managed another run braving the cold and frost. I went on my own and on my new favourite route round Shepley pushing myself through the cold air that felt like ice for the first couple of km. After 3 laps the cold wasn't a problem it even helped, but because of the cold my times were slightly slower than usual and finished lap 4 and 11km in 1hr00. I did feel like doing more but an hour out in the cold is enough, maybe if it warms up a bit I'll try and go further.

I keep updating you all on the Fun Run I hope that in the next couple of weeks we should be ready to sign people up.

Keep running everyone........

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Winter running and added enthusiasm

I had my meeting this past Wednesday with The Friends of Shepley First School (FOSFS) about my fund raising 10k run idea. They wanted to hear what I had in mind and they had some concerns about the organisation and safety involved. I reassured them about the safety of the run and told them there wasn't too much to organise and that I would handle that side of it. After a bit more discussion we came to the conclusion that we needed to offer different distances to attract more interest and not to put people off if they think 10k is too far for them. We would also include the option to do a 10km bike ride as well, so the Shepley First School Fun Run to Cannon Hall Farm was born. We set a date for the Fun Run of Sunday 17th of March 2013 and lets just hope it's as warm as it was last year. Everyone at the end seemed happy with the idea and some were already planning their training. I left the meeting and as giddy as a school kid and had to stop myself from running home and actually caught myself skipping now and again. I got home and as soon as the boys were in bed started designing the sponsor forms and flyers.

I was still buzzing and excited about the meeting when I came to do my run yesterday. Which helped as I was on my own as Rob has a slight knee injury, I hope it gets better soon as I can tell that he's missing the running. It also helped me get through the first 5 mins as the winter temperatures are upon us. I went on the usual Monday route but with a slight twist which added a couple of hundred metres to each lap. I was running at a good low 5 min/km pace and the added twist on the route helped with my cardio, and even when I hit 8k when i normally start to struggle I was still full of energy. I was close to the end of lap 4 and was still feeling great so much so that I picked up the pace and finished off with a fast last km. I finished lap 4 in 59.35 and a distance of 11km and was delighted to have equaled my distance PB.

It was good to get that run in, with the winter temperatures and cold winds getting worse the enthusiasm to get out running will drop. You just have to get out and do it, but it helps to have something to run for and the Fun Run is one of those things. I have also just signed Dexter and I up for the Santa Dash around Huddersfield centre on December 9th. He is looking forward to it and the practice run we will have to do in the next 2 weeks. The Sponsor forms came in the post today, so the excitement just got notched up a bit.

I'll keep you informed about the Santa dash and the fun run, and thank you for reading. Don't forget to follow me on twitter by clicking here.

Keep running everyone

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

After a bad run I had to comeback stronger

On Friday I had a BAD run if there is such a thing when you don't get injured. I set off from stables and was running home and it was getting dark very quickly. I was feeling good and was on a steady pace around the 5 minute mark and I managed to get to roads lit by streetlights before it got too dark. I hit the 5k mark in just under 25 mins which is a good time but that doesn't explain what happen next. I ran past the farmers boy and I knew I had a km to go before i was home but I also thought I could go a bit further and do 8km instead of the 6.5km to home. I was planning which route to take to add on the extra distance, when my legs just gave out. I don't mean they buckled they just had nothing left in the tank and I struggled to get them home. I was only a couple of hundred metres from home and then I got pins and needles in my feet which was weird. I'm being a bit over dramatic as I still could dig deep and run the last 50m up hill to home, but when I stopped they felt like jelly and after only 6.5km it was slightly disheartening.

But that was Friday and yesterday I ran again and I came back stronger and more determined than ever. It was our usual Monday run but Rob was unavailable and Luke bailed at the last minute so I had to do it alone. Whenever I run on my own I always set off to quickly and that hinders me later on in the run, so I tried to keep it slow this time at the beginning.
FAIL or maybe that low 5mins or later 4mins is just my pace and I have to work with it to improve my cardio. So after a couple of laps around that pace I was in a rhythm and halfway round the third I was still ok, the second half was a different story. My legs started to feel heavy and my right knee was getting really warm, bizarrely because I was thinking about my legs my breathing settled down and I caught my breath. This set me up for another lap, with 3 down (7.5km) all I had to do was push through the wall and make my legs do the last lap. The ninth km was my slowest but it was all about getting my legs up the last climb to the farmers boy. From there they started to feel less tired but sore instead but my knee was feeling ok now which I was more happy about as a knee injury would be awful. I still pushed forward as I knew I was about 1.5km from home now and I knew I had to keep going I had to push that little bit more and that if I did I would feel so much better for it too. I passed 10km and had a little over 100 metres to go, passing 10km really cheered me up and do much that I went for it on the last 100 and sprinted and up hill as well. Hitting the top of the hill I stopped my Endomondo app and just smiled, I was so pleased I had pushed through the mild pain and even finished with a sprint.

Now that I've push my self back upto 10k I feel more positive and can take that into the meeting this Wednesday at Dexters school. This is the meeting that will decide weather or not we will be fund raising for his school on our next run to Cannon Hall Farm. They have concerns about how much organising it will take to do, but me and Rob don't think it will take much. So come Thursday we will either be running it and fund raising or just running it on our own. Either way we are running it so I hope tomorrow goes well.

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Thank you and keep running everyone

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Winter fitness regime starts now

It had been 8 days since the 10k run and I had only just got over the PRD (post run depression). It was only a small case of PRD mainly focused on the fact I burnt out my cardio and had to walk for a bit. I had done the same distances before but the pace of the run and the late climbs hurt my stamina hard. Now that I was past all that I knew it was time to get back on the training regime. Even thou it was only a week since my last run I could feel myself getting heavier and sluggish. So Rob and I organised a run to dust off the cobwebs, and get moving again.

We met up at my house and slowly set off on our usual Monday route. Rob was only planning on doing 5k because his legs were a bit worn from a bike ride he did on Friday to Blackpool. 75 miles in Friday and then on Sunday he also did another 30 mile bike ride. I think you can forgive him for only wanting to do 5k you could've forgiven him if he didn't want to run at all.
It was fairly obvious early on that for both of us it was harder than we expected. Rob did his 5k in 29.13 and I carried on to do 5 miles in 46 minutes, it was difficult and I was quite tired by the end but I had definitely got rid of the cobwebs and rust.

It was good to get back into the swing of it and we needed to sort out what we were doing running wise over the winter months. I suggested that we set Mondays and Thursdays as our running days and if one us can't run one of them that's fine the others can still meet up and run. Luke didn't join us yesterday but he said he'll run Thursday. If we can keep this routine going through the winter then come March we will be ready for the big training push ready for the Yorkshire warrior run and other early spring runs.

Next week I'm going to the FOSFS meeting to talk about the planned fund raising run for Dexters school. Hopefully it will go well and we will be able to get things rolling i.e. sponsorship forms and sign up sheets and posters. Plus getting people signed up and training for it.

Don't let the cold get to you keep running everyone.

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Monday, 5 November 2012

10k run to Cannon hall Farm harder than expected

All the training, all the sweat, all the excitement, it was now time to just run.

We all met at my house and when I say we I mean Rob, Matty, and me. As well as my wife obviously, my sister Jess, Robs girlfriend Steph, and my dad and Janice and my mum and Peter. Once we had all said our hellos and introduce Steph to everyone she gave Rob, Matty and me a lift up to the Sovereign. It was very foggy and cold so it took us about a minute or two to get moving and for the GPS on my Endomondo app to find us.

All smiling and ready for the run

Matty is a good runner and has done a few marathons before so this was gonna be easy for him, but he would have to run at our pace as he had no idea where we were going as he is from Liverpool. But the fog was that bad that even Rob and I had no clue as to where we were going. We started off at a good pace of low 5 minutes per km but as we got further into the run and the more the fog eased the faster our pace got. Our estimated finish time was getting quicker and quicker and a one point dipped under 50 mins. We had passed halfway and were on the main Barnsley rd now, and at this point the road does narrow a bit and the footpath had disappeared. I couldn't help but evaluate the route for the springtime when I hope to get parents from Dexters school to join in and raise funds for the school. This part of the run would be the only bit I would worry about and would need sign warning drivers about runners.
We were steadily moving now and as we reached 7k we arrived at the first of 3 uphills that I was dreading. We climbed the first with ease which gave me a boost and then we hit 8k and had done that past km in 4.39 mins. My boost was short lived as the second uphill came and it drained my cardio and 20 metres from the top I had to walk for about 10-15 seconds. Matty and Rob slowed down and gave me some encouragement to get me going again, it helped and I was going again but I was annoyed that I had walked. I couldn't belive how fast my energy drained on that uphill, up till that point i had felt good and in control of my pace and breathing.  Before we knew it we were on the  downhill that led to the turn off for cannon hall, I could see the sign post. As we passed it I jumped up and gave it a high five, which made Rob laugh.
Just before we came to the car park for Cawthorne Park we passed the 10k mark woo hoo, but we still had the last uphill to tackle. The private Drive upto Cannon Hall Farm which via a tweet or 2 we had been give permission to use. I did feel quite special crossing the boundary but the drive just kept getting steeper and steeper so quite quickly I didn't feel very special at all. I actually had to walk again which really annoyed me but Rob and Matty kept pushing me and as we turned the corner we could see the top which spurred me on to catch up with the boys. We started to come backdown the hill and I could feel my legs going but pushed on to the bottom and as we got there we hit 11km in 56.57 mins a PB distance and time for me and Rob. Matty was pleased with the run too as he hadn't done any for about 6 months and to do 11km on your first run in 6 months is good whatever your used to running. We were all pleased with our run and the time but there was 1 problem, we had run such a quick time that all our friends and family weren't there ready for us. Bless them they had some rope to use as a finish line and whilst at home they had got Dexter to make a gold medal for each of us. So the finish line photos are staged but you can tell and the medal ceremony was rushed, but it was really nice of them to come in the first place.
When we all arrived we stopped at the cafe for a drink and a quick bite to eat before departing off home. Whilst in the cafe we were talking with one of the staff who invited us to join the running club she goes to at Denby Dale, which was really nice. It was a really good morning and all 3 of us are up for it again just not too soon.


When we arrived back at our house Sarah-Jane and I had to rush around and get a change of clothes for Clark and go straight back out to a friend of our little boys 3rd Birthday party. So no chance of a shower or drink for me and no rest for SJ it was a busy day but one I won't forget. Cheers everyone for taking part and for coming to see us, hope you do the same in the spring.

Thanks for reading and keep running everyone and if you want to follow me on twitter click here and click follow. Up next on my fitness regime is if my dates are right the yorkshire Vets charity cross country at wentworth castle near Barnsley then another run to cannon hall then finishing up the springtime with the big one the Yorkshire warrior run.