Wednesday, 29 August 2012

What a difference 2 months makes

Nearly 3 years ago I quit smoking for many reasons, financial, for family and for health reasons. But even then I didn't think I would be running a few times a week to get fit, and enjoying it so much. So I am happy to say that after 2 months of running I have gone from running 0.80km to running a PB of 10km, yep you read it 10km!

I had recovered well from my 8km run on Monday and was planning on texting Rob to see if he fancied a run. Especially as he was ill, but I kept forgetting as I was distracted by the thunder and lightning and updating my iTunes playlist. So I was glad when Rob txt me to see if I fancied a run.

I ran down to meet Rob and I told him that I was gonna make him run further today. We were gonna run the same lap as I did on Monday and see how far Rob could do on his 2nd run with me. I won't go into too much detail this time as It was very similar to Mondays run. At the end of lap 1 Rob was quite impressed that we had nearly done in 1 lap what he had done in the 2 laps he did with me on Friday. Our conversations weren't interrupted by our breathing as much this time which was a confidence booster, and that helped Rob reach nearly 5km before he dropped out. I left Rob about 2/3 round lap 2 and carried on to do 3 laps, at the top of the Knowle of lap 3 I had passed 8km and wasn't feeling as bad as I did on Monday. It was at that point that it occurred to me that I had been running for 2 months and should try and do something extra to recognise that milestone. So as I rounded the bend by Shepley Spring I turn up the hill again and head towards Shepley First School where I hit 9km and then headed back towards home, so I would hit 10km as I reached home. I was really surprised at how much energy I still had and as I was a few hundred metres I looked at my time and noticed that if I pushed I could break the 1 hour barrier. Digging deep I started to sprint down the road and round the last bend and back home. Almost jumping for joy as my app tells me that I had done 10km in 59.51, I opened the gate to the garden and just raised my arms in amazement at what I had just done.

After a shower and congratulatory hug from my boys I txt Rob just saying 10km, I get a swift reply say well done. He also mentioned that before we do the 5km charity run in just over 3weeks time he wants to have done 10km too. I said I would hold him to that and he told me to put it in my blog so he could back out of it. So it's in now Rob so there, no going back 10km target set.

The Endomundo app that I use has a pep talk feature so other users can send me pep talks as I'm running. My wife uses this feature and sends me pep talks as I go, these are very good and quite often help me push that little more. So I must thank her as she is wonderful and has been very supportive these past 2 months, and I'm sure she will keep being as supportive too in the future.

Plus another big thank you to Janice for my NEW SHOES!!!!!

I am now sat with an Ice pack on my ankles made from frozen water pearls, they're like peas but better as you don't have to worry about squishing them and making mushy peas....

Monday, 27 August 2012

Personal bests and firsts

It's bank holiday Monday and we had to go shopping but luckily we set off early enough to beat the rush. We bought Dexter some new school trousers as he starts Shepley first school next week. We didn't find any shoes at Asda for him so off to Sports Direct we went, where we thought we would be spoilt for choice. Wrong there was some nice shoes but as always not in the right size, but we finally found some school shoes. As we were there we thought we should buy him some new trainers as his present shoes were on their last legs. We found a few shoes that mummy and I liked but Dexter didn't, like some nice converse and some cool High tops. Sarah and I are determined to get Dexter in some high tops that we find him but he never likes them. We did find some trainers that he liked and as we had been talking about my run that I had planned, Dexter has called them his power shoes and he zooms around the shop when trying them on. I ask him if he would like to come on a little run with me if Rob doesn't join me on my run. As he was worked up and excited he said YES DADDY I WOULD, that later changed.

Later in the afternoon I received a txt from Rob telling me he wouldn't be running today as he is unwell and feeling rough. So I went and got my running stuff and started to get ready for my run. Whilst I was getting ready Dexter and Clark were watching Cbeebies. Dexter turned his head from the TV for a second and saw me getting ready, I was just about to ask him if he was still coming for a run when he said, 'I sorry Daddy I can't come running today I'm watching Cbeebies'. Ok it's a solo run then.

I really enjoyed the circuit I did with Rob so I set off down the road towards Robs house. My plan this time was to continue the circuit that I finished with last time after dropping of Rob, as I didn't complete a full circuit of my planned route last time I have no Idea how far it was. So I was gonna do 2 laps and see how far I had been and adjust the lap if needed. As I passed Robs house I noticed that Robs girlfriends car was outside so I grinned to myself. Either she was looking after him or Rob had bailed on the run for her, it made me smile and I don't blame him either way. Onward I went and at the bottom of the road and just round the corner I hit my first km in 4.43, which even though it was downhill still shocked me. That was not the only shock I would get on this run, and carried on. Back up the hill I went and reached the station in no time then cut down the ally back towards the main road. At the end I went up the road a little and crossed the road and went round the back roads up towards home which is called the knowle. As I came round the corner at the end of the road I had reach my starting point again, so I check my app on my phone to see what distance I had done. It read 2.75km which I didn't expect so doing some quick maths in my head I thought if I did another lap it would be 5.5km and that would be a good run. 3km went by and I was on my way back down the hill when my phone rang, what the **** I thought and got slightly confused as I forgot how to answer my phone with headphones in.
It was my friend Luke, he asked me how I was and all I could say was urrmm I'm half way through a run. He wanted to pop round to see the boys and say hello as it's been a while since we've spoken, holidays and all. I said I'd be home in 15mins which was optimistic even for me, especially as my km times were rising steadily as I was getting tired. The station was in sight as I hit 4km and I could feel my legs getting heavy, I reached 5km halfway round the Knowle. I wasn't feeling to bad as I reach the end of lap 2 so I kept going cos I had said I needed to start pushing the distances again, plus the next km is downhill. Hitting 6km just before Robs house I was happy until I noticed my shoe lace undone and had to stop to tie it. The stopping wasn't bad it was the getting back up to speed that was the killer, and as the bottom of the hill was just round the corner. 7km was just short of the station and as I reached the ally had to stop again as some ramblers were coming the other way. We squeezed passed each other and I had to get back up to speed again which was difficult when the road up to the back of the Knowle is steep. 3/4 of the way round the I hit 8km and also 5 miles, I was really happy and even started punching the air. This also got me worked up and started running a bit faster on my final straight back home, I did start thinking that I could go 1 more km as its downhill, but quickly changed my mind as I would then have to come back up some how.

Once I was back in the garden at home I stopped and raised my arms as the boys were at the window looking for me. I got a good reception from them and Sarah as she had been track my run online and realised I had done 5 miles. This quickly changed into what's that on your chest, as I looked down I instantly knew that I had my first bleeding nipple. So I had beaten my PB in distance and also had my first chafing injury, that's what you call a run.

In all the nipple gate aftermath I forgot that Luke was coming round just as he came through the garden gate, so had to greet him half naked. But as he lived with us for a year it wouldn't have been the first time either. Never mind I reached 5 MILES woo hoo.

Sorry no photo of my nipple I don't think the Internet is ready for that.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

4 weeks till 5km run

Yesterday was run day but I wasn't sure what time I would be running, because yesterday was the first run that my friend Rob would be joining me. Rob who lives down the road has agreed to do the 5km run with me that is in 4 weeks time, which is rather cool/foolish of him, you decide.

So the day was set but time was only roughly set as an evening run. Rob had something to do but wasn't sure how long it would take, but at about 6.50 I got a txt 'I'm ready you wanna jog down'. So I quickly got ready and set off down the road to meet up with him.

Now as I had no idea what Rob was like fitness wise I left it up to him to decide where we would run and how long we would run for. We set a circuit round Robs house and Shepley station, which we thought would be a steady run for Robs first outing. We set off down the road at a nice steady pace and rounded the corner at the bottom, then just round the corner there is a small road that leads to a path all the way up to the station. It's a nice gradual climb not too steep, at the station we turned left and cut down an ally/snicket/ginnel. Which leads onto a gravel road, at the end of the road it brings you back out onto the main road just up from Robs house. When we reach Robs house and the end of lap 1 we had done 1.62km, which is quite a good distance for lap. The first lap went well we kept to a 6.30 min/km we even managed s catch up chat about holidays, golf and weddings. The second lap was pretty much the same pace wise, but we both could tell that It was getting a bit tougher our conversations got more and more interrupted by our breathing.
As we reached the station again Rob decided he was gonna bow out after then second lap, he was quite proud of himself for managing 3.3km on his first run. I was also impressed with him and as we reached his house I left him there and carried on with the 3rd lap. Before leaving Rob we had agreed that I had to badger him into another run so he didn't give in, as it would be quite easy to do. So as I continued the run I said I'll txt him in a couple of days about the next run.

The 3rd lap was harder because as soon as I left Rob I increased the pace almost without me realising, after leaving Rob at 3.6km I had increased my pace so much so that I did the 4th km in 5.45. As from then on it was all uphill I was even happy with the 5th km being 6.09. I completed most of the 3rd lap but after the turn at the station I turned up the main road instead of down and headed for home. Instead of going straight home I did add a little extra to my run by running round the back roads of my usual lap. So when I got home I had done 5.54km, but even after that I felt like I could have done more. I think I have become happy with doing 5km so I think I need to push myself a bit more and try to go further again. I will have to see how Rob is on our next run and see if we can push the distances we go, together and/or by myself. I must thank Rob as well for coming on my last run it was fun and just what I needed. As I'm thanking people I must also thank Janice Aka Nana for my NEW SHOES as this morning my Achilles are feeling a lot better than they did when running in my other shoes.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Home sweet home?

Yesterday was our last day in France and my last chance for a run, unfortunately I ran out of time, pun intended. With all the packing and breakfast and the rising temperatures, I never found time. But I did manage to get a photo of the downed bridge that I had crossed in my last 2 runs, which I will add to this at the end.

Our journey home wasn't too interesting Clark squirmed a lot on the plane, because he fell asleep on the way to the airport. I took a wrong turn on the way out of Liverpool and headed into Wales, before giving up and turning round. Traffic on the motorways bad drivers the usual, but we soon hit Huddersfield and then it hit me that we'd been away for a week. It was weird as I drove through huddersfield it felt like it was just another day.

We stopped off at McDonald's drive thru on the way home with 2 sleepy boys in the back. So when we got home and the boys woke up we had tea. Before I knew it, it was 7.45 and I still wanted to go for a run, so I quickly got ready and stretched and set off.

I had decided that I was only going to do 5km just to compare with my 2 runs in France. I set off with my NEW SHOES on again and i must have been excited cos I set off at pace and did my first km in 4.53. It soon hit home as I started hitting the ups and downs of the home circuit. The next 4km got slower and slower until I finished my 5km in 28.27, with my last km time being 6.27.

I was trying to put my finger on what was so tiring about this run, was the McDonald's for tea? Was it the long day of travelling? Or was it just the ups and downs of the home circuit. I know 1 thing for sure I missed the circuit I did at Caunes-Minervois. I missed the steady flat of the of the first half and the steady climb of the second half. The scenery isn't as good here, and there isn't any interesting downed bridges, and I even miss the heat.

It isn't until you do your normal run that you remember why your doing the running in the first place. It isn't because you want to do runs in interesting place with lovely sights, although it would be nice. No I'm running to get fit and maybe lose a bit of weight in the process. The 5km charity race I'm going to do in 4 weeks should perk me up a bit until I settle back down into a routine and enjoy the runs at home again....

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Proper running shoes

After 2 days of resting my Achilles I decided that I must try my run again. My plan was to do it early morning before the temperature rose and wasn't suitable for running. But as it was my turn to lie in and Sarah (my wife) was getting up with the kids, the idea of extra sleep was more appealing.

When I did wake up I stumbled into the front room to find everyone cleaning as we had some more family arriving that afternoon. After breakfast we went in the pool with the boys who were excited to meet Thomas (9) and Michael (17),who they hadn't met before. It was soon lunchtime and Clarks' nap time so I left Dexter playing with his 3DS and went and did 44 lengths of the pool. Now that sounds a lot but the pool is only 8x4 so I did that in about 10 mins. After my swim my Achilles felt really good so I said I must go on a run today at some point, especially if I want to do another before we go home. At about 4.30 the family arrived and about 10 after that Thomas was ready to get in the pool like any kid of his age. We all had a good hour in the pool and then we started talking about tea, so this was it, if I was to go for a run this would be my only opportunity. So I dressed the boys after their dip in the pool and left them with Sarah, I went and got dressed and into my NEW SHOES yay.

Immediately I felt the difference and I hadn't even set off yet, all I had done was got ready and said my goodbyes as I always do, just in case the run does kill me.

I walked down the hill like before and stopped at the bridge to stretch. This time I gave my Achilles a real good stretching and as I set off running I could feel them. They weren't impressed and were telling me about it too, they hurt but I just kept going and said tough we're running deal with it, cos I often talk to my body part as if they were real people.

So I was off and running in my NEW SHOES, I don't know if I mentioned it. They were ever so comfy and before I knew it I had done the 1st km in 5.02 mins and I was well on my way to the bridge. Unsurprisingly the bridge was still down but this time I was ready and hopped under the first barrier, but on looking up I couldn't see the second. It was still there but someone had moved it back about 20 metres round the corner. Which made me wonder whether the house near the bridge didn't like the sight of it or the banking of the bridge was unstable as well? Either way I was flying in my NEW SHOES I don't know if I mentioned that. I was past 2km and well on my way to 3km when I hit the main road again where I stopped and walked last time. This time I was determined not to stop and with a cooling wind in my face I carried on and hit 3km. Still going I reach the sign to Caunes just as my app screamed 4km in my ears. I hit the top of the hill and the top of the town and a car needed to turn so had to stop. That did it and I walked for about 10-15 seconds for the 1st time this run, but was soon on my way again back down the hill. I passed the bar at speed fully expecting my family to be sat there waving and cheering at me, making me jealous too. But they weren't and I powered through the last 500m to my 5km check point, I had knocked a minute off my last time so was delighted. Even though i had done my 5km I kept going till I was back at the bridge where I started. I did 5.23km in just under 30mins and was chuffed with my efforts and my NEW SHOES if I hadn't mentioned it.

I had a little rest to prepare myself for the climb up the hill to the house, and then as I reached the steps of the house sat down and just called out for water. My wife lovingly obliged by getting me a drink, which I drank very quickly.

I was quickly ushered to the shower as I stank and we were heading back down to the bar and the pizzeria. Uuurrgghh is all I could muster.....

I forgot to take a photo of the down bridge but if I go for 1 more run before we go home I'll try to remember to get one.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Run aftermath

The morning after my run I awoke to very stiff and sore Achilles again, so put my strappings on til they woke up and stopped hurting as much. I woke up when my 19 month old son decided it was morning and we went to put my feet up and watch some early morning Cbeebies together.

As more and more people arose from their comfy beds, the more and more looks of 'poor boy' i got until Janice 'aka Nana' had had enough and said right that's it we're getting you some proper running shoes from Decathlon today.

Before the trip to decathlon we went on a trip to a lake with the boys where there were climbing frames in the water for the boys to climb and a pontoon for the grown ups to swim out to. Then on the way home we stopped at the Decathlon which is like a B&Q but full of sports equipment and clothing. It was so large that the 6 of us that went in immediately got separated and a bit lost. I found the shoes but there was at least 4 different shoe sections, walking, hiking, running and casual. That doesn't count the football shoe section which was about as big as the others combined.

After find the shoes I wanted I then had to figure out what euro size I am. Turns out that I'm a size 43, so that was that or so I thought as Janice then said you must get running socks too. I thought I would be leaving with a full running kit including coach and schedule.

I'm now looking forward to my next run more than before, and I am one very happy boy now even if I do have sore Achilles.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

First run in France!!


I think that is the best way to describe my first run here in Caunes-Minervois. When you watch sports i.e. football and athletics and I guess most outdoor sports, and commentators defend people for lack lustre performances. You always think come on that a poor excuse, or at least I DID. I have a new respect for sports people now.

I decided to go for a run today about 5.30, it had been warm but clouds were gathering and it was cooling down. So I planned a route on google maps cos I don't know the area well, and set off thinking I will see where I am at 2.5km.

I walked down the hill from the house and then set off down the road, at about 1.5km I had to take a road off to the left but I wasn't sure what it was like as it was a small road on the map. When I got there I was a bit confused, my French is not the best at all but I could guess what 'route barree' meant. I carried on down the road wondering what I might find, and soon was met by fencing and a half broken bridge. So rather than turning round I climbed the fence and tippy toed across the downed bridge. I felt a bit naughty and also rather proud of myself like I had accomplished something just by getting across the bridge. All these feeling were soon replaced by exhaustion as the heat and humidity started to hit me hard, as I came to the end of this road and rejoined the main road. I even had to have a 15 second walk, the humidity had zapped my stamina and I was flagging. U started running again and could see the hills I would have to climb before my decent back into Caunes-Minervois, this wasn't a good thing as I had misjudged the steepness of these hill. So once again after another 1km I had to walk again, for another 10-15 seconds this happened again before I reach the summit (as that is what it felt like). The decent down into town a nice feeling an the looks of 'he looks like he's been on a good run' from the locals were uplifting, and I round the final corner to complete 5km.

It was the hardest run I have done in a long time and I think that's a good thing but it still doesn't feel like it. I'm sure it will do but not yet especially as I had to walk up the hill to the house after that run too.

About 10-15 mins after I got back we were hit by an amazing storm with tremendous rain and thunder n lightning. The air is now cool and less humid so should have waited till now to do my run, well you learn from adventures like this.

We had our evening meal under the terrace because of the storm so I added a couple of photos to show the chaos it caused...

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Sore Achilles

After yesterday's run and the past couple of runs I keep getting sore Achilles. When I started my running a couple of months ago I would get sore ankles but they passed after I started Biking instead for a couple of weeks. But now when I go on my runs I find my Achilles hurt and my ankles are fine.

We're now in France with family having fun and resting my Achilles, we have a pool so i can get a workout now without putting too much pressure on my Achilles. After a couple of days here and doing some swimming I will try and do a run and try and complete at least 5km. This can be difficult when your on holiday and this is what you see when you look out the front door.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Last run before holiday!!

Just got back from my run the last one in England for a week.  Jetting off to France tomorrow so I ran home from stables this time.  I have ridden my bike back from stables but running is a different thing all together. Did a personal best in distance of 7.36km which is just over 4.5 miles and did it in 41 mins.  Very proud of myself for pushing myself further each time but where do you stop?