Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Well, I might as well make some. This might be interesting too, as I have had several - NINE - days out from running thanks to a really fucking shitty cold. Well, it'll be nine tomorrow. Who knows if I'll get out then? I'd like to...

So, the resolutions:

1: Get CRB checked. This is so I an do...

2: a Leadership in Running Fitness course. There's one in February, I'll book it on pay-day in January. Just emailed someone to find out the CRB check process, so fingers crossed it can be done in time so I can do the course I want in Feb.

3: Get my running magazine launched. 50,000 copies first issue, goes out worldwide, and it's very exciting indeed. Launch date - on sale - is late March. Looking at the calendar, I think sleep may have to go on hold until June, as I also have...

4: Two marathons to run. London isn't nailed in yet, but Edinburgh is. Hopefully I'll have one in April and one in May, and I suspect that if they go well they may be my last road races. Last on-road marathons, certainly.

5: Lose two more stones in weight. This year I have lost over 28lbs with very little effort, and I have enjoyed it. I like how I look now, I have better musculature, I feel stronger, I move differently; the weight loss was a lovely by-product on the whole, but one I aim to encourage in the new year.

6: Hopefully start a Coach in Running Fitness course. If we're still living in this town, I may even speak to my local school to see if there's any way I can be of use to them.

7: Put on a completely kick-ass event in September which raises a ton of cash for our local hospice, and reinvents running events. This has such huge potential, there is nothing else out there like it...

I'm excited. But all of the above plus my regular work? Well, we'll have to see. I'll give it a go though.

I can't think of any others, but seven is a lot. Seven more than usual.

Everyone, have a lovely new year's eve - and let's all kick arse next year. Big love to everyone out there, and to use a cliché, keep on runnin'.

Monday, 26 December 2011

The cold...

...came back really rather badly. Not Man-Flu, a step on from that which I like to call ManMonia.

Seriously though, I feel fucked. Climbing two flights of stairs leaves me out of breath, I'm practically reduced to a shuffle walking the dogs. Running is genuinely out of the question.

Fucking FUCK IT.

In other news, Christmas was pretty damn good. I got a Faith No More t-shirt, a yoga mat, and some other groovy stuff.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Running stuff. Surprised much?

Been a slightly rubbish week for running, mainly because of the weather. It killed what should have been a great weekend of runnery with its frozenness, and robbed e of momentum.

Now, momentum. I'm only just appreciating how important this is; last week, ran six days in a row for the first time and felt stronger and stronger. Two days out then became three because of deadlines, then I only did a quickish 3-miler. Since then I've done two more of the same course. So it's Friday and I've done 9 miles this week? Fucking shocking.

On the other hand, I have finished my deadline so I can take two weeks off, and I have the beginnings of a cold. Swings, roundabouts.

Tomorrow I will do 5.5 and vow here, in writing, to do AT LEAST THAT on Christmas morning. For a 20 mile week - job done. The base is there for two spectacular (for me) spring marathons.

In other news, I have a few new year resolutions which is unusual in itself. Wanna hear (read) them? Sure you do...

1 do a race directors course
2 qualify as an endurance running coach
3 hopefully move, so my wife and stepdaughter can follow their dreams
4 get a book published

Not much to ask, is it? Oh, and I'll maintain the hardly drinking any beer thing. I have lost two stone in 12 months (28lbs, US Fat Fans), 7 of which has come in the last month. Not bad.

Enough of my burble. Honey and lemon awaits.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Curse you, Weather Gods!

It's all fucking frozen up to shit outside, fucking rats' cocks!

I won't be running this morning. However, so I don't break my streak, I will go down the gym this afternoon, and do my miles there, but make them even harder. Here's my fiendish plan...

This morning, I would have done five hilly miles minimum. So on a treadmill, I will do 10x1k, and hammer those fuckers as fast as I can, with core work and press ups inbetween sets. That'll learn me! AND YOU, WEATHER GODS!! MWAHAAHAHAhhaaahahaaaaa....

Give my creation... life!!!

This week, I have been experimenting on myself. Shampoo in the eyes, smoking cigarettes, trying out new pharmaceuticals in the style of all great lab rats, bunnies and guinea pigs over the decades. And monkeys.

Not really. I have been experimenting with running, as it happens. This week, I have run every day since Sunday, so including today, that's six days. I have to say, I feel pretty fucking good considering. I haven't done a lot of miles by any stretch - 17 so far, with a six-or-seven-miler planned for tomorrow, for a total of 22 or 23 for the week - but it's a solid building block and the very beginning of Spring marathon training.

Sunday I did five miles (but that counts in last week's mileage), Monday I did some speed bits and bobs while away with sensible warming up and cooling down as well (all guesswork, I estimated 2.5 miles for this), Tuesday a loosener of 3 miles, Wednesday an easy 3, Thursday a hilly 5.5, and today a fast 3, for 17 so far. It's been good, but looking back I would change Tuesday's 3 for a hilly five or six. Maybe next week.

My legs feel great, my calves are actually changing into two very distinct muscles, it's all good. I even look pretty good. Kind of. It's all relative though!

Oh, and my resting heart rate is an outrageous 42bpm. I think this just means I am excellent at lying down, though.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Getting creative. Occasionally.

So, I went away for an overnight, as I had to attend a meeting in the south west of the country. I took my running stuff because I had a good week of it last week, and wanted to continue that. It was dark when I arrived so I couldn't really have a look around for a running route, park or whatever, but one of the guys I was due to meet with said there was a large park right by the hotel, so I figured I was probably sorted.

Monday morning, I get out there and have a look at the park. I walk one end to the other to gauge its size… And I'm thinking, I might as well run around a fucking postage stamp. So I got creative, see. I ran around the outside of the park five times to warm up (each time around was about 1/3 of a mile - I know this because I sweat like a crazy almost exactly on a mile every time I run, regardless of the weather, and I started sweating right before I finished the third lap. Science.) then found the path least used, right in the middle of the park, which ended on an incline, and I sprinted it. Walked back, did it again. By the tenth sprint, I thought my legs might give out, so I cut it short, and ran a couple more times around to cool down.

It was actually a lovely workout; I'm not sure I would call it a speed session, as I will never be quick; maybe a not-slow session.

I started to feel a bit of grief in my knee toward the end of it but forgot all about it. Then on today's run, the same grief, and I think it's the New Balance shoes. I think they're about to be retired.

Right, enough burble. Work!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Random Friday Facts

Here's some more. Maybe they'll be more random this time. Maybe not.

1: I just bought some running-related stuff on Amazon. Pam Reed's autobiography, which had mixed reviews, but she's a Badwater winner, so I'm figuring she'll have something to say. Once A Runner, which I'm told is fabulous. And Relentless Forward Progress, which is a guide to ultra-running. Oh, and another book for my wife for Christmas, and a DVD of a documentary called 'Running the Sahara'. In the absence of Running on the Sun, which I can't find for less than £40 it seems, this £3 bargain from the web will have to do.

2: I bought lots of batteries yesterday, with winter running in mind - they're for my headtorch, the brilliant Silva Trailrunner. Oh, except the AAAs, they're for my dictaphone.

3: I have a new wallet. I bought it for my dad four years ago, and he told me he doesn't use them and gave it back to me. I like it, but I haven't killed my old one yet. Not quite.

4: Whenever I read Matt Damon's name, the voice in my head does it Team America style. I love that film.

5: The family - ie Wifelet, me and Stepdaughter - had a conversation about a movie we saw weeks ago at the dinner table last night. How odd that it came up, had us all laughing again, and deciding we must buy it. The film? The brilliant Four Lions, a controversial black comedy about suicide bombers. It really is excellent. Tough subject to make a film about, never mind a comedy, but it works on every level. Basically it is a comment on the nature of fundamentalism and fanaticism, and it makes every point really beautifully.

6: I broke the shower, for the second time. First time, I fell over and mangled the shower rail. That's fixed now. This time, I broke the ball joint in the bracket holding the shower head up. For fuck's sake.

7: The shower-company-selling-stuff-to-me people made me take a photograph of the shower unit in as they didn't stock it any more. It was odd. Everything seemed far harder than it needed to be.

8: The dog we have been dog-sitting is with his owner this week; she's back for five days. It was pretty cool going for a walk with them, as she's very impressed with all the weight he's lost. He's got more energy, he's faster, and he looks amazing. And all because he walks the same amount as Millie now - between two and three hours a day, occasionally a bit more.

9: I need a shower. I know, I have written that one before. But it's true again, today.

10: I just finished reading Justin Cronin's The Passage. Top fun, really enjoyed it.

11: I have to do a small amount of work today. Not a lot, just a few phone calls really, but important ones.

12: Why didn't they, when the calendar changed to Gregorian, change the month names so they made sense too? October should be the 8th month, December the 10th et cetera. More to the point, why the hell does this bother me?

13: Vin Diesel is seriously, major league not photogenic.

14: I'm going to Devon on Sunday. I should have gone yesterday, but had to reschedule as WonderWife was ill.

15: I love running.

16: And cake.

17: I ran a fraction over five miles this morning. It was lovely - dark when I left, with a low, buttery moon hanging over the dark countryside. I could almost have run without the headtorch, it was so full. And on the other side of me, dawn was coming. Slowly, but it was coming. Great run.

That is all for this week.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

An open letter to Beer

Hi Beer.

You might be wondering why I'm writing to you instead of calling, or even drinking you. This seemed the nicest way to do this, I suppose.

There's no easy way to say this… I know I've been distant lately, and we've only seen each other once a week for the last month. It's not been easy for me either, but I needed some space to think about things. Basically, I don't think we should see each other any more.

I thought about trying an open relationship, where I get to see other drinks, but my birthday - where I tried a threesome with you and tequila - left me feeling empty. And gave me the farts really bad. I don't think that kind of relationship would work for either of us, because when I try and replace you with other alcoholic liquids, I end up drinking them in huge quantities too.

The thing is, Beer, I'm really good at exercising. And I'm really good at drinking. But I don't think I can do both any more. I could have been slimmer at any time in my life; I mean, do you remember when I was cycling just shy of 10 very, very hilly miles to work every day? Then the same 10 back, for just under 100 miles a week? Did I lose any weight? Did I fuck. I drank three bottles of wine a night instead.

Remember when I tried working just a couple of hours a day? Work quality improved immensely, but so did my alcohol consumption. I would wake up early, go for a run (or a long walk, but usually a run), have breakfast, cycle up to the gym, do a yoga class for 90 minutes, have lunch, work, then back to the gym for an early evening workout. Then home for dinner - usually fish, leaves and rice - then off out to the pub. Where I would drink up to 10 pints most nights - and yet I didn't put on a single pound. But I didn't lose any weight, either.

It's all so counter-productive. I'm not giving you my best, and I'm not giving me my best either. Sometimes, Beer, love just isn't enough. And when you realise that, you have to do what is best for you, the individual. If I don't do this, I'll drag us both down and for what?

Look at last night. We had a great, great time. Dinner with friends, celebrating our wedding anniversary, we had a superb curry and lots of you, too. But look at the calories - 200 calories a pint in you, plus anything around 1,000 for the curry… That's a week's running right there. So all the 5am wake-ups this past week were to justify drinking like a fucking loon last night, it seems. And writing off today, when I feel like dog shit that's been eaten by a zombie and come back as zombie dog shit.

I'm sorry, Beer. It's over. I choose 5am wake-ups, early morning winter runs, great sleep, early nights. I choose doing a course to become an endurance running coach, I choose helping people to change their lives if I can. I choose putting on a kick-arse event next year with a race at its heart, starting something really special in my home town.

Like I said, sometimes love just isn't enough. Goodbye, Beer. It's been a fucking blast, but it's over.


Friday, 2 December 2011

Random Friday Facts

Here we are again. Maybe I'll actually put some random facts into it this time. I bet I repeat myself loads in these things.

1: Today is my four-year wedding anniversary.

2: I was 15 when we first met, my wife and I. She was 22. She was hot, I was not, but I still asked her for a snog. However, I was 32 when we got together, and she was 39.

3: For her 40th birthday, we picked up her wedding ring.

4: But she couldn't tell anyone, because we were getting married in secret. So I got her an iPod to run with as well, so she could at least tell anyone that asked that I got her something...

5: It's been a tough four years, but she's still great. She makes me laugh every day.

6: We're off out tonight with a bunch of friends for curry and lager. Mmmmmm, curry and lager.

7: My new non-drinking regime is going great. Tonight is a night off though. It's not so much not drinking, as just doing it now and again. The result? I'm in bed just after 9 most nights and up just after 5 most mornings!

8: Killer whales work in groups to unsettle their prey. It's most impressive.

9: Nein is the German word for 'No'.

10: In some countries, shaking your head means 'yes'.

11: I am the tallest member of my family. But not my married kinda family. My stepdaughter is four inches taller than me, my wife two.

12: My feet are cold.

13: And I need a shower.

14: But instead, I'm off to the pet shop to buy treats for the dogs, and to pick up my stepdaughter's boots.

15: Joel Coen was the Assistant Film Editor on Sam Raimi's feature-length debut, The Evil Dead.

16: Luis Bunuel, Salvador Dali and Gabriel Garcia Lorca used to share a flat. That must have been one fucked-up place to live.

17: I've pretty much lived in my London Marathon fleece since it arrived. Weird, as it came because I didn't get a place. Oh well.

18: I can't quite get my head around my improved speed. Me? Relatively quick? Surely not!

19: In this year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards shortlist, there is not one single female nominee. Not even Chrissie Wellington. This makes me very, very cross. Normally, this is a highlight of the year for me, but this year it's shown that the voting system does not work. It's been reported that one Manchester paper's votes actually went to YaYa fucking Toure. You fucking what? Over Wellington? Adlington? Ennis? You TWATS.

20: That is all.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Accidents will happen

Well, I woke up this morning around 5am, perfectly naturally, feeling well rested on the whole. I knew I was going to run today, of course, because it's one of those days where I get to run by myself. I find that running alone is more of a test of where you are psychologically and physically than running with a friend or group, because you set the pace yourself.

Problem was, fuckwit here didn't have a watch to take this morning. And it's probably just as well, as the course I planned to run I had mentally mapped at around 4.5 miles. Now bear in mind, since the Lake Vyrnwy half a couple of months ago, I have completely dropped my mileage through the floor, and 4.5 would be the furthest I have gone in a while.

Of course, I was wrong about the distance. Only by two miles. Which, okay, a 6.5 mile run isn't huge - but it's hard enough when you haven't run more than four on the road for two months. I'm not including Best. Run. Ever in this, because I don't know how far that was, and it wasn't on the road. My instinct says BRE was about five miles, but today proved to me it could have been more like seven, or even three... I know nothing.

So, a tough start to the day, and a four-miler on the cards for the morning, to take me to around 12 miles for the week so far - bear in mind that last week I ran around 17 miles and this week I only aimed to match that, I'm a little ahead of myself. Four tomorrow makes 16, and I still have a Sunday run to add to it. Fingers crossed I don't overdo it and hurt myself again. Nah, never happen.