headfullocrap

Some of the nonsense in my head in a readable format ;)

Month: September, 2013

Back up to 25 mins running, and feeling good. Even earlier than usual :O

Last week I ran 3 sessions, of 20 mins, 22 mins and 24 mins, adhering strictly to increasing each time by no more than 10% which seems to be the accepted maximum by which you should increase a running distance from the last one.

So today, rather than add 2 mins and remembering that I have a propensity for “good” numbers I decided to simply increase to 25 mins, thereby allowing my next 10% to be an even increase (on Wednesday) to 27 mins 30 secs and the following one on Friday to a good, even 30 mins flat, thereby being back to my end time from the c25k program.

Knowing I was on an early shift today, and that things always tend to be a bit rushed to get the warmup/run/cool-down/shower/breakfast in before I have to set off for work, I set my alarm for a 6am wakeup call, 30 mins earlier than my usual. I was actually feeling pretty crappy went I went to sleep, so I wasn’t sure if I would feel like going for a run first thing in the morning (or whether I would then leave it until after work). I thought it best to give myself the option, knowing that if I felt fine, I’d be in the mood to run as it always seems to wake me up perfectly and set me up for a good day.

Luckily I felt fine when I woke up at 6am, so after a quick trip to Tesco to get some bananas as I’d run out (and some cat food – not for me πŸ™‚ ), I was off out for a 5 mins warm-up walk and 25 mins run. Knowing I had the extra 30 mins was a great help as even using some of that time to go shopping I knew I wasn’t going to be rushing around quite as much as I have on previous days (last Wednesday take note).

The run itself I split again into 3 mins segments as planned, so I’d have 8 of those then ending with the final minute on its own, which I always tend to enjoy and not struggle with.

So rather than knowing how long there was to go or having any countdown, or “you are half way”, I set an audible note of my time elapsed for every 3 minutes. I made a point of not paying attention so much as I would then be tempted to count them as they passed and then get bothered by my statistics, but rather just to keep running for time and completely ignoring distance, and even again not tracking distance at all.

I’m no longer interested in how far I’m running, just into going for the time as I’m sure I pressured myself into an injury by all that worrying about running a full 5km. Once I get back to 30 minutes running on Friday, I’ll either then keep running 30 mins repeatedly and try to pick up the pace, again paying no mind to distance, or I will keep increasing time until I maybe get up to 45 or 50 minutes. After that I haven’t decided but maybe I’ll do some treadmill work to improve my speed. Again, that’s lower-impact so no stress on knees or ankles.

Also, I am solely running on grass now, except for brief segments where I cross over a path, as I’m sure that it’s the pounding pavements/concrete that knackered my ankle/knee the other week. Bearing in mind I’m back after a recovery period, I’m finding the grass running far better, but as the weather cools down towards winter and eventually starts to turn more inclement (rainy), I might have to invest in some better trail running shoes with better grip. My current shoes are fine, but I could see them starting to struggle if there were any decent amount of rain.

As I’ve said before, cross-country running was always my preference at school over track running, and I’ve never really tried road running until recently and I still don’t think I’m suited to it, what with the addition of the shit state of the kerbs and roads in Southampton (which crocked me).

Today’s run itself was a breeze – all the 3 minute segments swept past with no struggles and the last minute was the complete doddle I’ve become accustomed to. The cool-down felt awesome, and I got some great stretches in, so I’m sure I’ll be well-rested for Wednesday.

I have no pain whatsoever, and 4,700+ steps completed before work πŸ˜€

I hit my 7,500 Fitbit step target at work around 2pm today – bonus once more so I’m sat here with no worries about putting the unit on charge which makes a nice change πŸ™‚

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10% more…and no more than that :)

So, I’m back to running now after the injury layoff, so yesterday (Wednesday) was the day set for session number 2. After completing Monday’s 20mins successfully, I’ve applied the 10% rule (where you should increase running time/distance by no more than 10%), and set out for a 22mins run.

Again I’m on an earlier start so I still make the decision to run before work. Yes, time is tighter but shortly after getting up most days now I’m raring to go, so there I am again out of the door before 7am.

Rather than even consider the distance I’m running now, it’s all about the time. 22mins is a kind of odd total time as it only really breaks down into half cleanly, so what I’ve done is go for 7x3mins segments, remembering I’ve never got any problems with a final minute being tacked on. So I’ve set an app to verbally tell me (or berate me) every 3 mins) and keeping an eye on a total time I’m set for a 5mins warm-up walk and 22mins run.

So what was the verdict on this session? Actually it was a complete doddle, so I’m looking forwards to adding another 2mins tomorrow, then next I’ll go from 24 to 25, and so on. I’ve no pain whatsoever and felt very good throughout yesterday. I broke 7500 daily steps again which is back where I want to be now.

24mins is a much cleaner running total time for me, as it breaks down into 8×3, 6×4 etc. While I might miss the final minute I think 6x 4mins sections will make a nice change. Far easier than 2x12mins as well… even though it’s exactly the same. How strange is that?

 

Back in the groove… easy does it

This morning was the first run in a week after I’d crocked my knee and ankle last Sunday/Monday. I effectively injured myself on the Sunday, and then ignored good and sensible advice, felt totally fine on the Monday (which was a complete false dawn), and then managed 5 mins before having to stop and give up the run completely due to knee and ankle pain.

So it was with something of a degree of trepidation that I eased myself out of the door this morning to run in the large field opposite my flat, having also decided that I’m back to running on grass for the foreseeable future. I’m blaming the shit state of the roads and kerbs for the injury so with less impact running I’ll feel more confident and be able to ease myself back into the routine I’d got used to of running 3 times a week.

Initially the plan was to do the run, and reward myself with the latest episode of Breaking Bad, all before heading off to work for a 10am start. My late shift was cancelled today so I was looking for an 8am start today, so there I was juggling things and out of the door before 7am, having given up all hope of the reward of television πŸ˜‰

The run itself was totally fine, and I consciously set myself to only run for 20 mins, which I consider to be quite good enough, having had a full week completely away from running. I’ll gradually ramp up the time again, remembering I’ve only ever done a maximum of 30 mins anyway, so it’ll be a slow build-up to get back to that level. I’ve dropped all of my targets now, and all this running is purely for me for a fitness thing, so I won’t be timing myself for pace or distance at all until I’m completely comfortable with what I’m doing.

I may do some treadmill or cross trainer work in the free gym at work and I think I’ll benefit from losing a fair few more pounds before I even think of road running again. In fact, I might have decided I don’t want to do road running at all. I’m certainly not interested at the moment in anything like the London marathon. All the stress of that on my knees – no thank you very much. I’ll see how things improve but I certainly haven’t got anything like that on my radar πŸ™‚

I arrived at work this morning feeling great, and I’ve done over 8,000 steps today which is back to my original level, so I’m back in the swing of things. No pain or discomfort whatsoever – result! I’m back, baby.

 

R and R… and R….. and um… R

R & R & R & R & Arrrrr (oops, no that’s a pirate!)

Rest, relaxation, recovery and recuperation. I’m 6 days into a self-imposed running break due to knee/ankle pain. Tomorrow can’t really come soon enough as I should be in a condition to go back out running again and the signs are good so far.

It’s very annoying now that I can’t run, when I’ve actually got used to running and have been getting some enjoyment out of it. I was told on the Sunday to take a week out but after icing knee and ankle and taking it easy, it felt fine on the Monday and I then managed a poor 5mins before breaking down – that will teach me not to listen to someone who really does genuinely know better than me. See? I can admit it! I’m an idiot and I should have listened. πŸ˜‰

So for the last week I’ve done regular walking which has been fine, but no running whatsoever. I decreased the goal on the Fitbit down from 8,000 to 5,000 daily steps. Looking back through it I’ve been around that but mostly under, so while I’ll admit I’ve been taking it easier than normal, all of that is still being more active than I was 3 months ago, and that’s the only thing that’s really important now.

I completed the 3 months non-smoking and I was officially signed off at the “quit clinic” at the doctors on Thursday. Reason: “non-smoker”. I like the sound of that. πŸ™‚

The diet has remained pretty healthy for the full week – I’ve not had any down moments where I’ve succumbed to a perk-me-up from Mr Ben or Mr Jerry, so I’m pleased with that. I’ve taken the week as a week’s break from running and nothing more than that – and I’m doing it because I want to get back to running, not because I’ve given it up. That’s key for me.

As for running tomorrow, I currently have no knee/ankle pain and have felt nothing at all from there in the last few days, so I think I’ll be good to go. Now I’m not going to be doing anything as stupid as throwing myself straight back into a 5k. That can wait for now, and all that’s important to me is achieving the goals I’ve set myself and being happy with my own progression.

So the 5k itself will arrive in its own time – I think tomorrow I’ll step back into a 20mins run and just see how I feel. I know that after injury you can often come back stronger, so I’m looking forward to seeing if that theory holds true. If I run for 20mins and still feel comfortable, then I might run for another 5, but I might not – I’m just going to see how I feel tomorrow.

Chances are that with me being on a 10-6 shift tomorrow, that I’ll go for putting the run in early morning before work, and I’ve also made the decision that I’m going back to grass running and staying off the paths and roads until such time as I’ve built up some confidence again as that was how/where I got injured.

There’s also the danger of shit surfaces around here with pavements, roads and kerbs in a pretty poor state of repair. I remember it taking over 2 years of weekly emails to the council to get a pothole repaired. Now I just don’t bother any more, which I guess is what they really want…

So I’ll do the run in the morning and reward myself with the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad.

Aha! Now I have 2 things to look forward to.

5mins and I’m crocked :( The dangers of too much too soon I guess.

Today was the day I should have been targeting a 5k, so I’ve gone out prepared for a 40 mins session or thereabouts, but had to abandon it just 5 mins into the running as my right ankle hurts. So what have I done… OK let’s step back to yesterday.

It was a nice cool day and raining yesterday and I decided that I’d get my 5k in a day early as I was feeling good and it looked like good weather for running. I took myself down to the local park in the car, so I knew I then had the reward of not having to walk back up the hill when I’d finished. Despite the short distance, it’s an evil hill at the best of times, as either the last part of a run or even after the cool-down. While it’s not overly steep, it’s a steady and straight climb up and pains the legs almost every time I walk or run it.

Anyway, I digress. Down to the park I went around 1pm, all kitted out and I sat in the car and ate a banana, then set up the GPS running app on the iPhone with a decent music playlist. Ready to go and I’d already planned a route away from the park and back round to finish near where I started with a total of close to 5k… all I’d then need to do was carry on until the 5k was done. So a few mins over half an hour and there I am to be back at the car, a 5000m run done and the reward of a nice quick drive back to the flat. Tick off one box in the list of things I want to do.

Or so I thought… I made it through the first 1km fairly comfortably, then the app told me (I shall add in a quite sarky voice, which didn’t help), how piss-poor my pace was and that at the pace I was running, I would be lucky to clear the 5k in 40 mins. I’ll be honest – that’s not much better than a brisk walk (it’s under 5mph), so all my grand ideas and ambitions thinking I would complete my first measured 5k in 34/35mins or so? Complete garbage. So, being the idiot I am and a total slave to statistics, I picked up the pace thinking I’ll drag it back and made it just over another 1k when the narky bitch then informed my it wasn’t that much better. Bollocks to that then I thought; I’ll just run and do the circuit I’d planned to run and forget about the time completely.

I made it about another 200m I suppose when I then felt a nice click in my knee and I stumbled and twisted my ankle. So I stopped running – luckily I’ve not fallen over, but I’m just under half way round so I then know I have to walk/hobble a good 2.5k or more round the route, to get back to the car. So limping round I get into the park where I’d left the car, rip the phone off my arm and cancel and delete the session I’d programmed in, and eventually make it back to the car.

So there I am, painful ankle and knee, and the bonus addition of both shins painful as well, but I think I can put that down to 2.5k of limping as it was only really an ache and not anything more serious.

Completely devastated, got back home, iced it and rested for the remainder of the day and thought that’s it, a good week or so out with nothing. Or so I thought. I felt totally fine this morning and made it through the whole day with no pain whatsoever, so I thought I’d go out for a run earlier and just programmed in a 33mins run. 10% more than my previous maximum time run as I thought I was being sensible and “playing by the rules”, but 5 mins in and my right ankle is hurting me. Sense told me to stop the run, and since I’d only gone over to the large grassland area across the road, the walk back didn’t involve the “hill of doom”.

Thanks go out to a good friend for talking me down yesterday. I’m now taking the rest of the week off. It had been suggested to me that swimming would be a good recourse to exercise and not lose that aerobic improvement, but unfortunately since I actually despise swimming in all shapes and forms like you would not believe (and always have done), that’s not an option for me. I get no enjoyment whatsoever out of it, can’t make any distance and to be honest I could only swim if my life depended on it, and even then not very far.

So it might have to be the rowing machine in the gym at work until I feel like I can run again. Admittedly it’s only an ankle twist, but I’m not chancing it and putting myself out for weeks.

Very pIssed off…

Week 8 Day 3 completed… apparently I should be able to run 5k now ;)

Pictured below are the essentials (other than my running clothes and shoes) that made it out of the door with me this evening, iPhone armband/case, headphones, keys (to get back indoors) and a 500ml bottle of water with electrolyte replacement tab already dissolved into it. Oh and my glasses of course as I’ve often expressed a preference for being able to see where I’m going πŸ˜‰

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I was attempting the final day of the C25K program – week 8 day 3, a 5 mins warm-up walk, followed by a 30 mins run. This is the very last part of the program, where you afterwards officially graduate to “run a 5k from now on whenever you like”.

It’s a kind of glib statement really, as it only equates to the distance you can run in 30 mins and has no idea of the pace you are running at or able to maintain for any prolonged period of time. Hey, hang on though, step back a bit… “run in 30 mins?” Yes there you go… who cares how far you run in 30 mins? In 8 weeks (or 9 for me as I repeated week 5),

I’ve gone from “I have run for 30 seconds and IΒ actuallyΒ feel like I’m going to genuinely die” (ok, slight exaggeration).

to “WTF? I CAN ACTUALLY RUN FOR 30 MINUTES NON-STOP!”

Forget what anyone ever says or what you can read about learning to run (and there is SO much available out there) – that is the most impressive statistic for me; the fact that I can now actually run. I have graduated and I am officially a runner, and I even believe it now in my own mind. I am enjoying running. I came in soaked to the skin after the 40mins total for the session (inc warm-up and cooldown) but I felt full-on EPIC. No word of a lie – that was by far the best run I’ve EVER experienced. I have yet to experience a bad run since I’ve been doing the solid runs with no walking breaks – no joint pains. I know of course I will at some point in the future have a bad day or days, and maybe get injured, but I’m enjoying what I have for now and just riding the wave.

It was fairly heavy rain throughout the entire run, so that’s another new experience for me. I was absolutely drenched but loved it. Running as night was starting to fall was another first for me, so that’s another couple of things ticked off my list of things to do/have when running. It didn’t seem too bad, and it also allayed any doubts I had about whether I’d enjoy running in the dark.

Also, it was easily the coldest temperature I’ve run in, since the majority of the previous days of the program was during what for us was a full-on blazing hot 2 months of summer. I only really felt the cold probably I’d say in the first two minutes of the initial 5mins warm-up walk. From that point on I was totally comfortable with the temperature, and as you’d expect warmed up marvellously for the duration of the run, finishing as a heaving, red sweaty, hairy mess. Lovely, I’m sure.

I had made a point of performing a silly statistics experiment (not actually silly as it involves numbers which are awesome), which for me seemed to be a grand idea. I removed and weighed my TShirt before I left and did the same when I got back in, and it had soaked up 200g of water, which I thought was quite impressive. Despite how much I was sweating, I’m sure the majority was rain, as it had also gone from a light grey to virtually solid black and required a good wringing out too. Normal day’s running without rain tend to only slightly darken TShirts and they are most definitely patchy in the areas you would expect, and not solidly coloured-in πŸ˜€

This run was a tiny step up really from the previous two of only two extra minutes of running, but it was the final session. A full 30mins of running!

Ooh, Friday the 13th as well – totally irrelevant as I’m not even remotely superstitious. Lucky pants/socks? Nah… hehehe

The time of the session was around 6:45pm to 7:30pm. I’d spent the day in Oxford as it was a colleague’s last day and capped the day off getting my car back with an MOT. So my pattern is now back to normal – next week’s work days all finish at 4pm so all runs will probably be early evening and I think I’d plan to get them done before it gets dark, while we still have the light for next couple of weeks or so. Any day when I have a late 10am start I think I’ll look to run before work although I could even manage that on any other day as well.Β 

I just feel like with the two sessions I’ve run which were a 25mins and 28mins run early morning were the two best runs I’d had in the whole program, so I’m currently leaning towards preferring early morning running rather than evening. All of that though is just more words I would have sworn 3 months ago that I’d never write when referring to myself!

Final track of the random playlist tonight was “Humanoid – Stakker Humanoid” which probably contributed to feeling epic. What a great track to run to. I’m now starting to pick some more less obvious tracks as well and throw them into my running playlist. I still like the randomness though, as I like to mix it up but still have the capability to skip a track if I simply feel “no, that one doesn’t feel right for now or today”. “Feel-good” songs still have a good part to play though, as a happy track that lifts your spirits just seems to instantly give you more energy and pick you up.

I also ended the run on over 11,900 steps on the Fitbit which isn’t bad for a 8,000 step daily target.

My dinner reward was grilled sirloin steak, roasted thick-cut sweet potato slices, steamed spinach and steamed asparagus. Delicious! Look!

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So, onto Monday. I have a planned run where I’m going to track distance as well as time, with MapMyRun or RunKeeper (as yet undecided). It’s 5k time for real! Wish me luck πŸ˜€

C25K Week 8 Day 2 was exactly the same as the last one, but a lot more difficult! Ummm… dunno.

So, here we go again. An exact repeat of Week 8 Day 1, a 5mins warm-up walk then a 28mins run. This time it was a post-work run as I was back on a 4pm finish today, so no out of the door before 7 for me. Instead it was a start around 5:30 (pm), and looking to finish around 6:10, with it all planned in to make sure I got the run in before it got dark. I like that.. “planned”.

So it was exactly the same run as the previous run, but overall it seemed to be a lot more difficult. I can’t fathom why exactly, but all I can think of is that it was raining steadily, not the light drizzle I’d had previously and again a fair bit colder, so I guess that must be it. I seem to be more suited to summer running πŸ™‚

That being said it virtually flew by again and I hit the halfway marker without taking notice of my iPhone strapped to my arm, just merrily chugging along to the random shuffle of the playlist I’d put on there. “Chugging” is right, but I can assure you it’s nowhere near the speed of a train; OK, maybe a model train but certainly I don’t think any better than 10mins/mile pace yet.

I managed to slam out the whole 28mins run at a fairly constant pace as well, although I was aware I was certainly a fair bit slower near the end than when I started.

I also hit my step goal for the day before I finished which is a welcome bonus, so I don’t need to go seeking extra steps or pop out for a walk to the shops later for something I don’t really need. πŸ˜€

During the 2nd half of the run, I became aware of the now familiar mild feeling of numbness in both of my calves and also the start of pins and needles in my left foot which was a new one. I think maybe I laced up one foot too tight to be honest.

The run ended with no pain whatsoever and no feelings of discomfort at all so I’d run through what just seemed to be tiredness and nothing more. I think that’s going to be my achilles heel; my endurance. After I run a 5k that I’m happy with, that’s going to be the next thing I start to work on, so I guess I’ll have to pick up the 5k to 10k program or something πŸ˜‰

Back indoors, and there I was with the heaviest T-Shirt I’d ever worn, composed of I’d say 20% sweat and 80% rainwater. I think that’s maybe another addition to my slowing pace near the end of the run as it must have been like running in a sponge suit! The T-Shirt certainly absorbed a hell of a lot of water and made it feel like I’d ended the run wearing the top half of a suit of armour.

Having finished the run though, I was a lot more out of breath than I was on Monday and really felt like I’d done a prolonged period of exercise. Right near the end I felt like I was just getting the start of a stitch, only barely. Stretching again felt very satisfying however, as it always does now. As is usual now though, 5 mins later and I felt perfectly fine. My recovery time is constantly improving – another bonus.

So, I’ve only one more training run left until the full 5k, and then what remains beyond that for me I don’t know. It will certainly be interesting to see if the motivation and enthusiasm remains there with me, once the nights draw in and it gets constantly colder, or even as soon as I’ve done the 5k.

The clocks go back an hour at the end of next month for the end of BST, and then I’m left with it still being dark an hour before I leave for work and dark when I get home.

I think it’s going to get a lot trickier to enthuse about if it’s all going to be running in pitch darkness, but we’ll see. At the moment I’m still keen on it, so I’ll stick with that feeling and take it on from there after next week πŸ™‚

As well as hitting my Fitbit step target today, which incidentally I’d raised this week from 7,500 steps to 8,000 steps daily, I also got a nice bonus alert email from the Fitbit to tell me I’d walked 250 miles in total!

Now while it’s not extremely accurate for distance, and more based on it calculating distance based on my average walking and running stride length and number of steps (which is very accurate), I’d wager it’s fairly close. I’d be confident in saying that in the 72 days since July 2nd when I first got the Fitbit that I have walked more than in the whole of last year. Honestly. I was a proper couch potato (the ‘c’ in C25K).

So that was my 27th run of the program, completing the 2nd day of week 8 (with a repeat of week 5 and that bonus Sunday run), I think going back all the way to July 15th. So will I keep up to 3 runs a week once I’ve done the 5k? So far I don’t know, but it’s looking promising. Oh, and I’m close to being a Β full 21kg lighter than when I gave up smoking 85 (!) days ago.

My dinner reward today was a jacket potato, with diced chicken in a chilli and garlic tomato sauce with white onion, spring onion and chorizo, and green beans.

Nice? Oh yes, it was πŸ˜€

C25K Week 8 Day 1 – the last week begins!

So into week 8 I go and it’s the last week of the program – 2x 28mins runs on day 1 and day 2 and 1x 30 mins run on day 3. And that’s the lot – the program will then be complete and I should be able to run the full 5k (hopefully non-stop) a week from today(!). Hmmm, I’m still not convinced but I think that’s all nothing more than a psychological thing now, as per the 20mins straight run (and here I am now on 28mins, soon to become 30mins).

So today’s run was a step up from 25 mins to 28 mins – a noticeable jump of 12%, but the actual run itself didn’t really feel any longer to me than the last one.

Once more I was working today with a 10am start time, so there I was again out of the door before 06:45 (2nd time ever! and 2nd run in a row), filled with enthusiasm and also knowing I had a nice reward to come back to of the latest episode of Breaking Bad πŸ˜€

No rain today but a slight bit colder again, and all of it with the feeling of now being well into autumn after a weekend of relatively crap weather. Nice soft ground for running on is all I’ll say now πŸ˜‰

The run kind of flew by mostly in a blur and obviously I’m that much fitter than weeks previous to this, as I hit the halfway mark and thought “Really? Already? OK that was easy”.

I didn’t find myself praying for the final minute vocal alert this time and it kind of sailed past and I found myself running 15 secs into my cooldown time. A well-shuffled music playlist had accompanied me once more, and I think that added to the comparative comfort of the run.

When I look back to the end of week 5 and the fuss in my head about running 20 mins non-stop, and the sense of achievement I felt, and the exhaustion I clearly remember, then today’s was a quite simple “walk in the park” – although of course it was a run! πŸ˜€

I still don’t feel like I’m running at a particularly fast pace but I think I’m maintaining a good steady 10mins/mile (which currently feels good for me) & further improvement of course is to come later.

I’m still in 2 minds as to whether I go for increasing the distance once I run a 5k or whether I keep repeating the 5k and go for time improvements and try to constantly pick up my pace. Currently I’m leaning towards the latter as I think I’ll get more enjoyment for myself stats-wise of challenging myself timed against a distance I know I can run (well I hope I can!).

I’m still on target to be running the full 5k 11 days earlier than my initial challenge I set myself (only to myself in my head) of being able to run it by my birthday on the 27th.

Once again I’ve gone over 10,000 steps today recorded on the Fitbit and I’m just within my daily calorie goal today. With the extra I’ve picked up from the exercise I’ve eaten very well again today and rewarded myself accordingly, and feel very well for it. Much healthier than I was just a couple of months ago.

I’ve got 3 more daily nicotine patches left to go and then I’ve completed the 12 week stop smoking program so everything’s ticking along nicely. Down from what looks like beermat-sized to postage-stamp sized.

So…next week? Bring it on…!

Drives me crazy

I’ve never taken the time before to sit down and think about one of the biggest challenges I face on a day-to-day basis, on my daily trips to and from work in the car.

There is a certain set of drivers who I’m extremely jealous of. Most of them have new cars and the majority of them are in a BMW.

It seems to me that when you get a BMW you are also awarded a special pass which means you never have to use your indicators again.

Maybe I’ll get one someday in the future, but for now I guess I’ll have to act like I’m not actually a spy and not worry about keeping my destination top secret.

Week 7 Day 3 – exactly the same, but completely different.

Hey, Week 7 – you’re so last week!

Today sees the end of week 7 which leaves only one more full week to go (just 3 runs) then I can supposedly run a 5k. Hmmm we’ll see, won’t we as I’m still not entirely convinced. Since I have only tracked distance a couple of times and made a conscious effort not to do it again since (as I’m concentrating on time), I actually don’t know (or want to know yet) exactly, or even vaguely, how far 30 mins running will get me. Admittedly I’ve not even run for a full 30 mins yet, but I suppose I have a rough idea, and I potentially think that 5k will take me about 34 mins. But I will never be sure until I actually do it (in theory that will be in 10 days time – eeeek!).

Today’s schedule was dictated by two things – my working hours and the fact that I don’t have a car today as it’s in for it’s annual MOT test. I really think I won’t have a car for closer to a week as it will need some extensive maintenance work doing on it before it passes its test – my proclivity for purchasing cheaper cars means they never pass first time πŸ™‚

So my working hours today are 10am – 6pm, and then I have my kids with me for the weekend starting at 6pm. So my usual routine of getting the run in by about 5pm-5:30pm is not an option, so I decided to do the run in the morning before work, finishing it nearer 9am.

So how did that pan out? Well I found myself up, drank some water, eaten a banana, dressed, run-prepped and out of the door at 06:45. Yes, me. Out of the door before 7am is rare enough but out running before 7am? Ha. Unheard of. Genuinely a unique experience in all of my almost 45 years on this planet!

Now, for the last 8 weeks we’ve had something I would qualify as a very good summer – virtually the whole of July and August have been hot, with very few crap days, and in fact I’ve been lucky enough in all of my 25 scheduled runs (7 weeks of C25K, 1 week repeated due to head cold, and 1 bonus Sunday run) to only have to run in the rain 3 times.

So, not only was today what looks like being the first day of Autumn (as it was raining) but it’s also some probably 10 degrees C colder than I’ve run in for the whole of the last couple of months! Brrrr.

Certainly feels colder, but there I am running in it, and actually once the 5 mins warm-up walk was completed and I started the actual run itself, I’d warmed up quite well and the temperature was actually more comfortable throughout than any other day I’d run in.

The halfway vocal reminder from the app arrived virtually without me noticing andΒ was a real boost as I then perked up thinking “Wow! Halfway done already?”, so I then knew same again and I was done.

My legs felt great throughout – no discomfort at all in either calf for the duration of the run, just the feeling of the start of the burn with probably about 5 mins to go – so 20 mins into the run (yes “20 mins into” the run – go me!)

So there I was running on the coldest day so far, AND in the rain as well, and how was it? Actually I would say hand on heart that is was the best run I’ve even done in my entire life. The 25 mins flew by and I managed to judge it perfectly so I finished the run almost back at my house, not 400 yards past it as I’ve done many times, or 800 yards away from the car due to a complete miscalculation or lack of concentration. I know I’ve got all that fun to come when I start going out to run a planned route, but as long as I know where I start and finish and that the distance is able to be covered in a time I know I can run for, then I know it’ll be fine.

I don’t want to find myself having to walk (stagger) a heaving, sweaty, red-faced, hairy mess back to the car or house for too far a distance as that’s not fair on others! πŸ˜€

The actual run today was EPIC. No other words needed to describe it, but as it’s a blog I guess I have to, otherwise there’s little point in my writing all of this for these past few weeks. πŸ˜‰

Running across the park where, since it’s been raining for a few hours, the ground was softer than other days (where it’s been mostly like concrete for the past 2 months) when I cut across going off the paths as I normally do. That was a very welcome break from running on tarmac.

The rain combined with the cooler weather today (goodbye summer, hello autumn) made for the best running temperature I’ve had on any day of the C25K program. It was very comfortable to run in and at no point did I feel like I was going to melt, or burst into flames due to excessive/extreme heat, unlike some other days.

All required body parts functioned perfectly throughout and within 5 mins of completion were back to normal operating conditions. Cooldown was good – stretching out felt great and I’m here barely an hour later feeling like I should – raring to go for the day.

Another additional bonus is that I’ve logged almost 5,000 of my 7,500 step target on the Fitbit for today, and it’s only 8am. Compare that to two days ago when I did the run after work, and I’d only logged 2,800 steps before 4pm. So I’m 2/3 of the way done today, and I expect then I’ll have hit my target by shortly after lunchtime.

Also checking my fitbit profile on the website I can see that I now run more than 2,200 steps in a sustained 15 mins period of running, and that’s been increasing steadily so there’s a nice incentive to know that as I’m increasing the running my pace is also picking up – compared to the first 20 mins run I did and I’m stepping more, and I’m aware I’ve not stepped down my pace. So I’ve fixed my running style and increased my cadence.

Everything has improved so far. No more pain when I run. A good burn feeling when I’m done – decreased recovery times and feeling great for it. Still not smoking (week 12), still losing weight, eating better and feeling great for it. Obviously I’ve been kidnapped and replaced by aliens as anyone who knows me knows I’m not the same person any more πŸ˜€

I’ll intend to keep moving to keep my muscles loose today as I know I have two weekend rest days coming up where I can relax more. See how it goes but I expect that as I keep moving around, today will be a 10,000 step day πŸ˜€

Come on week 8 – let’s be having you!