I’ve read quite a lot of blogs lately and one of the hot topics of the moment is about running in the dark. Or more specifically, running SAFELY whilst it’s dark.
A few weeks ago, I saw a post by Fallon @ Slack Runner answering a load of questions about herself. You can see the post & her brilliant blog here
The post got me thinking about how i would answer some of the questions , so in honour of Fallon @ Slack Runner, i too have answered the questions, (i hope she doesn’t mind )
4 Names that people call me(other than my real name)-
Oi – Normally by Helen. “Darling” when I’ve been a good boy, “Oi” when i haven’t!
4 Jobs I have had-
Barman – Edwards Bar
Buyer- Cartledge Lighting – 5yrs of Zzzzzzzz!!
Currently- Estimator at a Civil Engineering Firm – 7yrs
I’m only 33, i think that is more than enough jobs so far!
4 Movies I’ve watched more than once-
The Thomas Crown Affair (Pierce Brosnan version)
The Shawshank Redemption
The American Pie films
Anything from Marvel – I do like my comics!
4 books I’d recommend-
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
Ice Station – Matthew Reilly
The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Stedman
The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins
4 Places I have lived-
Hatfield Peverel, Essex
4 Places I’ve been-
4 Places I’d rather be right now-
Somewhere in front of a log fire
On my sofa
4 Things I don’t eat-
That’s about it really, there’s not a lot that i won’t eat!
4 Of my favorite foods–
Cheese – any & every type
Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream
4 TV shows I watch-
The Walking Dead
Downton Abbey – Bcos I’m made to.
Game of Thrones
4 Things I’m looking forward to-
The new Avengers film – When it comes out.
The rest of my life
Edinburgh Marathon next year
4 Things I’m always saying-
“To be frank…..” – I don’t know who Frank is???
“Whatever” – Great in an arguement!
“For the third time….” – This is to the children,..annoying.
“For f*cks sake” – Normally when something has gone wrong.
What is your current health related goal?
Lose a bit of weight & get that sub 3hr marathon!
What is your biggest irrational fear?
Probably something boring like Spiders. i mean really, one step and they are gone. What’s that all about???
Do you enjoy wrapping presents?
‘Enjoy’ might be the wrong word. ‘Tolerate’ is closer to the mark.
What’s your favorite cross training activity?
I quite enjoy swimming, it is just finding the time to do it. That and hiking……Snowdon, Scafell Pike,
Kinder Scout & others.
If I came to visit you, what would we do?
Whatever you wanted to. You’re the guest, you tell me!
You have 2 weeks off of work and 2 round trip plane tickets to ANYWHERE. Where would you go and who would you take?
I would take Helen on a tour of the Greek Islands. We are both interested in ancient Greek history so a chance to see places from Greek legend would be amazing.
What’s the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you during a run or race?
I can’t really think of one to be fair. I face-planted at XC training the other week when it was stupidly muddy but that wasn’t really embarrassing as everyone was struggling to stay upright. Nope, I’ve been pretty lucky so far!
Tell me the 3 best days of your life. Or at least the first 3 that pop into your mind.
The birth of my daughter Matilda
The other hasn’t happened yet, but it will!!!!
Okay, you HAVE to eat a fast food meal. What restaurant would you choose and what would you order?
Maccy D’s, Large McChicken Sandwich Meal with a vanilla milkshake and McFlurry to finish. Yum, but bleurgh!
Have you ever met a celebrity?
Steve Cram (World Champion & Olympic Silver Medalist) at the Southwold 10k Race. He was starting it!
Chi McBride – he was starring in ‘House’ at the time i met him in a shop in Las Vegas
Share a picture of yourself in non workout clothes!
If you could choose to have a ‘do-over’ and switch careers, what would you choose and why?
I really wish i had been as active at school & maybe gone into a career as a PE teacher or Personal Trainer. Something to keep me active throughout the day, and if it was helping others, all the better!
If you won the Olympic Gold Medal – how do you think you would react?
Sheepishly & hoping that i didn’t get drug tested, as that would be the only way i could ever win an Olympic Gold Medal!
What do you want for Christmas?
Running Shoes, Running Spikes, XC Spikes….basically anything that i can put on my feet!
What skill do you lack?
The ability to step back & shut up. If i have a point, and i know the point is correct, i have been known to drive it home. Sometimes its better to concede and just know within yourself that you were right.
How would you answer any of these questions??? Let me know!
Running has been great lately, brilliant in fact!!
My legs have felt good, I’m consistently running under 7:00/mi pace comfortably, my legs & fitness are top notch and I feel ready to push, possibly, for that mythical 80min half marathon on February.
And then I tweak something at XC training yesterday. An innocuous little hole in the trail, the slightest twinge to the front of my shin & now I’m nervous. Luckily, today is a rest day………otherwise I would be panicking but to to say I’m a little worried would be an understatement. Please not now, not when everything is going so well.
This is one of the things that infuriates me about running!!! Get a puncture on the bike, you fix it and out you go. Pull a hamstring while running though and your family needs to move out for the next 2 to 3 weeks as you are going to be pissed as hell and make their lives a misery!!!
To be fair, I don’t know what I have done to my leg. It might be nothing. Every now & then I get a twinge and I can just ‘feel’ it. Does that make sense? I just know that there is something there that shouldn’t be! It’s a rest day today and I had always planned to take a week off over Xmas as such. Not stop running completely but reign it in a bit, a few nice slow recovery runs just to keep the fitness up over the Xmas period while gorging on every type of food possibly!!
And that will still be my plan, but that depends on that first recovery run tomorrow…………
Are you suffering from injury at the moment??? How do you cope. How does your family cope with you?? Let me know………..
I think this is my first post in something like two weeks & yes, it is long overdue. I could give you a myriad of excuses as to why I haven’t been posting…….the dog ate my laptop, I was kidnapped by a bunch of sexually delinquent aliens or I recently won the lottery but alas…..none of them are true.
The real reason is much more mundane………I just haven’t had the time! What with work, Xmas coming up, getting the running miles in, racing, my reading group, Xmas parties, school plays/panto’s etc…life just sort of took over! But I guess this is a good thing bcos if it didn’t, I wouldn’t have anything to blog about!
And with that in mind, let me give you a brief (there is nothing brief about it) update as to what has been happening with me lately. I’ll try and stick to the running element as this is what the blog is meant to be about and let be honest, once you’ve seen one school panto, you’ve seen them all right!
So, where do I begin? Well i posted a race report for the Woodbridge XC race so lets go from there! Having shifted around the course at a sharpish pace, even if I do say so myself, I came to the conclusion that I like this XC lark even more than I thought I did. So I decided “hey, why not” & entered the Suffolk County XC Champs. Held on the 4th January at Ickworth Park in Bury St Edmunds, it’s a gruelling 12km (7.45 miles) route over uneven terrain, long grass & mud. And a few bloody big hills as well. The Striders, being the amazing club that they are, pay for it’s members to enter as the race. It’s quite a big deal this race so it’s silly not to take the chance to compete if offered. I remember racing it a few years back when I was a Woodbridge Shuffler, I had to pull out as I was wheezing like a 23st asthmatic. I had just got over a chest infection & this course is brutal, it nearly killed me off!
With the knowledge that the last 12km XC race I did nearly ended me, it seemed only natural that I enter another one. Phhhhhhhh,… I’m starting to think I should be sectioned under some act. There must be one for deranged runners or sociapathic race participants! Yep, I signed up for the National XC Champs held every year at Parliament Hill, London. I have absolutely no clue as to what this race is like other than it is hilly, and has a talented field so I’m going to get muddy and have my backside handed to me on a plate. What more could you ask for on a Saturday morning in February lol. I should mention at this point that again, the magnificent Striders club is paying to put two teams of 6 men & 6 women in the race. If your running club is willing to fork out money for you to compete in a National race against top class runners……..I just don’t see how you can throw that opportunity away.
And last but not least, I seem to have been coaxed into running an Ultra Race?? Not quite sure how it happened but I got back from a run last night and either through being deliriously hungry or not paying enough attention to what I was doing, I agreed to take part in the Stour Valley Path 100km Ultra Race (SVP100). The 62 mile route starts in Newmarket, Suffolk and winds it’s way along the Stour Valley until it finishes at Cattawade in Suffolk. It’s worth doing the race for the views alone, at one point we run past Flatford Mill where John Constable painted the famous ‘The Hay Wain’. At present there is myself, Martin, Matt, Andy and Jason all taking part…although Jason is the only one to have actually entered so far (he’s keen). After the disaster that was the Suffolk Ultra Intro in September, it’s time to redeem myself in the eyes of the Ultra Gods!
Well i think that pretty much covers the races that I have entered in the last couple of weeks. There’s also the Bentley Half Marathon coming up in Feb where i’m hoping to beat my PB but there will be more about that in a future post.
What other news do I have?? Ahhhh, I know that all i seem to have bleated on about is how great my running club is so it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m going to to it some more (I hope the cheque is in the post Striders). I think a lot of clubs do this but the Striders are currently asking for a couple of it’s members to be trained up as a Coaching Assistants to help with the Junior members & possibly progress on from there. They will pay for you to do the course on the condition that you agree to the coaching of the Junior members. I think this is brilliant. What a great opportunity to give something back to the club. Granted, trying to get my 8yr old daughter to do anything is nigh on impossible so to say that the thought of coaching 20 to 30 small children is slightly daunting would be an understantement. But I’m always up for a challenge so I have put my name in the hat for the chance to do it! Hopefully I’ll hear something this week as I think they want to get things moving in January. Exciting stuff!!!
And lastly, again, I’ve somehow been coerced into becoming the Striders Press Officer in the new year. Helen, Don and I were at the Striders Xmas party last Saturday when Emma Yarrow came over. She currently makes an excellent job of being press officer but is planning to stand down come the Striders AGM at the end of January. So there I was sitting at the table, music pounding in the background and myself slightly (very) inebriated on Gin & Tonics when over Emma sauntered & asked if I would be interested in filling the role once she had vacated it. Now, I enjoy writing, I wouldn’t do a blog otherwise but there is a security in knowing that hardly anyone reads it. However, I will now be writing articles for regional newspapers. What if i write something untoward or crack a joke that sinks like the Titanic?? Emma assured me that I would be fine and that she along with Julia (the club IT officer) would ‘hold my hand’ & guide me through what I need to do!
So all in all, 2015 is looking to be an exciting & challenging year!! You can never know what life will throw at you, it’s what makes life so interesting. But equally, life has to be grabbed. You have to snatch & steal every opportunity, moment and chance you can! These ‘opportunities’ that I have mentioned above, these are but the start of what I hope 2015 brings!!
Merry Xmas everyone, and a Happy New Year!!
I should first of all apologise, this is a pretty wordy post. There aren’t a lot of photo’s from yesterdays race, I don’t think the families/spectators were too keen on traipsing through all the mud and sand just to take some photo’s!!
Waking up yesterday morning, the thought of running through woods & fields really wasn’t on my list of things to do. Helen had gotten up early to go for her own XC run, she wasn’t competing today, so i decided to stay warm n cosy in bed. I wasn’t going anywhere. I should probably say at this point that I am NOT a morning person……..AT ALL. I think it comes from all the late nights I had working as a barman in my 20’s, I don’t get tired until about 11pm.
The race start today was slightly later than normal, 11:00am, so i got up at 9:00am & got my kit on ready……which is just as well really as I had a phone call from Helen about 10 minutes later saying that she had got lost on her run. One of the problems of running in the country lol, all the fields look the same. So after I had picked her up somewhere outside of the village, we all set off for Woodridge, the setting for the destruction of my legs!
The actual race is in Sutton, just outside of Woodbridge & i guess you could describe it as a figure ‘8’ course. 5.5 miles in total. What makes this course so tough is the sand. Sutton Heath and the fields we run through are a mixtures of sand & bridleway and come the 2nd lap, you just want someone to shoot you and put you out of your misery. Even now, 9hrs later, my calfs are killing me. I dread to think what they will be like tomorrow!
I’ve sort of jumped to the end their really haven’t i? Back to the start we go.
After a warm-up run with Scott to see how compacted the sand was (not a lot we found out) we headed to the start line & waited for the off! As I mentioned earlier, Helen wasn’t running so she was designated ‘bag-lady’ and how she cherished the role with her big black rubbish sack collecting fellow Striders jumpers & trainers.
A few minutes later & “Whhhoooooooooooooo”, the klaxon goes and the stampede begins. There was a large group of Striders running together to begin with, a little bit of black ‘n’ yellow carnage. Everyone was vying for that tiny patch of compacted ground. There were places on the route where the competitors filtered down into single file, sharing the one strip of compacted sand or grass verge….just for that 30 or 40 metres of respite from the bloody sand!
it wasn’t too long into the race…..the first corner I think, when Sam decided that it might be more productive to roll around & play in the sand a little. I think a branch or something caught him on the leg & down he went. We had a bit of a laugh about it at the time but it wasn’t until he crossed the finish line later with a knee covered in blood did we realised quite how bad it was. That’s the sign of a proper hardcore cross-country runner there, a little bit of blood isn’t going to stop them from finishing that race.
To be perfectly honest, I can’t remember a lot of the first lap. I was so busy concentrating on trying to keep my feet planted and not lose any ground/places, I didn’t pay too much attention to what was going on around me. I remember catching up to Martin Little at one point as he seemed to be going ‘great-guns’ but other than that, I was having a bit of an out of body experience.
However, by the end of the first lap, we were down to just the 4 of us………Danny Preece (a fellow Strider), an older gentleman from Sudbury Joggers, someone from Felixstowe Road Runners & then lowly old me. And it was the four of us that ran together right till the end. This was Danny’s first race for the Striders & i think he was giving us all a masterclass in XC running. And it was great running with him to be fair as he was pushing the pace just right, it wasn’t easy but I wasn’t breathing out of my arse either. There were a couple of times where he hit the afterburners and pulled away a bit but we always seemed to end up back together again.
We all stayed together for the second lap pushing between 6:05 & 6:10/mi pace which I’m quite chuffed with considering the ground conditions & then we hit the one sticking point. My spikes.
I wear spikes when doing cross country & up until the last section, that was all good but then the track turned into a concrete road. It was only about 100 metres worth & it was less than half a mile from the finish but I went from feeling secure and having traction to being on an ice skating rink. My feet were all over the place. Danny was wearing spikes as well so we were both having a bit of difficuty. Luckily, there was one of those saviour grass verges again which gave us a little bit of grip. I’ll be honest, by this point I was pretty knackered so when the other three pushed on, I was more than happy to maintain my current pace to see me across the line. 20th place with an avg pace of 6:10/mi. I don’t think I can grumble with that, although my legs may well be grumbling about something tomorrow!
Once the race was finished, there was nothing left to do but 1/ get some coffee & cake and 2/ cheer the other Striders on. There were 41 of us racing yesterday…….41!!! That’s massive & i bet every last one of us found it tough…….but we will be there for the next race, come rain or shine!!
I really do love XC season, and today drove home just how much!!!!!
Did you race yesterday?? How did you find it??? XC or Road???
Another lunchtime run & another bloody miserable day. I know it is winter but still….a little sunshine wouldn’t go a miss!
This was the last ‘big’ run before Sundays XC Race. I’ve never been one for large tapers, just a slow 2 miles the day before normally see’s me toe the line in reasonable condition. On my own today as Helen was working so i thought i would hit some hills.
And after yesterdays lunchtime run, i was amazed at what a difference a day could make….i ran round with no issues, i felt comfortable and other than putting horse poo in my mouth (i didn’t realise it was on my glove, it’s not that i got hungry), it was a very productive run.
There are hills at Sundays Woodbridge XC race so hopefully this has put me in good stead………and worked off the two pints i had at the local pub last night. Well earned pint i should add after yesterdays effort.
Yesterday, i gave you the list below;
“Things i learnt from today…….
- How i feel is not neccessarily how i’ll run.
- English weather can be really depressing & miserable at times.
- School children get knocked down easily when they act like dicks & don’t get out of your way on purpose.
- I need to get some thermal underwear, a vital part of my anatomy virtually got frostbite.”
Today’s thing i learnt
- Horse poo does not taste nice!
Lunchtime run in the grey dismal drizzle today. Sounds almost poetic doesn’t it. Yes, if that poet was Edgar Allen Poe.
I wasn’t really feeling up to today’s run from the start. It’s cold, it’s grey, i wasn’t feeling in tip-top condition and my legs ached. But out i went as today’s run was a ‘Key’ session.
I did a 2.5mile warm-up around the block & then 4 x 1km efforts at 10k pace or quicker. I took a 60sec standing recovery between each effort! I actually ran better than i thought i was going to and the legs felt a lot looser on the cool-down run back to the office.
Things i learnt from today…….
- How i feel is not neccessarily how i’ll run.
- English weather can be really depressing & miserable at times.
- School children get knocked down easily when they act like dicks & don’t get out of your way on purpose.
- I need to get some thermal underwear, a vital part of my anatomy virtually got frostbite.
Tomorrow: 45min Steady Undulating Run
That’s right, the Striders have today launched the new-look club website. It’s absolutely jam packed with information about club training, local race & race series, club races and much much more!!
I have to say, I’m really liking the new improved look!!
Take a butchers & let me know what you think!!!
The OLD look website. Very yellow!
The NEW look website. Love the style
Just got back from a recovery run with Helen. I was meant to be doing a 60min steady effort today but after the incline session with the Striders last night………..my legs are shot, or f*cked as Helen puts it so lady-like.
This was Helen’s first time running this route (even though she created it on ‘Map My Run’) so it was all a bit new. But hopefully she’ll be able to run the route on her own from now on if she wants to.
The run was meant to be a 1 mile warm-up, 2 miles at a harder pace (for Helen) and then 1 mile cool-down. All was going well until we got 1.9 miles into the 2 mile hard section. Helen decided to walk at which point i had a little go saying something along the lines of “Get your arse moving, there’s only .1 of a mile to go”, or something to that effect!
“I hate you!” it’s what love about Helen,….no beating about the bush.
We did manage to finish the run without killing each other or bickering anymore so all good!!
Tomorrow: AM: 30min Recovery Run / PM: 15min Warm up, 6 x 1km @ 10k Effort, 15min Cool down
Tonight training session with the Striders was inclines which is never going to be pretty. I normally pride myself on my ability to push it on hills but i think it might have come back and bit me on the arse tonight bcos my legs feel knackered and my calf’s are still out on the hill somewhere.
After a 1.4mile warm-up/commute to the hill we would be working on, we did 2 sets of 10 minutes. The first 10 minutes was done in an anti-clockwise direction where we would push the uphill section, jog recovery to the roundabout and a steady downhill section with a good stride.
After a 2 minute recovery, we did the second 10 minutes in the opposite direction. Full pelt up the hill and then a jog recovery all the way back to the start. This was meant to be done in pairs but myself, Chris, Sam & Marcos were all running at roughly the same pace so we all pushed each other to what was a tough but fun session.
Tomorrow: 60mins @ Steady Effort
Monday: Rest Day