Sunday, 9 May 2010

4 May...

I really have started neglecting posting on here whereas a few days ago I really should have posted.

The ballot for the London Marathon 2011 opened (and closed in record time!) on Monday 4 May 2010. I am pleased to confirm my name is on the ballot.

I now wait until October to find out if I have a ballot place or not - otherwise, time to try to plead for a charity place. Should be an interesting few months ahead.

Knee is still healing, and I will hopefully be back up to my normal fitness in the next few weeks.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Jumped the gun slightly

Ok so I went out for a short tester run today and my knee did niggle and twinge a bit, so I guess I did jump the gun a little bit in saying I am past my injury problems. But still, I am past the worst of it and I knew it would still be a while before I could get back to my previous ability.

I guess it was just that yesterday was completely pain free got me into a bit of a false sense of security. Caution is the key and I will be very careful. But onwards and upwards we go anyway.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Woohoo! I'm back baby!

I ran for the first time today - PAIN FREE :D 11 weeks and 2 days after doing my injury, FINALLY I did it without feeling like someone stabbed me in the side of my leg.

Going to give it another test run in a day or so, but I was on such a high today - it was amazing.

I know I am still not 100% - the lay off and the build of scar tissue has weakened my knee - there is a bit of muscle wastage caused by the restriction of oxygen and blood flow from the scar tissue that is still there - so I do have to be careful. But some massaging and building up slowly should do the trick!

I do still get this weird funny fuzzy sort of feeling after running, but I think that is the nature of scar tissue and the restrictions it causes.

Bring on that 10k end of May :D

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Less than 1 year to go...

The 2011 London marathon either takes place on 17 April or 1 May next year. The last weekend in April is Easter next year so it is one or the other.

Most sites I have seen seem to indicate it will be 17 April - which I'm not surprised about. By May, the heat (in London? Seriously?) can pick up a little bit and I don't think the marathon has ever been held in May before. So I think 17 April is a reasonable expectation.

Which gives me 52 weeks to the day, or 364 days to go.

Ballot opens either day after this year's race, or on 4 May.





Bruised and battered - Part 2

Now that my injury finally does look like an injury with the bruising that has come out, I thought I might share it with you.

Not that I get any great pleasure out of showing off close up shots of my legs or anything, but I am milking this for every bit of sympathy I can get now!

Here you go...

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Bruised and battered

So my IT band is all normal and loose now. Great right?

Sort of. The ITB is loose, but I have ended up with a LOAD of scar tissue in the surrounding area which I need to massage and shift out before I try running again.

And holy crap it HURTS!!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

New look

I have been playing around with different templates these last few days to choose a new one for this site having gotten a bit bored of the old one. Went for this sort of grungy one just because I think it suits me better - and gives the blog a sort of macho-ness (which suits me fully...right? RIGHT?)

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


I have been feeling a lot better about my leg these last few days.

There is this one ridiculous tight spot on the outside back of my knee which is being stubborn. This was the spot which hurt most when the injury first flared up, so I suppose assuming it will be the last to heal is reasonable. Think I will get the magic hands of the physio to sort it out.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Target spotted

Having a lazy Sunday for now until I get over it and crack on with my planned 1 hour kettlebell endurance circuit - something I have devised to substitute the long run I would have been doing otherwise on a Sunday.

Anyway over the course of my lazy Sunday I spent some time doing some random browsing on the internet, unsurprisingly, running related it was. I stumbled across an article on celebrities and famous faces who have completed marathons, which you can read for yourself here.

Scrolling down the page, under politicians....George W Bush...3:44:52. Given my disdain for the 'Dubya' years and their impact on the world (I am not really a political person but he just managed to p!$$ me off big time) I think I will feel a personal sense of satisfaction to cross the finish line in 3:44:51 (or less!).

Hell of a lot of work to do for someone who can't actually run at the minute, and when I could run, my 10k PB was over an hour. Just about 13 months to go...I like a challenge.

Saturday, 27 March 2010


Following on from my last post (Going Greek), I went out today and got me some sparkly new shoes more appropriate to my running style which control the pronation my flat feet give me (the way feet roll in when you run). They shall be named Apollo.

Enter the Asics Gel Foundation 8's:

What a beast.

And full credit to the shop I got them from, for providing excellent service, taking a good look at the rogue shoes that hurt my IT band and helping me find what I now hope will be my Apollo's

The Runner's Shop in Beckenham

Woohoo - I shall be back on my running feet in a matter of time and I will be ready to go with these new beauties....I hope!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Going Greek

This is clearly the sign of someone with way too much time on their hands - and clearly suffering from running withdrawal symptoms. It has now been 39 days since I was last able to run in comfort. When I put it that way it doesn't sound too bad, but when I say over 5 weeks or over 1 month, it actually stings!

Anyways, I have decided to start naming my training equipment and decided to go for a general theme of Greek mythology. It probably should not be any sort of surprise - marathons were started by the ancient Greek and they were all super-humans back then.

So taking things in turn:

Foam roller: Paeon
Physician of the gods. That one was too easy.

My 2 tennis balls taped together: Asclepius
God of medicine and healing - let's hope it rubs off on my leg as well.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

I feel like having a rant...again...

Still going in circles with this stupid knee of mine. Damn ITBS.

Was wondering if it is my new shoes that caused it rather than being an absolute numpty on the stairs. So next plan of action is to get a proper biomechanical analysis done by a podiatrist to work out what caused my injury. I am not convinced I did it on the stairs (although that is what made it flare up!) because I have managed to do the same thing again a couple of times and on neither occasion did it have any side effect.

The only different thing on the time my ITBS flared up was the night before that I ran in my new shoes for the first time.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The state of play...

It has been over 2 weeks since my last update on here. I should have been revelling these last few days in the glory of completing my first ever half marathon. Instead, I am still being a miserable b*st*rd holding a grudge against the world for my stupid knee.

I am back to physio on Friday for what I hope will be one of the last times. The knee is slowly getting there , although it does have ups and downs on a daily basis, which is probably the single most frustrating aspect of it all - lack of consistency to tell me if I am doing something right or wrong.

Like this morning, when I woke up my knee felt about 98% there - by the time I got down the stairs back down to about 80%, back up the stairs and doing my stretching, about 95%, in the car on the way to work about 75%, then at work and home now, about 90%. I don't like these fluctuations.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

D day tomorrow

This injury has been getting to me. Majorly. I can't think about anything else at the minute - and I barely think straight at the best of times! Blogging has completely gone out the window!

Physio session again tomorrow, after which I think I will make my final decision.

The way I see it, if I am not 100%, I would rather not do it - my ultimate goal is still the full marathon next year, and risking aggravating an injury on a half marathon is just not worth it long term. To be honest, even if I am 100%, the complete loss of confidence in my legs will be holding me back. Think it will take some time to get that one back unfortunately.

So chances are, despite as much as it will hurt (and believe me it will!), I think I would be sensible to withdraw from this one, and give myself a few more weeks to build up my leg strength and confidence again. I will post again tomorrow.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Still on edge

Man my knee is bumming me out. It feels 100% fine first thing in the morning and gets worse throughout the day. I think I have become obsessed with it.

It has definitely gotten better since the initial injury, but I still can't help but worry that with just 3 weeks and 1 day to go for my first half marathon, the idea of having to pull out is still lingering on my mind.

I think I have been following all the recommended treatments - RICE of course was first and foremost. I swear the rest part is the hardest - the number of times I have just wanted to get up and dart off...seriously!

I saw a physio during the week as well, which I think was more painful than the knee itself. He was bending my legs in all sorts of directions I didn't even know were physically possible.

It is also a sign of what you have let yourself in for when at one point he says 'Your leg is probably going to feel like it's about to break, but I promise you it's not'! Charming or what.

Of course all that pain was nothing compared to the elbows (with his body weight behind it) being dug into my poor hip. Just to rub it in, he was trying to have a normal conversation at the same time while I was squirming and struggling to breathe, let alone speak.

It did really help though and my legs returned to normal walking ability almost instantly. It also emerged that my stretching was generally inadequate and my leg muscles were all stupidly tight. So I have been given a heck of a lot of stretching to do. I was also advised to get a foam roller, which I have now got.

That is probably even worse and I keep wussing out on stretching on it at the most tender part of my leg, which is the part I really need to work on. Wonder if I should hire someone to hold me down and make me do it.

Running is still off for the time being, but at least that has let me catch up on some rare Sunday morning lie-ins. Like I will be having tomorrow. Small ray of sunshine though in the mist that is the next 3 weeks.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

What a week

It has been a while since my last update. My new shoes are still glowing, and I still can't help but to keep staring at them.

I took some rest Monday through to Wednesday. Given the way my ankle had been before that, I thought it seemed like a wise course of action. Went out for a run again on Thursday with my running club.

7.4km - a distance over which my previous best time was something like 42:00. I did it in 38:30. Improvement? Hell yeah! Did it feel good? Well if you exclude the fact that I could barely walk later on, then yes I actually felt invincible.

Not a good feeling to have - Friday evening, leaving work, planted foot awkwardly on the stairs and my left leg tightened up badly. If there ever was a clear sign of someone having caught the running bug, it is at this sort of moment when you get that feeling in your leg and your first thought is whether you will be able to compete in your upcoming race.

I could not believe it. 30 days to go to Silverstone, and I went and injured myself doing something stupid on a staircase I have been going up and down for over 2 years without a hint of a problem on any other occasion. I would have been livid if I hadn't started panicking about my run.

I drove home in a state of complete panic, dragged myself to the freezer and got me some frozen peas and immediately stuck it on my knee. I still couldn't think of anything but my run. Spent the evening frantically googling any information I could find.

Once the hysteria died down, I came to the conclusion that it is likely that I got myself a sudden case of ITBS....I don't go into the medical mumbo jumbo, but if you want to see what it is, the Wikipedia (they have a link for everything, seriously!) page is here.

Long story short, I read on a couple of sites that average recovery time is 4-6 weeks. It was about here that depression started to kick in. 4-6 weeks???? F*%&*%$. I don't have that kind of time. I felt absolutely gutted. This was meant to be my goal, my big day, a huge landmark for me. And I was making awesome progress. The feeling that all that hard work, all that build up, all that anticipation could go to waste because a split second slip up, I can't think of the words to describe it.

I went for my boot camp this morning and took it really easy. I suppose complete rest would have been the wiser option but I didn't sleep at all, still felt low and just needed to get out.

It's better than it was yesterday and I have read accounts of other runners recovering within a few days. I've calmed down and am going to go see a physio early next week...and rest...and ice....and hope.

Monday, 8 February 2010

My new weaponry

I went into Runners Need ( at Victoria yesterday and had my gait analysis and all that done by an extremely helpful chappy. He pulled out 3-4 different pairs for me to try and when he opened the box to these bad boys I think sparks were flying pretty much instantly! Loved the look of them and I was absolutely delighted with how they run. Brooks Defyance 3.

These shall be my soul (or should that be sole?) mates for the next few months and I shall cherish the moments we spend together. Me - melodramatic? Never!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Best run ever...

On a MASSIVE high today - possibly definitely my best run EVER.

Only the second time I have gone 10k or more without needing to stop. Beat my previous 10k personal best by 5 minutes and my 5k PB by 3 minutes. First time I have ever run 10k in under an hour. That's right, 56:56.

Slightly hilly route, stopped for traffic a couple of times, banging out the distance on my own. Still did it though.

I think I may have had something of an epiphany the night before. I did 10k in 1:02:12 back in September, and it seemed to be taking me even longer to cover 10k now than it did back then - I always thought training was supposed to work the other way! The amount that p!ssed me off clearly unleashed some potent cocktail of adrenaline and testosterone and pumped me up to hammer it out no matter what today.

The fact that I felt like vomiting from 3k to about 8k didn't put me off. I ended up with my final 1k being my fastest, and my 2nd 5k being about 20s faster than my first 5k!

Been on a MASSIVE high since then. Put my stats into a race time predictor...this one in fact:

Race time predictor

Obviously training is still crucial, but the way today went I could potentially do my half marathon in less than 2:10, and even more pleasing to the eye was a possible marathon time of sub 4:30. I haven't underestimated the task at hand, but that really got me buzzing. 2 weeks ago I was looking at a possible half marathon time of 2:25 and was aiming for 5:30 for a full marathon. What a turnaround.

The following goes without saying really... Woohoo!!!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Be HumanKind

Oxfam it is. Indeed my first half marathon, which will involve me pounding my way around Silverstone like an out of control F1 car...although I suspect my speed might be exaggerated slightly....will be run for Oxfam.

I'm sure some of you are familiar with Oxfam and the work they do, but in case you don't, here is the Wikipedia link:

Ofxam on Wikipedia

And here is their official website:

Oxfam official

So why Oxfam?

Pure and simple, because they do a lot of good work in poverty and development and I really believe in the causes they work towards. Having seen the conditions people in some developing countries are forced to deal with at first hand, it's something that really resonates personally for me.

I have now also set up my fund raising page. If you are feeling generous, please do feel free to donate:

Abhi's half marathon full madness

As you can see I have already raised a grand total (to date) of £0, leaving just £250 to go to my target. Having said that, I still need to tell most people I am doing this run and still need to send out the link so I should...key word there - SHOULD - be able to reach it and in fact get well beyond it!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... Dickens wrote at the start of 'A Tale of Two Cities'. Now I'm no Dickens (unless this blog picks up big time and I land some major publishing deal) and my story is somewhat smaller in stature than the French Revolution, but the sentiment can still apply, right? Right?!

I think I did produce one of my best runs ever on Sunday - I covered 20km in about 2:15, which sets me on course for getting to (or beating) my target time for Silverstone of 2:25. With a combination of a flat route, warmer weather and an adrenaline rush to get me pumping, sub-2:20 might not be completely unreachable! I felt like I could go on further and I felt like I still had enough left in the tank, so here's hoping.

My brand new energy gel packs did help the last 3k though. I was really starting to wane, pulled out one of these energy packs and within a matter of seconds I was flying. In fact my final km was my fastest of the day - go figure!

On the down side, my ankle did start to hurt about 11k into my run. So I was 9k from home, early on a Sunday morning, in the middle of nowhere with no phone on me, with a hurting ankle. Unsurprisingly I didn't leave myself much of a choice and had to carry on until I was home.

Anyways after I got home, some handy self-diagnosis and I assumed I had a slightly sprained ankle, meaning lots of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). It was at this point that fear really struck me - what if I just unleashed some long term injury causing some long term lay off causing long term depression from depriving me of my running????

See this is where that best of times/worst of times stuff pops in. Best run, worst possible position of not being able to run!

As it turns out I was being way melodramatic. I took 2 days of complete rest (which did in itself drive me a bit crazy because I get paranoid about getting into lazy habits) and my foot is 99% there. Taking tomorrow off as well so I should be ready and raring to go again on Thursday. Woohoo. Woohoo indeed.

Saturday, 30 January 2010


I'm being a bit bold tomorrow and trying to go more than my half marathon distance...108% of it in fact - 22.7km. I just want to try it once, then I want to do another couple of weeks at similar distance then pull it back and stick to 10-15km distances and concentrate on building some more speed and endurance over the final 2-3 weeks.

Sound plan in theory I think. How I wish reality would be just as simple. I think I went and charted out a stupidly hilly route which is going to be stupidly hard. The fact that I am for some reason unknown to anyone willingly going beyond the distance I need to is either dedication or madness - haven't decided which yet.

On the bright side, once (or if!) I get through tomorrow I will know I have enough in me to pull it together on the day.

I suspect knowing my pace will be crucial. Last week I went out at a pace a bit quicker than I am accustomed and held on well for a while until my backside decided to stiffen up and start cramping about half way through. Week before I took it slower and was able to actually run alot more of it, which I think might be the better approach. I have time to work on speed afterwards - tomorrow is about enduring. 

My shoes have started getting worn out in a weird place now though - the toes of the in-soles. I didn't even think I used my toes when I am running to be honest, but there you go. I got some replacement in-soles put in and I am really liking the feeling in them. It does however put me in an awkward position for my run. Do I go and get new shoes? If I do get new ones, will I have enough time to break them in? If they're too new, that is bound to blister. Or do I stick it out with my current ones and whatever risks that may entail for my legs, in the hope of avoiding said blisters?

I guess I will see how tomorrow goes and decide after that. If I do need to get some shoes, I suppose I should act soon...

That of course leads me on to where to go and whose advice to trust. Ahh decisions, decisions....

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

I think I discovered the downside of solid solid training. And I mean the downside apart from the aching muscles, blistered feet, freezing my @$$ off and the sacrifice of sleeping in on weekends. I suppose I shouldn't complain about the last one because I am fully aware I can go training later, but I usually need to train early in the morning - before my brain wakes up and realises what I'm doing.

Anyways I digresss. The downside I was referring to, which is worse than all of that is the fact that I seem to be eternally hungry! 

Its this horrible shrieking monkey jumping up and down on my back all day. Except this monkey devours all the bananas I have and still wants more. 

Control is the key, I shall persevere. 47 days to go and I'm not planning on slipping up. Although I suppose if it was in my plans it wouldn't be a slip up in the first place. Hmm.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Getting close

7 weeks to go to the day! Not sure whether the adrenaline is out of fear or excitement. 

I did an accidental 19k today - leaving me with another 2k to build to. I say accidental because I got my distances wrong - I set out aiming to do 18k then when I realised I had hit 18k, I noticed I wasn't exactly at home yet. I literally had to drag myself that last km and it was absolutely horrible! 

If I was mentally ready for 19k I think I would have been fine - well more so than I was - but I could barely move my legs! 

Was quite pleased with my pace at the start actually. I hit 5k in a fraction over 30:36, 10k in 01:03:12. That is not far off my best time actually for 10k. 01:02:12 was what I did at Leeds Castle last year and that was knowing I wouldn't need to push on afterwards. So I am well chuffed - finally feel like I'm building some pace back. My run on Thursday as part of running club definitely gave me that confidence boost.

A few things did start to pull me down at this point though:

First and foremost - my @$$. Seriously. After about 10k, it just stiffened up. I was really struggling to move my legs properly. Need to obviously try to get some gluteus endurance going on - or work out how to stop the @$$ cramps happening altogether!

Second - Hills! The bane of my life. I swear every single small upwards gradient feels like a mountain - and I seem to be on some horrible eternal uphill run - my mind clearly blocks out any memory I have of downhill running. At least I will be safe in the knowledge that my half marathon is a FLAT run. Not a hill in site - I hope...?

Third - Traffic. I kept stopping to cross roads, and to make sure there was no oncoming traffic. I suppose I could have tried to keep going and without stopping....Might have been the heat of the moment but having weighed up risking my life against risking my momentum, I came to the conclusion that the latter may be the more appropriate option. Again on race day - no cars and no traffic so I won't have that disruption.

Also I decided to venture out with 2 full 500ml bottles and after about 10k, they feel seriously heavy. My shoulders got a great workout at least. I think the race will (or at least should!) have drinks stations so I won't need to carry much.

Anyways I managed to get to 19km at 02:11:48. Puts me on course for a finish of around 2:25-2:26. Taking into account the above, the adrenaline on the day and the general effect of running in a group, with some good (demonic) training I would love to get down to 2:20. As long as there are no more blizzards, I guess I have no excuses.

7 weeks to go. 49 days to go. 21 training runs to go.14 weights sessions to go. 7 boot camps to go. 1 pair of legs to try to cope with all that.... err... woohoo??

Saturday, 23 January 2010

50 and on the lighter side....

50 days to go to D-day. Knowing that has sort of given me a bit of an adrenaline rush and I can't wait to go out and get my freak on....well whatever you want to call it. Carpe Viam (Seize the road!)

I read a joke a couple of days ago, which I figured might happen to me next year....just don't think I'd have the presence of mind to do it in a race situation...Here it is...

Last year I entered the New York City Marathon. The race started and immediately I was the last of the runners. It was embarrassing. The guy who was in front of me, second to last, was making fun of me. He said, "Hey buddy, how does it feel to be last?" I replied: "Do you want to know?" and I dropped out.

The diet of champions....or something...?

There is so much information out there on diet and nutrition it is easy to get just plain confused. I know I went through it and I bet there are alot of people out there in the same position. And it sucks. 

I have had plenty of moments banging my head against the wall trying to work what I should and shouldn't eat, when I should and shouldn't eat, what I should and shouldn't eat with what, how much I should and shouldn't eat....and so on and so forth....the sort of stuff insanity is made up of.

Anyways, long story short - I think the most important thing is deciding what works for you and what works with your goals. Distance running, weight loss and building muscle are 3 completely incompatible goals or so I've been told. 

In short, I think you rely on carbs (and atleast maintenance level calories) for the energy for running. You rely on protein (and excess calories) for muscle building. You rely on a blend of carbs and protein (and a calorie deficit) for weight loss. Like I said, three seemingly incompatible goals. 

At the minute I am trying to mix it up and experiment a bit so I am sort of hitting all 3. My improving runs, heavier weights at the gym, lower weight and smaller waist suggest things are going in the right direction. I am becoming the lean mean running machine I always wanted to be. Woohoo indeed!

I think I am getting that balance of carbs, protein and (good) fats right, and I think it shows - I have been feeling alot beter for it too. So what is a typical day in this diet of champions? (Ok ok getting a bit ahead of myself, I know!)

Let's take yesterday as my typical weights training day.

0600 - Half a banana and my own trademark cereal/protein bar. I make these up with peanut butter, porridge oats and some protein powder. (Recipe and where to get the protein from at another time).

0630 - 0730 - Gymming it, lifting reasonable weights (free weights, not machines!), full body workout, 3 sets of 8 reps on each exercise.

0731 - Protein shake. Yes, 0731. Literally as soon as my workout finishes, I down a protein shake. Same protein powder as used in my cereal bar, but made up with water. Its something of an acquired taste not using milk!

0745 - Breakfast. Scrambled eggs made up of 2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites with a few mixed spices. That plus a wholemeal tortilla wrap or something along those lines.

1000 - Usually some mixed fruit and another one of my cereal bars.

1230 - Lunch. An absolute load of spinach leaves go in first. Lots of healthy vitamins and so on in there. Some wholemeal carbs - cous cous, quinoa, or a toasted tortilla wrap or pitta bread broken up. Some houmous. And some meat or other source of protein.

1600 - Another snack. Usually a handful of almonds, if I'm hungry a bit more.

1900 - Dinner. Lots of grilled and roast fresh vegetables and some lean meat.

2100 - Another protein shake - this one made with milk. 

That's fuelling myself 8 times a day and I don't really feel hungry any more. I love it. I don't binge, I don't get tempted, I eat lots of natural good foods and I notice a real difference in how I feel. 

I am actually only 3 pounds lighter now than I was  before Christmas, but I have lost a good couple of inches off my waist -  the jeans I bought myself in the Christmas sales are already loose - much to my wallet's annoyance.

Oh I did forgot one of the most important thing, and possibly the simplest thing.... WATER. I think I have 3.5-4 litres a day.

You are what you eat....Eat healthy, be healthy :)

Cool runnings

Finally starting to build something and I can see some progress. Wednesday I found a hill and knocked out a few hill sprints until I could barely walk up the hill. And it felt great - well ignoring the pain in my legs anyways. I followed it up with a few squats afterwards. I realised during my last run that my @$$ muscles are majorly lacking in endurance and I need to try to strengthen that a bit. Hence squatting seemed like a good idea, combined with the hill running.

Thursday was AWESOME. I joined a running club and went out in a group. 7.4km in 43 minutes, without stopping. I have never done that speed for that time without stopping. I would go as far as saying it was my best ever run (so far)! Was on such a massive high all of Friday and I'm still buzzing.

I know I will desperately need that buzz to carry me through 18k tomorrow! Bring it on....

Sunday, 17 January 2010


As the title suggests, woohoo indeed. Had a pretty good distance run today, probably for the first time since I started training for this thingy.

16k in 1 hour 49 minutes and 50 seconds. Not overly excited by my time, but I had picked a challenging route and more importantly, I did the first 9k without needing to stop once! Never made it that far before, either in terms of total distance or in terms of distance gone without stopping. So needless to say, I am well pleased! Hence the woohoo.

I did realise my gluteus maximus isn't quite the lean powerhouse I had envisaged. Work needed there me thinks - Might keep it simple though, like trying to cram in a couple hundred body weight squats/lunges every coupe of days, to specifically target that muscle group and test its endurance.

I did find afterwards however that keeping food down was a major challenge - I felt sick for a good hour or so after I finished. It might have been the protein shake I had right afterwards which by own admission I pretty much downed in a gulp. I was starving and it was an easy filling ok so back off! :P

Oh and the leg cramps! Holy sh*t. Atleast when they're in my calf or something like that I know how to stretch it off - what the fudge do you do for inside thigh???? Couldn't get up for a bit. I'm guessing logical reasoning suggests general lack of hydration (I took a Lucozade but no plain water...I know, I silly!)

I'm feeling pretty good. On race day (8 weeks to the day!) I will have a flat course, adrenaline pumping and I will have built up to that distance (so not feeling like I'm doing it for the first time!). I am hoping to have developed the muscles in my backside a bit so I should be set to go for a decent time - I think 2 hour 20 minutes should be reasonable, although I know that does mean running further and quicker than I currently am! I like a challenge. Muaha.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Random musings...

Didn't realise it had been a whole 6 days since my last post here. Whoops.

First off, I want to request anyone reading to donate what ever you can to the Haiti earthquake appeal. There are quite a few charities and international aid agencies who are raising money and DEC is just one, but its the one I went with - the link is to a UK website by the way:

Disasters Emergency Committee

On a much lighter note, we had snow again this week on Wednesday which thawed and then froze on Thursday, completing defeating my attempts to go out running. Unsurprisingly I am really disappointed given I also had a shoddy run on the Sunday before that. I did however get to the gym on Friday and had a pretty decent weights workout - legs were definitely feeling it for the rest of the day!

Gearing up to give 16k a second attempt tomorrow so after my Saturday morning bootcamp, I am having a really chilled out relaxing day under the guise of resting my leg muscles.

16k..bring it on :D

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Another faltering run

I think the #snow is really starting to get to me now. There is my inner child who is still loving it. And there is my inner grown up child up who is delighted at having worked from home for 3 days last week. There is however the runner in me who is going a bit mental with it.

I set out today to get up to that 16km mark. I thought I would counter the snow and the hills by slowing down to about 8.5-9 kmh and I should be comfortable at that. I mean I did 5 km a couple of weeks ago at 9 and hardly broke a sweat so I figured I should be able to push myself a bit more and drag myself to 16km if I go a bit slower. Sound reasoning, yes? No.

I managed about 6k before things started to go a bit wrong. I didn't lock the display in my Garmin watch properly so it kept randomly changing display, it ended up doubling the speed of my virtual partner, it started beeping randomly and I got my rhythm completely screwed up. So I figured it would be a good time to stop and have a snack. So I pulled out a cereal bar thinking that the sugar in it would give me an energy boost to push through for at least another 5k.

Unfortunately it was downhill from there. My shorts started to slide down my legs.  I should emphasise at this point that I was wearing two layers on top of my shorts so I had no indecent exposure of any kind, but it really made it hard to run in any sort of rhythm. I lasted another 4k, then had to stop. Tried to adjust my leg wear slightly, with minimal success. Had my other cereal bar and hoped it would power me through the last 6k.

I lasted 2k more, before my legs pretty much gave way. I think the combination of my clothes, my watch, the snow, my lack of stamina and endurance all kind of combined to screw me over for the day.

So were there any positives? Well last week I did 12.5k in 1h 34m, averaging 7:35 per km. This week I did 12k in 1h 26m, averaging 7:13 per km. The terrain was much more challenging as well - shows a definite improvement in my book. Even if I walked the last 500m to get to the same distance, it wouldn't have taken me 8m (I hope!)

Back to work tomorrow, gym Tuesday. Next run is Wednesday - I will probably go for a short 5-6km one and try to build some speed in that. I did 5k on Wednesday this week in 32:37. Want to try to get that down ideally to 31:00 and if its warmer and not icy, possibly aim for 30:00 even.

We'll have to see how it goes I guess.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Before and after...

I'm not quite where I want to be either in terms of body weight or in body composition, but from time to time it really helps me along to compare some 'before' and 'after' pictures. Never really thought of putting this out on the public domain, but I somehow don't really seem to mind that much any more.

Anyways, this was me in September 2005. I don't actually think I have any more embarrassing pictures than this - it's just a hideous nasty picture. When I look at it now, I always wonder how the f**k did I let myself go like that???? I hope I don't need to point out that I am the one in the green...

And here are a couple of me on holiday in Morocco in November 2009:

Sorry I'm not sure why the spacing is as odd as it is, but meh.

I had been a bit down these last few days with the crappy UK weather and the inability to properly train - Silverstone is 9 weeks from tomorrow, after all!

But having another look at these pictures, I suddenly feel a lot better looking at the progress I have made and what I have achieved so far. I realise the fact that I can actually run at all today is an achievement, considering I could hardly walk a  couple of years ago. Just need to push on, keeping giving it my best.

Told you it cheers me up :P

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Snow man!!!

The #snow in the UK has been absolutely awesome! At least that is what I would be saying if I didn't need to go out running in it!

Check this out on the BBC website:

UK snow from above

Since I moved to this country at the beginning of 1997, we have never had snow like this, and every year up to now I would have killed for it. This is like the first year I had honestly been hoping for dry conditions to go running in (I don't mind the cold really) and it really has gone all t*ts up.

Arctic conditions are expected to continue for almost a week still - really starting to get to me. My run on Sunday showed me how truly unprepared I am, and with ice all over the place, it just means I am not going to be able to get in the training that I seriously need to.

I suppose I do still have some time on  my side - between now and Tuesday next week the only run I would be missing would be my distance one. The problem is that I have hardly been able to test myself over distance yet - I practically limped that woeful 12.5km on Sunday and if I don't get out this Sunday, I will need to go straight into doing 16km the following week.

Not sure whether I am just letting panic get to me, or whether there is genuine need to worry. I am sure there are runners training up and down the country who will all be suffering from lack of training, so I can probably breathe easy that it isn't just me losing out or something but my time will probably be well below what I would have liked.

On a positive side, I did go out both yesterday morning and this morning and didn't do too badly I guess. I was getting some weird looks from passers-by struggling to hold onto their footing in the snow while I cruised along running around in my flourescent orange thermal. Ahh well. I managed a decent 5k time yesterday - 32m and 37s. Ideally that would be below 30m but I will allow it due to the cold, my phlegmy cough (did I mention I have had a cough for 10 days now which I haven't been able to shake off yet!) and running on snow.

Did a few intervals today, 10 x 400m. Wasn't watching time too much as my focus was on technique and building up some lung strength. The insides of my legs were aching like hell by the end though. I used to always run with my feet pointed out - now with my feet straightened, the inside leg muscles are working more - hence above mentioned hellish leg pain.

Rest day tomorrow - going to try to slip in some resistance work if I can. I can't be alone in thinking trying to get to the gym would be a bit stupid.

As I typed this I started to feel a bit better about my training and the snow - long may it continue. The good feeling I mean - not the snow!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Ice Age

Another #snow run is exciting me - with snow expected overnight it should be interesting to see what the morning brings. I will have to be out running whether there is snow, ice or neither. My extremely poor effort on Sunday has left me a bit panic stricken - not sure how my form/fitness/stamina/whatever dropped so much in such a short space of time!

Greater effort is needed indeed. I think if tomorrow is icy I will probably find a patch of green grass somewhere and just work on intervals for 40-45 minutes. If not then I think a distance of 5-6k should be reasonable - and I will need to put particular emphasis on measuring my time.

I have been making sure I have at least 2000 calories on a daily basis, and in fact I was on 2100 for the last 3 days - I have been counting (Thank you Tap & Track on my iPhone)! I have been averaging 2144 calories in fact, consisting of 42% carbs, 27% fats, 31% protein. It is broadly in line with what I was aiming for, subject to a couple of % here and there. The only thing is I will probably need to aim for carbs being a bit closer to 45%, with fats at 25%.

I had a weights session this morning at the gym (first proper one since before Xmas) and found some surprising increased strength, being able to lift more on every exercise (quite comfortably) than I had been able to before! Woohoo for me!

Will see how tomorrow goes. If you don't hear from me, assume I slipped in the ice/snow and died....or I just forgot.

Sunday, 3 January 2010


What a #disaster this morning was. I went out intending to get to 14km - made that much more important by my shortage of time - and limped to a woeful 12.5 km in the disturbingly poor time of 1 hour 34 minutes!

I don't know what's going on. Might be my body not liking the cold weather, my chesty cough, lack of training prior to today over Xmas and new year, lack of energy from lack of calories or something completely random and abstract. No idea.

Only things I can think of changing are becoming more strict with my training (pushing myself a bit more and upping the intensity in each session) and eating more. I'm on 1800-1900 calories a day at the minute so I'll try upping that to 2200, concentrating on complex slow-releasing carbs and good clean protein.

I am starting to really worry about how it's going, with the half marathon now about 10 weeks and counting down. My fitness and stamina seem to be dropping and I'm not entirely sure why.

I'll go throw myself into some weights in Tuesday, intervals on Wednesday to build some breathing ability and a shortish 5-6km run on Thursday and I'll see from there. Might take a rest Friday, boot camp on Saturday and try a distance run -maybe 16k -on Sunday.

Til next time...

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Onwards and upwards

So tomorrow (3 Jan) sees me officially re-start my proper running, with the small task of 14 km to enjoy. Just to make it that bit better, its supposedly going to be -3 degrees. Woohoo!

I still question why I keep putting myself through this - I'm sure one day I will look back and give myself a pat on the back (assuming I survive) but not sure when that day will come and how much agony I'll have to go through to get there!

On a positive note, I am glad there is no ice on the ground at the minute - just means I won't be slipping and killing myself in the immediate short term.

I'm in the process of planning out my next few weeks. 14 km tomorrow, 16 km on 9 Jan, 18 km on 16 Jan, 20 km on 23 Jan and 22 km on 30 Jan. I've got all my routes up to 20 km planned out and just need to work out something for 22 km. Then in February I will probably 20, 20, 18 and 16. If I have my calculations right, that will leave me with one long-ish run in March (on the 7th) which I will probably cap at 10k. Then 14 March is the big day!

Obviously torturing myself once a week wont be anywhere nearly enough - I will need to get out there a couple more times a week, with the added joy of them being first thing in the morning, in the darkness, before work! Once a week interval sessions to build up some respiratory/cardio fitness, and once a week tempo runs to build up some speed!

With a clean diet, a couple of weight lifting sessions and the above combination, I should be a lean mean running machine in no time, right? Actually don't answer that.