Rerun

So far my resolutions for this year are not going too well. A few I’m not that worried about as it’s early days, but number one on the list,  to lose weight and keep going with the healthy living stuff, has not gone so well.

Since Christmas my jogging has really fallen away, and while I can probably get an excuse for about a week due to the weather, but the rest is all down to me.

I’ve been working night shifts almost exclusively and so I’ve spent most of the month in some state of tiredness, and some days a run hasn’t been able to be fitted in, but on the other days Lazy Chris has taken the reins and I’ve spent my days doing quizzes on Sporcle and watching tons of 30 Rock.

"Off to watch some 30 Rock and eat some cookies"

“Off to watch some 30 Rock and eat some cookies”

The problem with this is that by not exercising and staying in all day I’ve made myself even more tired, but in that tired way you get when you stay in all day. It’s a kind of tired that leaves you a little fed up and disgruntled, without having gained anything from the day.

This meant that by the middle of the month I was in a bit of a funk, and to complete the vicious circle the funk ensured that I was even less motivated to drag my fat arse outside for a run.

In all of January I managed 2 runs. That’s one run every 15.5 days which is frankly embarrassing. My work rota for February looks a little bit more balanced between days and nights and I’m hoping I can get back to averaging a run every other day again, and that the weather improves a bit.

Today’s run was okay, I only did 45 minutes because I was kind of scared about how much I might have slid backwards, and while it took me a while to get into my rhythm, but it went fairly well. It wasn’t the easiest run I’ve ever done, and I could feel the effect Lazy and Greedy Chris have had, but I’m confident that I can get back to doing hour runs starting this weekend, and I’m determined that this will be my last lapse.

if-youre-tired-of-starting-over

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Ranniversary

Today marks exactly one year since I started jogging. It was after a fortnight of extreme gluttony that I finally pulled on my trainers, listened to the first Couch to 5k and went for the first run.

It turned out to be the best way of doing it, with the podcasts slowly easing me into it and building up my stamina, within the 9 weeks I was already feeling the health benefits and discovering that I was actually enjoying doing it.

Once the course was up I kept going, increasing the length of my runs over time until I’ve reached the current stage where I run for a full hour.

Running for an hour is still a challenge, I’m always tired by the end, but its a tiredness I’ve come to enjoy, a feeling that you’ve put in a decent effort and that the tiredness has been earned. Its also a tiredness that passes quicker and quicker after the runs, leaving me riding an endorphin high and feeling good.

This time last year I couldn’t see myself running for that long, but now its something I can do fairly easily 3-4 times a week. I’m surprised by the changes in myself and also quite proud of myself for sticking with it.

There have been times when its been rough, and times when I’ve let Lazy Chris take over, but for the most part running has become a part of my life, if I don’t run I fell guilty and a bit fed up, getting out there and pounding the pavement clears my head, gives me a chance to think things through and makes me feel good.

I’ve lost at least 2 stone since I started running, which means I’m now the healthiest I’ve been in years. I’m more confident in myself and I feel more comfortable and happy with my body, in a way I haven’t for years. I know there’s still work to be done, but I’m definitely much more positive about it now, even if we’re still a long, long way away from me being comfortable going swimming or topless on the beach.

So, my advice to anyone out there who wants to lose a bit of weight is to check out the Couch to 5K podcasts and give them a whirl. I know at times it’ll be difficult, it’ll be cold or raining outside, or you’ll be tired, but push on through and you get some pretty good things out of it. The satisfaction and pride I got when I did the Sport Relief 3 mile run earlier this year was one of the best feelings I’ve experienced, and next year I hope to have it again when I run a 10K.

So give it a go, let me know how it works out and if you don’t enjoy it, maybe look into other exercises and find one that suits you best.

I didn’t run today, it being one of my days off from running (I ran yesterday) and now I’m sitting here wondering how I should mark/celebrate this event, having a cake or treating myself to something similar kind of feels like going against the whole point of it, but at the same time I kind of want to celebrate it somehow. Any ideas?

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

P.S. Here’s a link to the Couch to 5K stuff


Jocktober

So, I realize I’ve made fitness manifestos before, and fallen short, but after a poor showing in the last couple of months I’m eager to get back into my groove.

I’ve rediscovered my love of running and over the last fortnight or so I’ve managed to stick to running roughly every other day. I’m not going to lie, they’ve been pretty tough runs. Usually by the last 10 minutes I’m feeling pretty drained and the end is a relief, but I’m bouncing back quickly and usually by the time I walk through the front door I’m almost back to normal, just a bit thirstier and stinkier than normal.

The thirst thing is the worst, I’m definitely going to have to get a proper running bottle or one of those pack things, especially if I intend to push past the hour mark.

The only consolation is the satisfaction at the end and the fact that in each of my last 6 runs I’ve got above what my best was back in August and I’ve been averaging around the 8.7k mark, which I’m pretty chuffed about. I’m hoping that another 2 weeks of hour long runs will make them feel a bit easier and hopefully mean I’m ready to go to 65 minutes then, if not I’ll start the 65 min runs in November.

I’ve also decided that to help with the weight loss and general fitness I’m going to start going to the gym more often.

About the gym, I guess its confession time- I haven’t been for ages. I feel pretty bad and would feel worse if this meant I was losing money, but as I didn’t set up a standing order so its just been a massive embarrassment.

One of my coworkers asks me from time to time and I fob her off with some vague statement and change the subject, the thing is I really do want to go more. I’m going to rejoin and set up a standing order, which will push me to try and get my money’s worth. I always feel a little self conscious there but I can get past that, just as I’m no longer quite as neurotic when running as I used to be. I think it’ll help if I keep this in mind:

So my plan is to really go for it in the next month. I’m going to try and hit 15 runs, which works out as around 1 every 2 days and try and sort the gym out tomorrow, and try to go there at least twice a week. I’m also going to start doing some weight training while I’m there so I can shift my bingo wings.

I’m feeling pretty excited and confident about this, the fact my recent runs have all been quite good helps and I’m really keen to make up for Lazy Chris’ reign of terror and get back on track. I’m going to try and eat healthier too, and completely abstain from chocolate and desserts, because I’ve been backsliding towards my fat bastard ways of late. Yep, its gonna be lots of fruit, veg and salad over the next 31 days.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Run of form

So earlier this week I wrote of my return to running after a period of laziness, and knowing I’m away next week I threw myself back into the running. Wednesday’s run had been rough, but it had reignited my passion for it and I managed to run for the next three consecutive days (I only didn’t run today because I overslept).

4 runs in 4 days is a new personal record for me.

I usually run once every other day but I decided to try and knuckle down, my shifts at work allowing me to run a bit more this week and I’m planning to try and get 3 runs in before I go away on Thursday.

Over the next three runs I built back up until I ran for a full hour yesterday and at the end I felt pretty jazzed (I probably could’ve managed an hour on Friday, but due to the damsel in distress I wrote about yesterday I had to stop early). I have a new Nike+ sensor on the way, which means starting from Tuesday I can hopefully start tracking my distance and pace again. I’m a bit curious to see if I’ve lost that much speed due to Lazy Chris’ time at the helm.

The running everyday was also a good sign that my fitness level hasn’t dropped that badly and I reckon I’m still pretty much on course for the unofficial plan I’ve set for myself.

Next year I’m planning a few big changes in my life and I’m thinking that these changes might allow me to run every day, so I’m quite chuffed that I managed this recent streak of running, because once I’m into a more settled routine I’d quite like to run an hour every day.

Lazy Chris has been vanquished and I plan to really get cracking and start hitting the gym more often so that by the year’s end I can have shifted even more weight and be healthier.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Back on the streets

Its been almost a month since I last blogged about running (see here) and there’s been a reason for that, Lazy Chris seized power, for the embodiment of my slothfulness he’s actually quite quick off the mark.

I just want to clear up that the 8th of August wasn’t the last time I ran, I got about 5 more runs in, although even taking that consideration its a pretty lame statistic, 5 runs in 27 days. That’s less than one run every five days.

I could say its because my trainers are utterly knackered and hurt my feet (they do), or that I struggled for motivation after my Nike+ sensor and headphones both broke within days of each other (they did), or that work has been especially rough the last few weeks and I’ve been pulling in a fair amount of overtime (I have), but deep down they’d just be excuses.

The major reason is that I started backsliding and letting Lazy Chris take charge again. All the above factors played a part, but at the end of the day, it comes down to a personal, mental failure on my part.

See, losing a way of tracking my progress or soundtracking my runs did hurt my motivation, but I’ve run without music in the past and I should have been able to just push on through the silence. It was a mental lapse and a bit worrying to see just how quickly I can fall back into idleness.

Its weird that this should strike at this time, given the fact I’ve had the inspiring spectacle of the Olympic and Paralympic games to push me on, but for some reason I just lost my mojo.

So I decided that today I was going to pull on my trainers and get out there. The sunny weather was a bit of a double edged sword- its easier to get going when the sun’s shining outside, but the heat made things hard going.

It had been over a week since my last run, and as ever, the first run back was pretty tough going. I managed to go for about 50 minutes, but I felt slow, out of shape and practice. It was nowhere near my best and I was aware that I copped out a bit and ran a shorter route, but I’d decided to ease back in.

It was tough and by the time I was done I felt pretty knackered and sore, but at the same time I did feel kind of good. I’d thrown LC off my back and it was the good kind of tired where you feel like you’ve earned it. I’m away for a few days next week but I’m planning to get back into the running and get back on track to start doing 65 minute runs in October. I’m planning in October to also start hitting the gym more and really push on with this getting healthy stuff. I’ve done alright since I started in November last year, but I’m still not where I want to be yet.

Come payday I’ll get some new trainers, headphones and a replacement Nike+ sensor, but even before then I’m going to get back into my routine of running at least every other day, and hopefully I can be back to doing hour runs before I go away.

I think what I’ve got to learn from this is to just keep pushing myself, ignore the lame half-excuses and force myself to get out there, regardless of weather, equipment or work stuff. It’ll benefit me, not only will it mean I don’t have the tough return runs but also, mentally I just feel better about myself when I run. The last few weeks I’ve felt pretty guilty and there’s been a fair amount of self-loathing going on as I’ve realized that I’d wasted yet another day loafing around the house watching Smallville.

So, Lazy Chris, jog on, because I’m back!

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Milestones and Nipples.

Today I ran my 100th run with my Nike sensor thingy, I was pretty chuffed about this especially as it also marked the run that I reached the 600k mark (around 372 miles), which is pretty cool as it means I have an average of 6km a run, which makes sense as at the start of the year I wasn’t making 5k yet and I’m now posting 8k runs now I’ve moved up to the hour long runs.

Annoyingly, similar to the Jericho curse (wrestler Chris Jericho feels that whenever he starts at a new company his first match always goes badly) whenever I reach a milestone I seem to struggle on that particular run, and today I only managed a lacklustre 8.26k run where I’ve previously been getting around the 8.5 mark.

This was a bit of a drag, and I think my fault for not getting enough sleep last night and not stretching myself out this morning. Although, one of the bridges I cross was open and that messed up my rhythm.

It wasn’t a complete disaster and I still felt pretty good at the end, if a little frustrated.

I say pretty good because recently I seem to have picked up a running injury.

Sore nipples.

Now, this is rather embarrassing and extremely painful, as my nipples are quite sensitive. I think it was either when the weather was really hot a while back or when my running vest got soaked, or maybe a combination of the two, but last week after a run my nipples were extremely sore.

This isn’t the first time its happened and there’s bound to be some chafing, but the other day it seemed to have got worse and they were rubbed raw which really hurt.

Then I remembered something I saw on Russell Howard’s Good News (here’s the clip, the relevant part starts around the five minute mark) about his brother meeting the foxy Princess Beatrice before they both ran the London marathon. His brother offered the royal some vaseline which runners apply in order to stop chafing.

Princess Beatrice

So yesterday while in town I bought a little tub of vaseline but either Russell Howard’s brother was telling porkies and just wanted to see a royal feel herself up, or I put it on wrong, in which case on the off chance HRH is reading this I’m free if she wants to provide a show and tell.

Rather annoyingly I now have a pot of vaseline I have no use for and my nipples are even worse, so bad in fact that it definitely effected my run today. I felt myself slow down a little near the start to minimize the chafing and then told myself to quit being such a baby and push through.

So, vaseline was a bust, I’m going to have to Google how to stop sore nipples (to be fair, I’ve Googled weirder) but I figure what I might do is go down the Tank Girl route and stick plasters over them (Googled “tank girl plasters” and various other forms, this is best I could find, I’m sure I saw a picture of her with plasters over her nips before. Am I mistaken? I’ve never actually read any Tank Girl, but I seem to remember seeing one years ago. Hmm.)

And then if I feel like being a little classier I can ditch the plasters and go for something like this.

I love burlesque and pin up girls.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Hour of Power: Boozing and Running.

Back when I was a student there was a drinking game that my friends and I would play called the “hour of power”, the rules of which were very simple-

  • Every player has a shot glass
  • Every player gets a pint (beer or cider)
  • The players pour a shot of their beverage and drink it.
  • They have to drink one shot of beer/cider every minute for a full hour.
  • If you leave the table (e.g. to go to the bar or toilet) you have to make up all the shots you’ve missed
  • If you puke, you’re out of the game.

It was a daft game, but good fun and achieved our objective of getting wasted.

My friends and I playing the Hour of Power in 2006. I’m in the blue with my hair covering my face on the left.

 

For those of you thinking that it doesn’t sound that big of a deal or that difficult, you’d be mistaken- I mean, sure you could drink more than we did during the game but the not having a break makes it tougher, and it hits you faster.

The reason I bring up this game (which due to going straight edge I will remain undefeated in) is that today for the first time I ran for a full hour, and it made me think of the game and how things, and I, have changed.

Drinking for an hour back then was something I used to be kind of proud about, often we’d start of with 5 or 6 players and then be down to 2 or 3 by the end, and being there at the end made me feel good. I know that sounds stupid, and lame, and all kinds of insulting words, but that’s the way it was, and I plan to go further into my whole drinking/straight edge thing again at a later date, but for now, let’s leave it at that.

I was horribly unfit at uni. Aside from the odd kickabout with some mates I got no exercise, my diet was appalling, and as mentioned, I drank like a fish. Looking at pictures of me on Facebook I do think I look a lot better now, I’m still no Clooney, but there’s definitely an improvement.

Running for an hour highlighted just how far I’ve come since that November day last year when I did my first jog. I woke up this morning knowing today was the day, and I felt a little nervous.

My last two runs in July hadn’t been brilliant, and I was thinking maybe I should stick at 55 minutes for a while longer, but I’d said August was 1 hour run month, and I didn’t want to have to sit here and write a post where I made excuses for myself so I set my iPod for 60 minutes and headed off.

The run went really well, despite me getting soaked through in the first 5 minutes. I did a bit of a disjointed route due to one of the marina bridges being open, which threw me off my plan, but I ran comfortably for most of it and passed the 40 minute mark feeling great.

Helping me out was the fact that despite a little twinge in my left leg, I felt comfortable, the rain had eased off, I had some great tunes on the go and I passed two other joggers, both of whom returned my grins.

I kept going and hit the 55 minute point, meaning I was now going into new territory. I wasn’t as tired as I have been recently at this point, I think due to having had a full night’s sleep last night. I was chuffed and breezed through the extra 5 minutes posting a particularly good distance of 8.41 km, which I think is a good starting point and target for me to beat on the next 14 runs.

Walking back after the time was up I was thinking about how I’ve changed, yes, I’m physically fitter than I was before, but also the changes to myself. I’m more confident, feel better about myself and take care of myself better. Sure, there are times when I pig out or slob around the house, or feel down in the dumps, convinced I’m going to die alone, but for the most part I’m more upbeat now.

Deciding to take up jogging was a tough decision for me, one that was surrounded by fear, embarrassment and nerves, but now, 9 months later I feel much improved by taking up running. I can see myself running for as long as I’m able, and I’m so glad that I did  make that decision last year.

The other reason that I thought of the game was that when I finished I knew what I wanted to call today’s blog, and also because I wanted to yell the phrase that I closed every game with, the phrase I stole from He Man: “I HAVE THE POWER!”

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Hard Jog

It had been a week since my last run when I pulled on my trainers this morning. In all fairness to myself, most of this wasn’t due to my old enemy Lazy Chris triumphing, and down to me being away, busy or ill.

I’d meant to run on Monday but was a little bushed after the weekend so wound up sleeping until shortly before noon, which is rare for me because I’m not much for lie-ins. And then on Tuesday I was struck down by a bug which meant I did nothing other than lie on my mum’s sofa watching the first 17 episodes of Smallville season 1.

Quality sick day viewing.

So, feeling better, I was determined to run this morning.

It was a very tough run.

I always struggle on the first run back after a prolonged break, and it didn’t help I was running out of my mum’s house today. Running near my mum’s usually means my distances suffer, because its all up and down hills, whereas my home run is mainly on the flat. So, I’d anticipated that my run wouldn’t be one of my best.

However. due to the scorching heat it was doubly hard and by the time I got done with my 55 minutes I was utterly knackered, sore and drenched in sweat.

I’d struggled along and at one point considered pulling the plug early, or turning round and returning on an easier route, but since starting running I’ve gained this new kind of dedication and if not injured I won’t stop and don’t like turning around. Its my Juggernaut instinct kicking in.

It’s the Juggernaut, bitch!

I was also gasping for a drink so I think from now on I’ll have to remember to take a bottle of water with me when the sun is shining.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


Clearly I’ve got some dedication

Today I went for my 6th run of July, meaning that I’m on course to do my target of 15 runs this month. I’ve mentioned before that I have no idea when I set off if a run is going to be a good one and this was definitely the case today.

I’d set off a little later than planned due to Lazy Chris scoring a minor victory thanks to his regular partners Facebook and Twitter, who meant I procrastinated more than I should have. Anyway, I got going and wasn’t feeling to brilliant. I felt like I was going slower than normal, although I think this may have been because the gods of iPod shuffle decided to favour my slower tracks and this has a mental effect on me. I just feel slower with Travis playing than I do when I’ve got David Guetta blaring.

Also my right leg felt a little off and that kind of distracted me. It just felt a bit weaker than normal and I was a little worried about it, especially as it was a totally new kind of feeling. I suppose its because I’m still running in my fairly worn out Nikes (buying new ones has had to be pushed back for budgetary reasons) but it distracted me and I felt sure it was slowing me down.

I needn’t have worried, because when I came to the end of my run it turned out that I’d gone further than ever before managing 7.90km, which I was pretty stoked about. I blasted some Real Earth, which is my tradition after setting a personal best and was pretty stoked.

I was so chuffed I even managed to ignore these moronic teenagers who shouted at me, I was tempted to make a sarky comment and there was a brief moment of fantasizing about opening a can of whup-ass on them, but I decided not to bother. They were pretty lame looking, passing around a single cigarette which severely hindered their attempts to look cool and generally they looked like skinny runts. Still, while I may feel good, I’m still annoyed with people who hassle strangers for no reason so I hope they all get struck down with intense, painful acne which makes them look like one of the mutants from the Cursed Earth.

Anyway, my good feeling further increased when I realized that it had actually been one of my all time best runs. I’d not only gone further, I’d also managed to average less than 7 minutes a km, which is pretty good for me.

Other records tumbled as well-

I shaved 36 seconds off my best 5k, 22 seconds off my fastest mile and around 15 seconds off my best 1k time.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO


Jogs Like Jagger

Its weird how some days my runs are a real struggle and other times I fly through the 55 minutes. I have no idea what effects them, whether its down to some outside thing or if its just mental.

Today was one of the good ones, I felt good as soon as I got going. For the first time in a while it wasn’t raining and the sun was even trying to poke out behind the clouds.

I got underway and set off at a pretty good pace. I passed a few points on the way that I kind of use as marker points and realized I was passing them sooner and quicker than usual and feeling tip top.

This was helped by some quality running music (see below), especially Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” which put a big dumb grin over my face as I walked along, its got a good beat and a catchy chorus and is just, for me anyway, a really good feel good track. However, it does have a major flaw as a running song because it makes me want to do Mick Jagger impressions, which can really mess with your running form.

This was followed by the Run DMC version of “Walk This Way” and my exuberance had me singing along, air guitaring and even doing a little rockstar jump. This would be embarrassing if anyone saw, but by this point I was so jazzed that nothing would’ve effected me, and as I’ve started showing off my bingo wings, it appears my embarrassment threshold appears to increase when I run.

I’d got further than before when I hit the halfway point and part of me was a little worried that I’d overdone it. I’ve done this in the past, gone too hard at the start leaving me dragging my feet and utterly ruined by the end, and I feared this would happen again.

There was a dip in speed, but I still managed to keep a consistent pace going. And was fairly comfortable, I was ahead of my next marking point by about 2 minutes and pretty stoked. Was a personal best on the cards? I even wondered if I might make the 8k mark.

I didn’t, in the last four minutes my pace was a bit slow, but always is, but I still posted 7.87k, which is my best performance so far, which is a good sign. I also managed an average pace of 7 minutes a kilometer, which is better than normal, and to my delight I shaved 18 seconds off my PB for the 5K. I’m hoping that eventually I can manage a 30 minute 5K, so its good to know I’m moving in the right direction.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

Listened to today– “Tush”- ZZ Top, “In Da Club”- 50 Cent, “Nutbush City Limits”- Ike & Tina Turner, “Runaround”- Dion, “Toca’s Miracle”- Fragma, “The Final Countdown”- Europe, “Riverside (Let’s Go)”- Sidney Samson feat. Wizard Sleeve, “You’ve Got My Number”- The Undertones, “Cheers (Drink to That)”- Rihanna, “We Built This City”- Jefferson Starship, “Call On Me”- Eric Prydz, “Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn”t’ve)”- Buzzcocks, “Walk This Way”- Aerosmith feat. Run DMC, “Moves Like Jagger”- Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera, “Tubthumping”- Chumbawamba, “Lola’s Theme”- Shapeshifters, “Rock Star”- Nickelback, “Take It On The Run”- REO Speedwagon, “Last Summer”- Lostprophets.