C25K – Week 8 – Run 3

31st July 2018 — 0


Last run of week 8 and it’s another 28 minute’s of fun back at the local park. I was tempted to mix it up and try a different location but I thought I’d stick with the park and compare the Endomondo stats to see if there’s any measurable progress.

It’s a fairly lazy walk up the road, a full afternoon of puppy mayhem with little respite and I’m not really feeling up for this run. Usually, I’m chomping at the bit. I try to shake my self out of it before I hit the park, worried that it’ll be an exploit I’ll be using against myself in a few minutes.

It’s another early evening run, perfect running weather not to warm and there’s a refreshing cool breeze. The park is fairly busy, lots of people enjoying the sun. In another amazing stroke of luck, I start the run at the top of the park (it’s uncanny :-)). Settle into my standard shuffle, I’m conscious of going a little bit quicker than usual, always the case when I start recording runs. Let’s hope it’s not too quick, I won’t know for 20 minutes.

Laura chimes in at 5 minutes, and then at 10 minutes. I easily get out to 10 minutes these days before my breathing starts to become a thing I need to focus on, a fact I find totally staggering given I couldn’t control my breathing for 1 minute on W1D1. It appears I’ve built up some real stamina over the last few weeks.

Laura announces the halfway mark (14 mins), I’m expecting my old friends to try it on and sure enough they’re trying to convince me I’m not really up for this. It won’t work, I do the usual status check:

  • legs – fine, little bit heavy, quads are starting to light up, nothing to worry about
  • feet – good to go. I did have some mild foot ache at the 5-10 minute mark, but it’s gone now
  • stomach – as usual, warnings about slowing it down on the steepest part of the incline, but other than that no problems.
  • lungs – laboured going up, recovered going down – it’s all good but there is a slow trend towards heavier breathing as per usual.

The conclusion, no problems, no reason to stop. It doesn’t matter what my mood is I have no reason to stop. I hit the 20 minute mark and it’s the 3rd time up the incline. It’s not fun but it’s well under control, more so than the last two runs.

I’m just coming down the incline at the top of the park and Laura indicates we have 5 minutes to go. Do I want to pick up the pace? I’m not feeling the need to go nuclear, there will be other days to leave it all on the field. Let’s just bring it home and draw a line under week 8. I minutely pick up the pace anyway just to show willing and I make a special effort to keep my form clean for the last 5 minutes.

Hanging on, hanging on. Call it already Laura! Hanging on … hanging … she finally hears my pleas, just after I reach the top of the steepest part of the park, thanks! Stagger engaged I head towards the exit. I’ve recovered. i.e. my breathing is back to normal within 90 seconds. Amazing. I can definitely feel this one in my quads, they are burning from the effort. Good, that means they’ll be stronger next time, but it does make the walk home a little bit interesting.

So another solid performance. Physically it felt ok, I again successfully managed the situation without hitting the red line or blowing a gasket. There was probably a bit of fuel left in the tank, but then there will need to be for next week.

Mentally I’m over the moon, I have struggled throughout the program with a continuous cacophony of negative thoughts, engineered to undermine my every step. These last couple of runs, I have to listen very hard to hear a defeated and frustrated grumbling voice. They sometimes half-heartedly try it on but I’ve seen it all before and we both know it isn’t going to work. I have a whole bag of shhhh and it’s got their name on it:

I now run for the most part focussed on the task, like the captain of a ship I just keep an eye on a set of well-established processes, tweaking here, adjusting there. It’s not even a full-time job, I catch myself daydreaming, the sort of random thoughts you’d have watching clouds float by, before having to remind myself to check back in.

The status reports I’ve described aren’t hyperbole, but a very real mental dialogue/coping strategy that forces my inner demons to put up or shut up. I discussed in an earlier post the huge mindset change that asking yourself to “prove I CAN”T do it” makes, at least to me. Each run adds more evidence that I can do it, making it increasingly difficult for negative thoughts to succeed.

To reach the point where I can daydream while running for me is utterly staggering when only weeks ago every run was a trip to hell and back, I entertained every pain, every doubt, every fantasy failure scenario. It’s a change that eclipses the physical improvements of the program.

Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable

It looks like I was over optimistic in my last post that I was looking at 36-38m, it’s more like a solid 40m run looking again at the stats. Another 10 minutes! This run was slightly quicker than the last, which is good. But I think I’m going to have to really take a closer look at my pace in Week 9 and see if I can start cranking it up. I don’t want to be out there all day.

Looking out to week 9, adding another 2 minutes is obviously not that much of a concern. In fact I’m looking forward to mentally just running 3x10m, rather than the odd milestones that got me to 28 minutes. But upping the pace is going to be a fine balancing act, get it wrong and I could end up giving giving my demons the ammo they so desperately desire.

Run Rating : 


C25K – Week 8 – Run 2

29th July 2018 — 0


I’d waited most of the day in the hope that the rain would abate, but it was fairly obvious by 3 in the afternoon it wasn’t going to happen. After almost a month without rain and the last 2 weeks a scorching heatwave, I’m not complaining.

I was also not going to use it as an excuse. Today is W8D2 and one way or another it’s going to get done. The way I sweat the end state is going to be the same in any event, i.e. I am going to look half drowned.

I’d deliberately not eaten since breakfast, in prep for running and by mid afternoon I’m starting to get hungry. Finally my hunger won out, I threw on my running kit and headed to the park in the pouring rain. I had tried on a light weight waterproof jacket on the way out, but it was obvious it would have only acted as a personal steam room. I’ll need to look into some all weather kit, as a treat when I complete the program.

It’s fair to say I was drenched by the time I’d reached the park and I had garnered some surprised looks from several drivers. My first scan of the park, reveals sheets of pelting rain and it appears to be completely empty other than a pissed off looking squirrel.

As I’m doing my warm up walk, I realise I was wrong, there were several dog walkers out there walking their water logged pooch’s. I guess there’s no negotiating with a pup when it comes to walkies. An experience I can look forward to in a couple of weeks when Archer will finally be able to meet the world.

I had seen a word of warning on /r/C25K about watching your footing in the rain, so I was critically scanning the route as I walked round, sure enough several patches of super slippy wet leaves, a couple of sizeable puddles at the lower end of the park and mishmash of branches and twigs strewn across the path. Nothing that can’t be danced around.

Laura announces the end of the warm up and it’s time to get going, what a stroke of luck I’m at the top of the park (rightttt!). I get my head down, mainly to try and keep the rain off my face but also to spot for suspicious looking leaves.

Out to 10 minutes and no issues, other than I can sense the annoyance from the dog walkers. The fact I had choice and instead of sitting in the dry reading the Sunday paper chose to be in this down pour (in a bloody t-shirt), let’s just say it’s a good job I’ve got earphones. Laura announces we’re half way, there’s a half hearted effort from my negative voices, but at this point in the program they’ve lost all credibility and they know it. Try again at 20 minutes, yet again I conveniently forget that Laura doesn’t announce 20 minutes any more.

22 minutes in and Laura announces 5 minutes to go. I’m heading back down the incline (I still can’t bring myself to call it a hill) and once again I’m trying to plot a last 5 minute route that minimises having to go back to the top of the park. In a unprecedented flash of anger I pull a U-turn and start straight back up the incline, fuck you negative voices, yes I know it’s you cut that shit out. 22 minutes is the commute time to the pit face, this is where I start work, this is where we will start counting. Get your arse up that F****** HILL! There I said it!

I start digging in, my brain is back on board and provides the updated end point, just after the top of the incline. My pace automatically slips down a gear, I’m skirting the edges of what I can do without losing control and spiralling into a puffy mess. The brain kicks in with an update on the end point, we won’t be getting to the top of the park after all. I don’t care I just want to finish one of these runs going uphill without playing chicken with a heart attack.

Laura finally chimes in, my calculations of the finish line were accurate to the metre, I’m starting to think it might be my secret super power. I’ve managed to finish strong, there’s nothing left in the tank, but I didn’t have to dig into the emergency reserves to get here. I take my cap off and let the rain wash the sweat and spit off my face, mission accomplished.

The playlist for this run was a hand crafted selection of tracks featuring rain, Wen and myself had put together just before I headed out and included such classics as:

  • I wish it would rain down – Phil Collins
  • Here comes the rain again – Eurythmics
  • I can see clearly now – Jimmy Cliff
  • Red rain – Peter Gabriel
  • Stormur – Sigur Ros
  • November rain – Guns N’ Roses
  • It’s raining again – Supertramp
  • Have you ever seen the rain – Creedance Clearwater Revival
  • Only happy when it rains – Garbage
  • Set fire to the rain – Adele
  • After the Storm – Mumford & Sons
  • Africa – Toto
  • Rain – Madonna
  • Rainy night in Georgia – Randy Crawford

It really helped, what can I say I’m easily amused. The stand out track for me was Stormur. My grasp on the Icelandic language may be non-existent, but the main crashing beat of the track kicked in as I resolved to push myself back up the hill, and it provided an excellent backdrop to my own thrashing efforts.

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

I’d turned on the Endomodo app to collect a whole bunch of disappointing stats, chief amongst them my pace. Even allowing for the fact I always forget to stop the app until half way through the cool down walk. I’ve still got a LOT of work to do.

Extrapolating the data, I’m looking at best at a 36m run and more likely closer to 38m assuming the wheels don’t come off completely in that last EIGHT minutes. Where the hell am I going to find EIGHT minutes, I can’t imagine the 3 x 30 minute runs in week 9 are going to fully prepare me.

It’s a problem for another day, I have 4 more runs to sort out first and this nonsense is just ammo for my inner demons.

Let’s finish on the positives. It was another good run and I’m really enjoying them. Dodging the puddles and leaf landmines was a great distraction and I managed my pace nicely to my capabilities and bought it home on fumes as opposed to having to glide to the finish line.

Best of all no reoccurrence of pain in my left knee, phew! So there is progress here it’s just not as spectacular as earlier in the program. One more 28 minute run to go and then we’ll get into the last 3 x 30 minute runs, not long now.

Run Rating : 


AnimalsDog Days

Archer – Week 3

28th July 2018 — 0



It’s week 3 and we’ve lost our lovely puppy, he’s missing. Replaced instead by a feral egotistical belligerent bundle of teeth and attitude. I know they grow up quick but this is ridiculous, how did we get to the terrible two’s in 3 weeks?

Physically, he’s easily doubled in size and I know it sounds impossible but every time he sleeps, wakes up and stretches he’s noticeably bigger. Two days ago he didn’t have a chest, now when he struts (and trust me he struts) it’s puffed out like a prize roosters. His stubby little legs, are gone, in their place long muscular limbs, he barely has control of. The darker (slightly goldy) cream that tipped his ears is now flowing down his back to the tip of his tail.

I think it’s fair to say he’s settled in. We are now the peasants in his glorious kingdom and as the ruler, he obviously doesn’t need to heed our commands anymore. It’s not that he’s forgotten what NO and COME mean, it’s that they obviously don’t apply to him anymore. A NO at this point will often elicit a snarl and a couple of air chomps, puppy speak for know your place pleb. Training this week has if anything gone backwards, having made such great progress in the first two weeks, it’s a little bit frustrating but evidently normal, so we’ll just work through it.

The situation has been exasperated by a heatwave baking the UK, with temperatures above 30c for over a week. Being the UK, of course, there is no aircon and therefore no respite, during the day or night. So it’s fair to say patience on all sides is running a little thin. Worst still we still can’t go out as he hadn’t had his 2nd set of jabs, so there was a definite case of cabin fever kicking in, and I’m not even talking about the pup.

The poor bugger spent most of these dog days on his gel filled cool mat clutching one of two 2 litre bottles of ice water that get rotated to/from the freezer. But come midnight, he’s got to unload all that potential energy in the way only dogs know how, zoomies! The nights I’ve spent teeth flashing past me in the darkness. Between the pup and the mosquitoes feasting on my legs, I’ve felt like a fatally wounded antelope hoping for a quick end to it all.

I was sharing our stroppy pup woes with my sister one scorching afternoon. She has a year old chocolate Labrador and had been through a lot of these problems already. Having described the symptoms, her advice was to do something to push him out of his comfort zone. He was likely far too comfortable in his little cabin-fever world and probably needed a different perspective on the situation.

Great idea, we have to expose him to lots of new things in these critical weeks, planned amongst them were trips in the car. The car also has the added bonus of having sweet sweet aircon.

Car Drive

I got the car ready, aircon on full blast and dismissed the forge workers who were using it to melt iron, blanket on the back seat, pup on his leash I coaxed him towards the front door. He was being his usual belligerent self, right up to the point I opened the front door. The sight of a huge expanse probably blew his mind. The noise of cars and people in the street added to the experience.

Yep, I think he was definitely outside of his comfort zone, it took 10 minutes to get him 10ft across the drive and into the car.  With him clipped in with his dog seatbelt, rear windows down an inch or two and sunroof open (aircon off at this point we can’t cool the planet) we went for a half hour drive. After some initial whining he settled down, I wouldn’t say he was enjoying it but he was hanging in there (not like he had a choice). After 15 minutes I pulled over, checked on him and gave him some water, he’s definitely outside his comfort zone.

By the time I’d got him back home and back in his safe space I had a happy, compliant little puppy again. I can only assume he decided there might still be a use for these peasants in his world. We’ll see how long it lasts!

Vet Visit

On the same day of his first car drive, we shoved him back in the car and took him to the vet for his 2nd set of jabs and a quick check-over. We were sitting in the vet’s reception for a few minutes and I’ve got Archer in my arms, he can’t touch the floor, I’m not sure if it’s because it’s lava or germs. He’s being a good boy, or more specifically he’s freaking out quietly, looking for reassurance. There’s only one other animal in reception and it’s a stunning border collie with piercing blue eyes, being a very good boy, he’s just sitting on a seat waiting his turn. One day that could be us!

We get called in by the vet and I plonk Archer down on the table, expecting the mad scramble you usually get with vet visits, but he just sat there. For the entire session he just froze, even after being poked, prodded, injected and weighed (8.3kg at just over 10 weeks) he didn’t move, he didn’t whine, he just took it all in. I’ve never had a pet like him, and he’s undermining my tales of woe to the vet, clever bugger.

The vet checks Archer’s white puppy coat and spots something, out with a comb and wet tissue and sure enough, the poor sod has fleas in spite of having Frontline only 3 weeks earlier. Then the vet spots one of the little blighters and kills it. Damn! The chances are they are cat fleas, the cats had their treatment just before he turned up but with the weather as it is, it’s inevitable they’ll be in the house and garden. Ho hum! The vet gives us some better flea treatment that covers a bunch of doggy maladies. Fingers crossed it does the trick.

Other than a few extra passengers, the vet gives him a clean bill of health. We enquire about socialisation classes and luck out filling the last spot in the next class held at the clinic on the coming Monday, fantastic. He can terrorize something else for an hour and will learn to associate the vet with fun, what a great idea.

The last week has been tough on Archer and his staff. But just one week to go and he can finally go out into the big blue room proper and we can start having some real fun. Extra leash training this week in preparation, for freedom!



C25K – Week 8 – Run 1

27th July 2018 — 0


It’s taken me 3 days to get back out running, I’ll admit I lost a bit of motivation somewhere between the insane heatwave and picking up a couple of nasty mosquito bites on the ankle and shin. The result of standing around in the middle of the night in shorts waiting for a puppy to do its business.

I react very badly to bites since a bite a few years back that developed into full-blown cellulitis creeping up my leg. So a couple of days of antihistamines luckily did the trick once again and the swelling finally receded. Unlike the heat.

I was honestly going to welch out today. I had convinced myself I needed another day to recover (or avoid the heat). Luckily, I’ve been finding motivation in such times in the Reddit C25K forum. If you are doing C25K or planning to do C25K do yourself a favour and give it a try. It’s just real people doing sweaty impressions of beetroots.

Anyway, it worked. Two posts, in particular, did the trick. Nobodez hitting W6D1 . The dude is rapidly becoming a legend on the forum, and Gaffaj who’d just done his W1D1 in the same heat I was currently hiding from. It was the kick up the arse I needed to get back out there.

So, back out to the local park. It was just past 7pm and it must have been 32c+ with most of that radiating back off the baked tarmac. But there is hope, a cool wind is picking up and in the distance, some interesting looking cloud formations are forming. The possibility of storms has been forecast. I’m seriously considering offering up a rain dance, to break this drought. I need the rain, my poor pup needs the rain and my lawn most desperately needs the rain.

Off we go at a steady pace. Laura checks in at the 5-minute mark. It truly is amazing only weeks earlier I thought running 5 minutes was madness. Now I struggle to settle down into my running in 5 minutes. The shooting pain I had in my knee at the end of the last run hasn’t resurfaced so that’s a positive.

At the ten minute mark, Laura checks in again, which caught me out. I was expecting it. I’m definitely into my running at 10 minutes, heading up the incline for the second time. At 14 mins, halfway and Laura checks in again. Dear god, I’m trying to run here give it a break. Head down again and I know I’m putting some real effort in. Somewhere around the 18m mark, I was heading up the incline for the 3rd time.

This last stretch seems to be dragging. Where’s Laura? Come back all is forgiven! I’m starting to have to dial it back a bit. Another trip up the incline is going to be tough. Best not to get to panty. Where’s Laura? FFS she’s gone off in a huff. I’m starting to think the app has crashed and then she chimes in “5 minutes to go … you got this”. Damn you, oh  5 minutes you say, yipee!

The last 5 minutes were tough, I won’t lie, I was hanging on by the skin of my teeth, trying not to dig into what little reserves I had left. I hadn’t had a single negative thought in the whole 20 minutes period. Not one. That’s unprecedented. But at the 23-minute mark, I’ve got an entire chorus screaming for me to stop and they’re trying every trick in the book to get me to quit this abuse. Where the hell is Laura with the 60 second left alert, I’m dying here.

Laura finally pipes up, and I actually groaned. I’m dead on my feet and I’ve got another minute. I can make it, I will make it but it’s going to …. hang on what? What did you say? It’s over? I’m still running I can’t believe it I must have misheard, there’s always a last 60 seconds announcement. I’m playing tricks on myself, surely. Laura starts the post-run cooldown chat, I can believe it, she’s getting her own back on my mid-run snappiness.

And then it happened. At first, I thought it was sweat hitting my hand, but no there it was again, it’s …… R A I N. The prophecy (forecast) is true and the heavens open …

We runners have a saying, God created C25K to test the faithful. One cannot go against the word of God (Laura)! Damn I should have the Dune soundtrack playing. I’m amazed Toto didn’t do more soundtracks.

The park by this point is empty. No one to witness my “stagger strut” to the exit. The rain is coming down so hard it’s bouncing back off the ground to waist height. W8D1 done and rain in the desert, what more could I ask for. A great end to a tough run and a reminder that I almost missed out because of my laziness.

Run Rating : 


C25K – Week 7 – Run 3

23rd July 2018 — 0


Last run of week 7 and it was a 25-minute scorcher. At least this time I didn’t suffer from bad diet choices.

I finally got to the park at about 7 in the evening and it was super toasty. It was very busy. Surprising for a Monday but we don’t get good weather in the UK very often and people make the most of it. There’s BBQ’s on the go, about 50 odd people doing a fitness class on the green and the usual crowd of kids, teenagers and OAP’s.

There’s even the chap who overtook me last week. I don’t get it, he’s wearing what looks like a cotton grey shirt and he’s clearly been running a few minutes and there’s not a sign of sweat on him. He’s not human. I decide to run the opposite way around the park to avoid him lapping me multiple times.

Off we go, slow and steady, I’ve mentally broken this run down into 4 stints of 5 + 7.5 + 7.5 + 5. Started at the top of the park, not by chance I know exactly where to start the app so the 5 min warm-up walk coincides with a nice downhill start. So needless to say the first 5 minutes were a breeze. It’s going well, even the heat radiating off the tarmac isn’t cramping my style. Up the first climb back to the top of the park. I’m having to put a shift in to get to the top and my breathing is starting to get laboured (standard) but I know I can recover on the downhill part.

Out to the halfway mark at 12.5 minutes and I realise there’s something very wrong. It takes me a full minute to realise there’s no voice telling me I’m only halfway and it’s going to get so much harder. It usually chimes in about the ten-minute mark and is screaming by halfway. What the hell, no interrogation? Great, push on.

Here comes my running nemesis, I can’t believe it he still not sweating, seriously it’s the hottest day of the year. We break the tension with a curt nod of recognition. I’ll have to try for a high 5 at some point if only to find out if he has sweaty palms.

Second time up the incline and I’m definitely feeling it now, I’m having to dig deep and I get to the top puffing and panting. It takes the whole downhill section to pull myself together. Next time up the incline and I’m starting to really struggle. Time to take inventory:

  • legs – feels like I’ve got diving boots on, but they’re still down there somewhere pumping away.
  • feet – no problems, but they’ve been pretty much numb for the last 5 minutes so anything could be going on.
  • stomach – no problems here. I can feel the effort to get up the incline in the pit of my stomach but I wouldn’t call it nausea.
  • lungs – taking one for the team. Well off of a sustainable rhythm, but they only need to hang on for another minute, just get to the top of the hill.
  • mouth & throat – that’s new. What’s the problem? Try swallowing once in a while you twat! The dry air and excessive panting have turned my mouth and throat to sandpaper. I try to summon some spit and swallow hard. The irony of being covered in water and struggling to get enough spit to swallow isn’t lost on me.

So it is doable, we will get to the top, I never had a doubt (much). Laura chimes in with 5 minutes to go and right on cue the voices start pointing out that means another time up the hill. They’ve got the working out and everything and they are right. If I thought last time round was hard, I haven’t seen anything yet. Well, I’m definitely not quitting but I’m mentally re-working the route to see if 5 minutes means I can take a short cut and avoid the incline and still end up near the park exit. Yup, I can hang a right and avoid the majority of the hill. Crisis averted.

A minute later and I’m almost at the fork in the path. Left up the incline or right round the easy path? A new voice chirps in “What’s it going to be? Give in to the negative voices and take the easy path or grow a pair and get up that incline one last time.” My first thought was “it’s a trap”. It’s some trick to make me fail. I’m running out of time left or right, choose! At the last second I pick left and with a massive pump of adrenalin pull it together and drag myself up the hill one … last …. time.

I’ve got to the top. The wheels are coming off. I can’t see for sweat in my eyes and Laura is back with “60 seconds to go, if you still have something left speech …”. You are shitting me, aren’t you? Oh, what the hell, I pick up the pace and lunge forward. In for a penny, in for a pound. I was pleasantly surprised to still be conscious when she finally waved the chequered flag. A spectacular transition to a staggering walk that saw me almost fall off the path (it was 3 metres wide).

Walking back I start to realise how hot it is. I look like I’ve been waterboarded. It takes me a good minute just to raise enough spit to swallow. Today’s playlist was a random selection of tracks I’ve thumbed up at some point or another. On the most part not hugely inspirational except for:

Breathe Me – Sia

This is a beautiful track and not one I’d have ever thought to put on a running list but it really helped me through the last 5 minutes of the run.

“Help, I have done it again
I have been here many times before
Hurt myself again today
And the worst part is there’s no one else to blame”

The lyrics register and I’ve got sweaty goosebumps. It feels soooo cool in the heat. I grit my teeth and dump a ton of adrenalin into my system. I’m on borrowed time now.

“Ouch, I have lost myself again
Lost myself and I am nowhere to be found
Yeah, I think that I might break
Lost myself again and I feel unsafe”

Last time up the incline. I’ve definitely lost myself again. My form has gone to shit and I’m not going to find it again on this run. Yeah, I’m close to breaking that’s for sure and unsafe yeah I’m seriously wondering if my knees are going to give out in the last few metres.

That was the last of the 25-minute runs. Onwards to the 28-minute runs. I’ve already rationalised it as just running 25 minutes and then hanging on for another 3 minutes. That seems possible. My only slight worry is by the time I’d walked home my left knee had developed a stabbing pain. Fingers crossed it’s nothing serious.

Run Rating : 


AnimalsDog Days

Archer – Week 2

20th July 2018 — 0



We’ve made it to week 2 and I have to say he’s come along leaps and bounds literally, he appears to have practically doubled in size from when we got him, or he’s just found a way of stretching across the sofa more efficiently.

Let’s review the top 5 problems of last week and see what progress we’ve made:

  1. he eats everything – he still continues to eat everything and to be honest reading up on it online, that’s not going to change. So if it’s grass/moss, leaves, dirt etc I leave him to it now, if it’s holly, stones, my flowers or deposits from other animals (a particular favourite) I obviously still intervene.
  2. toilet training – much better, switching to being proactive rather than reactive has made everyone’s life easier. We have a solid routine, as soon as he wakes up we go to the garden. He has a drink of water, I call him over to the latrine (with a treat), he very rarely uses it of first asking. He wanders around the garden has a pee (sometimes remembers to get back to the latrine), then usually within 10 minutes has a dump. I clean it all up get the worst of the piss up with paper towel and pickup the number 2’s with toilet paper and flush it down the loo. When he does hit the latrine he gets a ton of treats. Once he’s done we either play or go back inside (usually to play) dependent on the weather/mood. That’s the routine we don’t deviate and since we’ve started it the ONLY mistakes where when I didn’t follow the routine. I still have to carry him to the garden, because he struggles to get down 2 steps (even though he routinely throws himself off the sofa now, which is much higher), that and I believe he would have too many accidents on the way.
  3. night time – huge improvement, the routine is 11pm we go to bed, I take his collar off he gets in his crate and goes to sleep. He wakes about 5 in the morning, he will pee probably one or two times in the night on the pads in the room. I still let him wander around the room at night, but that’s more down to the heat than anything – he does prefer to lay on the cold floor in this weather. He now seems reluctant to poo on the pads, I’m guessing he’s got much better control over his bowel movements than his bladder. He will start to get restless and whine. I’m going to change this routine tonight to again be more pro-active, that is close the door on his cage, set an alarm for 4:30 to get up, take him out, go back to bed till the morning. He’s not a huge fan of getting up in the morning I almost have to drag him out of the cage.
  4. the smell – we gave him a bath on the Saturday and although there is an improvement, there is no way of avoiding he smells like a puppy. He wasn’t a huge fan of the bath but gritted his teeth and bared it. We also cut his nails as they were like needles by this point.
  5. separation anxiety – much better. Over the week I’ve regularly disappeared from his view for several minutes at a time. He tends to yelp a few times and that’s it, I have never returned to him when he’s been barking or whining. He’s bonded much more with Wen now as well so if she’s in the vicinity he doesn’t think he’s been abandoned anymore.

So overall a huge amount of progress in a single week. I grant you it felt like a year, but you take your wins where you can. I’m genuinely surprised by the progress he’s made, he’s also learning the basic commands:

  • Come – still a challenge when he is distracted or in some instances just being plain belligerent – e.g. he’ll stare straight at you and then make a point of ignoring you.
  • No – I’m fairly sure he knows exactly what I meant but would rather carry on doing it anyway.
  • Sit – if anything it’s his go to move after being called, nailed sit.
  • Down – fairly new basically involves putting the food on the floor so he has little chance, will typically only do it if starting from a sit position. Need to mix the commands up a bit.
  • Paw – always happy to throw a paw in your direction, easier than down in many respects. The only issue on calling him you now get a sit, paw, down movement at at once where he anticipates the next commands.
  • Stay –  early days and he hasn’t really got a handle on it yet.

The main focus for this week will be to nail these commands down, get to a pro-active night routine and increase the accuracy on his toilet.


C25K – Week 7 – Run 1

19th July 2018 — 0


We are into the long runs now, no more breaks and starting with a re-run of 25 minutes. So it was back to the local park on a blisteringly hot Thursday evening, I tend to be favouring the park because of my full-time dog minding duties, it means I can be in and out in 45 minutes.

Usual types at the park, mostly flat out on the grass. It was pretty damn warm. I’d made sure I’d had a good glug of water before heading out, anticipating it might get a bit sticky.

I’m a bit embarrassed to talk about any form of incline having just watched Geraint Thomas win the Aple d’Huez in a spectacular sprint finish after climbing a mountain for most of the day, in the process securing back-to-back wins and holding onto the yellow jersey. But today’s run was definitely an uphill battle.

To mix it up I decided to run clockwise around the park, I tend to favour anti-clockwise for no particular reason. The park itself is on a slight incline, so for about a 1/3 of the run you are going uphill, doesn’t matter which way you go round, there’s a 10-metre difference according to Google Earth. Anti-clockwise is steeper but shorter, while clockwise is shallower but probably twice the distance. Having run both now I absolutely prefer the short sharp shock as opposed to the prolonged grind. But it’s good to mix it up I guess.

All the usual warnings from Laura about pacing and off we go. We hit the 5-minute mark and I’m still settling in – i.e. probably going too fast and having to back it off. Amazing to think in earlier weeks 5 minutes was a target and now it hardly counts as a warmup. Laura chimes in at the halfway mark, the negative voices have been trying the old “not even halfway, and it’s going to get harder” routine since 10 minutes. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to stop a couple of times.

Instead, I performed the mental status check I did on the last run, tell me why I should be stopping:

  • legs – not ideal, my thighs are burning more than usual, seems to be the result of going down the steeper downhill. But no show stoppers although I might want to take it a bit easier downhill next time round.
  • feet – no problems
  • stomach – no real problems, the dial is just nudging the red, particularly on the uphill climb, take it easier
  • lungs – having to work quite hard going uphill, but I am able to recover to a degree going downhill

In conclusion, the usual bunch of issues to manage but no show stoppers. Get your head down, crack on and check back in 5 minutes.

Laura chimes in at 20 minutes, it’s fair to say I’m not having fun but I’ll be buggered if I’m going to quit a 25m run at 20m, even if the latest status check is indicating the legs are starting to suffer quite badly, a couple of staggering steps testify to my fatigue and the lungs are slowly failing to fully recover on the downhill, so it’s all getting a little bit choo-choo.

Luckily the last 2 minutes was all downhill, that was a bit of a break. 60 seconds to go, Laura is tempting me to step it up again. I’m thinking I could probably pick the pace up a bit, but let’s not go mad, I know how long 60 seconds can last when you hit empty. So I pick it up and got to the finish line fairly strong.

This session was harder than the last 25m session, I think because it’s difficult to completely eliminate the overconfidence at the start of a repeat run. I know I’m doing it and I dial it back but it’s still quicker than the super tentative pace the first time around. I also really felt this one in my thighs, more than any session so far. Hopefully, it’ll translate into more stamina next time.

This outing was the usual running playlist the only new track on it was Killing in the Name – Rage Against the Machine. It kicked in the last 5 minutes, there really isn’t a “running” message in the whole track, except the last minute’s worth of “F*** you, I won’t do what you tell me” coincided perfectly with the last uphill slog when my body was pleading to stop. Guess what my response was!

Run Rating : 


C25K – Progress Summary

18th July 2018 — 0


I’ve had a go at summarising the overall ratings of each run over the course of the C25K program, just to see if I could spot any patterns. The rating is a summary of  my general feeling about a run, bold rows are the first run at a new time. There are at lot of factors that ultimately decide for me if it was a good or bad run, including (in order):

  • mental – by far the biggest factor (75%+) in any run is my mental attitude going into and during. I’ve turned up to races already defeated and turned easy runs into a waking nightmare.
  • physical – I have over done it on a few occasions on the rest days only to regret it the on the next run, e.g. went walking for 10 miles, spent 2 hours on my hands and knees gardening.
  • food/water – I need a good 4-5 hours between eating and running to avoid any issues, in the same vein I try to avoid turning up with any unnecessary extra weight if you get my drift. I don’t think I’ve run far enough that hydration has really made a huge difference to me, even if I am sweating from the start.
  • weather – not a huge factor unless it’s high humidity, muggy weather tends to sap the strength out of me pretty quickly (it’s just nasty). Similarly time of day in the end didn’t make any difference to me, although I have a preference to get it done early in the day, just got get it out of the way.
  • kit – so far hasn’t made a huge difference to the outcome of a run. Obviously running shoes are the most important piece of kit to get right, Be careful breaking them in, that you don’t end up breaking yourself, as I almost did.

My rating would typical take into account all of these factors.

Week – Session  Date (d/m/y) Summary  Total Rating
Week 1 – Run 1 16/05/2018 8 x 1m 8m

Week 1 – Run 2 18/05/2018 8 x 1m 8m

Week 1 – Run 3 21/05/2018 8 x 1m 8m

Week 1 (Rerun) – Run 1 23/05/2018 8 x 1m 8m

Week 1 (Rerun) – Run 2 25/05/2018 8 x 1m 8m

Week 1 (Rerun) – Run 3 31/05/2018 8 x 1m 8m

Week 2 – Run 1 03/06/2018 6 x 1.5m 9m

Week 2 – Run 2 05/06/2018 6 x 1.5m 9m

Week 2 – Run 3 08/06/2018 6 x 1.5m 9m

Week 3 – Run 1 11/06/2018 1.5m + 3m + 1.5m + 3m 9m

Week 3 – Run 2 13/06/2018 1.5m + 3m + 1.5m + 3m 9m

Week 3 – Run 3 15/06/2018 1.5m + 3m + 1.5m + 3m 9m

Week 3 – Run 3 (Extra) 16/06/2018 1.5m + 3m + 1.5m + 3m 9m

Week 4 – Run 1 18/06/2018 3m + 5m + 3m + 5m 16m

Week 4 – Run 2 21/06/2018 3m + 5m + 3m + 5m 16m

Week 4 – Run 3 23/06/2018 3m + 5m + 3m + 5m 16m

Week 5 – Run 1 25/06/2018 3 x 5m 15m

Week 5 – Run 2 27/06/2018 2 x 8m 16m

Week 5 – Run 3 29/06/2018 20m 20m

Week 6 – Run 1 02/07/2018 5m + 8m + 5m 18m

Week 6 – Run 2 (FAIL) 04/07/2018 2 x 10m 20m

Week 6 – Run 2 (Rerun) 06/07/2018 2 x 10m 20m

Week 6 – Run 1 (Rerun) 12/07/2018 5m + 8m + 5m 18m

Week 6 – Run 2 (Rerun) 14/07/2018 2 x 10m 20m

Week 6 – Run 3 17/07/2018 25m 25m

Week 7 – Run 1 19/07/2018 25m 25m

Week 7 – Run 2 21/07/2018 25m 25m

Week 7 – Run 3 23/07/2018 25m 25m

Week 8 – Run 1 27/07/2018 28m 28m

Week 8 – Run 2 29/07/2018 28m 28m

Week 8 – Run 3 31/07/2018 28m 28m

Week 9 – Run 1 03/08/2018 30m 30m

Week 9 – Run 2 05/08/2018 30m 30m

Week 9 – Run 3 07/08/2018 30m 30m



C25K – Week 6 – Run 3

17th July 2018 — 0


Well, this run had been a long time coming, between failing week 6 run 2, fixing that and then going back to re-run week 6 days 1 & 2 again to get over a back injury, I finally ran out of excuses and had to grow a pair and get out there and DO IT!

I’ve been living the waking nightmare of a new puppy for the last week and a half and it’s been full-on, to say the least. The opportunity of getting out of the house and not dealing with the darling little fluff-ball for 45 minutes filled me with so much joy I practically skipped to the park.

In terms of mental preparation, just the usual run every 5 minutes at a time, don’t go too fast, just focus on the running NOW, not 20 minutes from now, tomorrow or the next run. Right here, right now in the words of Fatboy Slim. The park was oddly full of teenagers not sure why I’d run the 7pm slot a few times last week and there were none to be seen it was just families. Maybe the Pokemon were out in force, who knows. It didn’t matter I had 25m of running to get done.

So off we go, Laura gave all the same warnings, go slow, don’t stop just keep moving (echoed by Sia 5 minutes later). Laura chimes back in at 5 minutes, I’m not even breathing hard everything is well under control, nice slow steady pace, it looks like I have really found a running rhythm finally.

Into the 2nd 5 minutes, seems to be going well apart from going on a bit, then Laura chimes in with you are now halfway (12 and half minutes) hang in there. Very clever I see what you did there and it worked. The negative voice that was whispering “ONLY halfway” shut up instantly. I was at the 15-minute mark in no time, I had found myself running periodic status checks every few minutes, that went:

  • legs – good, feeling a bit heavy at this point but fully functional
  • feet – nothing major, maybe some slight numbing in the right foot
  • stomach – no problems, amazing, not a twinge or any sign of the ever-present threat of nausea
  • lungs – starting to breath harder, slow it down a tad, still under control

Laura chimed in at the 20-minute mark, I’d hoped she wouldn’t because I knew I would take it as a cue to come up with new reasons to quit. But I couldn’t believe it a quick mental status check still came back all systems go.

I’d finally reached a point where even my brain was having to admit that there really was no reason to stop running, a complete mindset change. I was no longer wondering if I could make the next 5 minutes but instead asking what could stop me running the next 5 mins. A total game-changer, no more negative thoughts, no more visions of nightmares to come. I was just running and I could definitely run for another 5 minutes.

Rather annoyingly a fellow jogger overtook me at the 23-minute mark, my first thought was the usual negative “see a proper runner” and then I noticed he wasn’t sweating at all, he’d obviously just started, I was already 23 minutes ahead of him, slacker. I floated on …

With 60 seconds to go Laura chimed in again, I was very tempted to up the pace and finish the last 60 seconds quicker, but deep in energy management mode I correctly decided to just bank this one. I’ve got 3 more of these runs next week, plenty of time to experiment with leaving it all on the field in a spectacular sprint finish.

It was over, Laura chimed in with congratulations and then added: “I think we can say you’re a runner at this point”. Yes! FINALLY, where’s my medal? I’d have to say this is the first session where the burden of proof had shifted, from “you can’t do this, there’s no proof you can do this” to “i can do this, where’s the proof I can’t do it”. Not only did I do it, I didn’t have to wreck myself to get there either, in fact, I think I could have made 30 minutes if I really had to (e.g. outrunning a tiger, catching an ice cream van etc).

I’d added a few more “inspirational” tracks to the running playlist as I was starting to get bored of Sia’s demands to keep on running, effective as they were:

Where is My mind? – Pixies

A question I often ask myself when running and an excellent running track. Especially on this run, it kicked in about 15 minutes in and I used the lyrics for my own purposes:

With your feet in the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there’s nothing in it
And you’ll ask yourself

Where is my mind
Where is my mind
Where is my mind
Way out in the water
See it swimmin’

Basically a reminder to just focus on running, no other thoughts, stay in the moment. Way out in the water in my head was way out in this run and still, swimmin = still running.

Float On – Modest Mouse

I really like this track, I heard it on some advert a few months back and it got added to my general playlist, and now promoted to the primetime running playlist. I particularly liked the rhythm of it, as it seems to match my own natural pace. particularly the chorus:

And we’ll all float on okay
And we’ll all float on okay
And we’ll all float on okay
And we’ll all float on anyway, well

Pretty much speaks for itself, I’m trying to literally float around this field and it’s going to be okay.

Alright, Already
And we’ll all float on alright
Already we’ll all float on alright
Don’t worry even if things end up a bit
Too heavy we’ll all float on alright

And a reminder that even when my legs get heavy we are all just going to keep on floating, ALRIGHT! ALREADY!

So onto week 7 and three more 25 minute runs, I won’t make the mistake I made at week 5’s 20 minute run of thinking it will be easy. It won’t, but there’s far more evidence suggesting I’m going to succeed than fail.

Run Rating :