Run 1 (30/08/2018)
Those more observant amongst you may have spotted a bit of a gap between my last run (25/08/2018) and this week’s first run. Today’s post is going to feel a lot like a confessional, forgive me father it has been 4 days since my last run and I have sinned, I committed the sin of sloth. I had to look up a definition of sloth, I think I’ve blocked the word out of my mind after watching se7en (now that’s a jump scare) the best I could find was a “habitual disinclination to exertion”. Ouch, that absolutely nails my predicament, my laziness is truly habitual.
So let’s get into the bullshit reasons then. Sunday I was on a stag do for a mate, that entailed a 6 hour endurance karting race (one kart 5 drivers). If you’ve never tried it I would strongly recommend it, it’s a great day out. The only issue is for 5 and half hours of the race it was torrential rain, I don’t know about trench foot I had trench arse, having sat in 2 inches of water in a bucket seat for a couple of half hour stints. Thanks John for risking your phone and recording the carnage:
There were 19 teams and we came pretty much plumb last, 55 laps behind the eventual winner. We knew we were going to struggle when the top 5 teams, turned up with their own kit, replete with pit boards and computers for calculating fuel stops. We were there for fun, a lads day out, the majority of teams however where there to score points in an ongoing year long tournament and they had zero tolerance of old men, dawdling on the racing line as I discovered to my peril a few times. Its fair to say I had my fair share of spins (slicks in the wet, madness) and shunts so I was feeling fairly fragile come Monday morning.
I thought I’d therefore give running a miss on the Monday, it was still raining heavily so I spent most of the day entertaining the house bound pup, who was going a little stir crazy unable to burn off his energy. Now I’m not a masochist and I’m not getting any younger so this was a sensible move, I’m not feeling guilty in the slightest about taking the Monday off.
Tuesday and Wednesday on the other hand I had little excuse not to get out there. I managed to convince myself it was too wet on Tuesday. Which was nonsense, for a man that leaks liquids like a sieve, I really can’t get that much wetter in the rain. Then on Wednesday I was invited to play badminton, and I convinced myself that was enough exercise for one day, which it really wasn’t.
This is my biggest fear having completed C25K that I wouldn’t follow through and keep the habit of running going. This blog is a big part of keeping me on track in that respect.
I really liked the C25K structure and slowly improving milestones and I’m finding the lack of such incremental goals difficult. Yes I have my objectives but they are hardly bitesize, each will take weeks and months of concerted effort to reach and I am sadly lacking the discipline to get out there and do the ground work. I think I’ll need to draw up a more incremental set of milestones to somehow motivate myself, break the problem down.
I finally managed to guilt myself into getting back out there by the Thursday, you can tell it was bad by the fact it was 7 in the morning. I came to the conclusion I’m better off just getting it done as early as possible before I can come up with excuses why I can’t do it. Luckily the pup has me up by 6;30 most mornings so I made my mind up to get up early, get him and the cats fed and get out there.
It was decidedly chilly, in fact it might be my coldest run of the year, It’s officially Autumn tomorrow so it’s not going to get any better, get used to it! I was cataloguing my aches and pains up to the park, it was a long list. Reaching the top of the park (to make sure I warmed up) I started out on the first 1km lap.
It’s fair to say I wasn’t having fun, I wouldn’t say it was any harder than any first km I’d done but a combination of the temperature and general low energy levels (read still half asleep) was making it a drag. By the time I’ve done the 2nd lap I’d pretty much had enough. I played the same trick as last time and told myself I can run home, that would get me at least out to a pitiful 3k and all pretty much down hill. It appears my guilt at missing 4 days, didn’t extend to making up for lost time and putting a real shift in and reaching 5k. Too busy cataloguing problems, finding excuses.
Pacing wise, pretty much on the money for my current 8 min/km target pace for the 3 km’s I bothered to do.
This is yet another run, where physically I could have completed it but mentally I just didn’t turn up. It’s happened a few times now and it’s becoming the bottleneck to progress, I need to start finding a way to motivate myself to stay out there when I’d rather still be in bed with the pup keeping my feet warm. I’ve no doubt I’ll go into the next run, angry at this performance and do better and the cycle of seesawing will go on. My goal at the moment is to cement a solid 5k, I’ve only ever made the distance twice so far I really need get my head in the right place.
Run Rating :
Run 2 (01/09/2018)
So much for my plan of getting up at 6:30 and going running in the park. The pup is on new kibble that is meant to help his digestion and it looks like it’s working he didn’t stir until 8 and I wasn’t going to miss the chance of a lay in. Wen was walking the pup over at the local park with a friend at 9, so I thought I’d tag along and run around the lake, perfect. A lay in and a sunny morning run around the lake, does life get any better. Especially when there’s a cafe that will rustle up a bacon roll.
Once round the lake and I set off, leaving the lady’s chatting on a bench, conscious that I actually have an audience for once and one I’m going to be passing about every 5 minutes. I hit the first kilometre in 6 min 47 secs. Oh crap I’v been show boating, idiot, rather than focusing on the run I’ve been prancing round the lake like a Lipizzan Stallion. Now I’m a mile in and I’ve set a new mile PB and I feel like crap.
I’m thinking I’ll hang in for at least 3km, that’s another 4 times round the lake, the thought goes down like a lead balloon, and like a stallion approaching Becher’s Brook I pull up as I pass the bench. Well that’s an all time low, 13 minutes? Pathetic, especially after only doing 3 km on the last outing, this is a worrying trend. I have half an hour to contemplate another failure as I take the pup for a walk up in the hills. To be fair I gave it about 5 minutes thought, it was far too nice a morning to ruin it with nonsense I can sort out later.
My god imagine if it had been a public race, I’d have probably run it like it was 400m and made it only 200m. Needless to say I’m running tomorrow, without an audience, I will get a long run in this week.
I did think of not even recording this run (I use the word loosely) but I guess it’s important to catalogue every form of failure. It looks like this weeks theme is going to be the seven deadly sins, today was pride.
Run Rating :
Run 3 (02/09/2018)
After yesterdays lack lustre performance, I almost managed to talk my self out of running today. Yet again I managed to convince the pup to go back to bed after another 6;30 pop to the garden, this time until 9am when Wen got up, waking him up. Slap up breakfast and I managed to even fit in a 4 hour’s of Ghost Recon coop with a friend. Basically not a bad lazy Sunday morning.
Wen had agreed to catch up with our friend to walk the dog at the local park at 4:30, and it’s a glorious afternoon, the realisation there aren’t too many of those left this year finally guilted me into getting my running shoes on. I decided I’ll get up to the park just before they turned up and get most of my run done, I didn’t want a repeat of yesterday’s show boating nonsense.
Walking up to the park I’m trying to get my head in the game, I really need 5k and that means I need to start real slow and apply an energy conservation mindset. I’ve done it before I know what I have to do, let’s hope this time I can stick to the game plan.
The first km is not too bad, although it really seems to drag from a time perspective, it’s a bit slower than my 8 min/km target, but better safe than sorry. I don’t care about the time I WANT the distance.
Second km feels a bit better than the first km, I’ve settled into a reasonable pace. Split time comes in at 8 min 30 seconds. Very much slower, don’t care crack on. Just as I’m coming up to the 3k mark I spot Wen and co walking round the park, luckily avoid them on the first pass. Another mental reminder to focus on the job at hand.
The third km I’m starting to feel it on the incline back up to the top of the park. Not helped by having to dodge one kid trying to kill his mate by wielding half a tree, had to grab the branch and bark a “steady” at him. Didn’t stop to see if he completed his death blow.
Into the fourth km past the pup and the dog walkers, stay on target. This is starting to hurt, my feet are going numb and my breathing is starting to sound a little laboured. I tell my self this is the penultimate time up the incline and just about make it the top. I know if I can make it to the 4km mark I’ll be able to hang on to 5km.
I’ve had a voice trying to convince me to stop at 3 and 4 km’s, and it’s taking quite a bit of will power to ignore. I want 5K, “are you willing to do the work for it” the voice chimes back. I grit my teeth and get back to plodding away it.
Last time up the incline, my old friend nausea is threatening, I’ve got foam round my mouth that I’m having to brush away as I go past the play area, in case I scare the kiddies. It’s not pretty, but metre by metre it’s getting done. I just need to get to the top of the park, I dig in crest the hill and start the long downhill section. I can’t feel my feet anymore, my legs feel like lead weights and there’s a real threat my legs might give out. I just keep plodding away, I spot the girls and the pup on a bench, and just as get to them I get the 5k shout. I stagger to the bench, to get jumped up and down on by the pup, now that’s what you want at a finish line.
A 42m 38sec 5k, not my fastest, or my slowest and it’s not like I’ve got a lot of 5k data points. This one was purely about getting to the distance.
This run hurt, the last km was as tough as it’s ever got. It was difficult to get to the 4k mark mentally and then the last km was physically challenging as fatigue set in. Even with conservative pacing it took a sheer act of will to keep going and override all the cues to stop.
I still don’t feel like I have a solid grasp on 5k, but I am slowly building up a mental checklist:
- if I don’t turn up at the field (and this is half the battle), I fail.
- If my mindset is anything less than do or die, I’ll fail.
- If I go too quick (no matter how good I think I might look), I fail,
- If I’ve eaten/drank too much too close to running, I fail.
- If I’m not willing to spend 8-10 minutes feeling like death (after 30 mins of running), then I fail.
I’m a huge believer that you can only truly master something when you’ve seen all the ways it can go wrong and understand how to avoid/fix them. The problem is I don’t think I’ve seen all the ways this can fail yet and until I have I won’t have mastered 5k. On to the next failure.
Run Rating :
Run 4 (04/09/2018)
So much for my early morning runs. I couldn’t be bothered this morning and when the pup sneaked back into bed with Wen well that was it, we were all back there cats included. I then spent the entire day making excuses for not running. By the time it got to 5pm I’ve had enough of my bullshit, shoved some food in the oven and did a pup hospital pass to Wen on her way in from work.
Walking up the road, I’m trying to get my head in the game. I can still feel the last run in my legs and my left knee is aching a bit, probably more to do with sitting on the sofa oddly again. I decide rather than push it I’ll aim to do a fast 3km run, rather than 5km, I need to start getting into a pattern of short/long runs, that’ll mean my last run of the week will be 5k.
I get to the park just before 7pm, it’s cold and I’m surprised by how dark it’s getting seems like the nights are already starting to draw in. A reminder to sort out some warmer running kit at some point. The park is almost empty, no dog walkers, no other runners and no kids in the play area, well that’s a first. I decide to run anti-clockwise I might as well start flipping a coin on the subject.
First km and I’m being a little bit cautious I’m focusing on making my stride fast but efficient, trying slight variants, leaning slightly back and forward, shorter, longer strides. I get to the first km in 7:26, pretty quick for me. More importantly I’m feeling pretty fresh.
Into the second km, I’m just focusing on maintaining the pace. I finally pass someone, out for some evening air, I was starting to get worried that there was something more interesting going on somewhere and I was missing out. I’m quite liking this pace it seems comfortable, I hit the 2km in 7:29.
Right, last lap, last time up the incline, I decide I’ll run out of the park at the end and start heading home, should leave me a few minutes of cool down walking time. I pick up the pace a little and get to the 3km with a final 7;22. In total 22:30 and a new 3km PB. Not bad if I could maintain it for another 2km I could be looking at a 38 minute 5k which would be nice progress.
Walking home I realise my knee is feeling fine now, I probably should have done a bit more stretching/limbering up.
I really enjoyed this run, I could have gone faster but it wouldn’t have been as enjoyable. I definitely need to start mixing 3km and 5km runs up. My next run will need to be 5km to round out the week, not sure if I’ll try for the 38m, a sub 40m would be nice though. Let’s just see if I can get my arse out there before midday would be a bonus.
Run Rating :
Run 5 (06/09/2018)
Right here’s the plan. I have to drop the car off for it’s service first thing, So Wen will have the pup until she leaves for work and I’ll have time to do a quick 5k on a local track on the way back from dropping the car off. I can even pick up some breakfast on he way back to taking over pup minding duties. Great, it’s an early start (tick), a new running track all on the flat (tick) and the promise of breakfast (tick).
That WAS the plan. I drop the car at the dealership, find the track after a bit of a wander and it’s perfect, totally flat, it’s pretty much 400m (give or take) and there’s no one around. Time to get to work, I dig out my … oh crap I’ve forgotten my earphones. No worry was reading a post the other day where someone said they enjoyed listening to their breathing when running, let’s give it a go.
Once round the track, 400M probably a bit quick for 5k. I need to slow it down a bit. My brain is off doing some maths and casually drops in the fact I’ll be going around this track a dozen times, and that as they say is that. I managed to get to 800M and I’d had enough, the thought of going around this tedious track another ten times listening to nothing but my breathing and footsteps was too much. I couldn’t even convince myself to complete 1k, let alone drag it out to 3k.
It’s madness, I’ve run multiple 5k’s in far worse conditions, this track is practically flat, I should be dancing around it. This is clearly a mental issue, why should I care if 5k is around a track or in a single non-repeating straight line, it’s just one step after the next in either case. I described my running previously as brittle and this is another case in point. I clearly need to develop a strategy for running on a track, probably just the usual break the problem down into running 5 laps at a time. Because at the moment if I have to do double digits I have a mental breakdown.
We’ll chalk this one up to bad preparation again, I wonder if I’d had my earphones if I would have just zoned out and got it done? I don’t think so, but I’m pretty sure I would have got further. To be clear I wasn’t even physically pushed I was just mentally defeated, by the maths, just bizarre. I wonder what I would do on a treadmill, never used one.
Needless to say I’ll be running again tomorrow and it will be for 5k or a bed in A&E.
Run Rating :
Run 6 (07/09/2018)
I’ve decided after the last run I would go from running around a track to a straight 5k route around the Great Lines park in a clockwise direction. Never tried it before (this way around) and I know that the 4th km at least on paper is going to be tough, pretty much all uphill. So that’s nice.
Got my earphones this time and take a walk up to the hospital, hopefully the fact the run starts right next to the local A&E centre isn’t an omen. I’m fired up for this one after the ups and downs of this weeks running I’ve definitely turned up with the bit firmly between my teeth.
The first km is easy, coming in at a 7:42 min/km which is slightly quicker than I really should be targeting but my last 3km run running sub 8 min/km felt pretty good so we’ll stick with it, for now. Nice cool breeze running along over looking Chatham and a very nice sunset. Over to the Memorial and along to Fort Amherst, fingers cross the gate is open. It is and I’m in and heading down the only down hill section of this run. I have to do a quick pit stop as my lace has come undone, that’s a first and I sort it out quicker than a F1 pit team and push on.
At the 2km mark, 7:45 min/km seems like a pretty good sustainable pace so far, but I’ve hardly been taxed in terms of terrain. The 3rd km is on the flat back towards Medway park and comes in at 7:37 min/km still looking pretty consistent. But I’m now facing a km of hill, worse it stretches out in front of me getting steeper and steeper in all it’s glory. The only good news is I’m feeling pretty fresh.
I’m a 3rd of the way up the long incline and I’m trying to convince myself I don’t want to risk it, the hill gets steeper (twice in two humps) into the distance, that in fact I’d be better off taking a left or a right and continue running on the flat. I get to the fork in the road and think sod it, better to fail trying than fail worrying about it. I run straight on up, definitely having to put in a shift. My breathing is getting laboured, legs are feeling heavy and my feet are going numb, been here before it’s just a question of slowing it down a bit and sucking it up.
I finally get to the top of the incline back at the Memorial, not surprisingly slower at 7:56 min/km and I’m trying to calm myself down, slow the breathing down focus on keeping my running form efficient. The last km is flat and then down hill so in spite of the the fact I’m knackered and sweating like a pig, it’s going to get done. I get my head back down, just need to hang in there 8 more minutes and it’ll be in the bag.
The last km comes in at 7:36 min/km thanks to the terrain, bringing the whole 5k in at 38m 56secs, a new PB by about a minute. I’ll take it, I’m just happy to get another 5k in the bag, hitting my target of getting two 5k runs this week.
What an up and down week of running. Two fails, two 3k’s and two 5k’s just about got the job done. It would be in my interest to avoid the fails going ahead, although they are all good data points. I’ve managed to improve my pace overall by 30 seconds a km, which is good and when the runs go to plan I’m feeling a lot more comfortable. I’ve noticed on both the 5k runs my feet tend to go numb in the last 2k, might need to look into that – might be as simple as tying my laces too tight (I kid you not).
Next week I’m going to aim to do 2x3k and 2x5k without the drama, it’ll be interesting to see if there is any measurable improvements in pace. One of my goals is to secure that 30m, 5k still seems a way off yet.