Tuesday, 30 October 2007


... to do 0.6 miles today.

Monday, 29 October 2007

5m15s - 0.6 miles

Having poured over the handy route planner on realbuzz.com - I worked out a shorter route so I can run for 5 minutes a day. It's a little over half a mile, and I made it in a little over 5 minutes. If only I could keep that pace up (8m20s per mile) - that would be a marathon in 3h50m!!!

How does anyone manage to run a mile in 4 minutes?!

Realistically - running a fast mile is not a real indication of running over distance.
But this website has an algorithm which predicts the kind of time you can do in a long race given a fast mile time. This would suggest that if I can do an 8 minute mile in fast training that I would be on target to run a ~10½-minute-per-mile marathon, with a finishing time of a little over 4½ hours. That's a very encouraging target to aim for. I'll have a better idea of how achievable that is when I start training in earnest! For the time being I'm still in the "getting fit" stage, so none of the timings I'm making at the moment matter much, it's just a way of seeing if I'm improving from when I started out at the beginning of the month.

Any more carrot and you'll have to call me Jasper...

carrots, carrots, getcha luvly carrots 'ereI bought a net of horse carrots from Wantage market on Saturday, for £2.50 (which turns out to be a bargain as there were 10kg!) They make perfectly good juice, which tastes great, so I'll be a regular customer there from now on...

After that I went magazine delivering with my wife, and we spent about 3 hours delivering 500 of them.

A well earned day off yesterday, and this evening just a short run out to try my new half-mile course... as I've decided to take Fit2Run's advice and do daily 5 minute runs to increase my speed and give me a good base upon which to develop my running skills.

Friday, 26 October 2007


I tried out my new shoes this evening, and set off at a much brisker pace than would be possible to keep up for long at the moment. I managed a mile in 11 minutes 41 seconds. That would be a marathon in just over 5 hours, although there's no way I could keep that pace up for long! Still, it's all about the fitness at the moment, and any little improvement is a good sign...

Thursday, 25 October 2007

I am now inspired by my feet!!!

ulen's feet are now inspired
I have bought a pair of Mizuno Wave Inspire 3 running shoes, from the very helpful guys at Fit2Run in Abingdon. They also advised me that I should be running for about 5 minutes every day, rather than running for 2 miles (25 minutes) twice a week. Consistency is the key - rather than pushing myself too far too soon.

I think I've done enough today, but will be eager to try out my new shoes tomorrow!!

26+ miles today!

I've covered a marathon distance today, by cycling to Abingdon and back.
12 miles each way, plus a few miles round Abingdon itself. The reason to visit Abingdon was to a) buy a pair of running shoes from fit2run and b) to pick up nightshift from Dawsons music. The first thing was easy, and I came away seventy-five pounds lighter. More on that later. Sadly, however, my second reason for visiting Abingdon was not fulfilled, as Dawsons has now shut down. I'll have to make a trip to Baby John's in Didcot instead.

Anyway - here's what I managed today (I didn't time the other few miles around Abingdon)

Distance12.03 miles12.01 miles
Avg speed12.3mph12.3mph
Top speed23.0mph24.7mph

Wednesday, 24 October 2007


I only managed 13 lengths today; 10 breaststroke and 3 front crawl. I think I need to go swimming more frequently!

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

1 + 0.3 miles

A slightly different route for this evening's jog. Instead of turning for home at 0.8 miles I carried onto the co-op to buy some mushrooms for the spaghetti bolognese to complete the first mile, then back via church green to get home again. I didn't time it this evening, but it felt easier than I thought it would when I set out.

Running through the churhyard in the dark reminded me of how scared I used to be of the gravestones at nighttime as a kid (especially the tomb-like one on the corner). Mind you the streetlighting is better these days, and there's no goat clanking its chain hidden down behind the church to scare the wits out of you anymore!

Swimming tomorrow...

Monday, 22 October 2007


I went out after dusk to cycle the 8 mile route again this evening.
Unlike a BMW or Williams, I don't seem to benefit from enhanced performance by using cold fuel... the lower temperature nitrogen/oxygen mix I was inhaling didn't improve my time from yesterday morning, as today I did the 8.3m circuit in 38 minutes, averaging only 12.7mph and managing a top speed of 25.9mph...

Back to the running tomorrow!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

2 miles!

I felt so good after running 1 mile this evening, that I carried on and did another.
A bit slower than Thursday, I did them both in 25'17". That's a marathon in 5½ hours.

8 miles in 36 minutes

I cycled the 8 mile route I am planning to run round in December.
I'm still a bit rusty, but now I have a new set of bike lights this will be a regular route to get a much needed half hour of exercise as part of my cross training. Today I managed:
time: 35'55"
avg: 13.4mph
max: 28.5mph

Now I'm off to run a mile.

Thursday, 18 October 2007


Ran out for another mile this evening. I was planning to do three, but since I got no training in at the weekend, am only just getting over a chest cold I thought I'd not push it...

I timed it for the first time. A steady jog, completed in 12 minutes 12 seconds.
That's a marathon in 5.333 hours. That's if I can keep that pace up for all 26.2 miles! Still it gives me a starting point. I wouldn't mind doing it in 5 hours, mind you just completing at all is my main aim!!

Off weight lifting tomorrow. Lifting sofas and beds and things down from a 1st floor flat for a house move!

More training to come on Sunday...

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

I'm a juice extracting maniac!!!

I bought one of these from the outlet centre in Swindon:

for only £19.99 and I got this book thrown in for free:

I also bought 3kg of carrots from Sainsbury's (bargain at only 33p/kg), and it juices them up a treat!!

It alleges to retail at £64 so I thought I'd snagged a real bargain, but it's on Kelkoo from £29.99 (so not such a huge saving after all). Still, it's very good so far.

Today I tried cucumber juice (yuck); celery juice (double YUCK) and then melon & grape (quite yummy, but I think I would have preferred the melon in fruit form). Oh and carrot juice too. Mixing the celery, cucumber & carrot together works ok.

Hopefully all this fruit & veg juice will help to stave off the horrible coldy chest cough infection thingy I picked up on Friday. Boo hiss, no training for me over the weekend.

Tomorrow I shall try tomatoes. And cucumber & ginger. Oh, and carrot juice (of course!!).

I hope to be back in training on Thursday.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

2 down, 24.2 to go...

I went out for a run again this evening, and managed 2 miles this time. I did the mile route round the village twice (in 2 stages, 0.8 miles then 1.2 miles), and boy did it feel good. If I increase this run by a mile lap every week - then I'll be all set for the marathon come April...!

Ok, perhaps that't not how I'm supposed to be training, but you get the idea. It's going to take a while to get into it, but when I do there'll be no stopping me. Well maybe a bit of ice & snow might be a bit awkward, but then I've the rowing machine to look forward to when I can't get out and about on the streets.

I've booked a few days off in December as I had loads of holiday to use up by the end of the year. The plan is to run an 5-mile circuit by then. And then come Januray I hope to be up to 8-miles. Doing mile laps is all very well, but it's all too easy to give up at the end of 2, 3 or 4 miles. Once out on the roads - if I make it to 4 miles, I'll have no choice but to run another 4 miles to get home again.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

I passed my "MoT"

So I went to the doctor yesterday and said "Doctor, I can't stop singing The Green, Green Grass of Home" The doctor said "That sounds like Tom Jones syndrome to me" I said "Is that common?" She said "It's not unusual"...

As with any physical activity programme please consult your GP before commencing if you have any health concerns.

Since I'm a bit overweight, and a bit underfit - I thought it best to be sure to get my GP to give me the once over before I get my training underway. She weighed me, measured my height and took my blood pressure. They were: a bit more than I expected; just what I expected and completely new to me - so unexpected (respectively).
I thought I was 90kg (14.2 stones), and it turns out I am 93kg (14.6 stones).
I thought I was 5'9" (1.76m) and I am. However my weight/height index makes me a bit more lardy than I thought (Darn that cake I had on Monday!). According to the Doctor I am a bit overweight - but nothing a bit of exercise won't sort out.

I don't remember having my blood pressure taken before (which is not strictly true - I've had it taken a few times, but I've never paid attention to the results). So this was new to me. I'm 140/85, which is a little high, but nothing to worry about and nothing that a bit of exercise won't sort out.
According to bbc.co.uk health I'm on the verge of hypertension and should do the following to reduce it:
  • Have your blood pressure checked regularly every few years

  • Reduce your salt intake

  • Don't smoke

  • Eat low-fat foods

  • Keep to your ideal weight

  • Drink safe amounts of alcohol

  • Take regular exercise

  • Reduce your stress

  • I will get my blood pressure checked again in a few months. Tick.
    I already have a low salt intake. Tick.
    I gave up smoking 5 years ago. Tick.
    I generally eat a balanced diet. Tick.
    My ideal weight is about 2 stone less than it is now...
    I drink in moderation, well under the 21 units per week. Tick.
    I exercise very little....
    My stress levels are ok, most of the time...

    So only a couple areas of concern. And the best way to lose weight, do more exercise and reduce stress is to do some exercise!

    Lastly I asked the Doctor if my cholesterol level should be checked, and she said that I can have it checked if I like, but a high level won't interfere with my ability to run a marathon, and if it was too high a bit of exercise would bring it down again.

    She was happy that my plans to gradually build up my fitness over the next three months and then to increase my running in the 3 months leading up to the marathon is a sensible approach, and I should consider a half marathon a couple of months before the full one so I'll know whether I'm up for it.

    So all in all I think the advice is clear. I need to exercise more!!!

    Tuesday, 9 October 2007

    Juice vs. Smoothies

    I've decided that I'd like to drink more carrot juice¹, so want a reasonably powerful liquidiser because the handheld jobbie we use for bananas won't be up to the job.

    I need to research the blenders, smoothie makers and juicers, comparing the merits of making a smoothie (which contains all the fruit) compared with a juicer (which separates the juice from the pulp).

    My wonderful wife suggested getting one of these, as promoted on the website:
    Will It Blend?

    Hmm, perhaps that's a bit too powerful, even for my needs!!

    ¹ Does anyone know what "Horse carrots" are? Wantage market sells them by the sackload, and it would be a very cheap way to buy carrots in bulk. Are they suitable for human consumption?

    Sunday, 7 October 2007

    Small steps...

    After a day off yesterday (something that will no doubt become a rare thing!), I took to the streets of Wantage again today for another couple of hours delivering.

    When I got home, I went out for a mile-long run - the same route as Thursday, but this time I made it all the way home. That's more like it! When I got back I had a warm glow all over. Another few of these warm-ups and I'll be able to start thinking about longer runs, and timed runs.

    Tomorrow I may be back on the bike again.

    Friday, 5 October 2007

    9.5 miles in 45 minutes

    Went out for some more exercise this evening. Managed to scrape round a 9.5 mile road circuit in only 45 minutes. Not bad eh? Ok, so it was on my bike - not running. Still, my plan for the next three months is to raise my fitness to a level where I can take long runs seriously.

    In other news Jason, whose comment was unprintable when he heard I was doing a marathon, has very kindly lent me Marathon Training For Dummies® - which I shall be reading avidly over the weekend...

    Thursday, 4 October 2007

    1st run out

    ulen in training
    Since it was a nice evening, and there was no time like the present to start my campaign to get fit, I couldn't put it off any longer. Time for a short run to shake the metaphorical cobwebs off my tired muscles - a quick trot round the village was in order. I jogged until my shins were complaining and then walked the last bit home. In all I ran a whole 4/5ths of a mile. Great, I only need to increase that by a factor of 33 over the next 6 months, and I'll be there! Ah well, everyone has to start somewhere. It'll be fun to see how I improve over the coming weeks and months ...

    Warming up

    In anticipation of a successful outcome of the draw for a place in the London 2008 Marathon, I spent 2 hours on Saturday, 3½ hours on Sunday and another half hour on Monday evening delivering Community Times in the Vale around Faringdon, Wantage & Grove. This great new magazine is published by my wife, so no doubt I would have been drafted in anyway to help with deliveries this month, but I wanted to push myself a bit on the Sunday to go the extra mile (or three) when I could easily have given up after only doing a couple of hours.

    Ok, so a bit of walking the streets doesn't sound like much, and it's a long long way from 26 miles 385 yards, but since I'm so out of shape, I had to start somewhere!

    Look out for me in the coming issues of the magazine, as I've been volunteered to write a column for it...

    London Marathon 2008

    I must be mad. Mad as a frog. Madder than that. Mad as a box of frogs...

    I saw a message last week at work about a draw for 5 places up for grabs for the Flora London Marathon 2008, and I thought why not? It's for a good cause (Volunteer Reading Help); it's one of my (as yet unwritten) 42-things-to-do and it's about time I got fit again.

    So here I am, 5'9" and 90 kilos, about to embark on a major plan to exercise my way back to my ideal weight and then in the new year to ramp up the training so I'm fit for the challenge of a lifetime come April 13th 2008...

    All I need to do is raise £1,000 while I'm at it, and have some fun!

    You can help by sponsoring me here (please!!).

    And I shall be blogging my way through my training plan, so you can see how I'm getting along!

    Running 13.1 miles in memory of Carl

    I ran the Silverstone Half Marathon on 15th March 2009. I managed the 13.1 mile course in 2 hours and 4 minutes. Not a bad effort for my first Half Marathon! I returned in 2010 to run it in 1 hour 54 minutes, and plan to do it again in 2011. I decided to run this in aid of The PSC Trust and PSC Support in memory of my brother Carl, who died from liver failure in November 1997. If you'd like to sponsor me for this - please email me at pscrun@ulen.me.uk PSC Trust
    PSC Support Or visit my Justgiving page for PSC Support at PSC Support - Justgiving
    Have you signed up to the national donor register? If you haven't yet done so, please think about it, and let your family know your wishes.
    Give the gift of life.
    Join the NHS Organ Donor Register
    Organ Donor Line 0845 60 60 400