Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Last run of 2008

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 7m24s

Oweee, it's cold today. After a hour's yoga to warm up and stretch fully, I set off out for my last quick mile of the year. Not as fast as last week, but then it's really cold today! That completes my 62nd mile this month (this compares with 42 miles during December 2007).

Roll on 2009, just 3 months 25 days, 17 hours and 56 minutes until the big day...

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

60+ mile month

Distance: 3 miles
Time: 26m38s
Mile 1 - 9m00s
Mile 2 - 8m56s
Mile 3 - 8m42s

Another three miles today, and each one in a 9-minute-mile pace or less. In fact the first mile took me exactly 9m00s00ms... This brings my total mileage for the month to 61 miles, and tomorrow's mile will give me an average of 2 miles per day for the whole of December.

Monday, 29 December 2008

I've swum a mile!!

Distance: 1 mile - 1625 metres
Crawl: 65 lengths

I went for a swim in Abingdon today. I was planning to do at least 40 lengths, hopefully 50 and maybe, just maybe, I could do 64 lengths which is near enough a mile (0.994 miles).

I managed the first 20 lengths quite easily, but felt perhaps another 44 would be beyond me.
Once I'd completed 30 lengths I knew I could quite happily make it beyond 40, and was thinking perhaps I'd manage 50.
40 lengths down, and I started to believe that I might just make it to 64 after all.
50 lengths in, and it would have been ok so stop then, having swum 25% further than I ever have before, quite an achievement in itself. However I knew that I was close to swimming a mile, all I had to do was swim another couple of lengths, then another, then another, and so on.

When I'd reached 56, I knew I could do it. There was no point stopping then, I could make it to 60. Then when I'd made it to 60, it was only a little more effort to get to 64. Then I remembered that a mile is just over 64.... so I finished on 65 lengths to make sure I'd swum a full mile!

All in all it took me a little over an hour.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Magnificent seven

Distance: 7 miles
Time: 1h8m57s
Mile 1 - 9m40s
Mile 2 - 9m59s
Mile 3 - 9m51s
Mile 4 - 9m56s
Mile 5 - 10m08s
Mile 6 - 9m46s
Mile 7 - 9m37s

Well I'm back up to seven miles again, this time in under 69 minutes (it was 75 minutes when I first ran seven miles back in January). So that's pretty good, especially since it was very cold today, and that meant it was quite hard work. Off for a big bowl of brown pasta now, and a very hot bath to relax my leg muscles...

Friday, 26 December 2008

Cool runnings

Distance: 3 miles
Time: 28m36s
Mile 1 - 9m44s
Mile 2 - 9m38s
Mile 3 - 9m14s

An early run today, I was up and out of the house by 9.30am for a gentle three mile jog. It felt like I was flying round on the first lap, but that was just because it was cold, and it was a bit of a shock to the system I think to be up early and out running in the chill breeze. At 9am lying in bed I was thinking that perhaps I should have a day off today, but soon decided that that's not the spirit, and I want to keep the Christmas pounds from sneaking their way on when I'm not looking! So it was worth it to get out and run, in spite of the cold weather today.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Distance: 2 miles
Time: 16m49s
Mile 1 - 8m33s
Mile 2 - 8m16s

A brisk two-miler today. I was trying to take it easy, but surprised myself that the first "easy" mile was so quick! I thought I was running about a 9-minute-mile pace. I pushed myself a bit harder on the second lap, which has certainly blown the cobwebs away...

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

A new PB for a mile

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 7m14s

I've run a new fastest time for a "mile" lap of the village. Having spent an hour warming up and stretching with a yoga DVD, I set off out for my usual Wednesday fast lap. Now the "mile" I run round Stanford in the Vale is actually about 1.1 miles, and the "mile" I run at lunchtime at work is about 1.03 miles. So today's lap in 7m14s would have been the equivalent of a 6m46s lap at Milton Park!

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Takin it easy....

Distance: 3 miles
Time: 31m05s
Mile 1 - 10m21s
Mile 2 - 10m34s
Mile 3 - 10m10s

A slow steady jog this evening. Nothing too strenuous. Apart from anything else running in the dark is hard, especially along the main road when sight of the footpath temporarily disappears in the moving shadows thrown by the headlights from passing cars... Luckily now the winter solstice has been and gone, the days will start to get longer again. Spring will soon be here. As will the Marathon. My 16-week training plan starts in earnest on 5th Jan.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Last lunchtime swim of the year

Distance: 750m
Crawl: 30 lengths

Last swim of the year in Didcot, and I managed another 30 lengths today. Next week during the hols I think I may attempt another 1k in Abingdon (the pool is much nicer there!), but will have to see how things pan out over the festive period.

Given that I'm now down to 12st12lb I really do want to keep up my routine of exercise 6 or 7 times a week!

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Six of the best

Distance: 6 miles
Time: 57m02s
Mile 1 - 9m25s
Mile 1 - 9m33s
Mile 1 - 9m35s
Mile 1 - 9m35s
Mile 1 - 9m33s
Mile 1 - 9m21s

Brrr. It was quite blustery today. Even so, I managed a very consistent pace across all six miles of my run. I'm really looking forward to getting out on the open road in a few weeks for my first 8 mile run, instead of the repetitive laps of the village.

I'm quite chuffed I've managed six miles in a fraction over 9.5 minutes per mile...

Saturday, 20 December 2008

2nd 14-mile-week

Distance: 2 miles
Time: 20m22s
Mile 1 - 10m07s
Mile 2 - 10m15s

A relaxing jog this evening to finish this week (my running week starts on a Sunday as the run logger I use has this as the first day of the week). This is the second week in a row I've run 14 miles (it was 13 the week before that). Off for another long one tomorrow.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Finding the zone

Distance: 3 miles
Time: 28m50s
Mile 1 - 9m35s
Mile 2 - 9m49s
Mile 3 - 9m26s

After a rare day off any exercise yesterday (too busy to get out for a run, but I don't make a habit of that!), it was a slight struggle to convince myself to go for a run this evening. It's amazing that taking just one day out of my routine would affect my positive attitude to running. Still it was only a very minor waver, and after a couple of minutes I was out in the dark and the wind for a relaxing three mile jog.

Once again it was a bit odd, the first lap seemed to take ages, but shortly into my second lap I must have found myself in the zone, and before I knew it I was on the last third of the third lap.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

A slower fast one

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 7m20s

It's Wednesday, so back to running a fast mile. Not quite so fast today, but then the pavement was a touch slippery in places, as was the short stretch of grass that I normally try to avoid, but had to use today as there was a bus coming the other way.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Phew-ee it just gets better and better

Distance: 2 miles
Time: 16m57s
Mile 1 - 8m38s
Mile 2 - 8m19s

Having spent over an hour practising a yoga DVD (following a recommendation from work), I felt suitably relaxed and loosened up to head out for a quick 2 mile jog. I was aiming to do both miles in under 9 minutes if possible, but wanted to pace myself so I didn't go too fast on the first one, to tire me out before completing the second. Having made the first in a little over 8.5 minutes, I thought perhaps I'd set off a bit too fast. Nonetheless I kept up the pace on the next mile, aiming to at least match it if I could, and made it round even quicker.

Touch wood I feel my fitness has reached a new level, where I seem to be running faster, and longer, and my swimming is improving too. I hope to get a bike ride in later in the week so it'll be good to see if that feels any easier as well. All of this combined with having lost nearly 2 stone in weight means that everything is improving. I just hope the winter stays mild enough for me to get out and keep the long runs up.

Monday, 15 December 2008

A kilometre swim!

Distance: 1000m
Crawl: 40 lengths

After almost finishing my Christmas shopping today, I went out for my Monday swim this evening in Abingdon. I wanted to do 32 lengths (about half a mile), but realised fairly soon that I was up for more than that. So I took advantage of the extra time, and carried on a couple of lengths at a time until I'd made 40 in total. Last week when I swam 30 lengths I wondered if I'd ever want to attempt swimming a mile (64 lengths). Now I've made it to 40, that doesn't seem so far out of my league after all!

The best thing about today's 1k swim was that I didn't rest quite so long between lengths and I also wasn't too tired afterwards. I could have carried on for more, but decided getting home for dinner at a reasonable time was a sensible move.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Ouch, I must cut my toenails!

Distance: 6 miles
Time: 58m47s
Mile 1 - 9m42s
Mile 2 - 10m02s
Mile 3 - 9m59s
Mile 4 - 10m00s
Mile 5 - 9m44s
Mile 6 - 9m20s

When I ran my first 6 mile run on December 31st last year, it took me 71 minutes.
This year I am 2 weeks ahead of that schedule, and today managed it over 2 minutes per mile faster. I just hope I can keep up this pace over the Christmas period, and not let myself get too full of mince pies and chocolate!

After a bowl of brown pasta, and a long hot bath, I clipped my nails and will have to make sure I remember to keep them short now, to avoid causing blisters when I go for long runs. One of my toes was definitely digging into another today, and that's not something I want to make a habit of.

Saturday, 13 December 2008


Distance: 2 miles
Time: 19m33s
Mile 1 - 9m51s
Mile 2 - 9m42s

A gentle jog today to end the week, taking my total for the last 7 days up to 14 miles. No need to push it today, as I'm off out for a long run tomorrow.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Another run bites the dusk

Distance: 3 miles
Time: 28m28s
Mile 1 - 9m33s
Mile 2 - 9m44s
Mile 3 - 9m11s

I set out for a relaxing three mile run in the dusk, and it was dark by the time I finished.

It's odd how I feel good about running three miles during the first half mile, then the second half mile seems to drag, and then before I know it I'm finishing the third mile and have to think twice to double check I've actually done three miles, and not just two!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Running cold

Distance: 2 miles
Time: 16m19s
Mile 1 (out) - 8m19s
Mile 2 (back) - 8m00s

I seem to be getting good at setting a good pace on the mile out to Sutton Courtenay at lunch, and then running back in a faster time. All I need to do is multiply this effort by 13.1 over the course of the next 4 months 14 days 19 hours...

Time to get my 16-week training plan sorted I think.

Was it this cold last winter? I can't say it's much fun running on cold days like today, but I've got myself into a good pattern now of running at least 4 or 5 times a week, so it's become a habit to get out and get running, even if I don't much feel like it.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Another sub-7-minute-mile

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 6m58s

I think I overcooked it a bit on the first half of today's fast run, and didn't leave myself quite enough left for the second half to beat my personal best. Oh well, not bad though considering I was a little weary of the shady patches of pavement, just in case they were still slippy after this morning's frost.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Another 30 lengths

Distance: 750m
Crawl: 30 lengths

A Tuesday swim for a change, and I managed another 30 lengths today. I've even starting to rest less in between them, though not quite up to no rest at all... yet.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Passed the 300 mile er... milestone

Distance: 4 miles
Time: 36m30s
Mile 1 - 9m11s
Mile 2 - 9m24s
Mile 3 - 8m58s
Mile 4 - 8m57s

Having missed out on my "long" run yesterday due to the Santa Fun Run, I went out for a 4-miler at lunch today.I was planning to get a long run in yesterday evening, but it was too cold, and there was no way I was running on icy pavements in the dark.So a bit of a change round this week. Today a run, tomorrow a swim, cycling perhaps Thursday (again weather permitting!).

I headed out of Milton Park today, north to Sutton Courtenay, west to Milton village, and then south and east back into Milton Park for another mile round the block. A pretty good pace too. And I've now run over 300 miles since I began running last year.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Santa Fun Run

Distance: 2 miles
Time: 23m42s

On a cold a frosty morning, Lauren & I went to Oxford to run in the Santa Fun Run again. We improved our time from last year's run, knocking about 5 minutes off the time. Next year we may even run it in under 20 minutes? Hmmm. We'll see!

Remember that you can still sponsor Lauren at:

Friday, 5 December 2008

Slow and steady

Distance: 3 miles
Time: 30m43s


A deliberately slow run this evening. Partly because it was dark, so difficult to see where I'm running at times. Partly as this was just a relaxing run where I wanted to up the distance slightly (for a "short" run), but not push myself too far. There will be many runs like this over the coming weeks, where distance is more important than speed. Time on my feet. Half an hour running is good.

The extra distance today earns me a day off tomorrow. The it's the Santa Fun Run on Sunday.

Still time to sponsor me at:

or Lauren at:

And now I shall leave with the words of relaxation that I learnt at yoga this week:

May I have loving kindness
May I be well
May I be peaceful and content
May I be happy

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Santa time approaches...

Distance: 2 miles
Time: 17m12s
Mile 1 (out) - 8m35s
Mile 2 (back) - 8m37s

Another two-miler today, just five seconds slower than Tuesday. It feels good when I manage the same runs in such consistent times!

Sunday sees me off on another two mile run, this time the sponsored
Santa Fun Run.

You can sponsor me here:

Any sponsorship, however small, will be most appreciated!!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Another 7-minute-mile

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 7m06s

Another quick one today. Perhaps if I hadn't have been overcautious of the pavement conditions, I might have done it in under 7 minutes again, but I'm still happy that I can now consistently run a fast mile in around 7 minutes. This equates to a marathon pace of about 9 minutes (a 4-hour finish time). This is much better than I would have hoped for in my first 26-miler. And even if I don't manage that in April, at least it gives me the confidence now that I will be able to run a good race, regardless of how long it actually takes me on the day.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Brrrrrrrrr.......... (part two)

Distance: 7.2m
Time: 34m34s
Avg speed: ??mph
Max speed: ??mph

The computer failed to start again this evening. So instead of wasting time taking the battery out and resetting it again in the cold, I just set off. Not a bad cycle back, but I think I got back to the car in just the right time. My fingertips were starting to feel the effects of the cold, as were my ears.
If the weather doesn't get any warmer, I may want to think about skipping cycling until it does.
I know cycling is good for me, but really - I should still be able to enjoy the exercise I'm doing!!

Slimy, yet satisfying

Distance: 2 miles
Time: 17m07s
Mile 1 (out) - 8m35s
Mile 2 (back) - 8m32s

The roads and pavements were damp today, and the curb in Sutton Courtenay was a bit slimy. I need to be careful, the last thing I want now is to slip and sprain an ankle. Still the sunny weather was pleasant, the breeze not too strong nor too cold. So another satisfying 2 mile run. Oh, but the winter sun shone fiercely on the wet pavement, so I was blinded on the way back. There should be a law against that. Remind me to take my sunglasses next time!


Distance: 7.2m
Time: 30m30s
Avg speed: 14.1mph
Max speed: ??mph (37.7mph)

I tried a new battery in my computer this morning, and it seemed to be measuring my trip accurately. However weaving in and out of the traffic down Milton Hill, I noticed that it had registered a speed in excess of 30mph :(
In spite of the cold this morning, the cycle in was quite pleasant really. All apart from the traffic... especially the school bus in Hanney. It pulled out just as I was getting close to it, so I slowed to fall in behind it, but then it completely failed to accelerate away from me, so I had to brake fairly sharply to avoid splatting into the back of it!

Monday, 1 December 2008

Back up to 30 lengths

Distance: 750m
Crawl: 30 lengths

Today I took it easy in the pool, and had soon clocked up 20 lengths. Then I think I lost count, so may have actually swum 32 lengths in total. But I'm only going to count it as 30 as I wasn't sure... It's gradually getting easier. My next improvement would be to swim continuous lengths back and forth, not stopping for a breather between each one like I do now!

Sunday, 30 November 2008

38 mile month

Distance: 5 miles
Time: 47m58s
Mile 1 - 9m29s
Mile 2 - 9m48s
Mile 3 - 9m46s
Mile 4 - 9m28s
Mile 5 - 9m27s

Brrr. Another five miler today. A bit damp when I set out, but I seemed to warm up ok after a few minutes. However by the third lap, there was a chill wind, which made my arms a bit cold. Not to be deterred however, I took it deliberately steady, with a view to increasing my pace on the second half of the run. I want to try and get into a steady pace, and not try too hard too soon, and then get too tired on later miles. It's going to be a key part of the marathon, that I can keep a steady pace, but keep plenty back for the later miles when it really gets tough. And most especially those last 385 yards!

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Brrr, it's cold out today

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 9m13s

Another gentle run this morning. A bit cold to set off, but warmed up quite quickly. I wonder if we're in for a cold winter?

Friday, 28 November 2008

New batteries required?

Distance: 7.3m
Time: 34m21s
Avg speed: 13.1mph
Max speed: ??mph

This evening the cycle computer gave up the ghost altogether (again). Having recorded a distance of 0.6 miles and 34mph before I'd even put it on the bike (!!) I reset it, and then it recorded 0mph and 0 miles for about 5 minutes until it switched itself off. I may try a new battery first, before taking the blimmin thing back to the bike shop and trading it in for a wired version as this wireless one seems to have a mind of its own.

Grrrr I give up....

Distance: 7.3m (10.2m)
Time: 31m51s
Avg speed: 13.8mph (19.3mph)
Max speed: ??mph (37.6mph)

I really think it's time to take the cycle computer back to the shop and get a wired replacement. As soon as I set off this morning it was registering between 20mph and 30mph. Then it "settled down" to display 14mph / 20mph / 17mph / 14mph, flitting between the numbers within a matter of seconds. The numbers in brackets are the numbers it recorded for the 7 mile journey. It was especially annoying as I would have liked to know how fast I was cycling when I got to Milton park, I put a spurt on and raced a beamer from the railway bridge to the info centre. Obviously the car won, but I wasn't far behind it!

I've taken up yoga!

Upon a recommendation from a friend, who's a personal trainer, I've decided to take up yoga in order to increase my flexibility and fitness, to avoid aches and pains caused by running and generally improve my overall well being. In preparation for starting a full 12-week course in January I popped along to a Beginners Hatha Yoga session. Despite not really knowing what I was doing (having never attempted yoga before), I really enjoyed it and found most of it fairly straightforward. I know I wasn't great at it right away (that will come with practice), but I felt I was able to get more out of it than I was initially expecting for a first session. I came away feeling really invigorated and relaxed at the same time. My whole body felt limber. This is great stuff! Back next week for another taster session, then I'm really looking forward to starting a slightly more intense yoga flow course in the new year!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Ten miles so far this week

Distance: 2 miles
Time: 16m46s
Mile 1 (out) - 8m28s
Mile 2 (back) - 8m18s

Another two miles today, work to Sutton Courtenay and back again. Pretty consistent with my times for the same run on Tuesday, and again I managed to pace myself well on the first mile to leave enough energy to run the return leg a little faster.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Slow, slow, quick, slow, slow

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 7m03s

Another quick one today. Not another record time, but consistently around the 7-minute-mile mark. It would be very difficult to keep improving my time week after week, and of course running the fastest mile I can is not my overall aim. Running 26 miles 385 yards is. Back to a slower run (8+minute-miles) tomorrow.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Faster return leg

Distance: 2 miles
Time: 16m34s
Mile 1 (out) - 8m18s
Mile 2 (back) - 8m16s

Today I headed out of Milton Park again. Oddly a mile seems further running out along the road between work and Sutton Courtenay than it does running the same distance around the block. There was a cold northerly wind against me on the way, making me think I should have brought more than a t-shirt & shorts to run in. Not quite arctic conditions yet, so I'll leave the leggings, long-sleeved top and hat until the bleak midwinter, if I can. The return leg was a bit easier without the wind on my face.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Last swim ... until next week

Distance: 700m
Crawl: 28

Today I finished my "swim card" prepaid swimming sessions, so will be signing up again next week for another 10-for-the-price-of-9 (or is it 11-for-the-price-of-10? I can't remember).

The pool was busy again today. I almost went for 30 lengths, but decided that stopping at 28 gives me room for improvement next time!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

5 in under 50

Distance: 5 miles
Time: 48m43s
Mile 1 - 9m34s
Mile 2 - 9m47s
Mile 3 - 9m58s
Mile 4 - 9m48s
Mile 5 - 9m36s

The forecast was for snow this morning, clearing by the afternoon. When I awoke there was no snow, just a miserable rain. Not the best weather to attempt my first five mile run since I started training again. But by the time I got out there the weather had cleared up, and brightened up considerably. When I ran my first five mile run last December it took 54 minutes. This year I'm three weeks earlier in reaching this milestone, and I managed it on average a minute quicker per mile. Things, dare I say it, are looking good.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Silent running

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 9m49s

A slow one this evening. It was cold and dark. I just wanted to limber up and loosen up my muscles ready for tomorrow's long run. I took it deliberately easy this evening, and barely broke into a sweat as I jogged through the quiet night alone. Thursday's exertions on the bike meant I was a bit stiff yesterday, so all I wanted to do today was ease myself back into it gently.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Cycling a marathon distance

Distance: 12.3m
Time: 44m35s
Avg speed: 16.6mph
Max speed: 29.8mph

Distance: 12.8m
Time: 57m36s
Avg speed: 13.4mph
Max speed: ??mph

Today I cycled to Abingdon and back. I wanted to look at the GPS "personal training devices" at Fit2Run. I'm thinking that I'd really like to know my mileage and pace when I'm out on long runs, rather than having to try to plot the run beforehand and remember the mile points.

It was a little windy today, noticeably behind me on the way there. Especially on the stretch between Gainfield and Charney Bassett. I managed the whole section barely dropping below 20mph. When I turned the corner into Garford, I got a blast of wind across me. This I knew would be against me on the way back...

I stopped off for lunch, then cycled the extra couple of miles to the running shop. They only had a few items, so I think I'll need to do a bit more research first. I bought a thin pair of gloves, and then headed back. The computer played up a bit again, recording a top speed of over 60mph.

Still, overall over 26 miles today. A good workout.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

I've broken the 7-minute-mile

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 6m56s

Another fast one today. The fastest yet. A mere 55 days ago I was very chuffed that I'd run a mile in under 8 minutes. Today I've slashed that by running the same mile in under 7 minutes, at an average pace of 8.7mph. If I can maintain a "fast" mile pace around the 7 minute mark, then I could possibly run a full marathon in under 4 hours (9-minute-miles). Hmmm. We'll see. I was this confident this time last year, and come the new year when I was running 8, 9 and 10 mile runs my pace slackened off considerably, especially when my knee started playing up. So I'm not counting any chickens just yet, just basking in my personal glory of a new personal best.

Do you think I can break the 6-minute-mile by mid January? No - neither do I!!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

6 miles last week. 6 miles already this week.

Distance: 2 miles
Time: 16m52s
Mile 1 - 8m23s
Mile 2 - 8m29s

Last week I ran 6 miles in 4 runs (compared to 8 miles the week before in 6 runs); this week I have already run 6 miles in just 2 runs. Today's run was supposed to be slow. However I made a mile out (from work to Sutton Courtenay) and the same mile back again, both under 8½ minutes. Not bad for a couple of slow miles!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Zig zag; zag zig

Distance: 650m
Crawl: 24
Breaststroke: 2

More lane swapping today. It wasn't hugely busy in the pool, yet people kept coming and going and moving across the lanes. Still, I got there in the end.
8 crawl. 1 breaststroke. 8 crawl. 1 breaststroke. 8 crawl.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Drowning like a rat

Distance: 4 miles
Time: 37m53s

Mile 1 - 9m09s
Mile 2 - 9m23s
Mile 3 - 9m24s
Mile 4 - 9m57s

Today I tried to pace myself evenly for a four mile run, and thought I'd set off at a slow comfortable pace. I was a bit surprised that just over 9 minutes felt so easy. However it rained towards the end of the mile, and then chucked it down for much of the 2nd. By the 4th mile I was flagging, wet through and a bit cold. Nothing that a hot shower and a plate of brown pasta wouldn't sort out!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

I've run a half marathon so far this month

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 8m36s

Another "slow" one today, although 8½ minutes ain't bad for a slow run. In the wet too. This brings my total for November so far up to 14 miles.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

A new PB

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 7m04s

Another quick one today, and I felt I was going for it. When I reached the "half-way" stage (which is actually over half way....) in 3m45s I knew I was on for a fast time. I think the quickest I've reached there before is around the 4-minute mark. Could I break the 7-minute-mile today?

..... no. Close, but no cigar. Still, another new personal best for a mile.

The following may or may not work ... it's a video clip of me running past work during my lunchbreak:

Back to sensible leisurely running again tomorrow.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Brrrr, I must be mad!

Distance: 7.3m
Time: 34m15s
Avg speed: 12.7mph
Max speed: 31.1mph

A clear night. A moonlit night. A cold night! As I said this morning, I was looking forward to cycling today, as the forecast was sunny. The only thing was that cycling in the morning, and worse after dark means you don't get to cycle in the warmth of the sun. I don't know how cold it was this evening, although I could have done had I checked the temperature on my cycle computer, however that would have meant stopping to do so (and which is worse, getting cold because you've stopped cycling but know how cold it is, or keep going to stay warm and ignorant?).

And it's only November. It's not even winter yet. And it's not actually really cold either...

All this exercise is paying off!

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 8m24s

Another easy jog this lunchtime, my 40th run since I got back from holiday in September. And in that time I've lost a stone in weight, and dropped two jeans sizes. As a break from green tea this afternoon, I'm enjoying¹ a cup of Dr Stuart's Detox tea. A cleansing herbal infusion dandelion and burdock, sage, ginger, peppermint and spearmint.

¹ actually I might have to redefine the word "enjoying" here, but I'm sure it's good for me really.....!

Blimmin traffic

Distance: 7.3m
Time: 29m57s
Avg speed: 14.7mph
Max speed: 26.0mph

I was looking forward to this morning's cycle in, as the forecast was sunny. I didn't spot the forecast say it was cold and windy too, but luckily most of the wind was behind me, so I soon found myself zipping along at 18mph and warmed up. Annoyingly the traffic down Steventon hill towards Milton was too heavy to get above 26mph today, but I still broke the half hour for the journey in. I almost feel ready to make the trip in all the way from home, another five miles each way. Maybe in another week or so...

Monday, 10 November 2008

Yes it does (see last Monday's post)

Distance: 575m
Crawl: 23

The pool was surprisingly empty today. No problems then going up and down. Up and down. Up and down. I covered 20 lengths fairly easily in my normal manner. Swim a length. Pause. Swim a length. Pause. Then I decided to do a couple more, without stopping at the end of the first one, but I got my breathing all wrong and ended up swimming most of the length without sticking my head down at all... So not wanting to finish on such a hopeless length, I did another one.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Only 24 weeks to go

Distance: 3 miles
Time: 27m49s

Mile 1 - 9m12s
Mile 2 - 9m17s
Mile 3 - 9m11s

Quite chuffed with today's run. Another good three mile session, and my times were very consistent. Not bad since this is my 7th run in 8 days, and I've run 11 miles in that time.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

6th run of the week

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 9m47s

Another slow one this evening, but hey it was my sixth run of the week. And I'll be off out again tomorrow.

Friday, 7 November 2008

7+ mile week

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 9m42s

I've run 7 miles since Sunday, it'll be 8 tomorrow if I manage to get out for another one. This is all good, as I've been running 5 miles a week for a while now, and now it's time to gradually increase the distances. I still haven't worked out exactly when my "in-full-training" plan comes into effect. Since the 2009 London Marathon is a week later next year than it was this, it could be as late as the first week of January that I need to commence the plan proper. But in order to avoid another injury, I'm gradually easing myself into running the kind of miles I need to - so that 40+ mile weeks come next March won't be too much for me.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Oops, nearly forgot!

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 10m03s

A rather stressy day at work. Trying to look into a problem this morning, that went away on its own after lunch, was then reported as a problem again in the afternoon, but then still wasn't a problem when I double checked it again. Now you see it, now you don't. Difficult to fix something when you can't see it broken. Wasn't going to bother with a run today, as I was a bit fed up. But what better way to clear your head than popping out in the dark and the cold for a relaxing jog? I didn't push it at all this evening, but the important thing is that I got out there, and clocked up another mile. It all adds up. If I'm to put my body through the stress of running 26 miles in a day, then I need to be putting the miles on each week. Week in. Week out. Come rain or shine. If I'm up for it, or not. So I'm glad I didn't just flop out in front of the telly when I got in, but without giving myself the chance to change my mind, got changed as soon as I got home and went straight back out again. Well done me!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Another fast one

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 7m37s

Today I decided to push it a bit again. Not overdoing it - I don't need to beat my personal best again just yet, but I think once a week it's good to get out and run a mile in under 8 minutes.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Halloween afterthoughts...

Distance: 7.1m
Time: 31m17s
Avg speed: 13.7mph
Max speed: 30.8mph

A bit slow leaving Milton Park. A bit stop start in the traffic. And I couldn't hit my top speed down into Steventon as I was following cars down the hill. It was much warmer tonight than last week, but darker. The verges were eerily in shadow. I had visions of ghouls lying in wait. Funny how the mind plays tricks on you, especially at night.

Gentle jog

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 8m56s

A gentler run out today. I hardly broke into a sweat. And I still did it in under 9 minutes. If you've have told me I would be running miles easily in this time a few months ago, I would not have believed you.

Stop!! I'm not going anywhere...

Distance: 7.3m
Time: 32m13s
Avg speed: 13.6mph
Max speed: 28.9mph

This morning I felt pretty good, the weather was fine and I thought I'd be able to get to work in under half an hour from Hanney. It didn't feel windy today, so there were no hard stretches to overcome. Although maybe the same lack of wind meant there was nothing behind me to push me on either.Then when I hit Milton interchange there was a lot of traffic. Not great. Especially when some daft woman tried to pull out in front of me from the Milton Village turn...

So not a bad cycle in. My cycle computer is still being annoying however. Even stopped it has carried on recording. So now it reads that I've done 9.6 miles in 46 minutes, averaging 12.3mph and topping out at 76.3mph!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Does exercise ever get any easier?

Distance: 500m
Breaststroke: 2
Crawl: 18

The pool was busy again today. To begin with I decided to swim in the roped off section, as there were only 2 people swimming in it, and no complete lanes available in the main section of the pool. I managed six lengths, but still stopping every two for a breather. I'm just not up to swimming back and forth nonstop. It was quite tiring also as I felt obliged to swim at a fairly fast pace, so as not to hinder the other swimmers. After that I had to rejoin the main pool, and find a lane to swim in at a more leisurely pace.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Overtaking backmarkers

Distance: 3 miles
Time: 28m33s

Mile 1 - 8m50s
Mile 2 - 9m50s
Mile 3 - 9m53s

Set off a bit too quickly again today. I need to learn to take it steady on lap one I think.

The closing stage of lap two was a bit frustrating, as there was a slow pedestrian walking along the pavement. There wasn't enough room to overtake them on the road before the parked cars, nor really enough gap to have cut across in front of them anyway as I was just about to turn left up a footpath. So since there were no blue flags about to warn them to give me room to pass, I had to stop to a dead slow walking pace behind them, until I could head off again.

Still, I'm back up to three miles on a Sunday. I need to put together my structured plan ready for next month when the miles start to ramp up.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Round and round

Distance: 1.6 miles
Time: 13m09s

0.8 mile - 6m33s
0.8 mile - 6m36s

Today's a day off (work), but still wanted to get out for a run. Decided it's time to start upping my daily mileage a little, so went for a couple of the medium laps of the village. Quite consistent again, although it felt like I'd set off too fast on the first lap and was lagging two thirds of the way into the second lap.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Staying upright

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 8m00s

Luckily the frozen ground has mostly thawed now, so I managed to keep a good pace for my lunchtime run today. Unlike the car park at work this morning, which was like an ice rink, and a colleague ended up slipping over in a bambi-doing-the-splits stylee (I didn't laugh, honest). I took it steady on my run just in case, as the shady patches did still feel a bit slippy. Where did this sudden cold snap come from? Hope it's not here to stay...

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Brrr, brrr and thrice brrr...

Distance: 7.2m
Time: 36m22s
Avg speed: ??mph
Max speed: ??mph

Well the snow that hit Nuneaton & Coventry this afternoon didn't find its way south to us, but it was raining and it was cold on the way back. And my flippin' Raleigh computer is on the blink again. I reset it and stuck it on the bike, and before I'd even set off it was recording a speed of 75mph!! I think I'll need to ask the shop about it when I take my bike in for its service.

Easy peasy

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 8m05s

A relaxing run round the block today. A bit brisk when I headed off, but soon warmed up. I managed the mile today without pushing myself, so was barely out of breath at the end.

I dunno if I'll be feeling so enthusiastic about today's exercise when I get home in the heavy showers/light snow*

* delete as applicable depending on whether you believe today's BBC weather forecast for the next 5 days or next 24 hours respectively.

Are hills longer in the cold?

Distance: 7.1m
Time: 30m27s
Avg speed: 14mph
Max speed: 28.4mph

Got up early. Defrosted the car while I affixed the bike rack. Set off in the cold. Brrrr. Today I wore a long sleeved t-shirt and my Skins™ leggings. Plenty warm enough once I'd got going.

Today was a good ride in, and at one point I was cruising at 20mph. Perhaps what little wind there was today was behind me? The only snags were that my computer decided to stop at one point (so I've missed about a tenth of a mile of the numbers); the traffic was heavy (despite it being half term) and the worst bit was the Steventon Hill seemed to have got a lot longer today. Odd.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Sultan of swim

Distance: 500m
Crawl: 20

Today I experimented with different breathing patterns. Every 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 strokes. I tried to keep up the same stroke pattern for a whole length. I even swam in the roped off lane for six lengths. On the whole I found that blowing out for 4 strokes and breathing in on each 5th stroke seemed to work best. Head down, blow (1) blow (2) blow (3) blow (4) breathe right; head down, blow (1) blow (2) blow (3) blow (4) breathe left. Repeat. Not quite blowing dixie double four time, but then I'm not south of the river either.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Increasing the miles

Distance: 2.5 miles
Time: 23m32s

Mile 1 - 9m10s
Mile 2 - 9m32s
½ mile - 4m50s

In order to gradually move up to three miles again next month, I decided to make it 2½ miles today. And since the miles round the village are actually a bit more, I ran over a tenth of a marathon today, at a pace that would see me complete the full distance in under 4 hours.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Takin' it easy...

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 9m28s

Having run perhaps a bit too fast on Wednesday, I decided to take a couple of days off. Any day off in my training plan is allowed, especially at this stage. As long as I don't make a habit of extra days off, then it's a good thing to help me get stronger from the rest. Anyway, back out this evening for a more gentle mile, and got round in a rather easy 9m28s. If I'd have said a mile in 9½ minutes was "easy" a few months ago, I don't think I would have believed myself. The last of the two milers tomorrow, next month I up it to three.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Yet another new PB, but am I overdoing it?

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 7m23s

We had a power cut at work today. The whole estate was without power from about 10am. Shortly after midday I went out for my run, and got round in a whopping 8mph. That's twice as fast as walking pace. Upon my return to the office, I was glad to be told that I'd made the best use of the wasted time that the enforced blackout had had everyone else sitting about doing not much for the 2½ hours before we were sent home.

However, my leg now feels a bit sore, so I can't help thinking that I've pushed myself a bit too far unnecessarily. It'll be a good acheivement to break the 7-minute-mile, but I'm not in a rush to get there. So tomorrow I rest my leg from running, and adopt a gentler pace again at the weekend.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Cycle unfriendly conditions

Distance: 7.2m
Time: 33m14s
Avg speed: 13.1mph
Max speed: 30.4mph

I dunno, this cycling lark isn't all it's cracked up to be you know. I tried to follow the cycle path on the way out of Milton Park this evening. It runs along the pavement, and at each road turning you have to stop and give way (which you obviously wouldn't have to do cycling on the road itself). At one turning I had to stop and wait for a lorry to pull out, as it was blocking the entrance to the cycle path on the other side of the road. Then I had to stop and get back onto the road as some works near a new building means they've stuck signs all over the pavement. Then you have to watch out for pedestrians, especially at the bus stops. Then leaving Milton Park, I followed the pavement ... onto a new section in the road works on the roundabout which stops in a dead end. Thanks whoever coned that bit off. Nice to think of where the cyclist is supposed to go (it used to allow access back onto the slip road, but now there's a big barrier in the way). Think I'll give up trying to follow the route where the cyclist *should* go, and stick to the road...

Apart from that, and being stuck at the lights and waiting ages at the crossroads, I got back to the car in a fairly good time.

Another lunchtime PB

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 7m37s

Another fastest time for my lunchtime mile. If I carry on improving at this rate, a sub-4-hour marathon looks possible! Although as I've said before, I'm not setting a target time for my first 26-miler.


Distance: 7.2m
Time: 29m55s
Avg speed: 14.4mph
Max speed: 31.3mph

I guess sooner or later (possibly sooner) I'll need to think about wearing my leggings and a long sleeved t-shirt when I cycle in. It was a bit chilly this morning, though not once I'd got going. A good cycle in today, breaking the half hour time from Hanney. Annoyingly however, I decided to take my spare jeans home on Friday, so I'm now stuck at work wearing shorts for the rest of the day!

Monday, 20 October 2008

Another obstacle course

Distance: 525m
Breaststroke: 3
Crawl: 18

More lane dodging required today. It got so busy at one point I tried going in the roped-off fast lane section. But that was busy too. There was someone going more slowly than me, so I overtook her, but then overdid it to make sure I got out of her way, and the next person coming up fast behind me, and had to give up, and return to the main pool area. Perhaps I should go back to doing fewer lengths and practice swimming non-stop instead. It's the resting at each end bit that means I'll be getting in the fast swimmers' way.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

A run of four halves

Distance: 2 miles
Time: 18m14s
Mile 1 - 9m07s
Mile 2 - 9m07s

There was an odd symmetry to my run today. The first mile out took 9 minutes and 7 seconds, which was 4m24s for the first half mile, and 4m43s for the second half. Having run the first mile a little quicker than I had hoped, wanting to pace myself evenly for the 2 miles, I set off on the second lap more slowly, taking 4m43s to do the third half mile. So I was somewhat surprised that I managed the last half mile in 4m24s, to finish the second mile in 9 minutes and 7 seconds - matching the time with the first lap exactly! I didn't go all out in the last half mile to try to improve my pace, the only thing I did consciously do was lengthen my stride for the last hundred yards or so.

Another improvement I've made recently is to have lost some weight. I'm now down to 13st 11lb, so I've lost half a stone in the last couple of months. The green tea I'm drinking now really is helping increase my metabolism and burn off some fat. And having shifted a few pounds should help me to run and cycle faster, helping me get fitter.

Friday, 17 October 2008

A change is as good as a rest

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 9m16s

A change of scenery this evening, a mile in another county. Thinking I was in a quiet small village a run out in the country would be a quiet affair, but in reality I had to dodge the odd boy-racer out to burn some rubber on a Friday evening. Still, a pleasant run out, and walk/jog back.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Dude, where's my car?

Distance: 7.2m
Time: 35m01s
Avg speed: 12.3mph
Max speed: 33.2mph

I'm now deciding that the extra exercise cycling up Steventon hill is worth the 5 minute time saving after all. Especially the feeling I get outrunning a tractor on the way down again. It was looming up behind me to overtake, but I was accelerating all the time downhill, and pulled away from it, as it slowed down to enter the 30mph limit, I just kept speeding up! I was so chuffed at hitting 33mph, that I whizzed downhill and turned into the village hall car park in quick time... only to discover that my car wasn't there! Of course it wasn't there. I parked it in Hanney this morning, didn't I?!? So I'm only a third of the way back. D'oh!

Sleeping through the day

Distance: 7.2m
Time: 30m07s
Avg speed: 14.3mph
Max speed: 28.7mph

I bought a bike carrier yesterday, to make the journey to work easier - I won't have to keep messing about taking the front wheel off and on and off and on. However a lazy morning in bed after a very late night out in Wolverhampton last night meant I wasn't up to deciphering the 20-minute assembly instructions this morning!

So in the back of the car with the the bike again, and off to Hanney this time. Now my cycling commute to work is over 7 miles each way (longer if I decide to avoid Steventon hill). I hope to be able to build up to cycling this route more regularly, so that I can see the benefit of savings in petrol, and of course keeping me fit too.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

8m23s (W)

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 8m23s

A wet one today, but luckily the worst of the downpour had passed by the time I headed out. Not so fast as having to dodge the slippery bits of pavement and the leaves strewn around.

I do need to start looking for some races to enter. I've registered for the Santa Fun Run in Oxford again this December (in aid of Helen House) and the Silverstone Half Marathon in March (which I'll be running in aid of the PSC Trust and PSC Support Group). I need to find some to run just for fun!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Breaking the limit

Distance: 2.4m
Time: 12m48s
Avg speed: 11.5mph
Max speed: 31.0mph

Given that it was raining when I left work, I decided that 5 minutes or so less time riding in the wet would be a good thing, in spite of the extra hillwork involved. But the hill wasn't so bad today, and I got there quicker than last time even having to wait through a phase of the traffic lights at the top of the hill. Then downhill into Steventon I hit over 30mph... and it didn't even rain much in the end.

Autumn's here

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 7m53s

Well the remains of summer that I spotted on Sunday didn't last long. You can tell it's autumn today because of all the leaves I had to run through. Another sub-8-minute mile this lunchtime.

Keep up the good work, Ulen!

Getting fitter, but not faster

Distance: 4.7m
Time: 21m15s
Avg speed: 13.3mph
Max speed: 18.0mph

This morning's cycle to work felt good, on the whole it's getting easier to ride, however I'm not getting any faster. No matter, it's the exercise that counts, not the time. Although it looked cold out this morning, it wasn't. I saw some cyclists wrapped up warm with long sleeves and jackets and leggings. What do they do when it does get cold? I'm still in short sleeves and shorts at the moment.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Better lane discipline today

Distance: 500m
Breaststroke: 2
Crawl: 18

Today's swim was less fraught with obstacles than last week, and so I was able to get another few lengths in. My breathing seems a bit sporadic. Some lengths I get it right, and the 25m seems fairly easy. Other lengths seem more difficult, and I end up a bit out of breath at the end. But then I've been swimming "properly" (head down, only breathing every few strokes) for less than a year of my 30-odd years as a swimmer, so it still feels a bit unnatural to me to stick my head face down in the water without it feeling a little bit like I'm trying to drown myself!

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Summer's back again ...?

Distance: 2 miles
Time: 18m08s
Mile 1 - 8m54s
Mile 2 - 9m14s

Phew, it's warm out today. And today's 2 miler was a breeze. Perhaps a bit fast on the first leg, so I gradually slowed down, but overall a really good run. This is really good stuff compared to how I was running at this stage a year ago.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Steady as he goes

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 7m44s

Back to running at work today, and I made it round the "mile" in 7m44s - so that makes the last three times I've done it: 7m46s; 7m45s and 7m44s. Have I found my inner pace? It's a very good coincidence that I've managed such consistency ... I hope I keep it up.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

All over the place

Distance: 4.52m
Time: 20m45s
Avg speed: 13.1mph
Max speed: 25.5mph

I'm on the verge of ditching this wireless computer and getting a wired one instead. This evening the trip back to the car which was 4.7 miles this morning was only 4.5 miles. My top speed was alleged to be 25.5mph when I know I didn't top 20. And the time was 20m45s when my stopwatch made it about a minute more. If I thought my running stats were a bit hit or miss, then cycling seems even worse.

Ah well, I'm not cycling a marathon, I'm running one. The cycling is only to help get me fit and save money on petrol.

56mph? I don't think so!!

Distance: 2.87m
Time: 14m18s
Avg speed: 12.1mph
Max speed: 56.6mph (!!)

Distance: 2.77m
Time: 13m49s
Avg speed: 12.1mph
Max speed: 22.0mph

I nipped into Didcot at lunchtime, deciding to keep up the exercise today, but save my legs from pounding the road again. I think they need a rest after yesterday's fast mile.

My cycle computer is still not quite right. Perhaps that's the downside of getting a wireless one. Something must have interfered with its calculations as it had already measured my top speed at over 25mph (when I don't remember going over 18mph) on the way there, and when I stopped at the Orchard Centre I was bemused to see it had recorded a max speed nigh on impossible even for a professional cyclist on a carbon fibre bike. The return leg (shorter as I didn't have to circumnavigate the roundabout) seemed to be more accurate.


Distance: 4.7m
Time: 19m58s
Avg speed: 14.2mph
Max speed: 18.8mph

It was cold this morning, and I almost forgot my gloves, which would have been a bit of a nightmare. And for some strange reason I found it much harder to fit my bike in the back of the car today. Perhaps it shrank in the MoT yesterday...

I think I need to invest in a good pair of windproof cycling gloves, and perhaps a bike carrier for my car, if the boot is the right shape to fit one. Then I can stop wasting time trying to mess about with the quick release wheel and having to fiddle about with the mudguard which seems to end up rubbing against the tyre.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Quite enough exercise for one day...

Distance: 8.234m
Time: 36m49s
Avg speed: 13.5mph
Max speed: 25.3mph

Car fixed, £300 lighter and a warning that my brakes need doing asap - I decided to make the most of my unexpected afternoon off work and the good weather today by popping out for a quick bike ride. My computer seems to be playing up a bit still. It was measuring my speed at 14mph/18mph/14mph/18mph even though I was cycling at a pretty constant rate. Then it seemed to stop altogether, and then it seemed ok again. But somehow it measured the route that was 8.041 miles a couple of weeks ago as 8.234 today. Very odd. Anyway, however long it really is, and however long it really took, it was still another half hour of good exercise today.

A new village PB

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 8m04s

It's a lovely day today and as I'm waiting in today for my car to be repaired I was able to get out in the village for a daytime mile run. Today I've raised my personal best time for a mile again. The "mile" I run at lunchtime at work is about 1.03 miles - and the other day I did that in 7m45s. The "mile" I run in the village is actually about 1.10 miles, and today's 8m04s means I'd be running a mile in 7m20s. My training pace will slacken off soon when I start to increase my mileage, but I will still be aiming to run some faster miles now and then to vary things about.

Although I keep a regular check on my times, I'm not doing this because I'm hung up on how fast I can run. I guess it may seem like that sometimes. I'm just doing it this way to check how I'm improving in my levels of fitness, and give myself a boost that the hard work I'm putting in is paying off. It's encouraging to know that I'm getting better, and the fitter I am the more mentally prepared I'll be for the gruelling slog for hours round the streets of London next April.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Dodging the puddles

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 8m45s

I was all set to go out for a run this afternoon to cheer me up because my Ka failed its MoT, and it started lashing it down. Now I'm all for running in a bit of rain now and then, it's quite refreshing. But this was serious soak through your clothes stuff. Luckily I wasn't out in it. After it died down, it's turned out to be a pleasant evening, but there's still plenty of surface water to avoid skidding on, so not too bad that I still made it in under 9 minutes.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Why are public swimming pools so ... public?

Distance: 450m
Breaststroke: 3
Crawl: 15

Although I'm getting better at swimming again, slowly, I'm still not good enough to go in the laned off section. This is for fast swimmers who go up and down, up and down, up and down. I go up, have a breather, go down, have a breather, go up, have a breather ... and so on. If I were to go in the fast lane, I'd get in the way. So I have to try to find a lane in the main part of the pool, and share it with everyone else who is doing half widths and zig zagging about across the lanes, and generally bobbing around in my way when I'm just trying to swim up and down... Ok, it's a shared space and I accept that. But when I'm swimming in a straight line, and someone cuts right across in front of me, and I have to take evasive action, why do they give *me* a filthy look? I'd checked that my "lane" was clear before I set off, why can't they check if they are going to get in someone's way?!

I guess in a month or two I may be fit enough to use the sectioned off area, and then it won't be a problem...

Sunday, 5 October 2008

2 miles at last...

Distance: 2 miles
Time: 20m07s
Mile 1 - 10m01s
Mile 2 - 10m06s

I've been looking forward to this for weeks, getting out for a run longer than 20 minutes. It's taken a while to build up to this, but the slow steady pace of my training over the last 3 months has been really important.

Friday, 3 October 2008

231 miles per ... year

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 7m45s

Since I started running 365 days ago, I've run 231.67 miles. That's 8.8 marathons. Not bad at all considering I had 4 months off running altogether (March - June inclusive).

I've been in active training for 232 days in the last year, so that's an average of almost exactly a mile a day, every day for 8 months. And it only goes up from here for the next 6 months...

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Another fast one, and a new PB

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 7m46s

Well this must be a sign that I'm gradually getting fitter, as despite the mile runs not getting especially easier, they are getting faster. Today's pace if kept up for 26.2 miles would be a marathon in under 3½ hours. But that's way above me. Running 1 fast mile in training is nothing like running at distance. This website calculates what distance pace a fast mile is an indication of, and it's more like a 10-minute-mile marathon. Something that, as I've said before, would far exceed my expectations of just getting round in one piece. It's good though that with over 6 months still to go (6 months 23 days 19 hours 34 minutes and 42 seconds as I write this) that I'm achieving miles in under 8 minutes.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

A fast one, but not a PB

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 8m19s

Another quick one at lunch today. In the rain. Not the fastest, but still pretty good. More running tomorrow.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Uphill work

Distance: 2.4m
Time: 13m54s
Avg speed: 10.5mph
Max speed: 28.9mph

Came home via Steventon hill this evening. And I saved a whopping 5 minutes by going the direct route instead of the flat 4½ miles via Milton village and Drayton. To be honest I think I'd rather go the long way round! Still it was fun to hit almost 29mph into Steventon. A bit more effort and I can break the speed limit, something I haven't done since I was about 18 cycling down Cumnor Hill into Botley. Bit of a change of plan this week, I think I'll run tomorrow and Thursday then cycle again on Friday.

Have you tried rebooting it, sir?

Distance: 4.7m
Time: 19m20s
Avg speed: 14.6mph
Max speed: 21mph

I took the battery out of my Raleigh cycle computer this morning, and that seemed to do the trick, although I'm not sure if I set the wheel diameter to the correct number. Hence today's 4.5 miles seemed to be 4.7 instead. Well, I'm not doing any time trials, and not too fussed about being 100% accurate in this blog (after all my regular 1 mile run round the village is nearer 1.1 miles). But at least I can measure my journeys now, until the thing decides to stop working again at least. Today's rain was quite refreshing, and I didn't get too wet.

Monday, 29 September 2008

2009 FLM officially on - I'm signed up

Distance: 1.5 miles
Time: 14m33s

I'm sure this time that today's 1½ miler will be the last time my long run will be so short! Next week I'll be starting to increase it to 2 miles for a while, then 3 and 4 and .... 10 and 16 and 20 until the big one on Sunday 26th April 2009.

Today I officially filled in my golden bond application form, so I'm now signed up. Bring it on...

15 lengths without drinking any chlorine

Distance: 375m
Breaststroke: 3
Crawl: 12

Didn't make it out for my "long" run yesterday, as spent the afternoon walking around the flight of 16 locks at Caen Hill, Devizes. Will head out for my weekly longer run later.

Back in the pool at lunchtime and upped my distance by 50% from last week. It wasn't quite so tiring today, and the new nose-clip makes a huge difference as I'm not getting water up my nose now.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

A run of two halves

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 9m11s

Took a day off yesterday as I'm not really up to full training yet. I've managed a 3rd week in a row with 4 runs though, which is still good. Today's mile took me 4m35s for the first half, and 4m36s for the second half. Out for a "long" one tomorrow. I think I'll stick to 1.5m this week, and up it to 2 next week.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Goddess on a Highway

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 7m52s

Spurred on by a facebook comment that yesterday's 8½ minute mile was walking pace (I'd like to see you walk at 7 miles an hour Jonathan, even if you are 7 feet tall!), I upped the ante today, and pushed myself out faster than I've ever gone before. Averaging 7.6mph, I broke the 8-minute-mile. Woohoo. I daren't push myself any more just yet, I daren't overdo things and risk an injury. So back to a slow steady one tomorrow.

I'm ready to set myself a target I think, so I'll be looking for a 5k fun run to do in the next month or two. Then onto a 10k. I found out yesterday that this year's
great gorilla run is this Saturday. A bit late for me to train for that. Next year perhaps!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

It's not a flugelbinder

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 8m29s

I bumped into a friend at lunch, just off for a 5k run. He's doing the Abingdon marathon next month, so is in some serious training. He did a 5 mile run last week at a 7-minute-mile pace. Well above my best! Still he spurred me on to head out for a fast mile (fast for me anyway...)

A zippy 8½ minutes, and afterwards I'm not even tired out. A good sign.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Broken aglet, cut thumb and generally aarrgghh!!!

Distance: 4.5m
Time: 20m12s
Avg speed: 13.4mph
Max speed: ??mph

I can't get the hang of my quick release wheel. Loosening the axle nuts off so that the wheel can quickly be taken off and put on again means that the lever to tighten the wheel in place does not go tight. Tightening up the nuts so that the lever is firm and the wheel safely in place means it's really difficult to get on and off... I must get some lessons on how to do it properly!

Then I was struggling to get my Kryptolok off its own holder on the frame, when it came free I banged my hand on the crossbar, with my thumb against the brake wire resulting in a small cut. Not at all painful, but annoying...

Then I finally set off for the car, at a half decent pace, but it still took me over 20 minutes to do a journey I've done in 19. Ok, so it's only a minute slower, but it felt like I'd ridden faster. Oh well, Rome wasn't burnt in a day.

Then half way back I caught my laces in the chain, and snapped an aglet in half. So that lace will probably start fraying soon.

All these niggles make me wonder why I've taken up cycling. I've saved 10 miles in petrol so far, which is about a quid? It'll be worth it in the long run, I'm sure.

No run today, back out on the road tomorrow.

Resistance is useless

Distance: 4.5m
Time: 21m44s
Avg speed: 12.4mph
Max speed: ??mph

Still haven't worked out how to get the front wheel to line up correctly, so managed today's morning cycle into work rubbing against the front brake again. And I still haven't solved the non-working-ness of the computer. I dunno, it's not rocket science, but then that's a good thing because I'm not a rocket scientist. I'll try a complete reboot this afternoon (taking the battery out), and see if that helps. And when I take my bike in for its 1-month service I'll get the bike shop to show me the knack of getting the wheel on easily and correctly!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Eating an hour before swimming

Distance: 250m
Breaststroke: 2
Crawl: 8

Apparently the old adage that you shouldn't swim for at least an hour after eating is apocryphal.
There is no solid basis in medical advice that the stomach is busy digesting your food, thus diverting much needed blood supply from the rest of your body, meaning you're likely to drown. It's possible this myth was made up by parents who felt disinclined to supervise their children at the beach after a picnic without having an hour's rest to themselves first.

However, since I breakfasted late today (only a couple of hours before I went for my swim), I didn't feel as energetic as I perhaps would have done had I not forgotten to get any milk and had to delay my bran flakes until I could buy some. Today's first lunchtime swim (since my holiday) was pretty hard going - each length seemed to tire me. And I kept getting water up my nose (not for much longer as I've bought a Speedo universal nose clip!), but at least I've made a start back in the pool. Which is good as I have 8 sessions left that I've already paid for, to be used by the end of the year.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

I fought the lawn and the lawn won

Distance: 1.5 miles
Time: 15m19s

I decided to mow the lawn this weekend, long overdue but the first free dry weekend since I got back from hols. I've a hand-powered mower as a) it's cheaper to run b) it's environmentally friendly c) it's good exercise and d) it's normally quicker than a flymo. Unless the grass is long, and despite the good weather still slightly damp. I tussled with it for a while, but had to give up when darkness was drawing in as the blades were just slipping and refusing to cut the last two strips. Oh well, should be easy enough to finish tomorrow, assuming it stays dry. It was very good exercise though!

Then off for my first "long" run since my return too. Only 1.5 miles at this stage, maybe I'll increase that to two next week.

Off for a swim tomorrow. Cycling Tuesday.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

9 minute mile

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 9m05s

Following a well earned day off after 20 miles of exercise in 4 days this week, back out for a run this evening, and I was keen enough to put in a quick time. A bit more fitness and a bit more stamina and I should be able to keep up 9 minute miles in training, which will stand me in good stead for the longer runs when I build up to them soon.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Ouch ... tired legs

Distance: 1 mile
Time: 9m23s

I didn't realise how tired I was from the extra exercise I've done this week, but after today's run my legs are complaining that they've had enough. I think tomorrow they may go on strike and insist on an early night instead of another run. But we'll see. I'm eating pasta now until it's coming out of my ears in order to carbo load my muscles, and on Saturday I plan to buy a sack of horse carrots and juice them all up to increase my healthy food intake.

If you see me with a pint or a Big Mac this month, you have permission to slap me...

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Computer says 0

Distance: 4.5m
Time: 20m42s
Avg speed: 13.0mph
Max speed: ??mph

Well the computer didn't right itself, nor did a hard reset make any difference. I checked the obvious (the magnet alignment with the sensor), but still no joy.

Well that's my first day's commute done on my new bike. Only 9 miles today, but I'll be increasing that over the coming months.

Blimmin technology

Distance: 4.5m
Time: 19m02s
Avg speed: 14.2mph
Max speed: ??mph

Got up, got dressed in cycling gear, got breakfasted, put change of clothes for work and lunch in my pannier, got the bike in the car, drove to Steventon.

Got the bike out, put the quick release front wheel back on the bike the wrong way round (again!), took quick release wheel off and put it back on again the right way round. It's a shame that a quick release wheel doesn't seem so quick to put back on again. Car locked, set off for work and .... I'm doing 0mph, taking 0m0s to go anywhere and am travelling 0m. Hmm, the computer is playing up. Now last time this happened I put it down to my own stupidity, but now I'm thinking I may have a duff computer which seems to cease to work on its own whim. Despite several button pressing combinations in vain, it obstinately refused to work. No time to investigate properly as I need to get to work, so I set my stopwatch going and headed off. Annoyingly I can't check my speed or distance along the way.

I wonder if it will work on the return journey this afternoon?

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Now that's better

Distance: 8.041m
Time: 34m55s
Avg speed: 13.8mph
Max speed: 26.5mph

Having taken my front wheel off and put it back on to realign it correctly in the centre, I set off on the 8 mile lap from Stanford to Charney and back. By a third of the way round, I'd already hit a 15mph average and a top speed of over 25mph. Much better than last week!

Tomorrow I'll be doing my first commute into work.

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 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
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