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.

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
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