Monthly Archives: August 2010

Return to form

My training for the Cardiff Half Marathon has been rather intermittent so far. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it when I go running, or at least after I’ve done it, it’s just that things seem to get in the way. Nothing specific, just stuff.

I went for a 5 mile run today. I didn’t want to. I just wasn’t in the mood. But I read somewhere that the hardest part about running, especially training, is lacing up your shoes and getting out of the door. So whenever I feel like this, I resolve to do just that. Get outside and start running. I didn’t hold out much hope as I began, but the weather was just right – sunny, but not too hot; breezy, but not windy; cool, but not enough to deter one from wearing shorts! I started out, and began to think about how my speed has seemed to wane slightly from when I first got my running shoes. This struck me as odd. Surely I should be getting quicker, or at least not getting slower! Admittedly, my endurance has improved. Thinking about going for a 5 mile run doesn’t (usually!) fill me with dread that I might die halfway round anymore! However, according to my Nike+ device, I don’t appear to be getting quicker, and I’m struggling to reach the pace that I was at 4 months ago. By the way, I’m not aiming for a specific time at the half marathon. For a first timer, I think that getting round will be enough! I digress. As I thought about my speed deteriorating, I realised that my Nike+ device is (as wonderful and useful as it is) basically just a rather fancy pedometer. It is just measuring your steps based on how it had been calibrated to begin with. I have found previously, that when I run quicker, I tend to have to run further to cover the same distance, i.e. my stride must lengthen as I speed up. I also realised that my running style, if you can call it that, has altered, and that I used to run more on the balls of my feet than I do now. So I decided to go back and concentrate on form. I found that I was running quicker and with less effort. I also finished the 5 miles in less distance than I was covering when I ran ‘5 miles’ previously (that does make sense, honest!).

So it turns out that I’ve been running further than I thought, meaning that my speed hasn’t decreased particularly, I’ve just been running with longer strides. Now I know this, I just need to remember to maintain my form regularly.

Stupid mind & body not working together!

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A Welshman who went up a mountain and came down a river.

I spent the weekend being all sorts of active. This was however, balanced out by the eating of crap and the drinking of far too much beer!

We went to the Lake District to climb Scafell Pike. I enjoyed the climb, it was more challenging than Snowdon was last year, especially towards the end where there were large stones to negotiate and steep downhill & uphill climbs to conquer. I also made the special effort of taking some beer for us to enjoy as a celebration at the top!

On the sunday, we went ghyll scrambling. This is pretty much another way of saying, ‘get down this river by any means necessary’! Dressed in a wetsuit we took it in turns to swim, jump and ‘penguin dive’ our way down Stoneycroft Ghyll. It was such great fun, part exhillerating, part relaxing. Here I am mid-penguin dive:

I think a cape would have set the look off nicely!

Inevitably, this happened:

I say ‘inevitably’ not because of the activity, but because I bruise like a peach!

A great weekend, but one which is followed by the slump back to the mundane. Oh well, just have to work on making everyday life as exciting!

Bring on Ben Nevis next year!

Proper training (well nearly)

I noticed that I haven’t blogged about my running recently. Not sure why, I just figured that a lot of people might not find it too interesting!

I’m now only 9 weeks away from the Cardiff Half Marathon! I’ve been using the Nike+ 12 week training guide, which is good. Although I’m not sticking to it religiously. I am trying, but the all too common excuses (it’s raining, I’m tired, the day has a ‘y’ in it, etc) can get in the way.

I’ve done a 7 miler this week, along with a 5 miler that included some ‘tempo runs’, which just mean that you run a bit faster for a couple of minutes as far as I can tell! I’m definitely getting better and I’m far fitter than I used to be, although my diet hasn’t changed much.  But I would never have thought that I’d be anywhere close to being able to run 9 miles (my current longest run), so I’m chuffed!

Anyway, should any of you like to sponsor me there’s a button over there at the top right hand side that you can click and it’ll take you straight to my sponsor page. I’m running for the British Heart Foundation, which is a great charity. They helped my Dad a lot after he had a heart attack (18 months on and he’s going well. He even goes to the gym now!), so this is a ‘thank you and carry on the good work’ from me to them! I can well imagine that a few of my family, and maybe friends, will benefit from their help at some point in the future.

Anyway, I may be writing more about my running over the next few weeks, so be prepared!

Weekend come, weekend go

We went to a lovely wedding on the weekend, up in North Wales (that’s me and my wife in the photo, by the way! Hot isn’t she?). Fair old drive up which took us, including visits to various relatives, just about 12 hours. Long day! Stayed in a cracking hotel, with a great breakfast (usually the marker by which I judge hotels!), and a spa.

The wedding was brilliant, we got to sing a bit, which is always fun! Awesome best man’s speech, good ‘wedding breakfast’ (why they call it a breakfast when it’s served in the middle of the afternoon, I don’t know!) other than the waiter spilling gravy over my wife’s dress, which didn’t go down well.

Food over, cue the dancing! Lots of silly dancing, more drinking, birthday bumps to a friend at midnight (he did get dropped on his head, but did n’t seem to mind too much!), and finding receipts the next morning informing me that I was still up and buying beer at least until 3am! Good day all round!

This weekend involves my Godson’s 5th birthday party (which does involve a secret costume, but don’t worry, I’ll post pics afterwards!), a friend’s birthday drinks & food, and a trip to West Wales for cake & fizzy stuff on the beach for my sister in law’s birthday!

No rest for the wicked, eh?!

Oh, and before I forget, looks at my massive marrow!