My End of Year Review

Yes it’s not only Charlie Brooker who can do one, except I would imagine, in fact I know that his is funnier but then he’s looking back at events where this blog is looking back at me.

If truth be known I got up to March waiting a little synopsis of my life month by month when I realised that I have not done anything and certainly nothing to entertain readers. I was writing about my year and even I got bored writing it. However being that Word-press keep all posts you are more than welcome to trawl through the archives and read about my exciting life, but if like me you get bored doing that then you could just read this re-cap in bullet form.

  • Attended a theatre wedding, there a hoot, really nice in the hills of Buxton, small wedding.
  • Went on my first holiday for ten years and turned off all communication to the outside world. Loved every minute of it
  • Found out two of best mates are getting married
  • Attended a weekend wedding of two of my best mates, good weekend
  • Found out my bestest best mate is going to have a baby.
  • had my 30th
  • Got injured and acted like a berk cause I thought I would miss the Manchester 10K
  • Ran the Manchester 10K, and got addicted to running. Ran the Conwy Half, The Great North and the Great Yorkshire, also entered the Manchester Marathon for 2010
  • Lost a shite load of weight
  • Did the 3 peaks
  • Had another holiday just time in Brecon Beacons
  • Had to call out the Breakdown/Recovery people, a day after the policy became active due to friend who locked keys in-car
  • Walked a lot
  • Ran even more
  • Cycled a lot to work with working on MIF
  • bought a suit
  • Visited Barrow
  • Worked in Newcastle
  • Lived/Stayed in London
  • Celebrated my Ma and Pa’s wedding anniversary. It was a big one, can’t remember how long
  • Tired and stressed my self out doing 7 shows over five weeks
  • Had my 30th (Have I said that)
  • Stared building Concord
  • Visited a castles
  • To this date I have burnt 110828 Calories and have walked, cycled, ran 1449km when I have remembered to turn my app on
  • I have gained 7 more followers on here. Welcome
  • I have tweeted over 3ooo tweets
  • I have met 2 special people in my left and said goodbye to them.
  • I got a tax rebate
  • I spent a day in cinema on my own
  • I have moaned about lots of stuff

So there you have it, my year in a nut shell. Don’t forget if you do wish to read the past entries of blogs then please do so. Some are interesting. But I got bored looking back at 2011 and seeing that apart from running nothing really happened. Oh well on to 2012.

Have a good New Year.

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A Call to all Runners

Very short post. As many of you know who follow me you will know that I have trouble running at a slow pace, well on the run today, I was running at a slower pace than I have been use to. Still far to fast to keep it up for more than 13.1 Miles but never the less, I was not doing my 6 miles in the usual 45 minutes. Now I put this down to one reason and one reason only and that is the music that is pumping into my ears. I always put my music onto a random selection so I will occasional have some up beat rock followed by some Miles Davis and then some dance track only to be slowed with a bit of Leonard Cohen. Surprisingly I normal keep within the same pace I have set out with even with a mix of songs, unless there is four or five up beat tracks and then I will up my game.

The question is what do other people listen to. I need my music to keep me company, unless I am running some where new and scenic and as I run for longer the idea of keeping myself company for two hours is not a thrilling one, after all I do know how boring I am. I do read these blogs back (the spelling and grammar mistakes may suggest otherwise)

However while I was out running the other day, there were two tracks that came on back to back from the same album, and I suddenly found myself slowing right down, and enjoying the running while listening to the words. The Album was ‘Jeff Wayne War of the Worlds’ this made me hit upon the idea that maybe I need to run to audio books. So here’s the question.

1. What do you run to?

2. Do you listen to Podcasts or audio books and if so which ones?

3. Which books would you recommend are worth a listen, (I’m not a big reader but I have done all the usual suspects) But are there some good books out there read by good actors that are better listened to than being read. I always enjoy the Radio 4 play and book at bedtime when I’m driving so maybe I have been missing out on this hidden world and lets face it I don’t want to be running around Manchester for 26.2 miles to ‘Soul Wax and 2 Many DJ’s’ at 6 min/mile. I do want to still be alive come the finish line.

Oh well I will leave to you many readers to discuss.

And before anyway says anything I know that Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds also has music in it, but it was the scripted story and narration that helped to slow me down.

Social Media is a Funny Business

Just a short post about social media, especially Twitter and Blogging sites.

So what is this short post, well I have been out off work for some weeks now, the most of December and I am climbing the walls (and am also starting to feel depressed as my friends seem to be ignoring me and I am over thinking things). But there are people who I have never met, or only met once through business and work who I follow on Twitter or read their blogs and I seem to have more interaction with them than I do my own real life friends.

Tonight I had a nice twitter conversation with someone who I have only met once for 30 minutes, but we often talk like were old friends. I think this is strange partly because I have not seen my friends mostly because they are too busy.

I just find it very strange that Social Media can do this, as I imagine with half the people I share discourse with on social media site would make very good company over a pint in a pub.

I have no plan!

I know I keep barking on about this but when you’re happy why not. People shout from the roof tops when they get married or have found out that they will be bringing a new life into this sorry state of a world so why can’t I shout from the roof tops ‘I love running’ I can’t believe I didn’t find out sooner, maybe it would have changed my life. More than a year ago I found I could run and I enjoyed it. Well maybe not enjoyed… Not the actually motion of running, the cold, wet dark mornings before work, no that I didn’t enjoy, I suppose it was the after burn of running the comments from people saying ‘You look well’ and seeing how I was loosing the belly and trimming up into a more leaner guy who was a bout to hit 30 (not that in anyway I was having a mid life crisis and running was the answer but looking back maybe I was and this stereotypical activity came to the rescue). I felt good, I was sleeping and had bags full of energy and didn’t feel bad about reaching for the second Mars Ice Cream or bottle of wine.

I suppose the first time I actually knew I enjoyed running was March, when I developed an injury and thought I might not be able to compete in the Manchester 10K. Now I don’t know if this feeling was down to missing the event or thinking about all those wasted mornings where I could have stayed in bed were now going to waste. I was really really quite cut up about. It wasn’t just the fact I couldn’t run in the race (which I did with the help of pain killers) but the fact I couldn’t run at all. It made me miserable, so much so I missed out one of my best mates stag doo’s as I was to busy wallowing in self pity and hatred. This was the moment when I knew that running was more than just a hobby, more than a past time that was a way to keep fit, running was my life, it had become part of me, and if I couldn’t do it I was a joy to be around (Not) in the same one as a relationship ending or losing a loved one, I felt rotten. Who would have thought that this simple activity could have such a hold on you and make you feel this way.

It was true, I had started buying the magazines and reading forums, talking to other runners, looking at what I ate, the way I ran. Running was now part of my life, so much so that if I was married then you could compare the past time to the mistress. I was having an affair with running. And why not she made me feel good about myself… She was worth the money I spent on her…she gave back what I put in if not sometimes more…Yes running was my real passion.

I started boring mates with ‘running this’ and ‘running that’ I was hooked on entering competitions and still am. I was obsessed with time and numbers and PB’s and distance. The only thing I never did was follow a detailed training program. I didn’t for the two 10K’s the second one being no point as it was 2 weeks after the Great North and lets face if you can cross the finish line after 13.1 miles then 6.20 is a walk in the park. My second Marathon I didn’t really train for as I had kept up my weekly mileage and knew that I could run the distance and was not really too bothered of my time partly as I knew there was a large hill which would rub out any chance of my PB. However I did get my PB.

The trouble is I am now doing a marathon. A full on 26.2 miles of running. When I did the half I wanted to do a sub 2. Which I did. With this big beast I wish to do a sub 4hr but if truth were known I’m heading or training for a sub 3.5hr. For some reason Marathons to me are the height of running, a half for many is a large task, and I have to admit after the two I’ve ran I don’t think I could really of carried on another mile after the finish line so what chance do I have when on the half way marker of 13.1 miles I have to push on.

The reason I did a half, was after the 10K I felt great, I felt like I could do it all again and straight away and doing the maths two 10K’s in miles is 12.4 almost a half so mentally I knew I could cross the finish line in some state, and since running 13.1 miles my weekly runs have increased in distance. For me 6k was a long run, and 30 minutes on the road was long enough, after the Great North my average short run is 7 miles.

So what is the whole point of this, well its to say I will be following a detailed plan this time, I will increase my mileage like they say rather than doing 7 one week and increasing it by a mile the next, and so on. No I will be increasing slow and steady. I will add speed and hill work into my training, I will do slow steady pace runs. The trouble is there are two schedules. One that is based on distance… building the distance up week by week, another which is time. You could spend 2 hours out on the road but only cover 10 miles. The question is which one should I so.

Over Christmas I will be thinking hard about it, as come Boxing Day I am going to start. I have already started already with doing long runs just to keep my mileage up and getting use to this weather.

Well I am sure you will be hearing of my attempts and efforts in the coming months.

My next blog is going to be a nice round up of my year with the achievements I’ve made, or have yet again failed to achieve.

See you on the other side of this delightful time we call Christmas.

A Snow Pace

Well it is pretty simple what this post is about. Last night Manchester received a very small flutter of snow that coated the cars and the pavements and when I woke to see this my heart sank. Sundays have been put there so runners can go on a long run, and everything else about the day was perfect. The sun was out and the temperature was warm, well it is winter, but it wasn’t freezing cold.

I thought I’d wait till the afternoon, allow the winter sun to melt some of the snow and those  Christmas shoppers to mush it all up. By mid day the snow was still covering the ground like a blanket. I took a look outside my window and thought, it’s not that bad… It’s just a scattering and I’m on a minor pavement, the main pavements will be fine. So with this I slipped my trainers on and went out for a jog.

Now being that it was bad conditions that I wasn’t use to I thought I would just do a quick 5K. Well I say quick I mean I wasn’t going to go at it like the clappers but I wasn’t going to walk it neither. What I found was for the first time I had a slow pace and the secret was the snow. I was doing about 8.50/mile, that is even slower than my half marathon pace. However the 5k soon turned into a 7 mile run as I was feeling the urge to carry on. The conditions changed from normal pavement to Ice, to thick snow, to melting snow, to slush, sometimes in the matter of a couple of steps, other times entire streets would be different.

I really enjoyed the run and the pace, and while the pace may have only been 20 seconds slower than my normal long run or race pace, I felt good. My heart rate was at 156, and I felt like I could carry on for many more miles, and if I had packed my water bottle I would have ended up doing another lap.

Hopefully there will be more of these conditions so I can hone my marathon pace to perfection.

Running on Empty

Today I woke at 8am to keep the promise that I would be going on a long 10 mile run after giving my body a day off from the extreme running and weight training that it has endured during the past week.

It took some effort to get up I can tell you, I was not tired as I had retired the night before at 11pm but it was more a sense of not being bothered. Anyway I got changed, did some warm ups and I was out of the door with no planned route, I knew roughly what 10 miles was as I have run that distance before so I just set out running turning left or right following my 10K route where I would soon turn off and start running towards the Manchester City stadium and then back into town and around Ancoats that surly should be 10 miles.

All was going well, I thought I was going slow and steady, but my results that I have uploaded showed I was doing my 7.30/mile pace for the first 3 miles only to slow to around 8.10/mile once I got into it (This needs to be sorted, if I am to run a marathon I need to be doing training runs of at least 10.30/11/mile). Around 3 miles I started getting pins and needles in my left foot so paused to loosen the laces and started up again. I enjoyed running in the rain, it was nice and refreshing and took the mind of the cold however when I looked at my Garmin to check my time, and distance I saw a square box that was surrounding the letters that made up the following message “Battery Low” Dam it I thought that’s not going to be good. Am I just going to have to do 2 laps of my 10K or will it last? Before I could make a decision I had started running towards Man City. Now my constant twitching of the head to the Garmin was not to check distance, time, HB, pace but to check it was still alive.

Coming towards the end of the run the Garmin was still running on empty and so were my legs, I was a mile away from my house and thinking maybe I should stop at 9 miles and walk the rest as a cool down, but the Garmin was still alive so I strode on, as I turned the bend on Roachdale Rd, I was 3 minutes from my front door and I had a look to see how many more miles I needed to achieve, was I to do a couple of laps of the park, or my block to make it up to 10 miles. The watch face glowed with 9.68. I thought this was good, maybe just a lap of the street would reach my ten mile target, and as this thought entered my mind the LCD screen slowly faded away to nothing. No my battery had died, why oh why didn’t I charge it up.

I finished the run and stopped short from my house. Having learnt the lesson on fuelling your body for long runs and taking on liquids a long time ago, I have now learnt to make sure my Garmin is fully charged before I leave the house.

Feeling Good

Yes I am. Even with Christmas round the corner. This week I have been running and when I have not run I have been to the gym to cycle or cross train and hit the weights. I’m 13 stone, my belly and love handles are reducing and firming up, my housemate has been through my running magazines and has started to cook a menu of treats from the food pages (she likes to cook) and I feel good. My taste buds are singing from a choir of new delights and cocktails of ingredients all designed to give energy and recovery when it’s needed.

So much so that I am giving myself Saturday off as a rest day. I think I need it. I went on a 8 mile run on Saturday last week then worked from 10pm to 6am fitting up a show to then go on another run in the afternoon of 7 miles and hit the gym on Monday then a 10K on Tuesday followed by gym Wednesday and a short 6K on Thursday in the rain and wind to the gym today. So a Saturday of rest is called for, plus I am planning a nice big run on Sunday, a 8 or 9 miles. However I am going to enjoy tonight with some curry and red wine, as a little treat and reward for this week. Doing it just the once won’t hurt surly, and I need to drink otherwise come Christmas my body won’t know whats hit it. Saying that I am planning a quiet Christmas, I’ve asked for running gear so am hoping I will be able to fit in a cheeky 5K on Christmas morning as well as Christmas eve as I don’t want the festive period to be an excuse for not getting out there, after all this weather hasn’t stopped me yet.

Anyway thought I would explain that all to you. I think I am also feeling happy as my stomach is starting to take shape, a long way away from Brad Pitt or Ronaldo but the very faintest building blocks are there, there is still a tyre all be it a bicycle one, but it’s starting to be toned, and the side flab is reducing…. This just means I need to work hard at it and keep it going.

Right off to the shops to wave goodbye to a very good and healthy week.