Here’s to 2013 – My kind of Resolution

Well my glass is half full.

As I watch ‘Come Dine With Me’ in the dark looking out over North Manchester being lit by the dim glow of the moon wrapped in cloud I drink to 2012 and think this will be my last drink, this will be my last midnight feast of Pizza. Yes as off 1st January the sweet taste of cider, wine and ale will not pass my mouth nor will the pile of cheese or bread that I force down. this is not a New Years pact with myself but just a way of training. My running training has always needed improvement and the fuel I decide to power my running is one of the major factors of improvement.

So as the clock strikes I will end my drinking binge and say goodbye to one my vices. Along with waving or controlling my twitter antics, 2013 will see me having a clear lack of presence on the social media scene as Facebook has already had the boot.

Training hard is the key, eating healthy and cross training to make me a mean, clean running machine will be my goal. That and trying to get to New Zealand.

Happy New Year.

Running into 2013 – A review of 2012

So lets be honest the year has not been great. I’m still in the UK and only managed to visit the wonderful Wales and walk Snowdon a handful of times. I have yet to make the move to New Zealand and am still working in theatre. Still single and desperately want to move to Wales and work in the heritage sector or be a park ranger for one of the National Parks,  2012 has not been any different from 2011 or 2010 apart from two letters, ‘P’ and ‘B’.

2012 has been a year of Personal Bests or as my friends across the pond say Personal Records. Hopefully when I do a round up of 2013 I will be sitting in a cafe in Christchurch or Wellington talking about how the past three months have seen me Skydive and Bun-jee jump in between the trekking and kayaking through the scenic backdrop of New Zealand. The 2013 review will also have some PB’s I hope.

So 2012 has all been rather quiet. Work has been slow but I have managed to fit in a lot of running. The first being a 10K around the Orme in Llandudno Wales and this was the first PB of the year, the second race was to see yet another PB although not intended. 2012 was the year I discovered the Marathon and was taking part in the Manchester one that had been away for ten years and as a warm up entered Liverpool Half. When I say a warm up it was to practice my pace, taking on gels etc as I knew I could run 13.1 miles has I had done the distance several times however on that hot March morning as the gun echoed I went for it and after 1hr 41 minutes  34 seconds had recorded a new PB, which had not been my intention as I wanted to see if I could run at Marathon Pace which would have seen me cross the line in under 2 hours.

The next race was the Marathon and what a wet marathon it was, cold with a wind chill of -1 degree. I wanted to break sub 4 as every runner does for some reason anything more doesn’t make you a runner but as I was left out in the cold soaked to the bone and hands frozen to the point where I couldn’t hold bottles or undo the zip to get any gels my brain went F$%K it…. and i hit the wall at mile 15 in the middle of an open vast empty isolated cheshire countryside with 6 miles until the urban sprawl of Trafford and the city lights of Manchester. As I ran those finally 11 miles forcing my legs up rather than dragging them beneath me all I could think off was ‘Who else can say they have done this’ the answer is less than 1% of the worlds population has ran the distance and as I was crying with pain spending time thanking the crowd who were offering words of encouragement and the all so important jelly babies, I was determined to cross that line and as I returned into the park I crossed the line in 4hr 31 minutes and 22 seconds. Cold, exhausted, euphoric and wet I had done a marathon. As I hobbled to the tram stop and clambered into a warm bath my thoughts turned to the next marathon… Not because I enjoyed this one but because I had to get a sub 4.

The next week I was in pain, as a runner friend says I had a bout of the ‘Lady GaGa’s’ “ohhhh, oh-oh-e-oh-oh-oh’ But I had to get better as for some reason I had schedule a whole month of runs. The first saw me at Port Sunlight 10K. Again this was to be a cool down run, a recovery run a nice slow pace. That slow pace saw me get another PB in 43 mins 20 seconds. Oh well I will recover on the next 10K the following week, which I did as I crossed the line in 44 minutes. A new course record for me on the Manchester 10K but I wanted to do better on my home turf but the usual crowded streets and bottle necks does not make for a PB. I was now determined that the 10K in Bangor run would have to be a PB, but it seemed that the Marathon and constant fast running had taken it toll as it was not to be plus the fact that Bangor is hilly and the heat on that day was a joke. As we pulled up I said to my friend I would just run it nice and slow. 46 minutes is not slow and was not nice in that heat. I finally had a week off from not running so rested a little more and by this point I had started seeing a physio on a regular basis and still do to this day. The last 10K of the season for me was in Merseyside and was to take place running through the tunnel from Liverpool over to the Wirral and I did it in 42 minutes, another PB. The week after was seeing me drive to Llandudno again but for a new race distance a nice ten miler. I as usual set off to quick at 10K pace but managed to keep it up to see me cross in 1hr 12 minutes.

Most of the summer saw me walking and hiking in the Lakes and not really get much running done, due to a strange injury I had developed. This was a concern as come October I would be running the 26.2 miles around Snowdon in a warm up to this I entered the Langdale half. To say this was hilly is like saying the Sistine Chapel has a nice painting. So on a very warm late september morning I tackled this course that had climbs of 33% as I twisted around the valley to come in at a very impressive 1hr 45. No PB, but certainly not what I was expecting.

A slighter slower race in a warm up to Snowdon was the Macclesfield half, which was no fast time but just a really good race being able to run in my home town and hear the fellow runners complain about the hill sections of the course. I had to bite my tongue as after Langdale the hills were more of a bump in the countryside than any force to be climbed.

So then came October and the big race was upon us. I just wanted to finish it, and had set a target of five hours. Snowdon has a lot of hills, long hills. Not steep, but long. If I remember correctly one section climbs for over five miles. Unlike Manchester I felt fine crossing the line in a PB of 4hr 17 minutes I felt super. Legs didn’t ache, I could walk with out looking like I had just shat myself managed to get out of the car with little fuss after a 2.5 hour drive, to be honest It didn’t feel like I had ran a marathon. I said to my friend who had kindly driven me on the day that Snowdon would be my last 26.2 mile race. I wasn’t cut out for them and preferred halfs. He laughed and said there’d be another one…. He was right.

The only race left to run now was Conwy Half. A half I was introduced to by a running friend and saw me get a PB in the distance in 2011. I wanted to get a sub 1:40 and had worked out my pace and even worked out on the which sections I could speed up if I had lost time as again the first four miles tends to bottle neck so you are running slower than you would like. On this cold November morning in the crisp ideal weather conditions for PB’s I set off running towards Llandudno and to climb the great Orme for the 3rd time in a race. By the time I got back to Conwy I was clock watching trying to work out when I would cross the line, the Maths in my tired brain was way out as when I finally crossed the line thinking I had failed to get a sub 1:40 and looked down to my Garmin to stop the clock to see 1hr 38mins 36 seconds. Get in .

And so thats it my 2012 has mainly been in running. Sure I bagged some Wainwrights and finally did the Snowdon Horseshoe, but 2012 has been all about the new races and the way I have gone from strength to strength. Hoping I will take all of this into 2013 where I hope the Manchester Marathon will see me break sub 4, but I’m hoping a sub 3.30 will be on the cards. The Bridge race in Anglesey will see me do a sub 1:35 for a half and I’m hoping that the Manchester 10K will see me smash 40 minutes for that distance but again I am secretly thinking that a 35 minute PB would be nice.

To do all of this I need to be strict. My training has never followed a plan, I have just ran. 2013 will see me kick the booze for the first four months, eating like a runner should and doing some good old cross training as well as plenty of tempo, hills and speed work, I need to get this targets and I need to run fast…. I have dream to beat Mo in Glasgow in 2014.

Enjoy the rest of 2012 and enjoy 2013… I know that I will as towards the end of the year i will be finally boarding that plane to take me to New Zealand.

Cheers’

Below are links to my race reports

Nick Beer Run

Liverpool

Manchester Marathon

Langdale

Macclesfield Half

Snowdon

Conwy

Does it come with stabilisers

Now I have never been good with balls. I was hopeless at football when I was at school, so dreadfully poor at the sport that if I was at school now I could be picked for the England team. I was pretty useless at catching and throwing but did enjoy rugby and was slightly better than other people at this contact sport. I had trouble hitting balls be it with a tennis racket or cricket bat, and much preferred that of a shuttle Cock in Badminton.  So what is this confession of the lack of sporting prowess all about? Well it’s here to give  a background as for Christmas I asked for a stability ball or yoga ball depending on who you are. I didn’t get one partly because my father has one which is now sitting in my room after he made it redundant when his elbow/wrist improved. 

Now I was told to get one or to use one by my physio to really work on my glutes and get my core strength nice and strong… Now I have one and its taking up the majority of the living room… (Do they come in different sizes?) anyway I tried it out after spending a good two hours pumping the dam thing up and if I’m honest I don’t think it was 2 hours well spent as it still seems a little squishy. 

Anyway leaving the infallibility issue to one side I tried the exercises my physio had shown me to get my Hams and Glutes good and strong and then decided that youtube may have some good workouts as I thought I was failing  to remember the precise nature of the method Dom had instructed me to do. Now I fell on a good 30 minute video detailing several workouts, some were the ones my physio had shown others were new and some just saw me never complete them as I was for every falling off. 

Trying to balance on an inflatable ball whilst lifting your left arm, right leg into a superman pose is not my idea of exercise or fun. There is a reason why my core is weak and I get injuries as a runner and that is because I don’t cross train, I just run. Running is fun and I can do it, and do it easily. Sure there are mornings when I need to motivate myself into getting the trainers on but at least I do get them on in the end. The days trying to motivate myself into carrying out the physio exercises or going to the gym for a session never seems to materialise, however that may all change with the ball, or it would if it had stabilisers that way I might be more inclined to continue with it without the fear of falling off. 

For those runners who use one, tell me your best uses, if your are a runner with out one then get one, the 30 minute routine I did today used and stretched muscles in my legs I never knew were there or could never reach.

It’s Christmas…..

As Noddy Holder once said, ‘It’s Christmas’ and don’t we all bloody know it. The usual cut through to get to work was like hitting Birmingham at Rush Hour. Crowds of hopeless lost, mad, frantic people trying to get those last-minute bits and pieces. Lines for the checkout twisting around the aisles, queues to even get into the shops. The streets were packed with lifeless souls like zombies walking from one destination to the next and they call this fun. This is Christmas and Ba Humbug.

Rather than write yet another torrent of dribble that will fully depress you and suck any christmas spirit you may have I have opted for the cheaper option and will be good enough to post links of past Christmas and New Years rants. Over this year I have seen many new followers and I know as a blog reader myself there is not always time to search the archives so for those who enjoy the bitter ramblings feel free to click the links. While all anti Christmas and New Year a scrooge character I may be but the blogs are only the truth an insight to the real christmas we all face once you have stripped the Tinsel, lights and rubbed those drunken eyes this is what Christmas really is.

Ba Humbug 

Why should Santa get all the big hats

And all that Bollocks

Why we should get rid of Christmas

Riding in a yellow car and part 2 Congestion in the yellow car

No Life