Is it Spring?

Well on Saturday morning you would be right to say ‘No’ but as I debated on rain jacket or running top as I prepared for my longest run (16 miles) the short stop in the proceedings were exactly that, and the intermission in the weather pattern that had allowed the short spell in the sun to shine through the breaks in cloud were very soon side lined into the wrings as the star of show came back for yet another rendition of his favourites even tho I doubt the audience didn’t call for it. It was now or never that I had to leave so decided that I would have to embark on a run where getting wet would be a very high possibility.

Within mile 2 the showers had retired to their dressing room and the show was continued with Mr Sun, which was not welcomed by myself as I started to sweat in my warm rain jacket. For this long run I decided the canal network would help with the old mileage and so set out along the Bridgewater canal to join the River Irwell towards Lowry and Old Trafford. The idea did not help with mileage, Manchester is a large place with very small miles. Running from Manchester City to Bolton seems a long way but when you map it out it proves a rather disappointing 8 miles. To get any kind of long runs you need to include looping back on yourself to cover the foolish miles you’ve agreed to achieve in your head. This run to Old Trafford needed to snake around the estates at the Quays and then double back to Manchester City Stadium to even attempt to reach my 16 mile target.

The entire run as I said in the previous blog was long and took in both football stadiums. The trouble was the weather was warming and I started to question if Spring was here.

On the tow path I did spy some daffs peeking their heads up through the long grass, and being a runner of morning, noon and night I have been finding that temperatures are on the up. So just as I got use to wearing me tights in public, it seems I may need to pack them away as I believe Spring is here which I understand for many a part time runner will be a welcome relief or for those who are running for fitness but I’m not nipping out for 30 minutes I’m what you would call a hard core runner. I’m up at dawn and I run in all conditions, I’m running for 3 hours and the thought of sustaining that routine in warmer temperatures does not agree with me.

When I was training for the Great North, there was a training day of 16 degrees, where I sweated the whole ten miles of my run and prayed that the day itself would be cooler. There is after all a reason why Marathons and Half Marathons are not scheduled for the warmer periods of our climate.

So is spring here? Is my training going to become warmer? If the towpath is right, then I would say spring is just around the corner.

My Longest Run!!!

Today I was going to go running along the canal to my friend’s house who lives out in Oldham. I decided that after yet another fast run the other day to cool it off, as he would have had to been pedalling so slow on his bike he might have fallen off as I wanted to use this long run as training ground to pace myself especially as I now have my trendy new Garmin which enables me to monitor my speed.

My mates in the pub the other night laughed when I spoke about not being able to run slow, there were cries of  ‘God yeah I have that issue running to fast’. Being drinkers I forgave their ignorance as they didn’t really get the idea of pace (both with running and drinking), especially when one said I could run 26.2 miles easily. I’m sure with training and after a couple of halfs (not pints but runs) I will be ready to take on the mother of all runs but for now I am quite content with running my first half and entering a couple of 10K’s each year. However after today’s triumph run I do feel that maybe next year I could enter a full-blown marathon and jog to the finish feeling good, all well be it not in a respectable time but after today’s result of 1hr 20min for ten miles maybe doing it in under 4 hours could be achievable.

A lot of runners like me who take running up to get fit, and see it as a hobby a bit like hiking or mountain  biking often dream to run a 6 or 7 minute mile and keep it up for 5 or 10K. The trouble is I can do this and have always been able to do it. My trouble is slowing down. I have read and been told to pace myself and I should be aiming for a 8-9 minute mile. The trouble is I can’t do it. Not sure why, I feel that I may be walking to fast or taking gentle strides rather than beating the road at any real speed.

But today I decided that the 15 mile run to my mates was too much, and if I wanted to give up, it was unfair on him who had cycled all the way to Manchester, to only have to cycle back to his house on the todd. So I decided I would go it alone around the streets of Manchester, and by god it was good. I started off with a pace of 6 minutes, this slowed to my usual 10K race pace of 7.20 eventually by the 3rd mile I had got it down to 7.60/8.05 but this seemed to make my legs tired almost ache as if they were asking to go faster, I was not striding as much, but this is how I continued until I felt my right foot getting numb and having a sense of pins and needles. With this I strode forward and increased my pace to 6 mins but this was also down hill. I then got back into a gentle pace, as I reached the 8 mile mark, and thought I would call it a day but felt good. My legs were working, my arms were enabling my body to function and pull myself forward and so I ran onto my 5K training route to get to ten miles.

And now I am home. On my travels my watch was a complete star, I do feel that it is helping me to train and pace myself correctly. While it may not feel like you’re running fast, your watch is showing that you are in fact covering a lot of ground.

On my way around I was stopped my a homeless guy who saw my Christie T-shirt with the Great North Run logo and told me what a fantastic job I was doing. He then began trying to give me his spare change. This made me stride forward as I am doing it for myself, but also doing it for others and if some one who has nothing apart from the clothes on his back wished to donate to my cause then it makes any injury or pain I may feel after training worth it, and hopefully will encourage others to donate. Running started of as a way to get fit, and lose the weight. But it has now become my life. I feel fit, free, de-stressed and good about myself. Running is my life and if I can use my past time that I enjoy to help others then why not? And This is why I run races for causes. It makes me happy and raises a little bit of money for people who need it the most.

I’m now back home after icing my foot and doing a good 15 minutes of cooling down, probably not enough I know as I can now feel my calves slowly tighten. But tomorrow is a rest day, and all day monday will be until the evening where a bit of hill sprints are in order to get my fitness and cardio up. I might just go and visit the gym to do some cross training to completely rest my calves from powering me to run.

Well I’m now off to go and eat lots of protein and fill up on my carbohydrate stores and hope that I have over done it.

Should be doing something else!!!

Well I should be watching a dress, but being that it is a lights up and down show both me and director are happy with it, I have decided to take a break from watching it to write this wonderful entry into this most wonderful blog.

Well yesterday I ran 6 miles and thought that would be enough. Partly because I am planning a big run on Saturday with my best mate who will cycle along the canal to give me company but I also stopped at six as I was suppose to be doing a short run this morning with another mate and didn’t want to push myself to hard. Plus my legs were feeling it and I was getting to hot.

As it was he woke up late so we called it off which is just as well as I need to keep my rest days. Especially if I’m now involving long runs. So now I run then rest and then run. Having a long run at the weekend with the others being 4 – 7 miles in length.

While the training is now well and under way, the fundraising is not doing so well.

Oh well better go and start watching the show just in case the light levels or positions of cues do need changing.

Friends can Help you Train!!!

Its true, and I will be able to prove it, in fact I already kind of have. When I did Manchester 10K I went training with my friends who to be fair were also running in the race but were not as eager as I was, by this I think the full bug had not bitten them. They helped me to pace myself and to carry on striding forward.

Now for the next race which is if you’re new to the blog is the wonderful Great North Run all 13.1 miles of it treading the roads of Newcastle and Gateshead hopefully my training will be using the same bunch of friends. They know there limits and I need to do some short runs and limit the bigger runs to once a week. By using my friends who are not in training they are more likely to put a halt on the proceedings as they have no goal apart from to enjoy themselves, which in turn will cause me to call it a day as long as we have done at least 5K.

So I get to do lots of short runs with my friends who I love. But what about the bigger runs. Apart from going down to the gym with a couple of albums on my Ipod to run away the time I need another plan, another friend, a friend with a bike and a canal not that he owns the canal, but has access to one. A friend who lives a long way away. Well lucky old me, I have a friend who lives 16 miles away, and there is a route along a canal to his house from mine, he also has a bike. The plan is he rides behind me, shouting words of encouragement, and I run. The long run completed, I achieve my target, my mate gets to ride his bike, and we all go to the pub. Well not me as I am in training.

Last night was supposed to be a rest night, but the urge was too strong and I went out for a run. With my GPS system, but I only looked at it to keep track of my time. I ran 8K, and did it more or less in my usual 4.30 per K mark. the run felt good, and it felt smooth. I had to pause at 8, as my legs were feeling it, which is why I’m defiantly having a rest day tonight. I won’t! I know I won’t I will be down the gym doing some treadmill stuff, or cross training.

But there we have it, with little less than 8 weeks to go, I have to get up to 13.1 miles. This is where friends come in useful. They all enjoy a run, and they can keep me going, those who don’t like to run more than 5K can ride with me, and hopefully within 4 weeks I will be up to 10 miles. I’m not following any precise plan, just taking a mix, of doing runs and slowly building up my distance. The only true advice I’m taking on board, is doing plenty of short runs and only doing one or two long runs a week. I’m not bothered about time on this race, as it will be the first marathon I’ve run, but I would love to do it in the 2 hour mark. 1hr 40 would be fantastic.

But at the end of the day we will see. At the moment the raising money is the hard part. But that is another post for another time.

If I had a Million Dollars. Or in this case a Million Pounds!!!

Did you enjoy that song. I like it, and listened to it just now. This blog comes out of the fact that my best mate, has always suggested he may and knowing him he’ll keep his word, has said that if he won the lottery then he would more than likely share the wealth as he would not know what to do with all that money. He has said pay his mum and dads mortgage, buy a house, a car etc etc.

This got me thinking on what I would do if I won the lottery. Rather than writing a huge blog, I thought I would list my items that I would buy and in no order, here is how I would spend my lottery winnings.

  • Car (Golf 98 Model)
  • Car (Polo 2011)
  • House in Cheshire
  • House in New Zealand
  • House in Snowdonia
  • Flat in Manchester, Newcastle, London, Cornwall, Glasgow
  • A Giant train Set (Life Size) Steam off course
  • Canal Boat
  • Air Craft Hanger with a huge train set layout
  • My Own Theme Park
  • My own Castle, or several Castles. One of which in Scotland
  • My own theatre and theatre company
  • Donation to Christie’s. Don’t forget you get donate to Christie’s, and hep me raise my target for the Great North Run by clicking this link, or the one in the side bar.
  • My own gym
  • A road bike
  • State of the art running things
  • A huge telly for my new house.
  • Loads of dogs.
  • A trip round the world to see train stations and canals and castles and everything medieval.
Was it what you expected. It is really quite hard to think about it. I would also share the wealth with friends and family. If not only because it be boring having all that money and no one to enjoy it with.  But I am a scrooge, so i may just pop it in savings account and moan about the interest rate.
What would you all spend it on. It is all a lot of money.