Quick Progress Post

IMG_0167.jpgJust a quick update, today, as it’s late. It’s a Bank Holiday here in the UK, and I used it for the traditional British Bank Holiday pastime — DIY.

So, I didn’t get out for my run until late: after I’d finished wallpapering. Now I’ve tidied up, it’s almost bedtime.

I should sleep well, because I’m a bit knackered. All day DIY followed by Week 6, Run 2 of the Couch to 5K will do that to a person! Today’s two ten-minute runs took me further down the towpath than I’ve ever managed before, I think. I may have been going a touch faster than usual.

But like I said the other day, I’m not concentrating on speed at the moment. I’m just going to keep plugging away at the C25K, and maybe start looking at my speed once I’m at the end of the plan.

Anyway. Bedtime. Must make sure I’m nice and awake for Wednesday: that’s a single 25-minute run!

New Shoes

IMG_0170.jpgToday I bought new running shoes. I figured it was about time.

I went into Moti on Whiteladies Road, because they seemed quite friendly the last time I went in, and they were great. I basically told them I was a beginner and threw myself on their mercy.

Helpful sales guy checked out my feet and my old shoes, spotted slightly fallen arches and a tendency to over-pronate (which I’ve previously been told was a problem by a podiatrist, too.)

Then I got to go on a treadmill for the first time, which was a bit odd. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but once I’d got my head around running without the rest of the world moving backwards, it was okay. And at least I didn’t fly off it into the shoe display at any point.

After that, it was quite fun. Basically we watched video of me running on the treadmill (just my legs and feet, luckily!), and he pointed out the angles that might be causing me a problem. Then he went to get four different sets of shoes that should each fix the problem, and I ran on the treadmill in all of them to see which were best.

As well as checking them for comfort, we watched them all side-by-side on the video thingy after each bit of jogging, so he could make sure they were working okay for me.

They were all pretty comfy. In the end I narrowed it down to a pair of Nikes or a pair of Mizunos, and finally chose the Mizunos because they were just a touch lighter.

And I’m just back in from road-testing them with Week 6, Run 1! That felt easier than last time, but I don’t know whether that’s because this was three separate runs (5 mins, 8 mins, 5 mins) or because of the shoes, which should be helping with my form, as well as feeling more cushioned.

Either way, tomorrow will tell more than today, as it’s normally the day after that my feet are sore. We’ll see. For now, I’ll just be happy that today’s 23 minutes of running got me further down the towpath than I’ve ever been on the C25K

Statistical Significance

I’m not very quick at this running lark. To be fair, I’m not that quick at walking; I think I’m just a generally slow mover 🙂

I just plotted yesterday’s run using the sweet little GMap Pedometer site. The running bit of yesterday’s route turned out to be 1.6 miles, so at twenty minutes, that means I’m averaging 4.8mph.

As 1.6 miles is around 2.6 kilometres, that means that at just over the halfway point of the C25K, I’m running just over halfway to 5 kilometres, so I guess that everything is as it should be!

Humbling to note that the fastest humans on the planet are managing around 30mph now, but then I have no intention of being the next Usain Bolt 🙂

You Just Put One Foot In Front of the Other

Well, I won’t pretend that was anything other than a long, damp slog. It’s raining out there, my left hip is sore, and my energy levels weren’t fantastic.

But I feel quite a sense of accomplishment now, I’ve got to say. Today was the final run of Week 5 in the C25K. It’s the first day with a single, uninterrupted run, of twenty minutes.

And I did it. I was really flagging towards the end, but luckily I was close enough to the end when my energy ran out that sheer bloody-mindedness saw me through.

That, and a fine playlist, this time generated by the iTunes Genius, rather than Tangerine, based on PJ Harvey’s fantastic modern lovesong, This is Love, and passing through such classics as Sorted for E’s & Wizz, Ever Fallen in Love and Placebo’s Nancy Boy. This was fab running fodder, and I’m going to dig it out again the next time I feel like I really need something to keep me putting one foot in front of the other.

Anyway. I’d best go have a shower. With a big smile on my face. Today, it seems, the satisfaction has more been about the destination than about the getting there, but that seems to change from run to run, so who knows what next time will bring?

A Brief Note About Rewards

It pays to reward yourself when you’ve accomplished something. My main problem is that food is often a reward for me, which is a little counterproductive when you’re trying to lose weight 🙂

So, to mark the halfway point, I just dug into my savings and ordered myself a microphone I’ve been uhmming and ahhing about buying for a few months. (The Rode NT1‑A, for those home recording geeks in the audience.)

I should probably figure out a reward in advance for when I hit the end of the C25K. Might give me a little extra motivation, anyway…

Bridges in Distance are Closer Than They Appear

Today’s run was the second run of week five, the halfway point of the C25K. So, this is a slightly extended edition of the blog 🙂

First off, I’d like to say a quick “thank you!” to all who’ve supported me so far, especially people who’ve commented on the blog here. I don’t always reply to every comment, but I do always read them, and it’s fab encouragement, so ta!

Oh, and a special mention to Benjohn, who got me running in the first place by producing the best iPhone application for lazy geeky runners that the world has ever known.

Anyway. I started out this evening with trepidation and a dodgy leg. And a slightly unsettled stomach (mostly due, I’m sure, to the mountain of junk I used to keep me going through yesterday’s exhaustion.)

Not only that, but these would be the longest runs so far — two eight minute runs, with a break in between.

I had a bit of gyp from the leg during the warm-up, especially over the footbridge I cross at the beginning. But it seemed to warm up okay once I actually got running. The first few minutes of running were easier than last time, too, it seemed.

I mentioned last time how nice it was to have the Clifton Suspension Bridge as my halfway marker. Today that smooth turned a little rough, as I could see the bridge from the beginning, and knew that I’d have to run all the way there before I could take a break!

But I just got on with it. Just putting one foot in front of the other, keeping to my usual pace, and plodding along to David Bowie and The Damned and a few others.

And I made it to the bridge fine, no problems. Cool!

The way back is often easier, for me. This time it wasn’t bad at all. I was helped immensely by Jam and Spoon’s Right in the Night, which is odd, as I have no idea how the heck it got into my iTunes library. It’s not normally my kind of thing. But I’m glad it was there, as it’s a good running tune.

As it faded out, I jogged up the little ramp onto the A4 flyover that’s been the usual last challenging bit of my runs, and I was just about central over the river when Get Running told me it was time to stop. Huzzah!

In celebration, I figured I’d shoot the above few seconds of video, as a bit of a visual progress record. Also, the route was looking quite pretty tonight, although I was still a bit too out of breath to be very steady with the camera 🙂

So, that’s it — the halfway mark. Next run is twenty minutes uninterrupted, and then it’s a gradual build-up to the full half hour. I think I can do this. And I’m definitely enjoying it.

Interlude

I’ve been at a wedding this weekend. The wedding was on Saturday, but I stayed overnight and came back yesterday. And did nothing, nothing whatsoever.

This wasn’t for the traditional reason, either — I don’t drink, so there was no crippling hangover. It’s because as well as being a guest, I was the wedding photographer. I’ve never done that before. It’s bloody hard work, and also a little stressful, especially if you’re the only one allowed to shoot the ceremony and the bride and groom are friends who’ll be wanting some good pictures.

So, Saturday was a very long day. Then add travel, overconsumption of food, and coffee — stupid boy, not only am I meant to avoid coffee because of a possible ulcer my doctor’s currently investigating, but because I’m avoiding it, it really screws up my sleep when I have it — and Sunday was pretty much a write-off.

And this is the bit where I get to running. According to my schedule, I should have gone out on Saturday. I was planning on running yesterday instead, and didn’t get to it.

I’m going to get out there this evening, but I don’t know how well I’ll do, as I seem to have hurt my leg somewhere along the line, maybe pulled a thigh muscle somehow. Jumping off a higher vantage point I’d climbed up to for a group photo, maybe, or crouching down to get to child’s eye-level.

I always knew there would be some break in the running routine, some unforeseen thing that might cause me a hiccup, though, and I’m prepared to deal with it. Although I was thinking more along the lines of swine flu than weddings and pulled muscles.

So, here’s the plan: put on running gear and get out into the street, prepared to run, every day until I can actually run. If the run turns into a walk around the block, so be it. And if it turns into a C25K run from the week before last, so be it. I’ll start from back there again. The important thing, I reckon, is to keep the momentum up, and give myself the opportunity to get going again, just by doing the easiest bare minimum — dressing up and getting out the front door!

Hello, Week Five

IMG_0157.jpgI’m glad I’ve noticed this: it’s the first few minutes that are often hardest, not the last few. Today I barely had the energy to get started dragging my lardy frame through the motions.

I think it’s a question of momentum. Intellectual and emotional momentum. The same effect that means you can procrastinate for three hours over tidying your kitchen, but as soon as you run that first bowlful of washing up water, it turns out the whole job’s easy and it only takes a half hour.

Once I’d put one foot in front of the other for a few minutes today, I pretty much got over that “activation energy” hump and kept running.

This being the first run of week five, it was three five-minute runs. I’m still doing the same route out and under the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and I’m now comfortably past the bridge before Get Running tells me to turn around at the halfway point. It’s good to have a nice majestic marker to measure yourself against!

Today I was nicely warmed up by the halfway point, and turned around and ran my last half easily enough. I’m still not going very fast — I’m overtaken by men, women, and the occasional Chihuahua1 — but I slogged away and wasn’t feeling any big problems by the end of the run.

So, I think this whole C25K thing is working just fine. Week five looks a bit intimidating at first — the run after next is twenty whole minutes with no rest breaks — but I’m feeling like it’s doable.

I’m not sure I’ll get to run to the schedule this week, as I’ll be away for a wedding, but there should only be a day’s delay, at most. And as I don’t drink, there shouldn’t be too much organic damage inflicted by the wedding to cause me any gyp!

1Only joking. But only just.

Four Out of Nine Ain’t Bad

20090814-20090814-IMG_4763.jpgWow! I didn’t realise until I just checked that today was the final run of week four! So, that’s 12 runs down, and 15 to go. Nearly halfway!

Today wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t too hard, either. My new kit definitely helped a bit. The nice new hole-through-the-middle water bottle was easier to carry, and the streamlined new bumbag — sorry, I mean audio waist pack of course — meant that I wasn’t fiddling so much. I’d have the old one on the side of my hip while running so the phone didn’t bounce around, but shove it round the back while walking, so I could put my arm down comfortably without catching it. The new one just stays where it’s put and doesn’t get in the way.

Also — and I understand that this may be too much information for some people — the new “trunk”-style underwear I bought in M&S yesterday is helping prevent the age-old problem of the fat runner: rubbing thighs. This wasn’t so much of a problem until this week, but Saturday’s run made me a teensy bit sore, so I figured I’d replace my customary boxer shorts with something that moved around a bit less and helped “lift and separate”. My thighs, that is.

Anyway. Enough of the gory (not that gory, thank God) detail. Another run done, another week completed, and things are going well!

Shopping

Today I took a quick trip to Moti, a running shop on Whiteladies Road, not too far away from me. It seemed like a nice place, full of helpful people, and with a lot of customers, considering it was a Sunday. They also seemed well geared-up for the runner, with a treadmill in the middle of the little shop so you could try out shoes properly.

I picked up the thing I’d been looking for — one of those runner’s water bottles, the ones like a big elongated doughnut with a hole in the middle to put your hand through.

Then I spotted something I’d also been looking for, when I was searching for bumbags on t’internet all those weeks ago. Turned out what I should have been looking for was an “audio waist pack”, if I’d only known.

So, I now have a different water bottle that I can forget to take with me, and a bumbag which isn’t going to knock my iPhone around quite so much when I’m running. And I now know where there’s a good running shop for future reference.

Now for an afternoon of catching up with all the work I’ve been putting off all weekend…