It’s a Sign

20100428-20100428-P1000235.jpgThe Bristol 10K is approaching. It’s on road signs now, so it must be official!

My plan to do a few runs in this penultimate training week is going well; I got out for another 5K this evening. I also managed to get to the other side of the river before the high tide and the bridge swing separated the north from the south, so it was out along the towpath and away from the traffic. Much more civilised.

Also, at the suggestion of a couple of friends on Twitter, I checked out Blacks for technical tops in large sizes, and at least found a couple claiming to be XXL rather than XL, with one that even looked as if it might not be in the desperately unflattering figure-hugging style they mostly seem to come in. Hopefully they’ll arrive in time for me to try them on, and try running in them before the 10K.

So, I’ll probably do one or two runs before the race, maybe getting out on Saturday and Monday, seeing as it’s a Bank Holiday. I’ll definitely check back in here before the race, whatever happens… See you then!

Quickie

IMG_0909 2.JPGJust a very quick update tonight. I took last week off after my 15K effort last Sunday, but I got back on the road again tonight. It was a nice easy 5K out along the Portway.

I had intended to go down the towpath on the other side of the river, but I was confounded by the tide — at the moment, the lock gate replacement work on the harbour means that they’re just opening both the lock gates at high tide and letting through a backlog of shipping traffic — and if there’s anything tall, then the flyover has to move out of the way, too.

As you can just about see in the picture, that means there’s no way to the south side of the river while it’s happening! So, as I was in a hurry to get through my jog and head up to meet my friend Nicki at the Thali Cafe, I just headed out along the main road instead.

I’ll finish with a very quick restaurant review of the Thali Cafe in Clifton Village: three stars, would’ve been four if there’d actually been any lamb to speak of in the spiced lamb “special”. As it was, there was a small, solitary chunk of lamb hiding among a mound of chick peas… Ho hum.

Distance

Like I said in my last update, I fancied getting out for a nice long run this weekend, and this morning I made good on that.

I ran from home, out along the towpath under the Suspension Bridge, all the way to the far entrance to Leigh Woods, then up into the forest. I did a fairly big loop of the forest, then came out to head back across the Suspension Bridge into Clifton, then all the way around Clifton Down and Durdham Down, and back to Clifton Village.

All told, it was just over 15km, although I lost GPS signal for the last kilometre and a bit, so I can’t be certain. I manually fixed the route in RunKeeper, and it came out at 15.59km, which can’t be far out.

I also took out two new things: First, The Indelicates’ new album, Songs for Swinging Lovers, available right now for download — for the price of your choice, including “free” — from the Corporate Records website.

Second, my shiny new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FP3 camera. So, I took a load of photos, too 🙂 They’re all here in this set on Flickr, but there were two I particularly wanted to post here, because they say quite a lot about my route. They’re both photos of the same place, the “Sea Wall” railings at the top of the Avon Gorge, at the edge of Clifton Down.

Here’s the first one, taken on my way out, about 2.5km into the jog. The railings are just about invisible on the skyline, at the top of the cliff:

Sea Wall I

And here’s one taken of the same railings, at the 10.5km mark, up close and personal:

Sea Wall II

So, yeah, think that gives some idea of the vertical height involved in my jog today, as well as the overall distance!

I reckon I can declare myself ready for the Bristol 10K. And it’s nice to have done roughly three quarters of a half-marathon, too 🙂 I don’t, on the whole, feel too bad, although I’m not entirely convinced I’ll be able to move tomorrow! I might give myself a few days off and not do a mid-week run until Thursday, this week. I think I deserve it!

Lighter Days

Quick update tonight, because I’ve got loads to do. Went out for a simple 5K, and I’m still really appreciating the fact that I can get out in daylight, which opens up the prettier riverside routes.

This is also hopefully one of the last rubbish-quality photos of quite a nice view you’ll see, because my new camera arrived today. It’s a similar camera to the one I ran through the washing machine a month or so ago, so hopefully it won’t take me long to get the hang of it. And hopefully I’ll remember to check my pockets a bit better in the future, too 🙂

Anyway. Should be getting out again on Saturday or Sunday, and I might try to do a decent distance — we’ll see how I feel! Catch you then.

I Don’t Feel Too Steady on My Feet

I don’t feel too steady on my feet…
“…I feel hollow I feel weak”

Well, I did a bit. And just as that line in the Stone Roses She Bangs the Drums came around, too. But I had just powered up Bridge Valley Road deliberately a bit faster than normal, to see if I could improve on my uphill pace without actually dying.

And I did. Although the pleasant benches that are scattered around the Downs looked a lot more attractive than normal by the time I got up there. But I resisted, and ploughed on with a 6.75km route.

It was hard work; it did take me about three kilometres before my legs didn’t feel quite so heavy and uncooperative after the hill, but I came in with an average pace of 7:49 per kilometre, which is significantly faster than I normally manage when I include that bloody hill in my runs. The last time, a few weeks ago, I did it in a leisurely 8:14, so it’s not surprising it took a lot more out of me…

Still, good workout, and I feel fine now, especially after the large Boston latte from Boston Tea Party 🙂 They’re lovely in there, and have now taken to keeping a loyalty card for me under the counter, so I don’t even have to remember to carry it around with me when I’m running.

Less than a month to the Bristol 10K now. Can’t see it being a problem, really. I shall probably do at least one more 10K pretty soon, then go back to my normal routine for a week or two, then take a week off before the race itself…

Sunny Five

I didn’t hit the rainy streets last night, because I was knackered — didn’t sleep well on Tuesday night, for some reason. Still, today was a good alternative day for running, because it was gorgeously sunny. I took today’s picture on my warm-down after the run, with the sun still just above the horizon. Nice.

Just a simple 5K today, nothing special.

The weight loss is proving hard to start, but I’m still working on it. As with the running, I’m sure it’ll be easier to keep going once I’ve built up some momentum!

Built for Comfort

Welcome to the 100th blog posting on Matt Gets Running 🙂 To mark the occasion, here’s a video of my (Good) Friday run, along the Avon Gorge towpath, up the hill into Leigh Woods, around a little detour—to reverse out of some of the worst of the mud I ran into!—and then back to the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Today I was planning on blogging about weight, and watching this video really underlines why it’s something I need to talk about. Because, fairly clearly, although I’ve been jogging for nine months, I’m still quite lardy.

In fact, I’ve not lost much weight at all. Since I started running, I’ve come from around 17 stone 7 lbs (245lbs, or 111kg) down to 16 stone 12.5 lbs. That’s a drop of 8.5lbs, or a smidge under 4kg.

That’s not to say that running hasn’t had a significant impact on my weight. Because before I took up running, I was slowly but steadily putting weight on, rather than taking it off. Goodness knows what weight I’d be by now if I hadn’t effectively reversed that trend, and all by getting out and running.

But I’ve come to realise recently that absolutely the best thing I could do to speed myself up, and to avoid injury, and reduce strain on my joints and muscles, especially my occasionally achey hip, is to lose more weight.

Now, I could run even more, which would certainly burn some more calories. But that’s unlikely to be too effective. A pound of weight equates to about 3,500 calories (kcal.) The longest run I’ve ever done was the 12K I did a few weekends ago. And, according to the RunKeeper log, that burned 1,437 calories.

Which is the equivalent of less than half a pound of fat. So even if I did two of those every week, on top of my normal runs, and changed nothing else at all, I’d lose less than a pound a week.

So, that doesn’t seem like the most efficient way of doing things. It may be time to mention the dreaded “D word”: diet.

Now, my normal diet is actually not too bad. I don’t eat too much unhealthy crap. I have a tendency towards eating cake after lunch at the weekends, but apart from that, my calories are generally coming from quite healthy food choices. I don’t eat junk, I don’t drink alcohol, I hardly ever eat chocolate bars. I’ve not eaten in a McDonald’s or a KFC since the 1990s. And even then it was probably under protest.

No. My problem is, quite simply, eating too much. My portions are too big.

I’ve been gradually chipping away at that a bit recently, using some simple methods — buying Kellogg’s Variety Packs for breakfast, for example, so there’s a pre-measured amount that’s easy to stick to. And cutting extras out of my lunchtime meal at work.

I’ve not really attacked my evening meal yet, or addressed my latte habit. And, most importantly, I’ve not actually deliberately tried to restrict my calorie intake to less than I need. I mean, my current eating habits appear to be sensible and sustainable, in that I’m still, very gradually, losing weight. So I’m clearly not eating more than I need to eat.

But if I want to make running a half marathon in September as easy as possible, the best thing I can do, apart from keeping up my training and gradually building up my distance, is to attack my weight through diet as well as through running.

I think a sensible goal would be to lose around a pound a week. Given that the half-marathon is on 5th September, around five months away, that would mean about 20 pounds. To give myself a nice “round” number — albeit in the antiquated avoirdupois scale I still cling to to measure my body weight — I’ll call my target weight 15-and-a-half stone, which is 217 pounds, or about 98 kilos.

So. That’s my target. Fifteen and a half stone by 5 September. And I’ll be blogging my progress with my weight along with my progress with the running. Who knows, possibly accompanied by pictures and video, you never know!

Have a happy Easter. Personally, in the greatest tradition of diets, I’m going to start mine after the holiday. In the meantime, where did I put that Cadbury’s Easter egg?

Mudsplasher

20100402-20100402-Zi6_0455 2.jpgWell, that was a bit muddy. My shoes are soaked. As you can see from the RunKeeper log, I went through Leigh Woods today.

I was going to take a different route from normal, but I got halfway through it and found the track so muddy that I actually had problems standing up on it, let alone walking or running. And there were assault-course-style downed trees across the path here and there, too. So I turned around and did my usual route instead.

This is one of my longer runs in terms of time, but not in terms of distance. That’s because I kept on stopping to shoot bits of video here and there. I may post the results at some point, if I can get over how fat I look in the footage.

I’ll be blogging about fat specifically fairly soon, by the way, as I’m planning to lose some weight in between now and the half marathon in September, and I think I should do it publicly. It seems to have worked for the running, in terms of keeping me going!

Anyway. Yeah, so, 9K today, through nice woodland, in a section of the Bank Holiday where it wasn’t actually raining much. Followed by lunch from Boston Tea Party 🙂

Have a good Easter, everyone!