The 1000th km week (week 18 review)

Total completed this week 70km

Total completed 1027km

Total remaining 1973km

Total raised £1650

Sorry this is late guys been super busy this week. So here we go, I started week 18 with one thing on my mind and that was to hit 1000km, running-wise nothing else mattered to me apart from that. I had targeted my Friday long run as the one that was going to take me there and so I really just concentrated on coasting to that run,  I even put my swim on the back burner for this week as I just did not want to take any risks. I have still been riding 25miles a day though as I find this really does help stretch out my legs after a run.

So I got to Friday with a couple of 6km and 8km runs, knowing that I only had to pass 14km to hit the 1000 goal and as I was running home on an 18km route I had to do it or sleep under a bush halfway home 🙂 . I got up in the morning feeling fit healthy and ready to go, this is the first run for a while now where I have been itching to get out there, yes I enjoy running but to be honest after 120+ runs on the trot it does sort of lose its shine. This though was different and I pretty much counted down the minutes from lunch until I finished work at 5pm. I got myself ready, stretched out and warmed up then headed off home. It was a great day for a run, dry and warm and as hoped it went 100% according to plan. I paused at 14km the magic 1000km done and took a rather sensible photo.

The 1000km of 365days3000km

The 1000km of 365days3000km

I then headed off to finish the final 4 km. When I got home I was greeted by Tash with a chilled bottle of Bubbly and a chocolate cake does it get much better than that?? Top tip though don’t rehydrate on Presecco you get rather drunk rather quickly, the cake certainly helped balance it out though 🙂

1000km, cake and bubbly oh yeah

1000km, cake and bubbly oh yeah

To follow I dropped in a couple of short 6km runs to get some strength back into the legs, with the intention of putting in another long run on the Monday. Slight change of plan though as we had a bank holiday here in the UK so my usual route home was a non-starter. Instead we spent a lovely day at Wollaton park (scene of run #1)  having a picnic and walk around the lake on a beautifully sunny day.

Lovely Picnic with tash and Harrsion

Lovely Picnic with Tash and Harrsion

As it had been pretty toastie during the day I decided to leave it until late in the afternoon and take a sunset run up to Mill Lakes, and what a great decision that was. The weather was perfect, not a breath of wind and the temperature had dropped enough so that it was a really comfortable run, and as a cherry on top of a fab day I had a great sunset as I circled the lake midway through my run.

Sun setting on Mill lakes

Sun setting on Mill lakes

As a little side note nachthawk (a fellow runner based in Germany) and I have agreed on a little challenge – to run 275km this month. This hopefully will push me on to be ahead of my required daily average by the end of the month. Click on the previous link to check out how he is getting on. So that’s me for another week better get out there for a run.


No point in building on foundations of sand (Week 14 review)

Total completed 775km

Total remaining 2225km

Total raised £1520

Following on from last weeks Nutrition mistakes I continued to take things easier concentrating on building my strength and in turn my distances throughout the week. As I headed through to the weekend I started to feel like my old self again and as I hit Friday I made the decision to start back on the double figure runs a 13km and a 11km run then followed, backed up by a solid 8km on the Sunday. It felt so good to be back above my daily average and once more eating into the 30km deficit that I had built up through my self imposed 5-6km run week.

With my nutrition brought very much into focus I have decided to keep a food diary along with Kristen Reese a fellow 2013 run streaker from Pennsylvania in the US (Check out her blog here I am hoping that this will help me keep a really good focus on what is going into my body as well as what I am burning off. I am starting this from 08/04/2013 so I will be posting this on my blog from 09/04/2013. Please do check both mine and Kristens food diaries out and please any feedback, tips, receipes etc will be gratefully received.

Anyway back to running, as mentioned in a previous post I had started to get very bored and demotivated with my run routes Trail to Mill Lakes But I am pleased and relieved to announce that my Change of routes has really helped freshen things up for me and has given me renewed motivation to get out there and run. As I was running up to Mill Lakes at the weekend I was just kicking myself that I had not done this earlier. It is so easy to shut a run down at 5km when you are bored I can come up with all sorts of excuses and it is amazing how your mind can make the smallest niggle feel like you can’t and shouldn’t run anymore. But on the flipside it is also equally easy to extend a run when you are enthused by your route or when it is something as simple as just that you look forward to getting out and running.

So next week will bring up my centenary run and I am really looking forward to my letter from the queen :–P.  More importantly though I have been promised a limerick from Alexandra Brown from the running bug. Have no fear people I shall share it with you next week until then happy running and check out my Food diary

Spring running in a foot of snow (week 12 review)

Total completed 671km

Total remaining 2329km

Total raised £1385

I have started to feel over the last couple of weeks that I am getting a little bored with my runs, pounding km after km of pavement alongside a main road is not the best for inspiring me to get out of my nice warm bed at 5am is it. The problem with this is that it has started to affect my run schedule, as on a couple of occasions I have just not had the desire to get up and get out on my morning runs, and so have had to do them in the evening thus impacting on my following morning run.

I put the source of this problem down to three points. Firstly the weather has just been horrible for the last couple of weeks and when you hear rain and wind pounding against the window first thing it is so easy to think sod it I am sure it will be dry this evening (it never is). Secondly I am at the core not a morning person and so if a half decent excuse comes my way to not get out of bed at 5am then I am going to grab with both hands and third and finally I am just bored with the routes I am running. Yes they are nice easy flat routes and they are enabling me to get the mileage done, but they are boring boring runs. So I made the decision to find some new routes that are easily accessible for me and hopefully freshen things up a bit. So these are what I have found:

Mill Lakes

Mill Lakes

Mill Lakes

This is a pretty solid 10km run which I have done many times before and it is always good. I know what you are all saying, “well why don’t you do it more often then”? Well pretty simple really it is not that easy. I am not going to sit here and say it has monster climbs because it hasn’t but it is hardish work and when you are having to get up and do another 5, 8, or 10km the following day anything other than nice easy flat is not very appealing but I am bored and so I would rather work a little harder for some variety and plus it is such a nice run. You can pick the trail or the pavement and it runs all the way to Mill Lakes (there’s a surprise) where I can do a single .75km or multiple laps of the lake depending on how fresh I’m feeling and then head home.

Bestwood Park

Climb to the top of bestwood park

Climb to the top of bestwood park

The Bestwood Park run follows the same route as the Mill Lakes run but splits at 4km and heads through a really nice wood and then up a pretty hefty climb to the park you then head back along the country roads through Bestwood, hooking back up with the Mill Lakes Trail this is a really great run if you are feeling a little more spritely but for that extra 2km there is   killer of a climb at about 6km in.

Highfields / Vernon Park

Highfields and Vernon parks

Highfields and Vernon parks

These are two small parks which are really nice for breaking my runs up Highfields is a boating lake near Nottingham University and is regularly used on the Robin Hood Marathon route, and now regularly used by myself on my run home from work and Vernon Park which was recently visited by the Queen (how posh are we in Notts) is just round the corner from my house and I have added it to my mundane morning ring road run and so far it has done the trick. So these runs have really helped freshen things up, what has also helped to freshen me up is the freezing temperatures and snow.

So I knew it was coming but still when I woke up on the official first day of spring and I was greeted with a blizzard it still came as something of a surprise. Friday was just horrible it snowed all day, the only saving grace is that at least it didn’t settle. Even so I headed out into it and managed to get a lively 5km in at something like a decent pace. As I got ready for bed I looked out of the window and saw no snow on the ground phew we had gotten away with it, how wrong I was. I woke on the Saturday to a good covering of snow (probably a good 3inches) but it was still pelting down and it didn’t stop for the next two days.

Nice 11km snow run

Nice 11km snow run

Now time for an observation/moan/gripe whatever you want to call it, and no it is not really about snow in spring. The snow was a bit of a pain yes but once I was out in it, it was such great fun up on the Mill lakes trail and then up to Bestwood Park on the Sunday ploughing through sometimes nearly a foot of fresh snow it was great fun, and I would recommend everyone getting out in it rather than boring yourself half to death on a ‘Dreadmill’. No my moan is not about running in the snow, my moan is this and yes I know this is going to make me sound really old.

When I was a kid at the first sight of a fleck of snow our parents would pretty much have to chain us down to try and stop us going out to play in it, whether that be sledging, snowball fights, building snowmen and pretty rubbish igloos whatever it was the bottom line was we could not wait to get out and have fun in it. On my Saturday and Sunday runs I saw the sum total of two children with sledges and that was it, I didn’t see a single snowman I didn’t see a single snowball being thrown and I only saw one family out for a walk, and all I could think to myself was are PlayStations and X box’s really that good???

Now I am not ancient I may sound it but I’m not, we had computer games and TV when we were kids but they were cast aside when the opportunity arose to go sledging or bury your little brother in the snow (sorry Gaz). So what has changed?? Yes the weather has been a bit rubbish over the last couple of months but it is not that often you have a good 7-8 inches of snow in Nottingham especially in the city, and it did make me feel a little sad that there was no one out enjoying it. Did anyone else who braved the conditions find this??

So that’s me for another week any feedback on the points raised would be great just really so I don’t feel like the only old fart out there 🙂

Week 3 review: The snow is here and long may it stay.

Total completed 133km

Total remaining 2867km

Total raised: £1120

Well it took its time but winter has finally hit Nottingham making run #14 my first run in the snow ever. I had kept a close eye on the forecasts so I knew it was going to come and I had spent the last couple of days before uming and aring about whether to wear my trail shoes/spikes. I decided though that as I was still fighting to run through this shin problem it was probably best to stick with my New Balance and just play dodge the ice. It was in fact a great run, I slowed my pace right down and really concentrated on striking on my mid foot and I kept the calf guards off and used them for post run recovery only. With all of that and the extra cushioning provided by the fresh snow it made for a really pleasing and picture postcard start to the week.

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Run #15 was the run that was going to push me through the 100km mark. Now I had hoped to have had this target smashed within the first 2 weeks but due to my leg issues this was not going to happen and the fact that it was going early in week 3 has really given me a massive boost. So I headed out ready for a carbon copy of my last run bouncing along on a nice mattress of snow. Oh no life is not that fair,  I had not given much thought to the fact that it had not actually snowed again, but it had been well below zero for the whole day. This meant ice and because of the wind, ice that had been covered with a slight dusting of snow, lethal especially when you are not expecting it. I am not quite sure why I wasn’t expecting it but Yep you guessed it 2km in and I am down, not on my arse that would have been fine as mentioned before that has become nicely padded since Christmas , but no it was somewhere far more painful. As my right foot hit the ground it shot off in front of me bringing my left leg down causing me to drag my shin across the frozen jaggered surface, OUUUUUCCCHHHH. Now I know it doesn’t look much but when your shins have already spent the best part of 3 weeks screaming at you this was the last thing I wanted. Luckily once I was home and iced it there was no major swelling a few bumps and bruises but nothing to worry about phew. Well until I rubbed the deep heat into my leg YAWZAR.

It did hurt honest

It did hurt honest

Even with this slip I would say that currently my legs are running at 65-70% but that is now more because I am running on fatigued legs rather than due to any injury. I do put this improvement down a lot to paying more attention to my running style and losing my calf guards but also I am really starting to concentrate on my post run recovery. I have historically been abit rubbish with this, to the point that my routine if any comprised of a pathetic attempt at some form of stretch (that I would rapidly get bored with) and a nice soak in a radox bath with a cup of tea. It has become painfully apparent that this highly thought out post run plan is not going to cut it. So my routine currently involves

  • Real good stretching session
  • Icing as soon as I finish at the moment this is easy as I just have a nice sit down in the snow and cover my legs over, lovely


  • I beat myself for a while with my trusty massage roller
  • Then it’s fire time with the deep heat and compression

This routine has really started to pay dividends and has led to my first pain free run since the problems started. I did a nice steady 6km again keeping the pace slow and concentrating on my mid foot strike but with there being no pain it was so hard to stop at 6km. I just had to keep telling myself that I need to build slow or I am going to be back at run #8 nearly in tears getting to the sanctuary of a park bench… and I don’t want that again thank you very much. So I was good and I bottled up my 10 mile wide competitive streak and got home. With the next couple of runs I have managed to start hitting the average I require and have begun eating into that small deficit.

This upturn in fitness has had a lot to do with the snow, which has been a real god-send for me, it has given me that little extra cushioning that is really taking the pressure off my lower legs and I am really starting to get myself back up to full strength. But even with that being the case I have made the decision that night running may not be the best time for me to run, and that a morning routine may help me further. The 2 main reasons for this are that

  1. It really is not good for me to come in from work at 6 and then high-tail it straight out of the door for a run
  2.  I am running at the end of the day and I feel I am Running on overly tired legs

So morning runs I think are on the menu for week 4 I figure that if I run in the morning I then have the whole day to get my legs nicely stretched out and I have a full nights rest so IMO I should be much fresher in the morning than in the Evening well that’s the cunning plan

So are you a morning or evening runner ?

 So that’s week 3 done, week 4 is just around the corner and contains my birthday. Now this is usually a day of rest for me but now a Birthday run full of cake and a full English breakfast (it’s a ritual) looms.

Shock I quite like my £20 trail shoes

Boy did it rain on Saturday, so it was a pleasant surprise to wake up Sunday morning and see blue skies and sunshine yes it was bloody cold still but the perfect opportunity to test out my new Karrimor Trail shoes  (courtesy of Mens Running Magazine)

Now I know Karrimor and Sports Direct get a bit of a hard time over here regarding quality so I was not expecting much from my £20 Trail shoes, apart from maybe a couple of blisters and aching ankles. In fact what I got was a shoe that felt…. well pretty good.

There was defo a major difference between them and my New Balance road runners, mainly the weight and you just don’t get that spring back from your foot strike in the Karrimors, but there were major differences in price remember. What I did find with the Karrimors though are that on the wet stuff (mud, leaves, Gravel) they were very confidence building and yes it was a short run (4 miles) and I wasn’t in the back end of beyond but I didn’t have a single slip or turn of the ankle.

Now let’s be straight these are my first trail shoes so I am no expert and unless they start to become a little more flexible over the coming weeks/months then I don’t think I would be looking at much more than a 10km run in these but with more usage that may change.

So basically IMO if you are predominantly a road runner who fancies an infrequent blast on the trails (especially once the snow and ice hits) then for £20 you can’t really go wrong.