Session Sixteen – One

On the back of nearly seven miles on Saturday, it was time to ease my way back in and try something a little different as well. Actually, compared to the amount of time I’ve spent sat on my arse of late, running technically counts as something different.

Anyway, rather than punish my body over an hour, I thought I’d put a mile in at a faster pace than usual just to see how far I’ve come on. My first session was a mile which was completed in 10mins 50secs – could I complete the same distance under ten minutes this time?

Let’s get the admin out of the way – no, I couldn’t. Let’s get the excuses out of the way – I was bogged down with long heavy shorts not suited to running, a bulky hoody and massive bottle of water which I eventually ditched. And at 10mins 12secs to do 10.02 miles, it was easily an improvement. In fact, take a few seconds off for putting the water down somewhere safe and picking it back up again, and you’re near enough there. Even without the faff, that’s clear improvement.

Tomorrow will need a step up again, either two miles at the same pace or some hill work, ahead of a long one either on Wednesday or Thursday. It’s a busy week of gigs though, so fitting them in is now going to be difficult. We’ll worry about that later. For now though? I’m pretty happy with that.

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    Session Fifteen – Radio (nearly) Killed The Running Star

    After a slow start we’re starting to get somewhere, baby! That’s right – I called you baby. Mock me, see what I care – it’s unlikely you’re slim and fit, like me. Anyway, a cancelled gig on Saturday night at short notice meant I could go out for my planned longer run and see where I’m at with this whole shebang.

    I had in mind that doing five miles would be nice and should be the minimum aim and at about the same time I should have been stepping on stage, I headed for the lake, which I’ve yet to spot a frog at yet. The lake is about 1.5 miles round and about half a mile away from home if I fanny about and go round the houses getting there. That would mean that to hit five mile I’d need to do three laps and I’d cover a half mile extra as a bonus. Excellent. Only, I hit a few problems early on.

    I thought I’d stick another podcast in and take things slowly and just try enjoy it as best as I could. An hour-long podcast would see me cover four miles even if I took my time, and more likely have me well on my way to five. So I set off from the house, hitting ‘play’ on Five Live’s Fighting Talk, back for the first game of the season. Ten minutes in and my whole phone froze – GPS tracker, MP3 player, the lot. Piss. No way to check my pace (that’ll be the world record attempt out the window then, damn technology), nothing to listen to, just me, my water bottle and nature for company.

    I managed my first lap of the lake no bother. It’s frankly a lovely setting and relatively flat, much better than getting laughed at by charvers or attacked by frogs. Piss-poor terrain compared to the Great North Run, but in terms of a nice run to get miles under your belt, it’s spot on (pics, if you’re desperate for them, here: http://gallery.ashington-ne.co.uk/v/ash-area/museum/?g2_page=2&). As I headed round the second lap in silence… well, with my panting, maybe not silence, but you know what I mean. As I headed round the second lap in silence, I could feel a blister starting to kick in. Annoying, and if I headed home it’d still mean a four mile run, but I was determined to hit five miles. There’s not long left until the GNR and I need to be getting a few serious long runs in, regardless of the time it takes. I’m already facing an uphill battle as it is.

    Despite the night beginning to draw in and me being constantly landed on by flies and midgies, I decided to brave another lap. Brave seems a bit arrogant – I’m pretty sure the soldiers, policemen and doctors don’t see a fat bloke waddling round a lake at a pace better described as a brisk walk than a run and think “wow, what a guy.” Still – sod them. If they’re gonna think like that, they’re the bad guys, not me. Bet that got you back on my side, eh? Or at least confused and on the verge of giving up. Like I was.

    But I battled through the last lap, then headed for home and a bath. I was aching pretty badly – despite being hungry I had no energy to actually eat and I was convinced I’d pushed myself way too far. Now, two days later and about to head out for a fast run, I know I didn’t. I also mapped my run online and discovered I ran a pretty amazing (for me) 6.74 miles. That’s half way! Meaning that, training wise, things are, despite a ridiculous lull in the middle, not going too badly now.

    I’ve no idea of the time it took, thanks to technology depriving me, but truth be told, with no podcast in I know I ran faster than I would have, and the lake is obviously longer than I first thought as well, meaning it’s going to become very handy for adding distance onto runs. Although I’d have liked to have known the time, I went way further than I would and I’m now in a good frame of mind.

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    Session Fourteen – You’re The Run That I Want (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh)

    So then, I chickened out of last night. There’s several excuses for this – firstly, arriving home late after watching Inception left me short of routes, secondly, I’m lazy. But mainly the routes thing.

    The easiest route to take would be my ‘usual’, head two miles up the road then turn around and come back. However, it’s also what can only be described as ‘that one that was fucking full of frogs that time’. There. I said it. I’m a little bit frightened. I’m not quite sure what of – I’d kill one if I had to, or even if it just tried to fight me. But the thought of a hundred of the slimy green gets jumping out at me ruled that out.

    Route two would take me into and around town. It’s a nice little run to be fair, but at 9.30pm when England are playing, not ideal. I’ve shouted abuse from the safe confines of a pub and if I saw me running past I’d do the same again. There was nothing else for it – Thursday would see me hit the four mile mark.

    And hit it I did, friends. Not just hit it, but smashed it. In fact, not only smashed it, I took it out to dinner as friends and it turned into a date and we then got married and had babies together. Okay, so I might not have nailed it quite that well, but 4.18 miles in 52mins 43secs isn’t too bad – not a million miles away from 12 minute miles.

    The run was pleasant – there’s a lake near us that’s about a mile and a half to run around, there’s very few frogs kicking about, some swans and not many people. Oh, and a miniature railway and a big railway nearby too. Essentially, it’s got everything I need except a kebab shop.

    I stuck Carl Donnelly’s excellent podcast in and whilst listening to people talking is abysmal for speed, it seems to keep me hooked and I forget about the agony my body is going through. There was a brief moment three miles in where I thought “is that it?” but it was a far easier run than one with my mp3s on random.

    The next step will be some shorter runs sans-tunes, so that I know I can still run faster than a mobility scooter when required, but for now I’ve nailed surviving the longer runs. I’m hoping to hit five miles on Saturday morning before hopping up to bonny Scotland for the weekend.

    No doubt my next blog will be a fortnight away, apologising for not keeping the promise.

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  • Session Thirteen – Too Right It’s Unlucky For Some

    Doing the Great North Run this year seemed an ace idea. With not doing Edinburgh Festival this year a quiet August should have given me plenty of time to get myself in shape.

    Somehow I’ve managed to make August one of my busiest months of the year, which, combined with utter laziness on the odd occasion I’ve had half an hour to spare, has meant I’ve fallen way behind on training.

    In fact, my last run was August 1st, admittedly a lovely 3.67 mile run over 45.44 mins, which this is supposed to be a report on. It was a pleasingly long run, but the details are sketchy. All I remember is that it got foggy really quickly, and that despite my lack of exercise felt pretty straight forward. Thankfully I’ve kept up playing football each Monday, so I’ve not been totally inactive, but it’s nowhere near what I need to be doing.

    Now for the hard bit – trying to hit four miles tonight with very little practice. If I can do four miles tonight and try a sneaky five miler over the weekend, I’ll feel a bit better about the whole situation and might be able to rescue it and finish this damned North Run.

    It’s looking pissing well difficult right now though. Fingers crossed there’ll be another blog soon – I’m starting to run out of time.

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