100 Miles And Blogging

Hoofing it around Wales

Hitting the wall and scotch eggs

This run was a massive error to begin with. I wake up pumped for a run. I’ve not ran for over two weeks, having been smashing it up in Germany for work and then off down south Wales camping in the Gower. I was super-relaxed, yo. So after ten nights in a tent and few more days of recovery I thought I was all good to get my hoof on. It’s also on my mind that I’m doing a half marathon in November so thought I’d wade straight in a go for big mileage.

Having planned to go first thing, we ended up taking the children cycling to Rhos-on-Sea (priorities) and having a picnic. On the way back Wifey drops me off in Prestatyn about 2pm and I’m ready to run from there to home, about 12 miles all in.

It started off rough to begin with. The first 2 miles were across sand dunes which I’ve never attempted before. It’s a slog trampling through sand and the grass cuts the skin as you stomp up and down uneven ground. I came out at a ropey old holiday park and decided to head to the main road to try and get some solid ground underfoot. But there’s no real path on this busy road, so I’m running on a grass verge and the sun starts beating down. It’s at this point I realise I didn’t think to bring any water with me. That’s not usually a massive problem but it’s not ideal, especially when you consider today’s running fuel has consisted of a spring roll and a Spam sandwich. I didn’t exactly carb load.

A bit further along and I find better ground and try to maintain a steady pace along a cycle path and some concrete pavements but I’ve got to piss, which puts me off getting into a groove. After pissing like a race horse on wet grass I just can’t get into a rhythm. Further still and I’m drained (I’m at about 7 miles at this point) so I decide to head up through Rhewl, sort of a shortcut but a much steeper climb than originally planned. It’s this that kills me. I lose all focus and motivation and the steep climb burns my legs. I went a bit delirious and ended up thinking about eating a scotch egg, for some reason. You know that Russian guy who runs until he cries? I’m like that, but I run until I think of meaty snacks. This is what they call hitting the wall, right?

I’ve never done this before, but at 8 miles I ring Wifey who I know is only driving a few miles away and ask her to come and pick me up. I keep going because there’s no point just sitting around on the floor with my dick in my hands, so I put in another 2-plus miles (the majority of which was walking) and call it a day about a mile and a half away from home.

In the 14 or so months I’ve been running I’ve never felt so defeated. I’m sitting here now with shoulder and neck ache so can only imagine I was running along up that hill like Quasimodo. My upper thighs are burning and I feel like an amateur. I’ve only got myself to blame.

Lessons learned: Spam is tasty but not running fuel. Don’t jump in to a 10 mile run after two whole weeks off. Big runs are for the mornings, not afternoons. Buy a cheap water bottle.

Cologne, Hohenzollern, Padlocks and Pat

Cologne, Hohenzollern, Padlocks and Pat

I travel a lot with work and always tell myself I’ll take my running kit and get hoofing it around the streets of whichever country I’m in. But it rarely happens, it turns out time is tight and between working, socialising (let’s call it what it is, drinking) and a limited amount of sleep there’s usually not enough time.

Before I went to Germany I made a deal to go running with Pat Garrett, a good friend, old boss and peer - partly through bravado because once you make a commitment you have to stick to it so as not to look weak. And partly because running is good and friends are good and exploring a new city is good. It’s the second time I’ve visited Cologne and after having a miserable time a couple of years ago I was determined to have some fun there. Running cheers me up and is part of my routine so I knew if I took it with me I’d have something familiar to enjoy.

The route’s funny. Looking at the map it’s like someone’s tagged a couple of wandering tramps. But the time’s pretty decent and Cologne is a much nicer city to look at than I remember. The Hohenzollern bridge over the river is cool, with thousands of love padlocks all the way across and the Rhinepark was nice and quiet apart from Pat’s wheezing (I’m joking, the dude can run well). It was mad hot too, I wasn’t expecting that heat. One of my favourite routes this year.

And here’s a picture of Pat at the end of the route, looking like he thoroughly enjoyed it.

12 months down

12 months ago I decided to get properly serious about running. So here’s my stats from August 1, 2011 to July 31, 2012:

Number of miles: 1,023.57
Number of days running: 203

Original weight: 191.8lb
New weight: 161.2lb

To celebrate, I have signed up for the Conway Half Marathon on November 18. Like an idiot. I also bought some new running shoes a week or so back.

In these shoes.I found the receipt for my Nike Lunarfly’s so decided to add up the mileage from the day I bought them to now. Turns out I’ve done 656 miles in them. Which is why they look like this and when I stand in them I’m leaning back 30 degrees. Do they say you’re meant to change them every 300 miles? Time for a new pair.

In these shoes.

I found the receipt for my Nike Lunarfly’s so decided to add up the mileage from the day I bought them to now. Turns out I’ve done 656 miles in them. Which is why they look like this and when I stand in them I’m leaning back 30 degrees. Do they say you’re meant to change them every 300 miles?

Time for a new pair.

112 miles in May and 10 months of mileage

So I started the month of May with a target of 100 miles and I did 112 give or take. I’m pleased with that. I kind of lost focus at the end, partly because I went to a housewarming party that was off the hook and got fucked up on booze. And partly because of a hefty workload. After that, I just put in a few short runs. My old-school buddies (and old school buddies) also topped 100.

A few observations: My feet are a mess. I didn’t loose any weight. The heat (on hot days) didn’t really bother me once I got acclimatised. Roadkill stinks when you’re down wind of it. I can’t get enough pasta and chorizo. Seriously, I could yam them shits down all day. It’s the food of life.

112 miles is certainly the most I’ve ever done in a  month - here’s 10 months of mileage according to Run Keeper: 

August 2011 - 91.4 miles
September 2011 - 71.1 miles
October 2011 - 103.1 miles
November 2011 - 103.9 miles
December 2011 - 75.2 miles
January 2012 - 105.6 miles
February 2012 - 75.8 miles
March 2012 - 46.7 miles
April 2012 - 69.2 miles
May 2012 - 112 miles

Obviously December was about time off with the family and pigging for Xmas so that’s a low month, and then Feb had a Vegas trip and March San Francisco and a website relaunch. I must have just bummed around in April and that’s when I decided to start this blog to keep my motivation up.

June isn’t going to be a big month because I’m away to LA with work for a week. But after that I want to set longer distance targets. Possibly runs that hit 10 miles regularly. That’s the plan at least but it’s difficult to find the time. I should probably top 1000 miles in 12 months too…

Peace peace peace.

Extra sausages, just in case

I love finding a new route to run and I’ve been thinking of this one for a while. It was one of my early cycling routes when I first moved to Wales but now I don’t need no stinkin’ wheels, I’m a goddamn machine. It didn’t actually feel painful but I was blessed with nice weather, I’m not sure I’d like to do it when it’s pissing it down.

I’ll definitely do it again and with a bit of a switch in Holywell I can head back up to Lloc and make it a circular route. I can also add a couple of extra miles if I keep going out the other side of Halkyn. This time I headed down the line and finished at my mother-in-law’s for a massive chicken pie. And she’d done a few extra sausages “just in case”. People ask me why I run so much, and that’s you’re answer right there - for the extra sausages.

So I’m 20 days into the month. I ran 14 of those days. Even taking in to account RunKeeper’s dodgy habit of adding an extra half mile to my distance, I’m at around 80 miles this month. Well on track for my 100 mile target. (I’ve also switched up my lunchtime runs from 4 miles to 6 miles. I can’t do it every working day of the week, but I can at least get a couple of those in).

Running soundtrack: Skratch Bastid’s The Entertainer mix.

England to Wales and back again

Broke over the boarder and back for this 9.7 mile run. Started at sister-in-law’s place in Gorstella and looped around into Wales and then back into England to finish.

I’d been drinking the night before and didn’t really fancy a big run but once I’d broke the second mile it felt pretty easy and I just kept going. About half way around I’m in the zone, listening to DJ Spinbad drop Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. The warm sun is shining on my face and I’m remembering my mum buying Bad on vinyl and the first time we both listened to it and it’s happy memories, you know? I’m in a really good place.

This route is posh pubs, big farmhouses and endless country lanes. It was earlyish for a Sunday too, so the cows were just heading into the sheds for milking and I’m trotting along thinking how I can go about buying a smallholding with maybe a little campsite on the side. I could also feel a big difference running a practically flat route. And now I’m up to about 30 of my 100 mile goal for this month so it’s all good.

Soundtrack: DJ Spinbad Live in South Africa and Live in Japan.

April Showers

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind running in the rain. Getting caught in a shower is pretty refreshing and it’s nice and cooling to get splash back on your calves. But the weather in April has been fucking brutal. There ain’t no fun in squelching in piss-wet swamp conditions from start to finish. Wales, man. It’s harsh.

But that’s not an excuse. I’ve struggled this month to be honest but the numbers don’t look too bad.

Running - 69.07 miles (13 sessions)
Cycling - 52.05 (3 sessions)

I’m pleased with nearly 70 miles over 13 running sessions. The cycling just breaks up the month.

I’ll write it out here for all to see. For May I want to top 100 miles worth of running. I’ve done it before and that way I earn the name of this blog.

Eat ‘Em Up Yum Yum

This is my lunchtime run, I usually get between 3 and 5 of these in a week. I hadn’t ran for a week when I smashed this one out though. It didn’t feel great at the time but I’m glad I got back on the case.

I can usually hit around the 35 minute mark, my best is 33 minutes I seem to remember. And that’s not a bad average pace - 7.38 a mile. I’d love to try the same distance on a flat 4 miles but there’s not chance of that in this part of Wales.

Running soundtrack: Earforce Radio 3.

A Nod and a Wink

I think I’ve finally perfected the Runner’s Nod. That ability to casually acknowledge a fellow runner as you pass each other on the grind, a fleeting moment of eye contacting that conveys two conflicting messages. 1) “Yeah buddy, we’re in this together, running for freedom and spirit, digging into our souls to find the Tarahumara in all of us.” And 2) “We’re both fucked aren’t we? Trying to outrun the inevitable creep of death through our withered bodies. It’s not enough is it? It’s never going to be enough…”

The Runner’s Nod is different to the Big-Up Chest of course. That’s for when you pass a runner of the opposite sex and you breathe in and push out, like a fucking Spartan laughing on the way to war, death and glory. And not at all like the Pillsburry Doughboy, man-tits swinging under a grey t-shirt, shumbling* down the path of shame, only months away from giving in and buying a Ferrari, shaving your balls and embracing the mid-life crisis.

* Shumbling = Shuffling and stumbling.