Sunday, 27 November 2011

In light of not much running nor blogging...

 In light of not much running nor blogging I thought I'd share some blogs I enjoy that aren't related to running, exercise or healthy eating. I'm going to do it once a month till I run out of interesting blogs that I like to read. Some will have an extensive readership with individual hits into the millions. Most won't. Some you may know already, some you may not.

I hope you will also take part in the monthly sharing of interesting blogs that go beyond the remit of the blog you write.

This month's blog is The Magistrate's Blog. It's written by a long-serving magistrate who sits somewhere in London. He comments on how his area of law is reported in the media and also about the sort of cases he sees. He's erudite, accessible and always very humane,

Dear Mr Scientist,
Moves like Jagger will NEVER have a place on my blog.
Much love,

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Wake Up

Quite often by the end of the day I'm tired and hungry. I feel lethargic and exhausted and by the time I've taken a train and a bus home and I'm through the door my motivation to go out running is at zero. Sometimes I even tell myself I don't want to run as soon as I wake up.


It's worse now it's dark and cold.

So i had to force myself to go to running club tonight. I had two slices of toast with honey and a mug of coffee and dragged myself out of the door.

A warm up run then 4 x 600 metres efforts later I feel a lot better for it


I've a question for cookers of unusual food out there: What do I do with soya flour? I bought some to make pancakes but aside from making pancakes every day for the next month I'm not sure how to use the rest of it. Anyone got any ideas?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Yorkshire Coast 10k Recap

On Sunday 30th October I got up, had a pre-race breakfast of two slices of brown bread covered in peanut butter and topped with sliced banana.

After that I sat around for a few hours chilling out before heading to Scarborough Spa Complex on the South Beach. The Complex was busy but well signposted and it was easy to pick up my timing chip.

After that we lined up on the road outside the complex. Looking north along the Marine Drive which snakes around the coast and forms the majority of the race route, I could see Scarborough seafront with its arcades, cafes and fish and chip shops, the harbour, and the ruins of Scarborough Castle perched high on the cliffs. It was sunny but a touch hazy and a naval ship was anchored in the South Bay. It felt good to be out there at 10am on a sunny Sunday morning waiting to start a 10k race.

The race was very flat but I allowed myself to be pulled along at the start by the people around me, something I paid for later on in the race. Running along the seafront was easy but we encountered a slight headwind once we rounded the headland. However it was a gentle breeze. After running along the Marine Drive we headed into a park then back out on to the shore promenade for a few hundred metres before turning around at the Sealife Centre and heading back toward the Spa Complex.

Chip Time: 51:03
Gun Time: 51:37
Garmin Time: 51:04
Split 1: 7:53.8
Split 2: 7:53.5
Split 3: 8:06.0 (This is when I began to pay for starting too fast)
Split 4: 8:13.2
Split 5: 8:08.7
Split 6: 8:25.7
Split 7: (300 m) 2:23.0

So I've got a new PB - frustrating just out of the 50s but I've proved to myself that a sub-50 10k is there for the taking provided I keep training and shift the 5lb that have glued themselves to my hips over the last few weeks.


So what next? I don't have another 10k planned but I've decided to continue following training plans as if I were.  I'm continuing to go to the running club and have signed up for a winter cross country league. This and parkrun should keep me ticking over throughout the winter.

I've decided to declare a temporary truce on weightloss. I don't discuss this much on my blog but I'm at the high end of a healthy BMI and body fat percentage for my height and would like to lose about a stone by cutting my fat percentage further. I'm not going to try to do this over the holiday period, though, because I've got a couple of birthdays, work parties and weekend away visiting my best friend between here and January which I know will stymie any weightloss. So I'm declaring a temporary truce and I'm going to lose 3lb to get to 10.5 stones then seek to maintain until January. In addition to this I'm tired of constantly dieting and getting nowhere, so I'm going to take control and decide to go nowhere.

So there.

And now I'm going to bed!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Lots and Little

The Yorkshire Coast 10k is tomorrow.

I've checked out the weather and it will be sunny/overcast with a 12-13mph SW wind. Hopefully the cliffs will shelter us from most of it and I'm very very grateful it's not a NE wind howling straight off the North Sea! The course is along the seafront in Scarborough and makes a small detour into a park on the return leg, so it should be incredibly flat and could be a good candidate for a PB.

I don't feel particularly well prepared as I only decided to do the race 5 or so weeks ago and had to take a week off due to unhappy knees and a stomach bug. Since then I've been mostly sticking to the plan.

I'm looking forward to getting this race out of the way because I've been finding it hard to run after work. I don't usually get back till 6. While I'm not afraid for my personal safety bombing around the streets because it seems less likely you'll be attacked in the cold dark nights of late autumn than any other time, I am a little concerned for my physical safety because the other night I was running along a street and almost tripped over a discarded hubcap. So after this race I'm going to reduce my running to club runs and Saturday and Sunday.


Aside from running lots I've been cooking lots. I bought Appetite for Reduction a few weeks ago and it's quickly become my go-to book for quick and healthy meals. So far I've made Chickpea Piccatta, Ginger Bok Choi with Soba Noodles, Garlicky Mushrooms and Kale, and Pasta e Fagioli with Spinach. All of the recipes are quick and tasty and more importantly they work. The only change I'd make to any of them is to reduce the amount of water required for the Chickpea Piccatta because there was a bit too much sauce.

Brilliant book.


I've been very busy at my new temporary job and have an hour's commute each way which is why I haven't been commenting as much as usual. I'm still reading!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Harder Better Faster Stronger

Last week was an awful week concerning running. I was resting on Monday due to achey kneecaps from the weekend before. Then I eased back into exercise with a gentle 30 minute cross training session on Tuesday... Then I got a stomach bug and couldn't run until Sunday.

On Sunday I decided to do a tentative 6 mile run instead of the 7.5 miles on my 10k training plan. I didn't want to strain my knees again, and I wasn't sure if I were totally over the stomach bug. It was a beautiful late autumn day with a gentle wind, bright sunlight and blue skies overhead. I found a long, straight run along a disused railway line near my parent's home with a gentle ascent for the whole length of it. I planned a basic 3 miles out-and-back.

I passed dog walkers, walking walkers going down the track as it stretched out through the village where I grew up and beyond. I passed where my friend used to live and the farm where another friend used to keep her horses. I passed the lane you take down to a rocky inlet which has the best rockpools in the north of England, although not the best fossil-hunting - that honour belongs to another rocky cove further north of where my parents live. I passed a cafe where my mother and I once waited an hour for sandwiches and never went back again. I passed new houses creeping into the fields as the village has slowly expanded. I caught my first glimpse of the North Sea, blue-grey in the autumn sun. I passed one of my favourite pubs, which is conveniently located 100m from the track. I passed wooded valleys and rolling green fields.

At 3 miles - the point where I should have turned back - I felt great and decided to go the extra 0.75 of a mile that would expand the run into 7.5 miles. I stopped at 3.75 miles next to a house that was directly adjacent to the track. It was a former railway station. This was the end point of the bi-annual sponsored walk my secondary school used to do. Every other year the whole school would walk along the railway track from the town the school was in to this station. I stopped in the sunshine to catch my breath then turned back for my parents house.

I felt wonderful.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

Be kind to you knees - you'll miss them when they're gone.

I went for a gentle 30 minutes on the elliptical this afternoon and my knees still feel stiff. I'm going to try a gentle job tomorrow.

I love this song. Full lyrics after the jump.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Ice, Ice...

I've done something quite stupid and something that you should definitely not do while training for a race. Two weeks ago I went from running 15-20 miles a week over the last month to running around 26 miles a week in order to jump into training for the Yorkshire Coast 10k halfway through a schedule. This is what everyone tells you not to do. Increasing mileage by more than 10% a week is foolish and you risk hurting yourself.

I think I have hurt myself. I think the extra miles coupled with a 6lb weight gain, and mainly the extra miles have made my knees a little cranky.

So my kneecaps started feeling a little stiff while running earlier this week. I ignored it thinking it was one of those niggles that would go away but now they feel a little stiff all the time and with a vague ache while running. I was supposed to do a long slow run of 7.5 miles today which I had to abandon at 4 miles because the ache and stiffness was increasing. I wasn't in particular discomfort nor experiencing any sharp pains, but that couples with my shorts chaffing me made me decide to abandon the run and return home. I'm icing and resting and I'll see how I feel tomorrow. If my knees are still aching and stiff I'll have tomorrow and Monday as rest days.

If you're interested in the story about Paula Radcliffe losing her world record (it's now merely a world best) due to a ruling from the IAAF check out Episode 90 of Marathon Talk  where they discuss the rule change, particularly in reference to Radcliffe and also in reference to the use of male pace-setters at the recent Berlin Marathon. The presenters do explain that the IAAF ruling was intended to be a positive one recognising women's achievements without men being present in the race, but make the entirely sensible point that it could lead to unnecessary specialisations in marathon records. To quote: What next, the world best for fastest downhill marathon? The fastest marathon on a Saturday?

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Paula Radcliffe to Lose World Marathon Record

No running today, just a running-related story which outraged me.

A new ruling which comes into effect in the new year means Paula Radcliffe's 2003 marathon world record time of 2:15:25 will be invalidated because she ran with male pacemakers.  The new rule says only marathon times run solely against other women will count, as there is the consensus that women run marathons faster when paced by men.

So they're saying she's good, but only that good because she had a helping hand from the boys. This has really annoyed me because it completely disregards the skill, training, determination and fitness needed to run fast enough to complete a marathon in 2:15:30. It is verging on the superhuman, regardless of if she had several people running at that pace, It is not like she grabbed handful of the pacemaker's shirt and got him to pull her along.

'Luckily' Radcliffe holds the record for the second fastest marathon - 2:17:42 from 2005 - which will stand the new ruling because there were no accompanying almighty penises to chivvy her along.


A 2:15:25 marathon means an average pace of 05:09/mile. I would have difficulty keeping up for 100m.

Monday, 3 October 2011

September Recap

September's been a difficult month and I haven't achieved any of the goals I set, really. Stress about work has led to regular insomnia and lots of overeating. I've put weight on and I still haven't finished reading Intuitive Eating. I've barely stuck to my 10k running plan as well. I didn't like the Hal Higdon one I was following because it was heart rate driven and I didn't feel like I was pushing myself and if I'm honest I didn't enjoy running so slow. Don't get me wrong I don't go hell for leather every session, but I like a bit of speed to keep me entertained.

I'm in two minds about October goals because I have consistently failed to meet goals I have set over the last few months. I want to lose the weight I've put on. I want to finish Intuitive Eating. I want a PR on the Yorkshire Coast 10k. I want to reduce the amount of dairy I'm eating because I feel uneasy being vegetarian for moral reasons while supporting the meat and dairy industries through buying milk and cheese. I want to use more functions on my Garmin FR 610 (notably interval sessions and HRM managed tempo runs) so I can write a thorough review.

I'm just not willing to say these are concrete goals.

Either way last week was very good.
Monday: 3.5 miles
Tuesday: 10 x 1 minute intervals with 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down (3.07 miles covered)
Wednesday: 4 mile run in 38:37 with a 5 minute warm up and cool down
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 40 min tempo run (10 minutes warmup, 20 minutes faster, 10 minutes cool down covering 4.01 miles)
Saturday: 40 minutes cycling instead of an easy run because a ligament in my ankle was pulling. (9.5 miles)
Sunday: 6 miles in 56: 47

Total: 30:08

My knees hurt a bit so I'm icing them.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


I've had an ok week so far. I'm back on track with running regularly and have started training for the Yorkshire 10k at the end of October.  I did 10x1 minute interval session yesterday and a 4 mile run today. The intervals went better than the 4 miler even though my iPod started playing silly buggers yesterday a few minutes into the session.

Work-wise things are ok. As of mid-October I'm unemployed. I've decided to take a month or so off actively job-hunting after I finish my contract to complete my Citizens Advice Bureau training and get some other work experience under my belt. I've been ringing companies to ask if I could do some work experience to find my CV vanishing into the ether more often than not after they've told me to send it to them.

Until last Friday when I emailed a company and pretty much got a response straight away. I have a week organised for mid-November, which is awkward but do-able. I checked my inbox this morning to see an email from the company which was sent yesterday afternoon. They were asking if I were available to do a paid admin job for 4 weeks from October 10th, and could I answer ASAP? I sent an email saying I was very interested in the opportunity but unfortunately not available until 17th October. I asked if I could start later and just do 3 weeks.

I haven't heard back. So for a few hours I was over the moon and dreaming of them extending the temporary position forever, naturally. However now I'm getting a bit worried. It's not been that long in the grand scheme of things, but considering how prompt the company was in responding on Friday I'm not very hopeful.

Monday, 26 September 2011


I went for a 5k run with colleagues after work this evening. With the contract ending there's been a push for more socialising before we all go our separate ways.

I did it in 35:something because my boss, another colleague and I went back to run with the last person. We were all going to finish together, but half a mile from the end my boss had evidently had enough of being at the back and pulled ahead so he didn't finish last. It was his idea to finish with the person at the back.


Wednesday, 21 September 2011


First I was like, 'These trainers don't look that bad. They're 18 months old and have done hundreds of miles but the soles are still good and they still give loads of support.'

Then I thought, 'Well this isn't good, especially with winter coming...'

Friday, 16 September 2011


I tweaked my calf muscles while I did the Davina Body Buff DVD on Wednesday. On Thursday I forced myself to do a fartlek session at my running club which was difficult due to my painful and stiff calves. I really felt the DOMS this morning and have been hobbling around all day. I was resolving to get a foam roller ASAP when I remembered the advice I received from Every Day's A Picnic blogger Sarah that she's used a rolling pin in the past. I used my rolling pin and it was painful but I've loosened my left calf and it's a lot less painful. My right calf is still painful and a little stiff so I'm going to have another go later on.

I'm helping out with my local parkrun as a tail runner tomorrow. I'm going to be running behind the last person to make sure no-one gets lost or left behind, so I hope I don't bugger my calves up all over again. Hopefully it'll be an easy run.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


Hello and happy Wednesday. It's almost the weekend, don't you know?

I've been busy and haven't had much time for running or exercise in general. I've had lots of time for eating and drinking and I'm consequently feeling very full and bloated all the time.

I have managed to squeeze in a running club night yesterday and an hour of Davina Body Buff today. It's my first run through the DVD even though I bought it ages ago. It was fun and a real challenge.

Instead of applying for jobs I've been cooking with vegetables we were given by Mr Scientist's parents and to use up ingredients I bought the other week. I made 3 1lb jars and 1 200g jar of green tomato chutney (green tomatoes courtesy of Mr Scientists' parent's vegetable patch). Unfortunately I only have the 3 1lb jars left because I accidentally knocked the smaller jar on the floor and it smashed. I now have a very clean floor.

I used this recipe. I made it last year with green tomatoes from my mum's garden, but I had around 750g of tomatoes so I increased all the other ingredients correspondingly. Last year's batch was very salty so I decreased the amount of salt I put in to 1.5 tbps.

I also made another batch of tahini-miso-walnut carrot slices and froze them.

I've also got a large bag of 'Bright Lights' swiss chard that needs eating up sharpish. I'm going to have some steamed with dinner tonight and make a frittata with some tomorrow, but I know we'll have some left over.  

Any ideas what to do with swiss chard?

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Bento Thursday

I made bentos for Mr Scientist and I for lunch today. I followed this recipe for a bento with rice, sweet pepper confit, wasabi-soy sauce broccoli (not pictured), and baked carrots with miso-walnut topping. I forgot the edamame to go on the rice. It was delicious and very, very filling. It took me about an hour to make, but there was leftover carrots and broccoli which could be frozen or used in another meal and loads of walnut-miso topping leftover which I'll be dividing up into portions and freezing. I don't think I'll be making bentos every day, though. I do still want a pretty bento box instead of a plastic box.

The last post of the blog where I got the recipes from said the blog owner, Maki, was ill in hospital, so I hope she is recovering.

Today was another running club evening. I skived the last one due to insomnia the day before. I should have skived tonight's run because Tuesday was a nice long run and tonight was INTERVALS (DUH-DUH-DUHHHHHHN!). 8 x 400m with a 3 minute break between numbers 4 and 5. My first 4 were very good, coming in at around 1.39, 1.41, 1.39, and 1.39. Then I did 1.45, 1.42, 1.44, and I think the last one was 1.44 or so as well. I'm fairly pleased although as usual I tailed way behind everyone else. I know it's not competitive but I'd like to see less of my bum being handed to me on a plate every week.

I got some bad news today as well. My work contract ends at the end of November and I had applied for another job in a completely different field. It looked interesting and I thought I was a perfect match but I received an email saying I hadn't been selected for an interview and due to the high volume of applicants they couldn't provide any feedback. Bummer. :(

I'm upset and quietly despairing of ever being hired ever again because my area of work is very specialised and there are no other jobs requiring those skills where I live. I'm hoping to use the redundancy as an opportunity to switch 'careers' because I'm bored and unfulfilled in my current one.  I say 'careers' because I'm in my late 20s and have only 3 years experience in my current career.

Has anyone out there switched careers in their late 20s How did it go? How did you know what you wanted to do? How did you approach the job search and application process knowing you had some transferable skills but also lacked ones related to your new area?

Sunday, 4 September 2011

The City

This weekend I left my city and headed down with my boyfriend and another friend to London for a meetup of uni friends. We had a great time, but the most exercise I've done since Thursday was a quick ultimate frisbee session on Saturday. I need to get back on track.

Workouts this week will be:
Monday: 60 minutes swimming and Yogalates
Tuesday: Running Club
Wednesday: 6 mile long slow run/or 10x1 minute intervals if we do no speedwork on Tuesday
Thursday: Running Club
Friday: Davina Body Buff
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Rest

Thursday, 1 September 2011

August Recap

How did it get to be September already? You can definitely feel autumn in the area around here. The fields have been harvested and the leaves on the trees are slowly beginning to turn.

In August I set the goals to lose 2lb, cut down on emotional eating, and stick to the 10k training plan. I've lost 1.6lb despite going to Leeds festival last weekend, cut down on emotional eating a bit. I haven't stuck to the training plan because I started going to a running club and prioritised their runs over the ones on my training plan. Since getting a 5k PB on the 20th of August ago I've barely run at all. I tend to naturally have a period of sloth after PBs or hard races. Still, not a bad month all in all.

My September goals are:
  • Lose 4lb
  • Finish reading Intuitive Eating and apply the rules to my life

This post's soundtrack is provided by The Naked and The Famous, a new-to-me band I saw at Leeds Festival. On the Saturday afternoon we only really wanted to see Patrick Wolf so we spent the time up till he came on wandering around the stages listening to bands we didn't know so well. The Naked and the Famous came on and I loved them instantly.

Here's a recipe for some date balls I made recently which were inspired by some dates I had once which were pitted and had a slice of dried lemon placed where the stone used to be. Blend a cup of pitted dates, a quarter of a cup of cashew nuts, a heaped dessert spoon of lemon peel (I used Tesco's Italian Mixed Peel) and a pinch of ground cardamon together. Add a drop of water if the mixture isn't coming together and form into 8 balls.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Hadrian's Wall

I visited another friend in Haltwhistle, Northumberland, last week. We went for a walk along Hadrian's Wall from Once Brewed to Housesteads Roman Fort and back. It was a blustery late summer day, and the weather was markedly different to the October storm when I first visited when I was 15. The area kept its bleak beauty, and I have to admit I enjoyed it best when it was bitterly cold with a biting wind and horizontal rain. We borrowed a dog.

I thoroughly recommend borrowing a dog for enhancing any walking experience.

For enhancing any experience, really.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Marsden Bay

I've been absent from blogging and commenting due to being very busy then going away to the Leeds Festival. Normal service will resume shortly after I've caught up with reading blogs.

The other weekend some friends and I got together for a walk around Marsden Bay near South Shields. We hadn't done many walks around this area so it would be a good opportunity to explore somewhere closer to home rather than trekking all the way to the Peak or Lake District.

Monday, 22 August 2011


And and it's not about you joggers who go round and round and round...

On Saturday I popped down to my local Parkrun. It was a glorious late August day - you know the ones where the sky is blue, the cornfields are ripe, and the trees look a glossy green. Absolutely beautiful.

Parkrun is a volunteer-run network of timed 5k races that take place every Saturday in certain locations around the world. They started in London but have branched out across the UK and into Denmark and Australia. You register on the website and are given a barcode which you print off and take to the event so you can get it scanned at the finish line. Laminate your barcode. I didn't and had to borrow a safety pin from a marshal so I could pin it to the bottom of my running shirt so it didn't get sweaty.

The parkrun was friendly and welcoming with an informal atmosphere. About halfway round I got a painful stitch and I had to keep bending forward to ease it. I was worried at mile 2 that I was going to have to stop and walk but I kept going. I managed a bit of a sprint to the finish but forgot to turn my garmin off as I crossed the line. When I did stop the timer and looked at my watch I saw it was 24:21, which was a new PB! When I got home I opened the parkrun email and saw that my actual time was 24:01, an even better PB! I'd knocked 23 seconds off my previous PB. :)

1 07:50
2 07:49
3 07:46
4 (.8 of a mile - and I forgot to turn my garmin off) 00:00:55

Friday, 19 August 2011


I've just started reading Intuitive Eating. To celebrate this and the fact that I've lost 4.6 lb so far this month I had a binge today and ate bread, two Graze box punnets, loads of dates, a bag of Percy Pigs (they're vegetarian now so it's ok), and a 230g bar of dairy milk. I feel thoroughly blah.

This morning I ran an easy 2 miles and did a 1 hour Yogalates session.

Back on the wagon with a healthy meal tonight, Parkrun tomorrow, and a long walk with friends on Sunday. That should blow the blahs away.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Good Life

Love this song. So uplifting and joyous. It's a song that makes you lift your head and chest, stand up straight and push yourself harder, if only because you're going to leave stress behind you.

Today was another club run. I was told it would be 10 x 1 minute fartlek sessions. I've never done fartlek before so I was looking forward to trying something different. It started with a 10 minute jog, then fartlek along a trail, and then when we were done ended with a 10 minute jog up a huge hill. In the end we did just over 6 miles, longer than the easy run on Tuesday. I was too out of puff to chat mych but it was great fun. However I struggled to keep up and didn't pace my speed intervals well. Sometimes I didn't push myself; sometimes I pushed myself too hard. I've never done speed intervals off the treadmill before so it's definitely a skill I need to work on.

I was also held back due to suffering from stomach cramps. Yup, the stomach ache when running fast is back again. :( One of the club runners who's a physio said this was due to not having a strong core. In laymen's terms this is due to the stomach muscles over-compensating for the extra movement in your legs and arms when you run fast and contracting aggressively in order to keep your internal organs stable and to provide a tighter base from which the rest of your body moves - I think! 

I've been doing 2 sets of 12 pushups a week over the past few weeks which might have aggravated my core muscles. I've stopped doing that in favour of yogalates so I hope the yogalates is gentler on my core muscles. If I don't notice an improvement I'll try dropping the number of sessions to one a week. The physio also said I don't need to go crazy about this and that doing a plank stretch during an ad break while watching TV a few times a week would also help. So if I continue to suffer I'll drop the yogalates and do that until I increase my core strength.

After the club I came home and defrosted a quorn spag bol sauce to eat with macaroni. When my food baby's gone down I'll be doing a yogalates session to stretch out.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Not Over Yet

Yesterday I popped down to my local running club for the first time. I wanted to join because I tend not to push myself in training, I wanted to meet more runners, and I wanted to be able to improve my technique and speed/distance without risking injury. I was nervous that everyone would be very serious and very fit and would laugh at me for being slow. However they were lovely, very friendly and immediately made me feel welcome. They were all keen in an enthusiastic way.

My 10k training schedule specified a gentle 4.5 mile run and I found a group that was doing a long slow run due to most of them recovering from a 10K on Sunday. One of the runners was an 86 year-old man who ran it in 56 minutes. I hope I can run it that quick when I'm 86!

I ended up doing 5.08 miles in 49:46, and was troubled with a bit of an aching stomach for most of it. I've been trying to do press-ups again, so I wonder if it's the same problem coming back. Either way, I'll definitely be going back for the next session of intervals on Thursday.

I bought a few exercise DVDs recently. This included Yogalates 6 for Weight Loss which, despite the horrible name, is a relaxing hours mix of yoga and pilates for core strengthening and toning. I'm a beginner when it comes yoga and pilates but I found it easy to follow aside from a few harder poses and stretches which require more balance than I currently have! I don't think the DVD contains much for someone who has done yoga or pilates before, as they might feel they're not being stretched (ahem) by the routine, however.

The instructor made some dubious-sounding claims which annoy me. She made out that doing the routine several times a week would result in weight loss. Only if you include it with eating more healthily, and a shedload of cardio exercise in my experience. She also made the random claim that twisting your torso from one side to the other can aid digestion and hanging foward from the waist means all the blood will rush to your face and act like a mini-facelift. Um, really? Are you sure?

Quibbles aside it was cheap, it's easy and convenient and I'm going to be keeping it up. I did the hour-long routine as a warmup stretching session before doing a 4 mile run this evening. A slow 4 miles in just over 40 minutes run. I definitely need to be in a running club to stop me slacking off!

I was going to do WIAW today, but forgot to photograph dinner. Maybe next week.

I guess the theme of this post is persistence. I will never be an elite runner; I will never be the best runner I could have been since I started too late and wasn't active in my teens and early twenties. But I will still enjoy it. I will dedicate myself to improving - to running faster and further - and when I reach an age where I cannot physically improve and I begin to slow down, I will persist at running for the mental and physical benefits it brings, and because I enjoy it.

Thursday, 11 August 2011


I wasn't going to post because all I've been doing is running and working. Boring work and boring runs. But Mr Scientist asked me when my next post was going to be since I haven't posted in 4 days and I can't disappoint him of all people.

Last night I was up late attending to a colleague's leaving do. Late as in 2:20 bedtime late. No alcohol though, which was a good thing. I didn't realise how much it would affect my run until I started. My legs felt like lead and every second on the treadmill felt like an hour. Soon I was getting antsy and bored. I felt no elation or enjoyment, just a trudging kind of annoyance at being stuck there. I was supposed to do a 40 minute tempo run, but I opted for a less intense and slower tempo run instead. On level 0.

I chose Glosoli by Sigur Ros on my iPod at around minute 36 to carry me through to the end and I was just getting into it when I accidentally hit the emergency stop button.


I hate it when I do that.


I mentioned in a comment on Every Day's a Picnic that I used to have a blog about living abroad. I lived in Syria for 10 months and blogged the hardcopy diary I kept as a way of updating my friends and family about what I was doing there. In 2007 I deleted it in a fit of madness and only have one post saved - a post about the afternoon my friend and I visited the semi-abandoned Jewish Quarter of Damascus.
I've been thinking recently about rewriting it so it contains pictures and history of the area where I lived rather than just my friends' and my exploits and reblogging it.

Would you be interested in reading one post a month about it?

Sunday, 7 August 2011


Are you a big manly man running on the treadmill in your gym?
Are you getting totally sweaty?
Are you running with your eyes closed and your iPod on?
Are you listening to some totally awesome tunes that you love?
Are you totally getting into them?

If you answered yes to all of these questions then by all means occasionally burst into high-pitched wailing like a dog singing along to the Eastenders theme tune.


I wish I knew what he was listening to, it was obviously very good. Unfortunately due to his poor singing I could not make head nor tail of it, unless it was, "ARRARAROOO!" by HEYOAWAY.

I was listening to the latest Mark Kermode film review podcast (which was being done by Boyd and Floyd because Kermode and Mayo are on their hols) so there was no singing from me. I did five miles very slowly.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Mowgli's Road

I couldn't find a version of the original song I wanted to feature, Je ne suis pas ta chose by Camille, that was still available on youtube. All the ones I found were pulled by the record company. Check it out anyway, it's a great song.

Mowgli's Road is also brilliant, with a bouncy rhythm that was great for my interval session today. Plus the video is simple and trippy. It reminds me of making paper figures at primary school with long trailing legs and arms made by crossing two strips of paper over each other again and again, plus its a pop song that doesn't rely on dressing the female artist like a stripper and casual misogyny.

Gym wise I went to a step class on Monday for cross training and my calves are protesting. Yesterday I ran 3.5 miles, and today I did some intervals. Blargh. I hate intervals.

Monday, 1 August 2011

July Goals Review

So in July I set some goals. They included lose 4lb, keep off the booze till my 10k, and continue on the 100 pushups and 200 situps challenge. I failed all of them. Wahey. I've actually put 1lb on due to emotional comfort eating in mid-July and not doing much running then either, didn't keep off the booze as I had a few drinks in the week leading up to the 10k and drank a lot after that, and I had to abandon the pushups and situps challenges due to the number of reps causing me abdominal ache when I run.

Oh well.

I have goals for August though.

  • Lose 2lb or stay the same weight - I'm going to Leeds Festival at the end of August so I'm trying to be realistic here.
  • Cut down on emotional eating - already started as I've found out my work contract is ending almost 3 months earlier than I expected. I'll be out of a job by mid-October instead of New Years Day, which is good for job hunting but bad for missing out on November and December's paychecks. I desperately wanted to just eat loads of crap and cake on Friday, yesterday and today etc but I managed not to, aside from a few sweets, because I recognised that wasn't what I really wanted. What I want is have already secured another job. ;)
  • Continue following Hal Higdon's Intermediate 10k plan. This will be tough at the end of August because I may be going away for a week, but I've already reworked it around the Leeds Festival so hopefully all will be well.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Alive and Amplified

Due to work commitments I'm doing most of my running at the gym and it sucks. It's boring. There's nothing to look at aside from the TV and it's always on some rubbish reality TV show or MTV. I find myself thinking about how many more minutes I've got left to go 1 minute into the run. It's not as good as running outside in terms of technique,the difficulty of propelling yourself forward versus keeping up, not to mention fighting strong winds or dodging around people going slower than you are. It's hotter than running outside with no wind to cool you down and I get really sweaty. :(

Still, it's always there. It's never raining inside the gym. It's never sunny inside the gym - although sometimes in summer the AC does sometimes fail. It's never windy inside the gym. There are no jokers telling me I should be running when I'm walking to cool down after a 4 mile run. There are no hecklers at all in fact. I'm not going to be run over by someone on a school run. I'm not going to get overexcited Jack Russels running up to me and doing circles around my feet.

Today's run was a 35 tempo run. I intended to do 10 minutes warmup, 20 minutes at 85% of HRM, and 5 minutes cooldown. But I forgot to set a custom 85%, thought Garmin Level 5 corresponded to 85% when as far as I can tell it's closer to 90%. I should have known something was up when I was running at suspiciously close to race pace, but I kept up anyway. I know better for next time. It was a good run, and despite the dull surroundings I enjoyed it and felt knackered but energised at the same time by the end of it.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

What a Difference A Day Makes

Ahh... Today's gym session went better than yesterday's. I had a better (but still not great :( ) night's sleep and two days of eating healthy and balanced meals at the correct times under my belt. Following Hal Higdon's plan  I had to do a 3 mile run at an easy pace. I set the treadmill to do a hill session at no more than level 3 to mimic running outdoors and used my Garmin to keep my heart rate under Zone 4. (I've just realized this is probably closer to 80% instead of Higdon's recommended 65%-75% so I need to set a custom max for my next run.)  I did the same yesterday and finished the 3 miles in 30:22 with an average heart rate of 161. Today I did it in 28:35 with an average heart rate of 161 as well.

I really love being able to do this.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Dragging Me Down

Today's song from my gym playlist is one I usually skip because the tempo is too slow and being dragged down is the opposite effect I want to get from my workouts. But I haven't slept well recently due to travel for work and work-stress and today I went to the gym expecting an easy time but actually I struggled quite a lot due to being knackered. It was a drag (badum-tish).

I've settled on a 10k plan for my next 10k - I'm going to do Hal Higdon's 10-K Training: Intermediate. It's an 8-week plan that incorporates some basic upper body strength training which shouldn't result in straining my core, some speed workouts, and some long slow runs. It looks like it's the right intensity for what I want to achieve plus I will hopefully be able to go through it twice before the race in November. I will also be doing some yoga. I can't join a class because I can't find any near to me which are at a convenient time and location so I'm on the look out for a good yoga DVD or podcast. At the moment I'm sticking with a very basic one by Chaz Rough called Yoga for Runners.

I did the first session of the training plan - a 3 mile run and strength - today and the run was difficult when it shouldn't have been, mainly due to being tired and not doing much running last week. Although maybe I shouldn't beat myself up too much because I ran two hard races last week and my body did need to rest.

I've subscribed to a couple of running podcasts as well recently - the best being RunRunLive2.0. There's always interesting interviews and useful tips. Even if I'm nowhere near as fit or accomplished a runner as the guests I find their stories inspiring. Some of the tips I can use now, and others I'm keeping in mind for when I'm a better runner.

Do you subscribe to any running, fitness or health podcasts?

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Missing - Mojo - Last seen on 17th July

Like the title says I've lost it big time. If I'm honest I think I'd even lost it before the 17th July. I've been stressed and unhappy about work this last week in a way which I'm not going to go into on my blog, and this has been affecting my eating habits. I've been miserably stuffing my face knowing I'm not hungry. I got halfway through a bag of chocolate-covered brazil nuts and thought, "I don't want these. They're too sweet and I feel a bit sick and I'm not hungry." But I finished them anyway. On top of that I've done no exercise at all since my last race.

I can diet, I can moderate my intake of alcohol, I can eat fresh fruit and vegetables, I can hit the gym hard.  However when I'm feeling unhappy I hit calorific food hard. There's no middle ground with me - I'm either gaining weight or losing it, and I'm getting sick of it. I want to lose this final stone and reduce my bodyfat %.  Come payday I'm going to get Intuitive Eating, which I think will help me

Overall I need to:
Work out a training schedule for my next 10k.
Get back to the gym.
Stop eating crap.
Stop wallowing in self-pity.

Has anyone else had any luck with other intuitive-eating promoting books, or is Intuitive Eating the be all and end all?

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Sunderland 5K Road Race 24:26 NEW PB!!!

The website bills the Sunderland 5k Road Race as 'fast and ideal for PB's'. The race is held in the paths through the park around the Silksworth Sports Complex. The course through the park goes around the lakes and so it's attractive race for one held in Sunderland. It's also very flat. I'd go as far as saying it was mostly downhill because the first part was downhill and the rest of it didn't contain any major hills. It was well organised and stuffed full with running club runners. I felt very nervous and out of place being there on my own.

Route of the Sunderland 5k.

Elevation of the Sunderland 5k. Verrrrry nice.

The first mile started off with a long stretch downhill and was very easy. In mile 2 I deliberately slowed down so I didn't burn out, and sped up in mile 3 because I was worried about not getting a sub-25.

I almost managed not to embarrass myself, but right at the finish line I thought someone pointing pointing out the finishing line was holding out his hand and I slapped it like an absolute muppet. How embarrassing?! I only afterwards realised what he was doing because I saw someone running down by the the side of the finish line instead of crossing it.

So how did I get a sub-25 5k? I've been training for a 10k which built up my endurance and stamina. I got a psychological boost from knowing that if I could run at a certain pace over a longer distance I could certainly go faster over a shorter one. I did interval training which increased my speed. I've done about 5 5k races now so my body is accustomed to running at a high effort over that distance. I also chose a race that was well known for being a good one for PBs.

Time: 24:26 (from my Garmin - my whistle time is easily 15 seconds longer because it took me a while to cross the starting line)
Avg Pace 07:42
Splits: Mile 1 07:22, Mile 2 07:53, Mile 3 07:50, Mile 4 (0.17 miles) 01:20 (avg pace 07:45)

Things to work on: Getting a sub-24 5k, not slowing down too much in the second mile.

Now, if you'll excuse me I'm off to have a victory glass of white wine!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

And rest...

I'd barely finished Sunday's race before I was trying to work out my next 10k goal. My long-term goal is still a sub-50 minute 10k but right now I'm going to aim for a sub-52 10k. There's a couple of 10k races coming up in the northeast over August but I'm going to hold back and give myself a few more months to train. All being well I'm going to enter the Town Moor Memorial on November 13.

HAHA! I LIED  My next race will not be in November. A week ago I entered the Sunderland 5k Road Race. The course is billed as being flat and fast. I probably shouldn't have entered another race so soon after my last one. I'm going make another attempt on a sub-25 5k. I'm probably going to be desperately disappointed and will be whinging about it on here, but the flat course and convenience meant I couldn't resist. I rested yesterday and am resting today, kidding myself that if I treat Sunday like a long slow run I'm sort of 'tapering' before my 'proper' run. Um. Or something like that.

Anyway. Over lunch I went vegetable shopping in a local greengrocers and I was a bit like a child in a sweet shop. I bought globe artichokes, yellow (YELLOW!) tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, some of those flat peaches that are popular right now, and boring red tomatoes. I also saw some samphire and salsify, two vegetables I've never eaten before, which I didn't get because I really had no clue how to cook them. The internet tells me samphire is best steamed, and salsify can be peeled and treated like any other root vegetable. They are on the mental 'to buy' list.

Yummy yummy fruit and vegetable haul

 I've got some ground flax seed left over from the GN10k goody bag - how do you prefer to eat it if you do?

Monday, 18 July 2011

Great North 10K Recap - Edited

When I got up on Sunday morning it was tipping it down. Ru-roh, as Scooby Doo might have said. Fortunately the rain had eased by the time my family and Mr Scientist and I parked in Newcastle and it was merely drizzling by the time we got to Gateshead Stadium for the start of the Great North 10K. I was really anxious before the race and the weather did nothing for my nerves. I found myself alternatively wishing it would be called off, feeling sick, and wondering why the heck I put myself and my family through this for fun, and not only that, but paying for the privilege as well. Glumly I set my Garmin running partner to a slower pace, anticipating finding running on wet roads more difficult.

Full recap after the jump. I've edited this post to include a bit more info about the run.

Route of the Great North 10k according to my Garmin

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Sort of walking the Great North 10K

I popped over to Gateshead yesterday to try to walk the Great North 10k. I went a bit wrong at the beginning, and didn't walk all to the end but I got a good feel for the area's hills and flats. It was hot and sunny. It is not hot and sunny today. It will not be hot and sunny tomorrow either. :(

Right now I'm having a lazy afternoon with a DVD of Tamara Drewe and a pot of green tea with mint while I wait for my parents to arrive for dinner. They're staying over and will be cheering me on at the race tomorrow. :)

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Here are some photos of the route of the run

Beautiful Gateshead International Stadium Industrial Park.

The Millenium Bridge over the Tyne

The Baltic art gallery

The Sage

Sculpture on the banks of the Tyne.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Good Run

Today I ran a 3 mile race pace session before tapering ahead of the 10k race on Sunday. I put it off and put it off even though I knew it was only 3 miles and it would be over in around 26 minutes. I was worried my stomach ache would reoccur. To be honest though I'm quite chuffed 3 miles is a short distance and a run which covers it in around 26 minutes is one which doesn't leave me feeling like my heart is going to explode or that I'm going to throw up. The sense of achievement and accomplishment was brilliant.

The first mile was tough and I was huffing and puffing and often falling behind Mr Sticky the running partner representation on my Garmin. Then when I got out of town and on to the disused railway I run on I got into the swing of it for the remaining 2.1 miles. I even considered speeding up to make an attempt on doing a sub-25 5k attempt but decided to stick to the plan and not risk wearing myself out. It was a typical evening run - still warm, still sunny, lots of midges and flies that I had to avoid swallowing. The most trouble I had was a touch of a stitch in my right side and a slight tugging in one of the muscles in my inside right thigh. NO STOMACH ACHE! YAY! HURRAH!

I did 3.1 miles in 25:58 with an average pace of 8:37/mile, and I'd do the 10k in 53:32 if I keep that up for the race on Sunday. Hahah oh I wish. I kind of felt like I could have continued at that pace for at least another 2 miles but I'm not expecting to be able to maintain that pace for the whole thing. Mainly because I've never run longer than 7 miles, haven't run 10k at my race pace, haven't run at all in the Gateshead area so the course will be very unfamiliar, and because I think the course is hillier than where I've been training.

Still no sign of my pack. I emailed the race organisers and they said my pack had been sent out but that duplicate packs are available on the race day.

I have tomorrow afternoon off so I might pop to Gateshead to scope out the course of the 10k if I get time.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Nerves and New Complete Vegetarian Review

Hello, hello.

Last night I had a dream about the Great North 10K on Sunday. I dreamt I ran it in six hours and when I looked at my Garmin I'd only covered 3.2 miles or thereabouts. Wail!

Running has been better and I no longer have stomach aches, but then I've been slacking recently and haven't been pushing myself at all. It's feeling like I've been building up to the race forever and I'm beginning to get bored of it. I think this apathy is due to being worried because I haven't received my race pack with my number yet. To my paranoid mind that means it's not going to come and I'm not going to be able to run in the race. I've been raising money for charity and if I can't run in the race I'll have to tell everyone and it'll be humiliating. Also even if I run I've been so rubbish recently I'm going to run it really slow and come in at 1 hour 30 or something because I still haven't gotten around to walking the course and I don't know what the hills are like and I'm worried that they're crazy steep and and and...

And breathe.

On to the review. A while ago I bought Rose Elliot's New Complete Vegetarian. I like it. It's clearly and concisely laid out and has some gorgeous photos, but not so many that as with some other cookbooks you wonder if the glossy photos are padding out a book lacking in recipes.
 The recipes are well written but invoke my pet cookery book peeve - no indication of how long it takes to prepare and cook the food at the beginning of the recipe. Grumble grumble.

I've tried out a few of the recipes. They tend to be on the easy and cheap side to make and favour everyday vegetables like carrots, courgettes, peppers, potatoes, and peas etc. Even the curries have ingredients you could easily find in a supermarket and won't languish unused in the back of your cupboard. Most recipes are healthy and just a touch on the 'wholesome' side of life with lots of brown rice, pulses, fresh vegetables and little oil. However there's plenty of cakes and bakes at the back of the book if you want to indulge.

I've tried peppers and macaroni (sauted peppers, onion, and tomatoes mixed with macaroni), courgette rice (brown rice cooked with courgettes, tomato and onions), and pea, potato and carrot curry. On the whole they've been quick and simple to make, although sometimes lacking in a little oomf when it comes to taste. Mr Scientist thought the peppers and macaroni and courgette rice were bland, although by 'bland' he actually meant 'not a curry containing 3 chilli peppers'. They were still nice, however, and the peppers and macaroni perfect for a quick midweek supper.

This book is not going to collect dust on my shelf, and I'm going to use it a lot.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Running Woes and What I Ate Thursday

Hello, and how are you doing this Wednesday?

I was due to do a 4 mile race-pace run and I really didn't want to do it. Earlier this evening I got caught in a rainstorm on the way home and soaked. I was debating all the way through the storm whether or not to go for a run when it stopped. It stopped, I got home, found out I only had a neon pink top and my teeny-tiny race shorts clean, but went out any way.

It was still very wet out so I opted for a run along country tracks rather than the main road because I didn't like the way drivers had to go around puddles to avoid splashing me/potential potholes. I got nettled, thistled, very muddy, and really missed my 3/4 length capris. I also wished I was wearing wellies or trainers that didn't have holes in them.

My stomach ache came back as well with a vengeance about one mile in and I had to stop due to the knotting feeling in my upper abdomen. I'm annoyed because it didn't occur at all during an intervals session on Tuesday and cross-training session yesterday. I debated turning around and going home, but decided that putting in the miles slowly would be better than not doing them at all. I think I walked about a mile in all, and feel a bit worried about how I'm going to perform on race day.

I have the sneaky suspicion the stomach ache may be due to overstraining my core muscles due to the press ups and sit ups I've been doing, so I'm going to pause the programmes until after the race. I hope this will sort it once I've gotten over them.

My weight-loss attempts have also been a bit pants lately and I haven't eaten well at all. I find that tracking everything I eat helps me lose weight and prevents me from cheating or falling off the wagon. I was going to do What I Ate Wednesday to get back on the straight and narrow, but my partner and I went out for dinner before going to see Senna at the cinema (go see it even if you don't like Formula 1 it's still a breathtaking story of dedication, rivalry, inconsistency, risk-taking and passion) and I ate a yummy hummus and tzaziki starter with lots of toasted pitta bread then even more yummy yemista, but didn't photograph it.

So on to What I Ate Thursday.

The day started with overnight muesli made from porridge oats, Tesco's low-fat natural yoghurt, a fruit and nut mix, and black cherries washed down with a mug of black coffee. Before work I had an unpictured small latte.

For lunch I had two Food Doctor pitta breads toasted and filled with Tesco halloumi with chilli, three tomatoes, some lettuce and some home-made beetroot. I also drank a couple of glasses of water. I almost forgot to photograph it, which is why one of the pita breads is half-eaten.

After lunch I marinated some tofu in a dessertspoon of sesame seed oil, a dessertstpoon of Sriracha chilli sauce, a dessertspoon of soy sauce, and a teaspoon each of crunchy peanut butter and honey then stir-fried the tofu for dinner in another dessertspoon of sesame seed oil, a Sainsbury's stir-fry vegetable pack, and some straight to wok Singapore-style noodles. It was delicious and tasted creamy, spicey and not too sweet.

If I'm hungry later I may have some Kallo hint of chilli mini rice cakes and an apple.


Monday, 4 July 2011

Quattro (World Drifts In)

I can't believe I haven't featured one of my favourite bands, Calexico, yet. The driving drums but laid back feel to the song were perfect for my easy recovery run. I should have run it yesterday, but went to the beach instead, so I swapped the days around. I headed out of the village and into the countryside. I love running outside in the summer. No stomach ache, but then I didn't run fast at all.

Time: 45:04
Distance: 4.22 miles
Avg Pace: 10:41


On Saturday I ran the longest I've ever run. A long slow 6 miles along the high street, through the retail park dodging afternoon shoppers pulling out of the carpark, down the hill on a lane that runs between fields of oats and cow, over the river and the sportsfield and along a trail through the wood. Then I turned around and came back, I'm not very good at working out circular running routes. I ran later than I usually do, starting at 5pm because it was so warm up here in the usually frozen north. The air smelt of cut grass and the trees were a deep green tinged with blue in the late afternoon haze. I was glad to be outside.

My run wasn't so good. I've been suffering from mildly uncomfortable tummy aches over the last few runs. They're worse when I push myself, but even my long slow run was tough. I had to stop about 6 times in order to alleviate it. I'm not sure what's causing it and the internet is no help. It could be drinking too much water before running, not drinking enough, eating too much or not eating enough to fuel my body, not having enough core strength or straining my core with the pushups and situps I'm doing, etc etc etc. It could also be due to some pills I'm taking which can cause nausea and stomach aches as a side affect. Last week I also did more exercise than I usually do, so it could also be due to that.

It's worrying because it means I couldn't push myself as much as I'd like to, and if it continues it will badly affect my run on 17th July. I just hope that like the and hamstring calf twinges I had a few months back these aches will pass. I got the advise to try to keep my breaths in sync with my feetstrikes, so I'll try this today.

I'm still pleased I ran 6 miles. When I first started going to the gym I could barely run a mile, and when I first started losing weight I couldn't run for the bus.

Distance: 6 miles
Moving Time: 57:06
Elapsed Time: 01:01:44
Avg Pace: 09:39
On Saturday The Guardian had a few articles about fitness and specifically running.
I read the article about tips from Olympic coaches for advice on how to deal with stomach aches, but no love.

One of them had short pieces about why people run. One journalist said they run to look as fit as George Clooney, another said she runs to have some time to herself, and the last said he runs to help his mental health. I'm a mixture of the first two - vanity and space. Running and exercise help me lose weight, and when I reach my goal weight they'll help me maintain it.

I also run to get fitter and improve just like you'd practice an instrument.

Running helps me if I'm in a bad mood or upset. I was in a foul mood on Friday and, frankly, being a right mardy cow for very little reason. I started off angry and running fast before I physically told myself to slow down or I wouldn't finish the run at all. I slowed my pace, got my breathing under control, and I could feel myself calming down. I completed the run despite having to stop frequently to ease my stomach ache and was a much nicer person by the end of it...

The only problem I had with the article was the response of some of the commenters below the line. I know the internet is full of nutters and malcontents and that opinions are like bumholes but some non-runner commenters seemed to feel that they were somehow superior to runners for not doing something they don't enjoy. I may need to be called a wahmbulance but this smug attitude of denigrating someone else's hobby or choice because you don't understand the attraction of it is one I find intensely irritating. I think it comes from insecurity, but also from plain narrow-mindedness and it's something I find baffling. Surely as an adult it should come as no surprise that different people have different hobbies, and that it's pointless to feel smug about not doing other people do enjoy.

Anyway, whinge over. I also discovered parkrun and there are a few nearish to me, so I can use them to work on getting that sub-25 5k without having to pay to enter loads of races, although I'm probably going to enter a race on 20th July.

Another thing - there's a running club that meets within walking distance of where I live. I'd like to join to improve my running with people who know what they're doing as well as to meet new people. , However I've seen them out and they all look impossibly fit and slim.

Should I join now, or wait til I'm a slightly less blobby and slow runner?

Friday, 1 July 2011

June Goals Review and Goals for July

In June I set myself some tentative goals for the month.
  • Lose 4lb 
3.4lb lost. Not bad, I'm a bit disappointed but I haven't eaten particularly well this week, nor have I stuck to my no-alcohol goal, so to be honest I'm lucky I've lost this much. Hurray for running!
  •  Complete every 10k training session 
I missed an interval session on Tuesday because I had the wrong shorts on. I had accidentally packed the shorts that creep up my legs and I hate them but I only realised when I put them on at the gym. I'd planned an interval training session but decided to go for cross-training instead, and was too busy to make up for it on Wednesday or Thursday.
I did weeks 1 and 2, then decided to go back to week 1. By the end of week 2 I was cheating a bit by doing shallow pushups or collapsing to the ground on the last pushup of the set. I knew I wouldn't be able to move on to week 3 and didn't want to cheat so decided to take a step back and repeat the weeks to build up my strength. It worked and I did week 1 very easily, but then life somehow got in the way and I didn't do any more. All the same I completed 130 pushups in June. I don't want to come across as smug, because there are people out there able to do a lot more than this, but I'm still pretty chuffed! Also, I'm getting some muscle definition in my back and arms and losing a bit of the fat in that area.
Life somehow got in the way and I've just completed week 3. My situps are strong, fluid and with good form. It hasn't been easy, but I feel confident I can work through the programme without having to repeat weeks. I think I can see a bit more muscle definition on my belly as well, although this could be due to weightloss. I completed a total of 631 situps in June.
  • No alcohol till me 10k run 
 I didn't drink at all until last Thursday, when I had a glass of wine. Then a few more wines and beers over the weekend at my parents, then another glass or two with a friend on Wednesday. This may be why I failed to lose 4lb this month...

 My goals for July are going to be very similar.
  • Lose 4lb
  • Do weeks 2 and 3 of the 100 pushups programme twice
  • Do weeks 4-6 of the 200 situps programme
  • Do not skip a training session. NOT EVEN INTERVALS.
  • Complete the Great North 10k in under an hour
  • No alcohol until the Great North 10k

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


On Sunday morning I went for an easy 45 minutes active recovery run. I headed down a disused railway track near my parents' house in a rural village. It was hot, I toddled along passing dog walkers and families on bicycles. Just as I was coming off the railway track at the end and turning down the main road to the close where they live I spotted a sheep trotting down the road in front of me and slowing the cars down. It looked like one of this year's lambs and had obviously squeezed out of the field where it lived. I shepherded it down the close, into a neighbours' garden (I was aiming for mum and dad's) where it ate their veg patch for a bit then my dad and partner managed to somehow scare it into another neighbour's garden while I went for a shower.

We stood there looking at it, when the neighbour drove up and asked if we'd like to put it in her field. We had no idea, but the week before they had asked to buy partof the field adjacent to their house. The farmer had said no because he was seeking planning permission for it, but allowed them to fence a bit of it off. So we popped the sheep in there and eventually the neighbour found out which farm it had come from and it was taken home by the farmer.

Distance: 4.05 miles
Time: 55:11
Avg Pace: 10:29

Friday, 24 June 2011

Carmen - Overture

I procrastinated loads before today's run. I'm off work at the moment, which is why I was able to procrastinate loads before 4pm. I think it was because I needed to take my car to the garage to fill it up, hoover it and possibly put it through the car wash so putting off my run was a way of putting off doing that because I couldn't possibly sort my car out before I went for a run. Let me explain: I have a car, however I have an irrational fear of garages. Everyone's in a rush at the because seriously who wants to take their time when they are only stopping off on the way to somewhere else they want to or have to be? So I get stressed about messing it up somehow and delaying people. I'm terrified I'll accidentally put diesel in my car instead of petrol - even though I'm pretty sure this is impossible nowadays because they have different nozzles or something. I'm also scared I'll accidentally drive into a bollard or a pump.  I guess since I'm a new driver I'm just scared that somehow, somewhere, I am going to fuck it up for me and everyone else and someone will yell at me for it.

So delaying going for a run meant I could delay going to the garage.

So I sat around. Then I rang Mr Scientist to ask him how much it costs to vacuum your car out at the garage, because somehow it made me feel better. His answer, "I didn't know you could do that." Then I rang dad since we're visiting this weekend to tell him what time we'd be arriving and asked him if I needed to take my aerial off if I put the car through a car wash. His answer, "Maybe, why don't we jetwash it with my jetwash when you get here?" Dad bought a jetwash a while back. He loves it. It's like a grandchild to him. He's jetwashed his and mum's car many times. He's jetwashed the path and the patio. Like the Daily Mail's never-ending quest to split the world into things that either cause or cure cancer, world is now split into things you can jetwash, and things you can't. Then I cleaned the inside of my car and sat around some more.

Then I womanned up, got in my car and drove it to the garage and filled it up and put it through the car wash.

After that I still didn't want to go for a run. So I got into my running stuff, sat around a bit more, then went.

4 miles through the housing estate and onto the old railway line. I had a wind at my back on the way out and was running into the wind on the way home. We had a torrential downpour yesterday so I was splashing through the odd muddy puddle as well. It felt wonderful, like I was a proper runner and everything. My tummy ache turned into proper cramps that I had to stop for 3 times, and on the last 3/4 miles I was really flagging... until the overture from Carmen came on.


Lesson from today's run: Just get off your bum and do it. Everyone else does it. It's not scary or difficult. It's just life, so get on with it and stop worrying.

What things do you do to procrastinate? Do you use exercise to procrastinate, or do you procrastinate before exercise.?

4 Miles 34:29
Total time: 35:31
Avg Pace: 08:27

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

I heard cathedral bells tripping down the alleyways


I went for a run on Monday night. I turned out of the block of flats, down the main road, through the retail estate, down the single-lane track the leads down the steep sides of the lush hill with a view across miles more of valleys and woods, into town, along the streets crowded with students and runners, across the bridge and up to where the cathedral resides. There I remembered For Emily Whenever I May Find Her, which is a lovesong of heartfelt gratitude, and the line about hearing cathedral bells tripping down the alleyways.

I headed back for the river bank and the languid waters with students floating in rubber tubes and rowers and deep green trees overhead. There I stopped and began to walk, tired and melancholy. I followed the river around and under bridges until I reached the road that leads up into the hill on which the suburb I live in sits.

I reached my block of flats, worn out, my mind calm.

This is why I run, I told myself.

Right now I should go for a run. I skipped on a gym session after realising I'd forgotten my sportsbra, a vital piece of equipment any woman would agree. I've eaten too much today having never felt full, I feel weepy and melancholy. It's dusk and I'm seized with that feeling I used to get dusk when I was a child when I just wanted to get out there and run and run following the path along the rugged coast near where I grew up until I reached Lindisfarne or Scotland or somewhere far away.

But right now it's getting dark and from my window I think can see another rain storm sweeping across the rooftops and treetops towards me.

I can run tomorrow, it's ok.