Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Play Misty for me

Without wanting to sound like the opening line of a Blues standard...

I woke up this morning (da dah Dah dum), pottered about a bit to get my bearings and come to fully, dragged on my running gear - long sleeved wicking shirt, t-shirt & sweatshirt as an outer, sweat pants, gloves and hat. I stepped out into a misty, chilly - but not really cold, morning.

I wasn't too sure how I'd fare after my adventures with RRR and shin splints last week, but set off determined to give it a go.

After my 1/2 mile or so brisk walk as a warm up I set off at a comfortable pace, not concentrating too much on keeping my pace down, just going at what was comfortable and sustainable. By the time I had covered about 1K my shins were beginning to remind me that they were there at which point I dropped my pace a little.

Over the next 1K, I had to slow down to a walk a couple of times and experimented with pace and stride until I found a combination that although I was in a little discomfort wasn't getting any worse.

Once I'd settled on this pace, I was able to keep it up for the final 1K of my route, I found this comfortable in both the legs and breathing. My stride was approximately 1/2 -3/4 of my normal walking one, but the pace was approx 1.5 times higher.

All that remains is for me to start and continue at this pace and see how my shins react. It's not a record breaking pace, but over time I will be able to gently increase my it and stride as my legs become stronger and used to the work involved.

After completing my 3K run I did the same walk to cool down, and returned home to do my stretches in the warmth and light.

Only a 12 days until the fun run! Reading Roadrunners thingie tomorrow night, maybe another 3K on Thursday morning and then again Sunday.

Next Tuesday - depending upon how I fare this week, I will push my distance up to 4K.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

In other news

I weighed myself this afternoon - when I got up, I have lost a whole 1/4 pound since the last time I weighed myself.

I didn't run today, partly because...well totally because I didn't get up 'til this afternoon, I had a few drinks last night, possibly one too many :D

I am Santa

Number 98.

My Santa outfit and number were delivered today for the Marlow fun run in which I am entered.

It's already in the car - that way I won't forget it on the day.

Thursday, 15 November 2007


Shin Splint Info

This site has all the information on it that it took me several sites to gather, well worth a look.


Things I have learned

If I intend to keep up running I must quit smoking.

If I intend to keep losing weight I must stop eating crap.

I must get into a routine of taking on sufficient nutrition/energy to get me through a workout without feeling weak.

I must go at my own pace. I cannot allow myself to push my body in an attempt to keep up with others when they are obviously beyond my current stage of ability.

I mustn't push myself to the point of injury.

Shin Splints

Since last night I have read up a little on shin splints, exactly what they are, what causes them and how to get over them.

A useful explanation can be found on the sweatshop.co.uk website here. I will be following the advice on the page ( and others similar)

I will keep my running tempo down for a while to see if that helps and if not will consult my doctor. I am also likely to try shin supports, but as a last resort - they are not cheap...and I am.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Reading Roadrunners

Today was the day. After two aborted attempts to get my assessment/H&S/general info & rules session, I finally made it. In fact I was 35 minutes early! Partly because I left home with 75 minutes to make it there. I took one look at the traffic and decided that my best course of action would be to not take the Ring Road.

The car park was empty when I arrived, I parked up, opened the door and stepped out, after being in the car with the heater on for half an hour it was quite a shock to step out into the cold, to see my breath. I grabbed the beanie off the back seat and cursed myself for not bringing my gloves and headed off to the track. Upon arriving I contacted Jumile to ensure he was coming - there was no way I was going to go through tonight without him suffering too. Once I'd spoken to him briefly I introduced myself to the welcoming committee who passed me on to Tom ( I think that was his name) who showed me the facilities. Once we'd done the tour I left my car keys with the welcoming committee, filled my water bottle and headed out to the track.

The 400M track looked a helluva lot bigger tonight when I knew I was going to be running around it than it did a few weeks ago when I arrived (very) late for my induction thing. As the number of people grew, a quick scan showed I was the only person there of my shape. Jumile turned up a couple of minutes later and shortly before a brief news update, after which we split up into groups, I was one of a handful of people - 6 0r 8 excluding myself, there for the first time and we were led off together. The first order of business was a quick explanation of the lane layout, usage policy and track etiquette.

There were a number of groups of runners undergoing coaching at different levels or monitored running. There were also a number of people just running.

Our first objective was a 1/2 lap, which I think was as much to get us out of the way of other groups as anything else. Once there we stepped off the track onto the cycle track which rings the running lanes. We we taken through a few simple stretches and after a brief run down of what lay ahead of us, we were taken for a single circuit of the track to be carried out at our own pace. I set off in the middle of the group, was a little slower than the others but wasn't going to be forced into running faster than I felt comfortable with.

After arriving back, we gathered round to have explained to us exactly what we'd be doing next.It's hard to explain. We had to a series of 'odd' running styles, which exercised particular muscles more than the others, we ran maybe 50yds each time at a slowish pace, looped back did it again and then shifted focus to another muscle. After doing this six times it was all pulled together, running with a combination of all of the previous exercises, this time however we were to run a bit further and accelerate up to our maximum and slow down gently.

After a couple of minute break to get our breath back, we ran 1/2 lap back to the main stand/starting point.

By this time I was starting to develop pain in my shins, I knew what it was - shin splints, I have experienced them on and off since starting running again. I attempted the next exercise, which was slow pace round the curves, raised pace on the straights for two laps. After half a lap - at the end of the first fast pace 100M the pain in my shins was growing. I think what brought it on was the fact that I had been running faster tonight than I have done in years - many years. I sat out the rest of the session, I am not in this to injure myself and had a word with the coach afterwards. It was suggested that I for the next few weeks run at my own speed to build up my leg muscles. rather than try to mix it with the coaching groups.

While the balance of the group was running the last few laps of the evening, I did my stretches and then headed home after having a quick word with Jumile.

Something I learned last night

While at the gym last night I discovered that it is best not to use the Leg Press when suffering from gas.

That is all...

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Catching up...

Saturday dawned, another trip to the gym was in prospect.

Off I trotted, did my routine as laid out in the program drawn up for me. This consists of work on four cardio machines, six weight machines and a little mat work.

I've been at this for about ten weeks now, and I have found each trip to be a little easier than the last. I have been tempted to push myself further to reach the same heart rate that I experienced the first few visits, I know that this is daft as this could lead to injury, but have once or twice succumbed to it.

I must admit that I have been more enthusiastic about gym work than road work. There are several reasons for this, not least that my bed is warm and dry at 6.30am and the streets are not. Another reason is that several weeks ago, I experienced my first attack - if that is the right word, of cervical spondylosis, this led to very frequent electrical impulses down my arms and occasionally to my feet. I took about a week off all training until I had a chance to see a doctor and get a diagnosis and treatment. After this I found it easier to get back into gym work than running. I am getting there though and tomorrow night brings my first visit and assessment/induction at Reading Roadrunners. I was supposed to attend two weeks ago, and then last week, but work got in the way.

With under a month until the 5K fun run that I have signed up for, I need to get more serious about my road work.

In a normal week I will visit the gym three times, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday morning, run three times, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings, shoot twice (yeah right!) Monday and Friday evenings and potentially visit RRR on a Wednesday.

I went to the gym on Saturday - yay!, ran Sunday - yay!, overslept Tuesday morning - boo! and went to the gym tonight - yay! again. In an attempt to ensure I can make it to RRR tomorrow, I have taken the afternoon off work and will be there for the 6.30 assessment come what may. I know Jumile took advice from his assessor regarding his regime and has opted out of one of the gym visits, and I will probably do the same if it is felt I am pushing too hard.

We both have a re-assessment at the gym on Saturday morning, it will allow me to gauge my progress and have my program changed a little - I have always had problems with my lower back, I'd like to see if anything can be done to strengthen this without losing my focus which is to tone the muscles used for archery.

As far as the road work is concerned I am currently doing 3K, I have seen an improvement recently, in that I am able to run/walk my 3K in about 20-25 minutes, and have noticed that my first and last kilometre are done at a higher pace. I am not going to force myself to run faster over the 1-2 kilometre stage, this will come naturally as I become accustomed to running again.

I have the rest of my life, I don't need to achieve everything in the next three weeks, or die trying.

Anyway...time I was away, sorry if I bored you.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Making plans for Nigel.....

When I set out on my fitness campaign I had some stated goals. These have been added to over the weeks.

Firstly, my short term goal to get back to the shape, size and weight I was when I got Married 7 years ago. To be honest I don't know what weight I was, but I know what size trousers I wore, that will be a good enough indicator. Depending upon brand, I could fit into a 40/42" trouser. Levis for example were the larger, more 'budget' brands were the smaller.

My medium/long term goal was to get back into the same size trouser I was wearing in my mid 20's...a 36" waist. I promise you however, I won't wear the same fashion 'statements' I did in the late 80's/early 90's.

My long term goal is to stay there. Not to let my love of food damage my health.

I have thrown a few more things into the mix now.

I and my co-masochist decided to enter the Green Park Challenge - a 3K run in Reading in March....they have my money now. Then to enter the Reading 1/2 marathon 2009. Incidentally, we have also entered a 5K fun-run in December...I think we may have these the wrong way round :D.

When I get to a set weight, I will take up snowboarding. Something I did a year or so before I got married, promised myself I'd do again and never did. Then one night I was outside the local ice-rink/dry ski slope.

I will give up smoking, and save the money towards a snowboarding holiday. I gave up once before and frittered the extra money away, not again. If I find that I can't get on with snowboarding, then I will have laser eye surgery.

Now I ought to go to bed. I have to be at the gym in a few hours....

Friday, 9 November 2007

The story so far....part 2

About a year ago, my GP diagnosed me with high blood pressure, and put me on tabs of some sort. At the time he asked if I took part in sport of any kind and I mentioned archery, he dismissed that, only really interested in 'active sports'. A few months later he put me on ADs.

The blood pressure pills worked to a degree, the ADs to a lesser degree.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I found bits of me moving that shouldn't, I took the decision to get myself into shape.

I contacted a friend of mine who had said he wanted to get into better shape too. We decided to contact a local gym with a view to joining up and attending a couple of nights a week. There were two main aims, to get fitter and to build up the muscles we use for archery. The object of this was to act as nags for each other, to give support where needed, shout at if required and swap "when I was running this morning" stories with. His blog can be found here.

I invested in a decent pair of running shoes*, a Nike+ device to help chart my progress - distance run, time taken etc, a second hand polar HRM and gloves. I've also bought myself a bike, assembled it myself and not used the damned thing once...but the plan is to use it to cycle to the gym, to work, shopping, in fact as often as possible.

* I took advice from my local running specialist on which shoes to buy. After watching me walk/stand in bare feet, they gave me a choice of 3 shoes for the over pronator, I took the New Balances, because they were a better fit.

Since then we've visited the gym 2-3 times a week, and have taken up running in the mornings 2-3 times a week. To be fair he has run more often than me, but I am starting to take that more seriously.

Things I have noticed since starting this..

I have lost a little weight - not much, about 8lb, a lot of this was in the first couple of weeks, since then it has levelled off.

My clothes are looser, I have (seem to have lost) about 3-4" from my waist.

My breathing is easier, I used to end up breathing heavily after climbing to the 3rd floor of the office.

My blood pressure has dropped considerably.

I am generally happier...and feel better about myself.

I have ridden the bus to work once since starting, and only then because I had some heavy stuff to bring home. Rain, shine or cold has not stopped me...that's what I have umbrellas and coats for.

If only I could give up smoking, things might improve more. I was close a few weeks back. I must set a date and stick to it.

There are other things I need to change in my life, maybe I'll get into those in another post.

Monday, 5 November 2007

The story so far....part 1

A few weeks back, months now to be honest, I was running for the bus I could see down the street. I became aware that there were parts of me moving that really shouldn't have been. By the time I got to the bus stop, I could barely speak I was so out of breath.

I knew I wasn't in the best of shape, I'd have been stupid not to realise that. I've never been thin, well not since I was very young. My adolescence was a period when I grew outwards more than upwards. Ispent many years sharing diets with my mother and sister. My mother and I always found it hard to lose weight, my sister not so due to her reliance upon nipping to the bathroom straight after eating.

Then came uni and my discover of both alcohol in vast quantities and toast and noodles. For a couple of years I lived on a diet of both, the latter so I could afford the former. During this period I was quite active, cycling to/from lectures, playing football on a Sunday in the local league and using the gym (free of charge) in the YMCA where I lived and worked (for beer money/free rent).

During this period, I was able to fit into 36" waist trousers - which while not small were about average, and medium/large shirts.

My diet finally got the better of me, I found that I was skipping lectures to recover from the night before, at the worst times I was drinking in excess of a gallon of beer per night. I was now no longer in 36" waist trousers, I was closer to 40", had lost my place at Uni and was working full time at the YMCA.

After a couple of years I moved home from Uni and enrolled at another Uni to continue my studies, this time I lived with my parents so I didn't do the same thing. This time I was more successful, only dropping out when I realised that I really didn't like the subject I was studying. During the time I was there, I was working part time in a camera shop, Saturdays/holidays. I took a full time job there and remained for several years...about 5.

I moved on to a career in IT, where customer attitudes towards me were barely better...but I was now in a job where I was sat down for 8-9 hrs a day.

Shortly afterwards I got married, my weight has been increasing gradually over the last 7 years.

A brief statement

This may or may not be a long term venture. I tend to lose interest fairly quickly, I've had accounts at several journal sites, been very 'into' them for a while then slowly the interest faded and the journal/blog stagnated.

So don't be surprised if the same happens here.