Friday, 20 February 2009


one of the problems of having to wear smart work shoes by day, and relying on my trainers to get me round crazy distances, is that it is hard finding work shoes that fit.

for years i was exactly a size 10, and could get any shoes, and say "size 10 - they'll be fine - try them on you say? well i want to make sure you have made them right - i know my feet are a size 10, so if they don't fit it must be something to do with your poor cobblership"

you know how mars bars aren't as big as they used to be? so they can avoid putting the price up all the time, they just shave a gram off here and there and keep the price constant. (allegedly). Marks and Spencers have started charging more for larger bras as they cost more to make. understandable.

i have a feeling a similar thing is happening with shoes. my last two pairs of work shoes have been size 9 and a half. half sizes are awfully fashionable at the moment it seems, and i tried the size 10 and my feet rattled around.

what i suspect is that my feet have been downsized as part of the reaction to the economic downturn. (they can't be making shoes bigger - that would be crazy).

if you look at big fat people on uk living or channel five's "the man who had to be hoisted out of his house using a crane" you'll see their feet are a relatively normal size. it is impossible to have fat feet - certainly the bit of the foot that actually get walked on, occasionally you'll see a strap digging into the top bit of the foot...

I've lost 3 stone in the course of my running career, but none of that excess weight was ever on my feet.

the result of course has been that my work shoes aren't quite the snug fit they used to be. even though they are a smaller size, they still aren't quite right - one pair pinches the sole slightly, and the other is too harsh at the ankle.

this has left a strange incompatibility between my feet, which seem to be attempting to adjust to the bizarre dimensions of M&S and Clarke's shoes, and my trainers (which are still a size 10, and still seem to fit perfectly).

9 miles into my planned 12 miles home last night (office to westminster to london bridge to home - lots of tourist dodging up and down the thames path) i started getting pains in my feet, along with a more normal headache (too much coffee and screen time) . the feet were hurting while i walked to help out the head, and the head was hurting while i run to help out the feet.

as a result of this catch 22, i took a slight shortcut on the northern line, and ended up doing 10 miles instead of 12. i have a couple of days off the running now, but i'm hopefully doing a long bike ride tomorrow (proving to my friend Kev that even though i have a carbon fibre bike, he's still MUCH faster than me.)

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

quick update

Yes - I did the speed session yesterday - it felt pretty good, and I'm putting 6 miles down on my (sad and lonely) spreadsheet.

Tonight I'm eating loads and drinking more, as my free evenings are precious!

Sorry this one isn't very interesting - I'm at work and very busy, but didn't want to let you down. I might still get round to reviewing the (rather good) Lily Allen album, although my attentions have been drawn recently to the (also rather good) Morrissey album.

Catch you soon.

Monday, 16 February 2009

First 20 miler - done.

My time in yesterday's 20 mile race was nothing to write home about - it was all I could manage to keep moving by about 17 miles in, and only the Reading Roadrunner behind me, who kept shouting at me every time i slowed to a walk (and sprinted past me at the line!) kept me going at all.

of course - this was never going to be a PB - coming off an 11 mile week (laziness) then a 5 mile week (snow and illness) and then doing a 9, a 4 and then the 20, I'm very much getting up to distance.

the big test will be as follows.

will i do the speed session tomorrow? (my legs are feeling ok today, but i suspect they'll get worse) - the answer is yes I will - Lisa will see to that - and we have Kit to sell!

Will I run home on thursday? - yes! i'll tell everyone in the office, and (I'll make myself believe that) they'll laugh if I chicken out. I might even put in an extra loop and make it up to 15 miles or so. (you never know)

Then i'll be able to do a social 7 miler with the club on sunday, and maybe have a long bike ride on saturday, and all will be well with my training.

Sorry this blog is getting quite running focussed - it is starting to take over my life at the moment - I'll try and review the lily allen album tomorrow as some light relief.

Thursday, 12 February 2009


Looks like I'm giving myself a focus.

London Duathlon - Entered

I did it last year on no training and a hybrid bike without a top gear in trainers. I fell off the bike and limped home, bleeding - finishing with the wheezy kids and the old and infirm. If i can't improve my PB this year following training, on my Carbon Fibre monster of a bike weighing in at only 8kg) and with the full knowledge of what that hill will do for ones ability to brake at the bottom, then there is something wrong with me (of course there is plenty wrong with me, you don't need to tell me that, but nothing that will stop me threatening lisa in the duathlon)

Swanage Triathlon - Considering.

I need to do some research, as it could be as hilly as a hilly thing, but with people usually doing 750m swims in less than 30 minutes (and as quick as 15) i'll need to improve on the 500m in 25 minutes i did in the pool on monday. I have plenty of time to do so, and i can swim without affecting other training too much. Cycling to work more often (i.e. at all) will improve my biking, and after the marathon in the spring, I quite fancy trying to improve my shorter (5-10k) runs.

I think i'm talking myself into it - i'll need a wetsuit though - and to practice my swimming in the sea too!

Its all scary...

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Much Happier

my self analysing in the blog entry of a few days ago seems to have done the trick, and got my mind in the right place.

yesterdays 9 miler felt good, and i actually thought that i could have carried on (with a gun to my head, i might have got to the 20 mile mark that i'll be attempting on sunday)

Speed session tomorrow in the park - should be fun (although i think they are shooting the deer at the moment so it may well be closed and we'll be running the streets...)

I'm having tonight off - although i ought to be doing something to counteract the meatball sub i had for lunch!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Feeling good

I've been sneezing all morning, it is raining outside, and the forecast is for "sleet" but i feel brilliant.

Tonight i'm running home - and nothing will stop me. i have my waterproof top, my gloves, and my headband, and its only 9 miles.

The main motivation for me running home though is my new work shoes. running 9 miles in my nice comfy trainers is childs play compared to walking for 10 minutes to the tube, and 10 minutes at the other end. they are cutting into my ankles something chronic.

as you'll have seen yesterday - it is all about the phsychology - make me think i'll enjoy the run, and i'll run. and i'll enjoy it.

how i'll get on with my 20 mile race on sunday is another matter - but one step at a time!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Training Update

You may have spotted on my new Twitter feed (bottom right) that I didn’t run home on Friday. Sometimes it is best to listen to your body, and all through the weekend I had that feeling that I might be about to go down with something – but then I’ve been feeling a bit like that since the beginning of December, when I had 2 days off work with flu, and I’ve been a bit coughy, and rather phlegmmy every since.

Usually I really enjoy running (in fact I really enjoy any physical activity) but my mind works in a strange way, and seems to think it enjoys sitting on the tube/playing computer games/watching MasterChef more. (one of those is true, but I also enjoy being gorgeous, and running is the only thing that keeps me from being an amorphous sofa bound blob, washing myself with a rag on a stick.).

So I scratched Friday’s run, and went home on the tube – as it often is when I should have run home, it was a hellish journey, and I didn’t get a seat until Stockwell. And then I had to elbow a pregnant pensioner aside to beat her to it – and it was one of those really solid fold down ones.

On Sunday morning – I felt pretty up for it – my mind was back in the right place, and I was looking forward to a bracing 11 miler. About 3 miles in, I was stopping to walk, feeling weird, and wheezing like an asthmatic with a really good idea in a 30’s comic.

Lisa took pity on me, and walked me back to the car. I drove home, while she got a proper run in by running home. I wasn’t happy.

Whenever things aren’t going my way in any of my chosen ventures, I start to reconsider my motivation for that venture. You can tell I’m having a terrible time at work, because I’ll go and buy a new synthesizer, in the mistaken belief that I’ll become a pop star instead. (I sold loads of these recently and bought a new TV – a 37inch LCD doesn’t give me delusions of musical talent).

When I’m having a bad time running (I have a marathon in 2 months, and my first 20 miler is on Sunday, and in the last 2 weeks I’ve run a total of twice, covering about 16 miles between those two runs – I’m calling it a rest period, but its not going to help my chances) I start to question my motives for running. I enjoy it (most of the time) but what am I going to achieve? Maybe I have really high standards, but will I one day look back at my running career and be pleased that I ran 4 marathons (yes – I’m already very proud of that) or will I be disappointed that after 5 years of running, I never progressed further than “mediocre” (this is what I’m worried about).

I don’t have the dedication to improve hugely, and even if I did – where would it get me? I don’t have an enormous desire to be “a better runner”, I just have a desire to be “fit and healthy and happy and beautiful” and I’m mostly there.

I took a year off the marathons (well – about 8 months off between finishing the last, and starting the training for the next) because I realised I was losing big chunks of my life to running. When you need to run 15-20 miles each weekend, its quite difficult to visit the family, go out with friends, or sit in front of a computer, or with a guitar on my lap being creative (which is actually the easiest thing to fit in around the running).

I went swimming at lunchtime today, and loved it - 500 metres in all manner of unidentifiable strokes in about 25 minutes. (I only have 2 gears in swimming – swimming and hanging onto the side of the pool panting. Technically there is another – drowning – but I’ve avoided that one so far)

I also bought myself a swanky new bike the other day, and had a great time being shown that all the lightweight carbon fibre in the world won’t make me faster than the wife when it comes to powering up the hills in Richmond Park!

I want to do a triathlon. It’s a goal – it impresses people (as much as having run marathons) and it is something I can do that Lisa can’t do (she can swim, but only in a splashing about trying to make sure her contact lenses don’t float away type way).

I’m hoping that by starting off as a mediocre runner, and adding the ability to cycle in a pretty mediocre way, as well as training really hard to be a mediocre swimmer, I will then become more than the mediocre sum of my mediocre parts, and become a passable triathlete.

All the way though – I’ll be making sure I enjoy all aspects of the training – keep healthy and happy and beautiful (beeeefcaaake!) and have plenty of time for being creative.

Friday, 6 February 2009

procrastinating about running

i have a cold. i'm supposed to be running (quite a lot) tonight. i'm torn between the need to get the mileage back up after the filthy weather we've had this week (which means i've not run since 11 miles on sunday, and that was my first run for a week).

i'm supposed to be doing about 16-18 miles this week, as a preparation for the 20 mile run on the 15th. that isn't going to happen.

i'm resigned to running home - which is 9 miles, and if i'm feeling ace i might do some detours, but 16 is not likley. i'm doing at least 11 on sunday (maybe a tiny bit more) and i've done one 16 and one 14 so far.

i'm more concerned that i'm going to make myself (more) ill by running in the cold. in fact - looking out the window, i'm trying to work out if it is raining. if it is raining i'll be on the tube.

i've just checked at the window. its not raining. i have no excuse. i'll run home, and wipe my nose on the back of my glove. i'm confident i'll enjoy it once i get out there - its been a horrible week, and the escape from the office with the cold wind in my (currently almost flowing) hair will be wonderful. can you see what i'm doing here? working psychology on myself. i'm almost fooled.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

been busy

I'm thinking about moving to smaller - shorter posts - if I think of something more substantial, I'll write it, but i'm finding it hard to find the time (and the inspiration) to get a good rant on.

Of course - I've also been very busy writing a novel. It is top secret, but I can tell you it currently has 18000 (very short) words, and far too much use of buts and ands, and i'm probably about half way through. thats all i'm telling you for now.

we've had loads of snow - so I was working from home yesterday and the day before. its affecting the marathon training - I'm supposed to be running home from work tonight, but it was so icy on the pavements back at my end of town, i'm not sure how far I'd get before fear of a broken ankle would force me to jump on the tube...