Archive for Damian

More running – more sore legs

Ibuleve Maximum Strength. I recommend it.

To clarify the title – I don’t mean that I’ve grown another leg or anything. It’s just that ‘The Pain’ (a generalised leg ache after the daily run) has yet to subside. Looking at Andy’s recent posts, I’m not sure that the pain ever goes away – it’s just deferred until the next day!

Broke my 5k PB on Monday Night – 5.41km in 24:30. I’m not convinced if this really equates to 22:38 for the 5k but they seem to think so here. I blame a very dodgy route with subway and tower block sections – I’m sure it added on half a km or so overall, as for a while my 305 read 0.00 as the pace.

I had to prove it to myself, so Wednesday saw me push it a bit again, only to find it tough around the second part of my usual 5k route. Finished in 24:27 which I’m still very happy with. This is a minute and a half off my best efforts two weeks ago. Of course I won’t be improving at this pace forever, but it’s nice to see SportTracks telling me I’m running now, not jogging!

Really looking forward to the Bupa London 10k on Monday (and trying to ignore the Donkey Kong style horror stories from Andy!) They reckon here that 50:58 is the time I should aim for. Can you tell I like messing around with running calculators? We’ll see if that time is really achievable – I’d be happy with 55:00!

242 down, 853 to go…

I’ve begun reading again the first few posts on this blog by both Andy and James to eke out some inspiration for a very silly run-every-day thing that I’ve been doing for the last week or so. I’d recommend you do the same – the first few posts really are an insight into just how easy it is to fall into something that ends up taking over your life! (Start reading here for Andy’s posts and here for James’)

A bit of background for those who haven’t been paying attention: I started running in April of 2010. It’s been a tough, tough journey from then to now. I’ve been plagued with ankle injuries, tendonitis and knee pain – but I’ve covered all of that before and can’t/won’t rehash the misery of not being able to run!

It all boils down to the fact that I’m a regular runner now – at least 2-3 times a week, always at least 5km.

Andy convinced me to run 1095 miles in a year. How have I done so far? Very poorly indeed. The breakdown is depressing reading:

November – 54.01km
December – 14.9km
January – 44.39km
February – 54.86km

A reminder that I need to run around 140km/month to even get near 1095 miles.

It doesn’t get much better than that I’m afraid. Only March has been a step in the right direction with 102km. But even then, that was only achieved because of the marathon in Brighton.

Tallying up all the runs since the start of my challenge on 2nd November last year, I’m quickly coming to the conclusion that 1095 for the year is going to be very tough. I’ve only run 390km so far. That’s 1373 short of the magic 1763.

So. The only thing to do is to start running every day. It’s the only hope I have if I’m going to break 1095km let alone 1095miles. I’m a week in, aching (and moaning about it!) as usual and ecstatic that I’m finally giving it a bash. Just don’t mention that I almost need to run 10km a day to make up for lost time!

I’ll be blogging more regularly from now on so keep an eye out for my posts!

Andy’s 15 minutes (or 5 seconds) of fame!

Quick video of Andy running the Manchester 10k. See if you can spot him… (Apologies in advance for the out of sync audio – you can blame the BBC for that!)

I ran a marathon dont’ya know!

Before I get to the meat of this post, I’d like to thank Andy for suggesting that I apply for this event back in May 2010. Without his sheer determination (and me slipstreaming him on an awful lot of runs) there would have been no way I’d even be 10% of the way toward a marathon.

I’ve attempted motorcycle accidents, stepping awkwardly off curbs and generally cheaping out on equipment in a vain attempt to sabotage my chances of running this event.

So if you’ve been waiting on a promised punchline to the joke that is my running career, you can find it at the end of this post, along with the Garmin map of a successful marathon run on Sunday.

Did you hear that? I ran a bloody marathon! Now that I’m in the top 0.1% of the population, I think its time I hung up the Silver Shadows and graduated onto something at least £5 more expensive. So I’ve placed an order for these:

I cannot wait the 72hrs until they arrive.

The Marathon
Enough boring post marathon stuff though, how was the race? I have to admit I am sorely disappointed with the time it took me to complete the course. A chip time of 5:22 puts me almost two hours behind Andy. I didn’t imagine for a second that I was that far behind in terms of fitness, but my eyes are now wide open.

Around 15m after the gun I crossed the start and for at least the first 22k I kept exactly to a 4:30 full race time pace. That worked out to around 9kph – a very fair pace for me, and around 10% slower than my trained to race pace. I thought that this would be sustainable for a lot longer but coming down into Brighton from the Marina, I stopped to use the toilet. As soon as I started again, I was done for.

The heat seemed twice as bad as it had been. This made no sense. I was running downhill into town and yet I was finding it extremely tough. It seemed like there was no breeze at all and the sweat was pouring off my brow. I’d run further than this before (with comfort breaks) so this was tough for me to understand. At the next water stop I poured most of a bottle on my back – anything to cool off and keep the pace up. It felt impossible, and I shamefully slowed to a walk. A cramp very quickly took hold in my right thigh and from then on I was done for.

I alternated jogging and walking for the rest of the route, but the pace was totally off, bringing the average right down to 7.5kph. Useless. I beat myself up for the remainder of the race, really disappointed that I didn’t run the entire distance. I did run for the vast majority of the back stretch though, crossing the line at 5:36 or around 5:14 by the Garmin.

Feet were dipped straight into the sea for a simulated ice bath (thanks for the tip, Andy!) and a bit of a sunbathe on the beach capped off my post-race experience. Lovely! You won’t get that in London!

Overall I think it went okay, but I’m really determined now to train properly and prove that I am a runner after all. I did run further than I ever have – Sporttracks reckons around 35km.

Straight onto the plan for the next one then! Once I’m fighting fit I’m starting on this and won’t be satisfied until I’m regularly breaking 1:50 for the half. I’ve got 6mo or so until my next marathon (probably Chester) but apart from training runs I’ve no other really long runs pencilled in.

This of course is except for a cheeky plan I have for the coming weekend – I might go for a little jog in Greenwich on Sunday morning!

To 30k… and beyond!

It was a long, tough run in Brighton on Saturday. I’d like to give over the final statistics, but I stupidly removed my Garmin GPS watch and left it at the entrance to the pier. Thankfully (here comes the faith in humanity bit!) it was handed in by some kind soul to the police – I shall have it back in the next week or so.

So. From memory, the whole 30k was completed in 3hr 29m. This puts me not too far off the 4hr 40m pace that I’d like to finish the marathon in. After all of Andy’s protestations that I should be avoiding hills, Brighton did turn out to be a fairly hilly course. Well, maybe hilly is a little strong, as there were only 3 over the whole 30k – undulating is probably more correct. I’ve mixed hills into my training schedule every week leading up to Saturday, and I’m sure this made all the difference.

Here is the TCX file for the course if you are interested to see just how uneven Brighton is.

The first 15k went by with no mishap – in fact I was very comfortable and the pleasant weather had an awful lot to do with it! I tried to suck down a couple of energy gels, but they made me feel very sick. The feeling was exactly the same as when I tried a few nibbles of a granola bar two weeks ago. This leaves me in a bit of a funny position as the marathon is not far away and I’ve yet to establish what I can eat to help prevent hitting the wall. The hills around Ovingdean were long but not as steep as I’d expected, and they finish up with a nice long downhill stretch. This led to a moment of madness, and a foolish quick(er!) 2.5k along the seafront.

For most of the middle 10k I had headphones in, but as soon as I sped up I started to sweat and they fell out of my ears. This was to be the beginning of the end – my first real taste of how tough the last stretch of the marathon will be.

Andy and I worked out that I needed to run 3.5k toward Shoreham and back again to finish the 30k. Conveniently, this would mean I finished up at the pier. Almost as soon as I started into this 7k final stretch I ran out of energy and my pace dropped from 10k/h to around 8.5k/h. It was hot and sipping water did not help. I felt nauseous. My right foot started to hurt quite badly. Sweat stung my face.

I gritted my teeth and plodded on. I looked at my watch every 50m willing the numbers toward 30k. Every 250m was a victory. Every 500 a triumph. Every km a devastating blow to the creeping thoughts that I might not make it.

But I did. I battled through and completed the 30k I’d aimed to do (ignoring Andy’s attempts to get me to run 200m more for a ‘true’ 19m – stuff imperial measurements!!)

It’s only yesterday that I realised that my foot is bruised along the top. Other than that, I’ve no aches or pains to speak of.

I’m looking forward to a brisk 5k tomorrow for the half way point in this years 1095 mile challenge, and the marathon in 3 weeks.

This looks tempting though: it starts about the right time after Parkrun at Lloyd park, so I might gatecrash/bunk along!

It’s addictive this running lark!

It continues – the 15k and 20k runs

So the marathon training plods along – much like me as a runner! From the start I’ve aimed for 11m per mile, and the last two weekends have seen me keep that pace pretty much on the button for 9 miles (on the 26th of Feb):

and 14 miles (on the 5th of March):

Don’t forget these are on top of the 2.5k to Llloyd Park, and the 5k for Parkrun!!!

Both runs were the longest of 2011 for me, and the 14 miler was the longest I have ever ran. Thankfully, my legs didn’t give way and the only injury sustained on both occasions was some chafing to thighs and nipples. Bought a little pot of Vaseline a little too late on Saturday – I must remember to really slather it on next time otherwise the marathon will be hell. But a little bleeding never hurt anyone – right?!

Andy keeps telling me to avoid hills as they only tire you out. Then almost immediately reminds me that the first half of the Brighton Marathon is all hills! I’ve been mixing in a few slight inclines with some steep ones just to get my legs used to up and down, but the numb feet problem that I’ve always suffered with is an absolute killer on the hilly stretches.

Perhaps the new pair of Silver Shadows (hey, big spender!) will help? They are a half size bigger in the hope that my nails won’t blacken and fall off on race day.

Next Saturday sees the distance rise to 17 miles – again I’ll be running to Lloyd Park in Croydon, completing the parkrun, then will continue on for another 14 or so. The route I’ve planned is here. Both Gravel Hill and Crystal Palace Park Road are steep hills that are rewarded with a long downhill stretch afterward.

I’m actually really looking forward to it. The marathon beckons and I’m running full tilt toward it!

So it begins… (well, sort of!)

I should start this post by apologising for not writing a single jot (save for a few reviews) since I started the 1095 miles challenge. I’ve been running irregularly since the start, working in some long runs with some sadly occasional 5k ones.

So how far along into the challenge am I? It turns out not nearly far enough. The challenge calls for 91m monthly to reach the target. I’ve run 95 since I started. In November. Crap. So what about the rest of the year? Have I got a hope in hell of finishing the challenge? March calls for 100m alone in preparation for the Brighton marathon, and April is even further with 109m. After that, I’ll have another 790 odd miles to cover in six months. 131 miles a month? No problem! :/

I’m recovering today from two 10k runs in a row on Sunday and yesterday – my calves ache and stairs are nigh on impossible.

Enough whinging though – what about the next few weeks runs?

The Brighton marathon looms. It’s my first and I thought I’d be way behind on the training schedule. Looking here though, it doesn’t look that bad.

I’ve put together my training plan for the marathon based loosely on the Runners World ‘Get You Round’ plan. It’s sparse, but if you’re interested you can download it here.

I’ll have to see how I cope with the weekly ramping in distance, and if I’ll need to skip a couple of the runs to give myself a rest.

One or two more posts in the meantime to follow to let you know how I’m getting on!

If I can do it – anyone can!

Karrimor Wind Jacket

Ease of use
Value for money

As anyone who knows me will tell, I can be extremely frugal shall we say when it comes to making a first purchase. I like to buy cheap the first time, expensive the next. I have been pleasantly surprised with the Karrimor Wind Jacket however, as it has remained in good condition for more than six months without any problems whatsoever.

The jacket is made of a very thin nylon shell (in fact the jacket is 100% nylon according to the label) that provides good protection against the wind, but little against the rain. The cuffs of the jacket have velcro strap adjusters which are a little fiddly but allow the cuffs to be tightened.

It’s hard to justify wearing a jacket like this except for on the coldest of days as within a few minutes of running the sweat will quickly collect within the jacket. It is completely unbreathable. Otherwise, it is extremely comfortable and very lightweight. It ‘compresses’ well for storage in a bag – the velcro cuff straps come in useful to keep it in the small shape.

I’ve mentioned the lack of protection from the rain, and this is perhaps doubly underlined by the jackets lack of a hood. I have worn it in light rain quite a few times and it leaks quickly around the collar and through the front zip. On really wet days, you’d be better off without it!

There are three small zipped pockets on the front of the jacket with one at chest height which I have used for an ipod/iphone with some success – the pocket is large enough but the ipod does bounce around somewhat.

I’ve worn the jacket while cycling and running and have been thoroughly impresses with how it has held up. As a windbreaker it is ideal.

The lack of rain protection lets the jacket down quite a lot – with some small modifications the jacket would be much more usable. Adding a simple flap of material over the inside of the zip can’t be that hard can it? As a result I can’t justify four stars for the jacket.

I bought the jacket from SportsDirect for the very reasonable price of £19.99 – they are still available at this price in a number of colours here.

Hi-Tec Silver Shadow Original


If there is one thing you can guarantee, its that when buying kit I’m looking at the price first and foremost. I ran my couch to 5k in a pair of Adidas running shoes that were about 6 years old with the sole close to wearing through. So when Andy said I should buy a new pair of shoes to run in – there was no real alternative to dad’s favourite the Hi-Tec Silver Shadow.

I’ve owned this pair for about two months now. Apart from a tough few runs breaking them in (the backs caused some blistering, the arches felt very prominent) they are fantastic at just ‘being there’ and allowing me to concentrate on the run, not my running shoe. The only discomfort I have suffered was in the form of numbness. This has always been remedied by re-tying the laces. Completely my fault though – I generally slip the shoes on and off without touching the laces, so they eventually loosen.

Hi-Tec list the following features for the Silver Shadows:

  • Combination leather/nylon upper for support
  • Multi-density cushioned midsole
  • Heel counter for additional support
  • Carbon rubber outsole

I think that they sell the shoe a little short. They should also note that they are supplied with free laces, and a stylish blue cardboard box for storage of paperwork etc. In all seriousness, these are a no-frills shoe at an extremely no-frills price.

I would certainly reccomend this shoe to anyone starting out with running, even if it is as a stepping stone to more ‘structured’ footwear – I have yet to take the plunge upmarket and don’t intend to!

Hi-Tec Silver Shadow running shoes are available from discount sports suppliers such as priced at around £20.99.