Tag Archive for Neil Cowburn

Day 37 – It’s getting cooler

I think it’s rained here everyday for the last couple of weeks and it’s definitely getting cooler. The air temperature was about 8°C but with the heavy, persistent rain, that feels a good 3° cooler. Pretty close to perfect for running, in my book! The rain eased about half way through, so the rain jacket came off and I finished in my base layer. I must say, I do love my base layer. It’s a long sleeve Merino wool base layer from Howies and I’ve worn it for pretty much every one of the runs in this challenge (I wash it regularly!). I’d have to say it’s favourite piece of sportswear that I own.

Today’s shoes: Green Salomon XA Pro 3Ds
Miles today: 3.14
Miles to date: 119.68
Miles to go: 975.32

Day 36 – Is that snow?

I could swear I saw snow tonight. Just a few flakes, but they were there. The glistened in my the light of my head torch like little feathery jewels. The way they moved suggested something other than very, very light rain. The wind was light, yet these sparkling droplets floated upwards. I’ve never seen a rain drop do that unless the wind was blowing strong. Floating along on a breeze with great abandon. Tantalising. Teasing. Pure serenity. It leaves me wanting more.

Today’s shoes: Salomon XA Pro’s
Miles today: 3.18
Miles to date: 116.54
Miles to go: 978.46

Day 35 – We the lucky many

I’ve not really been checking my weight often since I started this challenge, but I have noticed there are some changes in body shape happening. It’s all very welcome too. I usually weigh-in in a morning, before breakfast, but I chanced a weigh-in this evening. To my surprise, I’ve lost 4 kg in the last 35 days. I knew I’d lost a bit, but didn’t think it would be that much. Can’t complain!

It was very blustery again today. So much so that I got blown off the pavement and half way across the road by one particularly strong gust. Thankfully, it was a very low traffic road, even for these rural parts. It took a little why for the legs to settle in, but when they did, they felt better than they have in over a week.

A friend of mine with cystic fibrosis is on a short list for having a lung transparent and today she was whisked to hospital since a donor had been found. Sadly, it was not to be. It’s the second time this has happening in the as many weeks and it’s understandably emotionally taking it’s toll for my friend. The build up of hope for a better, more active life after the transparent and then the crushing disappointment when the docs determine things are just not right for my friend surely is one of the most heartbreaking situations to be in. I often think about her during my daily run and I’m acutely aware of just how lucky I am to have good health and to be able to take part in something like this challenge. Good health is a privilege and it’s down to each us to make the most of it each and every day. You just never know if or when you’ll lose that privilege.

Today’s shoes: Green Salomon XA Pro 3Ds
Miles today: 3.14
Miles to date: 113.36
Miles to go: 981.64

Day 34 – Blown away

I like Sundays. It’s pretty much the only day of the week were I can afford the time to unwind, recount the previous week and look to the next. I usually allow myself a little lie-in and have a lazy morning before meeting up with friends, typically to do something quite energetic. Today that was a couple of hours at the climbing wall. At this time of year, the owners host a 6-month long competition that a lot of the local regulars enter. It’s a great way to way awhile an afternoon or evening through the wet and cold months.

Another day of taking it easy with the run. I think I’m getting the hang of dishing out a slower pace. I still find it a little unnatural from time to time, but I’m sure that will pass. It was unseasonably warm this evening. It felt more like a summer’s evening that late October. The only real indicator that it is indeed October is a strong, persistent wind. It made the last kilometre hard going as I battled a full-on headwind. There was an amusing moment when I almost fell on my face because the wind suddenly dropped. I’m kind of glad there was no one around to witness that!

Today’s shoes: Salomon XA Pro’s
Miles today: 3.2
Miles to date: 110.22
Miles to go: 984.78

Day 33 – Fighting spirit

Everyday I like to think about one thing I’m thankful for. Today, I’m thankful that I’m as stubborn as I am. Some might call it tenacity or fighting spirit, but no, it’s stubbornness through and through. It’s the stubbornness that prevents me from giving up even when that’s all I can think about.

In other news, I’m back to sub-6:00 kilos, so that’s another thing I appreciate and it shows that my leg is well on the way to being mended.

We’ve not heard from Helen in a while. I hope everything is OK and her runs are going well.

Today’s shoes: Salomon XA Pro’s
Miles today: 3.13
Miles to date: 107.02
Miles to go: 987.98

Day 32 – Keep on running

I don’t have a lot to say today. I ran, kept the pace low. It felt OK. Things are gradually improving, but I’m still limping. The messiness I mentioned yesterday has got a whole lot messier and I’m feeling sombre about it all. It’s pretty hard to be upbeat about anything right now. Time heals all and all that.


Today’s shoes: Salomon XA Pro’s
Miles today: 3.11
Miles to date: 103.89
Miles to go: 991.11

Day 31 – Positive thinking

Yesterday, I hit a real low point, both physically & mentally, and couldn’t not settle into the run. Physically, things have improved, but I know I still need to monitor the fatigue in my legs and back off the intensity a bit for a while. Mentally, today was a good example of how your head & heart rules just about every aspect of your life.

As I mentioned on Sunday, there’s some things floating around in my head that are somewhat clouding my thoughts. It’s nothing negative. Not at all. It’s just as not as smooth as I like things to be. I like life to be simple and uncomplicated and generally do my best to keep it that way, but sometimes it’s necessary to endure a bit of messiness.

Part of that messiness is a good helping of self-doubt. We all suffer from it, even the most confident of people have lapses of faith in themselves. That’s what happened to me this afternoon. Amongst other things, I started to doubt my ability to continue with this challenge. I felt like I was ready to stop running and just let my legs recover. It wasn’t so much the fatigue, but the emotional weight of all the other self-doubts I was experiencing that told me I should give up. I agonised for a while over the decision and couldn’t come to a conclusion about what to do. Deep in my heart, I knew I couldn’t and shouldn’t quit. Not today.

I went climbing tonight and on the way back I knew it was getting late and had to make a decision. I decided that my legs felt good enough to run (the climbing helped—it stretches muscles that conventional stretching routines don’t) and I owed it to myself to at least try. If running proved to be too uncomfortable, then that would be the end and I would bow out from the challenge. I would feel better knowing I had tried and failed, rather than not tried at all.

I tried to hold back the pace tonight and thought about having a good, clean run. I also used the run to bury the demons that had risen throughout the day and focus on being positive, run well, and get through the 3 miles in one piece. The slower pace really helped and there was no sign of hell I went through yesterday. It was actually quite a pleasant run in the dark.

A tough couple of days, that’s for sure, but I’m still here. I’m not ready to give up. Here’s to the next 100 miles.

Today’s shoes: Orange Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultras
Miles today: 3.19
Miles to date: 100.78
Miles to go: 994.22

Day 30 – Crash and burn

The title says it all. I got completely humbled by my own body today and no matter what I tried, it didn’t get any better. I really didn’t think I was going to manage the full 3 miles, but somehow I managed to find enough stubbornness within myself to complete the run.

I got the recovery pace I was looking for yesterday, but I had to really suffer for it. My legs just refused to work today. I screamed and screamed at my legs in my head. I stopped and stretched, several times. Nothing worked.

Without a doubt, today was the hardest run I’ve ever done.

Today’s shoes: Orange Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultras
Miles today: 3.02
Miles to date: 97.59
Miles to go: 997.41

Day 29 – That was a recovery run?

I’ve not really done a proper recovery run for a while now, so that’s what I set out to do this lunchtime. For me, recovery runs are more about discipline than anything else. I find it difficult to deliberately hold back and just focus on taking it really slow and easy.

As I set out, I told myself that today would be different. I’d take it easy, listen to my legs, be aware of my breathing and heart rate, and generally relax. It would be a proper recovery run. And that’s what I did. From the effort, it felt like I was on a 6:20-6:30 kilo pace and I felt good. My breathing was steady and relaxed, my cadence was comfortable, my gait not too long or too sort. So I was somewhat baffled when I saw that I actually averaged at 5:57 per kilometre. Oh well. It seems to have done the trick. At least I can go climbing tonight and not have to worry about tiring myself out before I run.

Today’s shoes: Salomon XA Pro’s
Miles today: 3.13
Miles to date: 94.57
Miles to go: 1000.43

Day 28 – GoreTex shoes are not optional

All day long I’ve been not looking forward to the moment when I’d have to do today’s run. Three days of fast-paced living were beginning to catch up. Or maybe was that just last night’s shenanigans in the pub. Still, I felt fairly run-down all day and didn’t have much of an appetite. The late arrival of a courier put any chance of running at lunchtime to rest. A post-work run it had to be. That would normally have been fine, except autumn arrived in style this evening.

By 6 o’clock, the rain was lashing hard against the windows and strong gusts of wind howled through the village. I paced around the living room, anxiously checking the weather radar to see if it would blow over soon. No chance. It would take at least 90 minutes to clear. Crap. There was nothing for it: it was time to harden the f*** up!

It felt cold. Unnaturally so, having become accustomed to the Indian summer the UK has been experiencing lately. The air temperature was about 8°C but with the windchill and rain, it felt more like a frosty 4°C. Walking out of the house, I shivered. And then cracked a smile. The peaks will soon be capped with snow. Oh yes!

28 days. Time flies.

Today’s shoes: Orange Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultras
Miles today: 3.27
Miles to date: 91.44
Miles to go: 1003.56