Monthly Archives: January 2016

Parkrun is just poo pants

I did my first ever Parkrun the other week and was pretty happy with the time I did.

I went again this week and intentionally ran without a watch to just get a feel for things without constantly looking at my pace. I wanted to run strong, but comfortably; to push as hard as I could without killing myself. And of course I wanted to beat my PB.

I set off well, the course was muddy, but generally ok. I recognised a couple of faces from the last run and used them as pace makers. I was running well and it felt like a good time.

So I waited for the results email to come through. And I waited.

And then it came through and I was 10 seconds slower that last time.

I blame the woman in the green top – she beat me by about 200m last time and I got in front of her this time. But she must have run slower.

*Storms off, slams bedroom door, shouts “IT’S NOT FAIR!”*

*Sulks*

*Comes out of bedroom and slumps on the chair, “I don’t care anyway.”*

– – –

On reflection I’m pretty pleased that my ‘natural’ pace is within 10 seconds of my watch-focussed pace. And in all honesty, a dry course would see a quicker time. Plus it still gives me plenty to work on.

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A new sport…?

Last night I turned up at the gym planning to do about an hour on the bike before I went for a swim. 

However just as I was signing in a woman asked st reception, “is there anyone spare that could play badminton?” It turns out that they only had three players and needed a fourth. 

I’ve played badminton in the past, they were desperate so might not mind if I was rubbish, so I thought, “What the hell.”

  
In the end I was a bit rubbish, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m tempted to get my own stick and try and play a bit more. 

– – – 

My legs are stiff as hell today though. They’re clearly not used to all that lunging!

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Parkrun PB

Yay me! I got a PB at parkrun today.

Although I’m actually being a little bit cheeky by saying that – it was actually my first ever parkrun event, so I was bound to get a PB no matter what.

Screenshot 2016-01-16 15.46.11

I’ve admired the concept of parkrun for ages, but not being a runner I didn’t think it was for me. Not only that, but it’s 9am on a Saturday morning and Friday night is my darts night, so…

However, a couple of things have changed this year. Firstly, although I’ll never be a runner I need to run a bit more to train up for the Isoman event. Secondly, my darts nights is now alternate Fridays as my son stays with me on the other weekends and he’s now old enough that I can ask him to wait around for me for 30 minutes while I do parkrun.

So this morning we both set off to Newark (Notts, not New Jersey) and met up with the parkrun volunteers and runners. I was a little bit nervous and flustered setting off – I forgot my running jacket and so had to run round in my base layer only – but as people gathered at the start my nerves soon left me. There was a pre-run briefing and then we were off. The course was a straight line for about 1/4 a mile, then three laps of the circuit and then back down the straight to finish where we started.

I set off a bit too quickly, soon settled into a pace, realised that was a bit too slow, pushed myself on a bit and then ran the final section a bit harder still – to finish with a highly respectable time (for me) of 28:48.

Then it was time for a tea for me, a bacon roll for my son (as thanks for being so wonderful) and to collect my thoughts.

As anyone that has ever done a parkrun knows, the volunteers are great, the course is well marked, the group you run with friendly and welcoming and it is a great start to the weekend. It will now be a regular (fortnightly) part of my training plan and will be the time for me to run a ‘fast’ 5k. The goal now will be to dip under 28 minutes.

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Bike Advice Needed

As I mentioned, I’ve got the IsoMan half coming up later this year. And to be honest, I think I need a new bike to help me complete it.

I do have a bike, but it’s at least 12 years old and only cost me about £200 at the time – so really not anywhere near top of the range, in fact it isn’t even on the range. To my eyes it looks like a decent road bike, but while doing a sprint tri at the back end of 2014 a proper cyclist slowed down as he passed me to say, ‘you’re brave doing it on that.”

The problem is, I know nothing about bikes – other than they can get very expensive.

I don’t want to spend a lot of money on a new one and as the bike section I’m doing is only 31 miles it doesn’t seem worth it. If I fall in love with cycling I’ll splash out then. For now though I just want something that is better than I have now.

My plan was to spend about £300-£500 on something second hand (so expecting to get something that was probably £800-£1,000 brand new), but I’ve no idea how to get a bargain, or even a bike that actually fits me and will be suitable for what I need. I’m not sure what size I am, or even how to measure myself. And do I need to get those special clippy shoes, or should I make do with the old-fashioned straps you put your toes in?

Some many questions.

So, cyclerist people, your help would be gratefully appreciated.

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Perceptions

I’ve just put on a *very* tight new base layer top that was delivered today. It’s very tight and I instantly felt fat and lumpy.

I risked a quick look in the mirror to see just how bad it was and I was surprised to find a sculpted-guy-who-is-carrying-a-bit-too-much-timber-but-actually-looks-ok staring back at me.

I’m not sure who he is, but I hope he doesn’t rob me, he looks much stronger and fitter than I am.

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401 marathons

I’m mainly a swimmer nowadays, but I’ve done a couple of marathons back in the day. For a while my ambition was to do five marathons, I thought that that would put me in a fairly select club. Lots of people have done one or two, not many are dedicated enough to have done five. But that’s absolutely nothing compared to someone I’ve just been made aware of:

Screenshot 2016-01-07 19.41.20

Ben is running 401 marathons on 401 consecutive days.

Stop a minute and think about that – that is a marathon day for OVER A YEAR!

He’s doing to raise money for charity and would love your support in any way you can manage. I don’t know how much more I can write about it here – just go to his site and see more and cheer him on: http://www.the401challenge.co.uk/

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£20 to spend…

I’m still trying to recover from the outpouring of love and care that was clearly evident in this Xmas present I received.

Yay! The spirit of Xmas is alive.

Yay! The spirit of Xmas is alive.

It’s from people that should know better, but never mind. What it has done is put me in a bit of a quandry… what do I do with the £20?

I could just take it to the pub and spend it on drinks, but I do that with most of my other money, I’d like to do ‘something’ with this. However, I’d like to do something that isn’t really for me, call me perverse, but I don’t want to benefit from this £20. And the final stipulation is that it must be this very note that is used (so an online donation is out).

Thinking caps on please… what do you suggest?

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This year’s targets

After completing my distance goal for 2015, I’m going to set some new targets for this year.

Events

Firstly, it has to be around events. The main reason I train is to be able to take part in the events I enjoy and to not only take part, but enjoy them too. The year has two main goals as far as events are concerned:

IsoMan Half

The IsoMan events are designed to equalise the normal triathlon distances, so that you should spend roughly the same time completing each discipline. As a swimmer, this is music to my ears as most triathlons are very heavily geared towards the cycling and running.

The IsoMan event is on July 2nd and I am doing the half distance, which comprises of a 3.5 mile swim, a 30.6 mile bike ride, and then a half marathon (13.1 mile run).

I really enjoyed watching friends complete the Outlaw Half last year in Nottingham, so I fancied another crack at triathlons. My goal is to complete the whole thing in under 6 1/2 hours, but we’ll see.

Windermere

For some reason I only swim Windermere in even numbered years (2012 and 2014 were my previous swims), so it seems only right that I have another go at it this year. It will be a real test of my new stroke and the work I’ve put into that to see if it can keep me going down the length of the lake and to a decent finish. Any time within 30 minutes of the IsoMan finish time and I’d be delighted with that.

Training

My year long goal is hit 2,000kms (doubling the original premise of this blog). I hit my target of 1,600kms last year, so I’m going to stretch it a bit further. However, I’m also going to change the algorithm slightly. At the moment I treble any swimming distance and divide by four any cycling distance. My plan for this year is to roughly follow the IsoMan ‘equalising’ algorithm.

What that means for this year is that the swimming will be multiplied by 3.5, while the cycling will only be divided by 2.5.

While it does mean that my swimming is counted more, I suspect the biggest difference will be in the cycling, as not only will it now count for much more, but with the IsoMan coming up I’ll also be doing a lot more of it.

Other Events

All the other events I’m doing are really (in my mind) classified as training for my two main goal events. I don’t always have as much time for training as I’d like, especially the long training swims, so I’ve entered a number of events that will hopefully help me to build up to my target events.

For the IsoMan I have:

  • Southwell sprint tri – this event is in my local village and is great fun. They run it twice a year and I did the autumn version in 2014, so I have a target time to try and beat.
  • Leeds half marathon – I’ve never done this before, but I know a few people who have entered, so I thought it sounded like a great training event, as well as chance to catch up with friends.

For Windermere I have:

  • Bala weekend – I’m hoping to do both the 3km and 6mile swims on the Saturday and then the 3mile swim on the Sunday.
  • Ullswater / Derwentwater – another weekend of swimming with the BLDSA, with the 7mile Ullswater on the Saturday and the 5.25mile Derwentwater on the Sunday.

I’ll let you know how I get on…

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