Monday, 27 December 2010


Yes ugggggghhhhhhh. That's my noise of the day. Whilst being gluttony induced, thankfully the noise is only being produced from the facial orifice rather than anything further south.
So far anyway.

A ridiculous quantity of chocolates, cheese, nuts and crisps have been picked at the last few days leaving me feeling tired, sluggish and queasy yet I'm still picking away. Good old Christmas excess!

Best do a recap of the last week - its not been a bad one really - before a brief resume of Christmas:

Tuesday 21st

Pretty good diet and a 7.42 mile base pace run with 2 x 2 of drills. Ran from home, rather hilly and 8.43 average pace.

Wednesday 22nd

Weighed in at 11st 13.6lb - hitting the Christmas target. Tried to take advantage of a quiet afternoon work wise with a late afternoon trip to the gym but had to abort it after 1.65 miles on the treadmill as all hell broke loose with work forcing a hurried return home.

Thursday 23rd

Officially the first day of leave but I must have had a dozen phone conversations, plus email correspondence in the morning. Went back to the gym and did 8 x 0.25m intervals at 6.40 pace with 1.5 miles at 8.40 a mile either side of them. Followed that with core exercises and a brief swim before heading home to make the Christmas pudding, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

Friday 24th

Walked to the gym at 7am to do long intervals session: 2 x 1.5 miles at 8.30 pace sandwiching 2 x 1.00 miles at 7.05 pace. Core work, weights and swim followed before a latte and read of the paper. Back home to cook and clean. Next sat down at about 6pm. Shattered. Up until late waiting to put the presents out - closed my eyes at 11.59pm.

Saturday 25th

And opened them again at 6.03am when the kids awoke. Did the presents, skipped breakfast and went for a run at 9am straight after putting the turkey in. 5.36 miles at 8.33 pace. Home again to cook the dinner. Ready by 1.30pm by which time I was too knackered to enjoy it - same as every year. Fell asleep on the sofa after watching Doctor Who.

Sunday 26th

Out early-ish for the endurance run along the frozen canal (frozen enough that I went past one guy riding his bike along it and a family that let their 2 kids walk along it). After the previous day's excesses the stomach felt rather uneasy through the run and I felt sluggish. 13.14 miles at 8.40 pace. Macabre point of trivia: my turnaround point was by the bridge where they found the chopped up remains of the 'crossbow killer's' victims in the summer.

Christmas day itself went well. The kids were delighted with their presents and I was pretty pleased with mine:

  • A snood, shirt, Paul Weller dvd/cd, Madness cd all bought by me for me......yes, I know.

  • A box of chocolates from Bethan.

  • From Sue a slotted spoon, oven gloves, dried fruits, chilli & lime chocolate, a box of Turkish delight and (best of all) a vegetarian Indian cookbook (pictured above). I'm doing a very plain curry and rice from that tonight.

Strangest of all was my gift from the parents. A wine bottle holder in the shape of a badly finished (and dangerously sharp) metallic knight.

Obviously just what a teetotal son who has never expressed any interest in heraldic or metallic art would dream of for Christmas. Every year its the same - some cheap, totally inappropriate shit they've picked up from a charity shop. Generally its things they've bought for themselves, later recognised as tat and then use it as presents for their sons, daughters in law and grand kids. Bethan got 2 tam-o-shanter hats whose lack of labels and mothball odour mark them as things my mam bought for herself sometime in the past but realised she didn't like and has then wrapped as a present.

Its offensive really. I wish they just wouldn't bother getting anything. In plain speaking Yorkshire manner I didn't mince my words in expressing this.

Was I wrong?

Food wise I did the same as every year. Made far too much, bought far too much, tried to do far too much. I've eaten an enormous amount but can't truly say I've really enjoyed any of it, daft though that might sound. Its part that the quantity over faced me and part that in doing so much I'm too worn out and stressed. That's not to say it isn't worth it as Sue and the kids clearly enjoyed theirs. Next year I'll go back to curry and just do 2-3 good ones in advance and reheat them on the day along with freshly made rice and some freshly prepared salad and pickles. That would be far better. In 10 months time remind me I said that!

Anyone have similar traits at Christmas or can you all operate with a little more balance and so enjoy your food?

Monday, 20 December 2010

End of an era

Well, that's the weekend been and gone then. Base phase of marathon training has gone too.

I'd initially planned to do a base pace 5 miles on Saturday morning but an inch of snow hiding patches of black ice beneath meant outdoor running from home could have been tricky so I opted for the dreadmill in the afternoon. Dread indeed: a highly tedious 40 minutes. Followed this up with core exercises and some weights and finally a 10 minute cool down on the x-trainer.

Yesterday was the endurance run but as it was cut back/recovery week it was only 8 miles. The temperature was round about -8/-10 down by the canal and I certainly felt it but the run was completed without drama.

Diet hasn't been bad. I allowed my calorie intake to drift well over target but still stay comfortably below maintenance, so I should have still been losing at a tiny rate but the scales show a small gain just due to the food/water in transit. That's ok.

Base training all done. I think its been good. I'm essentially injury free as the slight achilles niggle has slowly abated, if not yet gone completely, and the groin injury (despite the odd slight twinge) also seems to be under control. This is against a backdrop of slow but steady increases to mileage, twice weekly speedwork sessions and running 5 days a week with cross training on a sixth.

Glancing at the next 8 weeks the focus changes a little. The general run distances will continue to rise as will the length of the endurance run (BUT not by much as the peak distance is only 16 miles in this phase, but with 2 races and a couple of the 14/15 mile runs done at marathon pace). Overall mileage starts in the upper 30s but only just gets into the lower 40s by the end as the big increases will yet be to come.

Biggest change is that there's no more hill training! I actually don't mind them its just that its difficult to find suitable hills for faster paced work that are long enough.

The Wednesday hills are replaced by short intervals with Friday's intervals becoming longer e.g. in a couple of weeks Wednesday will feature a warm up/cool down sandwiching 12 x 0.25m @ 6.40 a mile pace whilst the Friday will have warm up/cool down either side of 4 x 1.0m @ 7.05 a mile pace.

Should be good...but its a rest day today!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Its working!

Happy weekend.

A modest but un-forecast covering of snow here so the planned travel down to the east midlands is postponed until after Christmas. The forecast is fair but it seems changeable and unreliable.

Yesterday was intervals, again cut back stylee, so 5 miles including 4 x 2 mins @ 6.45 pace. In the event I was a wee bit faster than that without if feeling unduly difficult. Equally the rest of the run was done slightly faster than prescribed base pace.

That fits with the feeling this week that I'm getting a bit brisker without trying. Part of that will be down to the stability and gait work as I'm learning to propriocept a good gait now with a fair degree of consistency; part will be down to the intervals and speed sessions, some could be down to the lower intensity this week but I suspect much is down to the weight loss.

The programme suggests that in each training cycle you can expect to drop 4 -6 levels so I'm probably naturally dropping the first. Very loose plan is to drop 4 in total. Interestingly that would point to a marathon time comfortably under 3:15 which seems a big drop. We'll have to see.

Diet not so good yesterday. By the time I got to the evening I had over 600 kcals 'spare' but got the kids a meal from KFC on the way home from the cinema and whilst I had a salad I also picked at theirs and had a mince pie. Net result: Over 500 over! Not too worried by that though as I'd dropped to precisely 12st yesterday.

That was the 3rd time I'd been to a KFC in my life. The last 2 times it was still called Kentucky Fried Chicken. My impressions haven't changed. If you have a hankering for deep fried, hideously coated bony chicken then its a winner. Otherwise steer clear.

Off to the gym later to do resistance exercises and have a 5 mile run on the dreadmill, then I'll take Charlotte for a swim. Before then a little snow clearing may be in order.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Feeling smug

Yesterday's run was hill repeats, cut back week style: 4.7 miles with just 4 x 120s hills @ 6.40 mile pace. Only problem was the hill was a bit short so it turned into 4 x 90s but I did run the hills a few seconds faster than the target pace. I must say I found the cut back to 4 intervals felt pleasantly short and whilst they repeats were far from easy I felt strong and powerful (though I recognise that such things are like a Norfolk courtship*).

No run today, as Thursday is cross training day, so I got to the gym for 6.30am and did 45 minutes on a cross trainer. I quite enjoyed that, and having got into the habit of being asleep by 9.30 most nights I find getting to the gym early easy and enjoyable.

Food intake was fine yesterday, and largely courtesy of Marksies and Costa coffee: skinny gingerbread lattes, vegetarian sushi, prawn sandwiches and egg & watercress sandwiches and a couple of bags of pretzels amongst other things.

I didn't get home until about 9pm and only added my intake onto WLR after getting into bed and found I was 270 odd kcals under target. That probably contributed to yet another fall on the scales but I deliberately had a couple of homemade mince pies this evening to take me over by 300 to balance.

I can definitely see a loss in the mirror, feel it in my jeans and find the belt appreciably looser. Only 1.2lb shy of 12st now.

Five miles tomorrow with 4 x 2 minute intervals at 6:40 pace. A doddle though I may need to do them on the dreadmill as it's pretty icy now.

Anyone got much snow yet?

*i.e. entirely relative

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

I'll be glad when this week is over. I felt worn out last night and with Sue and the kids attending a 'talent show' at Bethan's school I was in bed for 7.45 and asleep by 8.30.

Its a mix of things. Mainly work: several meetings, a lot of travelling, presentations to write, reliance on other people (and the need to keep pushing them). By tomorrow evening most of that will be done but I'll not be home until gone nine tonight. On top of that there's the uncertainty of the weather in respect of the planned travelling at the weekend and Monday, though the forecast doesn't look too bad so far, and the spectre of Christmas lurking 9 days away. By the end of Monday the travelling will all be done and by the end of Wednesday next week I'll be finished until the new year...and can relax!

Sorry, that's all a bit off topic.

Yesterday's run was fine. Just 5 miles plus drills which I did from home into the woods and park once it was light enough. Hills today, but again a shorter session than normal.

Diet was good which was a relief as I was attending a pub lunch with a client. With no obvious healthy option I resorted to scampi, chips, salad and (incongruously) boiled carrots and broccoli. Fortunately the morning's run and light breakfast helped accommodate that.

According to the scales yesterday I'd lost all the 'gain' of the previous few days. Ok, I had 'lost' a week of loss but the numbers are down once more today and getting to Christmas eve below 12 stone seems achievable again. That thought should keep me on track today, despite the challenge of a long, slow drive in the dark. May have to hit the Costa Lattes pretty hard though.

Its tough staying focused this time of the year. Each day nearer to Christmas (and Christmas feasting) increases the temptation to say 'sod it' and treat myself food wise - especially with the likes of crisps, various nuts, mince pies, cheeses, pate all already bought. Add in a sprinkling of work stress and fatigue and its hard! It'll probably get harder still in the next few days when Sue brings home chocolates that the kids in her class will have bought her...then there's the challenge of a meal out with the in laws...then the challenge of finishing work and an almighty temptation to say 'sod it'....

Must stay strong. 12.2.6 today so not far to go...

Anyone else struggle this time of year?

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

White Christmas

Not alot to report on for yesterday: the week's rest day as regards exercise but a good diet day.

Today is the first running day of the cut back week so just 5 miles and some drills. The mileage for basic runs pulls back, the number of intervals pulls back and the endurance run distance pulls back too so it should be good: 28.1 miles total (as compared to 34.6 last week).

It seems the forecasters are saying the snow is on the way back. I can't see that having much of an impact on my running as I can always use the gym (which is only closing Christmas Day and New Year's Day from memory - both just base run days) but it might mess up my travel plans for the back end of this week, the weekend and Monday of next week. Ah well. Not like its anything we can change.

Monday, 13 December 2010

The weekend ends here

A rather mixed weekend of good exercising and poor dieting.

Friday set the tone.

At the gym for 6.30am and 50 minutes on the cross trainer. A good start. Then off down to Warwick for a meeting stopping for an eclectic breakfast of gingerbread latte and snack sushi en route. On the way back I stopped to eat the super Wholefoods salad I'd bought earlier but could only manage half (I just didn't feel hungry) but then on getting home I realised how hungry I'd become and ate for England. I wasn't helped by the festive feelings of a) the start of the weekend, b) getting back after a long, slow, drive and c) putting up the tree and decorations. No trips to buy sweets on the way back or once home so that at least was good...but I did eat several small slices of stollen!

Saturday followed suit. Out by 8.30am for 6 miles from home, as well as the hopping drill I hadn't been able to do earlier in the week).

Strangely the snow had just vanished. When I'd left the day before there was still thick compacted snow and slush but by the time I'd got back everything was gone. That left Saturday's route wet, occasionally muddy but generally ice free.

A very nice salad at a new deli at dinner time messed up the calorie counting for the day and and I grazed through the evening. Hoping this was off set by the run and the afternoon trip to the gym for 20 minutes on the x-trainer, core stability exercises and a couple of upper body weights exercises (that pleasingly didn't leave me with doms as they had the week before).

Up with the lark again yesterday and headed off to the canal, complete with head torch, at 7am. It had turned frosty again and that helped contribute to the redundancy of the torch. I'd never used it before but a clear sky, milky white thickly frozen canal and heavily frosted fields meant I could see OK without. Using it for a couple of miles was good practice though - I know its secure, comfortable and works.

Did 12 miles yesterday at a steadily increasing pace:


The jump to 7.51 was when a 'hare' came out of a side path ahead of me. I saw a figure ahead and within a second had assessed him (ectomorph, good cadence, light stride, looks experienced but also looks to be in his 50s) and without any conscious decision began to give chase - like a dog off the lead who spies a cat.

After a quick shower I took Beth Christmas shopping then when we got home had a contrived lunch. Later on I fell asleep on the settee and woke to the smell of freshly baked mince pies. Two of those were soon followed by ham hock with lentils and roasted vegetables, and then plum crumble and 3 helpings of custard...

Today is a rest day and the week a recovery week. The final week of the 'base' phase of training. More on that later this week as I have work to do and am out the next 4 days (Nottingham, Middlewich, West Bromwich and Mansfield) before working from home Friday.

Hope everyone has had a good weekend!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Setting a blistering pace

Yesterday was intervals on the dreadmill. Six miles with warm up, cool down and recoveries at 8.47 pace with 6 x 120s @ 6.47 pace sprinkled in. Hard work on a dreadmill but I am just about getting used to it.

Unfortunately though, when I got changed I realised I had forgotten to bring any socks. The Nike Free shoes have a single piece design for the upper so I decided to try without socks. Halfway through I could feel a blister forming on my right instep and it felt pretty warm on the ball joint of the big toe on both feet so I nipped back to the changing room to check. Sure enough a small blister had formed and burst on the instep but other than that it looked OK.

I'd walked to the gym through the ice and snow so the socks I'd worn beneath my boots were Sealskinz waterproof socks - not really de rigeur for the gym or running - but I decided to give them a go with the running shoes. They prevented further damage but my feet got very hot. Hopefully they'll have looked vaguely like football socks.

Another good diet day. Little more to say about that.

Shower and dressing next then off to the gym for 50 mins on the cross trainer before driving down to Warwick for a meeting. Should be back for tea time and tree decorating.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

As you were

Yesterday's training dilemma proved a bit of a moot point: Sunday's race is cancelled due to the weather. As a result I can get back to the plan. Pretty much.

Yesterday's hill repeats at the gym were fine. Even the dreadmill was tolerable. Mind you, I hadn't checked the plan beforehand and assumed it would be 6 x 90s @ 6:47 sandwiched by an easy 1.5 miles warm up and cool down. Looking at the plan last night I realised it should have been 120s.

Never mind. It may well even turn out to be a blessing as I'm swapping today's planned cross training for tomorrow's 6 mile interval run i.e. 2 hard runs on consecutive days. Then on Saturday I'll do 6 miles at base pace in the morning then resistance training and some weights in the afternoon (with a smidgen of cross trainer and swimming). Wonder if the pecs and triceps will be as sore? On Sunday I'll do 12 miles along the canal.

Diet was fine yesterday too. I think I went over by about 10kcals. I'm pretty sure I can live with that. Result is that today's weigh in marked the rest of the loss of all the apparent gain from Monday and Tuesday's excess with a little extra to boot. The objective of being below 12st by Christmas Eve's weigh in looks quite achievable - I'm a day's loss ahead of that target.

In other news...we're putting the tree up tomorrow and the kids are VERY excited.

And so am I. :-)

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Ice to see you, to see

Much better yesterday.

Did 6 miles plus one of the two drills. I was able to do the steep hill sprints OK but decided against doing 2 x 20s of hopping. The only place I could do them was up the middle of a road where I'd a) risk death and b) look a complete cock.

The run was pretty much fine. My AT muscles were still sore but seemed to respond well to the run and have eased a little since. Only issue was the ice. Even through the woods the snow had been compacted and on pavements and along the single track road many areas were grey ice - thick, solid and treacherous.

Diet went very well too. Obviously the calories from the run helped but I was doing pretty well even without that and finished the day 350kcals under target which I was happy with as a one off as it helped offset the previous 2 days of excess.

Today's exercise will be hill repeats which I'll do on a dreadmill, then tomorrow its cross training at the gym. Friday and Saturday remain a mystery. As its race day on Sunday I'm considering not running on the Saturday to get a bit more spring in the old legs. On Friday though I've to get down to Warwick for 10.30am so I have 3 options: 1) run at the gym at 6.30am, 2) cross train at the gym at 6.30am or 3) have another rest day. I'm erring towards 1 or 2, with 2 having the advantage of not being running (ahead of Sunday) but meaning considerably under target miles for the week.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


What's this? Two blog entries in a single day?

Afraid so. Seeing Jo's latest entry on surviving Christmas got me thinking about how I'm planning on tackling it so, for the record, here goes.

First up, I expect to gain over Christmas. Its unavoidable.

I know there will be all sorts of foods to pick at from peanuts, Kettle Chips and Bombay mix to dates, and tins of Quality Street. I'd also expect to get something of a chocolaty/sweet variety as a present. Then there's Christmas dinner (which will be replicated on Boxing Day) where copious consumption will be the order of the day and even items like the veg will be smothered in calorie laden butter. New Year's Eve will mean a hefty evening at the pantomime will probably be followed by a meal out...then there's the cheeses, the trifle, party foods, mince pies, brandy butter, cream, custard, Christmas cake..., the plan (only to limit the damage) is:

1) Diet up to the evening of the 24th and make sure I'm straight back on the waggon by the 2nd/3rd January.

2) Try to get under 12st by Christmas Eve so there's some loss 'in the bank'.

3) Try and have a couple of days between Christmas and New Year where I don't gain, just maintain.

4) Keep up the running throughout in order to burn a bit of excess off. That'll include 6 miles on Christmas Eve, the same on Christmas Day and 12 miles including a 7.5 mile race on Boxing Day.

5) Try not to buy too much food. That's a toughie as I usually do, and if its there I'll eat it, but I'll try.

6) Not worry and enjoy it - I know that a quick gain over Christmas will be matched by a quick loss as soon as I start counting again.

Sound like a plan?

Ouch that hurts...pass the butter please

Sunday's run left a couple of muscles feeling pretty sore yesterday. Mainly anterior tibialis.

The AT is a muscle that dorsiflexes the foot and also assists in ankle stability. My guess is a longish, hard-ish run on Sunday on a very uneven and often slippy surface just tired them out.

Gave them a bit of a rub last night but still feel a bit sore today. A run later might help loosen them up but I'll give them a good rub a few times too.

Pecs and triceps still sore since Saturday too. I did 3 sets of barbell chest presses - for the first time since July - on Saturday so I guess that was predictable.

The aches contributed to my over eating yesterday.

It was a rest day so I needed to be pretty frugal to stay within limits. I'd done this successfully by 5pm and was planning basa, oven chips and mushy peas for tea (OK its not high class cuisine but it ticked the 'quick and easy as we haven't been to the supermarket for 8 days' box). Trouble was Sue decided to stay on at work for half an hour doing some prep work, which meant she also hit rush hour and was about an hour late.

With aching muscles, hunger and two kids asking when mum would be home I hit the bread. Half a dozen slices later she was home but by then I didn't really fancy a full meal (and discovered there wasn't enough oven chips for more than one anyway). I had a cheese and onion toastie, and 3 homemade ginger biscuits and a yoghurt. Oh, and a couple of slices of toast later too...

On the plus side the calories probably wont have done me any harm in terms of recovery but they'll have made the week far harder. Lets see where I get to by Friday though.

Monday, 6 December 2010


Yesterday's recce of the Calderdale Way proved a toughie.

It was still very cold, especially when we set off, and there was still a mix of fairly deep frozen snow and patches of glass like ice to contend with.

As we departed we met a chap from another club that Mark knew - the captain of another club and their top runner - and he (and his dog) ran round with us. That was nice but I suspect it did mean the pace pushed a bit faster than we wanted at times.

That was generally ok. The only time I struggled was on a 1 mile stretch along an icy woodland trail that climbed about 130m in the process. Along there I gradually began to fall behind: first 4m, then 5 and finally about 10m so I stopped for a wee and they stopped further ahead to wait. still felt zonked for the next 10 minutes after though.

Got home about 2.30pm and had a warm bath and a read of Stephen Fry's latest auto-biography before doing two more 'Christmas' butters.

The diet wasn't so good. Not terrible, but not so good either.

When I got in I was hungry and knew I needed some carbs and protein quickly. A milky coffee, piece of orange & geranium dark chocolate, half a packet of 'Pom bear' crisps one of the kids had left, and 3 pieces of bread and spread were thrown down without much thought.

Then, at tea time it was a modest portion of oven chips, lots of peas, a mixture of fried onion, mushroom and tomato and about 350g of fillet steak (half beef and half venison).

Nothing too bad, considering the run, but later I did have 4 slices of toast and 3 mince pies...

Not overly concerned though. I didn't log my intake but suspect I'll still have been close to maintenance, maybe even below. The scales tell a different story, one of overnight 1.6lb gain, but I know that will have vanished by the morning.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

So good

I wanted a good weekend and I'm half way through and on track so far.

Friday's trip to the gym was successful if tedious. It was six miles at about 8.45 pace with 6 x 90s at 6.45 pace. In itself that was fine, its just that being in the same place for 50 minutes, running in a warm gym isn't fun. I really need to start remembering my iPod. There are TV screens but the 3 nearest me were showing X-factor hits videos, Sky News and a boxing magazine programme. The boxing and news were useless as there was no sound. On the up side at least there was no sound for the X-factor stuff either. I should count my blessings.

I've been enjoying the walk to and from the gym in the dark through the snow. Its probably only 1.75 miles as the round trip but alot of it is across a golf course with lake, fountain and hills all looking good in the snow. Also been enjoying a post exercise latte as they do Costa coffees at the gym bar. Sadly they don't do gingerbread syrup but caramel is a reasonable substitute.

Yesterday I changed my routine slightly and ran outdoors for 6 miles in the morning rather than saving it for the gym in the afternoon. It was a 'base pace' run so doable in the snow/ice/slush. Very tiring though as the thick slush was very hard work and speed dropped right back to nearly 10 minute miles.

After snow clearing (oh my back) it was off to the gym in the afternoon where I did 20 minutes on the cross trainer, core exercises and some chest presses with a barbell. Going to try to do a simple upper body weights session once a week. Brief swim afterwards then more coffee.

That gave a leftover calorie glut yesterday but a homemade pork & mushroom stroganoff with brown rice and peas disappointingly wiped that out in one fell swoop. Nice though :).

This morning I'm meeting a guy from the running club and we're heading off to 'recce' leg six of the Calderdale Way Relay route which we're racing next week - so 12 hilly miles in the snow and ice to come!

That'll take much of the day as we need to drive to Halifax, leave a car then drive to Bradford before running back to Halifax and driving to Bradford...its all a question of logistics.

Should still have time to do a smidgen of 'cooking'. I'm doing the flavoured butters for Christmas dinner. Yesterday I did the parsley/lemon/garlic one for the peas, and the anchovy/rosemary/lemon zest one for the purple sprouting broccoli. Today will be the sage/chestnut/pancetta one for the sprouts and the orange/cumin/thyme one for the carrots. They really lift each veg beautifully.

Talking of veg (and Christmas dinner) I've added another dish to my menu: creamed corn. Its apparently popular at thanks giving, very simple and I thought I'd give it a whirl. Any of those familiar with the foods of the colonies tried it?

Friday, 3 December 2010

Gym bunny

No outdoor runs since Tuesday's, but a lot more snow!

Its been the gym for the last two days and will be again today.

Whilst it was ok to run in the snow on Tuesday the hill repeats would have been impossible so they were done on the dreadmill. They weren't done quite to plan. I was meant to be doing 6 x 90s at 6:20 a mile pace with 2 mins active recovery between. In the event I managed 75 - 90 seconds at 6:50 odd. Not quite sure why I struggled. It may have been that the gym was warm.

Yesterday was cross training day so I did 50 minutes on the cross trainer as well as my resistance exercises. Big thanks to the blonde girl with the great bum and lovely slender waist for exercising in front of me and so taking my mind off the tedium of the x-trainer.

Today is 6 miles with speed intervals. Again, I don't trust trying to run at pace on the snow and ice so its treadmill again. Tomorrow will be a steady 6 miles which I'll do outdoors in the morning then Sunday I'm due to be doing 12.

Diet wise all is going fairly well. Lost 3.6lb in the week. It would have been more but for Wednesday's mini binge. The snow came down heavily and sue's work closed at 11.00. By five past she was in the car and on the road. It then took 5 hours to crawl 1.5 miles into Bradford centre where she left the car and got trains back to Leeds station then here. That delay meant I started absent mindedly picking at bread while the kids had their tea, then when Sue got in we had the ropa vieja we'd intended and then after tea I had even more toast. Not good.

Feeling optimistic though. Just need a good weekend to really cement the good start.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Running in a winter wonderland

We had about another four inches of snow in the early hours of yesterday morning so there was a reasonable accumulation. Walking wasn't that great - a mix of fresh snow, compacted snow, lumpy ice and slush on the roads.

Managed to get out for a fairly early six miles in the largely virgin snow. Its nice to have all the right gear: Helly Hansen L/S base layer, Gore tights, shorts, gloves, Gore hat, Gore windproof jacket and Innov8 GTX shoes. I don't normally bother with shorts over tights - I can't help but think the fellas that do that are either very insecure or just want to look like footballers - but if I took my hat or gloves off the only place to put them would be down the tights so best to cover them up yesterday!

It was the first time I'd worn the jacket. I got it in the Sweatshop sale at the start of the summer: not cheap at about £70 but reduced from £140 and excellent quality. Its not waterproof but is windproof so ideal for conditions like yesterday. The shoes also came into their own. The grip is about as good as you can get and the Goretex fabric meant my feet stayed dry and therefore warm.

The run itself was hard work. I ran along the road to the woods and then on to a park and around the lake. Even with the rubber studs on the shoes there was still a tendency to slip slightly in the snow with every stride. Navigating wasn't so good either as in the woods everywhere looked the same. However, everything looked beautiful - the woods could have been a forest in eastern Europe and running beneath the heavily snow laden overhanging trees round the lake was absolutely lovely (think Narnia).

Didn't see another runner at all but did get told by two ladies out dog walking that I deserved a round of applause. Not that I got one. Its the thought that counts I suppose.

Diet also going fine - just a little ahead of 'target' so about where I'd expect.

Wednesday is hill training but I may have to go to the gym for that as running fast up snow and ice covered hills would be stupid to even attempt.

More snow forecast for today and tomorrow but then dry for the weekend (though it wont get above freezing). Ice should make Sunday's 12 miler interesting as that's a recce of a hilly route forming part of the Calderdale Way Relay for the week after.