Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Before sunrise

The cold seems to be on the way out now, so I was back running again this morning. Two more running firsts today; first time I've gone running before sunrise, and first time I've run 4/1 intervals.

Dawn is a lovely time of day. A fantastic clear crisp blue sky, with a tiny bright moon hanging overhead, and the first rays of the sun shining on the rooftops. Bleedin' chilly, though. Allegedly 7°C, though I'm surprised it was as much as that. Gloves. I need gloves.

Despite the longer intervals, I was no quicker than last week, but it felt very comfortable - indeed I feel like I could run the whole way round without stopping now (for the 2.36 km loop, at least). But I'll keep on increasing the intervals gradually.

Monday, September 26, 2005


After a wildly enthusiastic four consecutive morning runs last week, it was time for a lie-in this morning. I've had a bit of a cold for the last couple of days; nothing as severe as the lying-in-bed-feeling-sorry-for-myself kind, but enough to be snuffling, feeling a bit lethargic, and taking the occasional paracetamol. Well, Tesco flu strength caplets, in fact, which also feature some yummy phenylephrine hydrochloride decongestant. Oh, and caffeine. Ho ho.

Perhaps I'll go running tomorrow morning, and suddenly feel enthused with a rush of endorphins. Or perhaps it'll aggravate my cold into full-blown bubonic plague. Or perhaps I'll stay in bed.

Anyway, all this idle speculation is merely a ploy to do something other than sort out my tax return, which I brought in today so that I could work on it at lunchtime. In fact I nearly provoked a security incident by leaving my bag unattended in a corridor. "Sorry I couldn't complete my tax return, but the documents were destroyed in a controlled explosion".

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Three in a row

Out this morning for the third day in a row, another running first. The last wisps of dawn were just fading from the sky as I went out; it won't be that long until I'm out before sunrise. On a good day I start my run at 6:45; in the depths of winter, sunrise in Cambridge is at 8:10. I expect it'll be a bit chilly, too.

Feeling very good today, much better than the previous few runs. I'm still on the shorter loop, with 3/1 run/walk intervals, but in a few runs time I'll go back to the longer loop.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Short loop again

Out again this morning, another short loop. Feeling much better now, though still taking it gently.

However, I am suffering from a significant amount of Gadget Lust. I definitely want a Forerunner. And I probably want an iPod Nano, though I'm not quite so sure about this one. And I've been thinking about a new bike, too. Decisions, decisions...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Well, I won't be writing any smug posts about quitting caffeine any time soon. On Saturday I had the most crushing headache I can remember having for a very long time, and had to retire to bed and whimper. Slightly mysteriously it didn't go away when I gave in and had some coffee, either. Anyway, for now it's back to two cups a day, and I'll try tapering off more gradually.

Out again this morning for a very gentle couple of k. Shins behaving themselves at the moment (if that's not tempting fate).

Friday, September 16, 2005

Last cuppa

The final cup of coffee of my decaffeination plan sits steaming on my desk. If all goes well then around this time next week I'll be writing a smug post entitled How I Quit Caffeine In 14 Days With No Headaches.

Dragged myself out for a run this morning, though wasn't really in the mood. Went back to the slightly shorter route, and slightly easier intervals. It was OK, but far from fantastic. I just need to get out a bit more regularly. Here's a graph of my outings so far, showing the mile pace of each one. As you can see they're slightly less frequent in the fortnight than previously, and my rapidly accelerating pace from the first few weeks has pretty much levelled off. So that's the low-hanging fruit eaten, then.

While I've made some progress towards my goal of running 10k without stopping, I haven't shed a great deal of weight so far, so I suspect I'm going to have to take further measures. Historically I've only found two effective ways of losing weight: (i) visit a third world country for at least a month; (ii) stop drinking alcohol. One of these isn't really an option. So, off to Zambia, then.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Beaten up

I was feeling surprisingly beaten up yesterday after the morning's run. Right hamstring, right shin, right big toe and left lower back were all expressing some sort of disapproval, and I felt more than usually tired in the afternoon. Nothing was actually hurting, but I was aware of it. Rest day today, then we'll see how things are tomorrow. Perhaps I'm running in a lopsided way.

Caffeine fade continues on track; no ill effects so far.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Back on the road

Back on the road (well, mostly the pavement) this morning, after four days Not Running - largely due to a number of, um, social events making it harder to get out of bed in the mornings. And first thing in the morning really is the only time of day that I can realistically get any running done; the rest of the day is busy with work or family, or I've just eaten.

At least I was a bit faster this time; each of my previous two outings had been slower than its predecessor. Increasing the intervals to 3.5/1 run/walk probably helped a bit.

In other health news, I'm definitely going to give up caffeine this week. Oh yes. But I'm not doing it the hard way - indeed, there's a cup of filter coffee gently steaming on my desk as I type. Instead, I'm going for the taper approach - half a cup less per day, until it's down to zero. I started last week on five cups a day; today it'll be two and a half (I don't count weekends, when I always drink less anyway); on Friday I'll have my last half cup. And then we'll see if it's any easier getting out of bed.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Since installing a site meter on this page, it's been interesting to see where my visitors have been coming from. So far it's a fairly even divide between search engine results and referrals from the Running Blog Family Directory. And I see I've even got an RSS subscriber at Bloglines (Hi Matt!). I seem to be much more popular with non-Google search engines; I'm already up to tenth spot for "running for beginners" on Yahoo, but I'm nowhere on Google (no doubt reflecting their superior algorithm). However, thanks to a typo in the RBF directory I'm already at number one for "running for begginers". Such is fame.

I see that one visitor was searching for "recommend running shoes overweight". Thanks, buddy. Well, as I've said, I'm very happy with my GT-2100s, and if I can lose another 7kg then I'm sure I'll be happy to recommend them for non-overweight use too.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Longer route

So, 2.93km in 19:30 this morning; crossed Milton Road without even coming close to being run over; felt very comfortable. I took it fairly gently, hoping not to upset my shin - no complaints so far, but apparently it usually takes a while. I upped the intervals to run 3 walk 1, with no problems at all - indeed once or twice I forgot to stop running after three minutes. I'm fairly confident now that I could run 5k without falling over, though I'd probably still be walking a bit of it. Onward...

Monday, September 05, 2005

Shin whinge

Hmm. My right shin isn't exactly hurting, but it's making its presence felt a little more than the left one. "Hi. I'm your shin. Remember me? I'm not exactly wild about this running business that I'm suddenly supposed to cope with three or four times a week."

It was fine when I went out on Saturday, but was nagging quietly for most of Sunday. As I say, it's not hurting exactly, just sort of muttering at my nervous system in a slightly threatening way. At the moment it's fine - though I didn't go running this morning, mostly because of the thunderstorm. Another factor was that I'm feeling a little sleep-deprived at the moment; our next door neighbour has been away for a few days, and her 17-year-old son has been making the most of the partying opportunity.

Anyway, on Saturday as expected I completed my 2.36km in under 15 minutes, so it's time to extend the route a little. After a bit of fiddling about with Gmaps pedometer I've added a segment that goes down Chesterton Hall Crescent and back up Herbert Street, for a total of 2.93km. This does involve crossing Milton Road twice, but I'm hoping this won't be too challenging in the early morning. I'll need to be doing nearly a 5 minute kilometer pace before the route will need extending again, which I expect will be a while, particularly if my shin doesn't settle down. Time will tell.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

August summary

The end of my first full month of running. I went out on twelve occasions, and covered a grand total of 21.5km in just under two and a half hours total running time - that doesn't include warm-up/cool-down. I know some people do longer runs than that several times a week, but on the other hand I have improved my mile pace by more than two and a half minutes this month, which I'm sure is more than most runners can say.