Month: February 2018


The first thing is work. I asked, in a rambling, apologetic way if, when possible, I could have shorter runs. I was flustered because it felt so cheeky. I asked for longer runs last year, I didn’t want to them to think I was getting all precious and picking and choosing my runs. I was thinking straight Didcot and back, 10½- 11 hours. In a case of ‘careful what you wish for’, I got a week of 7-9 hour runs. 45 minutes overtime in the whole week. It’s normally about 8 or 9 hours, easy.

That is what I asked for, but not what I meant. The next week was back to Didcot runs.

That was a mite disturbing. On the bright side it has given me time to train, which is what I desperately needed.

I’ve joined Warrington Triathlon Club with a view to sorting my swim out. I can thrash out the distance, but I’m shit slow. I was supposed to be going to for my first class last Saturday (at Lymm) but I woke up with a shitty headache that just got worse all day. By 16.30 (class time) I’d gone back to bed to try and sleep it off.

This time! Got to overcome my odd reluctance and actually attend. If I can do that tomorrow, I’m going to enter the Chester Middle (half Iron) Distance triathlon as a warm up for the main event. It’s local, relatively cheap, and about right for my training. The only reason I’ve not already entered is it’s a river swim (1.2 miles) and my swimming is too weak to fight a current. If I can go tomorrow, then enter the Chester Half, that will give me further motivation. I want a good swim in the Outlaw.

It’s been bastard freezing. They are predicting 10 days of sub zero from Wednesday, so I’ve not been out cycling. I’ve been on my turbo and going hard at the gym on the bikes, then onto the treadmill for fast runs.

Because of the training write-off last Saturday I didn’t do my long (15.5 miles) run.  I got up early on Sunday and went for a run before work. I set off slowly to avoid injury, then decided as I didn’t have a lot of time to make it a pace run. I have been building fitness and distance, trying not to push the speed, for fear of injury. I battered it! (By current standards.) My running has been 8.30 m/m for a bit, dropping to 9 m/m. I averaged about 8.08m/m, with 2 miles under 8 (on a 10 mile run, forgot to say).

They say to never do two hard runs back to back. If you went fast or long, small and gentle the next day. I went to gym, did the bike for half an hour to warm up, then on to the treadmill. I’d developed a belief that in doing that, warming my legs up, I would avoid injury. Anyway, as soon as I started running my calf seized. I ignored it. It wasn’t shin splints, so I wasn’t going to sweat the small stuff. I was about 4 or so miles in when I suddenly realised of what it reminded me. When I was trying to adjust to those ‘natural running’ trainers, went too hard, too fast, and something just snapped in my leg. I was laid up for months. Every time I thought I was over it, I’d go for a little run and I was crippled again. Shit. As soon as I started thinking that I was done. Stopped the tready and quit.

I’ve been nursing it for a week. It’s not got worse. But I think I’m through with treadies for a while.

Also, in the weird stakes, I was sick of my weight dropping by the end of the week by about 4 pounds, only to put it back on when I gorge on curry or whatever. (I can’t taste it as such, but I know it’s nice and I just keep troughing.) I had an idea. Use my lack of taste to my advantage. So I tried porridge for breakfast (no sugar, a bit of semi skimmed milk and water) instead of loads of butter jam on toast, and baked spuds with yoghurt and tuna for my tea. With hardly any taste buds that was oddly nice. Yoghurt made it moist and creamy, the little bit of tuna added protein and a savoury thing.

With gym I lost 3 pounds in a day. No sugar, no fat. I was full up and losing weight.  I don’t know if it was that or just a terrible coincidence, but after two days I felt so shite. I thought I was getting the ‘flu. I felt terrible.

I ate my body weight in chocolate and such and after another two days it went. I’ll try again, but perhaps reduce my fat and sugar intake gradually.


Today, after my fast run last week, I went out to do the 15.5 miles I missed. Then I thought ‘bugger it’, and did the next week’s, which is 17 miles. Which is to say, putting me back to 2 weeks ahead of my training schedule for the Manchester marathon. It was bitter cold, the wind cut straight through me. I did it as a 10 mile lap then a 7. At the end of the first lap I went in a got my waterproof to keep the wind off me. It was bad, after the 90 second pause to get my waterproof and glug some energy drink my legs had set. I had to just grit my teeth and grind it out. They loosened off after a mile, so I was tempted to go for 20 miles. I’m so glad I didn’t. When I turned around at 13.5 miles it was hellish. Biting cold strong wind in my face, legs just didn’t want to play. It’s good to practice mental toughness, I suppose. But that’s always easier to say after the event.

I’ve had the cables rerouted on my bike for the aero bars, and had the handlebars and aero bars professionally taped. They look groovy. Now I need the weather to get out on it. The turbo sweat/torture device is great, but I don’t know how it translates to road performance.


In none Tri news, I promised my niece-in-law she could have our car when she passed her test. Out of the blue I got a text off our Lisa saying she’d passed. Bugger. I had to thrash the internet for a car. Wendy said a while back that she like to look of the new Mini. I was torn between a VW Up, a little, square, cheapo box or a Mini. For the same money I could get an 11 plate Mini or a 15 plate Up. Then I saw a Mini One, local, for a grand less than everyone else was asking. The One is the basic Mini, 89bhp, 1.6 diesel, 65mpg, 6 forward gears. That’s pretty much ideal for Wendy.  As opposed to say, the Cooper. Quick glance, I thought the Mini Cooper S was 138bhp, some site claiming it’s 181bhp. Try insuring that for a just-passed.

It is surprisingly nippy to drive. Put your foot down and it doesn’t half go. The clutch and gears are unnecessarily manly, but it’s a cracking car. Real build quality. And quiet. And black. Obviously.

I got her some pink fluffy dice.



More of the same.

Training. Everything revolves around training.

Can I get a training session in before work? Can I get enough sleep to go for an early swim? Am I coming down with a cold that will set my training back? Am I getting shin splints that will totally bugger my marathon training?

I’m very tired a lot of the time. Yesterday for instance. I missed the swim on Tuesday (it’s lane swim Tuesday and Thursday, 07.00- 09.00) due to a 13 hour shift, so yesterday I had to get up after 6½ hours kip, go for a swim (just 54 lengths. 64 lengths to a mile, so just keeping my hand in.) Then straight up to the gym, 30 minutes on the exercise bike (hilly setting) then 10K (6.2 mile) run on the tready. Then charge home, changed, shove some food down my neck and straight out to work for an 11½ hour shift.

I was feeling pretty miffed, to be honest. I was even thinking about quitting driving and going back to order picking, briefly. Driving is great if all you are thinking about is the money. The long hours mean shift premiums and overtime rates. Loadsa money. To do the job you gradually develop a laid back attitude. It takes as long as it takes and I’m paid by the hour. 14 hour shift? Ker-ching!

The second you introduce another priority it suddenly becomes a bind.

Instead of taking as it comes you get frustrated when the job takes so long.

That single 13 hour shift cost me two days training. I thought it was going to be a long run so I didn’t want to knacker myself before starting a long shift. Then, by the time I got to bed I didn’t have enough time to sleep and train before starting my next shift.


I was thinking of other jobs for which I’m qualified…

Order picking


… and that’s it.

Even if I was to go order picking at our place I’d need to do an extra 10- 15 hours a week to get to my current hours. They do the overtime in 4 hour blocks, so I couldn’t do 5 x 10 hour shifts. So say 3 x12. That’s still 3 days a week I couldn’t train. And at least £100 a week pay cut. For a nice, short, 8 x5, 40 hour week, I’d probably be £250 a week worse off.

Not a viable option.


Last year in a quiet spell I was only getting 7 and 9 hour days so I asked in the office for long runs. My first course of action is to see if I can change back again. This start time tends towards the longer runs, meaning longer hours, so if that’s not possible my next course is to look into changing my start time. I’m fine with my usual run, which is just Didcot (just past Oxford) and back. That is about 10½ hours.

Ideally I’d like a days start, 10- 10½ hours maximum. That would be brilliant.


Anyway, that’s work interfering with training. The bright side is I now have a life with which work interferes. And the money to be able to pursue it. Accommodations.

So, on to the training.

I was worried I was getting shin splints. Runner’s World summed it up as a “catch-all phrase”, “invariably caused by 4 words: too much, too fast.” I lack the self discipline to not push on. So I was getting pains down the sides of my shins. Very worrying. That can set you back months. Then I noticed on the brick session above, no pains. I think the swim and the sweating my tits off on the bike loosened my legs up. Not a single twinge (on the sides of my shins, my muscles were hurting) after that 10K.

I didn’t do a long run last weekend for fear of exacerbating the shin splints. After the warm up revelation I did and extended warm up today (after resting yesterday) and went out for a run. I was ahead of schedule, I only need to be doing 8 miles this week. I did 11 miles two weeks ago.

As I’ve only been back running a month, I’ve been struggling. The first mile has been so tough I’ve been thinking “I can’t do this. I’m going to have to quit.” But you expect the first mile to be the worst while you get into a rhythm.

Today I set off and the first mile was a doddle, and quite nippy. The second and third were as easy and faster. I was aiming to modestly up the bar to 11½ miles. I felt so good I decided to do a half marathon, 13.1 miles. And I did. And my legs feel fine. Touch wood.

That is brilliant. I am well ahead of schedule for the Manchester marathon on the 8th of April.


My swim, after that accidental 100 lengths, is much better than I’d hoped.


Now I really need to build up my bike stamina.


Really though, seems I’m only a month into my training, I’m well chuffed with my progress. If I can work out the accommodation with work, I’m going to batter this.