Good Day.

I’ve been suffering a bit with plague weakness-like feelings. Insatiable hunger, a craving for fats and sugar, weakness, with added chesty and sore throat for good measure. Yesterday was grim. I took a lateral flow test in the afternoon to rule out the actual plague, I felt so battered by it. I’d got to the stage where I’d resigned myself to it being post viral fatigue, which would be triggered by every hard run. I was still going to try to carry on with the plan and just endure the weakness, and ignore the hunger. I was entertaining doubts that my body would work. I can endure a lot, but if my legs won’t run when I’m weak, then it’s over. Abandon my sub 3, and possibly all exercise. I was gutted. I had my tea and some aspirin to try to take the edge off, then it just ebbed away. I went from worrying it was over to … nothing. I was just normal. A bit hungry because I am on a diet, but it was normal hunger. I really don’t understand.

Last week I’d got down to 10st 10¼lbs on my diet. Due to the gnawing hunger of the condition (and/or my innate gluttony) I’d gone back up to 10.12 during the week. I got a grip and tried to endure the hunger.

This morning (my official weigh day) I was amazed to have actually dropped a pound overall for the week! 10st 9¼lbs! Brilliant. Single figures left to lose.

I was feeling a little off colour when I got up, but that is possibly me finding something because I was looking so hard. It was raining, blowing a gale, and freezing, but the weather forecast said it was like that all day so I just cracked on with my 12 mile run.

Last week I failed to take 10 seconds per mile off my long/ fast run. I wanted 7.40 m/m but had to settle for 7.54. This week I wanted to take another 10 seconds off, so 7.30. I did it! Even in to the teeth of the wind I held the pace.

This is doubly brilliant for me as yesterday I thought I was going to have to quit. I’m well happy with that. And I’m still feeling normal.

On the 30th of January I booked us a little flat in Newport for 3 days in October so I could do my marathon, then we could have a few days ambling around. Possibly with Wendy pushing me in a bathchair.

I went online and booked it through a booking site. The landlord wanted the money up front. Not a problem, I paid the £232.50 and thought no more of it.

Then I got an email off the site saying the flat was now going to be closed for renovation or something. OK. Cancel my booking, book another place. Where’s my refund? I looked on the site, it said payment/ refund is between you and the landlord. Here’s the landlord’s email. Fair enough. I emailed the landlord twice, a week apart, no reply. The other contact is a mobile ‘phone. Oh-o. Not even a landline. No physical address to which you can direct your complaints. Wendy rang it today (I don’t like talking on the ‘phone) and it went straight to a dodgy voicemail saying “contact us by email”, with no facility to even leave a message. Wendy went into CAB mode and looked it up. Because I paid by a debit card (not a credit card) the card wasn’t liable for a refund. I sent another email, but if they are going to ignore them there is no next step.

I went on to the booking site to let them know the place was a scam. I was hoping to save other people from being ripped off at least. The site bounced me about a bit until I ended up calling customer services. They tried ringing the landlord while they put me on hold, failing that they escalated my problem and within the space of one ‘phone call have agreed to pay me the money. How good is that? They state they are just advertising for the landlord and the money stuff is a deal between us, then they’re going to pay it to save me being ripped off on their site.

Fantastic.

It’s Booking.com by the way. They deserve to be namechecked for that kind of service.

So, brilliant day.

Work have been ruining this slack period for me.

I’ve had two weeks with only two shifts planned, last week and this. Obviously 2 shifts a week doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to paying bills, but I had this last year and it only lasted a few weeks then I was getting battered with shifts again. Work are ruining it for by ringing up the night before and offering me a shift. I ended up with 4 shifts last week. Meh. Ah well, we always need money.

Talking of, I was looking at trainers. I really wanted a fast pair to give myself the best shot at a good time. They have super hi-tech ones now that everyone is wearing to smash all the old world records. Apparently they have a stiff plate in the bottom of the shoe and springy stuff over it, so you get the maximum return bounce with every stride. The guy who broke the 2 hour barrier for a marathon was wearing some of them.

The problem (apart from them being about £300!) is that I only have size 6½ feet and need a wide fit or my bones crush and rub together. All the fancy running shoes are standard fit. While I was googling “fast trainers for a marathon”, I came across a really good tip. Buy two pairs of the exact same trainer. That way you can break one pair in by doing 50 miles in them, do the rest of your training in the other pair, then swap back to the perfect condition, broke in pair, (that you are perfectly adapted to running in) for the actual race. Even if it only means I’m more comfortable, not any faster, it’s still a good idea. They say you are supposed to buy new trainers every 500 – 600 miles, as the cushioning breaks down and you don’t get the support so you are more liable to injury. For some reason I thought the pair I was training in were new when I returned to running in December. I looked up the sales receipt, I got them in June ’20! I’ve put 960 miles on them. Oops. At least I don’t feel extravagant for buying new ones now.

Some Twitter and I’m done.

There’s cook who’s life’s mission is to stop the poor from starving to death. She’s always doing things like “how to cook a family meal for £2.50” or whatever. A few weeks ago the government were saying the cost of living had gone up by 5% or some such rubbish. She went into some supermarkets and looked at the “value” brand stuff that the very poorest would have to buy and they’d all gone up by 45% -350%. The rant went viral. Then there was this. It’s a bit long but I make no apologies.

It doesn’t affect me, but I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. Brilliant campaigning from Ms Monroe and a fantastic response from Asda.

Someone else facing the “5%” cost of living rise.

£6,519.03 a year!

But of course, Tory Keir has ruled out public ownership.

Another fun topic this week was Kirstie Allsop saying that the reason the younger generation can’t get on the housing ladder is because they waste all their money on expensive coffee, netflix, and such.

Bozo was so desperate to deflect attention he tried to get us into a war with Russia. He sent some of his finest brains to sort it out.

And in random stuff, my Canadian chum posted another picture

I saw two motorbikes. One from Lisa’s birth year

Proper beast! A Raleigh 50cc moped. And a slightly modified Honda CB750four

£10K! Perhaps not.

Happy Birthday to the runner girl.

I googled her.

Brilliant! I’ve got just over 50 years to get my act together.

And some valentines tweets

Right,

Later,

Buck.

Sub 3, February.

Week I

Bit of a fail week. After the great progress of the last few weeks it’s disappointing, but I’m taking the positives from it.

I’ve been feeling throaty, chesty and weak in patches again. Not ideal for running. Wendy’s had the same. I got an early o’clock start on Wednesday at work, felt weak and useless all day, and ended up not going for my run when I got home.

The day after I felt weak again, but I did the 5 miles recovery run, and I was having to fight to keep my times slow enough. I was comfortably in the 8.10s. That was encouraging.

Today I was feeling it again, (weak, chesty, throat) but I was due a 17 mile fast run so I forced myself out the door. For the first 4 miles I didn’t even know if I had it in me to go the distance. After that I knew I was going to make it, but I just couldn’t hold the 7.40 I was after. Finished with a 7.54 average. Two weeks ago I’d have been delighted with that.

The top of my foot is sore again, but I think it’s manageable. And I’ve still got full, painless, mobility in my hoof.

This week I started looking for fast trainers, but because I have 6½ feet, need wide fit, and am a bit wary of none-ASICS brands (for fit and comfort) I am limited. In one review it suggested getting two pairs of the same model of trainer. Break one pair in for 50 miles, then use the other pair for training, save the new-ish pair for the actual race. That way your race pair is in perfect condition and is exactly the same as the model you’ve in which you’ve done all your training. I can’t fault the logic. I’ve ordered two pairs. I was feeling a bit guilty as they are so bloody dear, so I tracked down the purchase date of my current trainers. For some reason I thought I’d just started wearing them for this return to running, (mid-December ’21) turns out it was June ’20! They say you should replace trainers every 500- 600 miles as they get worn down and don’t offer the same comfort and protection. I worked out my distance since June ’20. With today’s run it’s 963 miles. Oops. At least it’s not an extravagance getting new ones. It shows how often and debilitating the plague weakness was, I did 204 of those miles in the last 5 weeks.

Next week is my first recovery week. Two 8 miles (one with sprints) a 5, a 4 and my long run is a 12. That will be nice. It’s all been harder and harder. It’s good the plan has a week to let your body absorb the punishment. I want to hold 7.30 for the 12.

Week 2: Rollercoaster.

I’ve been having bad patches of the weakness/ chesty/ sore throat. Luckily it’s been a recovery week so light on the miles. One of the problems with the plague weakness is an insatiable hunger. I think your brain confuses fall-down weak with no calories. Even knowing it won’t help doesn’t help. You are desperate for high energy food. Fats and sugars. I had gotten down to 10st 10¼, but with troughing I went up to 10. 12 in the week.

Yesterday was really tough. It was my day off, I only had to run 4 miles at an easy pace, then I was wasted with the weakness/ hunger. By tea time I was in a proper state. I’d resigned myself to it being the post viral fatigue, that every time I did some exercise I was going to be like it. I just didn’t know how I was going to get out the door today. I was saying on Twitter that I was going to try, because I had to know, but it was possible that even if I could suck up the horrible feeling and ignore the gnawing hunger, if my body just wouldn’t run, I might have to quit my sub 3 attempt. I had my tea and some aspirin to try and take the edge off, then it just ebbed away. It was the weirdest thing. I went from feeling awful and ravenous, to … nothing. Normal. A bit hungry because I’m on a diet, but it was normal hunger.

I woke up this morning and I was still OK. I felt a little off, but that was possibly me finding something just because I was looking so hard.

Amazingly I had lost a pound overall for the week. I’m into single figures left to lose. I’m 10st 9¼! Big yay!

I had a bit of cereal to make sure I had enough energy to give it a good go, then went for my 12 miles run. Last week I failed at knocking 10 seconds per mile off to get to 7.40, I ended up on 7.54 m/m. This week I was trying for 7.30.

It was blowing a gale and raining (and freezing) but the weather forecast said that was all day so I just went for it. Even into the wind I still held my pace. It was hard, and I had a moment at 8 miles where I thought I couldn’t keep it up for another 4 miles, but I did. My watch says 7.30 m/m, the Garmin app says 7.29. Odd. It’s the same recording equipment. Either way, I’ve caught up with my aspiration for the plan. I’m back on track and thinking I could do this now. After yesterday this is doubly brilliant.

Week 3.

After thinking it might be all over, that I was doomed to the post viral fatigue bouts of weakness after every session, I did that that run last week and I’ve had a completely clean week since. Fantastic.

I had one fail day. It said “lactate threshold”, which is as fast as you can possibly sustain. After killing myself to get a 7.30m/m pace for 12 miles I somehow thought I’d be able to run 10 miles at 7.00. I don’t know either. Just stupid. Blew up, had nothing, had to turn around at 4 miles as I was so slow I was going to make myself late for work.

The rest of the week has been fine.

I saw a coach tweeting about workouts, how you need slow runs, and it made me look at my plan. I’m running everything at the pace I *want* to be at, not the pace I have. So even easier runs are still hard work for me. I’ve changed my strategy. I’m running recovery as zone 2, general aerobic as comfortable, midweek run as slow end of mara pace + 10- 20%, and saving my effort for the speed days and my long/ fast run.

Today was 18 miles. We were in the middle of the third successive storm so winds of up to 60mph. I decided to do it all on road (less chance of blown over trees than down the canal). This means after 4½ miles it is all hills. And it was blowing a gale, straight in my face. Brilliant training. The first 9 miles I was just going for a finish, it was so tough. I got back to the downhill with 5 miles to go, and really fought for it. Even with battered legs I managed to claw back a couple of minutes to finish on 8.07 m/m. Given the conditions (wind and hills) that was extremely respectable.

I’ve signed up for Blackpool marathon on the 24th of April. It means I’ll have to cut two weeks out of my taper, but there are bugger all North West marathons on the 8th of May. It will give me a good indication of where I stand. I am quite optimistic I’m going to get a PB, in my mind it’s just by how much. But I always write cheques my body won’t cash, so we’ll see. At least it will give me chance to do the recovery phase and get on to the second cycle of training a bit earlier.

The other good news is I’m 10st 6lb! I’ve lost a stone! First diet I’ve ever stuck to for more than a fortnight.

Week 4.

OK week. The fast run (11 miles, 6 of them at half marathon pace – basically as fast as I can maintain-) was chipping away at it. I managed to hold 7.20 for the 6 miles.

Today my long run was 20 miles.Wendy has a bout of the plague weakness so I was worried I was getting it. I gave it a go, anyway. I set off in light, long sleeve top and thin, running, waterproof jacket as it was supposed to be chucking it down. Before 3 miles I was dying from the heat, so I ended up losing 1 minute 20 taking off my running vest then waterproof and stuffing the waterproof into one of the vest pockets. Then I was fighting the rest of the run to try to make my time up. I suffered a mental dip as I started the second 10 mile lap, for 2 miles I was 8 minutes plus, and thinking about cutting it short but then I think the gel kicked in and I was OK. I managed to hold it under 8, then 7.45 for the last 5 miles. Supposedly my third fastest ever 20 mile run. If you take off the 80 seconds stopped with my jacket, it was a PB.

I got down to 10 stone 4 in the week but my official weigh day (today) was 10st 5¼. It’s still weight loss from last week.

Reappraisals

I’ve not been blogging apart from to note my running. Thought I’d catch up in general.

Wendy has just brought it up, about my boat. I’ve not been to the club in ages as it’s the middle of winter and freezing. My last outing was when I turned turtle and found my mast embedded in the lake bed and was contemplating possibly dying trying to swim to shore. I’ll not lie, that has taken a bit of the shine off. Then Wendy has said it took her mate years to learn how to sail. Huh. I thought the few lessons would suffice with a bit of practice. I’ve not given up on it yet. When it warms up I want to get back to it. I’ll see how I get on.

The other thing that’s not about running is my cheapo ‘phone. I like the long battery, but it is just too cheapo. I’ve had to change my home screen picture because the screen can’t do black convincingly, and the camera is awful.

I mean seriously bad.

I can’t be doing with that. I’ve been trying to buy a second hand one on Gumtree. Luckily in my searching I came across a few adverts saying it was the fake ‘phone. Huh? I googled a video on Youtube and they are the spit. They arrive in sealed boxes, with all the Samsung branding, and fake barcodes and such. The guy opened the box, the ‘phone looks exactly the same, open the home screen all the same settings inside. It is a brilliant copy. Then you try to use the 4 cameras and only one of them works, and it’s terrible. You go to other features that are in the ‘phones menu, like on the real one, and they just aren’t there.

The genuine, top of the range model, with 100x zoom camera and all the bells and whistles, sells for over £1000! Over a grand! Incredible. Which is why I was looking at second hand. I asked the people selling the four cheapest (still £400 or so) if all the cameras worked, as I’d want to test them. (The cast iron fake-detecting test.) No reply. The adverts are still up, so they’ve not sold them, so they must be fakes. How gutted would you be to spend £400 -£500 for a worthless bit of crap?

So glad I watched the video. You would never know to look at them, and you see the perfect replica box, you just wouldn’t suspect.

In the end I’ve plumped for a lesser spec, but brand new, ‘phone, off Amazon. It’s the same price bracket, £419, but it’s got good reviews and I know I’m not just throwing money away on a scam. Wendy said I should just get the model we had, an earlier Samsung, but still with a great camera. As they are quite old (in ‘phone terms) now, they don’t make them anymore, and a reconditioned one was £350! Which I thought was a bit of a cheek. Nah, pay a bit more, get newer tech (longer before it’s obsolete) and a brand new battery. So I’m all excited about that. It should be arriving from Monday. Lots of snaps to follow.

I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. Not sure what that’s about. I was relatively OK last night. I nearly got up and did my run at 05.30, because I’d been awake for an hour and was bored, but I stuck with it and had a lie in until 09.50. Hopefully I’m over whatever it was.

I’ve been desperately thinking of things to say that aren’t running related, but I am all out. I am focusing the whole of my time, energy and will into my goal. Which is going to represent another problem when it warms up, for my sailing. I can’t afford a single distraction. I had to get up at 05.30 (even thought I’m tired from not sleeping) to fit in a 10 mile run before starting work at 08.45, I’m fully committing.

The running news, in brief, is that I started the plan at the beginning of January and my first long run was 12 miles. I slacked off the pace at then end because it was just too far and too fast for me. I finished with a time of 8.15 m/m.

I ended January with a 15 mile run, it was blowing a gale,I was strong throughout, no dropping off the pace, with a time of 7.50 m/m. 3 miles longer and 25 seconds faster per mile in a month. That is encouraging.

I’ve lost 8lbs now, (10 to go) and 2″ off my waist.

Everything is moving in the right direction.

Oh, and I had a bit of a blip on the not buying motorbikes front, when I decided I needed a Swedish style chop. I’m over it now. Mostly. But just look at them! Beautiful. And the last word in motorbike practicality.

Right, my life is run/ sleep (badly)/ repeat at the mo, so nothing of interest to report. Seems I’ve not done a general blog for a bit there has been some good twitter.

A Canadian chum’s day going from brisk to positively toasty.

(That’s a real, old, photo. I like it a lot.)

Later,

Buck.