Sub 3 March

Week 1:

I finally had enough of the two new pairs of ASICS I bought 6 weeks ago. I stick with ASICS because I know what I’m getting. For years I’ve got a 40.5/ UK 6.5, 2e (wide fit) and they fit me perfectly. This is the first time I’ve ever bought two pairs of trainers and they’ve changed them. The wide fit is giving me blisters on my little toe and the 40.5 have suddenly shrunk so I’ve got blood blisters on the ends of half my toes. I was putting up with it, expecting to break them in or something. It’s always 40.5, 2e, and my feet haven’t grown, so they must fit. Nope. They don’t. I’ve had to order some more trainers. I’ll rotate them so I still get my wear out of the ASICS, but rest my feet in between times.

I read through all the reviews of the “super trainer” (the ones with the plate in the sole and springy foam to give you maximum energy return per stride) and they are still all for narrow footed freaks. I saw one article, asking exactly the right question; which super trainer can I wear with wide feet? The bottom line was none of them are made for wide feet, but some were worth a go.

I ordered some Saucany Endorphin Speed 2. These are the training version of the actual race day super trainer.

I did my midweek 14 run in my nearly a thousand mile old ASICS, to rest my toes. Good plod, but now I’ve adjusted to (ill fitting) new, cushioned trainers, it felt a bit damaging. I did a 6 mile run with 6×100 metre sprints yesterday in my tight ASICS. Today was the first huge test of the plan. It said to run 15 miles, with 12 of them at race pace. That would be 6.45 – 6.50, I am nowhere near that. My best to date was 6 miles at 7.20, which near killed me.

I tried out my Saucanys for the first time. They were a bit tight and uncomfortable but I looked at my watch on the first, coasting, warm up mile, and I was doing 8.02, not even trying. The second mile I started running. I was going for a fast, but sustainable pace, nothing drastic. Looked at my watch again, 6.36! OK, looks like I’m putting up with uncomfortable trainers! To make my training tougher I’ve stopped going down the canal (dead flat, obvs) and am heading out to St Helens. After 4½ miles it gets some proper hills. So one mile warm up, 12 miles flat out, with 5 of them being hills, then 2 miles jogging it off.

I got back and looked at my stats.

Fastest ever 10K

Fastest ever 10 miles

Fastest ever half marathon

Fastest ever 15 miles.

Bearing in mind the first 3 PBs had a mile of warm up in them and the last one had all 3 miles of easy trotting.

Wow. Just wow.

My time for the 12 miles was 1.24:10, so a smidge under 7.01 m/m. With 5 miles of hills!

OK, still got a long way to go, but let me bask in the moment for a minute. I’ve gone from the plan’s first week long run (dead flat down the canal) of 12 miles, couldn’t hold the pace, averaged at 8.14 m/m, to 12miles, (5 hills) within a 15 mile run, at 7.01 m/m, in 8 weeks.

The bad is the trainers are tight, and when you start giving it beans they seem to push you into a forefoot striking running style. I’m totally not used to that so my knees and calves took a beating. I’ll heal, then introduce them more gradually until I get used to them. The plan doesn’t want anything that full-on for a while. It’s a recovery week next week, so that should rest me.

Week 2.

The super trainer/ hills beating was worse than I thought. I went out for an 8 mile steady run on Wednesday and called it off after 100 yards. The pain in the side of my knee was too scary. It was exactly the pain I had after Chester marathon (after I was sprinting down hills and I knackered something). It took me months to get back to training after Chester so I was *really* worried to get the pain again. I skipped the next day’s training as well. By Friday I was walking down stairs with only a twinge, and the plan said 5 miles recovery (easy pace) so I gave it a go. My knee didn’t feel any worse after it, so I’ve resumed training. I’m glad it was a recovery week, so I’ve not missed much training, and ecstatic I’ve not ruined my sub 3 attempt.

I did 8 miles with 8x100m sprints yesterday. Today was 14 miles run, mara pace +10- 20%. I thought I’d do it in my Sauconys, as I wasn’t going flat out, to give me a chance to adjust to them and practice proper foot striking. As they make your feet turn over really fast and decrease perceived effort I decided to do it at the fast (+10%) end of what the plan allowed.

It turns out when you are only going ‘fast’ (not flat out) the trainers aren’t as super. Or I could have just been tired. Either way I didn’t get the feeling of super speed/ fast feet turnover/ manageable effort. It was bloody hard work. But I did it a smidge under +10%, even with the hills, averaging 7.30 for the 14 miles. I’m happy with that. And so glad my knee is working. That was a scary week.

Week 3:

Mixed week. A few decent runs, but I failed on another day. It was a long shift at work and I had the insatiable hunger of the plague weakness, so I ate loads and flopped. To redeem myself I ended up getting up at 04.45 for a 12 mile run before going in work for 11+ hours.

Upon recommendation from a couple of runners I ordered the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2s. The cheapest of the full-on super trainers. And wide fit. And the Adizero Boston 10s, which are the training shoe to get you ready to race in the Pro 2 (which are so lightweight they are race day only.)

After that flurry of PBs with the Saucony training trainer, I thought I’d smash it out of the park with a full-on race shoe.

I had a 20 mile run today, and being me, thought I’d run it at mara pace, to try out my Pro 2s. Ridiculously ambitious in retrospect. I started off really puffing and panting but a good pace, had to slow it down to 6.55 for the first mile. I kept it low 7s for 7 miles, then crept to 7.30ish for 6 miles, then the wheels fell off. Really fighting hard to keep it below 8.

I ended up with an average of 7.30, which is a new 20 mile PB, but nowhere near the 6.50 I wanted. And it was awful. I suffered so badly. And have been battered the rest of the day. The worst thing was I was slowing, in loads of pain, had nothing left to give, and if I’d have had to run the other 6 miles, which is the purpose of the training, I think I’d have ended up walking. I was smashed. It’s been a really discouraging experience.

The super trainers don’t feel that super, to be honest. The were wide, which is nice. And soft. But as soon as I dropped off the fast pace (which I felt was me working really, really hard, not the trainers hurling me forward) it felt like I was fighting the trainers. The softness felt like it was absorbing all the energy I was putting into running and giving nothing back. The Sauconys felt much faster. The bevel in the Sauconys throws you forward so you get really fast feet. The downside to that is you end up forefoot striking which has been smashing my knees alarmingly. At least I run with my normal gait in the Pro 2s. I’ll give it a blast with the Boston 10s. Perhaps I can adjust to them. The reviews say they are a genuine super trainer and worthy rival to the Nike benchmark ones.

Week 4:

A bit of a slide. Got into a fatlad troughing routine. Then work called me in just as I was getting up to go on a run, long shift, fail day. Back in 9 hours later, finished weak, hungry and knackered. Another fail day. The day after it was all sliding so badly I briefly thought about sacking the sub 3 off.

It was supposed to be a run rest day, so I got my arse out of the door to claw back one of the fails. The plan said 8 miles with 5x 600m at 5K pace. Took that to mean 8 miles with a 5K race.

Smashed my PB (20.35) from 3 years ago and hit the benchmark sub 20! 19.42. With 6.00 m/m in there!

That was the boost I needed.

4 miles recovery the next day. Legs fried.

The next day was “tune up 8- 15K race” so I did my 10 mile road run. Another record that’s stood for 3 years (at 7.03m/m). Smashed it! 6.53 m/m. That’s 10 miles at actual sub 3 marathon pace! Brilliant. I couldn’t imagine that at the start of the plan.

Then 17 miles on utterly bollocksed legs the next day. Kept it under 8.12.

So, bad fail then a fantastic recovery. And a huge boost to my motivation.

How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb.

Well. As the fictional Chinese curse has it, “may you live in interesting times”. The times are certainly getting interesting. Mother Russia has had enough.

The media are all “Boo hiss, evil Putin” , but there’s a bit more to it than that.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/28/nato-expansion-war-russia-ukraine

Mr Putin has had enough of the American puppet regimes being used as weapons platforms on his borders.

And he’s sick of nazis.

So far, so good.

But as with all wars, it the civvies who suffer.

As usual I have been taking a contrary view to that which the media want me to believe. As you can see.

I was shouting into the void on Twitter, trying to work out what was annoying me so much about the Ukraine hysteria. “Invasion is bad. War is bad. Agreed. I think it’s the fact we can invade a sovereign nation and slaughter a million of it’s citizens (Iraq). And Palestine lives this. So is it Russia doing it that’s bad, or doing it to white people?”

“And the media hypocrisy. We saw Wikileaks. We know the casual atrocities we were routinely committing. Whilst our media was saying “…Our brave boys”. Now it’s “Mother takes a stranger’s child to the border. I cried” The gall.”

But don’t worry. Bozo was on the case.

Our foreign secretary started gobbing off prompting Putin to raise the nuclear defence level. The papers, in no way feeding hysteria, helpfully published a housing price guide.

Warrington gets cleanly vaporised, which is a relief. I can’t make out how many hit the M6 through Birmingham, but frankly it’s not enough.

(Garmin being my satnav watch, how I record all my run data.)

The Tories were all supportive of the Ukranian people, right up until they wanted to flee the warzone to come here.

Then they went full loony.

Bozo stamped on that one, thankfully. No point in winning votes if you’re vaporised, I suppose.

The fascist thing was them pushing through the policing bill while everyone was distracted with the war. Now police have the power to purge the gypsies, harass black people (stop and search, which massively targets black people) and jail for peaceful protest. As someone just tweeted: “Did you know the punishment for peaceful protest in Russia is 7 years in prison? I’m sure glad I live in a Western democracy like Britain where the punishment for peaceful protest is only 10 years in prison.”

Closer to home, the Brits were taking it calmly.

And I nearly got called up.

Some weren’t convinced the architects of the million civvie slaughter in Iraq were the most moral authority against Putin.

Before all that we had some weather.

And Royalty

I got some sage motivational message from an app that records my run data

I was window shopping bikes again. I was very tempted by this, as it was (relatively, for a Harley) cheap.

I was very, very tempted. My obsessing was reaching critical levels but then I stumbled upon some statistics. It has 51bhp, weighs as much as Wales (564lbs/ 256kg) and has a (somewhat optimistic) top speed of 103mph. My Daytona is 123bhp, 364lbs/ 165kg, and capable of 160mph. It’s not that I want to be flat out all the time, but I had a retro motorbike that had 49bhp (and 195kg) and it couldn’t accelerate away from family cars at the lights. It was pitiful.

Crisis averted.

Then I was looking at something to carry all my kit to races so I wouldn’t need to ask Wendy for her car (races are invariably on Sunday when she wants to drive her mate to church). I saw this.

It’s a 400cc superscooter. There’s a huge stash area under the seat and a top box. Heated grips, muffs, all enclosed so no getting dirty… It would be a cheap and practical beast of burden. But… it’s a scooter. It’s ugly. And due to parking space, I’d probably have to get rid of my Daytona. For that eyesore. It would be an affront to man and god. I let that go as well.

I wasn’t tempted (£950 and not in great nick) but I also saw my learner bike from the 80s up for sale.

10.5 screaming bhp, 0-60, allegedly.

Looking at it now, I am a bit tempted. No. No time for any distraction from the plan this year.

We got our new gas bill. It’s already gone up from £68 per month, 4 months ago, to £96, then £114 to pay instant arrears, now this from April.

£132 per month. Someone is getting very rich out of freezing the poor to death.

I had a look online. Compare The Market said “Deals for you: zero”

They can’t even offer a switch deal. I went onto one Wendy recommended, £155 per month cheapest. But that was fixed for 12 months, the current one could go up again in September. And we could have had nationalised energy companies. But Brits chose to hate foreigners instead. As The Smiths sang “And your prejudice won’t keep you warm tonight”.

More Brexit bonus:

Last bit of politics, honest.

Huge if true:

In other news, Wendy has had a really bad bout of the plague weakness. She seems to be a lot better now but it is nasty. And it disproves the post viral fatigue claim of a direct correlation between physical exertion and weakness. There is obviously more to it than that.

I’ve got it now. Not bad, but it makes sticking to the plan more challenging. Which I totally don’t need.

My Duolingo has hit a wall. I can’t get this into my head. I can’t see a rule.

Grrr,

I’ve only just found this out,

It’s a real thing!

Wendy still won’t let me have one. *sigh*

Other pets

Extraordinary perspective pic

(I think that’s looking down from the cantilever bridge towards Latchford.)

Some Dinos.

And my mood.

Later,

Buck.

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.