5K? 10K? 10 Mile? 13.1 Miles?

I have no idea where the last few months has gone. Unbelievable that time is going so quickly. “They” say that time moves slower as you get older. I don’t seem to agree with that. If anything my life is getting quicker.

Like the 25:50 Parkrun (5k) last weekend. A new PB for me, 20 seconds faster than my last PB. I thought that was hard work. Then I made use of my new running club membership (thanks Dodge!) last night and did an intervals session. 8×2 minutes at fast pace with 1 minute recovery.

The Route for my intervals session

That really *was* hard work, but so much fun and I felt a huge sense of accomplishment afterwards. I feel my calves this morning though…

Not my best look, eh?!

I mentioned in a previous post that I was going to run the Southport Half Marathon. That seems like so long ago, when in fact it happened (and I finished, didn’t die and didn’t finish last!) only two months ago (1 July). It was 29 degrees at 10am, I drank 3.5 litres of water during the run, shoved at least 4 gels down my throat and drink at least another 2 pints (of water/squash!) when I got back from the race. I finished in 2hrs 36 minutes. 4 minutes faster than I predicted. I think I would have been quicker had I not paced myself with a family member for the first 5 or so miles.  Bring on the next one!

So, that’s the 5k and half covered, what’s next?

This weekend (16 September) sees me at the Running Grand Prix at Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit in Chichester.  10k is two laps of the circuit.  Should be fun, even if it’s raining.

So, 10 miles?  Great South Run, of course!  I swore that I would not do it – overhyped, overattended, blah blah blah.  Sat on the sofa watching (I blame the hernia…) last year’s event live on TV, the commentator announced that tickets for the 2018 were available.  There and then I entered.  At the time I needed something to look forward to and a moment of weakness saw me purchase my ticket.  I am more nervous about this than I was about Southport.

So, I didn’t mention a common distance in the title.  26.2 miles or full marathon.  I still maintain that I will NOT run London.  The only two I want to enter are New York or Japan.  I want more half-marathon experience before I even consider doing a full in the UK.  I am prone to lapses in judgement and book places willy-nilly though…



More than two months have passed since my last post. So much and yet so little has happened in that time that I am not really sure where to start.

Two weeks on the sofa doing nothing was both wonderful and horrible at the same time. The worst part about it was constipation from taking co-drydamol. As soon as I found out they were the cause I stopped taking them. Thoroughly unpleasant few days! Being able to rest was really nice though.

sunsetA week in Tenerife at the end of February was most welcome though. We managed to escape all the worst of the weather from the so call Beast From The East, lounging around (not really) in 20-21 degrees while the UK suffered the snow and freezing temperatures.

A short delay in returning to the UK (spent an extra night in a hotel in Las Americas) meant that we saw literally none of the weather the UK had suffered during the week.


Fast forward to 10 March 2018 and I was excited to get my running gear on and head out for a short slow run to end the five month break.  Damn did it feel good!  It was a measly 1.9 miles and it was very slow – 11 minutes 45 seconds per mile – but, I had done it and I felt better than I had in a long long time.

Fast forward again and I now find myself at the end of the first week of half marathon training.  I am using Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 Half Marathon training program.   It’s a fairly easy intro to structured training that increases distance during the 11 weeks prior to the HM, tapering in the last week before the race itself.  In my case the race itself is 01 July 2018.  I am nervous already.  What happens if I miss a run, have a cold, break something, get another hernia etc?  This is commonly known as maranoia (although I suppose it should be half-maranoia), the paranoia that something is gonna go wrong before the race and stop you running it.  I think this is where I must be aware of the possibility of over-training and simply not do it.  Stick to the plan and I will be fine.  This means no parkrun until after the race.

The good thing is that as long as I complete the race I am guaranteed a Personal Best! 🙂

Unexpected Consequences

Friday 09 January 2018 – 03:40 am.

I am sat on the sofa writing this post. I have been up for around two hours as I am uncomfortable in bed and unable to sleep. The good news is that I do not have to work in February. Deve the hernia is gone. He is an ex-hernia. Yep, some seven months after first being diagnosed with a hernia (aka Dave) and 5 months since I ran (boo!) I had the operation yesterday. Between two weeks “sick” leave and a week on holiday I will not be working until 05 March.

Let me step back a few hours.

Thursday 08 February 2018.

My nose looks bloody massive!

A highly unimportant day for many many people around the world. An important day for me that started around 0630, showering with a bottle of Hibiscrub+ (Amazon Link) – the same stuff we used to use on my dog’s skin – before dressing in cleaning clothes. No food, not even a cup of tea (boo!) and away to the hospital for 0830.

I really don’t miss the daily commute into Portsmouth!  45 minutes to drive a little over 10 miles, the fastest bit of the journey was in the city itself.  My normal commute now (and thankfully for the last 16 or so years) has been a little over two miles in the car, yes, I am that lazy!, a journey time of 15 minutes on a bad day.

They wouldn’t let me keep the hat. 😦

Check in complete, the process was very slick and friendly in a clean and modern facility, a lovely member of staff named Kate asked a huge amount of questions (like they do!) and then I was to change into the back opening gown, dressing gown and new slippers.  I walked to the theatre (!) at 1020 and the next thing I know it’s around 1300 and I am waking up with another lovely member of staff gently saying my name.

Back to the ward, I was told that everything went well, all my bits are where they are supposed to be and, yes, I still have my winky.

I was home and sat on the sofa by 1430 having had peanut butter sandwiches and to cups of tea after my operation.

Gratuitous Ice Cream shot.

So, 3 -4 days off my feet as much as I can manage, back to “normal” activities without any heavy lifting, three weeks off work and I am good to go!

What about the unexpected consequences?  Well…

  • The keyhole entry points do no hurt.
  • The bottom rib and my shoulder do hurt.
  • Six visits to the toilet in four hours last night confirmed that I do not have restricted flow.
  • The most uncomfortable thing so far is a sore throat from having a tube shoved down it.
  • I can’t sleep.  Laying on my back makes my back hurt.  Laying on my side makes the operation site uncomfortable.
  • It’s now 04:05 am and I am still typing.
  • Asda Really Creamy Salted Caramel ice cream is my newest favourite ice cream.  Seriously, go get some.
  • It’s quicker to start the terminal and type “sudo shutdown now” than it is to grab the mouse, click shut down and confirm..

Now is the countdown to the next chapter.  In about 4 weeks (no sooner!) I hope to try running.  Before that I will do some spirited walking to ease myself back into things.

Oh, and the good news through all this?  Not having done any serious exercise since the end of September, I am back to 12 stone 8lb (79kg) having managed to get rid of the weight I gained over Christmas.  Need to get on the core exercise and lose the middle tyre round my stomach.  That will come…

The Detour

Spending time on your own is precious. Spending time with loud music in your ears while on your own is simply sublime.

A quick visit to the dentist for a checkup today afforded me the opportunity to walk home, a journey normally taking around nine minutes to complete.

The weather was behaving, I had my headphones on and at a junction I could choose to turn right or head straight on. I chose the latter. While only 24 minutes total activity according to Strava, it was lovely to not worry about work, home, money, the impending operation or our upcoming holiday.

It allowed me to shutdown my brain and just, well, walk. I used the same Spotify playlist as when I run, a somewhat random mix of 90s Dance/house music and more modern uptempo rock. The time reminded me of some of the many reasons why I run, as mental health as well as physical.

Then I got pissed off that I wasn’t running, went home and ate ice cream.

Inspired To…

Write again. I realise that I have written nothing since August last year. There’s a very good reason why I haven’t. My and blogging have a love hate relationship. I love writing and always think that what I may rite will offend someone. It has happened, and, Bloke, if you’re reading this, I apologise.

So, do I write non-sensical BS that nobody wants to read or do I just get on with life.

Today, I write.

My journey through health and fitness took a bit of a plunge and I haven’t actually run once since 24 September 2017. I am injured. Feel sorry for me.

I may have (I really can’t remember) Written about being a bit of a fool, pushing myself too hard too soon and I ran 12km in one go. Easy for most runners, right? Yeah. Don’t forget that I finished the C25K programme in July and should have stopped running and walked home (or phoned for the lift of shame) at about 6km.

The result of that run is that I have a hernia in my groin. It was due to be operated on during December but for reasons of crappy nurse it was cancelled three days before the operation. I am scheduled for the operation on 08 February so I should hopefully be running again in early April. I hope to be, anyway, I have signed up for the Great South Run (10 miles) in October so need all the training time I can get!

Thankfully, during this downtime I have managed to keep (ish) my slender figure and not pile the weight back on. I did gain a couple of pounds over Christmas, but, doesn’t everyone? With the help of MyFitnessPal and calorie counting the extra ring is shrinking again slowly.

So, here’s to 2018, a great running year and the very best of British to “Bloke” who is just starting his health journey with diet, C25K and gym time.

Two Months Later (Almost) – Running Update

So, it has been almost two months since I wrote anything here.  You may be forgiven for thinking I have given up on this diet and exercise lark and gone back to couch potato.

Oh, dear readers (both of you!), you couldn’t be more wrong.  Strength, to strength, to strength!  Where to start?  At the interesting bit of course!

I now weigh (as of this morning) a slender 12 stone 10lb – 178lb or 80.73kg.  Let’s just step back a mo.  I started at 17 stone 13lb (251lb or 114kg).  That’s 5 stone 3lb (73lb or 33.11kg) gone.  Let me shout that again:


As you can imagine, I am rather happy with that!  Proof:

A Tale Of Two Bodies
A Tale of Two Bodies…

On the left was me in 2015.  Yes, I was pulling a face for effect (I think I was geocaching and broadcasting on Periscope at the time.

On the right was me just after 30 minutes on the dreadmill while on holiday in Scotland.

Speaking of Scotland,  the C25K training didn’t stop just because I was away.  I was determined to continue the training and while two runs were in the gym I really wanted to run outside.  Week 9 Day 1 of the programme saw me running outside, beside the River Tay at North Inch in the middle of the city.

River Tay
Not the most flattering photo, but, I had just run 6km!

I finished the C25K program the next week with three objectives:

  1. Travel 5K (using interval run/walk technique)
  2. Run 5K without walking.
  3. Run 5K in less than 30 minutes.

Let’s jump forward a little to last Saturday (29 July 2017) when I achieved the third (also confirming 1 and 2 were complete) in 28 minutes 28 seconds:

My Second Parkrun
My Second Parkrun

So, what’s next?  Bridge to 10K?  Nope, my run last night proved that I can do that…

I was stupid. I shouldn’t have run this far!

Yes, you read that correctly.  12 kilometres or 7.4 miles.  If It Ain’t On Strava It Didn’t Happen!

So, next up is a half marathon.  Yes, 13.1 miles.  that’s almost twice what I ran yesterday and to be honest I am slightly bricking my load (and that’s nothing to do with weightless!) about this.  I will be using Hal Higdon’s Novice 1 Half Marathon Training which starts on 28 August with a rest day.  Good huh!  Between now and then it’s building on the mileage and enjoying the running.

By the way, if you are local to me and want to come laugh at me on the day, it’s Gosport Half Marathon on 19 November.

You can follow me on Strava too – would be great to have you along for the run.

Wish me luck!

I Am Smee – I Lost My Marbles

If you had said to me one year ago that I would be losing weight, starting running and having to spend hundreds on new clothes I would have laughed you out the door.

And yet, as I approach one year on my weight loss program I have lost 4 stone 10 pounds (66lb or 30kg), I have had to purchase a whole new wardrobe (and will have to do so again if I lose too much more weight) and, part way through the Couch to 5K (link to NHS Choices C25K) running program, I can (interval) run 5k in around 35 minutes.

Saucony Guide 10I have purchased “proper” running shoes – Saucony Guide 10, more running tops than I know what to do with and this morning I ran an extra run.  Yes, I broke the program and instead of having a rest day today, I completed Week 5 Day 3 (referred to as “hell day” amongst those on the program) for the third time.  Week 5 Day 3 (W5D3) is the first real milestone for any C25K runner.  Now you understand why I say I lost my marbles!

The thing about rest day though is that it’s all a mental block.  When you start the program (W1D1) you’re running for just sixty seconds.  You then get to walk for sixty seconds and then run for sixty seconds again.  That is hard enough for most people at the beginning.  They will finish their run, boast about it on Facebook or Reddit (R/C25K is a fantastic sub by the way) and then start looking at what’s coming.  Okay, week two is ninety seconds run, two minutes walk.  Week three, week four are similar, and day one and two of week 5 are not too bad.  You feel like you might just about manage it, then you notice day 3:

c25k Week 5

What the actual ***???  There’s no way that I will manage that!

This is where it becomes all mental.  You have spent five weeks training for this moment.  Physically you ARE ready.  Mentally though, twenty minutes might as well be an hour.  Or four.

Now, here’s the thing.  I was supposed to run W5D2 last Wednesday.  I was a little distracted as I was heading out the door, pressed the start button on the NHS C25K app (Link to NHS iOS app) and out I went.  It was only when Jo Whiley said “you’ve been running for five minutes, keep going” that I realised that I was running the bastard D3.  I could do nothing about it without screwing with the app, losing tracking and starting again, so, I kept going.  I ignored the tracking, took the encouragement from the app and listened to some awesome tunes as distraction. And I did it!

Completely by accident I had completed hell day.

Kaptain Karrimor

To get me back on track I needed to do it again on Friday.  So I did. (link to the Strava tracking)  In new running shoes.  And I set a new PR for half mile, 1km and mile.  When compared to people that have been running a while the times were crap, but, this is me.  Ex 18 stone sedentary smoker ran a mile in 9 minutes 16 seconds.

Then I ran it again on Sunday morning.  Yes, that’s three times I have completed the so called hell day.  It’s all mental.  Get over it, get your runners on, stick some music in your ears and go do it!