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!


Me? A Runner? NEVER! Well, maybe a bit…

I always swore that I would never run for pleasure.  Always.  I couldn’t see the point of artificially raising my heart rate for no good reason.  I used to snigger at the people plodding down the road, moving slower than I walk and call it “running”.  To those people I wholeheartedly apologise.  Why?  Because I get it.  I really do.

So, what changed?  How the hell did I (a person very attached to the sofa) suddenly realise that running is the best feeling ever?

Last summer  I was chatting with a very good friend and we got onto the subject of his recent participation in a parkrun.  Like a fool I mentioned that doing one might be nice but I would never manage 5K running.  Then he said the words:

Google for Couch to 5K

There it was.  Like I do with everything, I thought about it for a couple of weeks, ordered some running shorts and a top from Amazon and tried it.  I got no further than halfway through the first exercise before I ran out of breath.  I felt HORRIBLE.  I went to the doctor and she diagnosed asthma.  Ok, no running for me then.

Wrong.  It had been in the depths of my mind that I wasn’t going to let it beat me.  Asthma or the C25K programme.  I wanted another attempt.  That attempt happened Monday 8 May 2017:

There it is.  Week 1 Run 1 in the bag.

Run for 60 seconds, walk for 90 seconds.  Repeat seven times.

All in the company of the most excellent Jo Whiley guiding me along.

I ran on grass, I walked on grass, lapped my wife who was walking the dog, and I actually completed the session.

I felt fantastic!

Two more like that and week one was done.  A rest day between runs means that it’s easy to run Mon/Wed/Fri and have Saturday and Sunday off.  Runs two and three were in the rain and on wet grass.  I vowed not to run on wet grass again if I can help it, my feet were soaked.  Running shoes aren’t known for their waterproofing.  Especially the cheap ones!

I bought a cheap pair of Adidas running shoes and they are for running only, I will not use them for leisure wear.  They are doing the job so far but if this becomes a long term obsession (which I think it will) then I will need to get to a running shop, get my gait analysed and purchase some better fitting shoes.

Week two came around quickly enough and even extending to 90 seconds run, two minutes walk I was still smiling (unforced!) at the end of the session.  I ran a road route rather than round the park this week and although it’s harder on the joints, it’s less boring that running round the park, there’s more to look at.

Distance and speed aren’t great at the moment, but that’s not important.  It’s time that’s important right now and I am doing it.  And really, really enjoying it!

The final run of week two is today and I have made the decision to head for the beach and run down the prom.  As I write this the wind is picking up and we have had a few spots of rain.  Nothing tragic though and I am actually enjoying running in the wet.  That may well change though!

Wish me luck, if you don’t hear from me again then you know it didn’t go well and my running shoes are now fishing weights…