20 Feb – Anyone Got A Spare Core?

pexels-photo-191845.jpeg
This is my ‘core’ shape, notice the distinct lack of any definition…

 

As I think I need one, preferably in good working order, as opposed to mine, which is not so much a core as a doughnut hole.

Part of this running thing is making sure I am in as reasonable shape as possible, mainly to ward off any injuries and illness. But I have a teensy confession, I haven’t really done the post -run stretches much.

Mainly because:-

  1. they are boring
  2. they take time I don’t want to give
  3. I’m not awfully bendy, despite me going on a ‘get more bendy’ course last year

I do squats and on non running days the vampire kettlebells come out for an airing. But even on non-running days I don’t do stretches, for the three reasons given above. And then I found the perfect reason, according to a random article I found c/o Dr Google (who can always be relied upon for any get out clause), which said most people haven’t the foggiest idea on how to stretch properly or even when they do they don’t do it for long enough. Which takes me right back to reason number 2! From time to time I use the torture instrument known as the foam roller, although seriously not enough.

Can’t remember who said ‘I think, therefore I am’, but in my case it changes to  ‘I don’t stretch because I’m not bendy, I’m not bendy because I don’t stretch’.

But I have signed up to do a Lenten challenge which so far includes something called a hollow body – I wish, followed by press-ups. Now I did do the wall press-ups, the hollow body thing – mmm I think I just found out where the core is supposed to be. These are all stretchy things.

Somewhere in the doughy recesses  of my stomach, there is an ache. I think this could be my long lost core calling out to me. In fact she is shouting in pain ‘WTF, do you think you are doing JCR?’

Add to that the humiliation of Mr JCR actually finding me doing wall press-ups. The squatting, hollow body thing and press-ups, have been hitherto an undiscovered secret. And now my secret is out, I am trying to do something about my core.

Me and my core have history. Imagine the excruciatingly embarrassing situation of being measured for a school play outfit at secondary school (I was about 14 at the time) and your bust, waist and hip measurements being exactly the same. That’s right at 14, I was shaped like a toilet roll tube and the teacher commented on the lack of a waist. Since then my lack of a core has been hidden from the public, and now it’s out there.

I have no expectation that my waist will emerge, swan-like after having been an ugly duckling for so long. But if I get this core thing right, apparently it will strengthen my running. And if core stretching works, then maybe, just maybe I will stretch after a run.

But that’s after Mistress Howling Wolf (my new name for the hurting core) has stopped shrieking in protest. It is Tuesday, she started shrieking on Saturday… I do wish she’d shut up, as we may get stopped at Airport Security.

Today is officially a running rest day, so squatting, hollow bodying and wall press-ups will have to wait until we get back to London.

BIG THANKS TO RITA – for the very kind sponsorship donation for my Alzheimer’s Challenge. Thanks so much and see you in April!

 

14 Feb – Winter Training Begins

Except today is a rest day – yay. And I am just finishing lunch in Malaga. It is 18 degrees, sunny with blue skies more than enough to make a sailor a pair of trousers . However the pic is of lunch and I have no idea what the pink stuff is. I think it is an homage to St Valentine – tomorrow I go running on Winter Training Camp for the first time.

Stats

I bottle of vino (shared)

2 sets of tapas (delicious)

Sea bass with leek and coconut sauce (delish)

Pink stuff – 2 blobs of uncertain origin but they tasted slightly sweet

1 Feb – Doms come to visit

Not Dominic, but DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) which according to all the fitness articles means one of two things:-

  • I either overdid Tuesday’s exercise or,
  • I gave myself a very good workout.

Either way, me and John Wayne are walking twins.

The accepted wisdom is that DOMS peaks at up to 48 hours post exercise, and can be alleviated by any number of things:-

  1. An Epsom Salt Bath
  2. An Ice Bath
  3. Alternating Between an Ice Bath and a Hot Shower
  4. Using a Foam Roller
  5. Eating Spinach, Sweet Potatoes and Red Pepper
  6. Any Combination/All Of The Above

Never have I been so relieved that we removed our bath from the apartment! So that takes out options 1-3. I do have a foam roller, I also have red pepper and spinach, but no sweet potatoes and frankly my legs are very sore and I can’t face going out to buy some.

Therefore, my cure for today’s DOMS is braised lamb shanks in red wine, with cous-cous, spinach and red peppers. Plus some of the nasty foam rolling. I reckon through judicious bending of the options I’m covered by cures numbered 4-6.

The Alzheimer’s Challenge is proving to be a game changer on my year, as I can’t just drop a day here and there. I have to commit regularly to a serious level of kilometres. Having sought advice from my C25K forum buddies, the overwhelming conclusion is that I am better to run shorter distances every day, rather than alternate 3 very long runs with a day’s rest between. So new month, new plan; well at least for the first week. I am going to run every day for a week and see how I get on. If I aim to do between 6 and 7 kms each day, my body should get used to that distance and if for whatever reason I have to drop a day, I should be able to make it up with one longer run a week. That’s the theory anyway.

Today’s run was all about slow and recovery pacing – I hadn’t set a route and it wasn’t going to be a Monopoly run as my next squares are red and that route is about 8km, which is probably a bit too far, considering Tuesday’s efforts.

I wish I could say today’s slower pace was a deliberate action on my part, it wasn’t – I just couldn’t summon up any energy to run faster, with both legs aching everywhere. Nonetheless with a. cold breezy run ahead of me I got out and ran in and around Clerkenwell, Hatton Garden and Smithfield.

Hatton Garden is gearing up for the Valentine’s Day bonanza – all the jewellers had glinting diamond ring displays and notices about engagement rings. Also all of their ‘heavies’ were standing outside the shops, which does require a bit of a runner’s detour around them. My ears were frozen and the thought passed through my mind that if my ears dropped off, Hatton Garden wouldn’t be able to sell me any earrings, even the clip-on variety. Clearly tiredness and DOMS affects me mentally!

Not a fantastic run really. But it is the first of the new method, so we will see how that works out. I am hoping DOMS will have decided to visit someone else tomorrow, and a more normal running service can be resumed

Playlist

Beat Crazy – Joe Jackson

(Forever) Live and Die – OMD

Our House – Madness

Get Dancin’ – Disco Tex And His Sex-O-Lettes

Love’s Unkind – Donna Summer

Somewhere In My Heart – Aztec Camera

Dreaming – OMD

Rio – Duran Duran

She Sells Sanctuary – The Cult

All She Wants Is – Duran Duran

People Are People – Depeche Mode

Personal Jesus – Ditto

Stats

Distance 6.60km

Time 46:56

Average Pace 7:06 (mins/km)

Elevation Gain 58 metres

Alzheimer’s Challenge

Kms Done 131.96

To Do 1886.04 (I will see if I can do more than 6.04kms tomorrow)

Sponsor me on BT MyDonate

29 Jan – Saying Thanks To Erin

Today is a rest day. But I do have some ‘running’ duties to perform. First off, the squats and secondly the Vampire Kettlebells. For these two penances I have to thank Rignold and Razouski from the C25K Forums.

Third running duty is to go to Lululemon in Marylebone High Street and say thank you to Erin for giving me the base layer as an encouragement to do my first 15km run. I say first, because to be frank, keeping up the kilometrage is a tough challenge, and so inevitably I will have to do more 15k runs and fewer 5ks. Especially as I didn’t start the challenge until the end of the first week of January.

The Lulelemon store is also a ‘treat’, not just a duty, as I promised myself some nice new matching kit if I did the 15km. And as I did, I am going shopping, I have my eyes on a rather natty mesh lined running hoody. This is all part of my plan to make me look just a little more ‘pro’ and a lot less ‘slow’ when I run.

Bum, bum, bum, Erin wasn’t in the store for me to say thanks and the staff didn’t know what days she would be working this week. Nonetheless I still spent some dosh on leggings, hat, trousers and that hoody. All of which, I hope will make me look like a pro, although my running style leaves a lot to be desired.

I have just had a horrid thought, I could be one of those folks ‘All the gear, no idea’.

 

20 Jan – Pain, Rain, and Train

malaga

Today is supposed to be a running day, but I wimped out. A combination of cold and the wet, coupled with a two day old migraine, means I can’t pound the pavements today. This bloody migraine better go by tomorrow, otherwise my deficit will increase, rather than decrease, which is not my plan at all.

And so, somewhat reluctantly I have to make a doctor’s appointment to discuss these migraines, which are new to me but coming with increasing regularity. As my diet seems biased towards the inclusion of trigger foods such as coffee, chocolate, dairy and wine (all of which I love), it seems sensible to find out what I should be doing (from a proper Doctor and not Dr Google), especially as I’ve read from the latter that running can be a trigger.

However, on a positive front, Mr JCR has just booked our very first Winter Training Camp, him for cycling and me for running. For a St Valentine’s Day treat (not really), we are going to Malaga for 5 days, specifically to do some training in the warmer climes of Southern Spain, and if it works out okay, then we are going to make it a regular event. It seems rather self indulgent deciding to evade the gloom and doom of February, which always seems to be the worst month of the year, but it is a nice and healthy indulgence, although Tapas and Rioja may prove to be our undoing.

Tomorrow is another day, and so provided I have no pain, regardless of any rain, I will train and run the pale blue squares of the Monopoly board.

Today, because of no running I have to do the cursed Vampire Kettlebell exercises, maybe I will do lunges as well as the Number One dead lift. Squats already done!

 

 

19 Jan – Vampires Out

of the cupboard that is. Today is a running rest day but the pesky Vampire Kettlebells saw the light of day today. In truth, only one saw the light of day, but as vampires die in sunlight, I had to be careful.

I am a lightweight on weightlifting and Razouski my C25K running buddy, donated her ‘Kettlercise’ routine to me. I’d like to say a sincere thank you, however I don’t think I can… OMG she swings these things for an hour. An hour! Is she mental? Rhetorical question obviously.

Out of the umpteen hellish exercises, (kindly donated) I settled on 10 reps of the dead lift, after having done my squats. The dead lift could also be called a Figure One Exercise, as the Figure Eight Exercise, looks way too hard at my pathetic level. And besides which we live in a small apartment, and there’s no room to do a figure of eight.

So that’s my amazing effort, but it is a start and I have made progress, not an excuse. And for that I am pleased. And if ever any of you are approached by a fit, singing runner, with penchant for 80s music and she suggests she could donate her Kettlercise routine to you, I’d suggest you run as fast as you can…

17 Jan – Am I The Only Person With…

 

Vampire Kettlebells in my wardrobe?

Today is a running rest day and I was meeting a fellow C25Ker Razouski for a well-earned coffee and Portugese Custard Tart. As I was choosing my coffee workout gear with care, the kettlebells winked at me. Each night they prey on my sleeping bod and syphon away any will to use them, so each morning I look at them and think ‘mmm must work out how to use them’, but never quite have the physical or mental strength to lift them off the shelf. They are exactly like Dracula, because they’ve never seen the light of day with me.

Purchased before Christmas, expressly to use both here and in Italy. I carefully decided that the two smaller ones should stay in London (space and time issues), with the two larger weights 6 and 8kg taken to Italy, on the premise that I’d use the smaller ones throughout Winter and graduate to the big girls’ version in Spring/Summer in Italy.

The reason for me thinking about them again, is  that my C25K buddy Razouski is ‘running’ injured and so as she can’t run, she is going to the gym and using kettlebells. Although I am rather alarmed at an exercise she described, which seemingly involved swinging them around at head height, especially as a guy in her class dropped his, it does seem quite an effective strengthener.

Today’s coffee and PCT session was not only fun but a great kick up the bum. Here we go –  another resolution coming up,  I will use my kettlebells on at least one exercise type, every other day (alternating with my running days).

I just have to work out which exercise it is…, and as I tried (with Mr JCR) my first ballroom dancing lesson last night, it is self evident that exercise requiring lots of coordination is out.

Anybody got any recommendations on a simple, JCR-proof exercise with Vampire Kettlebells? Oh and mentioning the word push-up, isn’t in my mind at all, Razouski described that exercise too and that sounded horrible. She is definitely a fitter, more focussed person than me 🙂

Strictly Come Kettling – here I come