12 December – Up Speed or Deeps Pu?

I had committed to run today, to make up for a lovely indulgent week with friends N&A.  Of course, I made that commitment before having checked the weather.

We didn’t have two feet of snow in London, but we did have a considerable amount of frost and ice. As a street pounder when I am in London, it’s not awfully convenient to get to a park for a nice run. And to be honest, the thought of getting a tube to Regents Park for a run didn’t appeal, given I’d get really cold on the cool-down.

So bright spark that I was, I thought I’d do the Couch To 5K Speed Programme today instead and do it on the Barbican Highwalk. This is an interval training programme designed to help you work faster and harder at your running, increasing your speed and calorie consumption.

After a morning/lunch time/early afternoon of Faffolino visiting at my behest, which went pretty much like this:-

Cup of tea to wake up properly – of course Faffolino, why hadn’t I thought of that?

Sort out the laundry – oh it definitely needs doing, before I can run.

Cup of coffee and breakfast – sure can’t run on an empty stomach (in fact I can and do and prefer to)

Walk up to the fish shop – definitely necessary – a good protein source for today’s run

Grocery shopping – woman cannot live on salmon alone…

Do the ironing – well we have a visitor coming, so it’s better to get it done

Sew on a press-stud onto a summer shirt – self evidently a critical task

I was just about to eye up another ‘must do’ task, of wrapping up two last minute Christmas presents, when Mr JCR interjected ‘I thought you were going for a run, after you’d done the ironing?’. BUGGER, my prevarication had been sussed, so I somewhat reluctantly got changed into my kit. And as ever, my resolve always comes back when I am in kit.

A stroll to the Barbican Highwalk, with my runners buff up by my nose, hat on, double layer of gloves, including the amazing LED finger gloves above. Then Laura started all friendly…. but I know she’s a mean son of a gun. I’m all for girl power, but daughter of a gun, doesn’t sound the same.

Walk for 5 minutes on the 1,2,3,4 beat, which is fine whilst she’s counting, but when it comes to me and my counting, well I go a little awry and I use the 5 minutes to check out my running route – around the mini duck pond. No ducks but rather a lot of duck poo. There are some little patches of ice, so I note their whereabouts and carry on. 5 minutes warm up walk done – by this stage according to Laura my muscles should be nicely warm …mmm, I’m not so sure. It’s flipping freezing and my legs feel a bit leaden, but here we go.

Number One interval – 5 minutes of warm up running to a 150 bpm pace, apparently you can still count it on 1,2,3,4 they are just faster 1,2,3,4s. Well done JCR, you did that one – ah yes I’d forgotten, that’s just the warm up run. Ho hum, okay now Laura ups the ante, still the 1,2,3,4 count; only a heck of a lot faster at 165bpm. My little legs are going like pistons, but I am pleased I get it done…

Then my ‘comfortable’ pace run (according to Laura) but she can’t see my face or hear my breathing…, at which point I come up with a better pacing mechanism than the boring 1,2,3,4 count. I find I can run at the right pace whilst rasping ‘I hate Lau -Ra’ – it isn’t anything personal you understand, but these interval runs are crappy, necessary but crappy. Followed up by the sprint, it is too fast for me to curse at Laura, I content myself with wheezing a generic ‘F..k,  F..k, F..kety, F..k’

Comfortable Pace Run 3 to 6 –  four x sixty seconds of I hate Lau-Ra, which frankly on   the last one, was bloody uncomfortable, with a knee twingeing away.

Sprints 3 to 6 –  it has to be said the pace dropped somewhat, from my initial enthusiastic F..k, F..k, F..kety, F..k, to a more sedate F..k, F..kety, F..k, – I dropped a F..k, as my speed slowed.

What did I learn today?

  1. I have to do interval training to up my speed, so these training runs have to be done
  2. I really need to use Laura for something else other than speed training, as I am not sure she deserves the abuse
  3. My timing and coordination is shocking
  4. Prevarication serves no useful purpose whatsoever, and it’s much better just to go and run
  5. I had hoped to Up Speed, but it was really hard work and at the end I was in the reverse ‘deep spu’ and ended up with a slightly twangy knee and a stitch

In summary, Laura and I are probably going to have to keep dating, but Mr Smooth please, please can you come up with a programme that I like, or is that impossible?

Face Colour -Monarch Red

Playlist

Nothing – just the bizarre running beat that Laura and Audiofuel recommend – I hate it!

Stats

Distance – 3.75km including the warm up and down walks

Time 26.32 mins

Pace 7.04 mins/km (including walk elements)

Squats 3 X 15 sets of reps.

 

 

 

 

3 Similarities Between me and Tom Cruise – 30 November

 

Jack_Reacher-_Never_Go_Back_Japan_Premiere_Red_Carpet-_Tom_Cruise_(35375035831)

He was born in the 60s –

  • so was I (just)

He is not very tall – 5ft 7inches and according to many press/magazine articles wishes he was taller –

  • I am short, but 5ft 7 inches sounds tall to me

He has brown hair, although his stubble is grey, suggesting help from a hairdresser…

  • I have brown hair, aided carefully and knowingly by Richard my hairdresser

In the pic above, he is seen at the premiere of a Jack Reacher film. I love Lee Child’s books, but I don’t buy Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. In fact the only film line of his I can recall is not from Jack Reacher at all, which brings me nicely onto today’s run.

‘ I feel the need, the need for speed’ – Maverick says in Top Gun and little did I know that was how I was feeling today.

The duvet was warm, the mug of tea was hot, Mr JCR was all kitted up for cycling. ‘Going for a run?’ he enquired ‘mmmm’ – non committal grunt came from the depths of the duvet. Eventually the tea cooled down and was emptied, the duvet was bunched and scrunched up, and my trainers were winking at me. I got out of bed, walked to the balcony and did the temperature test – ouch can it be searingly cold?

Okay, that is fleece leggings, base layer, over layer and running top, hat, buff and gloves. Phone – yup, music – yup, earphones yup, key yup. Absolutely no excuse for not running then. The apartment block is in a sheltered narrow lane, so I didn’t feel the weather immediately on my warm up walk, but hitting Moorgate aarrgghh it was cold, so I upped my pace on the walk. It has to be said most of the good folk in the City were wearing substantially more layers than me, and I did feel draughts in places one shouldn’t.

Mechanical Voice Lady from Map My Run, kicked in and told me to start exercising, and maybe because it was so cold, my pace was a lot faster than usual. It felt fast, and as I ran up to Silicon Roundabout (which still makes me laugh because California has Silicon Valley and the best we can manage is a roundabout), I did wonder what pace I was at. My first kilometre prompt came up and I’d done 6 mins 01 second.  The hat came off at this point. Usually my first km is about 6.5 to 7 minutes, so I knew I was going faster then normal. And then on the second km, I continued at quite a pace and managed 5 minutes 36, which is by far my fastest km for 2 years. The buff and running gloves came off. Now I need a velcro top so I can attach all these unneeded accessories to it, so my hands remain free.

Then came my Maverick moment – I thought I’d continue the run at that speed until I ran out of puff. So whilst I may have felt the ‘need for speed’ my little legs weren’t quite up to the task and I ran out of puff, with a very painful stitch at 2.93km. At that point, I decided to slow down and finish off on a walk home. After all my thoughts last night about going a long distance, it turns out I fancied a short cruise through the streets instead. And as Tom and I both know just because it’s short doesn’t mean it not worth much! This is the pace I need to maintain to do a sub 30 minutes 5k… mmm I think that means more interval and sprint training coming up.

Playlist

No idea – new phone and I obviously didn’t set up the Map My Run linkage properly!

Stats

Distance 2.93km

Time 17.24

Elevation Gain 22 metres

Squats 3 sets of 15 reps – and just taken delivery of kettlebells – that’s another challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo By Dick Thomas Johnson from Tokyo, Japan – Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Japan Premiere Red Carpet: Tom Cruise, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60386378

Bombing To The Barbican Part 2 – 28 November

 

SSSShhhlllpppp was the sound, of my buttocks being peeled reluctantly from a chair, in a warm room, in an apartment in London.

Ordinarily, I run in the mornings, as I find it easier to organise my day once my run is done. But today was a bit different, I’d binge watched some Bosch over some late nights,  so it was a slow sleepy start.

Having decided I would do interval training, Faffolino decided to visit me. Could I find the podcast for ‘speed’ that the C25K team talk about? Yup – I could find the page. Could I find the link? Yup, there it was on the page. Did the link take me through to the relevant place in iTunes? Nope it did not. Cue JCR faffing for an age, trying to find the podcast under ‘AudioFuel’ as they are the organisers for this ‘speed’ interval training. Then inspiration struck, I asked on C25K forum for help and Jonesycat was very helpful and got me there.

All this faffing took me up to coffee/lunch break. And you can’t run immediately after brunch/lunch can you? No I hear you say, you can’t. So I didn’t, I sat my sorry arse down on a chair and faffed some more. Internet shopping post Black Friday and Cyber Monday – yup why not? Organise the laundry – why not?

Eventually, guilt got the better of me, and my buttocks were lifted out of the chair, to take on the interval challenge in the Barbican.

Well I don’t know whether I am quite as grateful now to Jonesycat for helping me find the podcast, blimey oh Riley, this Laura woman is really hardcore. I have little co-ordination, non-existent balance and find it impossible to dance whether in or out of time. What I hadn’t realised was that you actually have to run to a certain beat and count.

Let’s just say I was struggling keeping to the beat of 1,2,3,4 on the walking parts…, so let your imagination run wild at the thought of me then trying to coordinate my ‘slow’ run to 155 bpm and then sprint at 165bpm. I kept doing the counting of 1,2,3,4, in my head – see I can count. What I can’t actually do is co-ordinate any movement to that count. Every time Laura interjected my hoarse counting was totally out of step with hers.

My face – well Nightmare on Elm Street covers the grimace, shoulders hunched – yup, fists clenched – yup. Was this the advice Laura was giving? –  actually no it wasn’t. I’m sure she says to enjoy it too – enjoyment not really a word I was associating with the exercise at all.

Eventually the running torture finished, and I now have great respect for fellow runners, who had way more guts than me and actually tackled this part of the programme immediately after graduating.

To the statistics, despite being in central, central London, Map My Run didn’t synch correctly and had my route all over the place – according to it I walked faster than I ran.

No meaningful information really for me to work on. That means I have to do it again, to get a benchmark just to see how bad my sprinting really is…

Statistics I can record

3 – ‘WTFs’

2 – ‘You’re having a laugh, Laura’

1 -‘I wish Mr Smooth would give me a cuddle’

2- slightly achey buttocks – is that from de-glueing from the chair, or running like a madwoman in the Barbican?

2- Dolphins in the gardens at the Barbican

Actually, I do thank Jonesycat sincerely, if I am going to improve my times, then this ‘speed’ malarkey has to be worked on.

 

Bombing to the Barbican – 28 Nov

I am ‘suffering’ from runner’s envy, for two reasons:-

  1. I can’t seem to get under 30 minutes for 5km – although in fairness 6 months ago, I’d have taken 3 hours as a personal best
  2. One of my fellow runners did just 4 minutes 15 for a km, and I am wondering how on earth that would be possible for me to do

Let’s be frank, I’m not actually suffering 🙂 – but surprisingly I appear to have found a competitive bit in me – I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a streak, maybe more a truncated dash.

Now, I am not setting up a virtual competition with a fellow runner, but her amazing km run, got me to thinking, we are similar ages, share 80s music tastes and she has been running longer than me and has done almost half marathon distances. She never saw that  km speed coming either. Therefore, maybe my original thought that I am a long distance, slow pace runner, is something that isn’t necessarily true and can be something I could see if it is possible to change.

Post C25K graduation, you are advised to consolidate your distance and time running, so that 5k becomes habitual and almost comfortable. Since then I’ve been focussed on extending the distance and time run.

Today, instead of my usual 5 to 7km effort, I am going for interval training. The coach on the podcast is Laura, and it’s my first time with her. I am used to Mr Smooth and from what I can gather Laura is a love or loathe coach.

Apparently her ‘speed’ podcast is just the ticket to get my arse moving, and whilst I am prevaricating by writing this; my arse is remaining firmly glued to the seat.

What’s that noise I hear ‘ssshhhhllllppp’ yup that’s one buttock lifting, and here’s ‘ssshhhhllllppp’ that’s the second one…

grid-cell-21562-1392094641-6

Now I am up and going to do that speed running thing in the Barbican – I do hope the good residents don’t complain!