30 June 2011

Day 30 of Juneathon - completed, thank you Cathy :-)

I really did not feel like running this evening. I'm tired, I have a swollen calf from an insect bite from last night's run, it was almost 9pm and I'd not long eaten.  But I dragged myself out and staggered seven miles of pseudo running to the music of John Barry, it was a lovely evening, when I took the time to notice.  My main problem (a recurring one) was eating to soon before running, I won't go into all the details!

My final Juneathon total is 204 miles and besides tiredness and a swollen calf I'm still in one piece which is a better result than Janathon.

This month I've started running with my wife again and my middle son, with a promise from my eldest son that he wants to start running too.  Tonight is also my eldest son's Leaving Ball so that's my first child out of school, sigh!

A big thank you to Cathy and her team for organising Juneathon :-)

I must get to bed now as I have a long drive tomorrow, I'm taking my son to another university open day.

Day 29 of Juneathon - work, PC problems, Art Exhibition, Cub cycling and more work

I always knew it was going to be a busy week and yesterday was something of a peak of business.

Up at 6am and started work and completed circuit diagram design before breakfast. Did some household chores, breakfast etc., did some more work. Had my lunch at my desk, loaded bikes into car ready for Cubs. Did some more work.

Tried closing my computer, it crashed!  Had to leave for my son's art exhibition at 4.45pm. 

Great to see my son's work :-) He's a very good artist.  I'm sure that the art teacher believes I'm the one that's convinced his prized pupil to drop art, I'm the engineer that he believes just wouldn't do art. Some people think you can't love/do art if you also have a scientific bent, sigh!  Anyway, it was my son's decision to choose Chemical Engineering at uni and to drop art for A2 but I'm not sure I will convince the art teacher.

Dashed off from the school, went home and found my PC wasn't booting. Wondered how I was going to log my run, wondering how I was going to fit in a run! Changed for Cubs and rushed out to meeting point for cycling with Cubs.  Had a brilliant time cycling with the Cubs across the fields for about an hour and a half. Eventually arrived home about 9pm, still no run!

Changed for run, but very hungry so grabbed a slice of bread and a gel.  Started a recovery on my PC and set off for run, much later than 9pm. Started worrying if I would be able to download my run ... tried forgetting about this and listened to Marathon Talk.

Ran six miles and returned home to dinner. Had my dinner straight after my run.  Decided I'd better check my PC (putting this off), glanced at my Garmin and it was starting to download :-) so tentatively looked at my PC - it had booted up :-) :-) Downloaded and logged my run, whew!  My son comes home from his performance ... I eventually get to bed in the early hours of um, today. 

Up at 6am ....

My Juneathon total is now 197 miles.

29 June 2011

Day 28 of Juneathon - running on empty and a standing ovation (not for me)

Ran a difficult eight miles yesterday before dinner yesterday. I was a bit hungry which didn't help, running on empty. 

I'm not sure when I will fit a run in today!  I have so much work to do so I started working at about 6.30am today and finished a section of circuit design. I'm going to my middle son's art exhibition at 5pm and then afterwards I'm off to a Cub cycle ride.  For the cycle ride I have to find two extra helmets, check my bike, fix up an extra bike for a Cub and load them in my car which means taking seats out.  I only have time enough to change between the art exhibition and the Cub cycle ride ... hopefully!   This means I need to load the bikes etc. before I go to the exhibition. Oh well, I'm sure it will work out - I might run later this evening ...

In other news my youngest son performed at the Press Night for The Railway Children and they received a standing ovation :-)  He has another performance tonight. 

My eldest son went off to school today dressed in a skirt and blouse for Muck-Up day! I suppose we will find out later what they got up to ...

 My Juneathon total is now 191 miles.

28 June 2011

Day 27 of Juneathon - hot and humid 10 miles and my eldest son has finished school

It was threatening a thunder storm yesterday afternoon so I decided I'd better squeeze in a run before any thunder and lightening.  Ran from home, then along the river, over the river and back a different route.  It was very hot and humid so I kept the pace slower. 

I didn't take a drink with me but I did pop into a shop and bought myself a Lucozade Sport at about mile,  irritatingly I couldn't make use off the special offer for two bottles!  That drink tasted soooo good :-)

I ran past a group of people dressed up waiting for a boat trip, looked a bit uncomfortable in this heat.  I guess people probably thought the same about me but it wasn't that bad, yes I was hot and sweaty but I felt okay - I'd definitely rather be running in the heat than having to dress up in it! Anyway, it was good to fit in a longer run as I wasn't able to on the weekend.

In other news, it was my eldest son's last exam yesterday which brings to a close his schooling, end of an era.  My youngest son is performing at the Press Night for The Railway Children in London tonight so he'll be leaving school a little earlier this afternoon.

My 10 miles brings my Juneathon mileage to about 182 miles.

27 June 2011

Day 26 of Juneathon - went running with my 16 year old son and I couldn't keep up at the end!

For the first time I went out for a run with my 16 year old son today. We set out at a slow to moderate  pace with Fleet pulling us along.  My son was soon running very comfortably in what was a very hot morning and we chatted as we ran though the fields.  After about a mile I asked him how far he wanted to run, I described the various routes and he decided on the five mile run.  The furthest he had run previously was the cross-country at school which we think was between two and three miles. 

We ran the first 2.5 miles non stop. At the half way point we turned around immediately and I suggested we could run the second half faster for a negative split.  We started running faster and then my son asked if we could run faster still, so we upped the pace again!  At this stage poor Fleet (our dog) was slowing a bit in the heat so we stopped off at a stream with a lovely deep pool that he could swim in - it looked very inviting to us too. 

After Fleet had enjoyed a bit of stick retrieving and had cooled down, we set off for the remainder of the run which was just over a mile.  My son suggested running faster still, which we did. Then in the last half a mile he said can we run even faster!  Well I did try to keep up but he was just too fast and he ran ahead for the last two to three hundred metres - it was definitely a negative split! 

I am very pleased to say that my son is very keen to continue running and now has his sights on the school cross-country race at the end of the year.  I think this is going to help my running too, I am under no illusion that I will be able to keep up with him but I do think that running with my son is going to push my running and it's fun too :-)

My Juneathon total is now higher than Janathon at 172 miles.  Fleet has now run 23 miles and my middle son 5 miles.  It's also my oldest son's last exam in sixth form today ... no more secondary school! :-)

26 June 2011

Day 25 of Juneathon - busy ... and it's going to get even busier!

Up early yesterday so that we could make our way to Surrey University in good time.  We were all very impressed by the campus and, even more importantly, the Chemical Engineering Department.

We arrived back home later in the afternoon and then went for a run with my wife and Fleet (our dog).  Ran an easy 3.5 miles with a couple of stops for Fleet to have a swim, it was actually quite humid. A busy rest of the day and that was it.

My Juneathon mileage is now 167 miles which is what my total Janathon total mileage was.  I'm not sure how much running I can fit in today, we'll see.

In fact it's going to be a really busy week, my youngest is performing today, has Press Night on Tuesday and is also performing on Wednesday. My middle son has a visit to Imperial on Thursday and Birmingham Uni on Friday, he then leaves for an Engineering Headstart course on Monday at Loughborough Uni and comes home on Thursday, and the we go to Cambridge on Friday after which I have to be back in time to got to a wedding reception in the evening. My eldest has his last exam tomorrow, his Leaver's Ball on Thursday and then is off to Greece on Saturday and comes back the following Saturday, two trips to Gatwick ... sigh! So I'm both taxiing and visiting universities a great deal over the next two weeks, plus I have Cubs and a career talk on engineering for the Year 12s ... and I have so much work to do so I shall be trying to slot that around everything else including, unfortunately,  today and possibly next weekend.  Oh well, the hedges shan't be cut but I will still fit some runs and some family time in, I'm doing a barbecue tonight :-)

As I said my Juneathon total is 167 miles, my wife has now run 31 miles in June and Fleet has run 18 miles.

25 June 2011

Day 24 of Juneathon - steaming (as in water vapour) and seven wet ones

Why do I find it so hard to go out in the rain for Juneathon but for Janathon when it was really horrible I found it easier, have I become soft?

Anyway, I looked out the window and complained to my wife that it was raining, she promptly told me not to be a wimp and kicked me out the door, well sort of.  A short run it was to be, maybe a couple of miles ... which turned into four ... then six ... and ended up being seven.  Seven wet miles :-)

I stopped just under half way at three miles (at that stage I thought it was half way) and I noticed steam!  Steam?  I looked around to find the source and strangely the steam seemed to be following me!! Yes readers (or maybe reader looking at my stats - 'Hi, Mum') I was steaming and I actually felt a little self conscious about it, it must have looked very odd ... perhaps even creepy :-s All that steam escaping wherever there was a hole ... wet and steamy, like a swamp thing, a running swamp thing.

I'd tell you about the rest of my day but it would only bore you so I shall leave you with my Juneathon total of 164 miles.  University visiting with my middle son tomorrow morning.

24 June 2011

Day 23 of Juneathon - a run that was shortened and Marathon Talk's Magic Mile Challenge sounds tempting

Went for my run after dinner yesterday, not a very good idea.  I had hoped to run further but (on account of having dinner) I needed to turn back home and walk a bit to prevent a run.  This is a subject I've covered before so no more detail is required!

So I've run every day in June and I must admit I feel like a rest now.  Almost without fail, a rest of a day or two improves my performance ... slightly.  All I can say is that I'm glad I'm not Ron Hill.  What a bind to 'have' to run to keep your record going! I'm enjoying Juneathon but there is a limit to it (namely July) but to run every day since 1964! Now I know he is revered and has god-like status in the running community and I admire his achievements but .... not this one I'm afraid.  He has run every day for almost every day of my life and it just seems to me to be a bit, well, obsessive ... a bit like me at the moment :-)   

I listened to Marathon Talk and the 'The Marathon Talk Magic Mile Global Team Challenge' (that's a bit of a mouthful) seems like fun, well a bit of challenge.  I've been thinking that I'd like to concentrate on some speedwork and this might provide the motivation.  Anybody else tempted?

So I managed to run about 4 miles yesterday before having to head home, lifting my Juneathon total slightly to 157 miles, I was hoping it was going to be 160 miles, oh well.

23 June 2011

Day 22 of Juneathon - sticky, messy Cubs cooking over fires and choosing a DJ that wasn't for my son

Went to Windsor to Moss and Brothers with my eldest son in the afternoon to hire a Dinner Suit for his Leavers' Ball, ended up purchasing a slim fit suit!  After all the stress of exams it was good to do something more relaxing and enjoyable, he has one more exam left next week and then that's it.

After we returned home I went for a run of about 8 miles.  I've not really had enough sleep recently and I think that the lack of sleep is not helping my running, I definitely felt a bit tired.

After my run I came home, got ready for Cubs and identified one of our 'many' bikes that might be the correct size for a Cub.  Loaded the bike into my car and headed down to the field where we meet.
The bicycle was the correct size so we had a happy Cub who can now participate in the cycle ride we're doing next week.  The Cubs made fires and did some simple backwoods cooking, they are really good bunch of kids and it seemed they had lots of fun.  They baked dough spiralled on sticks and toasted marshmallows over their fires, they also managed to scatter quite a bit of flour over themselves.  A few of the Cubs managed to get quite a bit of melted marshmallow over themselves too - marshmallow, flour and grass ... a sticky, messy combination. 

When we were baking the dough sticks I mentioned to one of the kids that I baked bread every day. He looked up at me and asked if that was what I did for a job, I said no but that it was bread for our family and that we got through over a loaf a day. He looked puzzled and said, 'If you bake bread who earns the money?'

Later I 'unexpectedly' closed the Cub meeting, I used to do this every Cub evening but that was a few years ago, I just about remembered what to do although there were a few confused murmurings from the Cubs afterwards.  Most importantly I enjoyed the evening and I was quite relaxed when a Cub's grandmother accidentally forgot to pick up her grandson after becoming absorbed in the Wimbledon Highlights ... life is too short besides I think we've forgotten to pick up kids before.

But back to the running, my Juneathon total is now 153 miles - this is about the distance I ran in the first week and a half of Janathon.  However, unlike Janathon, besides a bit of tiredness, my body is doing fine ... so running wise, Juneathon should just slip into July :-)

22 June 2011

Day 21 of Juneathon - my son's first performance of 'The Railway Children' and what we're seeing at the Olympics

What a long day!

It's exam time in our household so life is extra busy and stressful.  Also, last night was my son's first performance of 'The Railway Children' in London and he only got home about 11.45pm, then wanted something to eat!  All in all, a very busy time and not the best time to fit in a long run.

Despite all that, we did manage to fit in a run and I was able to run about 3 miles with my wife and our dog.  Fleet even squeezed in a swim!  We also had a good chat with a friend we hadn't seen for a while, so it wasn't so bad. I did almost forget to log my run and it was only uploaded online at 11.56pm!

I don't know how I'm going to fit in a run today.  I've dropped off my son for his exam this morning, later he needs to go for a suit fitting for his Leaver's Prom and I've got Cubs tonight ... and all inbetween I work, whew!

Other news:
We have now found out that we will be seeing the athletics at the Olympics on the evening of the 7th August. Events at that session will be:

Women's 3000m Steeplechase Victory Ceremony
Men's High Jump Final
Women's Long Jump Qualifying Rounds - Groups A & B
Women's 100m Hurdles Semifinals
Women's Pole Vault Victory Ceremony
Men's Discus Throw Final
Men's 800m Semifinals
Women's 200m Semifinals
Men's 400m Victory Ceremony
Men's 1500m Final
Women's 100m Hurdles Final

Brilliant!  :-)

Not quite Olympics but my Juneathon total is 145 miles, my wife's is 27.5 miles and Fleet's is 14.5 miles.

21 June 2011

Day 20 of Juneathon - short drizzly run in the evening and feeling fine

Quick post ....

Went for a run yesterday evening, in the drizzle and with my dog.  Felt a little guilty when I overtook a young man running but I didn't want to be too long.  Worked out a description for the meeting point for a proposed Cub cycle ride.  Ran back home again making a total run of about four miles, I might run further today.  Fleet (my dog) looked a bit tired when you arrived home.

My Juneathon total is now approximately 142 miles and Fleet's total is 15.5 miles.  Knees are quite happy and so all is well :-)

20 June 2011

Day 19 of Juneathon - spoilt on Father's Day, stinging nettles, brambles and Boot's micropore surgical tape works

Spoilt Dad yesterday with three very appropriate cards (one handmade), two books, one polo shirt, a box of chocolates, an 'Old Fart' tankard and a homemade cake ... thanks sons :-)

Went for a gentle run of four miles with my wife and our dog in the morning. Tried the Boots micropore surgical tape on my nipples (see last two posts), seemed promising.

Later I went for, what  was intended to be, a fourteen mile run on a new route.  However, part of the trail was a bit too overgrown and consequently I battled through brambles and stinging nettles.  This made for slow progress and sapped my energy.  Eventually I made it out of the jungle of brambles etc, ran along a path which seemed to disappear!  How do paths disappear that don't lead anywhere?  I had not intention of running along the busy section of road and what was left of the path just wasn't very runnable so I turned round, bypassed the overgrown section (I'd had enough battles for one day) and found another route home thorugh a different village.  By this time I was really quite fatigued, I don't think I'd eaten enough and I think that yesterday I might have even missed lunch! I arrived home and was met by a few comments from my family concerning my bloodied limbs.  I won't try that specfic route again in summer but I did spot a very interesting trail across the fields that had no visible brambles or stinging nettles. Anyway, later I had a very pleasant barbecue and a nice glass of red wine ... but only a glass as I can't always drink much after a long run.

The Boots micropore surgical tape worked well, my nipples are happy and came off relatively easily in the shower :-)   I just need a solution for the stinging nettles and brambles now :-( 

So my second run was only 10 miles-ish, but was a fairly difficult 10 miles-ish.  This makes my Juneathon about 137 miles and other than the tiredness, scratches and rash from the stinging nettles, my body feels fine :-)

Also, Fleet's Juneathon mileage is 11.5 miles and my wife's is 24.5 miles.

18 June 2011

Day 18 of Juneathon - sore nipples (the sequel) including mentions of gaffer tape, pasties and a dead goldfish

Set off for my run this morning, then about half a mile in it started pouring with rain again!  Put some Brave Soldier Friction Zone, which ordinarily works well, before abrasion, before soreness and tenderness, but evidently not after nipple grazing! So in desperation I put more on, to be precise two big dollops on each nipple and then (like a wimp) I ran home as fast I could in straight jacket mode as I did yesterday.  I'm half way home and guess what, the soreness subsides, and (remarkably) so does the mental image of sandpaper against my nipples. 

I get home, ring the doorbell, and while I wait for my son to answer the door, I decide that I'm going to turn round and try again ... which I did (not such a wimp now). But not before my sons have had a good laugh at the two white circles on my blue shirt where my nipples were!  I set off and ... I was okay.  Total mileage today was just over 9 miles, I did wait under some trees at one point during a spell of rain but otherwise I was fine.

Carrick "Pyro" Armer says to use Gaffer tape, big big ouch! Surely I'm going to end up with bald patches on my chest ... but it might work.  Will function (or experimentation) win over vanity?

 henniemavis, I've tried the bandaids before but it just doesn't stick on the hairs, thanks for the sympathy by the way (sarcasm intended), women don't seem to have the same problem. Same 'sympathy' I received from my sons who suggested I wear a bra!  And no, henniemavis, pasties don't work!

Kieron Chapman  suggested Boots micropore surgical tape. Same possible problem as Gaffer tape (i.e. bald patches and pain of ripping out chest hairs sited around sensitive nipples) but some how I think it might be better.

runtezza ... showering, I know, I know ... that water really fires up the soreness of the nipplies, ouch, ouch, ouch!  I agree that sports apparel companies are missing an opportunity, as long as they don't take up my sons other suggestion of placing holes where your nipples are!  That would just look kinky!

Moving on from my nipples ..

After my run I headed down to the Summer Fair where this afternoon the rain largely subsided until about 4.30pm.  I had a good time and chatted to a few people between a few jobs I was given. Ended up looking after the toddler bouncy castle just before the 4.30pm downpour, an easy job :-)  Plus ... we won six bottles of wine on the raffle, or rather my wife won six bottles of wine with raffle tickets that I paid for but that she had put her name to!  It doesn't matter, I have possession of the wine ;-)

In other news:
A goldfish (one of five my son came back from an earlier fair with) died this morning. We have rehoused the remaining four in more suitable accommodation that includes a bubbler oxygenation thingy and filter in the hope that the remainder will have a happier time and a longer life.
We had an Indian takeaway this evening which is a piece of news that indicates a level of rambling is beginning to set in which suggests it's bedtime.

Juneathon total is now 123 miles.

Day 17 of Juneathon - sore nipples!

Sore nipples!  I've got sore nipples! 

So after a very busy day today I thought,
'right, time for a run and who cares if it's raining.'
... raining ... it was pouring! So I searched for a clean running shirt and decided I'd wear the Asics running shirt that I don't really like very much and hardly wear.  Put on my running kit and wet weather gear and set off, in the pouring rain. I decided that I'd run about 7 miles but after a mile and a half my nipples started getting sore.  Stupid Asics shirt when wet must turn into sandpaper!  I decided that I'd better turn round before my nipples started to bleed, grrrr! So only 3 miles today.

I must have looked a right t'w'it as I ran home trying to run so that my running shirt didn't cause any more abrasion.  It must have looked like I was running in a straight jacket.  I must remember to put some Brave Soldier on next time when it's raining, or just stay inside.

In other news ... well it's raining ... and we have a Summer Fair tomorrow ... a Summer Fair!

Juneathon total is now 114 miles, hopefully my nipples will recover by tomorrow.

17 June 2011

Day 16 of Juneathon - runner's washing machine formula, I think my dog is aching and wishing for a dry spell.

Firstly I'm very pleased with myself as I washed all my running kit and managed to dry one set before my run today.  My washing machine formula for running kit = 30 degrees, 1600 spin, extra rinse, short duration wash ... and no softener!  This formula really works well :-) (bit sad isn''t it - have I become a running geek?)

Another busy day yesterday and also irritatingly wet!  Brief period of sunshine in the afternoon so I grabbed the moment. I changed into my running gear and went downstairs. Now normally Fleet would stretch in anticipation of a run when he sees me in my running kit, not today. Just as I expected, he looked up and gave me a look of 'You're kidding! I'm too tired'.  Poor Fleet, I think he's aching.

So I went for a seven mile run by myself listening to 'Marathon Talk'.  A difficult run, I'm probably a bit tired too.  On the bright side, there was a beautiful rainbow later :-)

I came home and worked quite late, hugely over compensating for taking out time to take my son to his 'final' rehearsal for 'The Railway Children'

That's it, another day today, another run to fit in, and once again I hope for a dry spell later.

My Juneathon (am I the only one that has to correct myself after writing Janathon?) total is now about 111 miles.

16 June 2011

Day 15 of Juneathon - a dog tired dog, little Cubs, a Village Fair and hoping they're wrong!

I decided to take Fleet (our dog) for a run yesterday (day 15).  As I have explained before, I am slowly building up his fitness after he spent a couple of weeks with, what we think, was Kennel Cough.  As you would expect, he loved it but he was a bit tired in the last mile and was running behind me. In the last half a mile, when he had his lead on, he was slowing down quite a bit. I just matched my pace with his.  He had a good rest afterwards - a tired but happy dog ... dog tired!

My total run was about five miles and was around the fields and so was fairly mixed terrain. I guess I was running faster and continuously compared to the last run I did with my dog when my wife ran too.  I shall give him a rest today.

Later on I went to Cubs. Unfortunately the weather meant that we were unable to be outside to complete the athletics badge but instead we were at the Scout Hut.  Having not worked with Cubs for a few years and now that my sons are all big teenagers, the Cubs seemed quite small!  Lots of fun, I'm enjoying myself, I hope they are.  We had a new little chap this evening who was a bit overawed by the noise and excitement, he sat huddled up with his Mum.  Half an hour later he was joining in and was smiling and looked very happy ... his Mum went home :-)  Great fun.

We have our Village Fair on Saturday which is run by the Scout Group.  My wife and I are both involved in this so I'm trying to work out when to fit in a run .... maybe I will have to get up early, or rather earlier than normal! The weather forecast is not good ... let's hope they're wrong!

That's enough rambling, my Juneathon total is now about 104 miles and Fleet's is 7.5 miles.  I hope the rain stops later, I don't fancy a wet run ...

15 June 2011

Day 14 of Juneathon - happy knees, a late night pick up and sons who 'might' run

Morning chaos (including blog before work), work, eat lunch and work, work, stop, eat dinner, wait a 'few' minutes, RUN, log run (just), phone call from son saying he'll be home earlier from rehearsal, shower at lightening speed, drive 20 minutes to pick up son from rehearsal .... he's not early (he's on a coach from London), pick up son, drop friend off ... I must have been home past 11.30pm, go to bed!

So the run ... it went quite well actually. It was a good seven miles in under an hour and my knees are still happy. No dog today, he is still recuperating. He had already had a 'very' energetic play with my eldest son who is writing A levels, and my run was a bit rushed. Besides I had planned a sustained pace and a longer distance that he wouldn't really be happy with at this stage.  The vet says I have to bring up his fitness as I would for a human.

Talking of bringing up fitness as I would a human, my two eldest teeange sons have both made murmurings that they might like to do some running.  I think starting to run can be quite daunting but I know that I will be lagging behind them in no time!  Fingers crossed, I'd love to run with my sons.

Cubs tonight! I don't know how I'm going to fit in a run today? Maybe lunch time?  It will have to be fairly easy run.

My Juneathon total is about 98 miles .... maybe I should have run a couple more miles, but when!

14 June 2011

Day 13 of Juneathon - went running with my wife and ........ dog :-)

Fleet, our dog, came running with me and my wife yesterday.  He was very excited and pulled his lead quite a bit.  We did just a short run of just over 2.5 miles at a nice easy pace - dogs need to be eased into exercise after being sick, just like humans and I had done a longer run yesterday.

Felt a little discomfort in my knees but that subsided after about a mile.

My total Juneathon mileage is now 91 miles.  Fleet's Junathon mileage is 2.5 miles and my wife's is 20.5 miles.

12 June 2011

Day 12 of Juneathon - wet weather gear and going to see my son in 'The Railway Children' :-)

What a rainy day!  I was going to do a run with my wife but she wasn't keen on a run in the rain ... we've gone walking in the rain before but it wasn't quite as dreary, or romantic  (don't know why). 

I kept waiting and hoping that the rain would stop but it didn't look too hopeful so I put my wet weather gear on and off I went ... I sort of dragged myself out the door, lots of sighs and puffing and grumbles.  I did about a 12 mile run today and the the first half was really quite wet with a head wind too! Half way I was feeling quite tired but listening to Marathon Talk helped to distract me from the awful weather.  Anyway, the weather for the second half was better. I completed the 12 miles but I think I might have been a bit too hot for the second half.  Since returning I've been quite thirsty, and tired but I still want to do the Comrades ... madness!

Otherwise it's been a fairly productive day. I've now booked tickets to see my son in 'The Railway Children', I'm looking forward to that. He has technical rehearsals in London this week, some quite long days for a 13 year old.  He will performing at Press Night too, all very exciting.

I've also prepared my CEng application for the final sponsor to sign it.  It doesn't seem to be that important in what I do to be chartered and I've been stage 1 chartered (i.e. my academic qualification is at the right standard) for ages and ages. Not been chartered doesn't seem to have lost us any business but it doesn't hurt to jump through the hoop. Anyway, I thought I ought to tick it off the list of things for me to do, eventually! The head of the section at the IET that deals with the applications looked over my application and has given it the thumbs up, let's see how it goes. The only problem is when I become chartered I have to pay out more money each year, sigh!

Back to Juneathon, my total now appears to be 89 miles.  I think I might do an easy run tomorrow, hopefully with my dog :-)  He will be a 'little' out of condition ;-)

11 June 2011

Day 11 of Juneathon - my lovely Nike Free 3.0 V2 running shoes (running anorak that I am)

Went for a four mile run with my wife this morning.  Nice easy pace through the fields so we were able to have a good chat. I mentioned how I might like to run the Comrades sometime and she was very supportive.  I think I would be planning it at the very soonest in 2013, something to work towards.  I doubt if our sons would come along because of school and university.

Nike Free 3.0 V2 Blue Spark Black
What I have :-)

I try to do a few runs in my Nike Free 3.0 V2 running shoes (see above, even the correct colour).  I love running in these shoes although they took a bit of getting used to.  I've slowly increased the distance that I run in them and my only real gripe is that they pick up stones in the soles.  Otherwise they are cool and light to run in, I recommend them.  Maybe I might try some Vibram's or a similar type of shoe sometime, I have suggested it but my family threaten to disown me!  For their benefit, any suggestions on the most socially acceptable free running shoes would be greatly appreciated (or just moral support for me)?  I think it's a Dad thing, Mums seem to get away with a lot more! What would be really convenient would be to win a pair, that would get under the radar ... so let me know about any competitions :-) Please!
Vibram Five Fingers Sprint green grey Shoes
 Surely these aren't that bad ... are they?
Talking of running shoes and embarrassing my family, I actually quite like these shoes ...

These are fun!

... I think they appeal to that side of me that desperately wants to wear more colour, they remind me of summer, the sea, the beach.  A bit of fun which symbolises what running is to me, fun ... well most of the time ... when I don't have runner's trots, sore nipples or sore anything else, when I have some energy, when I'm not too cold or not too hot or not too wet .... but maybe it's still fun even with all those things.  Maybe I need some competitions for these too!

So an easy run today bringing me Juneathon total to 77 miles.

Day 10 of Juneathon - miserable run with runner''s trots but I have finished Vol 1 of 'War and Peace'

My run yesterday was very difficult.  I set out but just had no energy at all, sigh.  I had planned to run a little further, despite the tiredness.  Alas, I had to turn round and hurry home as soon as possible. I occasionally suffer from runner's trots but haven't had a problem some time ... until yesterday.  So my run today was just over 4 miles making my Juneathon total about 73 miles. I had a really good sleep afterwards, hope that helps.

Next week I'm expecting to be able to run with my dog, he's not coughing any more and his antbiotics course ends on Monday. Who knows, maybe I might run a few more miles, that is if I have the time and energy ... and feel fit enough.
I've also just finished the first volume of 'War and Peace'.  I'm really enjoying it but it does take a little time to get to know the main characters - a marathon read!

10 June 2011

Day 9 of Juneathon - I've got Olympic tickets, not a family of four and trying to leave comments, grrrr!

I am so happy :-)  We have 5 tickets for the Olympics and from the amount we were charged I'm guessing it will either be athletics or gymnastics.  I was quite despondent when we were not successful the first time and subsequently, each time I saw or heard anything about the Olympics stirred in me a resentment for the tickets I didn't get for my family. I seemed to be targeting this poisonous resentment on Sebastian Coe, maybe he sensed my glares at his image on the television, I'm sure I saw him twitch once! Anyway, this initial let down has made this change of fortune particularly sweet, I do feel a little hypocritical when my heart now jumps at the mention of the Olympics. So fickle am I!

Perhaps it helped that we were a family of five as this meant that we could not apply for any prime tickets as they were for families of four.  This is a common problem when we have more than two kids, everything is for a family ... of four! Why?  Is this some sort of covert social engineering?  And why would prime events at the Olympics be more suited to a family of four or less? Oh well, in this case being a family of five might have been advantageous :-)

This didn't seem to make my run this morning any easier.  I struggled to run the six miles. To be honest I'm just tired, I'm just not sleeping enough. I'm simply trying to fit too much in my day.  My run was helped listening to Marathon Talk.  I've only recently started listening to this podcast and I've never listened to a current episode, I'm always catching up, although I have skipped a few after listening to the first two and a half episodes.  I couldn't reconcile talks on running in the snow when I was sweltering running in the heat. So yesterday, I skipped to episode 70 and listened to some of episode 71 today.  This does mean that I probably have enough episodes for all my runs for Juneathon ... should this be a new challenge? Listen to all the Marathon Talk episodes.

Some of you will notice it will be past 1am when this post is eventually posted.  Yes I should go to bed but in my defense I did actually have a sleep earlier on so I'm feeling a little better ... I just hope I feel better tomorrow.

I have a gripe (nothing unusual there)!  Why is making comments on blogs becoming so awkward.  Am I the only Juneathon participant that has been trapped in an endless loop trying to leave a comment on a blog using Google ... you write a comment, sign in, type some obscure word to prove your human, sign in, type another obscure word, sign in .... on and on! Then you think, oops have a I inadvertently left the same comment half a dozen times? Why can't I just leave a comment as me?  Why has the whole exercise of leaving a comment become so complicated?  Even at the bottom of my posts there are a half a dozen icons, half of which I don't know what they are for.  What is this '+1'?  I could look it up but why should I ... waste of time ... have I just become a grumpy middle aged man?   But it is getting to me and I really am losing the will to comment.  I diligently read other blogs but I have lost a quite few comments down, what appears to be, some sort of security, spam filter black hole!  All these spiralling confirmations just to try to prevent me advertising Viagra, of course, they never spell it like that. Thinking about it, this post might never be published because I've said Viagra, some over zealous spam filter will recognise the word but they're wrong, Viagra is never spelt correctly! (which irritates me too) Maybe not publishing this post might be a good thing as I'm rambling ... grumbling might be more accurate.

But quickly changing the subject, my Juneathon total is now about 69 miles and I have some Olympic tickets :-)

08 June 2011

Day 8 of Juneathon - Cubbing and I think I want to do the Comrades, maybe!

Tired tonight, yawn!

Went Cubbing tonight, first time back as a Cub Leader for 3 or 4 years ... noisy, good fun. The Cubs seem smaller!  Must be having teenage sons.

Earlier today had a phone call from my doctor asking me to go to the hospital for another blood test so this made my afternoon a little disruptive - nothing serious.  I can't believe the lack of parking at the hospital, madness.  Need to catch up tomorrow, when will I fit a run in?

Did my run this morning (fortunately), just over seven miles.  Listened to episode 70 of Marathon Talk where they were talking about the Comrades.  I grew up in South Africa, south of Durban, and the Comrades is probably the first running race I was really aware of.  I used to be in awe of people who run the Comrades, in fact I still am.  I really want to run it but it's just soooo long.  It's hard enough running a marathon, to run an ultra!  I really ought to give it a go .... hmmm.

Anyway, Juneathon total is now just over 62 miles.  And ... I've almost finished volume one of 'War and Peace', it's actually quite good :o)  I might bore you with details later in the month.

07 June 2011

Day 7 of Juneathon - asthma checkup went well and a gentle run that wasn't

Went for my asthma checkup today, all well and my peak flow is as expected for my age.  However, last year my peak flow was above average and the only real difference is that I was swimming more so this adds further weight to plan to really tackle swimming after Juneathon.  And ... I have used salbutamol for a year :-) This does mean that my asthma is now quite well controlled so I agreed with the asthma nurse that it was a good time to see if I can reduce my Symbicort dosage.  This would be very good as I think the Symbicort might be contributing to the cramps I get and, of course, I don't want to take more medication than I need. 

If you are asthmatic and you carry a Ventolin inhaler I really recommend the Sports-haler for running and any other activities of that matter.  I clip this holder on my shorts when I go running.  I have accidentally gone swimming with it before, and my inhaler was still dry! Very good product, you can buy them here http://www.habdirect.co.uk/products/Sports_haler-p11510-r661 ... and I don't get any commission.

I could only fit in a run later today.  I started out thinking I would do a gentle run on account of my aching muscles but ended up doing some interval training, very tiring, maybe not as fast, but satisfying.  I know my muscles will eventually feel better and I think I can feel an improvement already, might be able to do some more hill running soon. Did about 5 miles today making my Juneathon total 55 miles.

06 June 2011

Day 6 of Juneathon - this was my day but I got to 50 miles :-)

What a day.  Wrote three letters for various requests, permissions etc for my sons for school. Started work, frustrated with a research project we're working on with top universities, need info not getting it! Took tow oldest sons to school for A level exam. Worked on another project, designed some circuits but CAD crashed!!!! Grrrr!  Wife calls to say we need to take Kennel Coughed dog to vet "I can't!" says I (she sought sit out for tomorrow). Receive text from my sister and arrange to meet up with her, my brother-in-law and my beautiful little nieces at Legoland, feel much better :-) :-)  Reentered circuits. Provided directory and information services to lady with son who wants to join Scouts (we have a big, full Scout group), nice, friendly lady so felt even better. Entered some new circuits, determined to finish circuits before starting dinner (wife has to visit client this evening). Finish circuits later than expected. Start making dinner late dinner, empty dishwasher, clear mess on kitchen surfaces mainly from teenagers eating food during day, continue to make dinner, aware grocery delivery is at 8pm - ding. dong, groceries arrive HALF AN HOUR EARLY, I'm cooking, everything is almost cooked, all teenage sons have disappeared and out of earshot, grills on, pots on stove. microwave bleeping, dog (with Kennel Cough) is planning escape.  Run round house, grab two oldest sons, shopping (tons and tons of it) is deposited in kitchen, sons disappear, all available space is now taken by shopping .... no space for cooking!!  Start unpacking, cooking, loading dishwasher in vain attempt to clear space to dish out food.  Realise frozen food and other perishables are in danger of perishing in hot kitchen, seek out all perishable items and create piles and piles, while cooking.  Phone rings ... my wife "What!" I say.
"I'm leaving now", she says.
"Only now!!" I think.
"I've got loads of shopping everywhere!!" I say.
"Get the boys to help"
"Yeah right", I think.
"I've got to go. Bye", put phone down.
I can't do it so holler for oldest sons to help me NOW! They put frozen and perishables away (she was right). I have just enough space to dish up. We four eat, they complain about bones in slightly overdone trout, I growl.  Clear up. Give dog crushed up medicine in mushed up dog food and excite him significantly so he gobbles food down without noticing laced tablets.  He looks happily at shadows so is getting better. 
I wait then go out for run.
It's so hard tonight, my legs are still aching from hill running but ... I do it.  Just over 6 miles to make my Juneathon total 50 miles :-)  However, I am still in running gear and I really need a shower and I have to be at the Asthma clinic at 8.30am and I have a meeting with BBC afterwards.
But now I have logged, blogged and am totally wiped out! I am not checking this post ... publish now!

05 June 2011

Day 5 of Juneathon - wet run, aching thighs, all reminds me of Janathon

My thighs are aching a bit from the hill running so going for a run today was a little difficult, but I did it. I was planning on doing a run with my wife but she's having a break today, as I have said, she has done really well.  So my plan was to run earlier so changed into my running gear.  Alas I spent hours wandering around the house in my running kit, much to the amusement of my sons.  I eventually got round to going out just when it started raining!  So a run in the rain, in summer ... actually reminded me of Janathon.  Needless to say I came across no other runners.

Set off and was sure I started my Garmin but realised just over two miles in that no mileage was registering. Might have accidentally stopped the timer putting on my jacket, I've done that before, maybe the buttons should have a shield. It wouldn't be so bad had it not been that I felt like I was flying and my speed looked good too, oh well.  So started my Garmin and ran another three miles and turned round and retraced my steps and calculated the bit I'd missed out at the beginning.  Ran just over 10 miles and very wet I was at the end. 

Running Free says my Juneathon total is about 44 miles. Back of my thighs were still aching at the end of my run today and I was so hungry, easy run tomorrow I think.

Day 4 of Juneathon - Garmin's beeping off on hills and a squeezed run

Squeezed in a 3 mile easy run with my wife. Her Juneathon total is now 14 miles although she will not be running every day.

For me having a nice easy three miles after the 14 miles the day before was just the thing to do.  I need to fit in a few more hill runs during Juneathon, but hopefully choose cooler days!

But fitting this run in was a real squeeze. My youngest son had another performance in the evening that we went to and we had to drop my middle son off at the stables, which left a slot in between when we could go for a run, prepare food and get ready ... we did it, just!

I'm starting to help out again at Cubs on Wednesday.  A few years ago I was a Cub leader and stepped back when work/home commitments became too much.  I'm now tentatively returning on the understanding that I won't be able to do the preparation - I'd be happy not to be in uniform but that might not be practical in the long term.  The Cub evenings will be good fun and I always find that I'm totally destressed afterwards. I've decided that I will have to run to the field where we meet during the summer to fit in my Juneathon run that day.

It's probably apparent that I'm not running crazy miles this time. I'm running the Royal Parks Half Marathon this year and I would really like to improve on my PB.  This, of course, means doing some interval training! I did a session last week and it was hard going, I crawled home.  My hill running has not been that great either so I really need to put a bit of work in these areas.

Talking of hill running, I've recently enabled the auto pause on my Garmin that pauses my mileage below a certain speed.  The other day when I was going up a steep hill, battling against gravity, in the heat ... bleep! My watch goes on pause!!

'What!' I think. ' This is really hard!!'  So I run a bit faster to make the thing start adding my most valuable metres ... but then I run too fast.  As you can imagine this does not help with pacing and I realise that it adds another level of stress that I don't need on an already difficult section of hill.  I need to forget my Garmin on hills ... but that's really hard to do during Juneathon.  Sigh, I really need to forget my Garmin!

Juneathon mileage is now about 33 miles ... and this post is longer than I was expecting!

04 June 2011

Day 3 of Juneathon - a dead swan, two cuckoos and a water bottle refill

First run of the day was with my wife.  Nice easy run of 4.3 miles pushing her total up to 11 miles, not bad for a beginner. 

Spotted a fairly large dead swan in a stream.  It was obscured by foliage and we thought it was a rock at first. When we got home I thought I better call somebody about, I wasn't sure if it would be a health hazard to other animals, particularly the cattle that graze in the adjacent field.  So I called our local council with coordinates ready ... waited and waited in a queue ... eventually spoke to somebody who told me to call DEFRA.  Spoke to DEFRA, they took the details (but not my coordinates that I had ready) and they said that I really should tell the Local Environmental Officer at the council!!! SO I phoned the council again, was held in a queue again and thought 'stuff this' and hung up. 

Instead I called a local farmer and had a nice chat.  He wasn't that concerned but was very pleasant.  He did suggest I could try pull out the carcass if I wanted although he didn't think it was that necessary.  I must say that I'm a little worried that it might fall apart, how do you grab it properly?  It's quite big ... I shall have to see.  Maybe I should take some rubber gloves - but that's going to look a little odd, suspicious even!

Talking of our feathered friends, we've heard a couple of cuckoos on our runs - very special :-)

My afternoon run (not that I plan to do two runs a day) included some hills. It was quite hot and I took the wrong water bottle, too small it was.  So I stopped off at one of the houses along the way to ask if they wouldn't mind filling my water bottle, they kindly agreed :-)  Sweat was pouring off me, I was in my trendy running gear, sunglasses, running shoes, GPS watch - after she had filled my water bottle (a hand held one with a hole in the middle), she asked me if I was jogging?  I did hesitate before answering, I was wondering what I wasn't doing doing that didn't look like I was running, maybe I just look too old, my grey hair perhaps?  Maybe she was saying indirectly that I shouldn't be running ... oh well!  That's not going to happen :-) 

So I eventually got home - tired, hot, sweaty and happy. Changed into my dinner suit and went to a black tie gala evening, good fun.

My afternoon run was 10 miles making my Juneathon total 30 miles.  Easy, short run today (i.e. day 4).

02 June 2011

Day 2 of Juneathon - nice and easy ...

Did a short easy run with my wife of just over 4 miles.  She is a beginner and doing really well. Her total (not that she plans to run every day) is now just under 7 miles.

I plan to do a longer run tomorrow but I'll see.

My youngest son was in a local dance show tonight, the performances were brilliant but I've only just got home!  We're off to a Gala performance tomorrow night, should be fun.

Juneathon total is now about 16 miles.

01 June 2011

Day 1 of Juneathon ... but no running dog :-(


Sadly I couldn't run with my dog today, we took him to the vet and we think he has Kennel Cough. He was all lined up to do Juneathon with me too. The vet thinks that he might have caught it when he went in for a general checkup (he has one every six months).  I always explain to the vet that he is an active 'running' dog and he gets all the injections, worm tablets, solutions etc etc ... surely the vet should suggest the Kennel Cough vaccination?  Maybe it doesn't work so well.  Oh well, he is a bit of a sad dog at the moment.

However, my lovely wife has started running so I'm very pleased.  So today we ran 2.7 miles before rushing back so that she could go off to see my youngest (for the second time) in High School Musical. I stayed home with my two sons who are (should be) studying for various AS and A2 exams.

Later I went for another run of about 9 miles. I feel much better, who cares about the Olympic tickets I didn't get, my dog will be better soon I'm sure, oldest sons are bound to do just fine in their exams and I guess we'll figure out how to get our 'performing' son to ever changing rehearsal times and performances and we can work how to get middle son to university open days across the length and breadth of the country and yes I am really, really busy at work ... but a good run and all is okay! And my friends ask me why I run :-)

So rounded up Juneathon total is 12 miles.   

31 January 2011

Janathon complete ... lots of firsts and lots of thanks

I decided that I would take my youngest son to the gym and run on the treadmill for the duration of his gym program ... and did just that :-)

I just wanted to end Janathon running, even if it was on a treadmill.  I ran 7.2 miles at an average speed of about 7mph.  You get a few looks when you stay on the treadmill that long!  I didn't know how my head managed it really as it really is a bit mindless.

Final Janathon total appears to be 167 miles :-)    (sorry about all the smiles)

Janathon has been a great experience:

I've run more miles in one week than ever before.
My dog has run more miles in one week than ever before!!
I've made more trips to the gym in one month than ever before.
I've blogged more frequently in one month than ever before.
I've probably read and commented on more blogs than ever before.
I think it's the first time I've blogged about my running.
I've sent my first Tweet - only one though.
I've tried out new gym equipment for the first time.
I've had my first Achilles tendon injury (well it's a first).

and ....

I've been fortunate enough to have shared Janathon with a superb group of people. 

At the beginning of Janathon I was thoroughly enjoying the madness that Gary and Auswomble inspired me to greedily eat miles at a rate I suspected my body might disagree with.  Would I have started out more cautious had I known I was going to get an injury, honestly ... possibly, but that would never happen and I loved it.  It wasn't about what my body could manage, I wanted to see what my head could manage.  I know now that I could do some high mileage with a bit more training (and possibly a new body).

The injury is interesting as I have always had one foot that sticks out more than the other.  Over the years I've tried to correct it but it's always been there.  This might be the root of the problem and I will probably see if anything can be done.  I didn't think it would affect my running, I did have an insert put into my ski boots so this might be the solution for running.

I think there has been some discussion about awarding prizes next time.  Personally, I didn't push at the beginning because of the prizes and I'm not sure that they are needed.  On the other hand having prizes is fun too.  As a suggestion, perhaps the prizes might be distributed using a draw amongst all those that completed Janathon successfully - just a thought.

I am in awe of Gary, what an achievement! But I am also inspired by the runners in deep snow (see Yes, I'm Still Running...), the extreme heat such as Auswomble or in the middle of exams I run for cake!

Not forgetting those who have just started running, want to get fit, want to lose weight, training for a first race, marathon or 2011 miles ....  or just want some help to run outside in the cold and wet.  Every blog and every runner has a different story and all inspired in a different way.  In one month you could read about a new baby and sadly about a bereavement.  I regularly read blogs from as far afield as Manchester and also the Netherlands, New York and Australia - pretty amazing really.  I loved the way that running speed didn't segregate runners.  Thank you for sharing your running and a glimpse of your lives during Janathon.  A big thank you to Cathy and her team - Cathy you are a real gem and you deserve a medal.

Finally, I asked about vegetarian meals and had some very helpful feedback - thanks guys.  Runtezza wrote out a favourite recipe and posted it!  You are an absolute star, have a look at http://runtezza.wordpress.com/2011/01/31/vegetarian-recipe-4-u/ I will be making this dish, thanks.

I'm hoping to keep this blog updated, anybody else going to keep on blogging ... but maybe not every day?

30 January 2011

"A machine as versatile as the human body...", 'The Redbreast' and too much sex in 'Transition'

Firstly, thanks for the ideas for freezable vegetarian meals. JogBlog your website does look very interesting, if you haven't seen it, have a look at  Planet Veggie, and Kathryn we have just ordered one of the 101 vegetarian cook books.  It helps to get some recommendations - thanks.

Last night I had an enjoyable evening watching 'Inception' with my youngest son.  The other two boys were out with friends and my wife disappeared upstairs.  I haven't watched a movie from Blockbusters for a while - good fun! 

Transition [Book]I have just finished the book 'Transition' by Iain Banks today.  Very different from his other books, quite a bit of sex that didn't always seem to be in context (i.e. I think there was too much of it or it wasn't written very well).  I wondered if he was trying to write a book with a screenplay in mind.  Some interesting ideas, good plot, fairly interesting characters but I'm just not sure if it wasn't just a bit clumsily put together, it didn't quite flow.  It felt like the author had ideas that he was trying to squeeze into a plot. Still, I think I enjoyed it - it kept me reading to the end. 

The RedbreastI've started reading 'The Redbreast' by Jo Nesbø, I enjoyed 'The Snowman' so hopefully this should be a good read too. 

Today?  It's been a busy day today. 

Went to the gym with my youngest son this morning.  He followed his programme which includes quite a bit of Powerplates work.  I did some different exercises to those that I did yesterday, including about 2.6 miles on the treadmill at about 7mph.

Other than the running, other exercises:

15 minutes cross trainer
3 x 15 single arm row on each side
3 x 15 reverse flye
3 x 15 lateral raise
3 x 15 pec flye

This pushes my Janathon total up to about 160 miles.  I'm in 8th place! I'm sure a few more people will pass me yet ;-)   It's also showing that I'm in 4th place for number of hours of recorded exercise I've completed this month - all a bit of fun.

Precor AMT 100i Elliptical TrainersThere are some notices about indicating that the gym has ordered some more of the AMT elliptical cross trainers.  These are big, sophisticated cross trainers that move your limbs like an insect.  We have two in the gym and seeing as we are to have some more, I thought I ought to have a go - perhaps even tomorrow.  This helps me in my quest to try out all the equipment in the gym.  AMT stands for Adaptive Motion Trainer, evidently it is "A machine as versatile as the human body ...", haven't seen one doing Janathon.

After the gym I took my son off  to a pantomime teenage cast reunion.  Together we were supposed to purchase some sweets and cokes from Booker that my son (this is the youngest I'm still referring to) has been selling at school.  As his gym programme took a little longer, I ended up taking the shopping list and purchasing the items for him, almost £90 worth!

Well I think that's enough for today, only one more day left of Janathon - it's been great :-)

(P.S.  The 'Blogger' spell checker is very odd, it can't always recognise complete words.  Do other people using 'Blogger' have this problem?)

29 January 2011

Powerplates induction, more gym and freezable vegetarian meal suggestions please

Firstly a request.  I've got the impression that quite a few Janathon participants are vegetarian.  We are looking for recipe recommendations that:
Are freezable in small portions.
Good for feeding hungry teenagers.
Don't use meat replacements.

Powerplates Induction
As I mentioned before, my youngest son and I had Powerplates induction.  Definitely going to add Powerplates to my exercise routine. It's early days but I think I found that the vibration made some exercises a little easier as it had a kind of relaxing effect.  Very good for stretching and massage too.  So I recommend it but I shall have to see the long term benefits. 

My youngest son loved the Powerplates.  I can see that the Powerplates in the gym will be used a little more often in the future ;-)

As I said before, my youngest son had a gym exercise program written for him today.  He is very much into the performing arts and does quite a lot of dancing.  After an audition, he recently became a member of a Street Dance group and he is now keen to develop his strength, balance, aerobic fitness and agility.  I think the gym instructor was quite surprised at preparing a program for a 13 year old with a target sport of dance!  Anyway, my son came home very motivated and wants to attend the gym three times a week! A good result.

Middle son and my wife came to  the gym too.  I'm sure my eldest son would have come along as well but he works on Saturdays. My eldest son is 18 and his Saturday job is Playworker at a local playground/centre for children with special needs and disabilities.  I'm tremendously proud of what he does.  He has responsibility for a child in the morning and another in the afternoon - the child may have any disability or special need. I think I would find this demanding and the fact that he does this as an 18 year old Sixth Former is quite remarkable.  But it's not just a job, you can see that he gets a great deal of satisfaction out of making small steps of progress. I am very, very proud ;-)

I'm probably boring you so to round off the boredom my exercise today was a real mixed bag:

First half an hour was an induction to the Powerplates:

I didn't count how many we did of each exercise, but the exercises included.
press ups
tricep dips
30 sec plank
30 sec side plank
etc etc for half an hour

After this I spent about 45 minutes going on other gym equipment:
3 x 20 leg extension
3 x 20 leg curl
3 x 20 hip abductor (outer)
3 x 20 hip abductor (inner)
3 x 15 shoulder press
3 x 15 lat pull down
3 x 15 bicep curl

No aerobic activity as I still have a bit of a dry cough, I'm sure I'm not contagious though.
Finally, the last 15 minutes we all went back to the Powerplates and ...

1 minute side plank each side
Stretching and massage (which was very good).
Quite a bit of laughter too.

That was my Janathon exercise today - I'm feeling quite pleased :-)

28 January 2011

Gym Ball Extravaganza

The encouraging comments I had after yesterday's post really helped - thanks guys :-)

Not sniffing as much and cough is getting better.  I thought I might run out of inhalers (Symbicort) as I use it more when I have a cough, I certainly wouldn't have had enough for the weekend.  Took me ages to get through to the doctor, eventually got through and all sorted.  It's amazing how much the inhaler helps me recover from a cough compared to in the past.

My doctor wouldn't let me scuba dive last year as I had used my reliever inhaler (sabutamol, blue case) sometimes during high intensity swimming lessons.  I was most frustrated as if I hadn't been exercising I'd not have used it occasionally at these times.  Anyway, I decided that I would have to change my regime and used my other inhaler a little more often than previously (morning and night), this did the trick.  Subsequently I haven't used the reliever inhaler and so I should get the okay from our doctor next time I want to go scuba diving - I do carry it with me when I go running though.  The other way this has helped is that I seem to get over coughs much, much faster.

REEBOK Core Gymball - 65cm (With Pump and DVD)

Back to exercising ...
I decided that I'd keep away from the gym tonight although I'm probably out of the contagious side.  I'm hoping to take my youngest son to the gym tomorrow as we have an induction on the Powerplates and he is having an exercise plan written up.  I expect I should be okay but I won't over exert. So for a change I decided I'd work with a gym ball at home.

I haven't used the gym ball in ages so first thing was to find it, I looked everywhere and eventually found it in the loft.  Then the thing needed pumping up, I must confess that I used a little electric pump to get so far but then it couldn't manage anymore.  So out came the hand pump, put the ball between my legs and started pumping.  I have to say that I was pleased that I wasn't in a public place! Naturally, I would have found this a lot easier when I was younger - my arms were pretty tired afterwards.

I then had to look up some gym ball exercises.  I kept having to run up and down the stairs to check if I was doing each exercise correctly.  Some of the exercises I found quite difficult, as indicated in the list. It was a good session and my heart rate was lower than last night (even after going up and down the stairs).  I still tried not to over exert and I didn't do any exercises that hurt my Achilles tendon.

This was all followed by a thorough session of stretching from one of Matt Robert's books.

The session:
All exercises using a gym ball (except running up and down the stairs and stretching)

Pumping the gym ball up first., phew!
25 x basic crunch
25 x core crunch
25 x back extension
20 x elevated push-up
10 x balanced push-up (difficult)
1 x 1 minute plank (easier on ball)
25 x side crunch each side
25 x opposite limb extension each side
20 x abdominal rolls (phew)
25 x bent knee bridge
10 x twisting prone jack-knife each side (difficult)

Also include running up and down the stairs to check on my computer if I'm doing the exercise correctly!
Followed by gentle stretching.

I did try the odd exercise that I gave up on for various reasons.

I will need to work on the exercises I struggled with.  Janathon total is the same, 157 miles.  Feeling better and feeling happier.

27 January 2011

Sniff! Cough!

Sniff! Cough! Feeling rotten :-(

Well I'm not giving up now but I'm aware I have to be really careful.  I decided that I would not subject other gym goers to my cough and I wasn't sure what I could do there anyway.

Popped on my heart rate monitor and carefully did the following set of exercises making sure my heart rate was low. I did each exercise and then stopped when my heart rate reached about 100 bpm ensuring my heart remeined below 110 bpm.  Then I waited for my heart rate to drop into the 80s. Ended off with some gentle stretching.

I'm sorry there's not much more ...

1 x 25 crunch
1 x 20 oblique crunch each side
1 x 20 reverse curl
1 x 1 minute plank
1 x 1 minute side plank (one each side)
1 x 25 back extension
1 x 25 another abs exercise tha tI don't know the name of!
3 x 20 lateral raise
3 x 15 reverse flye
All followed by gentle stretching

These exercises took about 40 minutes which shows how slowly I was going.  I actually felt better afterwards (and still do).

Janathon miles remain stuck at 157 miles - it woud be nice if it went to 160 miles but we'll see.  Quite a change from the beginning of the month, oh well! 

26 January 2011



It was hard going to the gym tonight as I'm feeling rotten, I've got a cold and I didn't sleep well last night. Yawn. My cold is above the neck so I felt it was safe to exercise despite the fact that I don't want to. I do realise that having picked up a cold there, I'm probably now perpetuating it.  However, I did try to keep bug transfer to a minimum and kept my hands off the equipment wherever I could, kept away from the weights and wiped the cross trainer down.

So really simple tonight - no running, no weights, no grappler, just the cross trainer for half an hour at a healthy aerobic effort level.  Sniff!  Really simple post to. Sniff! 

Janathon mileage stuck on 157 miles, lots of hours though.

25 January 2011

Grappling and tiger art

Yesterday a bit of poetry and today some of my son's art but first what I did for Janathon.

I was very pleased to go to the gym with my middle son today.  He cycles to school every day instead of catching the train and regularly goes to the gym so he's very fit ... plus he eats very healthily!  Not bad for a 16 year old.  As I've explained previously, not unusually for a Dad I'm very proud of my three sons - obviously each of them has his strengths and weaknesses. My middle son is very disciplined, but he is also quite an artist.  He said I could show you one of his pieces, it was difficult to decide but here's one ...

Once again at the gym today I was on the treadmill.  To alleviate my boredom I tried to read the subtitles of the 24 hour news but this was a mirror image and I didn't have my glasses on - I gave up!    I wouldn't  risk doing much more than the mileage I have been running recently so today's mileage was 3.6 miles.  My Achilles tendon is a bit sore but it's not getting worse (I hope) so I think I shall probably maintain the status quo.

My average speed was about (perhaps a little under) 7 mph again, maybe a little slower than yesterday as I have a bit of a cold.  I included a few short speed sessions just to stretch a bit.  I've been wearing my heart rate monitor at the gym (when I can find it) just to check that I'm not pushing too much, I hardly ever wear it when I'm running outside.

The cold I've acquired is probably a symptom of visiting the gym. It's ironic that a place where you go to get healthy is such a good place to pick up bugs. Still, it builds up the immune system I suppose.

I went straight from the treadmill to the grappler (rope pull).  I'm very pleased as I grappled for a full 15 minutes - truth is I've been grappling most of my life.  I used one of the interval settings too which made it a little harder.  This is the longest time I've used the rope grappler and I was feeling okay afterwards, I think it might help my swimming.

That was it! Janathon mileage is now about 157 miles. My mileage is not going to increase dramatically but injury happens and subsequently my focus changed. And I'm still enjoying Janathon. 

24 January 2011

Briefly, I fly

Briefly, I fly

The foot falls and another step forward,
Another step that was to be, that is and another step that will be
And in-between,
In-between I fly
Briefly, I really do fly.
I am me, in control of the next step.
That will be mine to take,
And fly again I shall,
Me, running, me.

Me, but not selfish indifference,
But more free,
The foot falls again and another step forward,
And pain, anguish somehow are left a little behind.
A little of what troubled, sweats away with each footfall,
My steps that I take,
Me in control, the worries that are not so great,
And in-between I fly,
Briefly, I really do fly.

My hopes, my future, my heart,
Pumps forward, my legs push back,
Taking my eyes to the future,
As one life holds all that I am,
In me,
That I was,
That I am right now.
The foot falls once more and another step is done,
And I delight in knowing,
That all will be better,
That I am alive,
Here, now, my body tells me,
My spirit will soar,
I know it, I feel it,
I am doing what I can do now,
Briefly ...
Oh so briefly ...
I really do fly.

A bit of a hard day today, just a few different things I'd rather not talk about.  I wrote this poem in a late afternoon coffee break - I felt much better afterwards.  Helped me complete my work.

Gym again tonight with my wife but just for half an hour.  Ran 3 miles at about 7mph and then did a few minutes on the cross trainer.  Achilles tendon isn't right, it's a little sore so no long mileage for a while I expect.

Met my swimming instructor tonight as I was doing training on Monday nights last year.  I've committed to swimming as from next term.  She's really pleasant and very good, a gold medallist Paralympian but very modest.

Janathon total is about 153 miles.

23 January 2011

A sleepy dog, teenage attire and the word 'solipsism'

Both my oldest sons have exams tomorrow and they have been studying in the kitchen where are dog lives.  He's very pleased to have their company but my sons do stay up late, and our poor dog is looking a little tired.  Poor chap is just not used to the late nights - waking him up in the morning is like having a fourth teenager :-)

Talking of teenagers, I (like many other adults) have a thing about these low slung trousers that reveal underpants. If you've ever seen a toddler walking around with a wet nappy that's seeped through to his pants, well if left the pants start to hang and effectively become 'low slung' owing to gravity and heavier pee soaked pants.  As the pants start to drop, the poor thing can't walk properly and can only walk from below the knees - remember that picture the next time you see a teenage boy with low slung jeans. I have three teenage sons and they are not the biggest offenders ... but they still do, sigh!

So (because I'm not finished yet) yesterday when Dad (me) is looking for a clean shirt for the gym and wanders downstairs with the belt of his jeans undone and maybe just one button of his button fly undone with (please note reader) a shirt on and (the most important note) no underpants showing whatsoever and in my own house, my own house with no visitors!  What do my eldest two sons say, 'Dad please don't wander around with your trousers undone' !!!!!!  This said in a critical and disparaging tone ... and ... and not a hint, a smidgen of the irony!  (Sorry about the exclamation marks.) Need I say any more ... other than sigh! I still love 'em.

I learnt a new word today (I guess I might have known it once but I'm too old to remember):


Philosophy . the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist.
extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one's feelings, desires, etc.; egoistic self-absorption.

So back to exercise and all that stuff ...

My youngest son (13) enjoyed his first visit to the gym today and next week they are going to write a plan for him that will complement his dancing.  Also, we are both scheduled for an induction next weekend on the ... Powerplates!  I figured it made sense to have a little help to get the most out of this vibrating contraption, and it is fun to learn with my son - when I'm not embarrassing him.

So about today, today I ran 5.2 miles at 7mph on the treadmill.  A bit of a twinge from my Achilles tendon but I'm going to take it each day at a time.  I'm not sure I can tolerate much more than 5 miles on a treadmill!!  I guess I'm not sure my tendon can take much more either and the treadmill is gentler than the outdoors. Other than a bit of stretching, that was it.

Janathon total is a touch over 150 miles - my goals have changed and I am feeling mildly positive.

22 January 2011

Treadmill running today - yay I'm running but it is boring!

I think I have said before that I have three sons, all teenagers.  This, of course, means that we have a fairly male dominated household - my poor wife! My two eldest sons have girlfriends and they are both here tonight. I realise how different it is when we have a few more females in the house, it's pleasant and ... altogether calmer I suppose. With two sons in 6th form I'm very aware that our lives will change quite dramatically in the coming years, I have mixed feelings about this. Pleased to see my sons become young men that I am very proud of, but sad when I realise how grown up they are and the little boys that they were are memories - time moves on.

Talking of growing up, my youngest son is having his induction at the gym tomorrow.  This will be his first time at the gym and I'm sure he will move from one piece of equipment to the other rather quickly.  He does dance so the gym should help build some strength and (maybe) increase aerobic fitness.  In my experience young people get a little bored at the gym, I can understand this, I get bored too.  Still, I shall have to make it as interesting as possible for him.  Maybe arrange a program for him.

At the gym today I went on the treadmill so I am very pleased.  I ran 3.5 miles too. It is boring though, to be outside would be so much better. My full set of exercises:

3.5 miles on treadmill at about 7mph
3 x 20 leg extension
3 x 20 leg curl
3 x 25 hip abductor (outer)
3 x 25 hip abductor (inner)
3 x 12 shoulder press
3 x 25 tri-cep press
3 x 15 chest press
Janathon miles are up to 145 miles :-)  But how will my Achilles tendon feel tomorrow???

21 January 2011

My wish for some Red Kite running ...

Well that was better.  I have found that my Achilles tendon is fine in the morning but has then started creaking later in the day and yesterday it then started getting sore.  Today it was fine so I decided to us the elliptical cross trainer followed by the grappler and I'm pleased to say all is okay.

I needed some good aerobic exercise as I've had a stressful day today.  I won't go in to details but I'm glad today is over.

The Red Kite (not my photo)

Who knows, I might be able to go running soon. I don't think that I've mentioned before that I associate my running with the call of the Red Kite.  My main running route takes me across some fields and we have loads of Red Kites there.  As I approach the beginning of my run they often give their distinctive call -  I'm missing that call at the moment. A beautiful bird that is now thriving locally since reintroduction a few years back. Hopefully I'll be doing some Red Kite running soon.

My gym session tonight included:

25 minutes on elliptical cross trainer
11 minutes on grappler (rope pull)

Janathon mileage remains at 141.5 miles

20 January 2011

The creak came back, Scout badges and Physics Coursework

The ankle creak came back so no treadmill :-( 

This was useful  ...

... and so was this!

I didn't get to the gym today. Really busy in my work, I started early, finished late, took my son to Stage School, unpicked and then glued badges on a new Scout uniform and helped my son with his A level Physics Coursework (not sure I helped that much)!  I'm tired so this is a short blog post today.

But I did still do some exercises at home.  I concentrated on my core and completed the following set:

2 x 25 crunch
2 x 25 oblique crunch each side
2 x 25 reverse curl
2 x 1 minute plank
2 x 1 minute side plank (one each side)
2 x 25 back extension
It was quite tiring but I do feel I'm getting stronger.
Janathon mileage is 141.5 miles, nothing changes - sigh.

Yes, No or maybe ... I don't know!


I don't know?  Should I or shouldn't I? Do I or don't I? Yes, No ... maybe?  My ankle has stopped creaking, I can't feel any pain so do I try treadmill running again tonight?  Will I make it worse? Maybe I should crosstrain for 5 minutes and then onto the treadmill ... I'll see! ? :-(

19 January 2011

Mr Forgetful and the lost comments

Mr Forgetful - now where did I leave that comment?

With so many people doing Janathon I occasionally find that I leave a comment and then can't remember the name of the blog.  These forgotten comments (and more importantly forgotten blogs) and my inability to recall which of the 200+ blogs they were is really frustrating me.  So there are a few blogs that I haven't returned to, I'm sorry if yours is one of these blogs, although you wouldn't know that was the case, sigh.

This is it!
My ankle is creaking (i.e. my Achilles tendon is rubbing against its sheath).  It's not particularly painful but today I have curtailed any treadmill running or use of the cross trainer.  I decided I would extend my time on the grappler to 10 minutes continuously followed by another 3 minutes.  This gives me a bit more aerobic exercise without flexing my ankle.

After the grappler I mainly concentrated on strengthening my legs and also included exercises for my hip abductors. Let's hope it all works and the creaking stops, I could try a touch of WD40?

I had a read of the Power Plate instructions and exercises but a vibrating plate didn't seem to wise an exercise for my ankle.   

My trip to the gym:

3 x 25 leg extension
3 x 25 leg curl
3 x 25 hip abductor (outer)
3 x 12 single arm row on each side
3 x 25 hip abductor (inner)
10 minutes on grappler (rope pull) increasing resistance

3 minutes on grappler (rope pull)
Now I might not be able to to run and increase my Janathon miles but one benefit of this is that my wife has been going to the gym with me every night except last night :-)  She's doing very well indeed and is doing more aerobic work than me!
Janathon miles are 141.5 plus lots of gym trips.