23 January 2016

#Janathon Day 23 (missed a few) - a virus (my excuse), a long taper run, shining eyes and panic about broken running shoes!

Missed three days in Janathon as I had some sort of virus and my chest wasn't quite right, not good as I'm asthmatic. Kept warm, relaxed and slept a bit more than usual and okay today :-)

The first 8 miles of today's run was part of my wife's half marathon training so was a relaxed run with Fleet. This is her longest run so far, she's doing really well. 

After returning back home I set off to make up the miles to 26.7, about two thirds of my longest run as planned in my taper period. About half of it was in the dark so good practice for the ultra. Blinding walkers with their dogs with my headtorch, they all stopped as I approached, I need to dip my head! The first thing I see are the dog's eyes reflecting back, in fact it's amazing how many eyes I see about in the fields - cats and foxes I guess.

Alas my running shoes have a split! I'm only two weeks away from the ultra!! I've ordered '2' identical pairs from different stores and hopefully I can break them in in time, should be okay if they arrive in time. I plan to call both stores and turn up charm and pleading to maximum.

This time of year I run in Inov-8 Roclite 282 GTX shoes, this will be my third pair (fourth when both I've ordered arrive). I'm really pleased with them and I can't complain as I've done a lot of mileage in my last pair. I'd appreciate multiple crossing of fingers.

My Janathon mileage is now 189 miles but I don't expect it to rise greatly during the next week or so.

19 January 2016

#Janathon Day 19 - more of same

Treadmill running, kinder on the joints! Still recovering from long run but feeling quite good. In taper period now so decided a gradual increasing pace for 4 miles was good for a little more intensity. Ended off with some stretching.

Talking to young people at a local school about engineering tomorrow morning.

Janathon total is 162 miles.

18 January 2016

#Janathon Day 18 - recovery run and stretching

Recovery run at the gym this evening of just over 2 slow miles followed by a good stretching session. Definitely takes longer and more effort to loosen up as you get older!

Janathon mileage is now 158 miles.

17 January 2016

#Janathon Day 17 - a hard long run on a muddy route, longest run of my training

When I set off for my run this morning there was a sprinkling of snow on the ground.  Needless to say it all melted and made my run pretty muddy and bit slippery.

Broke my run up into an 8 + 32 miles so that I could use home as a pit stop.  Stopped at my cousin's house in Datchet to refill my water bottles too.

I started out across the fields and picked up the Jubilee River in Maidenhead.  I followed the Jubilee River to Eton and crossed over to Datchet. There I picked up the Thames path to Runnymede with a good view of Windsor Castle. It's a shame that the Thames bank along the castle grounds is not opened to extend the Thames path, oh well!

It was a hard run at the end and my muscles were aching quite a bit, I'm glad I've run 40 miles. This is the longest run of my training and I will now taper over the next three weeks and if goes well (including the weather) then I will run the Thames Trot at the beginning of February.

Janathon total is now 156 miles

16 January 2016

#Janathon Day 16 - assisting with half marathon training

Fleet and I accompanied my wife on her scheduled half marathon training run of seven miles.  A crisp morning but no wind so not too cold. What is really good is that my wife's running pace is improving :-) She's doing very well.

My long run tomorrow.

My Janathon total is 115 miles, Fleet's is 50 miles and my wife's is 30.7 miles.

15 January 2016

#Janathon Day 15 - marketing, chasing and a daylight run

So today was a marketing materials and try get paid day at work.  One of the jobs in running your own business is chasing payment for work done, this can be a bit frustrating but It's never a good thing to take non payment personally.  Anyway, I think it was a vaguely successful day.

I managed to take Fleet out for a daytime run although it was just starting to get dark near the end.  Total run was 8.14 miles.  It was getting cold near the end, I need thicker gloves!

My Janathon total is 108 miles and Fleet's is about 43 miles. Fleet has had more swims!

#Janathon Day 14 - another short session on the treadmill and I need to rest before Sunday

Another gym session and running on the treadmill for 3.18 miles followed by stretching.  My plan is to do my long run on Sunday, hopefully it's not too cold! I need to make sure I'm rested enough but I'm feeling tired at the moment.

My Janathon total is 100 miles.

13 January 2016

#Janathon Day 13 - work, eat, meeting, run, eat, blog = dull

Feeling tired today and was concerned if I would manage any exercise.

Finished work, had something to eat and then off to a meeting at 8pm.  Ran back from meeting (not very far and not included in total), put on my gym clothes and went with wife and youngest son to gym that closes at 10pm!

Gentle run on treadmill for one mile and slightly faster second mile. For beginning of third mile thought I'd practice a fast walk (useful in ultras) and then took treadmill up to maximum incline and walked as fast as I could breaking into a run.  Slowly dropped my pace down again. Total run was 3.15 miles. Had a short stretch and then headed home. Got home and finished my dinner while writing this post. All a bit dull really!

My Janathon total is 97 miles.

#Janathon Day12 - another evening run with Fleet flashing like a Christmas tree

Well Strava reckoned I went for an afternoon run but by afternoon I would expect some sunlight? Nope, dark, cold and a little wet at times, definitely an evening run.  Head torch on the whole way and Fleet flashing like a Christmas tree.

Ran just over 9 miles this evening.  Battery on my head torch went flat in the dark so I had the experience of changing it in the dark. I need to practice this a bit as it was quite fiddly.

My Janathon mileage is now 94 miles.
Fleet's mileage is 35 miles.

11 January 2016

#Janathon Day 11 - a run, a stretch and I'm a little worried about this ultra in February :-s

Today I went to the gym with my wife and youngest son.  Planned an easy 3 miles but stepped up the pace a bit near the end. Had a good long stretching session afterwards.

I received the race day instructions for the Thames Trot 50 Ultra, will I be ready for this race?  I'm a little worried about it. The 30 mile run on the weekend went okay and I feel alright today. I think I'm going to carry on working towards it and see what happens.  This weekend should be my longest run, oh well!

My Janathon mileage is 84 miles

10 January 2016

#Janathon Day 10 - quick, go see 'Stepping Out' before it closes, a 30 mile run and taking son to uni

'Stepping Out' was brilliant and funny and we had a great time last night. It ends at the Mill at Sonning on Saturday 16th January, so hurry and buy tickets! A great cast with local actor Amber Edlin who was superb ;-) Go and see it!

A long run along the Jubilee River and the Thames from Cookham to Runnymede and back. I stopped, but didn't go in, at the National Trust Magna Carta tea-room.  We really ought to visit the tea-room sometime. The beginnings of a little flooding near Runnymede meant I had to back onto myself a bit. Pit stop at Thames Valley Athletics Centre and a chat with my cousin in Datchet on the way back, did I tell you that my cousin might be the nicest person on the planet :-)  Didn't pause my watch at my cousin's but never mind. The run went better than I expected and I completed 30.59 miles. 

Came home and had a roast dinner and then off to Birmingham to take my middle son back to university, always sad to see him go :-(

My Janathon mileage is now 81 miles.


09 January 2016

#Janathon Day 9 - my wife's longest run towards the Fleet Half Marathon and seeing 'Stepping Out' tonight

I had intended to do my long run but instead did a shorter run with my wife.  She is preparing for her first half marathon, the Fleet Half Marathon, and did her longest run ever today, 7.1 miles. I'm planning to run the half marathon with her.

It rained a bit today but it wasn't heavy rain and it wasn't that cold either.  Fleet managed to get muddy (not a big surprise) but at least he had time for a swim which cuts down the mess in the kitchen. I hope to do a long run tomorrow morning as it wasn't not possible today as I needed to pick up my middle son midday who has been visiting his girlfriend's family.

Tonight we go to see 'Stepping Out' at The Mill in Sonning with friends, looking forward to it :-)

My Janathon mileage is now 51 miles according to Running Free, I can't get it to download from my watch as Garmin has changed the interface so I just enter the mileage directly.
My wife has run 18.6 miles and Fleet has run 25.6 miles, I don't think I will take him tomorrow.

#Janathon Day 8 - more sweat, headphones, the HAL 9000 and a dirty kitchen floor

On the subject of sweating (from yesterday) I have an ability of trashing headphones.  For a while I used to use Sennheiser headphones something like these but older (these are probably better now).
They have a two year guarantee and at one point I had two pairs in for repair (they were eventually replaced) and I was wearing a third pair. For a while I had at least one pair in for repair or waiting to be sent in.

Then I splashed out and bought these wireless JayBird BlueBuds:


They are very good but they seal up your ears so they are not quite as safe as the Sennheiser which allow you to hear a bit when running outside.  Also, as I sweat a little, on a long run your ears start to fill up, then the ear pieces start to fall out your ears, and the sound goes, and the bits fall off.  I still use these in the gym and a couple of nights ago I took them out and the ear bit was left in my ear, without going into too much detail, once they were cleaned the don't fall part quite as quickly but I have considered gluing the pieces on! Anyway, I still use them in the gym. But then I found these:
Black Blues 2 bluetooth bone conduction headphones

These are the AfterShokz Bluez 2, wireless again but this time they don't go in the ear.  Instead they use bone conduction which I think means there is a little more sound spill.  I have this suspicion that when my mouth is open it acts a bit like a loudspeaker but I have no proof of this, it's just a fear I have.  But they are very good. You can hear everything around you, your ears are open to the world. However, you can only forward to songs on a playlist, you can't go back.  That's a touch frustrating when you've found that song that will power you on when you're flagging (happens a bit too often to me) and you just need to hear it again.

There is (was) another problem and I broke them (sigh).  Yes, despite a 'nanotechnology coating and watertight rubber gaskets [to] repel sweat and moisture' I broke them, twice to be precise. My sweat must be like acid, a bit like the alien in 'Alien'.  I corroded my way through two of these.  Each time my music and/or the disembodied voice (Audrey's evidently) started breaking up like the HAL 9000 in '2001: A Space Odyssey' which is disconcerting when you're running and disrupts your pacing.

I found I could dry them out for a while but eventually they both died, sigh!


BUT, but AfterShokz were very good and after the final pair failed they replaced them with these:



... well I know they look the same but these are the AfterShokz Bluez 2S.  What's the difference I hear you say? Well I think it is all in the 'S', 'S' for Sweatproof maybe? I don't know but they certainly seem to be Jenks's Alien acid type of sweat resistant ... well so far anyway. These are moisture resistant to IP55 to be exact! ? They seem to be doing very well :-)

But it is Janathon and I did go for run.  I grabbed a small period when the sun came out and before my conference call and squeezed in a 3.5 mile run and puffed my way back into the conference call in sweaty running gear.  However, I do feel a bit of a hypocrite as in the rush of getting out I forgot to put on suntan lotion :-s  And that after yesterday's post :-(

Fleet enjoyed the run though, but he didn't get a swim so now the kitchen floor is dirty and has a layer of earth, mud, dust and/or other outdoor material?

My Janathon total is now 43 miles and Fleet's is 18.5 miles.

07 January 2016

#Janathon Day 7 - a run in the sun but it was cold and I used suntan lotion (with recommendation)



I ran during the day today!  And it was dry! And the sun was out too! It was still cold though but I still put on my factor 50 suntan lotion.

I look fairly tanned and I think this is a combination of being outside a fair amount (normally running), having older skin and contrast effect against my grey hair.  I must say that I am pretty good at putting suntan lotion during the daytime, the sun doesn't need to be out and it can be the middle of winter.

I have struggled to find a good suntan lotion, in the past I have found that quite a few lotions were either very heavy and sticky or came off easily when I started sweating, I sweat quite a bit (a lot) - evidently this is the sign of an athlete! Well I will cling to that belief.

So what suntan lotion do I use?  Well my recommendation is this:
Sun Protection Mist SPF50

Garnier Ambre Solaire UV Sport Sun Protection Mist SPF50 brilliant stuff.  I used it for Race to the Stones 100km ultra in July last year, on holiday and on all my summer runs, in fact all my daytime runs - it works really well.  It's light but sticks and does not come off very easily when I'm sweating and wipe my face.  I don't think it marks clothing either. Also when I sweat I don't get stinging eyes quite as much as when I use other suntan lotions. For around my eyes I spray a bit onto my hands and rub it in, otherwise I use the spray.

I'm using up some Riemann P20 which is also very good but I think it does stain clothes and isn't so great on my face (i.e. it stings my eyes and rubs off a bit too easily).  It also has more of a smell, alcohol I think.

But back to my run.  Today I ran 8.33 miles with my dog Fleet. As I said it was dry, cold and sunny but there were quite a few puddles and a lot of mud.  Fleet was a bit of a state but was fine after a swim in a stream :-)

My Janathon total is now 40 miles
Fleet's total is 15 miles

06 January 2016

#Janathon Day 6 - long day, gym and school visit plan

Well my working day started early at about 7.40am and finished at about 8.10pm, another early start tomorrow morning too.  A quick bite to eat and then I was dragged to the gym again with my wife and son.  

On the treadmill I did a 3 mile tempo run followed by a mile of sprint/walk and then another mile slower, 5 miles in total. Hot and puffed especially after the sprints. It was quieter in the gym tonight.

I'm going to speak at an Engineering Society at a local school on the 20th.  I figured it would be more of a chat about any number of projects I've worked on and a little more interactive discussing engineering in general.  The young lady who runs the society asked me for an outline today and I'm wondering if they are expecting me to do a talk! I think something more interactive would be better? I'm not sure now?? I don't normally have a problem filling the time talking ;-)

My Janathon mileage is now 32 miles.
My wife's is 11.5 miles.

05 January 2016

#Janathon Day 5 - first trip to the gym this year

This evening was the first time I've visited the gym this year, unsurprisingly it was a little busier.  We (my wife, youngest son and me) go fairly regularly and so we could spot the newcomers, I do hope a good number persist.

In the past I've ended up restarting a bit of gym work in the January, it's as good a time as any I suppose. Like most, I often end up being a bit too busy around the festive season and so my training gets squeezed out (as does my waistline). For my first Janathon I ended up doing a lot more gym work when I overdid the miles in the first week and injured myself.  That was one of the crazy mileage years, Janathon is far more sensible now.

Anyway, I did 3 miles on the treadmill at a reasonable pace.  I then had a really good stretching session, hopefully some of my aches and pains will subside.

My Janathon mileage is now 26 miles, although Running Free adds it up to 27 miles with all the bits of miles :-)

04 January 2016

#Janathon Day 4 - simply seven miles tonight

Another night run of seven miles but not over fields.  It really is quite mild at the moment. Must get to bed. My Janathon total is now 23 miles.

#Janathon Day 3 - night running, I need fog lights and dry feet

I did my first night time run this winter across the fields this evening, a dark misty evening.  A good test for my new Petzl Nao headtorch.

It was really bright and dims with proximity or with changes in light levels.  This had the effect of appearing like I was dipping my headtorch to oncoming traffic leading them to dip their headlights too :-)  They must have been a bit confused.

I did run past a few pedestrians and a cyclist (who had no lights), they were somewhat dazzled but then they shouldn't have been out at such a late hour in the dark, obviously dodgy characters.

As I mentioned it was quite misty so I could have used some fog lights too, I don't think my sons would let me leave the house of I started wearing another set of lights!

I also tested my new Sealskinz socks which worked really well, no wet feet despite lots of deep puddles. Altogether a successful evening run.

Oh yes, and I enjoyed 'War and Peace' on BBC although my family did not appreciate a running commentary on the characters, sigh!

Janathon totals:
Me = 16 miles
My wife = 8 miles
Fleet = 6 miles

03 January 2016

#Janathon Day 2 - mud, War and Peace and other book ramblings

Another 6 miles as planned squeezed in before the heavier rain this morning. Quite a lot of mud which reminds me of how muddy the Thames Trot Ultra 50 is likely be if the section of the Thames path at Marlow is anything to go by.  Slipping and sliding about for 50 miles would be hard work, in Marlow I'm often forced to walk most of the muddy section. Does anybody have any experience of the Thames Trot?

Met up with family this afternoon and had a great time, the traffic getting there was horrible though.

A new series of War and Peace starts on BBC 1 tomorrow (I think).  I need to finish the book before the end of the series, well at least up to the epilogues.  This shouldn't be too much of a problem as I'm 89% of the way through it and, evidently, about 100 pages of the 1400 page book is epilogue (two epilogues) which I'm really not sure I will bother reading.  This means I must have a little over 50 pages left.

The problem is I'm reading Margaret Atwood's 'The Year of the Flood' at the moment and I know that there is a third in the series too so when do I get to finish 'War and Peace'?

Really pleased to hear that Barak Obama is planning to read 'The Three Body Problem' by Liu Cixin, it's a great book.

But never mind about my book ramblings, back to Janathon:

My Janathon mileage: 8 miles
My wife's Janathon mileage: 8 miles
Fleet's Janathon mileage: 6 miles

01 January 2016

#Janathon Day 1 - my wife is running, my dog's longest run yesterday, serious ultra panicking and maybe I'm too old anyway

Well here we go again, another Janathon and I've joined last minute ... again.

So I did a 20 mile run, but that was yesterday! I have put my name down for the Thames Trot Ultra 50 on the 7th February but I've just not manged to get the training in recently.  I was on target at the end of November and completed a 30 mile run, but in December it's just been impossible to fit in any long runs. The 20 mile run yesterday was quite difficult, I had done a half hour tempo run at the gym the day before but really should be much further ahead in my training before considering a 50 miler.

Can I recover it?  I'm not giving up yet but it's a real juggling act between putting the time in for the long slow runs, resting, sleeping, working. It doesn't help that I'm not that keen on running at night.  If I'm going to run it I guess I need to be running about 35 miles ideally by the 17th January or maybe 24th January at the latest.  That gives me two weeks of taper. I'm probably too old for this, I think I need Janathon to spur on.

Fleet, my dog, ran with me yesterday! He ran 20 miles! This was his longest run ever,  I've gradually increased his runs and I must say that he did really well.  It probably helps that it's cooler (and his guide runs slowly).  I'm very proud of him, and he's 10 this year :-)

My wife is also running and she's building up her mileage.  Today I went for a run with her and we ran 2 miles.  Tomorrow we plan to run 6 miles, which is the longest she has run, she ran this distance a week ago but we thought it best to not increase her mileage over the festive period.

So all good but not good on the ultra training plan, can I get the mileage in without breaking?

Janathon mileage: 2 miles
My wife's Janathon mileage: 2 miles
Fleet's Janathon mileage: 0 miles but he ran 20 miles yesterday