Sunday, 15 September 2013

Can I Get A Rewind?

OK - so the inevitable happened.  No blog posts for a few months does, unfortunately, mean no runs for a few months.  Life has been pretty hectic - planning for a mahoosive barbecue party in August did kind of take over (and a few tins of Cornish Rattler meant that most of the party remains a bit of a haze, although I'm pretty sure I broke my collarbone!).  Two weeks' holiday (cruising the Med) was lovely but unfortunately there was not much chance for running; the ship did have a running track on the top deck but unless you were up at 6am you had to spend most of the run avoiding deck hands mopping the deck, early sunbed reservers and people out in the designated smoking zone (through which the track went).  That said, I did manage two sessions but this I'm afraid represents my only running since the end of July.

As I write this I'm watching the Great North Run which does mean that my target is now officially a year away so I guess I ought to start taking it seriously.  This week is it!

So - to reboot:

Start of Week 2.1 (for computer OS numbering geeks):
Weight: Not telling
Exercise: None for a while
Feet: Still hidden from view!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Viral haemorrhagic fever sucks

It's been a tough week this week. I began to feel a bit achy on Sunday and by bedtime had a raging sore throat and spent most of the night sweating and shaking (steady!). Monday morning felt worse and really shouldn't have gone to work but frankly it's a disaster if I don't!  Managed to take Tuesday off and stay in bed and started to feel a better by Wednesday. Despite my early fears of Ebola virus it seems it was just a cold. I have been coughing up good volumes of sputum however and was quite breathless at times. All-in-all there was no way I could have exercised. A shame really as I was looking forward to seeing how I coped at a slightly lower pace.  I've just spent the weekend on call - really not sure I want to be doing 56 hour shifts of on-call as I get older but the upside is no opportunity for ale which is all good for the weight loss.

So today I've done my first exercise for over a week. I've decided to for it and step up to the next week's programme, the one that was scaring me a fortnight ago. Anyway, despite still having a good chesty cough it seemed to go OK and, most importantly, I got through it without having to give up. Another "fear" conquered, and I've now managed to run for 6 minutes non-stop at 7kph. I reckon this will be my half-marathon pace so am aiming for a time of 3hrs. Just 2hrs 53mins to go!!

Weight-wise it's been a bit of a milestone week as I got down to 127kg, representing a stone of weight loss since this whole thing began. This morning I was 126.5kg!  I've enjoyed watching England limping through to the ICC Champion's Trophy semi-final but I fear South Africa or India will prove a bridge too far!

So, end of week I've lost count
0km run
126.5kg (over a stone down)
Don't know when I'm going to get all the work I need to get done done over the next few days. Probably shouldn't be writing blog entries!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Making your mind up....

It's been a good learning week this week.  As you may or may not know I'm repeating a week from the programme, having the found the previous week too hard.  Today I decided to do my run outside rather than on the treadmill.  It has been an interesting experience - obviously I'm tracking the run with some smartphone software.  Although the time has been the same I've actually covered an extra 0.5k compared with the treadmill programme - turns out I run slower and walk faster.  I was running at a pace that felt comfortable today, one I think I could run a half marathon at and it turns out it's 7kph, not the 8kph I've been trying to do on the treadmill.  This would work out at a 3hr time for the half-marathon which I'd actually be really pleased at.  Two lessons - run outside wherever possible; run at 7kph on the treadmill.

Have also enjoyed the random iPod today - highlight was probably Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Live) - poor old Ozzy; still sounds good but can't quite hit those high notes any more!  Have also been enjoying Fisherman's Blues by The Waterboys, an album I can recommend to anyone.

Spent the weekend clearing out the garage and have managed to fill an entire skip; there's so much space in the garage now I reckon you could get a car in it!  Weather seems to be trying to improve so it's all looking up.

So here it is - end of week whatever!
Weight 127.5kg (over a stone lighter than on New Year's Day 2012)
Ran 7.25km
Drank some beer and champagne
Planning on more outside running!

Monday, 3 June 2013

It seems like years since it's been here

If all goes exactly according to schedule I'll be up to half-marathon distance sometime in October.  This presents both a challenge and an opportunity with the Great North Run being in September 2014, almost a year later.  The challenge will be to maintain my level of fitness through that year; something I plan to do by repeating the training programmes with increasing gradient levels on the treadmill.  The opportunity is the ability to be flexible with the programme - repeating weeks I find difficult rather than pushing myself pointlessly on to targets I'll be unable to reach.  I've already exploited this by repeating the week I should've done in Spain (I did do some running there, as I believe I may already have mentioned; just not enough) but this week it came in very handy.  I felt as though I'd finally hit the limit.  This week's scheme was three workouts, each alternating 3 minute and 90 second runs with 2 minutes of walking.  I have now stepped up the pace to 8kph which I realise is pretty pedestrian to any proper runners out there but, as I keep harping on about - fat, unfit, little legs etc.  This is proving a significantly sterner challenge than 6kph (although I was a bit alarmed during my road runs in Spain to learn that my walking pace is faster than my running pace).  Anyway, for the first time I really struggled with my breathing (again, as mentioned before) so decided to repeat the week this week.  Just did the first workout again today and I'm delighted to report that it did actually feel easier.  Managed the whole thing without breaking my breathing rhythm - I think when you do start to get properly breathless and have to drop your rhythm to start gasping, a certain amount of panic sets in and you end up defeating yourself mentally.

The wife did the Woodhall Spa 10K this Sunday in a rather impressive time of 59:32; she ran all the way and actually found it pretty easy, certainly more so than the Lincoln 10K earlier in the year.  I'll be hoping to emulate the feat (although perhaps in not quite so sporting a time) later in the year, perhaps the Great Yorkshire 10K in Sheffield in September?  The winner of the race by the way did it in 32:14. Not human.

In other news, there's a great yellow orb hanging in the cerulean blue sky outside radiating heat and light upon me.  I've no idea what it is and don't recall seeing anything like it for many a year - I'll keep you up to date.

End of Phase Two, Week Three (about to be repeated):

Ran/walked 6.75K total
Still weigh around 128kg - maybe the fat's turning into muscle?
Shin pains seem better with new shoes
Cardiovascular fitness appears to be picking up

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Before you judge a man

Slight blog delay this week; slight run delay too.  A bit too much festivity at the weekend, coupled with a Bank Holiday monday has meant a bit of lay-off from the 'mill.  As ever, there were consequences - a slight step up in runtime today has been extremely hard to cope with.  I almost had to give up at one point, breath coming in ragged gasps through a sandpaper windpipe, but did eventually manage to run at 8kph for an entire 3 minutes non-stop!  That wasn't the whole routine before you scoff; just a split.

Finally got round to my gait analysis this weekend.  A visit to my step-brother's gym in Harrogate led to an introduction to the local sport shop - they got me on a treadmill and videoed me walking and running.  There was a slight mishap at one point as the belt slipped and I nearly came a cropper but we did get some useful footage.  It's really quite alarming - my ankles bulge inwards to a degree that looks as though my leg's about to snap off.  Apparently there's only one shoe for me (a Brooks Adrenaline GTS 13 if you're interested).  With shoe fitted (a bloody size 13) I was retaped with impressive results - leg came down straight with much less stress on the ankle.  They do take a bit of getting used to; lot's of medial support made my balance feel a but dodgy on the 'mill today.  The result is worth it though - no shin pains at all today.  Just the rough breathing!  If you're seriously considering any sort of significant running I can't recommend it enough - most places who do it do it free (or with a small charge which is then deducted from your shoe purchase).

The weekend was a success - Saturday doing a restaurant crawl in Harrogate and a bit of a Leo on Saturday to celebrate a birthday (Happy Birthday Kirsten).  Unfortunately it was topped off by us ordering £40 of Domino's Pizza between three of us!  Unsurprisingly the old weight seems determinedly stuck at around 130kg.  England's cricket team seems to be rediscovering its mojo, largely down to Yorkshire (when Yorkshire're strong etc. etc.) and the Mumbai Indians romped home in the IPL to win me a tenner.  Get in.  Also managed a barbecue on Monday - grilled seabass stuffed with coriander, lime, nam pla and coconut. Mmmmm.....

I'll be watching the Woodhall Spa 10K at the weekend (running's 90% mental you know) and may even enter a 10K before the year is out so watch this space!

Apologies for no stats recently; will resume them next week, perhaps with a calorie count!

PS Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes.  That way, when you judge him you'll be a mile away and have his shoes.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The man with no name

OK - it's done.  A week in Spain.  Managed a couple of runs alongside a canal through a golf course (I think it's part of the irrigation system) which was a hell of lot more picturesque than my gym!  Learned a couple of things though:

1) Running on roads is actually a lot easier than on the treadmill.  I've always presumed, and been told, the opposite (and hinted as much in earlier blogs) and I'm sure the fact that I was running on dead flat concrete helped but it was so much easier.  There was none of the time dilation I've previously bored you with and the pace I did (measured by GPS on one of the many running tracker apps available) was actually faster than that I do on the treadmill whilst feeling easier

2) Running through Spain on a bright hot day listening to Ennio Morricone is quite cool

As I feared I've regained a little bit of porkiness but I did have a damned fine holiday.  Good sustained periods of sunshine, daytime temperatures of around 25C and wandering out of a night in shorts and T-shirt for beer and food.  If you're in the area around La Manga del Mar Menor in spain (between Cartagena and Alicante) I can recommend a place called La Catedral in Cartagena behind the roman ruins, Escuela de Pieter at the end of La Manga (a little sandbar protruding about 22km into the Med) which is on the beach and a really rather nice place to spend the day and Meson del Prado in San Miguel de las Salinas which does a Menu del Dia including wine for 9€ a head.  Restaurante Rebate is also pretty good.  As I write this the reason for my slight weight blip is rapidly becoming clear!

Done another session on the treadmill today and it felt hard.  Really hard.  For the first time I started to get significantly out of breath and on a couple of occasions almost had to give up.  However I completed the session as planned (a 4.5km run/walk) and probably lost about a pound of sweat.  It was only when I finished and switched the treadmill off did I notice the servos spin up as the deck settled down to level - I'd done the whole thing at a 1 degree incline without noticing.  Now that 1 degree may not sound like much but, as I now speak from experience, it bloody well is!

So - at the end of phase two, week two:
Two runs whilst on holiday in Spain
Pretended to be Clint Eastwood (a bit)
Weight: Not telling!
Culinary highlight : Prawn and seaweed salad at La Catedral and ice cold draft Cruzcampo; rather a lot of

Monday, 6 May 2013

Phase One complete

On Saturday I ran for 20 minutes straight.  This completes Phase One of my training (to progress from couch potato to a 20 minute run).  This is both good and bad news; the good news is that I managed a physical feat which would not have been possible just a few weeks ago while the bad news is that I now have to progress to Phase Two - training up to a 5k run.  I did the first part of that this morning, increasing my running pace to 8kph (I've only got little legs) and I don't think I'm going to enjoy it!  On a more positive note the weight continues to follow a downward trend, although I don't think the upcoming week in Spain will help in that respect!

The sun is finally shining and it's actually warm enough to go outside and enjoy it.  The heating's been turned off and we've even managed a couple of barbecues.  I'm now officially on holiday for the first time since last October so things are generally looking up!

So, end of Phase One
Can run 3k easily
Weight 127.7kg (a drop of 5.7kg, very nearly a stone)
9km covered last week
First big challenge coming up - a weeks' holiday

Saturday, 27 April 2013

I'm gonna hit the highway like a battering ram

I have a dilemma this week.  Next week I'm off to sunny Spain - my first break from work since October and sorely needed.  It also coincides with the end of my current training programme (to get me running for 20 minutes) which will then dovetail in to the start of my next (to get me running 5K).  The question is; do I have a week off or do I continue to run whilst on holiday?  I've a nagging feeling that any progress lost during a weeks' break will take far longer than a week to recover.  And besides, the whole point of this is that it is a lifestyle change rather than a temporary health kick.  Looks like I'll be running in Spain.  D'oh!  Still, at least a nice run down the riverside in 21 degree sunshine will prepare me nicely for running along the coast in South Shields.

Managed some good sessions this week - up to 40mins on the treadmill (albeit at a fairly slow pace) and can easily run for 10 minutes without too much stress or panic.  The pain in my ankles has completely disappeared and the pains in my shins are becoming more manageable.  My wife has been to a sports shop where they got her on a treadmill to analyse her gait and recommended a particular type of running shoe.  I think I should probably do the same - I definitely come down on the outside of my heel rather than straight on.

Anyway - these ribs.  The trick is to sous vide them first - this is a (fairly old) French cooking technique akin to boil-in-the-bag.  I used belly ribs (the big ones with loads of meat on them) covered in a dry rub (paprika, oregano, salt, sugar, cayenne pepper, mustard powder and black pepper) then vac packed.  The resulting bag of goodies goes in a temperature controlled water bath at 57C for 72 hours.  Then chilled, smothered in a barbecue sauce and grilled on the barbecue until caramelised (slightly burnt to you and me).  The meat will fall off the bone.  Proper sous vide kits are pretty expensive but you can rig your own up using a slow cooker and something called a PID unit; an American company called SousVideMagic sell them online.  You'll also need a vac pack machine but these are pretty cheap nowadays too.  Enjoy.

I went to see Meat Loaf live last Friday - as part of the show he performed the original Bat Out of Hell album in its entirety.  It was a good night but you had to feel a bit sorry for Meat.  His voice has gone.  Completely.  He struggled gamely through but I think this'll be his last tour.  One for nostalgia only I think.

So at the end of week eight:
9 kilometres covered
128.5kg (thats 5kg down from where we started)
Not that sweaty or breathless
Finding it easier going upstairs at work (I do have 8 stories to cover)
Ankle pain gone
Musical highlight: Meat Loaf (for old times' sake)

Sunday, 21 April 2013


I’m guessing not many of my readers are familiar with the concept of time dilation.  I’m especially sure seeing as my number of readers is zero according to the stats that Google kindly provide.  Anyhow - if anyone ever does read this, they may not be familiar with the concept of time dilation.  Put simply, time moves at different speeds depending on gravity and velocity.  A real example for this is the fact that astronauts on board the International Space Station age slightly slower than those of us on Earth (it’s fractions of a second but it is true; you can demonstrate the phenomenon using highly accurate atomic clocks).  This is because they’re in a region of low gravity.  Similarly, the faster you go, the slower time passes.  This is a staple of many science fiction books where they often talk about time debt - if you travel to a distant site in the galaxy, lets say 100 light years away, at just shy of the speed of light then it will take just over 100 years for you to get there according to an observer on Earth.  However, because time passes more slowly for you while you are traveling at that speed, it’ll only take you say 60 years (I don’t know the precise calculation).  If you then return, a total of 120 years will have passed for you but it’ll be 200 years later on Earth.  Another example of the bizarre world of relativity.  And I haven’t even mentioned quantum!

There is a reason for all this geekiness.  I can only surmise that when I run I must run at speeds approaching the speed of light.  My training routines are often split running and walking, for example run for 4 minutes, walk for 1, repeated 6 times.  That 1 minute walking zooms by whilst the 4 minutes take forever - time definitely passes more slowly when you are running on a treadmill.  The thing beeps every minute and the mental discipline required not to look at the clock until it beeps is phenomenal.  When you eventually give in and look, because surely you just didn’t hear the beep or the machine is malfunctioning, you find that actually only 38 seconds have elapsed.  Time dilation*.

In other news, I had the first barbecue of the year yesterday - I think it was a roaring success (I'm not entirely certain due to the intervention of Patron Tequila).  If you're really lucky I may post my ribs recipe in a future blog.  The weight does seem to be starting to drop off - I've clocked below 130kg for the first time in about 2 years and running feels easier - I managed a whole 10 minutes the other day without dying.  The London Marathon took place this morning - at one point the elite runners were running 4.45m miles.  Madness.

So, at the end of week seven
3 miles covered
Sweaty but stronger
Bottomed out at 128.6kg - woo hoo!
Highlight of the week: Rediscovering A Flock of Seagulls - I Ran is the greatest record of all time.

*Incidentally the actual difference between my running speed and the speed of light is so close to the speed of light as makes no difference**.

**The speed of light is 1,079,252,850,000,000,000kph.  My treadmill only goes to 15.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Mmmm.... Black pudding

I have a confession to make.  It's been two weeks since my last blog.  While I am determined to keep things up life has a way of interfering - I seem to be have working every day (including weekends and bank holidays) for about three weeks now, at least it feels that way.  I have the unusual privilege of a full weekend off with no plans at the moment so clearly I'm going to waste it by sitting in and watching telly all day!

Actually, I have already been active today - a 25 minute brisk walk on the treadmill and the first lawnmow of the year; really quite late this year for obvious reasons but the sun is actually shining and I've even considered having a barbecue.  I suspect that when the sun disappears this afternoon it's going to be rather cold however.

GNR preparation-wise I appear to have become a bit stuck.  The initial surge in extra fitness and strength seems to have plateaued out and I seem to be gaining weight (muscle, presumably?).  I'm assuming this is normal however and will stick to the training programme as planned.  My wife did the Lincoln 10K last weekend in a time of 1hr 5mins which is pretty impressive especially when you consider it was her first actual road run (all of her training was on the treadmill).  Unfortunately I missed it; guess what?  I was at work.

Went to see The Hairy Bikers live (in Skegness) last week.  A really quite bizarre show involving watching clips of their TV show while they took their clothes off.  Probably not how they would promote it but that's what sticks in the memory!  Mind you, I did enjoy the bit where Si held up a little pot (of what was actually cornflour in water) and said "This is the dieter's best friend ......... amphetamine."

The programme next week involves a few more prolonged runs and brisk walks and hopefully I should be up to running for 20 minutes within another 2-3 weeks.  Then I just need to string about 10 of those together and I reckon we're there!  Easy.

So - weeks five and six:
6.25 miles covered (but another session to go tomorrow)
1kg gained
Legs ache - knees feel stronger; start to get out of breath after 20mins (about 10 when I started)
Highlight : Watching someone make smoked haddock scotch eggs with black pudding salad on Saturday Kitchen
Total distance :19.3 miles at a might just over 3 miles a week.  Feel the burn!

Sunday, 31 March 2013

A Good Walk Spoiled

I played a round of golf yesterday.  That brings my lifetime total to two.  It's quite tough - I reckon I hit about five shots the way I wanted to; the least said about the other hundred the better.  I did demonstrate an uncanny ability to find water mind - a talent that would've come in handy this time last year when, if you recall, a near-nationwide hosepipe ban was announced.  Also this time last year I was enjoying a week of pretty much unbroken sunshine and daily barbecues; a fact I had a chance to reflect upon as I was struggling up the 5th fairway in the middle of a snowstorm.  I was amazed to discover however that an average sized man (I met him once; he's quite a lot smaller than me) playing a round of golf and carrying his own clubs will burn 1,442 calories.  This is a huge amount so it came as something of a disappointment to find my weight increased again this morning (after yet another plod on the treadmill).  Still, this isn't about losing weight it's about running a half-marathon.  The positive news is my strength and fitness do seem to be improving.  The first round of golf I played was last year and the muscle pains I experienced for days afterwards have not been replicated this time, neither the fatigue I developed around the 15th hole.

I remain positive about the training, largely because the run itself it still around 18 months away but I do worry about what will happen when I need to run for 2-3 hours in a single session - where do people find the time?  My wife is running a 10K in a couple of weeks' time - she can do it on the treadmill but has never really done any road running; I'll be interested to see how she finds it.

In other news,  I have been mostly playing Metal Gear: Revengeance (a bit like God Of War but with Metal Gear characters) which looks nice but is a bit rubbish.  More cooking today as we provide more food for the family - pate, roast pork and some sort of chocolate concoction the kids have made.  Currently baking the bread (well, proving it).

End of week four:
4.5 miles covered, plus a round of golf
Appear to be stuck at 131kg (I know they say you shouldn't weight yourself too often but what're you gonna do?)
Musical highlight: Cuddly Toy by Roachford

Monday, 25 March 2013

Lighter, Faster, Stronger

"You don't understand the power of the dark side." D. Vader.

Apparently all good essays start with a quote.  I don't know where I got that from - note the use of the word 'apparently' which in modern parlance is used to justify any old guff.  Darth was a tortured soul and I'm beginning to understand how he felt; I doubt I'll progress to planetary destruction any time soon but I remain certain that one day I'll master the Force - certainly anyone who has witnessed my mystical hand gesture as I 'open' the automatic doors at the supermarket will testify to the fact.  I could've done with a bit of time travel this week as a weekend on-call has played havoc with my training plan.  I've just completed a 56 hour shift - yes people, some of us still do those!  It didn't leave much space for my planned 30 minute session so I've had to bump that by a day, which then puts next week into disarray.  Fortunately my workouts are still relatively light so recovery is not a massive issue; I can see this becoming a problem however when I'm expected to be running 5 miles several times a week.

The sessions (still mostly walking but with a bit of running increasingly thrown in) are still getting easier and the pain in my right knee appears to have gone.  This can only be good.  Also, I appear to be starting to shed some weight.  I've been training for about 3 weeks now and I reckon I've lost about 2kg.  Not much in the grand scheme of things but if it carries on I'm golden.  Unfortunately it appears that the lighter you are the fewer calories you burn when exercising.  They don't tell you that on the government healthy lifestyle information ads do they?  Still - swings and roundabouts.

The week has mostly been dominated by a frankly abject performance by England in the cricket.  To be fair - well played New Zealand, who have managed to make a flat track look flat when batting and anything but when bowling.  The much vaunted England attack have some questions to answer and the batsmen need their heads knocking together!  I still reckon we should call up Geoffrey's grandmother - she must be some player.

Next weeks plan seems to involve a bit more running.  Hopefully the ankle pain will improve as they strengthen - I'm hoping the shin pain will stay away (I'm not allowed to call it shin splints apparently - that just leads to ridicule).  If the weather improves I may even get out on the road.  I was reminded by my daughter yesterday that this time last year we had a barbecue and ate outside.  Not likely today! Although to all of those who have taken the piss out of the fact my barbecue is chained to the wall, it has made a run for it this week so that chain has turned out to be very wise.

I've been trying to think of ways to make this blog of more general use to its readers (zero I reckon although Google seem to think someone in America has viewed it this week) so here it is: in the new Tomb Raider game, max out the bow and stick with it; the other weapons pale by comparison, particularly once you have the Napalm upgrade.

So there you have it for another week:
3.6 miles covered.
131kg but still fat (surely some of it has turned to muscle??).
Musical highlight : Don't Let Me Down (Gently) by The Wonderstuff - thanks Miles.
Treadmill living up to its promise to carry fat lads.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

How d'ya like them apples?

It's been a funny old week.  Last Sunday (Mothers' Day) saw us entertaining the whole family with a massive piece of pork loin (with fennel-flavoured crackling and apple gravy, well Strongbow gravy which is probably about as far away from apples as you can get*).  A lovely meal, plenty of American craft beers and a bit of wine and champagne followed by the obligatory round of Trivial Pursuit and before I knew it it was midnight and we were watching Pulp Fiction (Zed's dead baby, Zed's dead).  The day before I'd just about managed 20 minutes on the treadmill at 6kph - before you scoff you need to realise just how unfit I am.  To put it mildly I thought I might die at the end and briefly hoped for it!

Monday brought freak snow and hail showers and very achy legs but the mid-week session (15 minutes at 6kph) went very easily.  I've now put my running playlist together - it lasts 3 hours and I reckon if I can run for all of it then I can do a half-marathon.  Sounds easy, doesn't it?

I'm just starting to realise that it's quite tricky putting a training session together whilst working a more-than-full time job.  I've heard stories of people getting up at ridiculous o'clock to get their workout in before work and I now appreciate why.  Friday's session had to be bumped to Saturday.  A repeat of last Saturday's session, you know - the one that nearly killed me.  Anyway, I can't believe it was the same me doing it.  It was so much easier.  Less sweaty.  Less breathless.  Fewer aches in ankles.  Faster recovery.  It's almost as if doing regular exercise increases your ability to exercise!  If only someone had told me.  I clearly need a montage.

This morning I actually ran properly (I'm not sure what I've been doing so far qualifies) - 1 minute running alternating with 1 minute walking.  The aim over the next 6 (now 5) weeks is to get me running for 20 minutes without a break.  Then I can start the training proper.  Rather disappointingly I've actually gained weight (I suspect yesterday's continental lagerathon in front of the festival of sport on TV didn't help).  Nottingham Forest won their sixth successive game (I've a feeling the club record is seven), cementing our position of being back where we were before the owners embarked on a bizarre series of decisions about the manager's post; the England rugby union team got their arses handed to them by a committed and more skilful Wales in a frantic 6 Nations decider and the Kiwi test match looks to be wandering to a draw unless we can rip through them quick smart later on today.  I may need to get on the rowing machine for some fat burning.

So there you go:
4.5km covered
A bit less sweaty
Still fat (133kg)
Musical highlight: Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order

*Strongbow is not as far away from apples as you can get

Monday, 11 March 2013

It's not a sprint, or even a marathon to be fair

So it's come to this.  When I was 16 I was a reasonably capable long-distance runner and thought nothing of running 10+ miles; it stood out amongst my general lack of any athletic ability whatsoever.  Then beer entered my life and since then it's been a gradual accumulation of excess body fat!  In my day job I regularly advise people on their lifestyle - drink alcohol in moderation, eat healthily and exercise more.  Unfortunately it has been very much a case of do as I say, not as I do!

As for many people the age of 40 came with the awareness that I may well have passed the halfway point in my life and that now all those healthy living messages may actually be important.  Also, the old knees have started to complain at the sheer weight they're being asked to carry.  Several abortive attempts at getting fit over the last few years have indicated the need for a target; something to keep me committed.  I ran the Sport Relief Mile in 2012 and was astonished at just how difficult I found it.  I don't think my time of just over 12 minutes is going to be troubling any record keepers!

A recent weekend trip (to see The Darkness in Manchester) resulted in a conversation very much along these lines with an old friend who has also seen the need to get fit (although to be fair he's not exactly in my league).  A discussion about exercise equipment and training programmes ensued and it seems he took it all rather seriously - upon my return home an email appeared from him, asking if I'd be interested in the 2014 Great North Run.  Even more bizarrely I appear to have agreed.  My wife is already training for the upcoming Lincoln 10K roadrace (and ran her first 10K at the weekend) and she's thrown her hat in the ring as well.

So there you are.  Currently standing at 132kg and barely capable of running a mile I appear to have committed to the 2014 Great North Run.  Can I do it?  Will I survive?  Does anyone care?

I've plotted a 32-week training programme which I reckon will get me running a half-marathon by the end of the year - there will then of course be the best part of a year to keep things going.  I'm hoping a bit of weight loss will be inevitable and, in the immortal words of Homer Simpson - I "won't get chest pain when I eat any more."

If you're remotely bothered, I intend to my log my progress on this Blog.  See the weight fall.  See the distances grow.  See the whole thing lapse into non-existence after a few weeks!!  I intend to run the race for Yorkshire Cancer Research so, when I eventually register (the 2013 race hasn't even happened yet) you may even feel like supporting me.  Please do.

So at the end of Week One:

A 15 minute walk and a 20 minute walk (covering 1.49k and 1.99k).
Severe anterior ankle pain at the end of each.
Very sweaty.
Still weigh 132kg.
Still fat.
Ate some pork scratchings today (D'oh!).

Watch this space.......