Thursday, 16 October 2008

Two miles.

I ran round Dunorlan lake four times yesterday. It being .55 miles in circumference and the fact that I walked a little bit of it (which I'm relieved is the correct thing to do at this stage in training) makes it about 2 miles of running. And I was having trouble.

Several times I thought I was just going to fall over and become useless, even in the first 1/2 mile. It really was a tough run. Only 2 miles, too. Quite depressing. It's not like I thought, after doing the 4 miles the other night, that from now on it just going to get easier, but I didn't think it was going to get twice as hard 2 days later.

Poppy, the dog, seemed bewildered at first, what with all the running and no sticks, and then overcame this and spent the rest of the time fannying about in the lake and annoying the ducks. One little corner of the water was covered in leaves and every time we went past it she appeared to think it was another bit of ground and tried to walk on it. The fourth time she evidently had wised up to this mirage and adopted a new technique to deal with it.

Taking it at speed obviously wasn't a good idea but she's a dog, and a really stupid one, to be honest. She disappeared below the water for a second and came up looking even more bewildered than before, this time 15 feet out into the lake. Normally I would have laughed and pointed but I was trying to get in the zone, for crying out loud. I ended up having to pull her out by the scruff and fruitlessly berating her for a few seconds, knowing if we did another circuit of the lake and came back past this spot she'd do something equally as stupid anyway.

I then carried on jogging, squirted some Lucozade directly into my eye because I wasn't concentrating and presently decided to give up, as much for Poppy's sake as my own. I did my stretches, feeling conspicuously rubbish at them, and struggled back up the hill to the car.

On the way back I spotted the joggers with prams group up by the steps being led through some stretches of their own and thought about interfering and asking the group leader to brush me up how exactly they should be done. Pretty swiftly I binned that idea due to looking like I was on the run from the police and having a dog you could wash a car with at my side. I swear she waits till she's certain maximum damage will be done before she does the really big shake and upsets everyone around her. So I carried on disconsolately, all the while just wanting to lie down.

For some reason I'd had a shower before I left an hour earlier so, as I had to have another one to get rid of the smell of sweat from something I'd drunk about 3 months previously (it's all coming out now..), I spent the next 15 minutes trying to dry myself with the corners of various wet towels that were lying around the place, then moaned to myself for the rest of the day about how this is all going to end in disaster.

I feel a bit better about it today but still the doubts linger. I know it's only been a week since I started, but it's all a bit discouraging. I'm told it will get better - have to believe that - but I worry how long it'll take.

Maybe I'm being daft. Maybe I'm trying to rush it, which would be a first for me when it comes to anything energetic other than arguing about ghosts, gods and Colin Fry. Just take (every other) day at a time.

Aside from all that, had a really great gig last night down the Grey Lady. Apart from vocally we were on pretty top form, and the audience had a good night. So yesterday wasn't all bad, I guess.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Four miles.

That's how far I ran tonight. The woman who we used to live upstairs from came round and we jogged up to Tesco and back.

This isn't strictly true. Halfway back she trod on something unfortunate and fell, spraining her ankle nastily. Got Louise to come out and take her back. Quite a nasty fall, actually, and I feel quite sorry for her. She'll not be using that leg much for the next week or so. Harumph, on her behalf.

Nonetheless, yes - 4 miles. Little bits of walking for about 30 seconds or so 3 times. Little bit of stretching up at Tesco, just where all the chavs could see us looking all poncey. Altogether, taking the hiatuses (should that be hiati?) into account, this was done in 35 minutes, or thereabouts. which means an average of 8.5 miles an hour, and I'm quite pleased with that.

I'm not getting too carried away, though. When I got back I looked like I'd been stood on my head for a week as 80% of my blood was in my face. Also, I'd started to hallucinate that, amongst other, odder things, I could speak french fluently and my middle name was Charles. I did my stretches, felt a little better then had a shower. It was easily the best shower I've had all year. Well, alone anyway.

Now I feel very tired and my legs are complaining, along with the bit of my sternum that before had the pinsharp nag in it which now feels a tad more extensive and deep.

So tomorrow I shall be resting. It's weird - I feel completely whacked out and it's obvious why but I still want to go for a run at the earliest opportunity. There really is something else about it, something I don't get from any other activity. Maybe it's simply a sense of achievement and it'll wear off once it gets easier and therefore less of one. Perhaps, but I hope not. I feel like I've won a little bet with myself and the world and it's a nice feeling.

But I'll have to wait till Wednesday. People who know a lot more about this lark than I do have made it very clear that this is the best course of action.

4 miles, though, eh? This time next month I'll either be running the same distance in less time and still bouncing at the end of it or I'll be in hospital. Now though, outrageously, it's time for bed.


Should I get one? I dunno. Seems like a really good idea, looking at it from one angle - then from another it seems like a potential big waste of money. Naturally, as with every other aspect of this marathon thing, there's all sorts of advice out there, and most of it conflicting.

If money was no object then I wouldn't even be asking this question, of course. I would then be asking 46 other questions including; how fast should the top speed be; do I need one that inclines at the press of a button; or connects to the internet (yes, apparently some do, though I haven't seen any that come with a webcam yet); or talks to me in a lady's voice or a bloke's; or is endorsed by Roger Black (who I thought was a rower until a couple of days ago and so couldn't understand why he had his name on all these running accessories); or that has a dvd slot and a screen so I can watch inspirational films while I'm struggling to breathe and focus and stuff?

I'm guessing I want one that has a motor, but there's plenty out there that don't and, if they exist, surely that means they serve a purpose and maybe that purpose is similar to mine. So is the motor just there for lazy people? That can't be right. After all the motor drives the ribbon around and if you're lazy and you don't run you'll fall off. So I'll get one with a motor. If I get one at all.

The one with the monitor on it for watching films and things naturally appeals to me. If there was some way I could set it so that the screen only worked while the running bit was actually being used then I'd have to train if I wanted to watch stuff. Or go back upstairs and sit on the sofa. I'm assuming, though, that there are plenty of training dvds out there - or there maybe some 'point-of-view' videos proper athletes have made by strapping a camera to their head and running around various locations around the world. I bet there's one of the London marathon.

Probably don't want to be going there yet though. The idea of abruptly collapsing three miles into a virtual marathon.. well, you'd feel a bit pathetic, wouldn't you? At least if that happened in a proper marathon you wouldn't suddenly carom backwards into the spare room wall or break your jaw on a little cup holder or dvd controls.

There's one on the internet I found that made quite a virtue of it's 'mp3/ipod connection'. You mean like a shelf to put it on? It's probably 30 quid dearer for having somewhere set aside for your ipod. On the face of it this seems a bit rubbish, but I haven't really thought about it. I'll probably see the wisdom of it when I buy a cheaper version and immediately drop my mp3 player in front of me and stamp it to pieces.

Also, how noisy are they? Any that I've tried out sound like a knackered old lift in the sort of ripe smelling car park you find in southern seaside towns when they start up but, once properly turning over, don't seem too loud at all. Critically, however, I've not actually got on one while it was running for fear of making a spectacle of myself in the shop. "Oh, that's miles an hour, you say? Sorry about all the excercise bikes. No, I'll be fine, thanks."

I could procrastinate for ages. I'm really good at that. But it's quite a big thing - lots of angles involved. Aside from those already mentioned there's the whole "Yeah, but it's not the same as running on pavements!" argument. True, I'm not as likely to get run over or noticed by and laughed at by people I know - and as long as the heater's on I'm probably not going to get frostbite or some other gloomily debilitating condition. But of course there's evidently a lot to favour getting out and running in the cold, fresh air.

Actually, inside my garage - which is where it would have to go - is about as close to cold, fresh air as you can get without actually being outside, but without the benefits of actually being outside. But then again... Oh, I don't know. It's costly, possibly noisy, certainly a little bit lazy and a little bit ersatz, but also very handy and convenient. I wouldn't be able to say to myself that I'll give it a miss tonight cos of the weather, for a start.

Plus, it's a really big toy! And I love toys. Going out and blowing 500 quid on something that may end being entirely useless for my purposes is sometimes exactly what needs to be done. So I think that's what I'll do.

Anyway, in the absence of a nice, handy, multimedia running machine in my garage I have committed to going for a run with Nicky (I think that's how it's spelt.. might have to edit later) at 6.30 round Dunorlan lake tonight. Will have the dog with me and Louise is going to come up on her bike. Now I'm starting to get a bit stressed about whether I should eat something first. Maybe some raw eggs? Someone once told me that 4 raw eggs must be a good idea because they saw Rocky eating them from a glass in the film and look what happened to him! I said "Yeah, he got the living &*%^ kicked out of him and ended the film even less able to speak sensibly than before."

They countered "For crying out loud, it's only a film." which I was going to say must surely bring into question their earlier assertion about the eggs but instead just made me suddenly depressed and irritated so I started talking to someone else.

Perhaps I'll have a little bit of toast and cheese and marmite. God knows if that's a good thing to eat just before a strenuous (for me) 3 or 4 mile run, but I think that's all we've got.

Lastly, talking of food, the lady with the blog about food and running that I was talking about responded to my email. Actually, I don't think I've mentioned sending her an email but anyway. I've asked her if I can link to her website so I'll wait to hear back from her. Sure it shouldn't be a problem.

Now I'm off for toast and stuff.