Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

Good Week

Friday, 3rd June 2011. Filed in Running3 Comments »

It’s been a good week. I’ve run twice, both times at the beach, which was a nice change from the village. The seaweed isn’t too smelly at the moment, but the wind was whipping up the sand this morning. There were 3 children rockpooling at 9am this morning, which was nice to see. The beach was pretty chill, waking up for a nice warm day ahead, I hope – it’s half term and the kids have actually got some nice weather for it.

I feel better this week, than I did last week. I am trying to drink more water, and I have got my hayfever sorted a bit better than last week with some different medicine. The sun has been shining, and the noodle has napped in his cot for 2 hours in the mornings, so I have a near-clean house (we’re talking sparkling clean windows, folks!) and lots of clean laundry. I have started taking 15 minutes a day when I can to do my relaxation visualizations again.

It has been a good week.

Tuesday: Run – 25.41
Friday: Run – 25.42

Plan B Sounds So Much Better Than Plan A Anyway

Friday, 27th May 2011. Filed in Running1 Comment »

A week in and I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to revise my goals. That sucks, nobody wants to be that person, but better to catch it early, I suppose.

This week, I ran twice and walked through the fields with the Noodle on my back once.  Nothing has been too strenuous, and I am happy to say I ran the same distance progressively faster from last Friday to today. But, I have felt like crap all week. The exercise has not energized me – just the opposite, I am falling asleep on the couch at 8pm, and having a really hard time getting up in the morning, even if I’ve had 8 hours sleep in bed.  The drowsiness is a little scary when I am the only one home with Noodle, and I am struggling to keep my eyes open.

It’s not just the tiredness. I just feel really crap. Like sugar shaky all day long, even if I am eating. My resting heartbeat is way too high, I know.  I keep thinking I am getting sick, but never actually get sick. Thinking about it all in the shower this morning, I realized I have set my priorities out wrong. Running a race is not important to me right now, not really. Being fit to enjoy my son and being fit to carry and deliver another child soon, that’s what is really on my mind.

So my revised priorities are to gradually increase my baseline fitness without distance goals in mind at first (okay, let’s be honest I haven’t dug the gadgets back out again and I can’t get my chip to talk to my new iPod touch, so going by time is the easiest way forward), and to lower my resting heartbeat. And to feel good about it.  Which is really what I had on my mind all along, I just tend to grasp at what I know – I want to run and be fit  again, okay better find a race to train for – than to think about it on any other terms.

We all know this will last me all of a week before I want to find a race to go along with it, so stay tuned, but I am going to do me some research on other paths forward.

Sunday: Walk through fields carrying the Noodle for 1 hr
Tuesday: Approx. 2 miles in 20.25
Friday: Approx. 2 miles in 19.56

Giddy-up Mommy, you're slow

Don’t Worry Mom, We Are Not Moving To Sweden – or Swindon

Friday, 20th May 2011. Filed in Running1 Comment »

I ran today. About 2 miles in 20.48. Okay not outstanding, but for a beginner (because that’s where I have mentally placed myself), I’m pleased. Especially considering I live at the top of the run down the hill into the village. And the run doesn’t end until I am home again. (“It’s a long way to the top, love,” said the man in his driveway as I started up the last push. You’re telling me.) I am pleased.

I am also really, really tight in the lower back. And hello hips!  I can’t even remember my stretching routine, but I did my best. I am so ready to get back on top of this!

And now I am blogging. See what putting things onto Google calendar does to me? It’s amazing. It’s on there, so I do it. I’ve put blog on the 9am spot for every Friday from here until there. I figure once I week, I should have something to say. But really, I’m writing for me at the moment, to try to get back into the habit, and possibly for my mom and anyone else who would like to stop by, but I am not expecting much!

What I really need is a race to train for. That will really help motivate me to run and blog. I still intend to aim for a sub 2:00 half marathon. It’s a goal I had before I got pregnant. It felt pretty attainable then (my personal best is 2:00.27), so I am trying to convince myself it could still be achievable now. The problem is, we are in limbo. In limbo in nearly every important aspect of our life, thanks to not knowing what will happen to Crunchy husband’s job and when. What I need to do is find a nice, inexpensive race (probably a 10k to build me up) to train for so that if the time comes to move somewhere else in England or to California or to Sweden, I will have not invested too much money into registration. So that is my next task. I will report back next Friday.

Stop. Sweden? The conversation went something like this:

Crunchy husband, through a mouthful of chicken and artichoke pie: “We could move to Gothenburg.”
Me: “Where’s that?”
Crunchy husband, still chewing: “Sweden.”
Me: “Swindon, I’m not moving to Swindon.” (In my split second judgment, I misheard my husband and confused Swindon with Slough. Sorry folks, I shouldn’t knock it unless I’ve tried it. I like living in Thanet, after all.)
Me: “Oh, oh, Sweden. Yeah, ok. Well, actually I don’t know. I don’t think I could handle the winters there.”
Crunchy husband: “Good paternity rights if we have baby number 2. But, hmmm, Swindon would be close to Womad…”

As you can see, we have no idea where we’ll end up yet.  But mom, I can guarantee you we will not base any decisions on a once a year weekend music festival. (Though, in a instance of role reversal in our house, Crunchy husband has been pushing for Womad this year. I am starting to research ear defenders for the noodle just in case it pans out.)


Reclaiming Me Time

Thursday, 4th November 2010. Filed in Family and friends, Running1 Comment »

Baby boy has just turned 30 weeks old. He will be seven months on Sunday. On Tuesday Crunchy husband very nicely arranged to get off work in time for me to go to an evening yoga class. It felt like such a treat. With no family here and no one really to leave baby boy with, it was the first time I’ve felt I’ve had back to myself to exercise since he was born. (I just realized this is a lie. We did a baby relay bike ride where I had a 30 minute loop before switching off with Crunchy husband.)

I love this kid, and I love every minute I spend with him, even when I am pulling my hair out (or he’s pulling my hair out), but I’ve been desperate to figure out a way to get some time out to exercise without him. I walk with him a lot, so at least I’m not completely stagnant, but I need more. We tried baby yoga together, but he is way too demanding of a baby to lay there while mommy does some poses. And even if he would lay still and happy, my mind would be on him and not on the yoga.

The problem is that I am tired when Crunchy husband gets home from work. This kid keeps me busy. A run is the last thing on my mind at that point. Plus, now it’s getting to be winter and dark by 4.30pm. I’ve always felt like weekends are family time together, to walk and get out together, but I think I might start to revise this a little, especially now that I am beginning to drop nursing feeds for the bottle during the day. (Which is even more reason why I need to exercise, I feel my hormones right now and they be not happy!)

We always thought we’d get a jogging stroller, but I am rethinking this. With limited cash at the moment since we have kept the airlines in business these last few months, I don’t want to spend a lot of money to find out he won’t ride happily in it (highly probable) or running with it changes my gait in a way that strains or injures me. And even if these things did not prove to be issues, a jogging stroller does not resolve the issue of me time. Though it would be great to be able to run, I kind of want to do it on my own.

We’ll see. No decision is ever final, as he grows and changes and we grow and change too.

You know it’s been too long…

Thursday, 11th June 2009. Filed in Running1 Comment »

…since you last ran when

1. You pull out the Nike+ sportband to find it has no charge
2. You swear your shoe pocket has always been on your right shoe, but there it is, on your left
3. You spend the entire run, and by entire I mean 20 minutes*, trying to remember the last time you ran.

*Aw well, it’s a (re)start, not a very good one as I wasn’t even breathing hard, but well, a start.

The Sony Walkman W Series: the Good, the Bad, and the Robot

Sunday, 3rd May 2009. Filed in Crunchy grooves, RunningNo Comments »

Recently, I was supplied with a new Sony Walkman W Series to test out. I loaded up my challenge playlist, and then got a bit distracted by the responsibilities of a fabulous new job. I haven’t been able to exercise much in the past couple weeks, beyond daily office stair climbs, but I have had the chance to test out the mp3 player a few times on the weekends.

The Good: It is lightweight and very easy to wear. There are no wires to poke down my shirt, no head to hip connections, beyond the usual anatomical circuits. I was skeptical when I took it out of the box – I have a small head and there is not a way to adjust the cord length between the right and left ears. But it stays on, even if I have to rotate the ear pieces to point down more than I imagine is usual. It is easy to turn off and on, adjust the volume and flip back and forth through tracks by just reaching up to your ear. In terms of sound, I’d say the speakers pack a reasonable punch. It’s pretty rich. Out of the box, the unit charged pretty quickly and was ready to go in good time.

The Bad: As I suspected, due to its size and portable nature, it has the same limitations as the iPod shuffle. You load up your songs, they get put on in the artist/folder order and off you go. That’s great for times when I want to listen to tracks in a random order. But, if I make a playlist for a run, I want to hear it in the order I’ve set. In this specific list, MGMT sets up the rhythm, Peter Gabriel tells me not to break it, and Andrew Bird carries the momentum through. I certainly don’t want to hear my cool down songs when I need a power song to get pep me up. The player is not very flexible to this need. To put the playlist onto the player in this order, I had to rename all the tracks to get them to fall in that order. So it’s not really realistic if you want to use the player to its 2 GB capacity with any kind of control, order, or an easy way to find what you’re looking for. You can use the ZAPPIN technology to hear clips of each song as you pass through, but eh, that’s not as exciting as it sounds. Usually, I can figure it out from the beginning of the song.

Also, the unit charges when it’s plugged in to a computer. I know this is the digital age, but there are times when I’m traveling and I don’t have my computer with me, so this doesn’t seem ideal.

The Robot: You can’t take yourself too seriously in one of these things.  A few months ago, I acquired a pair of Oakleys with prescription lenses. They are a bit big (small head) and the first time I put them on and looked in the mirror, I thought “oh god, I feel like the Terminator.” Thus, the combination of my sunglasses and this mp3 player prompted Crunchy husband to shout, “Robo boogie – binary solo!” the first time I hit the fields for a run. The robot effect feels a bit silly; however, they are so light, you forget about it and it becomes less of an issue.

My recommendation: If you are less worried about track order and easily locating specific tracks and just want something comfortable to exercise in, this could be what you’re looking for. Otherwise, I am not so sure.

A new playlist for the Sony Walkman W series

Friday, 10th April 2009. Filed in Monday mixtape, Running2 Comments »

I haven’t run with music in a while. Even when I was running much more than I am now, I wouldn’t always take music, and had gotten to the point where I rarely took music. Sometimes I just like to focus on me: my breathing, my thoughts, how I am feeling physically and psychologically. I also don’t like to be completely plugged in when I am outside so that I can hear my surroundings – safety first! (If I’m completely plugged in to music, I’m gone, in my own little world. It’s a fantastic world to be in, as long as you don’t have to worry about cars, tractors, dogs or crazy people.) Even when I want music, my set up is not ideal. My iPod tends to do funny things like skip, stop and refuse to play when it gets jostled. (I don’t have a Nano and, though carrying the weight of the video doesn’t bother me, the frustration at not being able to listen to music when I have  set out to does.)

So, when I was contacted to take the new Sony Walkman W series mp3 player for a spin in return for setting out a power playlist that would improve my performance, it didn’t take long to decide to accept the challenge. I’ve been in a funny place running-wise lately but ultimately I like running, I like music, I sometimes like running with music (it’s essential on the treadmill), and I love to try out new gadgets. So, here goes.

Songs that make good running tunes for me do two things: they let me lose myself a bit and they make me dance. Mostly they are upbeat, positive or remind me of something inspirational. The playlist’s a bit long (!!!) for my distance right now, but maybe it will be what I need to get me back in training for longer distances again. I’ll be back to tell you how it goes with the player. I have a sneaking suspicion I will not actually be able to put the songs on the player in this order, or at least not easily, without having to rename them. We shall see.

Prelude – Getting ready, dancing a bit, singing a little, lacing up the shoes

1. Almudo – Daby Touré and Skip McDonald
2. Late In the Evening – Paul Simon
3. Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel (any live version with a long intro with the crowd humming – the music kicks in and I’m out the door and jogging up or cruising down the hill)

I’m Off, I Rockin’ Out

4. Elevation – U2
5. Legs – ZZ Top
6. Rockin’ Me – Steve Miller Band
7. Green River – Creedence Clearwater Revival
8. Dancin’ Til Dawn – Lenny Kravitz
9. Girls & Boys – Blur
10. Fashion – David Bowie
11. Electric Feel – MGMT

I Have Indeed Hit the Fields and Marshes, I’m Pep Talking My Legs

12. Don’t Break This Rhythm – Peter Gabriel
13. Not A Robot, But A Ghost – Andrew Bird
14. Music (Groove Armada 12″ Mix) – Madonna
15. This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) – David Byrne (Live from Austin, Tx)

I’ve Probably Started to Daydream and Lag and Need To Refocus for the Push Home

16. Work (Freemasons Radio Edit) – Kelly Rowland
17. Can’t Stop – Ozomatli
18. Tounka – Rokia Traoré
19. A Sense of Home – Peter Gabriel
20. Learning to Fly – Pink Floyd
21. Good Things – BoDeans

Cool Down, Stretch, Reflect

22. All That We Let In – Indigo Girls
23. There is A Light – Great Lake Swimmers
24. Simple Gifts – Yo-Yo Ma and Alison Krauss
25. With My Own Two Hands – Ben Harper and Jack Johnson
26. Supposed to Be – Jack Johnson


Thursday, 9th April 2009. Filed in RunningNo Comments »

I’ve been thinking a lot about my running lately. I’ve been in a funny place. I wasn’t feeling it. I was lethargic, annoyed, and it put me in a bad mood. Upon reflection, I know some of it had to do with the weather. Even though it hasn’t been a particularly wet winter, it’s been a long, cold one. Some of it had to do with my patience level with drivers. I truly believe, especially in the countryside where sidewalks are only a dream, that all drivers should be made to spend some time using the road as a non-driver – a cyclist, horseback rider, runner or walker – so that they know what it’s like and might take a little more awareness and consideration to road sharing. Some of it might have been subconscious connections to frustrating situations that are now in the past.

Yesterday, while driving to pick Crunchy husband up from work, I realized I miss it, like really miss it. It’s not the best time in my life to be ramping up a time-intensive training plan, but I was really happy to realize I missed it. My good run a few weeks ago might not have been a fluke. It’s definitely time to get going again, if even just for short runs more frequently.

At last, a happy run

Wednesday, 18th March 2009. Filed in Running3 Comments »

The last time I wrote about running I was not very happy. I was cold, sluggish and tired of being run off the road. I firmly believe you have to like something to make it worth doing, to continue to do it at all.  Goals and determination and stubbornness are all well and good, but if the positive mental state’s not there, it just doesn’t seem worth it. If it’s not working, you’ve got to step back and assess the situation and let things breathe a bit until you decide you’re in a better frame of mind to start back in. Or, as in my case, you simply wake up and think “wow, it would be nice to go for a run this morning.”

After a gorgeous ride along the coast to Viking Bay yesterday (before the fog rolled in), I woke this morning and just felt like a run. Since I was taking Crunchy husband to work anyway, I got my gear on and ran along Pegwell Bay after the drop off.  Not only was the sun shining and there was no traffic to worry about, but dog walkers and bike commuters alike smiled back at me and said/nodded “good morning!” I know that doesn’t seem like a lot, but for England, in my experience, it is. It’s small, but still such a welcome start to the day!

Switching gears

Tuesday, 24th February 2009. Filed in Running5 Comments »

My relationship with running has hit a sticky spot.  I think it’s time for a change. For a while anyway. I’d say it’s time to ease off a bit, except well, there’s not much room for easing before it’s a complete cease, as my recent and not-so-recent mileage shows, so I’m just being honest.

I’m tired of plodding. I wouldn’t mind plodding if I still felt energized and peppy. But lately when I run I am just waiting for it to be over. Waiting for it to be over, and making bets on whether the next driver will be courteous, or if they too will try to run me off the road. Do you not see me? This giant yellow fluorescence coming toward you? Really? (I’m also tired of being in a bad mood. I’ve felt so grumpy and just “off” lately.) I don’t mind slow if I still feel vitalized and like I’ve accomplished something. But lately I’m sluggish and it’s a chore, which definitely means it’s time to get off this train, for a while anyway.

We’ve been discussing (for months) doing a half marathon this spring, which would be a good thing – concrete goals are good and I haven’t had one in a while. But looking at it realistically, with how things have been going, I’d spend the training so annoyed with running I wouldn’t get what I wanted out of it. So, I don’t know that that would be a good thing to do.

What would be a good thing to do is ramp up the cycling a bit more AND get my act together and get back in the pool. That would be a very good thing to do.  I might do that sometime. Sometime soon. Splish splash!