Monday, 11 June 2012

A blog entry about running. Seriously.


Here’s a revolutionary thought… how about I blog a bit about running, what with this blog being called icantstandrunning and all that?

It’s almost two months since I started running. Or, to use different units of measure, it’s been 555’ of running, 144’ of walking (but not for a long time!), 285’ of cross training (primarily rowing in fact, should I even count a tennis doubles match as 120’?) and 107 kilometres. I’ve been out running 29 times, the longest two sessions being the most recent: 6.1k, with fairly even split of downhill (2.5k) and uphill (2.7k) as I do two circuits of a route near my house. Last week alone four sessions tallied up 23k: I’d been out three days running (or should that be “running three days”?) at the start of the week, thinking family commitments would keep me home for the rest, but was ultimately able to get out on Saturday.  

All of this has been on tarmac, mind – whereas @Sheffield101010 have kindly informed me that “The terrain is nice and varied, there is a bit of everything in there. Tarmac, Grass, Trail...and in Sep it will be sunny! :-)”. I really do need to study that map more carefully… and find somewhere for grass and trail running. Hmmm… if only there were a field just across the road from my house… oh hang on, there is! Well that’s one excuse blown right out of the… er, grass.

So I can run 6.1k quite comfortably. In around 37’, while we’re on the subject. What I call ‘the circuit’ is around 2.6k, the 900m balance once I’ve run it twice made up by the distance from my front door to the roundabout where it actually begins. By the end of this month I want to see if I can turn two circuits into three… and 6.1k into 8.7k. And then maybe add a return trip to Roberto’s school for another 800m… OK, I’d still be 500m short, but cut me some slack here, c’mon!

(Oh, these distances are all worked out on MultiMap, by the way. I haven’t got one of those fancy GPS watches and I leave my phone at home when I go running, a) to switch off better and b) because my £5 shorts haven’t got pockets. So I can but hope I’m not a million miles off!)

Now… can I still not stand running?

Tricky question, is that. Anything but a declaration of dislike somewhat compromises the integrity of the blog and its title. So let’s see what political statement I can conjure up.

As with most activities, the less you think about them, the less they hurt. So if you’re walking around shops or sightseeing, in a scenario in which you’re not concentrating on the walking itself, you won’t tire as easily as if you’re just walking for the sake of walking, aware of each and every step. Do you follow?
OK, then I shall grant you this. The less I think about the running itself, the easier it gets. Since I am no longer thinking about stop/starting, running/walking routines, I don’t focus on the stopwatch as much. I just set out to do the route I plan, knowing I won’t get shot if I change my plans (not that I have done yet), and actually find I can spend more time thinking about ‘stuff’ than about running itself. Add to that the fact that the surroundings which I am able to take in are fairly easy on the eye and I will concede that it is not an altogether unpleasant experience.

It also helps that I’m enjoying a key side effect, namely weight loss. Not that I can put a figure to that: I never knew I weighed around the time of my operation and I’ve not weighed myself since. My sole indication comes from my belt buckles and my jeans. I will eventually get round to weighing myself but I know what I want that first number to be and I want to make sure I’m well in that range before then… heck, I’m aiming for an 8, so my expectations should be realistic.
(That’s kilos, by the way. Growing up in Italy, my measurements are always metric. For any staunch imperialists, I’m looking to get below 14st)

So that’s my (loose) weight target – do I have a target time for the 10k itself?
Honestly, no. I would like to be doing those three circuits in under an hour, yes; by the end of August I’d like to be doing those three circuits plus the 800m to my son’s school and back in under an hour, yes. But this is familiar, tarmac territory. I am not stupid or deluded enough to expect that to translate directly to the unfamiliar, mixed territory of the Sheffield TenTenTen.

Would I swap it for the opportunity to get back to football or tennis?
Again, awkward. Right now, anyway. At present no, because I have a clear goal in mind: September 23. And, further to my post on May 4, I probably won’t be fundraising: 23/09/12 is about me, matters a huge deal to me and I don’t want the added pressure of raising cash. Ask me again on September 24. Providing I’ve got my breath back, I’ll answer. What I won’t tell you is what the previous day has done for the idea at the very back of my mind about entering the 2013 Sheffield Half Marathon, though I do hope they will have announced the date by then… not that I’ve enquired as to when they might make that announcement or owt like that, you understand.

Oh, and no – I still won’t be buying one of those fancy watches. Can’t afford one, right now – well, can’t justify one, anyway. Other things higher up the list, including (if I ever get round to it) a new camera. Not that the old one’s doing that badly, which is the one thing keeping my male instincts in check. But I have just splashed out £4.90 on this beauty! See, that’s what writing to you lot does to me… Downloading RunKeeper onto my Android phone right now – I say that as if you should all know what it is, whereas I myself only discovered it by googling “android apps running gps” less than a minute ago! I’m sure it’ll do the job.

Last but not least, I have looked at the course map. Again. It all makes sense but it doesn’t look that bad. Things never do, on paper. So I need to tune my mind to expect things to be a lot, lot worse than they look. Given I’m a Blade, that shouldn’t be that hard.
104 days to go. That’ll be fourteen weeks come the end of this one. Gotta keep on runnin’. Whether I can stand it or not.

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