The Running, The Running

If you’ve never completed your homework on a Monday morning just before school you’re not normal.

This post is the blogging equivalent of your Latin/Irish/Maths/French homework on a Monday morning- something like the translation of a blood thirsty poet or some irregular verb conjugation in the pluperfect (the what?)

I have shadow-boxed around the R word for nearly 5 weeks now and I thought I’d better give you some news on the patient before you un-plug the machine.

The only health warning I’d give you is that if you’ve clicked on this blog based on a side-menu from one of the lads who can’t sleep or can’t stop running then it’ll read like I still have stabilisers on the bicycle. If you’ve clicked on it based on someone else’s blog or because you think I’m a photographer then you might be more impressed.

I’d better look back before I look forward.

In 2011 I ran about 1,720  miles.

I say about because I didn’t always have the garmin on me but it was 1,720 miles give or take 30 miles. I’m pretty impressed with this figure as I tend to give the impression that I never run or at least that it is something I don’t pay much attention to (which is probably true if you run more and are faster than me).

The other stats break down like this:

I laced up the shoes and went out the front door 245 times in 2011

That meant I was in motion for 237 hrs and 23 min.

The average distance of my runs was 6.95 miles and my longest run was recorded on the garmin as 38.14 miles and that took 7hrs and 1 minute (the river Ayr way challenge before the watch went to sleep).

My median time was 47 minutes and my average time running was 58 min and 8 seconds.

My average speed was 7.2 miles per hour.

And I burned (according to the garmin) 228,900 calories.

That’s a lot of sliced pan (or beer).

when you compare these figures to 2010 they are strikingly similar:

2011 Numbers 2010 Numbers
 Count: 245 Activities 239 Activities
 Avg HR: 147 bpm 149 bpm
 Time: 237:23:23 h:m:s 235:24:17 h:m:s
 Distance: 1,702.82 mi 1,768.14 mi
 Max Distance: 38.14 mi 26.44 mi
 Avg Distance: 6.95 mi 7.40 mi
 Max Time: 7:01:46 h:m:s 3:25:27 h:m:s
 Median Time: 00:46:59 h:m:s 00:50:05 h:m:s
 Avg Speed: 7.2 mph 7.5 mph
 Calories: 228,891 C 237,222 C
 Avg Time: 00:58:08 h:m:s 00:59:06 h:m:s

I only entered 2 races. The Cork City Marathon and the River Ayr Way Challenge. This was an all-time low for me but as I obviously wasn’t training for speed I couldn’t see the benefit of killing myself on a whole load of 5K and 4 mile races.

I realised now that the house extension and all that entailed had a big impact on me. For ‘all that entailed‘ you can read volunteering to cripple myself financially, relocate my family for a year and have the crushing pressure of it on my shoulders.

The key word is volunteering so I won’t moan on about it any more but if you ever want to see triple glazing in action give me a call.

Back to the running.

Overall I was happy with 2011. I think I reached a place where I was happy with the marathon. I know that for a doubling of the training effort I could shave about 7 – 10 minutes off my PB (3:18) but would I be happy?

I don’t know.

I find the whole marathon a bit of a lottery and it can suck-up six months of your training year between training and recovery. If it’s your first one then that’s cool – it’s all about finishing. But if you’re looking to break a time it can turn into a slow-motion car crash (by slow motion I mean 3 hour car crash).

So until I get the ultra thing out of my system I think my marathons will be for fun – not running them dressed as a banana fun but at 85% effort fun. I have better memories of the 2011 Cork City Marathon with a 3:24 finish than I have of my 3:18 ‘stagger-over-the-line’ finish.

The Ultra thing. If you’ve had the misfortune to spend any time with me in the last few months and you’ve been lost enough for conversation to mutter something like ‘So,……how’s the running going?……..’ you’ll have me locked in a little box in your head called ‘mad’.

I am well aware that I don’t talk about the running any more but I rant about the ultra thing.

I can’t see it ending unless I manage to do myself a major injury (quite likely).

All that said, I have managed to magically lose all my endurance in the last 6 or 7 weeks. I am now completely finished after 10 miles. It doesn’t worry me though because once I set my mind to training I have a great capacity to suck up the miles.

I was going to say I managed to stay injury free in 2011 but like a fattie who claims they don’t touch the cakes we all know that that’s not true.  I managed two stints at the physio for my hips and if I’d kept training after September it would have been 3 stints.

I’ve noticed that I seem to be running on the mid-foot more that before (this is just based on shoe wear) and I think this is an adaptation based on the hip injury. It wasn’t a designed modification of my gait so I’m sticking with the adaptation theory.

The up-side of this is that my shoes are lasting longer. I’ve used 3 pairs of shoes this year – A pair of New Balance 1064s followed by a pair of their new NB 1080s and then back to a pair of 1064s.

I felt the 1080s weren’t giving me the love I needed so I reverted to the clearance line of 1064s. There are now 5 used pairs under my side of the bed and another pair still in the box. I should write a bit more about these shoes as the previous posts from 2010 on these shoes consistently get a high hit rate so somebody must be interested in what I have to say.

Lastly I managed to complete the Marcothon in December. It wasn’t that much of a challenge as I was running 5 to 6 days a week anyway. It only became a drag when you had to go out an run as oppose to want to go out and run. On the positive side it allowed me to start rebuilding a base.

For non-runners ‘building a base’ means to do loads and loads of slow running where you feel like your legs are made of lead and you’ve had one lung removed until suddenly one day, from out of the blue, you start to get inexplicably faster and you enjoy the running. This happened sometime after the 20th December when sub-7:30 miles started popping up on the Garmin. I was having the sort of runs where you felt light and fast and enjoyed the speed. (speed, as Einstein would say, is relative so if 7:14/mile is a recovery run for you then just imagine your own version of this feeling).

All-in-all I was happy with 2011 – running-wise.

Just thank God this isn’t an economics blog. I know things are going tits-up in the world when I agree with almost everything the anarchist Marxists and the UK Independence Party are saying.

So what will 2012 bring in terms of running?

If I had a plan it would be right here.

But I don’t so don’t bother looking. What I have instead is a set of desires. For all of the following you can start every sentence with the words ‘If I’m not injured and if I’m allowed….’

I’ll run the Ballycotton 10 in early March. If you don’t live in Cork just imagine the London or New York Marathons…..it’s like that, only bigger. It’s the collision of 3,000 runners, a small fishing village, lots of people weeing in the ditch and 10 miles of panting.

I have a PB of 1:07 for this and I have no hope of matching that this year. Still, I think, with a bit of work I could get under 1:13.

That will only be a distraction though because if I can swing it I’d like to have a crack off of the Wicklow Way in late March (51k) and then maybe, just maybe the Highland Fling (52 miles) in late April.

My plan (think Hitler in about 1932 dreaming of invading Poland) would be to use the Wicklow Way as a training run to see how nutrition and equipment would work for an off-road ultra. This could be turned into panzer tanks rolling through the villages of Poland in Scotland if I get the votes from parliament (are you still following this allegory?)

That’s as far as my planning has gone to date.

If it does nothing else it will get me focused for the next 4 months. After that I have no plans.

Let the diplomacy and running begin!

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5 responses to “The Running, The Running

  1. “If you’ve had the misfortune to spend any time with me in the last few months and you’ve been lost enough for conversation to mutter something..”

    Ok I know I tend to land on the less important sentences in your Blog – but Rich, in all seriousness – has there every been ANYBODY who has spent any time with you and been lost for conversation????? ;-))

  2. I was going to slag you off about something, but I’ve forgotten what…..maybe the amount of shoes you manage to consume. Then I read about your plans for the Fling and the slagging went out the window. My plans are the same Ricardo, and leave is booked at work. Accomodation quite near the start of the race is available to you my friend, as is collection from the airport by a sensible, big feeted Scottish burd and an idiotic Londoner with purple lips.

  3. Good synopsis of the year Richard, you run a lot more than i thought you did – i’m stuck in that marathon lottery you mentioned but its a nice problem, good luck for 2012 to you and yours , see you in Ballycotton Keith.

  4. Extra-curricular activities make the best possible running impossible. If you doubled that 53k a week for a year you’d probably run 3 hours for the marathon and 1:03 for 10 miles. Just numbers though. The average punter in the street is equally impressed with any marathon finishing time.

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