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On tonight’s run, I improved my pace by at least 30sec per km. Guess that graceful speedwork pays dividends.


So, in an effort to try and improve my speed a little while running, I decided last night to take the advice of some of the magazines and finish off my workout with a couple of short sprints so the legs get used to the feeling of going faster.

[BTW has anyone else noticed that there is a particular fashion in running magazines of having little sidebar articles titled something like “what are strideouts?” which never actually explain what they are? Uhh, yeah, you just stride out easily and efficiently while not using much effort. Okay, I’ll try that.]

So I finished my half an hour run about 500 metres from home and walked for a little to get my breath back. And then I picked up my legs to do a quick easy sprint while using not much effort – and I almost fell over. What I didn’t take into account was the fact that once my legs stop moving back and forwards they are not so easy to get started again. I feel like I need one of those cranks from an old car to get some energy back into them. So no speedwork last night. But I did treat my neighbours to the thrilling site of me staggering along the street in an ominous fashion with a determined smile on my face whilst trying to expend not much effort.

Starting Weight – 107.5kg
Current Weight – 104.5kg
Total weight loss – 3kg
This week’s weight loss – +1.0kg

Grumble mumble bumble.

Have just entered the Queen of the Lake fun run on 6 August. This is my first fun run and I have entered to do the 5K. It is a nice flat course for my first race and there is about a month between me finishing the C25K and the date of the race.

My plan in terms of preparation for the run will be to continue to consolidate my running so that I will feel a little more comfortable with the running. I am trying to have no expectations for this event and am telling myself that it doesn’t matter if I am very slow, as I am going to be using this time as my improvement marker. At this stage my only goal is to run the whole thing.

This is actually my first 5K. I never ran a 5K when I was younger, sticking to the 10K distance. So theoretically I don’t need to compare my results to my PBs from back then. But I do know what I would have been happy with for a 5K and my expected time for this race will be a lot slower than that. Officially I am no longer counting my PBs from my previous career, on the basis that they were acheived by a different person (who went on to eat several other people). I say “officially” because if I ever get to the stage where I can have a good go at going under 53 min for the 10K, I will feel an extra incentive knowing that was about where I was running as a 20 year old.

For now I am aiming for under 53 min for the 5K. Okay, I probably won’t be that slow, but I am tipping some walkers will pass me.

I feel about a hundred today. It has been a crappy week for family reasons and the upshot is that we have been staying at our weekender since Wednesday, which meant a long commute yesterday. An hour and a half each way in car and train and necessitates a very early wake up.

And I needed to go for a run last night otherwise I was well in danger of having another really slack week due to external issues. I don’t normally run from this hosue at night (on weekends I run during the day). And it was dark so I was tense about the fact that I couldn’t always see where I was putting my feet. Was happy to have my big dog for company and protection. It is pretty hilly where I live, so the route was a little more demanding than I normally run. It was drizzling, which normally I like, but it was making the trail pretty slippery and treacherous. I felt dreadful the whole run, but kept going. It was one of those occasions where you don’t really feel like it before you go, you don’t enjoy yourself while you are doing it, and afterwards the only real enjoyment is that you can put a tick next to doing it.

And today I feel like my body is making creaking noises whenever I move, and eight hours sitting in an office chair won’t help much. What I really need is a good long soak in a rustic cedar hot tub. As luck would have it, we even have a rustic cedar hot tub on our back deck, and I have nothing in my schedule this evening which would prevent me from having a soak.

Of course, the bloody thing is broken and we have to rely on the yokel pool people who NEVER BLOODY SHUT UP WHEN YOU ARE TALKING TO THEM in the hope that they will come today and fix it. And I don’t want to call them again to check whether they will be able to bring the part back today because I WOULD NEVER GET OFF THE PHONE, and they would still turn up whenever they darn well felt like it.

Me: I ran for 28 minutes in a row for the first time and I ran more than one time around the block!
Hub: How many times did you run around the block?
Me: One and a bit – I kept going up to the corner
Hub: I thought you said that you ran more than once around the block.
Me: That is more than once around the block!

Hub has taken up a starting running program as well and tells me that his shins are really hurting. And I say “Ha ha, my shins don’t hurt anymore! Sucked in!”

PS. I do also encourage him.

Starting Weight – 107.5kg
Current Weight – 103.5kg
Total weight loss – 4kg
This week’s weight loss – 0.5kg

See how I did that? If you don’t like what the scales say on the Monday, you can move your WI to the Tuesday, on the basis that we weighed in last Tuesday (or on the basis of whatever justification I can come up with).

Weigh in tomorrow. If I have another loss then I will be the weight that I was when I last joined a gym/took up regular exercise. I am officially dieting down to the goal of being fat (rather than morbidly obese). Meh. At least I am aiming to be a fat runner rather than a fat person spending too much money on a gym membership that totally demotivated me (more on that later).

Two more weeks on the Couch to 5K program. Had the first run of the Northern Running Group with people from the ausrun forum on Saturday. I was pretty much holding them back at the same time that they were pulling me towards a pace that made me uncomfortable. From my estimations ran a minute or so per km faster than my normal pace. Note to self – must go to Princes Park and practice running faster so can blow away other NRG runners at next outing. Note to self 2 – when planning devious plan for massive secret improvement, don’t post it on the blog.

Further to my earlier comments I have dug out the Runners World complete guide to try and find the reference that I half remembered. They say this (in talking about the concept of a second wind:

The most common theory goes something like this: when yu start exercising, your muscles burn glycogen as fuel. This requires oxygen. Your body has a limited amount of stored oxygen, and it burns it quickly. After that, if your body can’t supply enough oxygen to your muscles, the muscles break down glycogen without oxygen, or anaerobically. This produces lactic acid. You’re in oxygen debt, and you feel awful – your muscles burn, your heart beats quickly. Second wind, that welcome flush of relief, occurs when the body finally begins to supply enough oxygen to your muscles.

The term catch up is important when we talk about second wind….’When you go from total inactivity to heading out on a run, you create an oxygen debt. The payback in an unconditioned individual can be uncomfortable.’

Because their more efficient systems can supply their muscles with a steady stream of oxygen, fit athletes avoid oxygen debt… and never experience second wind.”

I am definitely an unconditioned runner and this seems to describe what happens on my runs. I start out with a brisk walk and feel fine. After a couple of minutes I feel dreadful and then as my body adjusts to providing more oxygen to my muscles I feel good again. It is pretty noticeable because the whole cycle takes place in the space of about 20 minutes. Hopefully as my training improves, my ability to make the transition efficiently from not exercising to running will also improve.

Really enjoyed tonight’s run. A couple of running books have introduced me to the concept of “oxygen debt”, where the body takes time to adjust to working efficiently at a higher rate. It is helpful because it explains why the first ten minutes or so of my runs lately have been pretty rough. This has been since I have switched from the walk/run to simply running. Once that period passes, I feel much better. Hopefully this will improve as time goes on.

Quick notes. Doctor’s appointment yesterday identified a potential problem with high blood pressure. I am going back in three months to see whether the fitness weight loss program makes a significant difference. It certainly can’t hurt, but it creates another goal for me to work towards. She is very happy about me losing weight and supportive of the run program. Want to be able to tell her in three months that I have lost a significant amount of weight.

Have scheduled the inaugural northern suburbs running group training session with some people from the ausrun forum on Saturday. Told Hub about the meeting and he said “how are you going to keep up with them?” Thanks for the confidence, buddy.