Hungover running

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Ok so last night escalated quickly. I was at work until close, one of the locals bought us a drink, and then we headed off to one of the other staff girls birthday party. She had a marquee in her garden which was really cool. I was offered wine on arrival, most of the alcohol had gone by this point, so I took it even though I don’t usually drink wine other than with food at my parents. I then proceeded (thanks to some peer pressure) to drink the entire bottle. Needless to say this morning I felt as though The battle of helms deep was happening in my head. I managed to struggle through my 5 hour lunch shift at work. On coming home my father suggested we go out for dinner. I was at the hungry stage of my hangover, so I was all for this. However, my tendency to eat loads when I go out for food meant that running was unlikely to occur after eating. I had to go before. The hangover was still going fairly strong. It’s only a mile I told myself. You can do this.

Usually if I am hungover, I won’t go for a run or to the gym. Usually I will only get out of bed for important plans, work, or hungover discussions of the previous nights events over some form of food. And maybe more alcohol. I did however have to make an exception to this general no running attitude at the 2013 Leeds abbey dash last November. I hadn’t trained for the race as I was meant to go away for the weekend, but ended up having to stay for work. I decided to run it anyway, just for the experience. It was my first race and I was excited. Meanwhile, it was one of my best friend’s birthday on the Saturday, and I made the foolish decision to go to the German market beer tent in millennium square. Little did I know the consequences of that fateful evening would be far more complex than a hungover 10K… I digress. I don’t know what they put in that beer but it gets you smashed very quickly. One led to another (we queued for 3 hours we had to make the most of it) and the next day I woke up with the urge to vomit. Not from nerves, I knew I wasn’t taking the race too seriously, I was using it as a chance to ease myself into racing: pressure free. I felt pretty rough. The entire run all I could think about was how much I wanted water. Well, that and how to handle the previous night’s complications. I do usually enjoy thinking things through on a run but not this time. I had to walk for a bit between 4-5K because of the killer stitch I got, which I suspect was connected to the amount of alcohol in my system. My time in the end was 1hr 1min. Which was annoying. Under an hour would have been nice. So after that experience, hungover running hasn’t really been something I have been up for.

However, mile a day challenge, the name speaks for itself. I had to run a mile at some point today, and this was the best opportunity. So I geared up and went outside. I told myself to go at a comfortable pace, aiming for a 9-9:30min mile. The mile was 9:08 pace in the end. And you know what, I actually quite enjoyed the run. The fresh air was nice, and the comfortable pace wasn’t pushing my body to a place it was unhappy at. I felt capable, despite my state, which was a nice feeling. Much better than I had done at work.

So there we go. Moral of the story: Hungover running is not that bad, and I think I will be forcing it upon myself more in future. Any longer than a mile though and I think water will be a necessity!

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No more tiny gym!

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So this mile a day challenge thing. So far it’s been four days and the drop in my average distance is making me sad. I’ve run 5 less miles this week than average, and since I have to do this for another 26 days, my average week distance will likely be effected. This is irking me somewhat. I don’t know why I care so much about statistics, especially when I’m the only one who sees them. It’s going to be a tough 3 and a half weeks to stick to my goal and restrain myself. Then I will have 8 weeks until the Abbey Dash, perfect timing to complete the Nike+ training intermediate 10K plan. Bring it on.

In other news, weird gym guy has now taken to hiding in his office every time I go into the gym when he is working. This is a vast improvement on his annoying attempts to make small talk. Fortunately for his pride, I am moving back to Leeds in 2/3 weeks (notice is in, and I’m off house hunting next week), beyond excited and it means I get to QUIT THE TINY GYM!!! And not run into people from high school on a daily basis. Whether I will be able to afford a gym in Leeds/ if there will be a convenient and affordable one near my house is a different matter. Time will tell.

Photos attached of my run records.

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Mile a day month

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So I think I saw this on twitter or somewhere, someone saying they were challenging themselves to run a mile a day for a month.

I thought this was an interesting idea, and a good way to shake up my normal workout routine at the moment. I hope running everyday will motivate me, and improve my speed over a short distance. This goal will be hard for me to stick to in two different ways.

It’s only a mile though, I hear you say. Well that actually is problem number one. It’s only a mile. That’s not very far, and there is something very Unsatisfying about connecting to nike+ and seeing your total km barely change and so forth. Progress will feel minimal I suspect. I love looking and seeing I outran last week, last month etc, and I think I will struggle to stick to the shorter distance.

I started yesterday, when I managed one mile on the treadmill for my evening gym session. The idea actually was brought to mind because I was struggling to run even that having eaten my dinner not long before. Essentially it was a way for me to justify not running very far, but having thought about it overnight I think I could actually benefit and learn about my running ability and motivation from the challenge. So out I went this morning and ran the 2km round the block. Which is just over a mile I know. But it was a convenient loop and I didn’t want to stop running that close to home. See, as I said, it will be a struggle. Particularly since on learning I will definitely be moving back to Leeds in the next few weeks (YAY) I signed up to the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k in November. More on my training for that to follow.

Which leads me (no pun intended) onto the second reason why this challenge will be particularly tricky for me: house hunting and moving 4 hours across the country and still finding the time to run every day. It can be hard to run when you feel you have a lot going on, it’s easy just to promise yourself you’ll make up for skipping a day by running further another day. I’m hoping this challenge will help me to kick that habit.

So, my first run yesterday of 1 mile took me 9mins 30secs. This seems like a good base pace to improve upon. Today I did 2.1km in 11min 20sec, since my pace was 5’24 mins/km I’d estimate that to be 8.40 mins for the mile. An improvement already, probably due to the fact I ran on the road not the treadmill today. Another thing I’m keen to see during this challenge – how the setting affects my performance.

I will aim to update every week how I am getting on, along with other general posts!

I will also attach nike+ analysis photos. So you know I’m not fibbing!

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Tiny gym

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This is largely a follow up post for me to show you all just how tiny the gym is.

This evening I was the only person in there from half 9-10 (it closes at 10) so I took some sneaky pictures between sets on the leg press.

The woman working in the gym clearly wanted to leave early but that gym is open until 10 and I was determined to stay. Largely because I got a lift with my dad who plays badminton with his friends every Tuesday night and that’s when they finish. But that’s not the point. I am paying for a gym which is open til 10 so I will stay if I want.

Annoying gym guy was mercifully not present. I haven’t actually seen him since his infuriating face wave that prompted my last post. I’d be worried that he’d seen it and been offended but a) he told me on one of his talking at me whilst I tried to cut the conversation and leave early ambushes that he doesn’t even have Facebook (what a weirdo) and b) I really don’t care.

I photographed the view from the corner where the leg press lives; one of the mat/weight section, and a general view of the room. The treadmills are behind the various strength machines, next to them are the elipticals and ski machine. Beyond that is the fountain and the cupboard that passes for the personal trainer office.

So here you go: tiny gym is tiny.

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Awkward gym situations.

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A few things I would like to say about the gym. I go to a tiny gym near my work. It has 3 treadmills, 2 elipticals, a ski machine (is that what they are called?!), 2 bikes, and about 15 different weight machines. There’s a tiny weight section with 1-30kg dumbells (no bars for squats/dead lifts) and there is space for 2 people doing mat work max. It’s sucky, but it’s convenient and cheap.

Today I did not have a good gym session. I went straight after my 9-5 at work today. Normally I like to go to the gym in the morning, and I did have to get up at 6:30am to take my brother to the station. Why didn’t I go before work, you ask. WELL, this personal trainer there keeps talking to me, which I find kind of annoying, because I’m in the gym trying to get in the zone and here he is bugging me. He also keeps trying to talk to me about philosophy (usually when I tell people that was my undergrad degree they look at me cluelessly but no, this guy LOVES philosophy. Yay.) which is a little intense when I’m trying to concentrate on my work out… This guy is late twenties and the other day he text his fellow personal trainer to get her to give me his number. just after he left the gym. Lame. Also I didn’t want his number. But she insisted I take it so she had ‘done her part’. Fair enough. I put it down somewhere when I got in and haven’t looked for it since. He tells me pretty much every time I see him that he’s in the gym most mornings.
Now you see why I waited til after work, having not been since this number incident on Saturday. I really don’t like awkward situations. Alas, HE WAS THERE. Why, tiny gym! Why must you be so tiny. Thankfully he was obviously busy with some training so I kept my distance (as much as possible) and headphones in on loud.
There I was minding my own business on the leg extension, I’m currently doing 5-10x 30 or 35 on that, so I was minding my own business, working really hard. Next thing I know there is a hand in my face waving.

….

A very curt ‘hi’ was all I could manage without losing my temper.
WHO DOES THAT?!
Uhhhhh.
That is gym rant number one. Moral of the story – don’t get dragged into unwanted small talk!

My second gym problem is also related to the teeny tiny size of this gym. Given it’s location, it’s hardly surprising, but I keep running into people from my old high school. People who I didn’t really like then, and would rather not be in a small confined space with whilst sweating like a pig now. Home town problems.
This applies equally to seeing locals from the pub. It’s just a little odd. It’s not that I don’t like seeing people I know in the gym, on the contrary it’s one of the things I loved at my uni gym. It’s awkward. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Final gym issue today comes from the fact that I somehow forgot to take a water bottle. I am an idiot. There’s something about running on a treadmill that just makes you crave water much sooner/more often than when running out in the open. I suspect this is some kind of psychological thing, combined with the dryness of gym air as created by the air con.

These are my issues from today alone. I could go on into a more general line of repeated issues, but I will leave that for another day.

CURSE TINY GYMS.
Grumpy gym toilet selfie sums up my mood for this post.

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Drivers and urban running

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Does anybody else find that some drivers are really unnecessarily difficult when they are out running in a city/urban environment.

I live on the edge of a town, and so a lot of my running involved running loops through various housing developments and busy main roads. And I have to say, some drivers I encounter must either be inconsiderate to all pedestrians, or just have something against runners.

The most annoying of these are those who reverse up their drive and wait there adamantly, even though they saw you coming and know they are making you wait. I’m not saying it’s always wrong, sometimes there is a break in the traffic and they should be entitled to take that opportunity to escape their driveway! It’s the people who just sit there whilst there is a constant flow of traffic and they clearly are not getting out in the next 30 seconds… Would it kill you to move forward for a few seconds so I can safely pass?

Another annoyance of mine is people who don’t bother to indicate, and then look at you like it’s your fault when they nearly run you over… We cross roads and junctions based on your signalling, and your cars are much bigger and usually faster than us, so please indicate. Even if there are no other motorists around, runners and other pedestrians cannot be treated as if we don’t exist!

Of course, these rants apply to the minority of drivers. Many people have moved forward or waited to let me pass on my running excursions, and I appreciate their gesture. But for those few, we are out there challenging ourselves, trying to improve, and they can hinder our progress (slower time, unplanned rest, knocked confidence). I’m sure this doesn’t apply to any of my readers, since I presume you are fellow runners and approach these situations to allow the runners to continue their run. But to anyone who is guilty of non-indication because there are no other cars around, please think of the pedestrians and runners next time you are out.

Treadmills

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Ahhh treadmills. On the one hand a wonderful, magical invention that let’s us runners work out inside when the weather is bad, or if you are in the gym anyway, or want to do a planned and controlled workout without access to a coach. On the other, PURE TEDIOM. Yes. We have all been there, staring at the mileage/minutes wondering why it is taking so long to reach your target. Why treadmill, why must you be so boring. Today I was happily watching the Big Bang theory on the inbuilt tv of my treadmill in the gym on my post-work visit. Disaster struck, my earphones broke. I was left to run my last 10 minutes of my 4 mile run in silence. And when I say silence I mean the adverts of the local radio station being played and the repetitive sound of the track going round the treadmill over and over. It was not enjoyable, to say the least.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for the existence of treadmills. I just wish they were a little more exciting. Nothing, for a runner, can compare to running through different landscapes free as a bird. Running in different environments is far more stimulating, and prevents running becoming dull.

Gyms should really invest in some kind of simulation, like a projection on the wall, so us treadmill users can feel like we are running outside, and allow us to embrace our love for running inside! Might even encourage those people who spend a very forced looking 10 minutes on the treadmill to venture outside and become passionate about running!

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