Sunday, 16 January 2011

I'm out

Today was the day where all the training and all of the Janathon hard work was going to pay off running the Grim Challenge. I actually looked forward to the Grim compared to the dread I faced in the 2009 race, but today just turned out to be the day I had to drop out of the Grim and crash out of the Janathon.

The suspect hangover I had yesterday turned out to be a heavy cold. Heavy colds for me usually mean a sore throat and fragile asthma. The asthma is the dodgy part, which really needs looking after otherwise it escalates into something more serious. So no Grim for me and certainly no running until this cold shifts.

This was such a hard decision for me to take this morning; I've really been enjoying the Janathon and I've actually started to enjoy my running. If I had to, I could've probably struggled around the Grim, but my it would definitely be detrimental to my health and at the end of the day, that is the most important thing (only just!).

So I'm out of the Janathon, but only temporarily. I like to think of it as a small sabatical. Just a small break until this cold shifts and I'll be back to the running. Hopefully I won't be expelled from the Janathon community and I'll be back to running and blogging as soon as I can.

And if anyone wishes to donate 2 asthma-free lungs, feel free to do so!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry

With all the planning I've been doing for the Grim and the excitment I had for the run it seems fate and the whole world is against me. Even my efforts at being a Scientician have backfired.

I got a new pair of Timberlands over Christmas and I love them. So for casual Fridays at work, I decided to wear them in for the day. This was one of the most monumental mistakes ever: having to wear them in means they were stiff in the first place. Because they were stiff, I now have a fat blister on each foot. My dad has given me his patented blister treatment which I'll try out soon and hopefully I'll be ok for the Grim tomorrow. I'll definitely have to plaster them up though.

Friday Night
With the good intentions of not drinking last night, I copied the routine of last week when I drank far too much and got a kebab afterwards. Not the best way to prepare my body for a run and I have a really bad hangover today, so I'm definitely suffering.

I woke up this morning with a cough and a really sore throat. It is entirely possible that this is due to the alcohol and kebab consumption. We'll have to wait until tomorrow for news on that.

So overall, I'm not really in the mood for this today but I had to clock up a run so the first task was to pop my blisters and dress them. This task fell to my mum, who accidently ripped the whole blister off instead of just popping it. Then came her concerned look that I'll be running through water/mud tomorrow where there could be any number of dodgy pathogens. So all patched up, I headed to the chemist to buy any antiseptic looking product I could lay my hands on. I'm sure my mum would rather me not run tomorrow but I'll be water-proofed and antibacterialised so I'll (hopefully) still have to feet by the end of it.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Inconsiderate Swimmers

I made it to the pool this morning before work to carry on with my grand plan for the Grim. I always find it difficult to fit exercise in on Fridays. Between team lunches and the usual Friday drinking, the only time to do it is in the mornings. There have been 2 Fridays in the Janathon so far and I've been successful both times.

In the pool this morning there was a nice mix of what everyone is referring to as newbies and some girls who obviously swim quite a bit. The latter cheered me up after having to get up far too early.

Like everyone else at the gym, we all pay our money and so have the same rights to use the facilities but with that use comes a responsibility to use them properly. Take my example this morning:

I had a lane to myself and so a girl (not a "regular swimmer") decided to join me from the slow lane. I have no problems with that because the slow lane was pretty crowded, but she then decided to swim up and down the same rope. Partly from habit and partly from the ingrained lifeguard instinct from years gone by I always swim the correct way around a lane, even when I'm the only one in it. But how can someone come into a lane and decide to swim in completely the opposite direction. Its rude. Its inconsiderate. To put an Essex twist on it, it really jarred my brain.

However, the anger at this made me forget about my swimming, mainly how many lengths I did. I hate counting lengths, so this was kind of a good thing and I (think I) did more than I planned to do. And the newbie learned her lesson soon enough and reverted to the usual circular swimming etiquette.

Swam, blogged, breakfasted and in work by 8:20. Win!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

I'm a scientician

My normal training routine for the Grim would be (pretend) to train in the months/weeks leading up to it and then rest for a week beforehand. However, this year I can't do that as I have to keep exercising for the Janathon. This meant I actually had to think about how to train and prepare for the Grim instead of just turning up. This meant I had to get clever. This meant I had to get scientific. This is going to blow your minds!

I've started reading quite a bit about running and with the Internet being as ubiquitous as it is, my trusty friend Wikipedia1 is always on hand.

A couple of days ago I was wondering if I might be over-doing it in the Janathon so decided to look into overtraining. It doesn't seem that likely in a month, but it did point me towards something that sounds awesome; Supercompensation. According to the article, the human body is an adjustable organism and when it comes to fitness the body will overcompensate for periods of reduced fitness (hence the name). Apparently this is a well known phenomenon in the fitness world2, but I'm a newbie so didn't know about it. As I didn't know about it, I got very excited. What doors could this open for my Grim preparation?

So here is where the theory gets put into practice. I would estimate I am mostly-recovered from major exercise after 2-3 days3. So, if I train hard 2-3 days before the Grim, I should hit the supercompensation period on the day of the Grim. So... with this new found knowledge, I planned to hit the gym hard today and then a couple of easy swimming sessions Friday and Saturday. Abanoning my plan of going to the gym before work due to tiredness (work, not the Janathon) I hit the gym hard at lunch. I rowed. I push up'd. I sit up'd.

I was quite happy with my workout and very hopefully optimistic that my 2 hour reading session of Wikipedia will help me run the Grim in a respectful time. I told you it would blow your minds!


  1. As everyone knows, if its on Wikipedia, it has to be true!!!
  2. My mate Dave (who I'm running the Grim with and has more experience with running that me) is adamant that Supercompensation is actually more commonly known as Tapering. I'm not convinced.
  3. Yes, I know Wikipedia says take recovery estimates with a pinch of salt. You may take mine with an extra pinch of pepper too.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


Just a token blog from me tonight. After the increased effort of the last couple of days, I resorted for a relaxing swim today. Nothing to strenuous but it all counts.

Tomorrow is going to be an interesting day. My usual 10 hour slog at work started an hour earlier today, so like any typical tired City worker I headed to the pub. I reduced the number of pints I had and still aim to make it to the gym before work tomorrow, but my optimism is slipping.

At least I hope I make it to the gym, I have a grand plan for the Grim on Sunday that is going to blow your minds! Stay tuned until tomorrow to be blown away by science!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Food!! Give me food!!!

I'm really starting to enjoy the Janathon now even if I have giving up logging my exercise on I have many qualms about the usability of that website (sorry if any of the makers are reading, its not meant in a bad way). Its now more of a personal challenge and the fun of blogging about it afterwards. Plus, the aching is getting better more manageable and I'm actually looking forward to my daily exercise now.

The only problem I'm having is the amount of food I'm eating. I just can't stop! Now, the guys I work with are probably screaming at their computer screens with cries of "You never stopped eating anyway", but its getting worse now.

I'm a firm believer of giving your body what it is telling you to give it. If your tired, sleep. If your thirsty, have a drink. If your hungry, feed yourself. I'm much like a Tamagotchi in those respects. I don't think sitting at my desk craving food is beneficial to anyone, especially my co-workers who have to deal with my hunger-fuelled bad moods. I'll just have to replace sugary treats with something a little healthier. I'm finding a pint of milk is quite a good replacement.

As for exercise, I played football tonight but we're not talking about that. I haven't won a game since the start of the Janathon, which isn't a good omen for the rest of the month. I think my lucky boxers will have to come out of retirement!

Monday, 10 January 2011

I <3 my iPod

Me and my iPod seem to be like two peas in Janathonised pod. As the legendary runner Forest Gump once said "we go together like peas and carrots".

After finishing yesterdays run with a euphoric glaze on my face, I awoke this morning to lethargy, achiness and a reluctance to exercise. It can only be expected that after putting in extra effort, I will lose some the next day. If only my mind was a perpetual motion machine of effort.

I struggled through my usual 10 hour slog at work and returned home with renewed grit and determination to at least do some running tonight. After twisting my ankle sprinting out the way of a car and generally struggling around my prepared (and this time accurately followed) route, getting to the end I decided to break into a short sprint finish. My legs were refusing to move and my lungs were burning but then... out of no where, my iPod decided to motivate me again. With yesterdays inspirational "Keep on Running", tonight's inspiration came from the unlikely source of N.E.R.D. Their 2001 hit Rock Star has the words "It's almost over now" repeated constantly throughout the song.

How timely that was. Having a well known funk/hip hop group telling you its almost over as you can see your house nearing is such a welcome feeling. I love my iPod and my iPod loves me.