The Astronaut and the cat

27 04 2009

A good night’s sleep is meant to be essential for good performance “on the road” . The night time disturbances continue. Two o’clock, three o’clock , whatever o’clock. Spin the wheel and get up where the number falls. Eddie is inside our bedroom saying “I’m a bit tired”.

I was to do my long run on Sunday so looked forward to a good night’s rest on Saturday night. As if ? Well, you can imagine my surprise when I woke up at 2 or 3 am. Helen had got up and I could hear a faint mieowing sound. I was completely confused. Eddie can sometimes impersonate a cat so I just took it that Eddie had got up again and Helen was settling him. To my shock Helen burst through the door with the cat in her arms at 3 am !! The best thing is we don’t have a bl**dy cat !!?? I can’t believe it. What next ?

The pesky mog had somehow got into the house when I was putting my pride and joy (my own home made potato salad with home made mayonnaise made by yours truly) into our second fridge in the garage.

When will I get a full night’s sleep ? Never I fear !

Eddie followed shortly after at about 5. Had he wet the bed ? I just can’t remember anymore. The hilarious thing is we are potty training him at the moment and that he has taken to wearing a one piece astronaut outfit during the day. Not the ideal thing to try and strip off him when he wants to perform. Helen carries a margarine tub around with her to catch any excretions whilst he is out and about (if no toilet is close). What a sight it must have been today when he started trumping on the Wirral Way and Helen was knelt in front of him holding a margarine tub with his space suit pulled down to his ankles. He never knows which end its going to come out of either !

Anyway as far as the running is concerned we managed to knock out another 11 miler. The highlight of the run was the consideration of what on earth the imposing building could have been on “Waterworks lane”. All I can say is lack of oxygen can do things to your brain !

A similar outfit

A similar outfit


First 30 mile week

24 04 2009

I am very conscious of needing to make up distance and am pleased to report I managed over 30 miles last week. The more I run the less time I have to blog about it so I won’t give a commentary on every single run I do but will keep the blog ticking over probably on a weekly basis.

The week started with a run of over 14 miles which I planned as a figure of eight via a trip back home. This was to collect my running “mate” as he is still recovering from his marathon efforts and has cut back his distances.

The Saturday run was the warmest I have done with the temperature hovering around the 20 degree centigrade mark. I have discovered a wonderful website that shows bridleways in the area and I decided to make use of them. Unfortunately the route I picked had two bridleways coming off it and I chose the wrong one. I was unaware of this at the time and can honestly say,when I emerged onto a road, I was totally disorientated and confused. The heat didn’t help…so much for bridleways !! I followed my nose and eventually emerged on the correct road but a mile further away. Damn blast ! I was so angry with myself especially as I needed to get back home to collect my running pal.

I got back in time after the 6 mile loop and then had a 9 mile loop planned on an undulating route. I would have struggled to get around by myself this time. My legs were pretty heavy and I did utter a few profanities myself this time.

I was slightly disappointed with my performance but these runs are needed to bring you back down to earth and realise your limitations.

The rest of the week was taken up with several shorter distance routes, one included the correct bridleway down Cuckoo lane (lovely name) on my own. Another 6 miler or so involving roads and Cuckoo lane and finally a fast paced 5 miler up and down the Wirral Way.

By Thursday I had completed 30 miles. You certainly feel it. I felt exhausted during my fast paced run and thought I was going much slower than I was. The familiar thoughts of “Why?” came into my mind. I need to average a good 20 miles a week to make Madrid in time but I will now try and rack it up whilst the weather is good and claw back the miles I lost before Christmas.

PS The best thing about bridleways is the lack of horse poo ! I didn’t notice any ?! They keep it for footpaths and roads I reckon OR maybe use the famous “Kev Poo Scooper” (could only happen in Australia) !! Comes in “Kevs Aussie Green” with Gold Labels and Black Handles !!!


Wirral Seaside Run

16 04 2009

Wednesday gave me the opportunity to take part in the evening Wirral seaside run. This was the first event I did in my running challenge and takes place monthly between the Spring and Summer. Helen had taken part in the first one of the season with Ron Hill, MBE participating.

I was very keen to do well. In particular after the granny blocking incident in October I felt I had been cheated out of a good time. (See entry of 6 Oct).

The course is coastal and once again I would be faced with a head wind. I ditched my original tactics and decided to start fast as the first stretch of the run is on a sheltered road.

The race was a real lung buster. I set off at moderate to fast speed and then once I reached the embankment began to feel the wind.

I reached my first marker a minute within my target time (Leasowe castle 9 mins). It was now a matter of sustaining it.

To my horror I felt deja-vu when I came around the same corner as last time and a young family were ambling along blocking the route. Fortunately they moved out of the way. History was not going to repeat itself.

This time I was chased down by Pensby runners with about 1 mile to go. I let one go and then held on to the tail of another and pulled myself back. I then used him to help me home to a much improved time
of 23:11 (previously 24:27 or so). That was an average pace of 7 minute 37 per mile.

This can be a very tough run, particularly if you get a head wind and there is also quite a lot of sand on one particular part of the course. I was relieved to reach the finish line and gave close to 100% effort.

The downside of the run was having to jog back to the start and drive home – so another 5 k or so. That did drag as I was quite exhausted by my efforts but the sun was setting, the sea was calm and it was just beautiful.

I returned home delighted but missed the boys who were fast asleep.


Exercising the wife

10 04 2009


I have been able to share two runs with my wife this week thanks to my understanding mother in law who is staying with us over Easter.

Running with the Mrs is a whole new experience in holding back. She is a little slower than me. I am used to running well under 9 minute pace now but she hovers around the 10 1/2 minute pace.

We have been out for two three mile runs this week. It’s great though as it gives me a chance to take in the scenery and to offer her lots of encouragement and support.

I’ve never heard her swear so much though. Mostly at me ! Can you believe it !!?? I am only advising on when the next hill is and how bad she must be feeling etc etc. She keeps saying “sod off” and worse.

Our first run took us down a nice flat road past the Boathouse Inn and back along the Wirral way. Well I didn’t know it then but she was definitely holding back as she got to the first mileage point in a lazy 10:45. I mean on the flat. When we were close to home I pointed out the finish and said “Ok…go for it with all you have left”. She increased the pace slightly then really let rip. I had to work to keep up. So Helen had been saving herself too.

Today I chose a slightly more challenging route and I felt she did put much more effort in and was less cautious and only finished 4 secs slower than on the easier route.

Great fun overall and especially nice knowing how far she has come.

Tomorrow, I am really looking forward to another 10 miler but with my marathon neighbour who completed the Paris marathon last week in pretty good form. I was quite surprised he still wanted to run this week. Amazing !

France is big isn’t it ?!

4 04 2009

I did two short runs during the week. One of them was a short run of two miles. I wanted to find out what I could do a mile in as I am sure I have made a bit of a breakthrough fitness-wise. I did a timed mile in just over 7 mins. Hardly Sebastian Coe but still it shows a great improvement.

My next half marathon is in Chester on 17th May. I want to work on speed a little bit before then so I can inject a little pace into parts of my run. I am now determined to run faster than I did in Liverpool.

After the euphoria of last week I faced the challenge of a long run back on my own with no support. I chose my Hooton lanes run which is pretty undulating. Half of the run is on quiet country lanes, the other half follows the Wirral Way back home again. Pretty hilly on the way out.

Today was a real grind from the start. I felt like shortening run and the thought of giving up and walking home wasn’t far from my mind.

I suspect I needed a longer rest after the Liverpool half marathon. Having said that I shaved 12 mins off my previous time for the same run when I did it in November. So I must be progressing well.

All I can really remember from today is the effort to keep going, seeing the Liverpool skyline in the distance and lots of horse poo. I mean the amounts dogs do are trifling compared to horses. Dog owners usually pick the stuff up but as for horse owners they can do what they like. Really disgusting having to avoid that stuff. Hope Helen doesn’t get wind of this and starts asking me to collect it for the garden !

I am now in France on my virtual map. Just South of Boulogne. This is going to be one hell of a long grind.