Profile of a Trudger

Trudgery = the art of running with little grace or ability.

The ongoing escapades of a not so lonely long distance runner.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010
A Goal

My attempts at rekindling my running have been very half-hearted. I've managed one full week so far I think. Pathetic.

On the plus side though I have decided on a goal. My aim is to be fit enough for the West Highland Way Race in 2011. It is perfect. 95 miles over 35 hours from Milngavie and Fort William with 4499 metres of ascent. There is no way that I am fit enough for that just now but give me a year and I will be. It allows me to obssess about kit and strategy as well. I'm going to need a dedicated support team to meet me at each of the checkpoints and keep me supplied with food, fluids and changes of kit depending on the conditions and time of the day. It's the first thing that I've been excited about in months and it's a new challenge for me that I have no idea whether I'll be able to complete.

It's a long way off but I need as much time as I can get. In the meantime I'm still trying to think of ways to raise funds for my other ideas.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Repeating myself

My aim for this week is to get out running three times at least. So far I am on track having made it out for the second run at lunchtime today. It's not more than a plod really but I'm a firm believer that if you put your trainers on, get outside and move with a running action then you are running, even if you're moving slower than you would be if you walked. You hear a lot of nonsense about people only being runners if they enter races or can run a six minute mile and other elitist rubbish. The fact of the matter is that if you are moving in that particular way that people do when they run and you do it regularly then you are a runner.

It doesn't matter whether you get outside or whether you are on a treadmill either. People being what they are they have preferences. My preference is to run outside on circular routes and I never, ever take any personal music playing thingy with me. Other people cannot imagine running outside or without music. Difference is what makes people interesting. If it works for you then more power to your elbow.

The thing that I struggle with most with my running is focus. Without that focus I find it difficult to miotivate myself to get out and train. When I rediscovered running a few years ago I had a goal of completing a marathon. As I became more confident I increased that goal to completing the Marathon des Sables. Once I had achieved both of these, admittedly sizeable, goals my focus disappeared. What could I possibly do that would top either of these things? I'm not of the ilk that I like to return to the same thing again and again, agonising over completing it faster than the last time. Difference again. I know some people for whom that is their sole focus. For me I've done it. Time to move on to the next thing. The problem is that I can't think of anything that excites me enough to build up that focus. Last year I came up with the ruse of running 208 miles from my house to my Mum's house which is 208 miles away. That gave me something to aim for and I managed to achieve it after a fashion, despite injuring myself.

And so it is a goal that I need. My Chiropractor agrees with me and has set me the task of finding one for myself. I mentioned in my previous posting that I have some ideas but I'm always open to suggestions.

Friday, April 16, 2010
A new chapter

Three years have passed since my last update. A lot has happened in that time. I completed the Marathon des Sables and raised some money for charity. I travelled the 208 miles on foot and bicycle between my house and my Mum's house and raised even more money for charity. I became a father and a husband. I got a new job and moved house.

I haven't done a lot of running in that time. In fact I've really lost my way. Without the motivation of some crazy escapade I just cannot find the impetus to train. It has something to do with the word itself I think, as the question remains "What am I training for?"

I need a new challenge to give me the fear but cannot for the life of me think of one. Actually that is not entirely true. I have a list of crazy escapades that are still out there waiting for me to organise. The problem is that they need more and more money to complete. I am not a salesman. I cannot think how I could even begin to go about raising funds to allow me to undertake the challenges on my list. There are some things rattling around in my head that could be ways of financing things but I just want to get on with the actual challenge.

One challenge in particular is capturing my imagination at the moment and I have made some tentative steps towards arrangements. If I were to take it on though it would probably mean having to quit my job.

Thursday, March 15, 2007
Are we nearly there yet?
So I went back to the doctor on Monday and she checked my blood pressure again. It was high. Kind of. It's borderline apparently and that's what has her all squinky. I bought one of those monitors from Boots and took it home where they testing fun went on all weekend. My readings were all normal. I think it's something to do with her.

I've heard of a condition known as Whitecoat Hypertension. The anxiety of going to the doctor's surgery to have your blood pressure taken is enough to raise it. That's what it must be. Strange really because these things don't normally phase me. I can only think that it is because of the power that she has to stop me from doing the thing that I want to do.

She signed the form though. I'll be in Morocco this time next week.

Thursday, March 08, 2007
Ready to Explode!
In order to take part in the Marathon des Sables I need to be signed off as medically fit to take part by my General Practitioner. On my first day in the desert the organisers will check the kit and food that I have with me to ensure that they are adequate and they will also want to see a signed form and an ECG from my doctor.

I went to see my GP today to get that all sorted. I had the ECG last week but had to allow time for the doctor to see it before I could take it with me. Unfortunately she would not sign the form. Apparently my blood pressure was showing a little high and she wants me to go back next week to have it checked again.

Hopefully we can get passed this. It wasn’t very high and I’ve had similar readings before only to check them again another day and have it read fine. I would imagine having to wait half an hour past my appointed time in a waiting room that was stifling hot didn’t help.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Running Commentary
Having been running in the city's green lung this lunchtime I was reminded again of how different people are in town and in the country. I think one person returned my smile today. Most people make a point of not looking at you and of those that do there are very few that acknowledge your existence. This weekend while I was running around the roads near my house I passed very few people but all those that I did pass had something to say. Even the people that pass me in their cars usually give me a wave. Cities are strange places.

Most of the comments that I get are from people that are out walking their dogs. Usually it revolves around their dog coming with me, or the immortal "Don't worry, he won't bite. He's very friendly really.", and most of them are. Mind you there was the one Rottweiler on the Grand Union Canal towpath that took a shine to me and headbutted me in the nuts. Apart from that and the dog that lives 4 miles from my house which appears to be allowed to run out of the house and into the road to attack passers by whenever it wants I've never really had any problems. Most dogs like me and I like most dogs.

My favourite comment made by someone that I've encountered on the road was an old boy that I passed a few summers ago. He was heading in the same direction as me and he looked over as I passed him. Seeing the water bottle in my hand he commented "I bet you wish that was full of gin.". And do you know, he wasn't far wrong.

Saturday, March 03, 2007
Slowly getting back to normal
So far I've managed do around 22 miles this week. I'm heading out tomorrow as well and things are slowly getting back to normal with my knee. I went to see my Chiropractor and my Podiatrist this week and they have helped me out with a bit of an adjustment here and there and some new orthotics for my extra large shoes that I need to wear when I head out into the desert.

I tried the big shoes out today. SWMBO and I went for a 7 mile walk out and over the hills at the back of where we live. They felt okay but my feet did feel as though they were moving about a little bit. I'm going to try them again tomorrow but this time I'll be running.

Sunday, February 25, 2007
I haven't written for a while because the company that I work for has finally gotten around to blocking all blog sites! Thou shalt not have fun whilst at work.

Not a lot to report. I've been going out for walks this week, not very many but my legs are feeling better. Having said that I have just come back from a 13 mile run and it was really hard. We've got 98% humidity and the temperature is around 6 degrees celcius. I struggled more than I thought that I would and it was mostly because of my hips. They felt tight the whole way around and left me feeling worn out by the time I'd done 5 miles.

Coming into the last 3 miles I was flagging quite seriously. That last stretch is all uphill and it really took its toll today.

Currently reading:
Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World
By Ewan McGregor

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I've been reading all kinds of forum posts and blog entries about Tring 2 Town 2 and the MdS and all about the huge distances that people are running as training and it has left me in a melancholy mood.

No running for me I'm afraid.

To cheer myself up I have been out and spent money that I don't have until payday. I still want to go out for a run though.

Monday, February 12, 2007
Tring 2 Rickmansworth

What with not having run at all last week, and my entire body twinging everytime that I moved, it was with some trepidation that I finally made it to Tring on Friday evening. Planes, trains and automobiles (as well as a bus) had helped me get there in a none too impressive seven or so hours. SWMBO and I were in high spirits though. We checked in and then had dinner in the hotel restaurant to find ourselves surrounded by all kinds of serious looking running types. That was a little scary, and I was still in two minds as to whether I should attempt the event at all.

We arose bright and breezy at 0600 and went for breakfast. There they all were again clad in weird running outfits and eating high-carb breakfasts. Not a slice of bacon in sight. At 0800 we all lined up outside in the rain and, after a quick photo call, we were off. Along the icy pavements we made our way from Tring to the canal. Down onto the towpath and then along the single-track icy path, taking care not to fall on my face. I was feeling alright for the first two miles and chatting away to a chap who is also heading out to Morocco in a few weeks. We were still with the pack and managing a, frankly ridiculous considering the distance we were attempting, 9 minute mile pace. The towpath narrowed and we had to run single file for a while. That is when my knee went. My left knee gave me a nasty twinge and I skipped to the side to let everyone past. I had managed a whole 2.75 miles.

So began the long walk. In the rain and the dull grey morning I slowly slid my way along the icy towpath. Eventually the rain stopped and the day began to warm up. The icy remains of the snow slowly disappeared and were replaced by glorious mud. I picked up a fellow walker and we battled on together, soon finding ourselves at the back of the pack. SWMBO was stationed at checkpoint 2 and so I made that my goal. By checkpoint 1 my right achilles was tightening up again and I started to feel justified in my dropping out. Oddly I didn't feel too bad about making that decision. It was a shame not to finish but my ultimate goal is the MdS and so not making Tring 2 Town 2 is sitting okay with me. The last thing I would have wanted would be to push all the way through to the end only to find that I couldn't walk for a week.

Having said that though the route was quite pleasant despite the mud and my new friend and I chatting away quite the thing for the 5 hours that we walked together. At 18.5 miles we picked up another injured walker and we all shuffled to checkpoint 2 together with surprisingly high spirits. There SWMBO was waiting to give me a big hug. A lot of other people had waited at the checkpoint to see us in as well. The level of camaraderie was very high and we found another couple of chaps there that had dropped out. From what I understand there was around a 10% attrition rate for those that started.

We hobbled off into town to meet up with Boob. Overall I was very glad that I started and, despite managing only 20.5 miles, I felt as though I could have pushed on a lot further. That makes me a lot more confident for heading out to Morocco. I just need to concentrate on fixing my legs now.

Currently listening to:
The World Needs a Hero
By Megadeth

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