Hot banana

It was HOT today!  Even with a breeze blowing through the house the temperature was still in excess of 80 degrees.  Outside it was way hotter still, so it was going to be a hot run whatever.

I opted to run inside and decided that there should be no mind-tricks today: I would be happy with five miles.  Sticking with the intervals of late I started with 6, 6, 7, 8, 6 to warm up (huh?) before repeating 7, 8, 9, 6 four times.  This was definitely exertion, but not by comparison with some of the recent sessions in view of the heat.

A hastily eaten banana ahead of the start of the session thankfully caused me no discomfort and having completed 5.25 miles in 44 minutes  (7.16mph average) I went for a very long, cold shower!

More mind messing

From the range of garden activities yesterday, I cannot single any one out that made me feel tired, but the cumulative effect was clearly sufficient to knock me out for most of the evening and the rest of the night until 9.30am this morning.  And even then I was half asleep.

It’s way too easy to find excuses not to run, so despite not feeling in the mood I climbed aboard the machine with the intention of running 5 miles of lightweight intervals.

For two miles I swapped between sic and seven miles per hour, then the next two between seven and eight.  By this point I was already making bargains with my subconscious mind, battling the perceived tiredness rather than any real fatigue.  In the final mile I started on eight, then increased to 9mph before dropping back to seven and eventually six.

It seemed too little to do if I’m trying to regain sufficient fitness to be able to run with Mark, let alone participate in Cliff’s crazy caper… a run between the Eyes of London & Brighton, albeit taking the Girl’s option and running as part of a relay team.

Which reminds me that the Men’s Sussex Fitness League tables are currently in disarray.  Firstly, I don’t think that I’m even clinging to last place.  Secondly, a real Girl seems to be heading the table on account of her 3 hour 34 minute Brighton Marathon time… none other than Maria Lees.

Various excuses surely abound as to why the men weren’t in the running.  Cliff and Andy were paddling round in a kayak, Mark probably had some lame excuse for not getting a PB (but not quite as lame as my own one of not running it at all) whilst pretty much everyone had run the Paris Ecotrail 100km race a few weekends before.

Nevertheless Maria is surely heading the league!

All of which managed to persuade me to run a little further today before I switched the machine off.  I realised that to this point I had run an average of 7mph, so I ran on at this speed, persuading my subconscious that I would stop at 6 miles, although both of us knew that by then I would want to run the other mile to make it an hour.

The other weekend when I was egging myself on was much more of a struggle… counting down the laboured breaths to the next slower speed and to the end.  Today was more about just wanting to finish, but then again it wasn’t such an onerous session.

7.01 miles in 1 hour and I’m already planning what I’m going to do next in the garden!

Hedging my bets

With all the rain, last weekend was the first opportunity this year to cut the hedges… a six-foot one at the front and a ten-foot one at the back.  Not doing this as a day-job means that I ached so much after the first one that I had the leave the other to the next day!

So when it came to deciding how far to run in between, I hedged my bets and chose a short distance of intervals on the machine.

I set the base level at 6mph, then increased the other quarter-mile each time from 7mph to 10mph by which time I had covered 2 miles.  I repeated this and then did 6-7-8-7 in the final mile.

5 miles in just under 43 minutes, averaging about 7mph.

I did have lots of thoughts at the time, but I somehow managed to forget to post and any thoughts have been deleted from my (very) short-term memory!


I had the pleasure of seeing Mark on Friday in a work context and the incredibly flowery shirt that he was wearing has led me to an admittedly spurious and totally illogical conclusion.  I don’t have a photo of  the aforementioned shirt so you’ll need to take my word for it, but the material must have been designed in the late 1960s!

I think that Mark was wearing it to distract onlookers from realising that his body was actually elsewhere, masquerading as a mannequin.  Fortunately I do have a photo of his body, standing casually in the window of a running shop in Queens Road, easily identifiable by the degree to which… er, I’m sorry to be blunt about this… his nipples stand out.

Mark won’t mind me mentioning this, I’m sure, since it is well known that he buys Vaseline in industrial containers to reduce friction rash in this area when running… and you can see why from this photo.

As those people who know both Mark and I will attest, there is a vague visual similarity between us.  It’s as if someone has squashed me from above, goatee and all, forcing my body and legs (yes, etcetera!) to bulge out.  This might help explain why he calls himself Mini-me, though the name could work for either of us!

But, for the record (Karen Scott) we’re not actually related… I meant to confess that I was pulling your leg, but got sidetracked… sorry!

Mark is busy competing in yet another marathon today (number 55?) and after my not running last weekend he shamed me into committing to a run today.  I decided the fastest way to get back into shape was on the treadmill, so after a couple of quadspressos and a banana this morning I climbed aboard with the aim of completing five miles.

I talk a lot (both here and in person) about the tension between conscious and sub-conscious and here was to be a battle worthy of mentioning.

I decided to do intervals, running every other quarter-mile at 6mph in order to recover.  The alternate quarter-miles started at at 6.5 mph and rose in 0.5 mph increments to 10 mph, before reducing again in the same way.

Adapting as the speed increased turned out to be okay, since the recovery period each time was quite generous, but having run a quarter-mile at 10 mph I didn’t manage to catch my breath before having to run at 9.5 mph.  This would have been okay if I was just running 5 miles, but by this point I had decided to run further and probably for an hour.

This is where the subconscious starts to kick in, trying valiantly to stop the body from running itself out of energy.  In a straight fight the conscious would always lose (you might be able to happily dance along a plank of wood on the ground, but place it between two rooftops and the subconscious will tell you it’s impossible to walk across), so instead it needs to play little tricks in order to get its way.

Strategies that I used today included: deciding that I would stop after the next recovery phase, be it the one following 10, 9.5 or 9 mph (and then not doing so on each occasion); focusing on something else by counting down the distance to the end of each faster quarter in breaths taken (five breaths to 0.1 mile); pointing out to myself that each interval was getting easier; and then by focusing on the pleasure of being able to write this post without having to confess that I wimped out when the going got tough.

There was eventually a compromise.  Having successfully got back down to 6.5 mph and run the subsequent recovery interval at 6 mph, I then relented and walked the final quarter to 8 miles as a cool-down.  At which point even the machine told me to STOP.

So 8 miles in just under 72 minutes, including the walk, averages at 6.67 mph and just about did me in… as you can see from my face below!

Having chilled my legs with a cold shower and eaten lots of peanut butter on toast I now feel pretty good, but only time will tell how well I will be able to walk come Tuesday morning.  All bets are off, but there’s a good chance that I will be walking markedly like a mannequin!