DAMMIT, I thought, when I woke up. I’d had a sleepless night and when I woke up I thought I’d slept too late to make it on time to meet up with a group to go on a bike ride to the seaside. So I jumped out of bed to get on Facebook and hoped they’d see my ‘sorry I’m not going to make it on time’ message before they left, then I realised it was Saturday, not Sunday and I didn’t have to be anywhere. Duh.
But, I did have to run 6 miles and so I drank my tea and got into my running gear and attempted to run 6 miles. My ‘attempt’ turned into a bit of a stroll, listening to my music but at least I made it out the door.
When I got home, I decided because I’d ran 6 miles, my running shoes were probably worn out and therefore I needed a new pair. I pondered this out loud on Twitter and Twitter agreed with me:
@jogblog Definitely. And anything else that catches your eye.
Running Free Online calendar showing the Juneathon activity so far
Last time I posted, I said I was off to London the next day and my activity would probably be a bar press up. Although I did visit a few bars – my favourite being the one with the skull disco ball, safari wallpaper and cocktails in teacups – I forgot to do a bar press up.
Skull disco ball pleases my inner goth
I did, however, walk the two miles to the station in the morning instead of getting a lift. That definitely counts.
On Sunday I did fuck all except walk to Tesco to buy wine. I’m not sure that counts.
On Monday I didn’t even walk to Tesco. That doesn’t count no matter how many ways I try to change ‘didn’t even walk to Tesco’ into something more strenuous.
Tuesday should have been the start of my marathon training but after three hours of trying unsuccessfully to tell myself to get out the door and go for a run, I decided I’d rather get dressed instead. I’m not sure ‘getting dressed’ counts.
Wednesday I cycled seven miles and walked seven miles. That even more definitely counts than ‘walked two miles to the station’.
Thursday was another ‘can’t be fucking arsed’ day, although I did go to the designer outlet and look at Asics running shoes, so maybe that counts?
Today – Friday – my marathon training schedule said I had to run three miles and I decided I would really hate myself if I slacked off another marathon training run, especially in the very first week, so I forced myself out the door and although I mostly walked the three miles, at least I did it.
Tomorrow, my marathon training schedule says I have to run six miles, so I’m hoping the motivation fairies visit me in the night.
Running: 3 miles (most of it walking)
Juneathons completed: some of them
A few months ago, I sensed Cassie needed some motivation to get back into running, so I made her a bracelet.
And as Helen had a couple of marathons coming up, I made her a bracelet too.
Then I realised that I needed some motivation as well, so I made myself a bracelet. My one embraced my inner goth.
It also matches my Fitbit (sorry for fuzzy photo – trying to take a photo one-handed with your non-dominant hand isn’t easy).
And, I’ll tell you what – this bracelet is made of magic because I wore it for the first time today as I was going for a run and I ran 5 miles without stopping, WAHOO. I even did sub-12 m/m which, yes, is horrifically slow, but I don’t care. I DID 5 MILES WITHOUT STOPPING AND IT’S ALL THANKS TO MY MAGIC BRACELET.
Giveaway – Win A Magic Bracelet!
As I came back from my run endorphined-up on a runner’s high, I’ve decided to share the magic and give away two bracelets (purely because I have two ‘run’ beads left). You have the choice of a skull one like mine (although I haven’t got many pink or purple ones left but I have green, red, blue and yellow skull beads so you can choose a combination of those), or you can have a black and red one like the one at the beginning of this post (or you can have black and pink, or pink and red, as I have pink beads). Or you can have a pot-luck one and leave me to decide what to make from my collection of beads.
Just leave a comment below telling me what magic power you would like to have and I’ll pick two at random after the closing date of Tuesday 30 June 2015.
UK entries only, sorry (unless you want to pay the postage).
You know I said yesterday I might do a run today but don’t hold your breath? Well, after posting the link to yesterday’s walk on the Juneathon Facebook Page, fellow Juneathoner David Lewis berated me and said this was called JogBlog, not WalkTalk, and so I said okay, I’ll do a run tomorrow and so, DAMMIT, that meant I had to run today.
So, yeah, I ran. And not only did I run but, because I had a whole three or four hours of uninterrupted sleep at some point after 1am, my brain or body or whatever part of me is responsible for this type of thing, decided that 5am was a perfectly reasonable time for me to be wide awake, so I got up about 5:30am, left the house at 6:30am-ish and went for a run.
As I pondered what to wear, I remembered I had a new Anita Extreme Control Sports Bra to try out. This bra is great and I’m not sure what I like best about it – the way it does up easily like a normal bra (i.e. none of that twenty-three clips and straps and hooks malarky), the comfort and support, or that it comes in Black Grape colour, which isn’t to be confused with the indie dance rockers of the same name. Which is just as well, as I really don’t want Shaun Ryder anywhere near my tits.
As soon as I stepped outside the house and before I’d even taken my hand off the door handle, someone was pouring water on my head and I thought WHO THE FUCK IS POURING WATER ON MY HEAD? Then I realised it was probably raining and not someone pouring water on my head and I looked around and saw that, yes, indeed, it was raining all over the local neighbourhood and not just on my head.
Being a sane and rational person, I turned to go back inside but, although I still had my hand on the door handle, the door had shut and so I thought I’d be hard and go for a run anyway. Plus, although I’m no Michael Fish, I reckoned it was only going to be a shower anyway. But it turned out I am Michael Fish after all because it was only a shower. Get me and my weather forecasting skillz.
I was doing really well, running (I use the term loosely) without stopping to walk until I got to about 1.85 miles and thought I’d have a bit of a rest. But then I remembered I was marathon training training and a marathon is longer than 1.85 miles (my maths is rubbish and at the time I couldn’t work out just how much longer it is, which is probably just as well), so I carried on shuffling along in my own approximation of running and although before I’d left the house I’d planned to do 3 miles, it only turned out to be 2.6 miles, I’m happy with that. It’s a start, isn’t it?
Distance: 2.6 miles
Time: mind your own business (or look on Strava)
Pace: as above
Juneathons completed: 3/30
I can’t remember if my very first run was done to music. If it was, then considering I only ran about three feet before stopping to have a massive coughing fit, I wouldn’t have got very far through a track (although, possibly approximately twelve Lawnmower Deth tracks). I know I ran with music when I started blogging about my running though, as at the end of each post, I listed the tracks I listened to.
The only time I run without music now is if I’m running in a group and the only time I run in a group is for a speed session as that’s over quite quickly – I’m really not a social runner; I want to be on my own and zone out and listen to music, not chat or be able to hear the sound of my feet thumping the ground or my inelegant heavy breathing.
However, one day in 2008, after reading a debate on the Runner’s World forum, I decided to have an experiment and run without music, and you can read about it here (sorry for the broken links to pics). I concluded my experiment by concluding I don’t like running without music.
I’m also one of those runners people get wound up about by running races listening to music. Seriously, people actually get annoyed by this and apart from them being a touch uptight, I have no idea why this would be something to get annoyed about (unless they can hear music leaking from other runner’s earphones, which would wind me up something chronic). I know some people say you can’t hear the marshal’s instructions if you’ve got music on but I’m not blind and the marshal’s instructions are usually more in the form of pointing, not talking and if they’re your usual happy smiley clappy marshal, they’ll get a happy smiley ‘thank you’ back, as listening to music doesn’t actually affect my ability to speak.
As a back-of-the-packer, I really couldn’t bear to be stuck at the back listening to a load of women chatting to each other and I need my music on to drown them out so, these days, I check race websites carefully to see whether MP3 players are allowed or not. Luckily, MP3 players are welcome at the Dymchurch Marathon I’ve *gulp* signed up to do at the end of November (it doesn’t matter how many times I say I’ve signed up to do a marathon, it hasn’t sunk in yet and according to my calendar, I need to start training for it soon).
When it comes to what music I’ll play when I’m running, I’ve got to say, it’s usually Audiofuel. Audiofuel keeps me running at a somewhat consistent pace, whereas if I’m listening to my own music, I’ll probably end up stopping to skip tracks or I’ll decide I really need to hear a certain song RIGHT NOW and stop until I find it and some of my music just isn’t great to run to in the first place (have you ever tried running to Cardiacs?)
In the gym, however, unless I’m in the mood to hear something specific, I’ll just keep my iPod on shuffle and listen to whatever it throws up. One thing I discovered when I joined Fitness First in London years ago though is that you need some noise-cancelling earphones so you only have to hear your music, not theirs too, otherwise you’ll end up with some weird dance/indie combo. Well, in my case, anyway. You may well end up with a dance/dance combo and not notice any difference.
So, yes, I’m definitely in the pro-running-with-music camp. How about you?
If I’d owned my iPhone when I first started running, I wouldn’t have run without it. Like most phones these days, it can play music, run GPS fitness apps, has maps in case I get lost and a camera for any cow-based photographic emergencies. However, I didn’t have my iPhone when I started running so I used to take out with me my massive Garmin 301 (I think it was a 301 – the one that took up half your arm), a massive video iPod (which promptly broke as I don’t think it liked being run with) which took up half my other arm, a little camera tucked into my back pocket and a printed paper map if I was trying out new routes. I can’t remember what phone I owned at the time but I didn’t take that out running with me as it was a weird phone that could only be used for making phone calls *shudder* and sending text messages.
I still don’t usually run with my iPhone because a) I don’t use any running apps; b) I’m happy with my iPod Shuffle for music; and c) they’re impossible to use through those armbands no matter how much the blurb for them says you can, so if, for example, an unwanted U2 album that was FORCED on to your iPhone against your will comes on, I’d have to stop and take the phone out of the armband to stop Bono from squawking down my ear.
But then Three Mobile sent me the KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote to try.
As you’ve probably guessed, the KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote is, um, a Bluetooth remote. It’s compatible with all stereo Bluetooth devices though, not just iPhones, despite me banging on about my iPhone in the previous 250 words.
In the box you’ll get the KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote, earphones, 3 sets of earbuds (although mine only came with one), USB charge cable and a user manual.
Setting it up is easy – the remote and my iPhone paired quckly, then all I had to do was plug the earphones into the remote, clip the remote onto my waistband and shove my phone into my Roosport Fitness Pouch (these pouches are great – so much better than an armband for carrying your phone), then I was ready for my run. Well, I would have been if the earphones had a better sound quality but I’m afraid to say I hadn’t even made it as far as the front door before turning back and swapping them for my usual Sennheisers.
Once you are out on your run and you’ve got used to knowing where the buttons on the remote are, play/pause/fast forward/rewind/volume control are all within easy reach without you stopping what you’re doing. You can also take phone calls with it but no one ever rings me so I didn’t get to test that bit.
I’m not sure it’ll take over from my iPod completely but if I did want to take my phone out running or walking with me to use music or apps or just so I’ve got my phone with me in case of emergency, I’d be happy to use the KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote. Just not with their pretty yellow but pretty rubbish earphones.
The KS Active+ Bluetooth Remote is available in black, pink or blue at various prices from Amazon.
Juneathon: A yearly festival of activity and excuses
I know it doesn’t seem long since Janathon but, yep, it’s that time of year when I pester you to sign up for Juneathon.
In case you don’t know what a Juneathon is, it’s a month of daily exercise – running, cycling, gymming, swimming, extreme sunbathing, whatever and after you’ve done your exercise, you blog about it or if you can’t be arsed to write a whole blog post, you can just tweet your efforts (using the #juneathon hashtag) or post about it on the Juneathon Facebook Page.
New for 2015! Because Louise said on Facebook she wasn’t Juneathoning this year because a) it’s hard; and b) it’s not on Strava and if it’s not on Strava it doesn’t count, I created a Juneathon Strava Club. You can join the Strava Juneathon Club here but it only appears to count running, not cycling or anything else, so if anyone knows how I can change that, please let me know (and not just because I don’t want to be bottom of the Strava leaderboard. Okay, it’s because I don’t want to be bottom of the Strava leaderboard).
Juneathon is fun and it’s free and it’s a great way to make new friends/followers and we even meet up in real life after it’s all over and done with to stuff our faces then go to the pub to drink like the finely tuned athletes we’re not.
Don’t laugh, but I’ve entered another marathon. I realise this makes it sound like I’ve already run about 16 of them but, as you’ll know, I haven’t actually ran any and apparently running four half-marathons doesn’t equate to two full ones, no matter how much I argue this – in my mind, perfectly valid – point.
Those of you who knew me in the days before I lost the jog in my blog will know I entered the Kent Coastal Marathon in 2008. I was all geared up for training for this. I was running consistently, I’d done a few 5ks, 10ks and a half-marathon and knew I had a marathon in me if I trained properly for one. But then I realised ‘training properly for one’ meant doing longish runs mid-week. I did one eight mile run mid-week, tacking a bit onto my 6 mile running commute then I found out MP3 players weren’t allowed in the marathon and I also found out the first half was hilly and so I thought, ‘sod that’ and that was the end of my first marathon.
The next year I got caught up in the excitement of the London Marathon when a lot of running friends got ballot places and so I entered the ballot, got rejected but continued trying and finally got a place the year before I would have got one of those ‘five rejections and you’re in’ places (that they no longer do).
I ended up deferring that place because I didn’t do any training (I’m sensing a theme here) but the next year I’d completely lost any interest I had in doing the London Marathon after going down to support and finding the crowds – to be blunt – did my fucking head in.
And there ended any interest I ever had in doing a marathon. Ever.
Until I saw the goody bag the Saxon Shore guys provide. They pride themselves on having unhealthy goody bags, mostly containing food and drink beginning with the letter C, e.g. cookies, cider (or Carling or Carlsberg), chocolate, cheddars and crisps. They even do a vegan version. And also, as anyone who’s taken part in one of their races can confirm, they do the coolest medals ever. Take a look at this beauty.
Photo credit: http://runwithemmy.co.uk/?p=404
Helen and I briefly talked at the end of last year about doing the Dymchurch Marathon at the end of this year but then I forgot all about it. But then after Helen had to drop out of Brighton because of an injury and started to look for another marathon to do, I reminded her about this one. What started off as a throwaway comment ended up in a lengthy Twitter/Facebook conversation where I ended up saying ‘okay, I’ll do it’ (I might have had a few glasses of wine when I said this) but not leaving it at that but dragging Cassie, Rachel, Carla, David, Adele and Angela into it too. Cassie and Rachel are definite yeses. We’re still working on the others BUT THEY WILL SAY YES.
My training’s going really well. I’ve paid my entry fee and downloaded a training schedule. All I need to do now is the training but I’ve been told that’s the easy bit. Also, as the marathon’s at the end of November and along the seafront, it’s going to be flipping freezing, so I’m going to need some warm clothes – maybe some gloves and a hat from e-outdoor.co.uk or somewhere similar. 26.2 miles along the seafront in the winter – I must be mad.
On the way to the pub after the Ashford & District 10k a couple of weeks ago, Helen and I stopped to look in the window of Sports Direct (don’t ask me why this was more important than the pub. We must have been feeling athletic after our race or something) and I saw a jacket I had been eyeing up a few months ago had been reduced in price so we went in to have a look.
The jacket wasn’t the same jacket I thought it was but look what I found instead.
Don’t cha wish your running tights were hot like these?
DAISY PRINT TIGHTS, BABY!!!! They were £17.99, which is more than I’d usually want to pay in Sports Direct, but… you know… daisies…
Stop looking at the mess behind me. Nosy.
I went for a run in them today and they’re thick and comfy but they don’t have a drawstring and they do slip down a bit, although not as much as some tights I’ve worn in the past so they’re okay to run in but may be better suited to the gym.
You can buy similar ones in Tesco for £14, although they’re a lot thinner. I was tempted to buy some when I saw them the other day but I’d already bought my SD ones but yesterday when I went into Tesco, I bought some fab bright pink and black ones which I’ll model for you another time.
Octane Zero Runner – sold exclusively at Fitness Superstore
Back in 2007, I ran on a treadmill for 90 minutes. Because of the impact on my joints, this caused an injury which left me barely able to walk for about two months and, as any runner can tell you, getting over a running injury can take time. Lots of time. So, my advice to you is to not run for 90 minutes on a treadmill (unless you’re a nutter called Phil Anthony who ran 100km on a treadmill in 6 hours and beat the world record. Sorry – did I say ‘nutter’? I meant ‘superhero’). Obviously it’s not just treadmills that can cause an injury – road running puts a lot of pressure on your joints, too, and so the folks at Octane Fitness invented the Zero Runner.
As the name suggests, it’s a running machine with zero impact on your joints. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a cross between a treadmill and a cross-trainer though – it’s not. The Zero Runner has mechanical hip and knee joints that replicate human biomechanics in running and the user controls the motion, with the Zero Runner following the runner’s movement.
It’s been around for a while in the US and has now been brought to the UK, where it’s sold exclusively by Fitness Superstore, who invited me to come along to one of their stores for a demo.
On my arrival at the Tunbridge Wells store, the manager, Malcolm, greeted me, along with Ricky who set me up on the Zero Runner and talked me through it. The first thing I noticed about the Zero Runner is its size. Considering it’s for home use (you won’t find them in gyms), it’s a big machine, but, as Malcolm pointed out, compared to a treadmill – which are a few feet long – the Zero Runner’s footprint is actually quite small. On the plus side though, because it’s self-powered there’s no motor which means there’s no need to plug it in which in turns makes it quiet while also not increasing your energy bills.
Smartlink app from Octane Fitness
You can link up the Zero Runner to Octane Fitness’ free SmartLink app on your iPad and set up programs and workouts and watch videos that will walk you through everything. If you don’t have an iPad, as you’d expect, the Zero Runner has a console that shows basic stats such as pace, speed, calories burnt, distance, etc. It also has wireless heart rate technology for Polar, ANT+ and Bluetooth.
Octane Zero Runner console
So, what is it like to use? After a quick demo from Ricky, I hopped on to the Zero Runner and tried to make the paddles move and failed. I ended up kind of scissoring my legs without bending my knees. I asked Ricky how long it takes to get used to it and he said it’s usually around a minute or so, so I persevered for a while longer before jumping off and asking Malcolm (Ricky had gone to help a customer) to show me how it’s done. This time I paid more attention to his leg movements and when I went back on for another go, I quickly got into the swing of it. As I mentioned above, the Zero Runner isn’t like a cross-trainer. It doesn’t move for you – you make it move and it follows your movements and, once you realise you can make a natural running movement, it’s really effective.
When I’d finished my demo, I was so impressed I wanted one. Space is at an issue at the moment with the conservatory (where the rest of the home gym equipment is) currently being used as storage for kitchen stuff (the kitchen’s currently being demolished/decorated) but also The Zero Runner isn’t cheap at £2,699 at the time of writing. No decent piece of gym equipment is cheap though and this is a multi-purpose machine which, as well as a running machine, can be used as a cross-trainer (you can change the resistance on the arms) and skiing machine. You can also strength train on it with the included resistance band which can be attached at 7 points.
Strength training workout on the Smartlink app
Zero impact to protect your joints
Replicates road running
Fully customisable flexible stride options
Ideal for runners who want to avoid injury or are coming back from injury
Great supplement to outdoor training
No energy bills
More fun than a treadmill
It’s a big machine
I can’t afford one
To see the Zero Runner in use by someone who knows what they’re doing, watch this video.
The Zero Runner is exclusive to Fitness Superstore. To arrange a demo at one of their stores in Leeds, Manchester, Tunbridge Wells, Frimley, Gloucester or Northampton, contact them on 01604 673000 or visit their website at www.fitness-superstore.co.uk/zero-runner for more information.