Finding a perfect balance between running and weightlifting is hard. Oftentimes it confuses runners because they assume both sports don’t work together. But how can you work on your endurance and build lean muscle mass at the same time without being sore all day?
I was scared that I wasn’t gonna run at all this week. But I managed 7.6 miles earlier at a 9:56 min/mile pace.
This week has been dreadful for training. I’ve felt low in physical energy and my morale has suffered as a consequence.
And because of that I’ve been freaking out about the Paris Marathon a lot with it being less than 3 months away.
But last night I had a breakthrough.
I dreamt that the Paris Marathon went perfectly and I ran it in 4 hours 39 minutes and I had an amazing time during it.
Most of my race ‘dreams’ involve my pants falling off my ass at the start line and me later being arrested for indecent exposure.
So a truly positive dream for me is unprecedented.
Tomorrow isn’t looking great for a long run here in Northern Ireland. The snow is coming down and I keep going outside to shake my fist at the sky but it doesn’t seem to be helping.
I hate feeling at the mercy of the weather. I’m already at the mercy of my own laziness.
But the bad weather won’t last forever and neither will the Winter, or even my laziness.
Motivation ebbs and flows like the seasons themselves and you’ve got to strike when you’re feeling strong and do what you can when there’s no inspiration left to avoid falling into a rut.
I’m falling short now
But I know I won’t always be this way.
I’ve been accused in the past of harbouring a completely negative mindset, and that a positive mental attitude is the only way to progress in life.
But feeling positive isn’t something that you can switch on and off. You react in the best way that you can to any situation you’re faced with.
The ‘Positive Mental Attitude’ crowd are shilling an ideology that bears no resemblance to real life. There’s nothing wrong with feeling great during a run. At the same time there’s nothing wrong with feeling like shit either.
I’d rather remain neutral/indifferent to my emotions and let my legs do the talking rather than my mind when I’m jogging.
If you try to force a positive mindset upon yourself when you’re not ready for it, then you’ll only feel worse for being negative and fundamentally broken.
I love daylight. It’s a time for doing, not for planning. For living, not for thinking.
Night time is when I’m alone with my thoughts and they aren’t always comfortable. When I’m not comfortable I reach out for comfort food. And that’s where the problem lies.
Therapy is expensive, Ben and Jerry’s isn’t.
All of these years I’ve been eating ‘comfort’ food but it hasn’t been adding to my peace of mind.
It’s just a temporary means of distracting myself from the boredom, sadness, anger or discomfort that I might be feeling at that time.
The sad truth is that I’ve no real reason to feel uncomfortable, unhappy or uneasy as I have a good standard of living.
Yet those feelings prevail and I still give into them a lot……
With comfort eating!
It’s not that everything will be better after a fucking Twix, but it seems that way before you start.
Then 1 Twix becomes 2 and you’re in a sugary daze Googling ‘how many miles do I have to run to burn off two fucking Twix’s?’
5 miles? I’m going to fucking bed! But not before another Twix! That will help!
You get the idea.
Night time is lonely for most people, even if they aren’t alone.
Here are 5 points to consider if you’re like me and tend to overeat or otherwise overindulge in the early hours.
- There’s nothing wrong with having a snack or a drink at night – Just don’t get to the point where you’re having to majorly adjust your diet tomorrow to compensate for all of the shit you ate today.
- Know your routine – If you’re like me and susceptible to eating more in the early hours, then plan for it and eat less when you aren’t that hungry at breakfast/lunch.
- Keep track of what you eat – You might get to the point where you’ve been logging your food and thinking ‘I’ve eaten 3,000 calories already and I’m going for another Mars Bar!?!”. Log it. And enjoy the Mars Bar as much as you can. Often the guilt of exceeding your ‘limits’ urges you on to eat more as you’re left feeling broken or empty.
- Don’t feel shame, but try to understand yourself and your weirdness – There have been mornings where I’ve woken up with empty wrappers on my bedside table and I can’t remember when or how the fuck I consumed that shit “Could it be that I was force-fed a Mars Ice Cream by a Poltergeist? Yes. That sounds plausible!”. Sometimes it’s easier to call the parapsychologist than the psychologist.
- Make tiny positive steps to getting better – I’ve been a crazy fucking fiend for Cheese for years now and it has probably offset the 700,000 calories I’ve burned through running quite substantially. Does this mean I should give up running? No. Does this mean I should give up cheese? No. But I can cut my intake and monitor it.
Do you comfort eat a lot at night? How do you deal with it?
I thought I’d write a little post today about my current lifestyle now that I’m working from home for a living at the minute.
It’s a massive change from what I’ve grown used to over the last few years and I definitely think that’s a positive thing.
We start at 9am, the time I return from the land of Nod.
I wake up, get to my computer and start writing more of the book after a bowl of Special K.
A lot of the time I think what I’m writing is absolute shit, but I ignore that part of my brain and just put as many words onto the screen as possible.
This is when I go outside for a run. I’ve been out for the last 4 days in a row and have amassed 36 miles in that time.
I’m very wary about injury so I always have a slower day after a quicker day. I’m concentrating purely on time spent on my feet at the minute.
Today’s run was 12.3 miles and I tried to put a bit of speed work into at the end. By the last mile I thought I was dying.
Started to feel hopeless about the enormity of the next few months. I’m running 62 miles in May and I struggled with 12.3 miles today. 62.2-12.3 = 50 miles more.
There’s no need to become disheartened though. That’s why I’m living this lifestyle at the moment. To become better at this.
I’ve had many tough runs like this in the past and they make the next few runs that much easier.
Sometimes I think the ‘no pain no gain’ bullshit might not be bullshit.
I think about what the fuck I’m gonna write about tonight on the blog. I start to worry that I’ve ran out of ideas altogether and that decline is sure to set in.
I tell myself to wise the fuck up.
I’ll come up with a post like ‘x Ways To Stop Feeling Like An Idiot On The Run’ that will keep everything ticking over for another 24 hours.
I get back to writing the book. I look at what I’ve written and think ‘fucking hell that’s barely English!’.
Remind myself that it’s all a first draft at the minute. The most important thing is to put the sentiment and the experiences down, then I can improve how it reads at a later date.
There’s only so much of my story to tell. The more I spew now, the easier things will be in 2 months time.
At some point I’ll try to whore out my Indiegogo link to Twitter or Facebook.
I try to keep my shilling to respectable levels. My general whoring levels must be more akin to the prostitute in ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ than Courtney Love.
Dinner is now the most important meal of the day for me.
I’ll typically have Spaghetti Bolognese or some pasta dish.
I don’t worry too much about portion sizes at this time as I’m eating less than half as much as I do during the day.
The most important thing is that it’s filling and reasonably healthy.
I hear from friends that they have arrived home from work and I realise what I’m trying to do here isn’t remotely normal.
I start to think that I’m fundamentally broken and that I should just content myself living in a cubicle. Start farming little Angry Jogger’s with a woman who resents me and I resent back.
Then I cheer up. It’ll usually be through Tweeting inane crap or seeing a funny cat gif.
Sometimes I’ll go on to Twitter and feel worse.
The assholes who post “eat real food” inspirational crap ruin my day. It’s just depressing how short-sighted these guilt-ridden, middle-class idiots are.
I can understand trying to eat healthier! I mean this was my dinner tonight.
I think most of the stuff in the container is real food. There might be some rat pubes in there from the factory where it was prepared, but we all pay a price for quality nosh in the Western World.
Anyway back to my rant
Just that phrase “eat real food” is sickening. I mean how the hell could you think it’s inspirational or motivating?
The fact that we have any shit to sustain at all in the first world is a good thing.
I understand the sentiment behind the movement, but it just comes across crass.
Almost as crass as this.
If you’ve ever used that hashtag on Twitter then I hate you. You’re deplorable and you should stick your head in your washing machine to cleanse your mind of all of the filth.
End of the day
I don’t go to bed before thinking about I’ve progressed in the last day, either health wise or with the book and the campaign.
I try not to focus on how far I’ve left to go, but just on moving forward and enjoying my writing.
The reason why I’ve kept with the jogging over the past 3 years and 5,000 miles is that I love it. If I can instil that same love into writing and healthy eating, then I’ll pass the 100k with flying colours.
If I’m still uninspired I’ll look at some old pictures of myself and laugh.
This is my favourite one at the moment, where I’m wearing my “No One Knows I’m A Lesbian” shirt.
If I can say that today was a good day, then I’m moving in the right step.
Today was a good day. How was your day?
Still no Vegas race report. I am really jet lagged and the best I can manage tonight is a list of 7 ways you can easily annoy runners.
I wasn’t gonna post at all tonight but I nearly got my head caught in a train door after leaving my rail pass on my seat. That was pretty infuriating.
Anyway try a few of these out if you want to piss some humourless idiots off.
- Remind them of all the healthy people that have died running – Jim Fixx and countless other healthy men have expired during races. This much is true. Many have died in McDonalds whilst chowing down on Big Mac meals. This much is true. We all die at some point. Do you want to choke to death on a Bacon McRib or go down in a blaze of glory in a race? Personally I’d rather die eating a McRib whilst running a marathon.
- Tell them that running is stupid – “What’s the point in running in a circle when your life isn’t in danger? It’s not natural!” And neither are your mothers titties! Besides I’m practising for when my life is in danger and some asshole is out on the rape. Anyway what’s the point in anything? You derive your own meaning from whatever makes you happy in life. If that involves force feeding mallards your old Nokia smart phones then go for it kid. Make them quack and burp your happy ringtones.
- Ask them did they win the race after they’ve finished – When you say ‘No’ and they say ‘Why not?’ ask them why they failed to finish egging all the cocks off at the shipyard last night. We can’t always bring our A-Game to downtown, sweetheart.
- Mock their appalling diet – “You’re supposed to be healthy and you eat all that shit?”. Yes I eat junk food. I can eat calorie laden foods as I exercise and balance it out. There are many ways of achieving a healthy life balance. It is not all about lettuce.
- Tell them that you could beat them in a race if you tried – This used to piss me off a lot but now when I hear it I think to myself “Go ahead and do it then. I don’t care. I’ll cheer you on if you win!” If you take up running just to one-up someone else then that’s quite sad.
- Tell them that running isn’t a sport – And that it is barely even a pastime. It lies somewhere between conkers and wanking in the sporting World. I have had this one before from fans of Golf. Golf for God’s sake! This island is full of golfing assholes. It isn’t a sport but more of a publicly acceptable form of cottaging for middle aged man whores with too much cash. They don’t bend over at the hole to get their ball out for nothing. That’s a primal cry for spunk.
- Tell them that they are not running but jogging – This will seriously annoy some runners, but not anyone with sense. The old jogging vs running debate has been fuelled for so long by this old chestnut. It used to annoy me but it doesn’t matter. As long as you’re moving forward that’s all that matters.
It’s been a good week for running so far. I managed to pull myself out of bed on Wednesday and Friday at 5am . The reason why I get up so early on weekday runs is that I know it’s gonna take at least 30 minutes to entertain the notion of going outside. By 5:30am I’m awake but still dreading the run.
The important thing is getting up from my bed and trying to stop falling back into sleep. it’s far too easy to hit snooze and climb back into bed.
On both of the runs this week I had to bargain myself into going outside. It worked. On Friday it was raining heavily and I coaxed myself into the jog by agreeing it was better to go for a 4 mile run than to lie inside and do nothing.
I ran 8 miles when I got out.
The most difficult part of any run is getting out there in the first place. Once you have your shoes and gear on, it becomes easy. It’s just about persuading yourself to make those first steps. It’s fucking difficult to do, but I managed it.
Your brain will always try to convince you to stay inside when the weather is shit, but once you get outside and start moving your heart will soar and everything else will be irrelevant.
And another run today!
I ran 8.4 miles today at a 9:53 min/mile pace. I’m finally managing to hit both my pace and distance targets for my Paris Marathon training which is in only 10 weeks time.
I’ve been aiming to make my short runs fit into the 8-10 mile category and it’s only this week it’s been easy. To make long runs a routine I need to be running longer distances in my short runs. It makes sense. Before I’d focus on weekly mileage and assume that running 5 miles twice on a Saturday meant that I could easily cover 10 miles.
It made me confident in running 5 miles and that’s about it.
I can only become comfortable at running 10 miles by running 10 miles and dealing with any physical or mental issues that may arise as those are the things that will matter when it comes to race day.
The run today didn’t go completely smoothly.
I wasn’t going to mention this as it will make me sound like a bit of a twat, but fuck it who cares. You know what I am.
Mid-way through the run I encountered a woman on the opposite side of the road. She was walking 2 small dogs and standing outside a farm with horses in the field by the gate. Her dogs were frightening the animals and she wasn’t doing anything to stop it.
I felt like saying something to her about it but I let it be. I managed to get 100 metres further down the road when I heard her scream. I glanced back and she was lying on the ground with the dogs trying to pull her in opposite directions.
Normally I would have offered assistance in such a situation, but this time around I can’t help but think she had it coming to her.
I made the most of the tragedy and put in a little bit of impromptu speed work to flee the scene.
By mile 7 I was certain I would have to stop. I felt like I was dying.
Running for longer but less often.
So in short I’m running less often but for longer each time. In January 2012 I ran 24 times in the month and covered 140 miles. In January 2013 I’ve covered 95 miles and ran 11 times and I feel much stronger on the long run because of it.
Tomorrow I have to cover 14 miles on the long run and I’m confident that I’ll do it. I might have to jog a little slower than I’m used to, but it will happen and it’ll be good.
With only 11 days left until Paris and little over a week until I fly out to Amsterdam to begin my ‘carb loading’ session I’ve been reflecting on the things what I won’t miss about marathon training.
- I won’t miss the deflated feeling the day after a long run – I dunno what the fuck is wrong with me on those days but I just feel mentally spent and none of it seems worthwhile. I go onto Twitter and see motivation quotes and I just want to shit in a dustbin and throw it at someone happy.
- I won’t miss feeling under pressure about making my long run count every time – The pressure I feel to continue on in the last miles is too much, particularly in the last few weeks of the schedule. My last few long runs were miserable affairs where I wanted to catch the bus home every time I seen one drive past. I think the long runs will get better though if I keep running over 10 miles in my mid distance runs. But until then, I long for the day when there are no more long runs.
- I won’t miss having to taper – I seriously hate this fucking tapering malarkey. I’m basically acting like a fat bastard by scoffing Ben and Jerry’s and feeling terrible about it. I want to run to escape the negative feelings but Hal fucking Higdon says no. I must conserve myself for the 26.2 miles where everything will magically come to-fucking-gether. Fuck it all. This shit is unnatural.
- I won’t miss having to fuel properly before and during long runs – I’m never hungry before long runs as I’m always too nervous. I hate the texture of gels. I hate the taste of isotonic drink. I hate the feeling of running 16 miles and being dreadfully thirsty and not having the stomach to keep anything down. It’s shitty and boring at times.
- I won’t miss having to continually worry about whether I’ll be able to survive in those last 6 miles – I’ve ran 2 marathons and I’m still not used to the distance. With half marathons I can at least soldier on through and not worry about collapsing mentally just short of home. The marathon is an unknown quantity to me.
- I won’t miss having to take more rest days when I don’t want to – I hate having to conserve myself for the longer runs. There have been plenty of Fridays where I’ve been in the mood for a run, but been unable to go on one as my long run is on the next day. It just feels like a waste.
Now for more positive shit.
I want to run longer. I want to get better. I don’t want to have to worry about these fucking long runs anymore. I’m doing everything I can to get better and to be in a stronger position.
I’m in a much better position than I was this time last year.
I’m just frustrated at the minute. And fucked-up on Ben & Jerry’s.
This isn’t helping.
I will stop being a negative creep now and crack one off to a self-help tape by Deepak Chopra.
The undisputed king of the bullshitting.
To be honest I only listen to shit like this to build up hate/energy for my morning runs.
This still works from yesterday.
Up at 5am tomorrow for 8 miles.
I was close to writing today off as a bad day.
It was just one of those days you have every so often where you have no energy, no inspiration and seemingly little to no control over what is happening.
Serious injury fears
Yesterday wasn’t great either. I spent the majority of the day limping around the house after having a deep pain in the centre of my back.
I think I put a little too much into the 18.1 miler on Monday.
It had been a while since I’d completed a run that had over 300 metres of elevation gain. Monday’s long run consisted of a total gain of 380m over 18 miles.
On the downhill section of the run I thought I was gonna have to stop. I honestly thought it was just trapped wind at the time, but the discomfort grew in intensity the more I slowed down.
I made it home and the pain only seemed to surface whenever I was moving up stairs.
As per usual when I got home I Googled for possible diagnoses and suspected I either had back Cancer or a slipped disc.
This contributed a lot to my general depressive state over the past 2 days.
I woke up this morning and most of the pain was gone.
At 3am in the morning I was jogging and hopping around my room to test to see if the pain was still there or not.
Fortunately there was no sign of it at all.
To run or not to run?
So as I said earlier, I wasn’t gonna go out at all today.
But you know what? I’m not prepared to settle on having a bad day anymore.
I’m not prepared to settle on having an average day either. It just won’t do.
In order for my luck to change and to catch a break, I need to be ready for it. I can’t sit around here feeling sorry for myself. It doesn’t solve any problems.
So you know what I did? I made myself furious.
I sat and watched this clip on Youtube for 4 minutes and whipped myself into a frenzy of hate and spit.
If you aren’t from the UK or Ireland, this is what we call a tool on these shores.
I can’t even remember from what commercial the clip originates from. All I know is that I had an allergic reaction to it today.
At first I was incapacitated with rage and smashed my head into my desk.
That’s not healthy.
I calmed down a little and changed into my running kit.
I conned myself into just going out the door with zero expectations. My goal was to pretend that every inch of road I covered was “Wonga” man’s fat head and to trample his awful head in.
Stamp, stomp, stamp, stomp.
The run was excellent.
I tramped his head in good. Real good. So good that his head would be a paste by now that I could spread thickly onto a sandwich and force-feed to his grieving mother.
I enjoyed every single minute of it. I wanted to cover a 10k at least and stayed out instead for 11.3 miles with an average pace of 9:31 minute/mile. Not a bad speed at all for the distance and I was constantly getting faster mile on mile.
There was no sign of back pain either. It’s been a while since I’ve felt this strong on a run.
So what’s the morale of the story here? I don’t think there is one other than you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do to inspire yourself.
I can safely report that today has now been a good day and I’m having a Onken Strawberry Biopot to celebrate.
I’m eating it like this too. Tasty treats.
It nearly ended in disaster too right at the end of the run. I was thinking back to Wonga man again and tried to put one last surge of speed into my legs to record a sub 8 minute last mile.
I ended up tripping up over my own feet and nearly went down on my face.
That would have been embarrassing. Wonga man would’ve won.
I didn’t fall and that’s the important thing.
So I’m now down to 209.7lbs from last week’s 210.7lbs. I’m a little disappointed about the loss in terms of numbers but I can see a positive change in how my clothes are fitting my body.
Apologies for the poor quality of picture. I made a conscious effort this week to cover the ‘Hello Kitty!’ chair that most of you were bitching about in last week’s shot (it’s my nieces chair!)
The good from this week
- I’ve been eating healthier – I haven’t had any cheese in a week (unless you count cottage cheese which clearly isn’t a real cheese). I’m focusing mostly on crisp bread, cereals, low fat Onken yoghurt and pasta.
- My running stamina is improving and my confidence has improved because of that – I’ve only ran 3 times this week so far but I’ve covered 40 miles in those runs. An 18 miler plus 2×11.3 milers. I’m gonna go out tomorrow and run at least 15 miles so that I beat last week’s mileage total of 55 miles. I will do this. I don’t care about pace. I’m staying out for as long as I can.
- I’m comfortably taking on hills at the moment – In the 18 miler I ran up over 350m of elevation gain which is a new record for me. I took them on fearlessly and relaxed into them which is the best thing you can do to make hill running easier for yourself. Once you start panicking on the climb then it’s too easy to lose your breathing and your rhythm.
I ran around the war memorial on Monday evening without a problem.
- My nipples are no longer an issue – I’m wearing the same running clothes outside but I’m not experiencing anything near the levels of chaffing I encountered over Christmas. This is great and makes showering that much easier (no more screaming like I’m Janet Leigh in Psycho)
- For the first time I’m starting to believe that I can finish the 100k – That’s why it’s important to keep moving forward with my fitness and the weight loss. I can’t let things slow down and grow complacent. I’m meant to be doing all of this full time. I’ve no excuses.
The bad from this week
- My sleep is even worse than ever – On Friday I went to bed at 11am and woke up at 5pm. The sleep cycle is really stressing me out and I’m thinking of speaking to the doctor about it.
- I’ve probably been eating too much cereal – I counted 4 bowls of Frosted Shreddies in 2 hours on Thursday evening. I’ve fallen into the trap of trying to ‘carb load’ for runs when ultimately I’m just pigging out. I understand that it’s counterproductive and I’m trying to cut it out.
- I don’t feel well today – I had a bottle of Wine last night and some pizza and my system seems to be in shock. I don’t understand how I’ve become such a lightweight in such a short period of time. Anyway I’m not drinking tonight but I am having a pot of Ben and Jerry’s Vermonster. I’m totally exhausted and having real trouble writing this post.
- I experienced back pain after the Monday run – It was centred in my lower back and on Tuesday I could barely walk because of it. Weirdly enough I ran on Wednesday and Thursday without a problem. I’m hoping it isn’t something that will continue to rear it’s head. I can’t afford to be injured.
- The last 10.3 miles – The tendency is to fear the last x miles that you didn’t cover with your long run. My longest run before the 50k is last Sunday’s 20.7 miles. That’s 10.3 short of the distance. Will adrenaline alone enough to take me through Bangor? My evil Aunt with only one eyebrow lives there, will her far-right politics alone inspire me through the wall? Or will I be forced to listen to her paranoid horseshit?
Artist’s impression of my Nazi aunt. She’s still wanted and DANGEROUS.
- How bad will the pain be the next morning? – I have to go to work on the Monday morning after the race and despite my incessant requests, they’ve yet to put a stair lift in for me. I’ve ran 26.2 miles 4 times now and it’s a bit of a fucking bastard. I caught a 4-hour flight to Greece after the last one and I was only happy as I was full of wine. And going to Greece.
- New levels of chaffing? – After the Paris Marathon the chafe wounds on the inside of my legs resembled the black sesame seeds you see on fancy muffins. In my hotel room in London, I scratched the marks accidentally whilst sleeping and they all came off at once. My bathroom that night was reminiscent of the opening scene of Carrie if she’d been possessed by the spirit of a Northern Irish Forrest Gump. I won’t let this happen again. I’m gonna butter myself senseless with Bodyglide.
Post-Paris chafe scabs looked like this.
- Will I bring enough fuel for the race with me? – I’m planning on taking at least 12 gels this time and a few extra bottles of Lucozade in my backpack but I still worry that this won’t be enough. Then again, I don’t want to bring too much with me.
- Will I make an absolute fool of myself by being completely unprepared for the event? – I remember standing at the starting line for my first ever marathon with my little bum bag tied around my waist, feeling completely idiotic compared to the real athletes around me. I’ve never attempted an ultra marathon before. I only decided that I was gonna do this 11 days ago. There’s the very real prospect that I’m in over my head and this is the time the marshals will come to take me away.
Me in my first ever marathon. With a bumbag on that was trying to escape off my side.
- Will this be my last ever race? – I’m frightened that this experience could be so bad that I give up on running out of embarrassment. I was close to doing that after the Larne Half Marathon 2011, but somehow I carried on.
- Did I taper enough for the race? – My last long run was on Sunday. It was my longest in quite some time. If I’m to believe the tapering marathon hippies, then I won’t be at my peak for the 50K. I will suffer. My legs will break. I will weep out of exhaustion. My balls will go septic and my body will break down organ-by-organ out of toxic shock. To counter this threat, I must stretch, jog on the spot for 12 hours, take an ice bath; before, during and after the 50K and stretch some more!
- Have I tapered too much? – Yes, I haven’t ran in 5 days. Yes, I’m wondering if I can still run. Yes, I’m a complete idiot for thinking this way. But I cannot help it.
- I’m worried my pre-race ritual won’t work this time – This ritual involves getting mildly drunk the night before a race, drinking 3 cans of Monster Khaos within 45 minutes of waking and then crapping all of the awkwardness out of me. Since I’ve never ran this distance before I’m terrified that I’ll tense up and run really badly.
- That I won’t meet my race expectations of a sub 6 hour finish – I don’t understand why I always place time limits on myself. It kills what should be a great day. I’ll finish on Sunday, but if it isn’t under 6 hours then I’ll see it as a defeat as I’m a bit weak.