Category Archives: My Life

Posts not even remotely relating to running

What’s in a (blog) name?

So I came up with a new name for my blog.

The old name, whilst descriptive of my (ongoing) journey from couch potato to skinny fry, didn’t exactly roll off the tongue!

I’m proud of my journey but I’m just as proud to put my bigger days behind me and focus more on the present.

My name is Matt, I’m a runner, and I write about my running, and soon, running in general.

Welcome to ‘Running Matters’.

(See what I did there?)

I’ve spent a little money on a domain so I can have a little more creative freedom, and I’ve revamped the look and feel.

Hope whatever readers I have like it!

Where’ve I been?

Its been a while since my last post. A lot has happened since Hope 24, and there is a reason why I am back posting…

Hope 24 left me pretty damaged. I was mentally and physically exhausted afterwards, and looking back on things I can see this may have been a root cause of some of the things that happened in the following weeks.

The week following Hope, I entered the Royal Berkshire 10k in Reading/Green Park at the very last minute as Jodie and her sister were doing it. A nicely sized event, a flat course and good support. I came close to my PB which I was pretty pleased with. I felt in good shape. I was heading to Iceland again for work and of course was planning on taking my trainers so felt like things were going pretty well.

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Whilst in Iceland I managed a couple of runs in earnest. Just easy paced ones on Monday and Tuesday. I was primarily running to burn calories, as when I’m away with work I find it very difficult to make healthy choices and end up drinking beer on nights I normally wouldn’t. Plus, I was going on my Stag Do on the Friday and would miss a couple of runs due to that.

Unfortunately, disaster struck. On Wednesday I came down with a stinker of a cold, and by Wednesday afternoon it was full blown man-flu. I was shivering, weak and sweating. It was a horrible experience, and i was worried that I wouldn’t enjoy my Stag! “With a very sore throat and massive cough I was able to soldier on through the training course I was on, and flew back very late on Thursday, only getting about 4 hours sleep before the Stag (Which almost certainly didn’t help). Waking up still feeling ill. I manned up and got on with it.

After leaving the casino on the Friday at 4.30am (Saturday), unsurprisingly I was a little unwell for my Stag parkrun at Southampton.

Believe it or not, this was BEFORE the run.
Believe it or not, this was BEFORE the run.

There were very good, made a little announcement about it being my stag etc and a couple of us ran. I felt awful but couldn’t work out if it was illness or hangover. Needless to say, I still looked rough, maybe even rougher, after the run!

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This was followed up with a game of Dodgeball, after which I decided enough was enough and went to the doctors in case I had contracted something that needed antibiotic treatment. It turned out it did not, but I did have some form of nasty virus.

It took nearly 3 weeks before I felt something close to human again, but whenever I tried running it just resulted in failure. I was heavily fatigued whenever I went out and my mojo was completely non existent.

It was made worse by a flareup of Plantar Fasciitis.

Given I was getting married in a week or so, desperate to lose a final bit of weight before the big day, this resulted in impatience, I kept running and kept making things worse. Looking back I can see what a massive mistake that was. I should have just stopped, but in my head I argued that I’d have 2 weeks rest on honeymoon.

Keeping running, like the fool that I am, also meant I was lucky enough to run a parkrun on the morning of my wedding! Martin came all the way from yeovil for the run, which I was really grateful for, and Steve was coming to the wedding. But it was a good social run, and strangely one of my more comfortable ones if I compare it with the previous weeks!

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Then this happened… Best day of my life without question, but this is about my running and fitness so will skate over the details! Needless to say it was an amazing day and everyone had fun.

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And we went on honeymoon for 3 weeks. 2 weeks in Orlando and a week cruising the Caribbean. it was bliss. We even managed to get in our first foreign parkrun at Clermont Waterfront, just 10 miles from our holiday villa! It was a lovely event though referred to everything as a “race”. Fantastic volunteers and friendly faces as ever.

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I even managed to run every day on the Cruise, once on the outdoor running track (Which was mind blowingly hot and humid) and then the remainder on the treadmill.

It was on the cruise that I seemed to find my running mojo. I enjoyed the treadmill runs and found myself itching to get to a “proper” run outside back home. The Plantar Fasciitis seemed to have eased and all the fatigue I was experiencing before the wedding seemed to be gone too. I was able to actually put in a 6 mile run and even a tempo run! Much better than before.

On the treadmill I was able to reflect on what had gone wrong. Clearly, Hope 24 had left me a broken man. I think by not giving myself enough recovery time before racing a 10k left my body pretty vulnerable, and the virus caught me at the right time. My immune system took a battering and it just took a long time to get over it.

During my reflection I also wanted to work out how I could get back into things and progress from where I was before. I still have long term objectives I want to achieve, and have come back with some holiday weight to lose.

I found my most effective results for both training motivation and weight loss has always been through writing my blog. it keeps me honest with myself.

Friday will be the first weigh in, and operation “13st3lbs by 33” kicks in. It’s my 33rd birthday on the 10th November and my weight loss goal is to reach that level by then. All the 3s made it an appealing number!

Running wise, my primary goal is the Great Birmingham Run in October. My currently ambitious goal is to break 90 minutes, but how realistic that is I don;t know. Until I get into the bulk of the training I’m not really sure what condition I’m in.

I’m working on my training plan and will post it later once finalized, and I’ll be back on MyFitnessPal this week too to keep me accountable there too.

My mojo is back. It’s time to shift those pounds and smash those PBs!

 

When Jantastic meets discipline

Following yesterday’s epic 18 mile marathon paced session, the 150 mile 5am drive to work this morning was a little more challenging than usual. Not only was I mentally tired from the shortened amount of sleep I had (not a good idea for recovery, especially when Strava just rated your suffer score as “Extreme”) but my muscles were achy and stiff. My eyes could barely stay open!

Following that up with hard day at work I was feeling a little drained. There were several things running around my head.

  • My legs could really do with a recovery run to shake off the stiffness
  • I need to burn some calories to help me lose weight this week
  • I’m in a hotel room on my own tonight
  • There’s a Jantastic badge to be earned for completing 6 runs in a week
  • It’s -1 degrees and there’s a Jantastic badge for that too!

However, written in clear letters at the top of my training plan for this week was this stark reminder:

rest

It was my first “recovery week” of the program, and its a noticeable drop in intensity and volume. Therefore I deduced that on tired legs I’d be stupid to go out for a run. It would do me FAR more harm than good.

Having previously written about how much walking helped me through my Paris training, I figured I’d brave the baltic conditions of the West Midlands and headed out for a brisk 5k walk. And the mission was a success! My legs feel much better (though still a bit fatigued), calories burned, and it killed an hour.

But those Jantastic badges had better watch out… I’m coming for them next week!

Paris Marathon 2014: The Aftermath

So as part of the deal to go to Paris, I told the missus we would go to Disneyland Paris for 2 days.

Always a part of the plan, I asked a stranger to take a photo of us in front of the Cinderella castle. Then I did this.

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100% unstaged, this is the actual moment I proposed.

And she said yes.

Paris, you have a lot to answer for!