Ticking Over

Yesterday I did another fast three miles. I hope to push my distance up again shortly but as I was sick recently it is a good idea to ease back into it. Short and sweet as blog posts go, but as ever, progress is progress.

Map and Data

  • 3.01 miles
  • 27:24 minutes
  • 469 calories burned
  • 9:07 minute miles
  • 138 bpm
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Achievement Unlocked: Three Mile Personal Best. Corollary: I HATE RUNTASTIC.

Today I excitedly donned my running shoes after a week in the sickhouse (cold, snivels, fever etc) and prepared to leg it three miles, knowing that after a week of total rest I could potentially hit a personal best. I duly did so with a time of 24:33 (8:11 minute miles), but Runtastic has royally arsed up my statistics. I had to briefly nip somewhere during my run, at 2:83 miles as it happens, and I paused my Apple Watch with Runtastic on 24:02 minutes. Five minutes later, whilst still paused, Runtastic resumed my run on a time of 37:02. I have no idea why, how, or indeed what the sodding hell is going on with this frigging app but I am done with it. I am almost saved up for a Garmin watch now, so I will persevere with Runtastic for the next week or two before I drop it like a stone the day I get my a new watch. I have simply had enough of this useless app and the Apple Watch. It’s a combination that is fine for leisure joggers but if you’re serious about running and want to make serious gains then get some serious kit. I learned long ago through cycling and swimming that the gold standard for mapping, logging and suchlike is Garmin and I wish I had listened to myself. I also ended a personal best over three miles on a calorie burn of 230 – I think not, and my run was logged as a walk. More inaccuracies from Runtastic. Idiots.

Anyway. Today’s run. I made a few calculations and deduced my real time but god knows what my true calorie burn and heart rate was. It felt great, and had I known that I was doing so well I would have pushed harder to break eight minute miles. Still, we live and learn. I’ll get it next time. All I can say is that on a day when I should be feeling pleased with my little self for hitting another milestone, all I can think about is the fact that RUNTASTIC SUCKS THE SWEAT OFF A DEAD MAN’S BALLS.

Map and Data

  • 3.01 miles
  • 24:33 minutes
  • 8:11 minute miles
  • 463 calories (manually calculated)
  • Heart rate: god only knows

Ingleborough: Conquered!

Yet another hiking triumph! This time we successfully ascended Ingleborough, one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, and returned, all before teatime. This was one hell of an exertion, and at 6.25 miles hiked and 1736 feet climbed it was about as taxing as a hike can get for under-10s to do without at least one of them suffering a complete meltdown. iOS health kindly informed me that it was the equivalent if climbing 112 flights of stairs (where each flight is classed as climbing a floor).

This was every bit as challenging as I remember it when I completed the Three Peaks as a teenager, with Ingleborough being the final climb and therefore gut-wrenchingly difficult, and I will forever associate it with extreme fatigue and throbbing pain in my feet! Of course, that pain is really not pain at all, it’s the glow of achievement. I will stress, however, if you experience real pain during exercise then stop immediately and seek medical attention.

Map and Data

  • 6.24 miles
  • 3:6:9 hours
  • 29.49 minute miles
  • 1265 calories burned
  • 1736 feet climbed

Hawdraw Force: Conquered!

Today we went for a short, flat and relatively easy hike which covered what I believe is the largest overground waterfall in England, possibly the UK, Hawdraw Force. This was a beautiful sight, I must say, although I was disgusted to be asked to pay £10 just for the privilege of looking at it. That is one element of being British/English I loathe the most; we are mean. In my experience the UK is one of the meanest countries on Earth. Everywhere I go there I find some little pipsqueak in the way, sticking his hand out, wanting his cut. That being said, this was a good day and I enjoyed it. My only complaint about this route is that it is very stop-startish. There are no long stretches where the kids and hounds can run, however, it was worth it to see the waterfall.

Map, Data and Photos

  • 4.26 miles
  • 01:19:46 hours
  • 18.43 minute miles
  • 542 calories burned
  • 433 feet climbed

 

A robin that decided to join us during our picnic.

Pub rules.

Hawdraw Force.

Achievement Unlocked: 3 Mile Personal Best

Today I hit 8:28 minute miles over a three mile run, shaving ten seconds off my previous personal best. My distance and trail running feels as though it has hit a natural pause and so I have spent my last few runs targeting a higher speed and better performance. Today I harboured the lofty ambition of getting below eight minute miles but that would have been a remarkable performance. Right now I am aiming to get to a suitable racing weight which is, as it usually is, frustrating because it always takes longer than one wishes, and as an ectomorph the weight arrives at my waistline first and leaves there last. Of course, progress is progress and ten seconds is a huge amount to take off one’s time.

I’ve no idea what weight I should be. Right now I fluctuate between 14.5 and 15 stones which is probably too heavy, even for a pretty broad-shouldered six footer. I would imagine that around 13 stones is ideal but I have to account for the results of spending the last year weightlifting, which will gradually reduce over time. I’m never going to be one of the 9 stone midgets who are the best distance runners, I am just aiming to shed the remaining excess weight right now. What is remarkable about it is that to look at me you cant see very much to lose, but I can feel it there. It is shrinking owing to my diet. I have slacked off this week on that front, but again, much like exercise you lull, you plateau, you rest and then you go again. I doubt that even the Olympians among us ever run down weight on either a natural curve, or, more dangerously, tip it all off a cliff quickly. It takes time, persistence and usually pushing through mistakes and off weeks. I should clarify that by slacking off I mean I might have a couple of days where I eat bread or something like that. I am fortunate in not having a sweet tooth and I don’t drink alcohol (and haven’t done for years) so for me resisting chocolate is not the existential struggle it is for my partner! As an aside, I still to this day, in the twilight of my thirties, cannot understand the female-chocolate relationship. Every woman I ever met is like a heroin addict with the stuff – what’s that all about?

Anyway, here goes the usual info…

Map and Data

  • 3.01 miles
  • 25:30 minutes
  • 8:28 minute miles
  • 464 calories burned
  • 59 feet climbed
  • 158 bpm average heart rate

Achievement Unlocked: Sub Nine Minute Miles

What a run today! As I did two hikes of fairly intense difficulty over the weekend, including a very steep climb in excess of 600 feet, there was no way I was going a high distance this morning, so I aimed for three miles and treated this as a recovery day. I absolutely legged it as fast as I possibly could, clocking in at my best miles time to date. I highly doubt that I will be able to replicate these times over my typical greater distances, but it is still a great achievement for me. It is a fresh, cold morning today as well so I figure that my muscles need a short recovery run and a good rest today.

Map and Data

  • 3.01 miles
  • 26:02 minutes
  • 465 calories burned
  • 59 feet climbed
  • Average heart rate 148 bpm

Pen-y-Ghent: Conquered!

Today I, my family and my two little hounds conquered the imposing Pen-y-Ghent, a fell and hill climb in the Yorkshire Dales that I climbed several times as a wee nipper, including once as a part of completing the Three Peaks, which is a 26 mile hike consisting of climbs over steep Pen-y-Ghent, horribly unpredictable (in weather terms) Whernside and long, flat-topped Ingleborough.

Today was a hell of a climb that included some pretty tough rock climbing. We ascended the steep flank of Pen-y-Ghent, leaving for last the leisurely descent towards Hunt Pot, a huge pot hole in the Dales and, I believe, the largest of its kind in England. We covered 6.63 miles in total and made a 1578 foot total ascent. The highlight of the walk was the sight of a stunning double rainbow that touched down right on top of Hunt Pot.  It was absolutely breathtaking in the moment and a clear example of why outdoor pursuits are so rewarding. Also it was nice to meet some hiking Baby Boomers who fussed over our dirty dogs and who expressed their enthusiastic approval at us taking young children on such challenging excursions, at which point I noticed that we were the only family doing so. More’s the shame in my opinion, but hey, I am not here to judge the rest of the world. I just want to be the best father I can for my children and to give them a childhood of experiences that will make for great enjoyment at the time and great stories to tell their future friends, spouses and children of their own.

Map, Data and Photos (Including a panorama shot best viewed on as big a screen as possible)

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  • 6.63 miles
  • 03:04:34 hours
  • 27.49 minute miles
  • 1253 calories burned
  • 1578 feet climbed

Malham Cove: Conquered!

Another great hike completed today, beginning in the Yorkshire Dales Centre car park and covering a route that went first to Janet’s Foss (a beautiful waterfall), Gordale Scar (another stunning waterfall) and Malham Cove. The kids loved it and so did I. This is quite a technical hike involving some steep climbing and descending, strenuous work over limestone pavement, and it is genuinely visually stunning. It includes a walk through a forest which in spring is carpeted with bluebells. What a sight that must be. It also includes the cove itself, a sight that made me feel young, given how old the place is.

Map and Photographs

It took about 3 hours in total, of which 1:50 hours were spent actually moving. This hike is in the heart of the Yorkshire and well worth it for the views and the landscapes.

Deep Suspicion of Runtastic and Apple Watch

Today I put in a good seven miles having suffered a midweek migraine. I take medication to mitigate them but that only reduces symptoms. That is a welcome therapeutic outcome but it still does not allow me to run as I still do not feel as though I am anywhere near good running condition. That aside, today’s post is concerning my suspicions of modern fitness tracking technology. First of all, I am all but disinterested now in Apple Watch, in particular the optical heart rate monitor. My scouring online for information about this has demonstrated to me that optical monitors are pretty inaccurate and therefore unreliable. In addition to that I learned today that its distance tracking is based upon an accelerometer sensing arm movements – hardly accurate either. My mind was made up long ago to save up and buy a Garmin Vivoactive watch and this has only further convinced me to do so. GPS is obviously better, although the Garmin has no heart rate monitor at all so I am going to see if I can use it with my heart rate strap that arrived with my Garmin Edge cycling GPS. Stay tuned for more on that front.

I am also suspicious of Runtastic because I uploaded my most recent workout and the calorie burn is remarkable. I have always been led to believe that one hour of running will burn 500-600 calories, so to burn approximately double that on a time of 1:10 hours is ripe to say the least. I overestimate my calorie consumption on My Fitness Pal and have done for a while, mainly due to the cruel irony of exercise whereby the fitter one gets the harder one has to work to burn the same calorie count. I used to log walks as workouts to get the calorie burn from that to count against my eating but I have stopped doing that too in order to reduce my intake. I am hardly a heifer but I do want to get down to and maintain a racing weight. I am pretty tall and broad so I am never going to hit ten stones or anything like that, but I do want my body fat content in single digits.

I look forward with interest to what results a Garmin watch will yield, mainly because of the tangled web of calculations I have to make based upon compensating for what I am almost sure is over-estimation of the calorie count of my exercise. On the other hand, the positive side of this run is that I maintained yet another good distance at ten minute miles or better. That seems to be my standard, and I at least want to get under nine minutes, which is why accuracy in calculating fat burning is so important to me. Any weight I can shed will translate into seconds shaved off my times.

Map & Data 

  • 7.1 miles
  • 1:10:24
  • 9:55 minute miles
  • 1132 calories (I am very suspicious of this)
  • 354 feet climbed
  • 135 bpm average heart rate

Never Trot With the Trots!

Today was the learning of another valuable lesson for me: never trot with the trots. There is no way to say this that isn’t pretty gross, so I shall be frank. Last night I ate an absolutely huge vegetable and Quorn kung po stir fry. I rarely eat Quorn but it is a good way to break up the wall of random vegetables in vegan food like this. What the hell it did to my physiology I cannot say specifically, but this morning I did five (FIVE!) giant poos before leaving the house. By giant I mean that I filled the pot. Nay, perhaps even destroying it once. By lunchtime it was eight. I had to take some Loperamide after it became more and more watery and gave me cramps in the late morning at home. I set off to run the same trail as yesterday and had to stop after 5.5 (ish) miles due to the pain of running in this state. I walked the remaining couple of miles. It wasn’t pain per se actually, rather a malaise and unpleasant muscle soreness, likely due to mild dehydration.

Now, I have to say that I probably made a mistake in running on consecutive days, something I am going to put a stop to. I am rapidly bearing down on swimming season so that will be what I do on non-running days. I have learned the hard way today that my body needs optimum fuelling and treatment for good results.

I am not going to post the map and stats for an unfinished run. Instead I am happy to inform be posting about running and mental health benefits very soon. It will be a post from the horse’s mouth as I am a suffer myself, so I hope it helps anyone else at all who is in a similar position.