Couch to 5k Day 18


Grey skies and a stiff breeze met me when I went out this morning. Not quite as pleasant as last Sunday. Still at least it wasn’t raining.

C.M.L. (Californian Motivational Lady) is trying hard to turn me into a runner. Today had the longest running segment yet, a full fifteen minutes before she gave me a break. The break was what felt like a very short three-minute walk before I had I had a five-minute run to finish off. My morning running person hypothesis is holding up. I felt fine during the run.

While obviously I know that I am putting a bit of effort in it does not feel too hard. I can  only put this down to how well the programme is structured. I wasn’t a complete couch potato when I started out but I definitely was not a runner. Also because of how Grace was in the months leading up to her death I had not done very much cycling or any other exercise for about six months. I am doing things, like a full fifteen minute run, reasonably easily, that would have been impossible for me at the start of the programme.

A couple of personal bests today, one of which the one mile personal best, I knew I would beat, because today was the first time that I would run for a full mile.

  • Best estimated 1 mile effort (10:44)
  • Best estimated 2 mile effort (22:46)

I seem to have lost somewhere between 1.5 and 2 kg (3 to 4 pounds or about half a stone if you still work in imperial) which should please my doctor and a few menswear shops if I keep it up (because I’ll have to buy new trousers). In addition my diabetic control is a lot better. I am winning all round.

Here is the Strava analysis, if you are interested.

Beethoven’s Ninth: Ode to Joy

Probably the finest most uplifting piece of music ever written. It is also the anthem of the European Union.
I don’t know if this is the finest ever rendition ever but it might just be the most joyous.

On the 130th anniversary of the founding of Banco Sabadell we wanted to pay homage to our city by means of the campaign “Som Sabadell” (We are Sabadell) . This is the flashmob that we arranged as a final culmination with the participation of 100 people from the Vallès Symphony Orchestra, the Lieder, Amics de l’Òpera and Coral Belles Arts choirs.



I think that my theory about being a morning running person may be correct. This morning’s run was similar to Wednesday’s. There were two ten-minute runs with a recovery walk in between. The recovery walk today was only three minutes as opposed to the five minutes C.M.L. gave me on Wednesday. Even with that I found the run easier and I was also a wee bit faster.

With Friday being part of the weekend now, I left the alarm set for six o’clock the same as I normally do on a work day. I didn’t leap out of bed as I normally do if I am working, but I still got my self up and ready to go run by seven-thirty.  It wasn’t quite as pleasant a run as last Sunday’s. The air temperature was pleasant enough, not too hot or too cold, but it was quite overcast and grey. Typical British summer weather (minus the rain). In addition, instead of other runners giving me a smile or blowing me a kiss, all I encountered were people on their way to work or school. They didn’t look quite as happy. And there were a lot more cars about.

The run is recorded on Strava. I also managed another batch of personal bests:

  • Best estimated 1 mile effort(10:53)
  • Best estimated 1k effort (6:28)
  • Best estimated 1/2 mile effort (5:12)
  • Best estimated 400m effort (2:30)

Those are encouraging. What I noticed today however, which I found even more encouraging as an indication that I am getting fitter, was that my heart rate dropped back quickly when I went from the run to the recovery walk.
I am on target for the Roundshaw Downs Parkrun in two weeks time.



Who would have thought it. It turns out that I am a morning person, at least when it comes to running. I find it harder going out for a run in the evening than in the morning. I suppose that if I am going out for a run in the evening it will almost certainly be because it is a work day. Consequently I am going to be a wee bit tired. Possibly that is what makes the difference.

All I know is that I found today a bit hard. C.M.L.* had upped the running segments to ten minutes and cut the recovery walk to five, so that didn’t help. I had also had a few problems with my blood glucose levels today. Unusually, for me, they kept going low, again that probably didn’t help either. Nevertheless I got through it. It took a bit of gritting the teeth and pushing on when it would have been easier to stop. I didn’t, so I am reasonably chuffed with myself

According to C.M.L. I am now an Athlete, and have the badge to prove it


Thre were also a couple of new personal records as well

  • Best estimated 2 mile effort (24:45)
  • Best estimated 1 mile effort (11:31)
  • Best estimated 400m effort (2:30)

My next run should be on Friday morning so we shall see if my “morning person” theory holds up.

*Californian Motivational Lady



I do like Sunday morning pre-breakfast runs, especially if, like this morning, it is sunny with fluffy white clouds. I get up and change into my running gear, have a cup of coffee to make sure I am awake and off I go, before most of Wallington is out of bed. Although I have noticed that a sunny morning brings out quite a few people with the same idea as me. Not nearly as many, obviously, as the number of MAMILs* that would be inching their way slowly up Box Hill, on their £5000 Pinarellos wearing their matching Team Sky kit, later on in the day. Anyhow it is encouraging to get a smile or a wave from other shufflers. One woman even blew me a kiss. I had just finished the first run segment and was beginning the recovery walk, possibly she thought I really needed encouragement.

Beddington Park was looking particularly fine again this morning.

The run as usual can be inspected on Strava.
There were two personal bests today

  • Best estimated 1k effort (6:36)
  • Best estimated 1/2 mile effort (5:19)

Having got all snarky about MAMILs, I have just noticed that it is time to go and watch the Tour de France highlights for today. So “See you in a couple of days” as CML says.

* Middle Aged Men In Lycra

Couch to 5k Day 14


Records are tumbling with every run. Actually it’s not really that surprising because every run involves more running and less walking. Even I run faster than I walk, possibly not that much faster, but I do so hence the flurry of personal bests.

Today’s records for your delectation:

  • Best estimated 2 mile effort (25:08)
  • Best estimated 1 mile effort (11:41)
  • Best estimated 1k effort (6:47)
  • Best estimated 1/2 mile effort (5:22)

I am getting quite into this and looking forward to the next challenge that my CML (see previous posts) throws at me.

I discovered another problem with using folk music as part of your soundtrack for running. Having eliminated Walter Pardon and similar singers, I discovered that some (especially Irish) fiddlers speed up towards the end of the track. This does not help. Especially if you are going as fast as you can. They will also have to be vetted and possibly discarded as well.

Strava evidence is here. If you click-through you will see that I am discovering parts of Beddington Park that I didn’t know existed.

Anyway it’s time for bed as tomorrow’s run should be pre breakfast.

Couch to 5k day 13


Another run/walk/shuffle successfully completed. The run times are getting longer still and the recovery walks are shorter. Today’s cycle was a five-minute run followed by a three-minute walk, a six-minute run, followed by a three-minute walk and finishing up with another five-minute run.

I tried something different today running with a musical sound-track. It was fine but I think that I am probably going to have to sort out a running playlist rather than rely on random shuffle like I normally do. I have quite a lot of old traditional folk songs on my phone, however suddenly moving from Bruce Springsteen to Walter Pardon singing “A Ship to Old England Came” causes you to break your stride a bit. I’m not quite sure what the playlist should consist of, suggestions are welcome in the comments, but I think that Walter will probably have to miss out.
I only recorded the run part of the exercise today (I left off the warm up and cooldown walks) so it looks shorter than previous days, but it also looks as if I am faster. The evidence as always is on Strava. I also recorded two personal bests:

  • Best estimated 1/2 mile effort (5:32)
  • Best estimated 1 mile effort (11:49)

Ok, it’s probably too late to make Olympic qualification but I’m moderately chuffed with them.

Couch to 5k day 12


Another week completed and I am now as my Californian Motivational Lady (henceforth known as CML) tells me I am “Half way to 5k – Yeaaa”. I did another pre-breakfast run partly because I was awake and partly because heavy showers were forecast for later on in the day Today’s effort consisted of a three-minute run followed by a two-minute walk, then two five-minute  runs with two minute walks, and another three minute run to finish the session off. As you can see the recovery walks are getting shorter. It gets worse next week.

In other news I have bought myself a Garmin Forerunner 15 watch. forerunner 15My excuse being that my old Polar Heart Rate Monitor had packed up and the Garmin also works as a HRM.. I think the battery in the chest strap had gone, and it isn’t possible to change the battery yourself. It has to go back to the manufacturer and it costs a small fortune. Though I must admit probably less than the Garmin watch cost. The main reason I bought it was that I am a bloke and I like gadgets.

As well as acting as a HRM it also records your runs. You can then download the data to your computer which then syncs it with Strava. Todays run is here if you are interested.
It also records you total steps for the day and tells you how far you have walked.

I almost forgot I am Halfway to 5K and have a badge to prove it.



Good Morning Britain; Aztec Camera

Written in 1990 very appropriate today;

But remember

Love is international
And if you stand or if you fall
Just let them know you gave your all
Worry about it later

Full lyrics below :

Jock’s got a vote in parochial
Ten long years and he’s still got her
Paying tax and and doing stir
Worry about it later

And the wind blows hot and the wind blows cold
But it blows us good so we’ve been told
Music’s food ’til the art-biz folds
Let them all eat culture

The past is steeped in shame
But tomorrow’s fair game
For a life that’s fit for living
Good morning Britain

Twenty years and a loaded gun
Funerals, fear and the war ain’t won
Paddy’s just a figure of fun
It lightens up the danger

Corporal sneers at a Catholic boy
And he eyes his gun like a rich man’s toy
He’s killing more than Celtic joy
Death is not a stranger

And Taffy’s time’s gonna come one day
It’s a loud sweet voice and it won’t give way
A house is not a holiday
Your sons are leaving home, Neil

In the hills and the valleys and far away
You can hear the song of democracy
The echo of eternity
With a rak-a-rak-a feel

The past is steeped in shame
But tomorrow’s fair game
For a life that’s fit for living
Good morning Britain

From the Tyne to where to the Thames does flow
My English brothers and sisters know
It’s not a case of where you go
It’s race and creed and color

From the police cell to the deep dark grave
On the underground’s just a stop away
Don’t be too black, don’t be too gay
Just get a little duller

But in this green and pleasant land
Where I make my home, I make my stand
Make it cool just to be a man
A uniform’s a traitor

Love is international
And if you stand or if you fall
Just let them know you gave your all
Worry about it later

The past is steeped in shame
But tomorrow’s fair game
For a life that’s fit for living
Good morning Britain

The past is steeped in shame
But tomorrow’s fair game
For a life that’s fit for living
Good morning Britain

Read more: Aztec Camera – Good Morning Britain Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Couch to 5k Day 11

tiredThere is a little bit more to today’s Couch to 5K post than just a record of my run. Today has been a hard day. I miss Grace every day, but today I seemed to be missing her even more than usual.

I have mentioned previously how grief or aspects of it sneaks up on you. Today was like that. I didn’t sleep particularly well last night, but that in itself isn’t that unusual. I haven’t slept well since Grace died. Also I have been told by others who have lost partners that it is common either to have difficulty in getting to sleep or as is normally my case, waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep.

I lay in bed about four in the morning wide awake and all I wanted was a cuddle. Not a hug, I needed a cuddle. Don’t get me wrong, hugs are great and you can give me as many as you want. Hugs are what you get from friends and family, but only your lover can give you a cuddle. That was how my day started.

One of my jobs this morning was to inspect the boilers in a nursery school. Walking in there with a load of bouncing four-year olds asking me who I was and what I was doing took me back to the days when Grace was still teaching. The only person more enthusiastic than her kids was her. She would be reading stories, showing them how to play tunes on old pots and pans and always encouraging them to work together and share. It wasn’t the school she worked at, but she would have loved the place. It was a happy memory, but still one that I needed five minutes on my own in the car to get over, before I could move on to the next customer.

Eating my lunchtime sandwiches in the park helped lift me slightly. After visiting the final client for the day, I thought it might be good to go and visit Grace’s grave. When I arrived at the cemetery there was a rather large funeral taking place in the same section that Grace is buried in. It just didn’t seem appropriate to go and have a talk to her. So I came home not feeling too great.

What I want to talk about though is the uplifting effect of running and talking to people. Just as I was about to set off my next door neighbour, Jackie, spotted me going out ( it wasn’t difficult I was wearing a fluorescent orange running top). So we talked for about half an hour before I set off on the latest run/walk/shuffle.

The programme has stepped up another gear. It now consists of a three-minute run followed by a two-minute walk, then two five-minute runs with three minute walks, finishing off with another three minute run. I am managing it so I guess that it proves yet again that the gradual increase in intensity is about right.

As I was finishing the run I was going past an older gentleman (probably not much older than me to be honest) taking a pre-dinner walk when my Californian Motivational Lady said something like “Awesome!!! You’ve done it!!! Cooldown walk for five minutes then Strreeeettcch!!!!” . Which caused him to look across in my direction. I explained what was going on and he nodded. His walk was taking him in the same direction as me, so we had a pleasant chat until we arrived at our house.

I arrived back home in a much better frame of mind than I had left. Running and interacting with people it’s worth remembering.

Random thoughts, ramblings and rants

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