A New Year

FullSizeRender.jpgHappy new year. It’s not that I’ve not been running, I have been. It’s difficult to find the instances conducive to writing between the thoughts of things to say and an opportunity to say them. I have completed a series of runs which have been in equal parts good and bad and that’s been that. I mentioned listing the lies I would tell myself in lieu of self improvement and so I will do so here. There’s no real order to these but just goals that I think are notably attainable. I wonder if you’ve heard of SMART goals? I took a notable few things on board during my time in higher education but this acronym has persisted, a testament to it’s simplicity and efficacy. The principle is simple in that any goal you set yourself must be; Smart, Manageable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. In reality most goals have elements of these within them and this is in part why they succeed, or at least I suppose they do. A new year’s resolution takes one part of that goal immediately – it is timely in that it occurs in a year. All my goals are to kept or completed by December 2016.

  1. Running
    •  20 minute 5km.
    • 44 minute 10km
    • 100 minute HM
  2. To study at least once a day, a page a day. This is to develop my own professional standards. I want to be a good surgeon and so I have to be a good surgeon.
  3. To brush my teeth every evening. I’m sorry, I’m an animal, I know.
  4. To eat a balanced, varied and healthy diet. I know this one isn’t specific but in my defence, how many things am I going to list?
  5. To do 50 press ups a day. Pointedly because my honed athletes physique is not going to stay forever. *coughs
  6. To drink at least one glass of water. Daily. I really don’t do this enough.

That’s it. It’s short and simple. I have a few more wandering ideals but they are more promises, not resolutions. Not things I want to maintain with discipline. One of these involves YouTube and depending on my psyche, it may be necessary to indulge myself in a restrained and capable manner on occasion. That won’t happen, hence it’s absence from the aforementioned list.

The picture is the view from Cardiff Bay, from the Barrage on Sunday’s run.



Final Run of the Year: 10km


The last run of the year took place in Poole Park. I woke up several times in the night in anticipation, quietly unrested and in the sonic assault of the lubricious south westerly wind. The windows rattled and rocked and I slept  a little more. I woke myself up at 5am to prepare myself for the run but didn’t actually head out into the world till 6am. I wish I could tell you of some more romantic interim that occupied me for that hour, but I simply lay in bed and as these things do, the hour passed by with a timely celerity.

The plan today was to end with a gentle paced 10km, perhaps laced with a series of 200m strides. I chose to keep things simple however with a gentler 5:00min/km run which quickly settled into 4:50min/km average pace overall. The workout is linked above and the splits and route are shown below.

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There was a momentary pause just after 3km where my left shoe lace wriggled itself free and I had to pause to do it up. This literally never happens to me and it’s rarity was rewarded with 500m of questioning why it had come undone in the first place. To ensure it remained done up, I added some tightness for added measure into the double knot and as a result, spent the rest of the run wondering if my foot was going to fall off.

Poole park reveals itself fairly clearly on the enclosed map. The greatest part of it’s composition is water, much like the people who use it for their pleasure. This water is enclosed exclusively in the large boating lake across the centre of the map. After dark, there are a choice selection of lights both in the park and around the lake which can make for a treacherous affair. Of them all, the westerly side is the most taxing with almost no light whatsoever owing to an imposing raised train track running briefly alongside it. At appropriate intervals a series of lights appear that quickly conform into the shape of a train which hurries past, seemingly as keen to distance itself from the park as you are to remain.

The run today was something of a solitary affair. Not uncommonly, as the run progresses another runner or at least the morning dog walkers arrive and do their best to hinder your progress throughout your run. Today they kept their notable absence perhaps mourning the loss of another year and their slow inevitable march into oblivion. Under the suggestion of the rising sun a cyclist passed by at the north end of the park as I sought to complete my final split around the cricket bowl. As I finally rested I sat on a bench and if by magic a young female runner appeared out of nowhere, doing a frighteningly good and uncompromising pace. She looked strong. I was glad I had finished.

I have spent some time reflecting on the year’s numbers and as a well seasoned statistician who only believes in quanta, these are my achievements. I should add that my running calendar only seriously began in August and hence my embarrassing numbers. There’s no easy way to sell mediocrity.

Total mileage: 1,620km (total runs 177)

The trailing 90 day km gives a good example of when my running really began. See. SEE?

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I have broken all but my HM and Marathon distance PBs. Screenshot 2015-12-31 12.35.14.png

The ones I really care about are 1 mile, 5km, 4mile, 10km, 10 miles and HM and FM. To be clear, I have not tried to run a mile or 8km to speed. I will come back to PB goals for the new year in a post, well, next year.

In any case, I am aware that my running career has been somewhat remiss and anergic. I can’t really explain why that might be the case but I suppose  to some extent, this reflects my parochial views on health and fitness. 2016 is only a date but that cannot mean that we cannot endure. The pain is a part of it but even that is not so bad. At some point the endurance will become tolerance and hopefully a galvanised inurity.