Sport Relief

Aha! I have a solution to what to do next after CT5K: Nye has reminded me that we want to run 3 miles for Sport Relief on Sunday 16th March! Hooray!

This is a very good incentive for me to keep up with the running, however, i don’t think i really need to run 3 miles 3 times a week. I will probably end up doing something more like 2 miles twice a week and 4 or 5 miles on Saturdays. That’s likely to be very good for me.

Nye has kindly signed me up: we’re going to run together in London. However, i’ve not had my email from Sport Relief yet so i don’t know whether i have a nice page to accept sponsorships. When i do i’ll be sure to let you all know so that you can donate loads of money to encourage me and to raise money for very good causes!!

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CT5K – what next?

The time has come when i must decide what, if anything, i am going to do after Couch-to-5K.

To be quite honest, i am now bored of running around Winchester. I did 30 minutes tonight and it wasn’t particularly difficult; it was just dull. The question now is not whether i can do it – it’s whether i can be bothered to keep doing it!

One thing is for sure: i’m not going to keep increasing distances. There’s only so far i can go round here before i run out of street lights or have to cross a dangerously busy road. Keeping to the same old roads has become monotonous. I might try with a shorter distance and aim to increase my speed. I might also go for a long run on Saturdays – like 6 miles or something, going right out into the country with some nice music on my ipod, or a MuggleCast, or something like that. I’d probably enjoy that.

There is absolutely no doubt the running has done me a tremendous amount of good! I feel very much fitter, my muscles have toned up just beautifully, my sleepwalking has been cured (as far as i know!) and i have had very few nightmares since beginning the programme.

Any thoughts what i should do next? I really need a plan otherwise i am just going to end up doing nothing!!

*sniff sniff* Mmmm i can smell something delicious! I wonder what my sweetheart is making for dinner! :D

I love weekends!

Thank goodness it is the weekend. I feel so tired, really taking it easy this weekend.

I got up at 7am to run. I was naughty though: i didn’t manage the full 28 minutes (although in my defence, i did at least 25 minutes, running all the way out to Winnall and back!). I came home for a quick shower and went out to see a friend in Southampton. That was really nice and we had a very good morning together.

This afternoon i think i will go out to the library Discovery Centre (i’m never going to learn to call it that!) and get a few more books to read. I’ll do a few chores no doubt, because i always do, but there’s not terribly much to be done this weekend.

I have ordered myself a new computer case with a standard-sized power supply unit. Whilst i was there i ordered a graphics card as well so i should be able to get those neat semi-transparent windows and do all sorts of marvellous effects with rotating virtual desktops! Plus i’ll be able to go on Second Life, should the desire ever take me!

Case with PSU Graphics card

I am hoping that the order will come through by Wednesday and a colleague will come round to help me put the computer together again. I am looking forward to having it work again! :)

28-minute run

I am on Week 8 of Couch-to-5K. Tonight’s run was 28 minutes … not a great challenge really, though i know i wouldn’t have wanted to do it a few weeks ago! At the end of the run i did a SUPER-fast sprint! I was on a slight downhill, and my legs and arms just started working entirely of their own accord, disconnected from my brain! I ran faster than i have ever ran in my entire life, just for 10 seconds or so. It felt very incredibly amazing! I was like a well-oiled machine, working in perfect synchronisation! My legs suddenly felt really extremely long … i must have actually been approaching the speed of light and my perspective became distorted!!

I am wondering what to do at the end of next week when ct5k is over. I think i need a new challenge otherwise i will just return straight back to the couch! I am considering fartleks (yeah, haha, i said the funny word!) … they look like they can be quite fun, and tonight’s sprint experience has really encouraged me that i could enjoy it!

Running news

I have continued my running over the Christmas break, including one three-mile route in Kent.

On Friday night i had my first 20-minute non-stop run. I was quite nervous leading up to it, but you know what, i did it!! I even did a bonus minute, i enjoyed it so much! I am really pleased with myself. I always enjoyed long-distance running at school (better than sprinting, anyway) so i am delighted to find i still like it, and i am now fit enough to be able to do it again.

The Couch-to-5K plan really works! Just to think that five weeks ago i struggled to even run one minute at a time. Look at me now! :D

Holidays!

Heheh, it felt like Christmas Eve at work today. Most of us are away next week, so it was a very laid back atmosphere. We were meant to be hammering a test system and i kept logging quotes from Scroobius Pip, such as “Thou shalt not make some noise for Detroit” – “Thou shalt not shake it like a Polaroid picture” – “Thou shalt not wish your girlfriend was a freak like me” … what a cool song! :) Upstairs they were making dubious comments about an inflatable sheep! I think they had their Secret Santa today. Someone came down to show us a USB humping dog. Yeah really.

The testing also sparked a reply-to-all war with everyone sending everyone else screenshots of the errors they were getting. It eventually degenerated, as everything on the internet always does, into cat macros. I love abusing the Reply to All button! :) We also had a music war this afternoon as someone started playing Christmas carols out loud on their laptop, and all the rest of us turned up our music to drown it out, much to the disdain of the Accounts department: “Don’t you have some software to ship to our customers?!” to which we replied, “They’re not having our software until you get the money off them!” haha!

We officially shipped Version 7.2.3 today. Hurrah! It was the first release EVER that i feel we released on time after a thorough regression testing phase. I am very pleased, and i hope our customers like it.

I came home expecting to go straight out for a run but something was up with my ipod. So it took me about an hour to work out how to sync it on Linux. Eventually Songbird did it for me, and i had a good run, even though it was freezing cold and very foggy. I couldn’t feel my toes or fingers to begin with, and i actually couldn’t wait for the warmup 5 minutes to be over so i could start running! I was even glad that it was uphill to get me warmed up! How things change, hey! :)

I’m afraid once i got back it was quarter past eight so i abandoned any idea of cooking for myself tonight and went to get some chips and a pineapple fritter from the last remaining chippie in England to still do pineapple fritters! Abandoned too is any notion of vacuuming, changing the bedclothes or cleaning the bathroom. Now it is just time to unwind, get packed ready for tomorrow and go enjoy the holiday! Housework can wait: we have a day when we get back before my dad and family come to visit …!

I was very glad to speak to my lovely friend Maribel tonight on Skype. Maribel told me that the theory of parallel universes has been proven! I am very excited about this! We talked about how there are really only two options: one universe or infinite universes. We also discussed the flaw of Occam’s Razor. Occam’s Razor says that the simplest theory is most likely the correct theory, the point being that one universe is simpler than an infinite number. But Occam’s Razor is self-predicting in a way: the simplest theory is that Occam’s Razor is always correct. But i don’t think it can be.

Maribel is reading The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene. I instantly decided that i need to read that book too!

Oh, one more thing before i finish this long and winding post: Amazon bought the Beedle the Bard book by JK Rowling (for 2 million pounds!!) and has posted in-depth reviews and pictures at www.amazon.com/beedlebard. I am so pleased that it went to someone who wants to share it with as many people as possible! When i have some time i am going to read all the detailed reviews of each tale. They received a lot of praise by the look of it!

OCD

My slightly OCD tendencies seem to become more apparent when i am running. Once upon a time i invented an idea that going upstairs i had to start with my right foot, and going down i had to start with my left. Then it started to apply to kerbs of pavements too. Which is fine when i am walking, but when running i find myself altering my pace of running just so that i can land on the pavement with my right foot.

Another thing: if one foot slightly kicks against the other by accident i always feel the need to do the same thing back again. So if my right foot brushes against the ankle bone of my left foot, my left foot will have to do the same back to the ankle bone of my right foot, in the same kind of motion with the same amount of pressure. Again, when walking this normally causes no problems but when running this compulsion could become quite dangerous!!

Anyway, OCD aside, it was another good run tonight. I am always amazed at how much easier Wednesday is compared to Monday. I guess there’s a psychological element: i know i have done it before so i can do it again. The same applies to hills: “Ah, i’ve run up this hill before! I can do it again!”

There is a sort of runners subculture in Winchester – so many runners out and about, and i am starting to recognise people! We give a sort of encouraging smile and tiny little wave when we pass each other! :)

I am using Gmap Pedometer to find myself a good route to run in Platts Heath, Kent next week. It’s harder than i thought it would be. There are lots of long roads around huge fields and it’s actually quite difficult to find a route of 3-3½ miles which is what i want!

I made myself a very good dinner tonight: a spicy beanburger along with half a cabbage, an avacado and a tomato. In some crazy parallel universe it made sense to cook two beanburgers but then i slipped through the 5th dimension into the universe i am currently in, where it seems utter nonsense with all the rest of the food i ate, but maybe i can take it to work for lunch tomorrow. Can cooked spicy beanburgers be re-heated in a microwave? Would that do them any harm?

I have to write about the food i ate in case my partner comes and reads this to find out whether i fed myself properly tonight!

Still running

I am now into Week 4 of Couch-to-5K and it was the hardest challenge yet. Every run up until now has only included 8 minutes of running, the rest walking. The runs have been spaced out differently to build up my stamina. Today the amount of running doubled and the walking greatly reduced. By the time i had done 8 minutes i was only half-way through my run – but it felt great! I knew i had a lot to do so i paced myself slowly. The podcast helpfully played more chilled out music for me. But towards the end it rocked out again, and encouraged me to do an extra push for the last minute!

This week’s schedule is:

5 minutes warm-up walk
3 minutes running.
1½ minutes walking.
5 minutes running.
2½ minutes walking.
3 minutes running.
1½ minutes walking.
5 minutes running.
5 minutes warm-down walk.

I definitely feel a huge improvement in my fitness level. There is absolutely no way i could have done what i did tonight four weeks ago. I went quite a long way too: just over 3 miles in total. My goal is to get to run three miles non-stop, in addition to the warm-up and warm-down 5-minute walks.

A few times i have passed another runner who seems to run about the same time and place as i do. Today we passed each other twice, and smiled each time! It was nice. We may have different reasons for running, but there is a sort of connection all the same.

I had a really nice weekend away with my family – it was my dad’s 50th birthday party! Really lovely to see a lot of people especially my dear siblings.

Unfortunately Friday night was really cloudy so we missed all the good meteors. It was kinda frustrating knowing they were zooming across our heads and we couldn’t see any of them.

Everyone's an amateur astronomer!

Astronomy is suddenly cool, it seems! This morning one colleague came in and said, “I saw Mars last night!” Another said, “I saw Mars this morning, and possibly Venus too!” I said, “I think i might have seen Mercury this morning!” and another colleague sent us all an email alerting us to the Geminids meteor shower coming up this Friday! :D Yet another colleague was explaining to some others how you can find Mars very easily because Orion is pointing directly to it at the moment. The first colleague said, “I looked for the Plough but couldn’t find it” and i was all like, “Ahhh, the Plough comes up about 10 or 11 o’clock at the moment!” GET ME!! A few weeks ago i wouldn’t have been able to point out the Plough if i was staring directly at it!!

This is very exciting!! I am with my cousins on Friday evening when the best of the meteor shower will occur. I so hope to be able to take them out into the garden after the piano lesson and introduce them to the delights of cosmology and star-gazing! :) These days i can’t help but notice constellations and planets. I was just out for my run and Mars just kept catching my eye all the time! It is a very good time of year with these dark, clear nights.

My run was a bit slippery, though. I had to be careful. It is definitely getting easier – i am noticing a pattern: Monday night is hard because it’s a new programme. Mid-week is way easier than Monday by comparison. Saturday is hard, i think simply because i go early in the morning and i’m not properly awake yet. I do like to do it that way, though. If i left it until later in the day i’d probably be putting it off and feel bad about it. The hardest thing is actually to get the shoes on and get out there. As soon as i’m in to it, i’ve got the music playing, and i just know i’m going to do this for the next half an hour and come home again. It’s easy. I’m start to feel a bit like a robot: i run when i’m told to and i walk when i’m told to. I generally end up doing 2.5 to 3 miles. No big deal, but i love the feeling of getting fit and healthy! :)