05:44 01/06/2012 Friday morning early...
Another 5am run. Maybe half an hour. Less probably. I felt OK, and I really am stronger than I was before I started running again this time, but I felt heavy and jogged slowly and only for a mile or so. But if I go out every day there is no chance that I will not get progressivly lighter, faster and stronger.
But dawn is the best time to run bar none. A slight mist over the fields, but not on them. It had lifted just above the fields. I saw two deer, close up. Roe deer or Fallow deer maybe. Not the little muntjack anyway. I disturbed one and it ran, bounding through the wheat field, then turned to look at me. Just its head showing above the corn. Big ears sticking up. Big eyes looking at me. The smell of the earth changed with every corner I turned on the path.
And then on the way home through the village I passed between tall, broad-leafed trees, and a dozen pairs of wood pigeons started calling. There's something about the sound coming from the tops of tall trees that makes it reverberate, filling the space. It was like walking in a green cathedral. All kinds of other birds singing too, higher-pitched. I stopped a while to listen. I'd love to record this but I'm afraid that no recording could do justice to the way the sound fills space. How can one record a sound so tall?
08:28 02/06/2012 Saturday morning...
Got kit on, went out, ran down the road a hundred yards or so, felt quite energetic but felt uncomfortable running. Too heavy. Came straight back. Walking. This is me being bang on schedule. I have no interest in pushing my body beyond what it wants to do on any given day. That's not necessary, and at my age can be counterproductive. It is my mind I am training right now. All I need to do is to get my body into its running gear and outside the front door every day. Time will do the rest.
It's bizarre really. I was lying in bed, wondering whether to get up and run, and I realised that that moment - that decision - is the only one that ever matters. I mean deciding to do the right thing rather than the wrong thing. Not talking morality here, but the fact is I know for absolute sure that if I get out of the door in my running kit every morning I cannot fail to lose my excess weight and become fitter. (If anyone can point to an example of someone who did that for a year and became fatter and heavier I'll willingly revise my view.) And that certainty immediately deals with my anxiety about all the bad things that might happen to my health through being overweight. It's one single here-and-now decision that immediately deals with my here-and-now anxiety. It's not about the future. And it's always the same decision. Shall I do what I know is right, or shall I do what I know is wrong? Black and white. Binary. No shades of grey. Freedom or slavery.
00:29 04/06/2012 Sunday evening...
It rained all day today. All day it rained. I didn't go for a run, but I went for a brisk walk in the rain instead. A brisk walk in my big black walking boots. A walk to nowhere and back. Nice. About half an hour or maybe 40 minutes.
Even so, ...even though I was only walking and not running, I still felt bloated and felt my breathing was restricted. I started a detox today. Maybe that will help. I don't mind, and it's OK, but it would be easier to go out and take exercise if I felt a bit freer in my body. I mean I'll go anyway of course, as exercise is the surest way to make it progressively easier and more comfortable to exercise, but I think the detox may help too in the short term.
21:02 04/06/2012 Monday evening...
Whew! A good run! Half an hour or so. Nice, still, sunny evening. I started off and noticed I was jogging hardly faster than walking pace. I remember thinking: "This is about the limit. Any heavier and I would find running a really uncomfortable struggle." Then later on I found it much easier and got into a good rhythm. I stopped to walk a bit towards the end but then found that I actually wanted to push myself a bit so I ran the last section.
I am convinced that this 'detox' I started yesterday has helped a lot to free up energy. I slept really WELL last night. Long and well. I've been sleeping a LOT lately but waking feeling bad. I woke today feeling good.
Still 'n' all, it is the commitment to run every day that led me to be motivated to do the detox. Well, that's speculation, but whatever the mechanism, the commitment to run every day will certainly lead to an improvement in fitness and better weight regulation. A 'mechanism' will be found. Water runs downhill, but exactly which route it takes is difficult to predict. Similarly, a commitment will lead to a means being found.
06:08 05/06/2012 Tuesday morning...
Not quite a jogging entry but I registered the domain name for my jogging blog (joggerslog.co.uk) this morning so it will be up online in a few hours.
Strangely, the name I was going to use (joggerlog.com) was registered by someone else just hours before I tried to register it myself. Funny. That's not the first time that kind of thing has happened. Either it's a 'zeitgeist' or parallel thinking in different parts of the world, or else somehow someone somewhere is managing to pick up on the fact that I was checking out that domain name a couple of weeks back to see if it was available. Either way it's spooky, and either way it doesn't matter. I was gutted for a little while, but in my experience there are always alternative domain names one can use. In fact my first choice for a name was always Jogger's Log (as in the 'Captain's Log' from Star Trek) but the .com version wasn't available so I compromised on joggerlog.com. I'm quite happy with joggerslog.co.uk. Cheaper too.
07:13 05/06/2012 Tuesday morning still...
Another non-jogging-blog blog entry. It's about this web log and why I've created it.
Firstly, I wasn't sure whether to use the word 'jogger' or 'runner' for this blog. 'Runner' might have been better as 'jogger' conjures up an image - for me at least - of someone pounding the pavement at low speed, and that is something I avoid if I possibly can. I aim to only ever run off-road. This is because I think that running off-road, on uneven ground, keeps the stabilising muscles of the legs activated and 'guessing'. I had a fairly bad swollen knee problem a few years back which clicked, clunked and hurt, and needed six months of plain rest to start with. Thereafter it responded well to frequent but not extended sessions of running on uneven ground. I was told by my doctor that I would probably need an operation on the knee as damaged cartilage doesn't usually heal, but I believe the knee has healed now as I often forget which knee was affected. (It was the right in fact.) I also believe that road running can be quite damaging for knee joints as there is nothing much for all the stabilising muscles around the knee cap to do, so they become weak and the knee joint surfaces tend to bang together with every footfall, especially when one is tired. Road running doesn't strengthen ankles much either, whereas on uneven ground the ankles are working with every step. Every time the foot lands on uneven ground it is landing at a different angle.
So, off-road it's not that easy to 'jog' as the whole process tends to be more deliberate and more active than the kind of running suggested by the word 'jogging'.
On the other hand, the word 'running' or 'runner' tends to suggest athletic competitiveness of some kind. People who describe themselves as 'runners' tend to be those who enter races and who care about how fast they are running. I'm not one of those people. I run for health and for fitness but (almost) never run in organised running events.
I did once run in an organised running event and I quite enjoyed it, so I may do it again, but that's certainly not why I run. I had a personal goal of running 10km, so I entered for a 10km race in Tromsø as part of the Midnight Sun Marathon event there last June (2011). In fact, due to that ongoing sciatica issue I had not been running nearly enough in the months leading up to the event and was not fit enough to run 10km so downgraded my entry to the 5km race there instead. Even so, it was hard, hard work just to complete the 5km without dropping down to a walk, and I fully deserved the 'medal' that we were all given at the finnishing line! I guess I still do harbour an ambition to run 10km. That would be further than I have ever run in my life and I like the idea of being fitter in my fifties than I ever have been. It's not really important, and my fitness has dropped hugely over the past year and a half so any improvement would be welcome, but it can help to have goals, so I may enter another 10km race one day. I'm nowhere near ready to even contemplate that yet, but one day...
So, is it 'running' or 'jogging'? 'Running' probably, but all relevant domain names with 'running' in them were already taken (mostly by serious competitive runners or their organisations of course) so I'm happy with the title, Jogger's Log, and the domain name, joggerslog.co.uk.
Another thing I'm not sure about is whether to have new entries at the top or the bottom of the page. If I imagine a reader like myself then in a way it would be more useful for them to be able to follow my blog from the beginning in chronological order, so they can see my (slow!) progress over time. I'm not sure how to implement that just yet though, so for the time being I'm adding new entries at the top. I also don't know what I'm going to do when the page gets too long. Separate it by month I guess. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
I'm deliberately keeping the site as simple as possible, hand-coding it in plain HTML rather than using something like Wordpress. The main advantage of Wordpress is that you can update a blog via a web browser on any computer, but that is also a major security weakness, as anyone else can do the same if they manage to crack your username and password. A friend of mine had his Wordpress site hacked and hijacked in this way and it caused him considerable grief and extra work he could have done without. I worked out that almost all my running will be done from home so it is easy to blog directly in the HTML file on my computer and upload that file via FTP. HTML is ancient technology, but a simple HTML site with mainly text is so fast to load that it's almost instant over broadband and totally comfortable via a dial-up modem or a dodgy 2G mobile phone connection. I've tested the site on an Android smartphone and also on an i-Phone and it seems to work well.
06:24 07/06/2012 Thursday morning...
Strange: another 5:30am run. This isn't like me at all. I'm normally such a late night/late morning person. Getting up at 5am and going for a run in the light summer rain is like being on holiday for me. It's such a beautiful time of day to be outside. There's no one - I mean no one - around at that time, and yet it's light. The rain helps too I guess - to keep all those pesky people indoors - but in fact I never meet anyone out in the woods and fields near my house at that time. Getting up at that time is like having a lazy Sunday morning every day of the week.
The run was good. About 45 minutes. Not all that easy, and I did stop to walk once or twice, but I warmed up quickly enough despite the rain.
I saw a stag this time. Again, he was right in front of me on the path on the edge of a wheat field. he looked at me a while then bounded off into the field and turned to look again. A bit defiant, but a bit cautious too. Two straight antlers sticking up in a 'V' between his ears. I wish I knew which species of deer these are. All I know is they're not the little Muntjack ones. Oh, there was another deer in the woods earlier but that one ran off into a thicket when it saw me and I lost sight of it.
One new thing is that I took with me a light waterproof jacket. Its actually a Tyvek jacket - or strictly, it's the top half of a Tyvek coverall which I cut the legs off. It was sent as a free sample but I think they only cost £4 or £5 each. They're sold as being disposable but in fact they're surprisingly robust. It worked very well. I didn't really need it as the rain was so gentle, but if I had run out of energy and had to walk a mile back home in heavy rain, then I would have been very glad of it. I wore it anyway, simply because that's easier than carrying it in my pocket, and I didn't overheat. Tyvek is amazing stuff. Pretty much completely windproof, and certainly showerproof if not deluge-proof - yet very breathable. Very comfortable to wear in fact. Brilliant white, so highly visible in any light conditions - which would be good for road running, which I do almost none of. And so cheap that if I did get hot I could happily hang it on a bush and pick it up on my way home. If anyone walked off with it I wouldn't be too upset. I want to get a couple of Tyvek jackets to try, and also some of their waterproof/breathable over-trousers in case they're any good for hiking.
If I hadn't had that Tyvek jacket I probably would not have gone for a run this morning because it was raining. It's a good thing.
There was something else I wanted to say... I was doing a bit of leg stretching before going out because yesterday after work I felt a hint of sciatica in my left leg. (I know that running can tighten the muscles around my hips so I don't want to risk that sciatica again. I was shown this particular stretch by my osteopath and it's gold dust. Really works. If I do that stretch every day I can guarantee I won't be bothered by sciatica.)
But while doing that stretching I had a thought about how my awareness can be either smooth and continuous or sharp and jumpy. The smoothness is much nicer. Strangely, being too lazy leads to sharp and jumpy awareness just as much as being too harsh with myself. For smoothness to occur it seems I need a certain minimum level of stimulation or 'newness' to hold my attention. So, in yoga, what works for me is to put my body in postures which are just unfamiliar enough to attract my attention by the change in feeling or perception that comes along with them. I think it may be similar with running in a way. I'm not into violent effort, but 'challenging' the status quo is definitely useful. For the time being it's challenge enough just to go out running regularly after such a long break (and in fact I'm finding myself happily stimulated by the way the landscape changes day by day. So much more satisfying than running on a treadmill in a gym!) but when (if!) the running becomes a habit then mixing things up a bit is a good thing to do - to vary the amount and type of physical stress.
11:54 08/06/2012 Friday morning...
A later morning run. 35 minutes. I was lazing in bed earlier reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. I can't believe I never read it before. It's great. There was a storm all night and all morning with wind and rain. I caught the tail end of it when I went out. Technically it had stopped raining although there was so much water being flung off the trees in the wind that there were still plenty of water droplets in the air. Still lots of wind but no proper rain. The rain started on the way back but not cold rain. That Tyvek jacket (all praise to the blessed Tyvek!) is great. With sleeves pushed up and zip open to the waist it's nice and breezy and then running full into the wind and rain I close it up, pull the hood over my head and I'm fully protected. When you run, you sweat, so what's the point of anything being fully waterproof? Much more important is fully windproof, breathable, and mostly waterproof. The Tyvek is all of those things.
The run was about 35 minutes and no walking involved, apart from the last 200 metres as a 'warm down'. (Ok, I was tired too.) I felt I had plenty of energy, which I put down to eating MEAT yesterday. I don't eat meat often but when I do I tend to go at it like a Neanderthal. It's a weird feeling, to feel my stomach responding to meat by producing all that acid, and boiling and churning away to break it down. And then I can feel the AGGRESSION running around my body. It's a good thing there were no deer blocking my path today, otherwise I would have fashioned a spear from a tree branch using my teeth and chased after them. Seriously, I think there is something in meat which my body needs occasionally and which nothing else supplies. I don't know whether the unaccustomed exercise has contributed to that need but it wouldn't surprise me.
I am slightly concerned though that I might be overdoing the running and it might be better to slow down the progress a bit. Still I shall go every day to keep the habit going but maybe some 'token' runs are in order for a while. The reason is that my left leg is a bit painful. When I started running today I could feel a definite stiffness there. My right leg was much more bouncy. I deliberately tried to even out my gait - to 'breathe into' that leg and allow the pain free reign for the sake of allowing free and full movement. It feels like the beginnings of that sciatica and that is best avoided. Since that strange experience in the Norwegian mountains I am no longer inclined to let the sciatica stop me exercising, but I have been inactive for so long, I want to give my body time to catch up with my exuberance. I'm thinking that long walks might be better than long runs for a while.
Just one thought I had. The meat-eating. I appreciated the feeling of aggression that it gave me. I often feel constrained and contricted, living here in crowded South East England. I have open space and some beautiful countryside right nearby so I really shouldn't complain, but still, I notice myself often wanting to hide away - to hibernate or barricade myself away - because of the huge number of people around. Don't misunderstand me: it's a subtle feeling and I do cope fine with everyday life, but I often feel subtly oppressed when I'm out in the public space. I guess that's why I feel better at dawn when no one is around. I think it's a territory thing. There are just too many people here so they all give off slightly territorial, defensive and aggressive vibes. Being a bit more aggressive myself gives me some kind of 'protection' against those vibes, and in fact, social life here has evolved so that the dance dances itself better if everyone is that way. People generally feel more comfortable around people who have a certain amount of 'definition' to their characters, and who are not too open. 'Over-sensitive' people are kind of tricky to be around. But I think there is a cost to this socially endorsed armouring. It's possible to lose contact with something important in the process. It's one of the costs of over-population I think. I don't know what a human being's 'natural' territory size would be - what size would be required in order to stand down the unconcious hackles and relax. How many square miles? And if you have the feeling that everyone around you has enough space then you don't need to protect your own. Maybe it's just me and no one else feels like that, but somehow I doubt I'm that unusual.
09:02 09/06/2012 Saturday morning...
30 minute run.
Yesterday my left leg and foot were giving me jip. Sciatica-type pains. The leg was stiff and painful when I started the run. I did some good old stretching of the hip area afterwards. A butoh class in the evening and then hung out at a friend's house after that. As the evening went on the pain got worse and worse. I took a full-strength Ibuprofen at 9:30pm and another before bed. The pain was still annoying when I was in bed. (It used to stop me sleeping well for weeks at a time.
Then this morning, ...much better! I had intended to go out for just a token 100 metre jog, and almost didn't bother with proper running gear and only put it on because that's the agreement I have with myself, but in fact the leg was fine. Well, a bit of pain on the top of the foot, but WAY better than it was yesterday. I ended up jogging along quite comfortably through residential streets down to the church at the edge of the village and then couldn't resist the temptation to take a longer loop through the fields.
As I say, this sciatica, and that's definitely what it is, is not so simple. It's not as simple as "it's fine if I don't run and when I start running again it flairs up again, therefore I shouldn't run." That experience in Norway showed me that it can be overcome by carrying on and going through it.
And very interesting, this commitment to run every day. It's bringing up problems and obstacles, but the commitment is necessitating all kinds of other changes in support of it. Like the daily hip stretches. Like the change in diet. And yes, like this blog too. The blog is also a support.
OK, time for a bath...
05:09 10/06/2012 Sunday morning...
A 15 minute run this morning. I was 'called' out of bed by the birds singing at 4 or 4:30am. I'm getting happily habituated to going out early and having the world to myself. I felt quite content to take it easy this morning so I didn't head down to the fields but ran around the residential streets here. Blue sky, still air, just a few pink clouds on the horizon. I saw no one. No traffic. I ran in the middle of the road. I came across quite a few birds sitting around in places they would avoid during the day. A squirrel came bounding towards me on the pavement, stopped, sat up on its haunches, watching me jogging towards him, then lazily loped across the road towards a wood pigeon which was standing on the pavement thinking to itself. The pigeon didn't seem to notice the squirrel. It's really nice to see all this early morning wildlife. I don't know if all these creatures are half-asleep or if they also have the feeling the day hasn't officially started yet and therefore they are under no obligation to play their usual timid rôles.It's funny: as a teenager I used to stay up late in order to have some time alone to think. Now I'm getting up early for the same reason. I still feel rebellious for doing so. Going against the crowd.
I noticed this morning that already my belly doesn't wobble uncomfortably as it did a month ago. Still the same shape but I guess it has toned up inside.
One practical point. My running shoes are getting slightly stinky. Not foot-odour-stinky but mildewy. Mouldy-smelling. I have never had this problem before so I guess it's because I've been going out in the wet every day and they have never got dry in between. I'm going to try soaking them overnight in a bucket of Milton sterilising solution and then washing them in the machine at low temperature to remove the sterilising stuff and also to wash out any organic residues that could feed bacteria or fungus. This means I'll need to use an old pair (or a new pair) for a day or two. (I have a spare, unused pair in the loft.) In fact, maybe it's worth using two pairs and alternating them so they each get a chance to dry properly between runs.
15:22 10/06/2012 Sunday afternoon...
I've been tweaking the blog site this afternoon. I've now got a separate page for the most recent entry, and that page opens first. From there, readers can browse previous entries, which take up one file per month, and which are in standard chronological order so can be read sequentially like a diary. At the bottom of each page is a link to the next page. So there is now a link on the bottom of the current month's page to 'today's page'. Of course, 'today' is, strictly speaking, part of 'this month', but when one gets to the bottom of 'this month' there is a link to newer posts so I think it works. In fact I'm quite proud of the little HTML 'forward and back controls' at the top of the page.It's not finished, and I do have some code tidying to do, but it seems to work. I shall leave it as it is until I've had a chance to get some user feedback in the next few days. If users find it more-or-less useable then I'll be happy with it. I shall then tidy the code up to comply with standards and generally be safe and well-behaved, and then I shall leave it alone. It seems to be nice and easy to do the daily updating, despite the fact there are now two files to amend each time instead of one.
06:01 11/06/2012 Monday morning...
Hmmm... Procrastinating a bit. I was woken by birdsong and happily got out of bed to run, but then realised three things.
1. It's raining.
I don't mind the rain but I did want those shoes to dry thoroughly before using them. I'm not being lazy exactly but the indecision has led to an hour of doing other things. (I think my 'laziness' is often more accurately a lack of clarity about what to do next.)
OK, I shall put my boots on and go for a good walk instead...10:54 11/06/2012... Nice long walk down along the canal and back across fields. Got a bit lost so it took nearly three hours in the end. Well, not lost, but I couldn't work out how to cross a river so had to loop back to find my way to a little foot bridge. I have walked this route a few times in the opposite direction, but going this way round I didn't recognise things. It rained the whole time. I had to cross a couple of fields of cows. One lot were very inquisitive and came crowding round me. I don't like cows. They scare me. Too big.
This is a circular route which goes past a ruined manor house and an old church in the middle of the fields. There's no road to the church. Not even a gravel path. There's a black iron fence to keep the cows out of the graveyard. I guess, but don't know, that it was cut off from the village by the railway line that now runs close by. The graveyard at least is still kept up but I'm not sure if services are held there any more.
I saw a heron flying low across a water meadow. Huge wings. Beautiful.
05:18 12/06/2012 Tuesday morning...
30 minutes run. Down along the dirt path into the kind of country park near here. A comfortable run out there and then ran out of energy and walked back. I heard a cuckoo calling, which, in the pale dawn meadow reminded me of the opening sequence of Tarkovsky's genius film, Solaris. Genius to begin a film about space exploration with a long, lingering look at just how beautiful Earth is.
On the way back through the village I saw a squirrel running along an overhead power line. A couple of pigeons were sitting on the same line. The first flew away letting the squirrel pass but the second stayed put. The squirrel sat up on its haunches, looked at it, turned around, took a few steps, realised how far it was to go back, changed its mind again and rushed at the pigeon, which then also flew off.
Update to the running shoe cleaning experiment: it works great I think. Soaking in Milton sterilising solution (two tablets in a bucket of water) and then a wash in a machine at low temperature with detergent and another couple of Milton tablets. The shoes now feel and smell totally clean. (I don't care about a bit of permanent staining from all that mud!) They smell like an open-air swimming pool. Success! Next time I may dispense with the soaking and simply add a couple of Milton tablets to the washing machine. The instructions on the packet say it only takes 15 minutes to sterilise stuff so that should work fine.
It's my birthday. I'm 52. I'm thinking about this blog, and about the running project. I spoke to a friend on Sunday who has been doing a daily blog for a few years and he was describing how it has changed for him over that time. I think I'm going to put a limit on it. Not a hard limit on the blog exactly but a limit to this particular commitment to run and blog about it. Time for some rules.OK, so the rule is that I go out of my house in running gear at some point every day and then immediately after returning write something, however brief. (Brief might be better - ha ha!) How far I run is totally up to how I feel on the day. It can literally be twenty metres and that's fine. I shall do this for one year, so until my next birthday. After that I re-evaluate.
I am going to permit some exceptions though. Yesterday I didn't run because I had no dry shoes to wear. I went for a long walk instead. It was a good walk, but I somehow didn't feel right about not running. I think I should go out in running kit and run a bit even if I have to do it barefoot or in street shoes.
However, the rules only apply when I'm at home. When I'm travelling I don't want to be bothered with it, as both the carrying of kit and the blogging can be difficult then. (What's the point of a holiday if you can't break your routine?!)
And if I do miss a day? Well, it's only a game after all. If I miss a day it just makes the game slightly less fun, that's all. No big deal.
OK, so that's one year from today.
20:48 13/06/2012 Wednesday evening...
Tired. Just been out for a 200 yard token run. Not interested. Nothing to say. Need food. Need rest.
06:19 14/06/2012 Thursday morning...
30 minutes - maybe less. Again, a comfortable run out to, and around, the water meadow, and then a walk/jog/walk back home.
The sun was low and shining almost horizontally across the meadow, creating deep shade at ground level and making it a challenge to see where to place each foot. Nice.
I saw four deer this time in the meadow. Jogging along a narrow path between tall grasses, yellow buttercups and purple clover, I saw two deer out of the corner of my eye about 50 metres away. I tried to act nonchalant but I must have slightly turned my head to see better and they were off. They stopped just a few metres further back and continued to watch me as I took a wide loop around them to head back home. Beautiful animals. I can't think of a landscape they would not complement.
A little update on how my body is doing. The sciatica-type pain of last week is more-or-less gone now. It does seem to have responded well to a combination of continued moderate daily running, stretching exercises for the hip area and regular ibuprofen. I do still have some trouble in that left leg but it is different: stiffness and tightness behind the knee which is worse if I kneel sitting on my heels. Kneeling has been tricky for a while now and I have put that down to too much bulk in the legs since gaining weight over this last winter but it is much worse in the left leg at the moment. Not much I can immediately do about having fat legs but I'm going to try some regular yoga-type leg stretches as well as the hip stretches. Apart from that, my body is feeling quite good.
01:14 16/06/2012 Friday night...
50 paces. I counted them. I'm not well. I have some kind of stomach upset. Food poisoning maybe. Anyway I'm not feeling at all like running.
20:59 16/06/2012 Saturday evening...
Interesting. It's raining very slightly. Windy with light speckles of rain. I went out and immediately felt that 'call'. That "Yes, I want to go."
As I ran I felt my belly still a bit sore from yesterday's bout of diaorrhea (how do you spell that?) The guts have been OK today. The diarrhoea was caused I think by a small piece of homemade cake I ate at an event on Thursday night. Not sure of course but today I've eaten a bit of everything else I ate that day with no ill effects. I've been rather sensitive to this kind of thing since an operation in 2005 to remove half of my colon and a few other bits of small intenstine and so on which were affected by a cancer tumour. I'm fine now but it has left me a bit more sensitive than I was to 'stomach bugs'. In a way the fact that I have been able to put on so much weight lately has been reassuring. It reassures me that my digestive system (small intestine) is more than capable of absorbing nutrients, despite the fact that much of it has been removed. Also, one of the symptoms I had before the tumour was discovered was weight loss. When I went in for the operaton I weighed exactly 10 stone/140lb/63.5kg, which is roughly 20% underweight for me.
Still'n'all, (I like that expression - I picked it up from some visitng Newfoundlanders) Still'n'all, this running business - this running every day business - misguided though it may be, is going to be a lot easier (and there'll be less risk of injury) if I can lose a bit of weight, and I do acknowledge that I have a tendency to overeat. Specifically I notice that I often eat when I'm not physically hungry. In other words, I eat for emotional reasons. So perhaps it would be good to look at alternative ways of responding to emotional stresses.
One way that has worked for me in the past is to sit and meditate regularly. If I know I can sit and 'process' emotions at the end of the day then I am less reluctant to feel those emotions during the day. I tend to be less 'self-protective' emotionally in that case. The overeating can be a way of anaesthetising myself.
Hmmm... So, rather than 'beating myself up' about overeating I think I shall set up a regular sitting practice 'in competition', so-to-speak, to fulfill the function of the overeating in a different way. Maybe I can blog about that too - ha ha. Yes, maybe that's not so crazy actually... I'll have a think about that later. Gotta go out now...
02:18 18/06/2012 Sunday night..
A token run again. Just to the end of the road and back. The rest seems to be doing me good and my knee is less sore now. I went for a long walk with friends today along the ridgeway, so that's exercise enough for today.
01:21 19/06/2012 Monday night...
Another token run. Just didn't feel like running all day so went for a token run to the end of the road and back last thing at night. I guess that's fine.
23:00 19/06/2012 Tuesday evening...
Bah Humbug! Dagnabit! and other oaths... Whose idea was it to run every day? It's crazy. I'm not going today, or if I do it will be an ironic shuffle. Maybe I'll put my shoes on the opposite feet or run backwards.
Seriously, I'm in a bad mood over this.
I'm not making the kind of progress I was hoping to. Getting old I guess. I think my body has needed these several days of rest so I've been going out in my running gear just for the sake of the bet, so it's a bit pointless. No, it's not a bet, but it's a bit like that. The experiment. What happens to a middle-aged overweight guy who goes out the door in running gear every day for a year? It seems such a cliché. Like that guy in American Beauty.
Well, I don't really care. And I'm really glad I decided not to enable comments on this blog. I don't want anyone coming along and inflicting their opinions on me. There's only room for one inflictor of opinions around here. I'm just doing the experiment and that's that.
23:05 20/06/2012 Wednesday night...
I didn't go out (running) yesterday, and I haven't been out today. Not yet anyway.
I don't at all feel like going out now. I don't feel physically good and I don't want to run. But I guess it won't do me any actual harm to put some gear on and go outside the front door, and it might make some kind of difference in some kind of way I can't think of right now.
00:20 21/06/2012... Seven paces. I don't feel any worse for it, and if anything I feel a litle less bad-tempered. With any luck, if I do put my kit on and go out every day then eventually I'll feel like actually running.
00:49 22/06/2012 Thursday night...
Went outside in running kit. Came back in. I didn't feel like running. Also it was raining, in a cold and depressing kind of way. I'm just tired I think.
02:43 23/06/2012 Friday night...
A proper run at last. I wasn't expecting it as it was very late at night and I was tired, but once outside I found I had the energy for a jog around the block. Just a half mile I guess, but I got into a good stride and was breathing hard. In fact it cleared my lungs a bit. I hadn't noticed my lungs needed clearing but I brought up a little bit of phlegm while running and now I feel slightly wheezy, ...in a good way though.
While on that kind of subject, over the past year or so I've had quite frequent but very minor nosebleeds. Never quite worked out why. My doctor prescribed some antibiotic cream in case it was a nasal infection, and when that had no effect she also tried me on anti-histamine tablets in case it was an allergy causing irritation. If that didn't work she was going to recommend cauterisation (ouch!) Now it MAY have been the anti-histamines that helped, although they seemed to make no difference for the first month of taking them, but since I started running, even in this gentle, start/stop kind of way, the nosebleeds have stopped. I more-or-less stopped running about a year and a half ago, and to be sure, I never had this nosebleed problem before, whether I was running or not, but there might be a connection. I can't see a mechanism for such a connection right now but the timing does seem significant. Maybe improved circulation helps healing? More oxygen? I was getting two or three nose bleeds a week and I haven't had one now for three weeks. It's a bit early to say they've stopped for good but hey, who cares? No one reads this thing anyway so I'm going to jump the gun and say they've stopped. If they start again I'll let you know.
03:21 26/06/2012 Monday night...
A token run. Late at night and I'd just eaten so I knew I wasn't going to run really. I missed a couple of runs over the weekend. Left knee twingeing a bit. I was feeling today and last night as if I was about the get a cold. No cold has arrived but maybe I'm fighting something off. Not feeling inspired in general. A relative died today. Also I've had a dispute with a friend lately, which doesn't help.
05:06 28/06/2012 Thursday morning...
Well, OK, Wednesday night. Been up all night and decided to go running at dawn. 30 minutes of slow, steady jogging down to the river and back. Now this is the first proper run for some time and it feels like it. I felt heavy and had small pains in my shins to start with. This was better by the time I got back but I didn't speed up discernibly. It feels like 'two steps forward; one step back'. Progress feels slow. But this run was way easier than my first runs were when I started a month or so ago so there is some progress after all.
You know I've been quite down in the last week. I have a feeling it is partly to do with missing some of these daily runs. This kind of foolish commitment has a dangerous side to it because if I backslide I suffer. If I hadn't decided to run every day for a year, but had simply run regularly for a bit, ...stopped for a bit, ...started again, etc. then there'd have been no problem. A commitment is a powerful thing but also a dangerous one. I feel better for being back on the track. The run was good too.
I spent some time today working out a simple way of allowing readers to comment on the blog. I'm not a big fan of a 'public forum' type of comments function. Well, I am - I think that's fine for some things - but for this blog it feels a bit raw or something, and I don't really want that kind of openness. I do however want to hear anything that readers want to say or want to ask, so I've included an email link on page called 'about' which can be navigated to from the bottom of the 'latest post' page. The 'about' page will have a bit of text explaining what the blog is about - once I've written something. I think it's good. The right degree of accessibility but not 'in your face'. Visitors will definitely find that email link but only after they've read a bit of the blog. That feels right.
So after working on that to my satisfaction I felt the urge to write something in the blog itself, and then realised that to do that I would have to go for a run first. Funny, eh? Writing in the blog has become a reward for running.
I imagine an audience, waiting for news of my next run, and imagine them being disappointed when they visit the site and find no new posts. It's an encouragement, a support, this audience, even if imaginary.
I once came up with a training device for butoh dance where I asked participants to walk into the woods alone until they "found their audience". I told them they would know when they found it, and that it might be a tree, a group of flowers, a stream, some insects, the wind, patches of sunlight on the forest floor, or anything else. They were then to dance for their audience. I had never done that myself until I suggested it to them but then I found it really worked for me. Later, in another forest with another group I tried the same thing again. On that occasion we only had a very few minutes left before the mini-workshop had to end but we walked off to give five-minute performances to our private audiences. Mine turned out to be very interesting. I saw my body as very definitely female (I'm male) and I found a kind of freedom in being able to dance a 'female dance' for an audience to whom I did not need to explain and in front of whom I felt no embarrassment. It was a wonderful audience in fact. Attentive but not judgmental. I guess I feel a little of the same thing with this blog.
04:22 30/06/2012 Saturday morning...
Yes, OK, late Friday night then. It makes a difference. My energy is different late at night compared to early in the morning. Anyway, that was a 30 minute run. The same as last time but further and faster. Down to the river, over the river and on over another three fields to a small brook. (Sounds like Alice Through the Looking Glass.) I felt much more energetic and bouncy than last time and I enjoyed pushing myself a bit. It was a bit too early in the morning though. The sky was getting light but it was hard to see the ground clearly, and once off the road I was occasionally semi-stumbling. No danger of falling but my feet were landing hard and clumsy at times. I think the earliest sensible time to run now is about 4:30am. As I came back across the fields the birds had just started singing. I saw a rather large hedgehog trundling along the edge of the road by a wall and then turning into a garden.
I just realised that I missed yesterday's run. I hadn't noticed. I know I was asleep most of the day. On Thursday evening after work I was exhausted so went to bed early and I slept til Friday afternoon. Must have slept 16 hours. I feel fine now so I guess I needed that sleep. Thursday's run felt quite tough and perhaps my body needed to recover by sleeping.
Nothing else to say. There's a definite improvement in my fitness since I started this game six weeks ago. I was hoping to have lost some weight too but I don't think I have.