Tuesday, 19 May 2009


That was bloody awful. 5k - 30min bang on. Not terrible apart from I felt like I hadn't run in aaaages. Maybe that was because I hadn't run in 13days.

The good news is that I'm fit enough to help friends strip wallpaper and sand floors for 3 days straight. (House is really getting there and Spartan & Blarney have bagged themselves a bargin!) I'm fit enough to have a fantastic 14mile bike ride with TheO - small break for picnic mid cycle. I'm fit enough to go quad biking (which is nout except sitting on your arse really) and walk for almost 2h with 3 dogs. However as I am fit enough to do and enjoy all these things I lose my own fitness if I don't top-up with some serious other exercise - like running.

So, whilst it wasn't a disaster (although I did aim for 4 miles and then just give in) it did feel quite rough. My legs fel tight, my lungs found it hard and I almost forgot how to drink whilst running.

But, and there is an upside, it was damn nice to get out there again. I managed to time it so I went inbetween showers. A wonderful spring/early summer evening with baby bunnies and swallows everywhere and fields filled with cavorting lambs.

Other highlights that really made me delighted today are: the rest of the plumbing finally got fixed. Which means I can get started in the garden. (Oh god, I really never thought I'd use those words.) And tick off loads of stuff that has been seriously lurking on my to-do list. Brilliant.

In other news we apear to have bagged ourselves a serious antiques bargin. We bought a set of china... I know, like we needed more plates. But we bought it because it was beautiful, and really very cheap... Ikea cheap. It's cream and green with a great art deco pattern. We only ever buy stuff 'cos we like it, not ever for an 'investment' but this time we might have struck 'china gold'. It's original 1930s and it really, really, rocks. When we got it home and unwrapped all 69 pieces we checked the details online. Even taking into account damage and stuff (and some is very worn) we still paid about a 20th of what it would be worth if we sold it piece by piece. However all we're going to do is use it. Like it was intended.

As TheO is out, helping Spartan and Blarney with house shenanigans (and I'm a lazy arse) I'm off to make a microwave risotto. Wish me luck.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Shoe Review

Now the lovely people at Fitness Footwear sent me some running shoes. (Thank you!) And obviously I’m due to give them a review. Now I don’t have to say anything nice, I just have to review them. So anything positive or negative is based purely on my experience with the shoes – not on how free they were.

My only concession to the senders of the free shoes are the hyperlinks - I feel this is only fair to them. I agreed to wear and review with links - so link I will.

After Nike changed their fit on me, I moved onto the Mizuno’s (Wave Rider 12s - reviewed in a previous post). They’re comfy but not as cushioned as I was used to. On longer runs I even worried about shin splints as I got the horrible aching pain down the front of my shins… luckily nothing ever came of this.

But my new review running trainers are New Balance W1062.
So far I’m quite impressed, overall they are weighty but the CUSHIONING is very bouncy, the thick soles feel very comfy and quite responsive given how thick they are. It’s very nice to have the bounce back after the ‘flatter’ Mizunos. The New Balance are not a fast shoe – I’d even consider not wearing them for races. BUT for training they seem to be so securely cushioned that the comfort level looks like maintaining for a good few miles, which is good news when thinking about cost.(You can see the thick sole in the image above.)

I assumed from fit that he shoes are larger than I would usually wear [checking the sizes below shows this is just a feeling, not a reality].
SIZING: or why shoes are just like clothes – the sizes make no sense and the only thing is to keep trying on multiple pairs.
From the labels I get the following info:
Mizuno 5.5/38.5/US W8
New Balance 5.5/ 38 /US 7.5
See the confusion there! Also, I measured the original shoe inners against each other and the NB are at least 4mm longer than the Mizuno. They are most definitely ‘bigger’ shoes, and not just because they are a wide fit.

Now they might feel slightly ‘large’, but they are the size running shops have been trying to get me to buy for years. Often the 5.5 size is too big and the resulting fabric at the toe rubs across them when I run. Not this time! The wide size and the extra room mean that these might be a fantastic option for longer runs. Plenty of room for the toes to spread and swell during a (theoretical) 20 miler, but still enough security so my feel don’t feel like they are rolling around without some support from the shoes.

FIT – good straight from the box, feel a little big, but only at the toes initially – and the heel grip is supportive whilst neither slipping nor eating my socks with looseness.
CHAFING I had initial concerns about the edges of the tongue being a little rough. BUT this feeling vanished a few seconds into the run. They are quite padded and just needed time to ‘bed down’.
TOE BOX – these wide fitting shoes are truly WIDE – and my feet are very square and very wide. This width doesn’t seem to come at the expense of excess fabric though. Also points have to be given to NB for providing training shoes in different widths. It makes you realise that the way we buy shoes would be a little like buying our clothes based only on our height – with no concern for our width…
LACE LENGTH – great length – not too long, or too short, and, more importantly the bobbles really do make the laces feel like they’d hold better than a flat lace. This was a nice innovation I hadn’t seen before.
WEIGHT – including my orthotic (weight per shoe) 349g – so really quite heavy. (This is in comparison to the 288g incl orthotic of the Mizuno.)
Whilst I am generally glad of the weight as it’s due to the thick sole and therefore the bounce, the weight will make these shoes drain your legs after enough miles. I don’t think I’ll suffer as I have strong legs and weigh far more than I should; but lighter runners might suffer.
RESPONSIVENESS – now you always pay in responsiveness by having such great cushioning. And, I haven’t had them outside on anything apart from a very dry surface. BUT these are more responsive than I would have first expected. I like that the sole doesn’t have too many areas for mud (or dog poo) or stones to hide in. The Mizuno has a huge, deep, straight-sided void in the heel, which on a country road can trap pebbles. Sole images can be sen below. NB on the left.
Now there are some factors that I couldn't give a toss about. One is PRICE. For me it either fits and works or it doesn't. As I'm heavy I have a tendency to buy top-end shoes. I think they last longer and I get more choice if I don't limit myself to cost. However, I'll try on any neutral cushioning shoe regardless of cost. These seem like fairly priced, good value running shoes. Only time will tell how long they last.

COLOUR/DESIGN is the other factor I really don't care about. The only thing that would piss me off would be women specific shoes made in pink. ... But that's a personal thing. I'd prefer it if no running shoes were white in base colour, it just gets dirty and looks crap faster. Again that might be me. The New Balance shoes are quite a neutral white/orange scheme which looks sporty and isn't too girly. Goes well with navy or black sports gear - if you care about that sort of thing. The Mizuno does have better styling, there is more colour, and it's metallic which just has a racier feel. But both are pretty much generic white sports shoes with some colour.


So, whilst I am still sad that the perfection that was my Nike’s has been taken away from me (due to upgrades) I am delighted to have found both some great distance shoes (the New Balance) and some shorter distance racing shoes (Mizuno). I’ll probably wear the NB more as I am a heavy runner who is not light of foot. I hit the ground hard and am generally not fast enough to need a lighter shoe. Comfort and longevity is what I'm looking for. The NBs feel solid - lets get out there and see if they hold up. (To my complete lack of current training...)

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Falling in love again

Well the running is making a resurrection. I wont be marathoning at the end of the month. Maybe it's because I'm a lazy bitch, or maybe the time just wasn't right. I took my eye of the training ball and it sailed right past me before ricocheting off a post and knocking me out.

But now I no longer dread my schedule - now I can just go for a run. I've got plans for a half this year, and will enjoy both it and the training. I can focus on that speed and distance and not stress out about how much damn time it takes to run 20miles when 8 people are coming to dinner and you haven't had time to go shopping.

Marathon running - you were for me, but sadly it was just a fling. We might hook-up in the future but I wouldn't be holding your breath.

With that in mind I've been out a few times this week -nothing drastic, nothing stat worthy, but all good runs. Managing to maintain a relatively easy 9.30 pace which is nice to note. Gives me a base to work on. Have to up the mileage a wee bit though as the last 10k was a month ago! That kind of thing always freaks me out and I end up thinking I'm going to become unfit and decrepit instantly. Also managed to go to circuits again - bloody love that torture.

We've had some real traumas this week - the drains, that never ending saga just ploughed on:
I got a written quote, was told the job would take a day and a half, and agreed to it going ahead. A day and a half later they called to tell me that the work done so far (the job agreed to) would be DOUBLE the amount quoted and the smaller amount left to do would be DOUBLE that again, by this stage we are talking about thousands of pounds.

When I questioned the difference between the quote and the amount I was seriously given the run around by a guy who was rude, patronising, offensive and threatening. (As in threatening to stop work and 'see if I could find someone else to do the job'.) I asked to have 5 min to think about it and then call him back. He called his workmen and got them to stop without further discussion. (TheO also called him to ask for a simple breakdown of costs and his offensiveness and rudeness was unbelievable.)

Luckily in the 2min before he called the guys I ran outside and told the guys who'd worked their arses off what had happened and that we were v pleased with their work and they were great. That all the difficulty lay with the accounts dept. We were very honest with the workmen. They were then called and told to rip out all the work they had done - bear in mind this is our main house sewage drain - and take the pipes away. **Note that whilst I had questioned why it was double at no point had I ever said we weren't going to pay. Also note that we've used this company 3 times before for pretty serious jobs and always paid promptly.**

The lovely workmen looked at me, and we just said "tell your boss we refused you entry to the property" - it's nothing to do with you and it brings it on us. We then realised that life would be easier if we just paid for the work that had been done. We handed over a cheque, apologised to the guys for all the palaver, and thought we were done.

5min later one of the guys rings the bell, and this is when the biscuit is really taken, and he says in a horribly apologetic tone that the guy in accounts "wont accept a cheque as it might bounce". We have to pay by card. We do - luckily not having to talk to the waste of air who's just lost his company thousands of pounds worth of work.

Only possible glimmer of upside - whilst giving the lovely workmen coffee whilst I was busy calling to pay by card - TheO asked if they worked for anyone else... you know, just asking... and they said they'd come back and finish the job for us on Saturday (probably)... and I think they might as I found all the pipes to finish the job hidden behind a hedge in the garden this morning! They are very nice men who work for a very stupid company. (And right is very definitely on our side!) We now can use everything except the kitchen sink and dishwasher. So TheO was to be found carrying pales of water into the garden to wash-up the remaining dishes from a dinner party for 8! She most definitely rocks.

Had the guy in accounts had the brains to make up some shit that sounded realistic then they'd have got the job; because he was an idiot we'll never use that company again and we'll make sure that none of our friends or neighbours do.

And breathe.
I will also note we had a lovely w/end (pre-drains) with RockGod and Professor. She told me about plants (and I took notes) and we travelled far and wide to find excellent cheap pottery, and delicious (not so cheap) chocolate. Result!

Oh yes, and my dad got married; and we were fine apart from the choice to begin the ceremony with many lengthy comments all starting with once in your life you find someone who ...- so you know, the last marriage, to my mother, the one that I'm a product of ... that was nothing. Brilliant. At best a thoughtless twat, at worst a complete twat. Idiot.
My 85 yr old gran also got drunk - she was hilarious and for me, saved the whole occasion. When she starts saying things like, "I'm a methodist, that's why I don't drink" whilst being neither a methodist nor sober you know the night is really kicking off.

And breathe again.