Category: Sport (page 1 of 12)

Walk don’t run

I’ve not run for four weeks now due to a niggling but pretty sore knee. I first noticed it around the start of May but thought nothing much of it. But a week to ten days later and it was getting worse. Getting and our of the car was difficult and if I stretched my leg in a certain position it was agony – like someone stabbing my knee. All this was accompanied by a quite horrible tearing noise and a burning sensation that lasted for ten to twenty minutes. But I could still run, walk etc so just carrie don regardless.

Then around mid May I ran five miles and an hour after that the knee was in pretty bad shape. Nothing during the run but so sore after sitting for a while. For a few days after stairs were tricky and I decided to rest the running for a while to see if it helped. After a week it felt a bit better but I really missed going out for a run so to test it I did a four mile walk. Ouch.

About half way through I had to stop as every step was sore. I had a slow stroll home and decided to rest it some more. Most folk told me to seek out a physio but my stubbornness kicked in and I thought rest would be enough. It eased off slightly but every few days I’d tweak it again and it would reset back to the start. Roll onto this week and I bit the bullet and booked in to see a physio.

While he couldn’t diagnose what was wrong there looks to be no permanent damage and nothing that I should be apprehensive about. The advice was to do a variety of stretches and strengthening exercises and also to start slowly – walk before I run. I’ve to ice the knee frequently too to help with any slight swelling.

Hopefully I’ll be back running in the next 3-4 weeks as I really do miss not only the exercise but it’s a great way to clear the mind. Whatever happens, this has been a bit of a lesson. Next time I get an injury I’ll be visiting the physio far earlier. One day I’ll learn!

Glasgow 2014 – Bowls

It’s halfway through the Commonwealth Games 2014 hosted in Glasgow. I’d tried to get a variety of tickets and ended up with some badminton for later this week. A few weeks ago I decdied to get some tickets for the bowls for me and mum to visit as the event takes place at Kelvingrove which is where my dad used to play.

Over the years the clubhouse and the greens had become unloved and looked pretty shabby so it was great to see then renovated and the facilities looked superb.

As for the bowls itself, it was good to watch and some great competition across the various matches going on.

It was a great day and hats off to the organisation at Kelvingrove which was great. The clydesiders were in good form and it was a breeze going through security. Plenty of toilets and everything was clearly signposted.

The only negative was the range of food on offer. Two food outlets with a poor choice of food and it was expensive and of fairly poor quality. It’s a real shame that some of the great food outlets from around Glasgow weren’t there – were they given the opportunity? Not sure if it’s the same across all venues but felt like an opportunity missed especially with Mother India just across the road and a whole host of great restaurants around Kelvingrove and Finnieston.

Overall though it was a great day and the weather played ball too – full set of photo’s are up on Flickr. Glasgow has never looked better and I’m looking forward to the badminton on Saturday – semi-finals day!

Still Running

Three years ago I bought some proper shoes so I could start running. I lasted 4 weeks. The year after, two weeks. Useless. July 14th 2013 I gave it one more go….and this time it stuck.

In the last year I’ve:

  • Ran 463 miles
  • Ran 110 times
  • Averaged 4.21 miles for each run, much higher than expected
  • Seen a lot of Glasgow
  • Realised that I love running in winter, summer…not so much
  • Tracked all my runs in RunKeeper

I mention RunKeeper for a good reason. Firstly it’s free and using it’s 5k training plan it got me running on a varied program which kept it interesting and challenging. Secondly I can download all the GPX files (XML file of GPS waypoints) and produce graphics like this.

Where I ran in 2014. Each run mapped onto a Google Maps export.

Where I ran in 2014. Each run mapped onto a Google Maps export.

When I read the Flowing Data post called Where People Run in Major Cities and saw the visualisations they had produced I knew I wanted to do the same. I worried I wouldn’t have done enough runs with variety but I’m pleased with how it came out. I’m also surprised at some of the area’s I haven’t run in which means some good options going forward. Nothing better than running somewhere new to keep things interesting. RunKeeper also exports your data in csv so you can graph it with ease.

Distance per month in miles

Distance per month in miles

Number of runs per month

Number of runs per month

Average speed in mph. Getting slower!

Average speed in mph. Getting slower!

Lessons I’ve learned over the last 12 months are obvious really with hindsight but worth repeating. Firstly, always stretch, warm up and warm down properly before and after each run. I’ve got lazy with this sometimes and can feel little niggles creep in when I don’t do this properly. Secondly – listen to your body. If you are feeling a bit under the weather or are carrying an injury then tailor the run accordingly. Third – BFH – bus fare home. A couple of times on longer runs I’d be three miles from home, feeling a bit sore, tired or ill and no money to get a bus or taxi home. So I carry a small bit of money on those longer runs just in case. Fourth – hydrate. Don’t underestimate how much fluid you will lose on hot long runs. Plenty of water before and after should see you through a run up to 10km but anything more then I’d carry some water to keep me going. Finally, enjoy it and keep the routes varied. I struggled to get going at first as I stay on a hill and the climb back at the end always defeated me. Building up on a flat canal close to home got me running further and further until I’d got a large enough base to tackle hills. However it was getting boring running up and down the same stretch of water so it was great to branch out and vary my runs.

Looking forward I’ve some small goals to keep me going:

  • Run 500 miles in a year. Narrowly missed this year but if I keep consistent and injury free it should be achievable
  • Improve speed
  • Buy new shoes as the current ones are starting to get a bit done. A trip to Achilles Heel is in order.
  • I’m interested in measuring heart rate but hanging fire on getting anything until Apple announce…something?
  • Play some more with R. Some interesting data in those RunKeeper files.
  • One thing I won’t be doing is entering any races. I don’t know why but racing just doesn’t appeal to me.

So thats my running year. I still can’t believe I’ve been out over 100 times but looking forward to 100 more. At least.

All Change

It was good to have F1 back this morning and hopefully a return to more exciting races after last years procession. The changes this year are vast and are acting almost as a reset button on who has the best car. The result of the changes are a set of ugly cars that sound very different to the last few years but have seen a fair amount of change in qualification this morning.

F1 Teams - Australia 2013 compared to 2014 qualifying

F1 Teams – Australia 2013 compared to 2014 qualifying

Comparing 2013 and 2014 Australian from a team perspective shows just how much change has taken place. Renault in last place shows they are toiling and their struggles in testing have transferred onto Australia. Kimi won for them in Australia last year! Red Bull have actually done better than most expected but the surprise for me was Ferrari – expected a bit more after pre-season testing. Great to see Williams and McLaren improving after a torrid year and well played Toro Rosso too. Simple take away is Mercedes is the engine to have and Renault have a bit of catch up to do.

What about returning drivers?

F1 Drivers - Australia 2013 compared to 2014 qualifying

F1 Drivers – Australia 2013 compared to 2014 qualifying

A great day for Hamilton, Rosberg and especially Ricciardo. As for Vettel I don’t think you can blame waved yellows or conditions as Ricciardo was consistently quicker than him throughout qualifying. Hulkenburg proved his class and Bottas showed promise in the Williams. The other positives were the young guys coming in and performing great – bodes well for a competitive season.

Alonso must have a sense of deja-vu and if Ferrari don’t improve I can see him move next year. Button was disappointing and Grosjean must wonder what the next year holds for him.

I’ve got high hopes that this will be a cracking season, partly after last years dominance by Red Bull and Seb Vettel and also due to the unreliability that the cars have and also the potential for more overtakes due to the regulation changes. Roll on 6am tomorrow!

Workout Complete

That sense of satisfaction as the robotic female voice kicks in and proclaims ‘workout complete’ has become familiar over the last 9 weeks. Using a RunKeeper beginner 5k training program I’ve went from struggling to complete just 1km without collapsing to running 5k’s, not with ease or quickly, but regularly and unexpectedly looking forward to my next run.

5k run along the canal

5k run along the canal

The workout program was excellent as it kept the run’s varied and gradually stepped up pace and distance. I’m actually surprised at some of the distances I managed through the 9 weeks with a couple of 10k runs thrown in to the mix although I did feel the impact on my knee’s and legs the following days. However now that the program has come to an end I am left wondering….what now?

The 5k was a target to aim for and I really enjoyed reaching that goal. However I have zero interest in running a 5 or 10k race. Don’t know why but it just doesn’t appeal to me. I do however want to keep on running especially during the autumn and winter months. I can already feel the chill in the air on some of the morning runs, so much so that I popped down to Achilles Heel and picked up some running tights. That’s something I never expected to be buying!

I’m sticking with RunKeeper and have selected a fat burning program which I hope has enough variety over the coming weeks to keep me interested. I may also try a parkrun as it’s worked so well for Henry. The aim for the next few weeks is to look at improving my 5k times and keep running regularly which I’m sure will be more challenging as the weather turns but then again, this running lark is weirdly addictive.

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