Rest and Nutrition

The accumulation of 14 weeks of training ended on Sunday with our 10k run. Using the dreadmill and the roads Scott and I had worked up from running an earth shattering 1 min splits all the way to 10k. Our goal began as a simple 5k run, when we achieved this with ease we rose the bar. Our new goal is marathon distance by sep/oct. To aid in this goal we decided to have a rest week.

The rest week didn’t exactly pan out. Instead we racked up our highest mileage in a 7 day period. So with 3 days until our new running schedule begins the rest has officially begun.

With a new schedule comes a new diet, my current diet runs at a negative 5600 cals a week. Far from healthy and explains my fatigue recently. So the new diet is a large calorie increase. The extra cals will be coming mainly from nuts and lean protein sources and maybe a pancake or two!

I will be trotting out FitDay to track calories and if there is any demand at all will post a weekly diet plan.

My First 10k Run

I have been looking forward to running my first 10k for around 6 weeks. My guide runner and I have been training hard, determined to put in a good time. So when I awoke this morning and it hurt to stand there was no way I was missing this run.

The pain was mainly on my heels, this makes running slightly easier as my footfall is front/mid so I never strike my heal. So I was quietly confident this wouldnt be an issue. The journey to the drop off point was full of chatter about how the rain may effect us, did I mention it was raining? Boy was it raining.

Exiting the car we began being pelted with rain, no matter it wont get much worse I’m sure of it! We began the run with a steady pace repeating aloud the mantra, “keep it slow, keep it slow”. The first mile was a breeze, then the rain really hit us.

Huge drops of rain that could surely fill a shot glass, instantly our clothes became a chafing second skin. There was nothing else to do but laugh. Why did we think summer clothes would be appropriate for this run?

We crashed into the puddles as they grew in size, trying to dodge the splash or at least get a sneaky hit on each other. By now our shoes were soaked through, but hey at least we were halfway.

Passing the 3 mile marker we both found a second wind, our stride length increased as did our pace. Scott bounded into a swimming pool of a puddle, shooting dirty cold water right up my shorts, great a wet crotch! With our 1.5 mile marker rapidly approaching we decided to head home the back way, a long gradual incline followed by a slight decline.

As we dropped into single file we hit water slightly deeper than anticipated. With the puddles being deeper than our shoes it made running difficult. So we quickly hopped onto the road and ran the white line. My iPhone signalled the final 400m so we up the pace and finish on a high.

A record of 50:37 for our first 10k, injured and in the rain. Proud of that time!

Running Point

Todays run was special for 2 reasons, its my birthday and I had new Nike gear to wear.

Sporting my new Dri Fit Nike short sleeve we headed out on a 2 mile “sprint”. We walked to the edge of my housing estate and began our run, overzealous we began a furious pace.

Being willed on by my new Nike threads we hit the long hill leaving the village. We achieved a mystifying 7:44 pace on an incline. Rounding parrots corner for the next uphill stage we were beginning to lag.

As mentioned numerous times I run shoulder to shoulder with my guide runner. However this particular uphill has a few unique traits which allow me to take point.

The hill is made up of a thin path flanked at both sides by grass. This allows me to correct my position depending on footfall and the feel of the grass. Feeling the long strands of grass on my left leg the next foot strike is a correction to the right. Repeating the process of minor corrections allows me to run point for a .75 mile stretch.

Running point is a great psychological boost, dictating pace and direction for once I am the guide runner.

The pace proved a little adventurous for my guide runner and we decided to take a little breather. I continued to take point which proved a little hazardous as I ran into the road and into oncoming traffic. Undeterred and with a quick correction we were home stretch bound!

Finishing the run we began to dissect our pace. We decided energy conservation is our new mantra. Heading out of the gate too fast always results in poor performance. Start slow finish fast!

Pancake Power

In preparation for todays personal best I began the day with the usual eggs, bacon and pancake stack. The challenge today was 5.5 miles.

Scott arrived and we set off for a new drop off point. We decided on a new route which would place us on the usual stretch home with around 4.5 miles to go.

Now whenever we choose a new route I have to try and memorise the terrain and curbs. There was a slight hair raising moment where I believed the path went straight on, this however placed me into oncoming traffic.

I quick shout of “wrong way!” and I was back on course. The first mile melted away as we joined the home 4.5 mile stretch. This long slog allows your mind to wander.

Today I began noticing how aggressive my foot strike can become. This is due to the undulating sidewalks, whenever we pass a drive way the sidewalk will dip then raise. So the dip generally results in a longer than anticipated stride so I heel strike heavily.

I doubt this problem can be solved by increased communication from my guide runner as the flow of information would be way to high. I do memorise a number of the dips and raises and have amended my running position, but I feel it will simply be a bug to bear.

The run was far easier than either of us anticipated, next weeks challenge a 10k!

P90X Is Childs Play

Today my guide runner and I decided to continue our adventure into CrossFit.

Now for a little background I have completed the P90X program recently. It is a great program for building the glamour muscles, the biceps, triceps and shoulders. It is also a pretty good workout for people with low vision, as the audio instructions are reasonably precise. So I would definitely recommend for low vision people looking to get fit.

However preparation for a return to CrossFit it is not. I fatigued so quick today it was laughable. Also turns out isolated triceps movements are pretty useless prep for real dips.

The workout consisted of:


I fatigued in round 1 and barely made it through the supposedly quick routine.

After finishing we decided to regain some confidence and go for a little run. A steady 1Km warm up and then a few sprints.

We began our 1Km warmup. With a few concise instructions from my guide runner we were making great progress. Then he spouted out a fantastic instruction “yeah loads here, there is cars, posts and loads of shit”.

No left, right, curb just “loads of shit”. We both started laughing as I was gently nudged to the right of the car.

Run complete time for some sprints! This was literally a tonne of fun, will certainly be doing high speed sprints in the future.


The build up for todays run began yesterday when my guide runner sent me a text. “its gonna be even hotter tomorrow”, no worries we be fine!

I started this morning off with the usual pre run breakfast of, eggs, bacon, pancakes and OJ. Perhaps not strictly diet safe but I convince myself I need the energy, so go in heavy with the syrup.

I did play it calorie safe on the bacon and fed some to a neighbourhood cat, who I have decided to name Swoosh.

Sian dropped us off at the Doncaster racecourse a little over 5 miles from our house. We began the run in the shade with a steady pace, rounding the first corner we are hit by the heat. The first mile went well, on pace and feeling energetic. The second mile the sun was beginning to take its toll.

At the end of the 2nd mile fatigue hit, damn you sun!

It was time to dig really deep and adapt a little ultra marathon methodology. Walk the hills. This decimated our pace but would hopefully give us the distance finish.

Entering my estate only half a mile to go! Now when we fatigue it is easier for me to run on the road so my guide runner gets a little break from instructions. This resulted in some driver shouting “the road isn’t for running!”. My guide runner pointed out she was a little rotund and was perhaps confused by exercise.

Only 200m left to go, thank god. We had made it, practically 1st and goal! Completing the miles we congratulated ourselves for even attempting the run in this heat.

Did make me ponder, can I take the heat in a 100 miler?


I was reading blindgal’s blog yesterday and came across the story of a blind fifth grader running unassisted.

Thanks to a guide rope that is attached to a pole in the centre of the track, holding onto the rope allows Hunter Hall to run unassisted.

This is a simple idea and one I have had in the past. If I ever have the opportunity to have my own running track you can be sure I will have such a setup.

After reading this story I figured I would give an unassisted run a shot.

In the fields behind my house there are two football pitches that run back to back. I figured if I set myself in the centre of one of the posts and ran I should be able to achieve around 200m without running into anything. So with the aid of Nike+ to give me audio distances feedback, I went for it.

To make things even more interesting I decided to make the run todays Crossfit WOD.

Four Rounds
400m Run
50 Squats

After a few mishaps with Nike+ the first two runs went real well. Powering through the squats onto my third run I coughed out huge amounts of phlegm, I could feel the wall rapidly approaching. Thankfully I had just reached the 400m, time for some more squats.

The last run saw an incredibly reduced pace and the last set of squats I had to break into two 25’s. I managed to finish with a time of 15:08. I could easily achieve a sub 12 with a guide runner as I would of been far more confident and really gone for it on the runs.

But I got out there and did it unassisted so a win regardless!

Uphill Struggle

My guide runner Scott arrived today and we began talking about the possibility of entering a few more races. So after some googling we had found a few possibilities and were basking in the hopes of fast times.

Evidently this was not the best mind set for todays run. With our high levels of enthusiasm we took the intensity up a notch. A new route a faster pace!

The route choice turned out to be difficult not to mention the over ambitious pace. Our pace took a steep drop around the .75 mile mark as the hills began to take their toll. A headwind for the return mile ate away at our pace. Leaving us with an average of 8:10 a mile.

I have also started using dailymile at first I wasn’t to sure what else it could add statistically, as I already use Nike+. Using the data from Nike+ it gives far more detailed historical information as well as a few fun facts.


Time to start eating those donuts!

The Training Conundrum

Due to my lack of vision training is no simple task. I can’t just hit the streets and run, or head to the gym and lift weights. There are many safety and capability issues. Running down the street when you are unable to see does not make for a fun or safe time.

Despite this I prefer to run outdoors. This means I rely on guide runners. Through a constant stream of communication they guide me with simple commands. At least thats how it should work. In reality both myself and my guide runner fatigue and forget to communicate, which results in a few close calls and comedy moments.

Like scaring little old ladies at intersections or narrow misses with slow pedestrians, as my guide runner is checking out the hot runner.

The role of guide runner is incredibly stressful as the safety of another person is in their hands. The constant level of awareness to the road surface, surroundings and my position relative to theirs is mentally taxing. Add on top of that the mental challenge of running and its easy to see how tough the job really is.

I truly appreciate the role of my guide runner as it allows me to train with a sense of normality. So here is to the many miles we will share, and to our first competitive race in July!