Well, I Tried….(Failure Alert)

posted in: Running | 0

As I mentioned yesterday, I really want to introduce some structure and diversity to my exercise routine. Whilst I mostly just want to ensure my clothes continue to fit, I would also like to get faster, to improve my form, and generally be better. This involves more than just doing seven mile runs three times a week. It calls for some speed work, some longer runs, and some strength training.

So, no time like the present.

On Monday I cycled to/from work (18 miles total), and in the evening I tried (failure alert) to do a deck of cards workout:


Spades = crunches (126 total)




Clubs = side leg raises* (65 each leg)

side leg raises


Hearts = box push ups** (27 total)



Diamonds = bicep curls with 5lb weights (126 total)

bicep curl

* For the side leg raises, odd cards, Jack and Queen were left leg and even cards King and Ace were right. To keep things equal, I rounded up the odd cards, and made Jack and King 15 and Queen and Ace 20. This made sure both legs did the same workout.

** For the push ups, I’m only doing cards 2 – 7. Still, this is an improvement since previously I only did cards 2-6. One day I will be able to do a full proper grown up push up. One day….

Anyway, I use an app on my phone, rather than real playing cards, and I somehow launched this with four decks of cards. I realised about 30 cards in, so just did another 24. This means I almost certainly didn’t do the precise number of reps above – and from the feeling of it, I did more right leg raises than anything else. FAIL.


Then yesterday morning, I ran eight miles to work for my mid-length run. My aim was to run a slow first mile, then six miles @ 8:15 pace, and then a slow final mile. Even though this run is closer to “junk” territory, I want to try to keep it useful and the 8:15 pace does push me a bit, especially over six miles. I can work to speed this up I’m sure, as my half marathon PB was @ 7:53 pace.


I really struggle to judge my pace, which is part of the issue. One minute I am running @ 7:45, then I am out of breath and running @ 8:50. Yesterday’s run nicely demonstrated this:

Mile 1 (slow) @ 8:42

Mile 2 @ 8.20

Mile 3 @ 8.28

Mile 4 @ 8.12

Mile 5 @ 8.35

Mile 6 @ 8.18

Mile 7 @ 8.08

Mile 8 (slow) @ 8.25

FAIL. I have zero control over my speed. That said, a discrepancy of 10 seconds is 2%. Given that, despite my cold cold demeanor, I am not a machine, this isn’t the worst margin of error. Also, running outside means hills, slowing to cross roads, and sharing space with pedestrians. It is hard to achieve a constant speed with all these variables. Anyway, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. I definitely feel like I hit the accelerator a few times – especially in mile seven – which is what I most wanted to achieve. Especially since I did this without running too fast and then having to stop to vomit (my usual approach).

After work on Tuesday, we went to celebrate a friend’s birthday at Dishroom in Kings Cross. I hadn’t heard of it before, but it’s a restaurant that pays homage to the Irani cafes that used to be very common in Bombay. It serves “street-style” (their words) Indian food, and it was absolutely amazing. When we arrived, there was a queue of about 20 people, and we overheard people being told there was a two-hour wait. Whaaaat? There were enough of us that we’d been able to book,so we went on in.

Of course we were early at this giant table for like 20 people..



The setting is really cool in an industrial-slash-colonial kind of way, with lots of exposed brickwork and wood paneling.




We had a sharing menu, and I didn’t manage to get any photos as I was too busy eating. It was so good, and there was food leftover at the end (which we of course took away).






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