Friday, 10 June 2011

A change of focus

I think I can safely say I now have running marathons out of my system, I've done 3 & have no intention of running anymore. I may do the odd half or 10 miler, but not the full distance.

My finishers medals

I am now setting my sights on something that I much prefer & getting back on my bike. In July I shall be cycling from one end of Ireland to the other & then in 2012 I have some real challenges lined up!!

I now have a new blogsite at where you can read all about next years events

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Edinburgh Marathon update

Well I set out some 10 months ago to complete cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats & a chance conversation in a pub whilst training for this (late in the evening - use your imagination!) set me on a path that I thought I would never complete. I enrolled not in one, but three marathons & this Sunday saw me completing in my final one at Edinburgh. So after I cycled LEJOG I donned my running shoes!!

Edinburgh looked a nice route on paper. Starting up by the Castle & then descending to the coast, out to Gosford House & back to the finish at Mussleburgh. The first 3 miles were a gentle descent & with a few slight showers was a pleasant run. The last 6 miles were a complete contrast into a strong head wind. At one stage I was even struggling to walk against it!!

However my main reason for doing them, apart from personal achivement was to raise funds for charity & with your wonderful support I managed to raise in excess of £5,000 for COPS, MACS & RNLI........A hugh thank you

The three marathons were all very different. New York was hilly, London was hot & Edinburgh was windy, but I am pleased to say I got faster with each one. I think I would have broken the 6 hour barrier on Sunday, but sadly the last 6 miles put paid to that.

My marathon times

The night before, I like to be prepared

At the start with Marcella & Sandra

My finishers medal

Bye, Bye trainers, where are my cycling shoes!!

Monday, 25 April 2011

My balls!!

My only lasting ache from last weekend was the balls of both my feet. I did as I normally do & covered my feet in vaseline, which has always prevented blisters & my feet have never caused me concern until now. They have been getting better, but to rest them I was joined with some friends from the gym & Kelly from work & we cycled the Weald of Kent Ride. A lovely route through the winding countryside of Kent.

The weather was absolutely glourious as we set off on what would be 110k of very hilly roads. I'm still trying to break my new Brooks saddle in, which I am told can take up to 2000 miles, well I've now done about 110 miles on it & I now have 4 sore balls!!

Some serious steep hills, but good fun

I looked back through my garmin connect & the last long ride I did was back in September, so I should be happy with what we achieved yesterday. I am please to report that my legs were fine today & I even managed an hours spin class this morning.

20 miles into the ride with the worst hill behind us!!

Still the worst part of cycling putting the bloody bikes on & off the car!!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

2 down 1 to go!!

The Virgin London Marathon was a great day, the crowds were incredible, the atmosphere was electric & the sun was shinning.

My 'lovely Ladies' & me at the start

I made my way to the start with the wonderful friends I've been running with & it's fair to say we were all a little worried. We got there with an hour to go & met another gang from the gym, they were all looking at sub 4 hours, so I didn't run with them!!

I also bumped into another mate of mine & we decided to run together. He has suffered, as I did with his calf & we parted company after about 2 miles.

A couple of old fat knackers at the start

The run it's self was hard, well it is 26.2 miles after all!! The sun was blazing & the heat was oppressive. It's typical I have trained in rain, snow & ice & the day we ran it was tropical. This did effect my performance, I was hoping to break the 6 hour barrier, but dispite drinking gallons of water I just kept cramping towards the end. The crowds along the Embankment & Bird Cage Walk were magnificent, they really gave me a boast & I was determined to run the last mile (I did!).

I would like to thank Debbie, Danielle, Graham, Anne, Delores, Kerry (sorry I didn't see you x), Sam & Dave for lining the route for us. I gave me a boost to see you.

I ran the first 18 miles & then between 18 & 20 was a combination of running & walking. I did keep trying the run, but just kept getting cramp in my calf, but I was determine to finish. My balls were killing me (the balls of my feet!!), but I just pressed on. I saw a couple of other friends running on route & having someone to talk to lifts the spirits for a while.

I was glad to finish & even managed a sprint to the end!!

One happy man to finish!!

After I crossed the line it was like my body shut down. My GPS had me walking at about 1mph & it took me over 30 mins to walk the half a mile to Charring Cross train station. I got the train to Blackheath & it took me 20 minutes to walk the length of the platform. Just remind me, I do this for pleasure??

In hindsight I enjoyed the day & would I do it again....TOO BLOODY RIGHT!! Only 5 weeks now until Edinburgh Marathon

I shaved over 40 mins off my PB!!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

My final pre Marthon Run

Well this time next week, it should all be over. The endless miles I've pounded out on the streets & hours spent in the gym should hopefully make it all worthwhile as I 'fly round' (well I'm entitled to a little bit of journalistic license aren't I??).

On Saturday we went to Yorkshire to stay with my in-laws, but I needed to do one final run. As my reader will know I've been troubled with a knee injury, but decided that I would run, how I intend to run on the day, no big knee support & just relying on strapping.

I also decided that I would run by listening to my body & not as I have been by relying on my pulse monitor.

Near Carols parents is an old disused railway line, which being an old track must be flat...... you'd like to think so!!

The run its self was uneventful & to be brutally honest, was my best run since the Canterbury 10 miler back in February.

I can do no more preparation now, I wish in hindsight I had done more, but I suppose all the runners feel like this??

This week I am not even going to the gym, I am having a leg massage on Thursday from Cameron & then Friday going to register, get my race number & my timing chip……. Sunday will soon be here!!

I thought railway lines were flat??!!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The final stretch

We it's now only 11 days away & to be honest I can't wait. I enjoy the physical effort of running & have done some well organised runs, however I am getting fed up with the endless hours spent on the road or at the gym.

My knee is an area of concern & I ran the Dartford 10 miler with my knee brace on. It looks worse than it is, but does prevent my knee doing any movement it shouldn't. As Dartford was a hilly route I wore it as a precaution. It's not the uphill that hurts, it's the downhill that kills me.

The Bionic Man!!

I'm off to Yorkshire this weekend & on Saturday I shall do my last run, which will be between 8 to 10 miles. I will take it carefully & then that's it all my running will be done until London. I will then have a week off before I continue to run for Edinburgh, which is 5 weeks later. That will be my last Marathon ever!!! I will do the occaision 10k, 10 miler or half marathons BUT NOTHING LONGER!!

The Dartford 10 miler was a challenging route & I wasn't on good form. I was actually 20 mins slower than the last 10 miler I did a month ago. However if I maintained the same speed I would break the 6 hour barrier for the marathon & I'm happy with that. To be brutally honest, I'm just happy finishing!!

The Dartford 10 miler

Saturday, 2 April 2011

My bloody knee

It's fair to say that the Hastings Half almost finished my running exploits. The 3 mile step descent has aggrivated an old knee injury & I saw the Surgeon & have to go under the knife again probably between London & Edinburgh marathons

I went with Wendy & Marcella to do a 20 mile run last weekend & was in so much pain that I stopped after 8 miles. I have not run since!! However I have used the cross trainer & also the spin bikes & this has seemed to stabalise my knee. I have also decided that after Edinburgh I will not do any more marathons. I too old, too fat & my knee just isn't up to it!!

The day I bugged out!!

Today I went back to my real passion & dusted down my bike & went with Sandra & did a 30 mile ride up & over Biggin Hill & it felt good to be back in the saddle again. I have not lost my endurance, but was markable slower on the bike, but I suppose it's probably getting on for 6 months since my last long ride

Our rather hilly route

I've now resigned myself to the fact that I will finish London & Edinburgh & I don't really care about the time. All I want to do is beat my New York time & I'm aiming for around 6 hours. Still not a bad feat for someone of 19 stones??

Looking ahead, I've just booked to cycle from Mallin to Mizen in July. For those of you unaware it's the Lands End to John O'Groats of Ireland. I do however have to break in my new saddle, which so far has been remarkably comfortable

My new Brooks saddle......rock hard leather!!

I am completing in the Darford 10 miler tomorrow & instead of worrying about a time, I am just going to enjoy myself & trot round at a nice gentle pace.... watch this space for pics tomorrow!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Hastings Half Marathon

Well it's now only 4 weeks until the London Marathon & I will soon be tailing off my training, so I have fresh legs for the day. Well that's the plan anyway!!

Did the Hastings Half Marathon today & I had been warned that it was hilly. Christ that was the worst underestimation I have ever been told. It was horrendous, but I was pleased to overtake the chap in the Rhino suit & beat him to the end!!

Haha, loser!!

The very hilly & step route

This was a well organised HM & congratulation must go to the Lions Internation for the event. I did a half 2 weeks ago & pushed myself & was pleased to only be 21 seconds slower that the flat of Eastbourne. To put this into persective, I did the event with my friend Sandra, who has done numerous halfs & she said this was the hardest one she had ever done & was 15 minutes slower than Eastbourne. So overall I was pleased with my efforts.

You also get a nice bit of bling for doing it!!

Looking forward to next week, off to Worthing for their 20 mile event & then thankfully I can start to reduce the distances I am running & my knees will be grateful!!

Monday, 14 March 2011

The long runs are starting

Getting this close to the final event, I now have had to start doing the dreaded long runs & this Sunday Marcella & Wendy joined me to do a 15 mile run. 15 miles sounds like a long way & my god it is!!

I always thought it was flat near where I lived!!

I'm doing the Hastings half marathon this Sunday, followed by a 20 mile run the weekend after. I'm now just paranoid about picking up an injury & hoping to stay fit!! On the plus side I've managed to run alot further & faster than on my build up for New York, so am hoping for a better time!!

Monday, 7 March 2011

5 weeks to go

There is no panic, but the London Marathon is now only 5 weeks away & I've basically had a month off from training because of my holiday & virus.

Monday was very much D day & I got to the gym, did 30 mins on the cross trainer, a 60 minute spin class & then ran my normal 7 mile route. God that hurt & I wasn't able to run all the way round without stopping a few times to let my heart rate come down to a safer level!!

Tuesday, I again used the cross trainer & span & I did feel slightly easier than the day before

Wednesday I was joined by my friend Gerry & we ran an 8 mile circuit & it certainly felt easier than Monday. Things seem to be picking up!!

Thursday I span again, & then on Friday I was joined by Marcella & we did a 9 mile circuit. Not fast but consistant times

Sunday was my first big test & I went with Sandra & did the Eastbourne Half Marathon. Eastbourne is a lovely seaside town, but not in the winter. God it was cold, I ended up by running with 2 jackets on & was still cold!!

My best (well to be honest only ever time I've run that far) half marathon time is 3 hours & 1 min & I was please to shave almost 17 minutes off this time (this equates to over a minute a mile) & I finished in 2hrs 44mins & 30 seconds or an average speed of 12mins 29 seconds a mile.......... not fast but I was happy with this. Sandra also did a PB of 2hrs & 09 mins

Can you spot the hill??

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Back on 2 wheels

Although this is my training blog for the London Marathon, those of you who know me will know that my one true love is cycling. Most weekends I can be found doing a sportive around the home counties. These rides vary in length & terrain. Today I did one of the hardest ones, The Hell of the Ashdown.

I was joined by Sandra & my friend Tony from the gym, we left Biggin Hill & started our way. We came to the first hill & as we changed down Sandra's chain came off. It's just too steep to get going on these hills (it was 25% in places).

Regrouping at the top we continued to cycle towards the top of the Westerham ridge & bang it all went wrong for Tony. His chain snapped & tore the rear derailer clean off his bike. That was the first 2 miles done & we were down to just Sandra & I.

The next 4 miles were uneventful & we started the 2 mile climb up Toys Hill. I got about three quarters of the way up & was hit by a car. How hard is it to see someone of 19 stone wearing bright yellow lycra??

Fortunately I was uninjured & my bike was fine. My hip however was a little sore, so we called it a day before any more catastrophies could befall us!!

Back to running from tomorrow, it appears to be safer??!!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Dreaded lurgie

My return from holiday, hasn't been as productive as I expected or hoped. I managed to pick up a virus on the plane on the way home & have been suffering with an inability to breath as soon as I do any form of excercise. Carol has examined me & there is nothing that can be done except wait for it to go. To this end I have taken tomorrow off work & I intend to see my GP about my blood pressure, which I'm sure has gone up!!

Last Sunday Sandra & I were 'booked' onto an 8 hour endurance run throught the night over some challenging terrain. Challenging doesn't really do it justice. It was a 6.55 mile circuit & I estimate a good 4 miles of that was off road in mud. It was horrendous & extremely slippery under foot. Our plan was to complete 4 circuits which is marathon distance, however with my inability to breath & the conditions we stopped after 13.1 miles. I took a heavy fall & Sandra nearly fell in to a ditch. We decided that as VLM is coming up, we would save ourselves from further injury & bow out after 2 laps.

Monday night I went back to the club & met up with Marcella, Wendy & Hannah for a light 3 mile run. Again after 400 yards I couldn't breath, so Wendy & I walked & chatted. It was nice catching up, but hardly training for us??

Layers is the answer to keeping warm!!

Still smiling, we had enourmous fun & were covered in mud from the waist down!!

For sale, 1 carful owner!!

Friday, 18 February 2011

Two weeks off training

It's important to drink plenty of water!!

Unlike the build up to New York, my recent 2 week rest from training had nothing to do with injury, but more a need to feel the warmth of the sun. My lovely wife Carol & I had 2 weeks away in Cuba & had a wonderful time. Whilst you were all freezing we were lying on the beach in 80 degrees. Do you feel sorry for me, probably not??

The downside for the marathon is I have done hardly any excercise at all. I did managed 3 x 30 mins on the treadmill & 1 run on the roads, but it was like running in a furnace & was just too hot. It will be interesting to see on Saturday how I get on as I am doing an 8 hour endurance run with my dear friend Sandra.

This then leaves only 7 weeks of training left before London. The only good news to come out of the holiday is I have lost weight (all the fresh fruit & veg I was eating that I don't feel like eating in this cold weather!!)

Probably didn't help with the training, but when in Rome!!

The last one honest!!

just back from my little road run, it was too hot & humid

The rest probably did me good, now the hardwork starts

Just to hot to run in air conditioned gym

Should lead to funny tan lines??

God it was hot & I was on fire in more than one way!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Canterbury 10 miler

Today Sandra & I headed into the depths of Kent on what can only be described as a bitterly cold day. We drove down to Canterbury & the temperature gauge in the car didn't shift from 2 degrees. After we had parked we walked to the school to check in & get our timing chips (that makes me sound so professional!!). My hands were frozen through the running gloves, but of course when you get going you don't really notice the cold.

The run it's self was uneventful, I plodded round & tried to average 11mins 30 secs miles. I was actually 5 seconds under this, which pleased me as I have shaved over 2 mins off last weeks 10 miler. It even felt a little easier & more encouraging for me is my knee is pain free, so I think the little 'blip' in the week, was me just placing my foot down at a funny angle (well that's what I hope!!)

The hill at the 4th mile was like the North face of the Eiger!!

I didn't get a finishers medal today, but something more useful, a mug!!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

My bloody knee

Doing a normal mid week run, with Sandra, Marcella & Lee & we opted for the 6.7 mile undulating circuit through Bexley Village & back to the gym.

The first 4 miles were fantastic & I was gradually getting quicker & quicker (In fact I stopped & waited for the others to catch up more than once!!) & then just as I passed the 4 mile mark....BANG, my knee gave way & I got a sharp pain, that I can only describe as having a hot poker being pushed into it. Needless to say, I stopped straight away & started to hobble back the remaining 2.5 miles to the gym (No buses, phone, money on me - lesson learnt!). Fortunately as I was walking I was getting no pain, so jogged for a mile & had no problems, so I ran until the 6 mile mark & it appeared fine. I then came home to see my lovely wife, who is a Matron & she examined me. No more permanent damage & I just must have put my foot down funny as I was running.

I do have a problem with my knee & I had snapped the anterior cruciate ligament in it around 10 years ago, so my knee has always had a bit if instability in it. This was a shame as last night was the first time I felt I was running as opposed to jogging (runners will know what I mean by this!!)

Check out my mile splits for the first 4!!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

St Albans 10 miler

Today was another first for me & I did my first 10 mile race... I prefer the word event & it certainly wasn't a race for me!!. I was joined by my ever present running friend Sandra & 2 of my gym friends Marcella & Wendy & we headed north for todays adventure, the St Albans 10 miler. This is all very much for our build up to London & I had my eye on finishing in 2 hours.

We started in the melee of some 800 runners, many of who are club runners & were off like long dogs!! I was wired for sound & had my iphone on full volume (you can't beat Ska to get you going) & we were off. Something was defiantly wrong as out of our little group I was in the front for the first mile, Sandra then breezed past & I just hunkered down to consistent running. The terrain was undulating & around the 6 mile mark was an energy sapping climb that lasted about a mile. My thighs were burning when I got to the top. As we descended the climb Marcella overtook me at around 7 miles. I was determined to stay with her. About a quarter of a mile in-front of us was another runner & formed a pack that we would catch him & beat him to the finish..... we caught him with about 400 meters to go & both sprinted to the end & beat him by over a minute!!

The course download

Marcella & I at the end (1hr 56mins!!)

Not a George Medal, but earn't with determination & stamina!!

In the week A group of us from the gym (Ross, Marcella, Anne, Wendy & Lee) went & did our 4 mile circuit & something just clicked & I was on fire. I ran at over 6mph & smoked the rest of them....... what had I eaten to make me fly??!!

The day I flew!!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

First 10k race

Today was new territory for me when I entered my first 10k race in Bromley with my dear friend Sandra. These Sunday races will now become very much part of my training for London with ever increasing distances. Next Sunday I am doing the St Albans 10 miler & the following week I am down in Canterbury, again doing 10 miles. 2 weeks later I have an interesting one, 8 hours to see how far I can go??? I'm aiming for 30 miles????

My first mile was my fastest to date, but I slowed down & average about 11 & a half minute miles..... A good day!!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Sub 10 minute mile

I had to drop my car in to be serviced yesterday & was in two minds how to get home, I thought about taking my bike & cycling back but decided to run the 3 miles. I'm glad I did as I was on fire & did my best ever mile in 9 mins & 56 seconds... I was on fire!!

My sub 10 min mile

OK, so it was down a slight hill, probably with a tail wind, but I was really pleased. I would also like to thanks my dear friend Neal for pointing out that I am more Roger Stannah Stairlift than Roger Bannister......... friends can be so unkind!!

Sunday, 9 January 2011

2011 has started well

2011 has started well for me, I have done 3 long runs & 1 very fast run. The friends who I run with are all different levels, which is good. I can push myself out of my comfort zone with some & am more comfortable with others.

New Years Eve (so not really 2011!!) Marcella & I did a 7 mile circuit.

2nd January Linda & I then did an 9 mile circuit & I pushed myself doing my fastest ever mile (11 mins 32 secs) & I felt remarkably good when I got back to the gym

3rd January I was joined by Marcella & Babs & we did a very quick 4 miles where I beat my best minute time by over 40 seconds........ really had to work hard to keep up with them!!

9th January I was joined by Marcella, Wendy & Lee & we did a 10 mile circuit at a steady pace.

The gym work is continuing, I'm still spinning & using the cross trainer & the weight is coming off!!

Must go to work, I'll post some pictures for the runs later

Monday, 3 January 2011

Happy New Year

Well the bad weather is finally behind us & I have been able to get out running again, with Linda, Marcella, Wendy & Ross. It was amazing just how much fitness I have lost in the past few weeks. Of course the manflu I had might have had an impact on this as well & I am still a little bunged up

Manflu, woman just don't understand!!

On Sunday Linda & I did Debbie's hour spin class as a warm up & then went & did a 9 mile run, where I did my fastest ever mile (11 mins & 32 secs) which when you consider it was mostly uphill I was very pleased with & I'm also pleased to announce that this is the first time Linda & I have been out running alone where she hasn't broken me!!

Our 9 mile route

Next Sunday Marcella & I are looking at a 10 mile run, so the distances just keep increasing, but we are on track & if I can stay injury free I'll be happy!!

2011 has so far been a good start for my training, I have done a number of spin classes, cross trainer sessions & as of today am cycling back to work via the swimming pool. I've also decided that I must seriously get on top of my diet, I would find all the things I do so much easier if I wasn't 19 stones!!