My Physio and Forums

Just a short one, I’m in pain. Might have had something to do with the 26.2 miles I ran yesterday, but rather than moping around and feeling sorry for myself I decided to share this fact on my running forums. I love these forums they offer advice and insight sometimes not helpful and other times a little dangerous but most times the information is accurate and reliable often people sharing their experiences knowledge they have picked up.

So off I went and wrote down what I was feeling and was very pleased to find its all normal and not to panic, plus found that others were in the same boat due to the dreadful conditions of the course. The forums have helped in all aspects of training, finding races, transport, nutrition, kit and is one of those tools a runner should not be with out. Along with a good pair of trainers I would say you need access to a good forum.

My second high-five goes to my physio. I saw him for the first time this year about a foot complaint, he helped me out with giving me some exercises. I sent him an email explaining my issues after the race and he phoned me up and confirmed the forum info, and reassured me it was all normal, and explained why the pain was where it was and which muscles were tight and how to recovery from it. All this at no cost, other practitioners may have charged or made you make an appointment, but not Nick he is honest and only see’s you if he has too and he knows his stuff and explains the complex way your body and legs work during and after running and how those functions can lead to issues.

So there you have it two ver big thumbs up.

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My 26.2 Mile Story

I’ve done. I am now a Marathon runner. Well half runner, maybe 90% as I’m not going to lie I did walk some of it. My time was 4hrs 25 minutes a little off from the sub 4 I was hoping for but with the elements trying to kill me the result is something that I am happy with, that and I’m the first one of my friends and family to run a marathon.

Greatest respect goes to those who put themselves through this ten times, in the case of the 10 by 10 in the Lake district. Ten Marathons over ten days and those people who run ultra’s. There were times when I wanted to break down and cry, my run became a trot, the thoughts turned to a warm cosy bed, I wanted out of the race I wanted to be finished. I could have pulled over and seek medical assistance, pulled out got a lift back to the start but my mind was forcing me to finish ‘You are not a quitter’

So the day begins at 5.30, I woke to my usual breakfast and a couple more green tes’s and energy drinks. Travelled to the park which was wet and cold. visited the loo I don’t know how many times and then headed to the start. The gun went and we were off. I was going a little fast 8.45 miles which I had to slow down, by mile 3 I had settled into a steady 8.59 – 9.09 pace and was enjoying it. My body warmed up and the sea of colour that laid in front of me once again amazed me. Us runners are a hardy bunch with the temperatures below 5 degrees and a wind chill factor and rain, here we all were jogging and loving every minute of it.

The race was going well, apart from the several loo breaks into hedges my bladder insisted on taking. By mile 4 I had taken my first gel, coming into sale I took on an energy drink and waved to my friend. This was going well, I felt good. Timperly was the next village and the atmosphere was electric, I heard a member of the crowd shout ‘It should be you runners clapping us for coming out supporting you in this weather’ and she has a point, the conditions were not ideal for long distance running but they were even more horrendous for the crowd as they stood there in the pouring rain and wind bellowing shouts of encouragement. Manchester stood up and came out to support the return after a decade of a marathon with huge support. Crowds cheering, calling out names, giving out jelly babies along the route helping to tie shoe laces in the latter stages when it was too painful for people to bend, offering warm drinks and some respite from the cold. to sum up the crowd made it, and this is where it wet wrong for me.

In the run up to the event it said no headphones, now I had been training with music and podcasts but like a good boy I took notice of this and left my iPod at home, others didn’t, this was to be my undoing as you’ll soon find out.

After Timperly came Altrincham where my mum and dad were posted who I failed to see, the race moved on into the open country and down what can only be described as a dirt track. Narrow and wet. How wet? Very wet. It was like a river in parts and as the pack slowed up, to avoid running in the ankle-deep puddles that covered the lane people soon realised they had no choice. With sodden trainers and very wet socks we moved on to Dunham Massey or Muddy Massey has it will be known to many a runner from now on. Another track, this one made from cobbles, wet cobbles, covered in mud, and more puddles that were hiding pot holes. Not a safe or fun environment. I don’t think you need to be a runner to appreciate how the morale dropped. Also now in the open country the wind had picked up, the rain had started to fall heavier and colder, it was like ice and I was a drowned rat, cold and wet I was no longer finding this fun my hands numb I could open my zip to get my jelly beans or gels and for the next 4 miles there were no crowds to cheer us through and I hit the wall at mile 16.

That was when I waved my sub 4 goodbye. The next ten miles to the finish were only achieved by the crowds shouting words of encouragement. By the time I crossed the line, I was a shivering nervous wreck with a phone that had got water-logged and wouldn’t work. I eventually managed to find my friends and family in the park that had now been turned into a giant mud pit. I was exhausted, I wanted to break down and cry. I had just carried out a feat of human endurance all in the name of fun.

I’m glad I did and will do it again, but no training can prepare you for your first. I know what to expect now and know I need to do a lot more running and a lot more training. My legs to-day are on strike, I can’t move one inch. the pain in the final 4 miles was so hard to describe, but the joy and emotion of crossing that line and getting that medal to say “I’ve done a Marathon’ and not any old marathon one in my back yard. I started running in November 2010 and Manchester saw my first race with the 10K, a year on from that race Manchester has seen me do a marathon and I am so happy that I did it. “At mile 20, I thought I was dead. At mile 22, I wished I was dead. At mile 24, I knew I was dead. At mile 26.2 I knew I was too tough to kill”  Anon

Visit From an Old Friend

For some one whom I have not seen in a long time, well I say a long time I think it as been almost a year when we both hung out he did make a brief appearance back in September last year but it was such a quick visit it wasn’t anything worth writing home about. However now I suddenly hear from him again. I suppose I should explain that this ‘Friend’ is not really a friend, nor is he an enemy or someone I have distaste for. This ‘Friend’ goes by the name of Doubt.

Last night I was running the course (excuse the pun) through my head looking back at my training, wondering if I have done enough weekly miles, did I do enough 20 mile runs, should I rethink my game plan and go for a 4.30 time, rather than dreaming of a sub 4.  And then there is the weather, are people going to bother to come out and support if it’s raining, will my mates bother cheering me on. I know I have gone on about it, but so far no one seems to acknowledge this is a big deal and maybe it’s not but for me it’s the biggest challenge I have taken on and Doubt knows that, as he edges closer to buddying up once again.

He has started planting the seeds into my mind. ‘Am I going to finish’ ‘Will I wake up’ ‘Should I rethink the entire game plan’ ‘Maybe I should have tried the energy products they’re using on the course’ ‘Will my energy gels and drinks I use be good enough race day’ All of these thoughts are swirling around my brain making me dizzy, making me sick. People who are colleagues have gwaped and gasped at the notion of 26.2 miles as a nice little sunday run and have even gone on to question my madness where my friends and when I say friends I do not include all them in this following paragraph.

Where as my friends don’t seem to be there, only two have confirmed they may be on the course to support me, a lot think because I’m a runner then I will be able to walk the course easily, which is the exact opposite of what I want to do. Yes I’m a runner and yes knocking back a 6 mile or 10 mile run is easy but this one on Sunday has a wall and so far in my training I have not seen it. People tell me it is around mile 18-20 but I have run that distance and saw no wall. It’s fine because my good friend is being supportive telling me it will be at mile 22 and there not a cat in hells chance I will be able to run through it as a result the Manchester Marathon will be my first DNF, you can always rely on Doubt to offer reassurance.

Now don’t get me wrong I don’t expect a big team bus with everyone I’ve met coming out to support me, but I am about step into the breach, the unknown, yes I run, yes I have run 20 miles but this, this is new and yes everyone can say it’s not that hard Mrs Brown aged 67 did it in London. But I’m not Mrs Brown, I’m me and this is unmarked territory I have no idea if I’m ready for this both mentally and physically and to have the support of my friends who see what a big deal this is and support me through it would make the whole day seem a lot less ominous as I can tell you now I am ‘Shitting it’ (Pardon my French) But yet again this is Doubt dealing the cards, making me think I will be all alone where in fact my Mother will be there, and hopefully two of my good mates.

Now maybe it’s just a big thing to me, but it’s a marathon, and how many people can say they have done one. According to my running mags, only 0.6% of Americans have run a marathon in 2011 and the USA is mad for the 26 miles. They reckon that in the world only 3-5% of the population have taken on the task. And maybe thats why I want my friends around me, to celebrate my achievement to share in my happiness of conquering this milestone. For some people it’s getting there dream job, getting married or having a baby, buying a house where for me it’s running and entering competitions.

I always find it odd when I turn up to races and see my fellow runners with their friends and family at the start and finish and I’m there on me lonesome. I have my mum at the race on Sunday and I hope some of my mates will be there as it’s not just crossing the line but all the months of training and sacrifice. It’s the years of being sat on my arse and drinking and smoking – looking back and thinking that the old Tom wouldn’t have been able to do that, the old Tom wouldn’t never have even entertained the notion of running to the shop let alone 10K or a full marathon.

I think a lot of people don’t have a true notion of the distance involved. But as I sit and carb load and rest my legs alone, the only friend I have to speak to is that of Doubt he was there for the 10K and there at my first half, and he’s here now. He even said he will be there on Sunday somewhere along the course. Even now he is trying to break me down making me think I have no support and it is just me. He is slowly pounding on the pressure playing every tactic be it emotional with friends or causing me to question my own sense of belief.

The only thoughts I have running in my head to get rid of doubt is that…

1. I’m doing this for my self

2. I enjoy running

3. How many other people can say they have taken this on

4. Enjoy the day

So Doubt, do me a favour and do one, I don’t need friends like you around me.

I do hope its nice weather and not this cold windy wet weather, as I do want my mates to be out on the course cheering me on along with hopefully the other spectators.

I will leave you with this final thought. I am not sure who wrote it but I hope I will be able to say it on Sunday along with the other 8000 runners.

“At mile 20, I thought I was dead. At mile 22, I wished I was dead. At mile 24, I knew I was dead. At mile 26.2 I knew I was too tough to kill”

Rotten to the Core

Hello. This is a break from running and a good old rant like I use to do so those who know me can sit back and imagine me all animated changing the pitch of my voice and waving my arms around like a man processed.

So where did this rant come from. Well it started bubbling into a life over a year ago when Apple announced it would end MobileMe and replace with cloud and everyone would have to migrate their accounts and do it by themselves and if you had failed to move your account by June or July of this year then you could wave goodbye to your email and contacts and calendars. The issue with this is, you had to upgrade to Lion to be able to upgrade to the ‘Cloud’ I hate Lion, its rubbish it basically turns your mac into an iPhone or iPad of which I have great distaste for.

Anyway I made this happen, and the minute I did my Blackberry (best for emails) beeped. Your .Mac email is not valid, please confirm your password. I did. I still got the same message. Straight onto Vodafone and straight to one of their off shore call centres where if your issue is not listed on the script in front of them they can’t help. In fact they don’t understand your issue. I had two customer service people tell me, that unless it’s an iPhone then mail will not sync. It’s mail. It doesn’t matter what email client you use, it just logs into your email and pushes email to your phone or outlook, or android or whatever email program you are using be it on a computer or handset. Five people I spoke to until I finally got through to some one who was English and did not need to speak into a machine that gave them a computerised American/English accent. He admitted that he did not know how to help, but would try. I finally got through to yet another ‘Technical” person a phrase that is used in the loosed sense. He informs me I should take it up with Apple as it is not Vodafones or Blackberrys issue. Except it is. BB is no longer finding the server, and when I manually input the server information that Apple and several websites have confirmed my phone still rejects the email account.

So I now have a phone that won’t push my work email to me. A little annoyed does not even begin to describe the issue, so when I get a call for work on Thursday and I go to check my calendar only to find that all my dates have gone, and disappeared into the cloud I was not best happy. ‘I’d love to work on Thursday but I’m not sure if I’m free, as at the moment according to Apple iCloud I am free until 2089 and have not worked since 1972″

So I am now stuck with the Cloud that is not playing ball. A phone that Apple won’t allow to access my email, and a mobile operator who does not know what they are talking about. One agent asked if I had a 3G signal as that could be causing the issue. What planet are you on I bellowed. I’m connected to Wi-Fi and I can still transmit data via 2G and Edge. She went on to inform me that she needed to check if the browser worked. Why do you need to know that??? My other email works on the handset, stop reading the bloody script and listen to the customer, need less to say she didn’t, she carried on reading what the computer was telling here. Sure this method is fine for simple issue, like ‘My phone won’t turn on” Have you charged the battery the computer will say, however more complex issues which require listening skills and problem solving, issues that stray away from a predetermined script needs people who know what they are on about. Sure I could sell pensions or insurance if I had a script, but the minute we went off script I would be screwed.

This remind me of another time I spoke to a ‘so-called’ Customer service agent who had been trained in America as she was all “Good day, I’m here to help Sir, How can I help today, Hello Sir, I’m Happy to Help” every world hung with that terrible infliction that only America and Australia seem to have. I asked this agent if I could get a cheaper deal on my line rental, she said ‘No’ I said I was told I could as someone from the deals department phoned me last week and offered me a cheaper alternative. She said that there wasn’t one. Keeping to the script. What I should have said was I would like a ‘Sim only deal’ then she could type it into her machine to get to the right page, but because ‘Cheaper tariff’ wasn’t on the script she couldn’t help, in the end she put through to some one else, who also could not help. I hung up, and phoned back, asked where I was speaking to and got the response ‘Swansea’ Good enough I thought, and asked the same question, the reply came very quick. “You need our upgrades team, to talk you through the options of Sim only deals, if you don’t want to take out a new contract” Thats the type of service i expect, someone using their knowledge of the industry they work in to answer questions that don’t use the terminology.

I suppose I am more annoyed at VF for their constant lack of focus on customer care, but also my growing hatred of Apple for monoplising and handcuffing their customers. You have to upgrade to do this, and if you want to have this then you have to do this, and we have changed the way Mail works to make it better if you are one of the dorks who take out a second mortgage to buy an iPhone, iPad, Macbook, Apple t.v and the rest, only to have to get a loan 4 moths later to upgrade to the next iPhone which is no different, it just comes with a little bit more memory.

Oh well, time for another jog to calm me down.

A Week to Go!!!

Sugar Lumps!

Pardon my French.

A week.

One week to go.

Jesus.

I’ve done long runs, sort tempo runs but I still don’t think I have done enough. The email came to download the course booklet and that just made any nerves that I had settled become very unsettled very quickly. I am a little nervous, more so than I was when I had been preparing for the Great North, not about the same thoughts, with that epic road race it was more about if I wouldn’t cross the line letting all those who sponsored me down, but also if I was indeed fit enough. After all I had only been running for several months and had only run in a 10K race and here I was an ex smoker and heavy drinker with a very inactive life style taking part in the biggest half marathon in the world, what on earth was I thinking when I signed up? But now with the full on 26.2 miles I’m thinking about the time it will take, the wall, having a gingerbread man, not finishing, fainting, basically everything that could happen.

My energy gels all arrived today, and the course booklet has been read several times with passages of text echoing around my mind. ‘ No earphones’ ‘You will be pulled out of the race if you don’t reach Durham Massey by such a time’ ‘The roads will be reopened at 3pm’ All extra stress and information to un focus my mind from the task in hand causing me to stress and fret even more. I am bricking it. I don’t need to go for a run to get my heart rate up just thinking about standing on the line waiting for the gun is getting me 167 b.p.m let alone looking at the map and mapping out if i have timed my taking of gels with where the water stations will be, I’m seeing other people complaining that they can’t get their weekly mileage down and are finding it hard to taper. Meanwhile I’m longing to be running the 30-40 miles there still trotting up. This week I have done 4 miles, four whole miles and maybe I should think of it has stocking up on my energy, resting before I go out and burn all my stores but there is a niggling in the back of my head. Well I say a niggle it’s more like an army screaming ‘You have not done enough’ and while I know, or hope my mates will be there to hold my hand to pull me up after I collapse over the finish line so far I feel like I am alone in this conquest which is ironic as being a runner can be lonely, but it’s also a really social activity. Everyone is in it together. But I think of what I have sacrificed, with nights out, work, drink all for 4-5 hours on a Sunday in April.

Everyone is on about London and how they are looking forward to it, meanwhile I feel like I’m the only one with focus on the Manchester Marathon. My friends have neither confirmed or denied their participation in the crowd cheering me on, or handing me extra energy bars or drinks. I have posted the course map and have hinted where I need people and support but yet no one has confirmed. I know they will come, well I hope they do as in my mind I am building this to be a big life event. Yes I am doing for myself, to prove that I can run 26.2 miles and get entry into the prestigious marathon club but it mean jack if my friends and family aren’t there to celebrate in my triumph.

Oh well just over a week and all kinds of thoughts are running through my mind, things to eat, drink, sleep everything thing about my life and habits is now being scrutinised like cramming for an exam anything I do now will have little or no affect.

Maybe I should just sit back and eat pasta with my legs up and look forward to this Herculean task and enjoy every mile with the knowledge that I am one of a few that have taken this ridiculous event on and be proud to hopefully cross the line.

But I suppose having that nervous energy is a good thing, but I wish I would have just maybe one positive thought before next Sunday. No doubt I will blog again before the big event.

Oh well, time for a quick run, to make sure my legs still work.

Two Weeks

Twitter is filled with posts about the Brighton Marathon and London is next week. Manchester is in two weeks and after a final long run yesterday I am in some kind of strange zone. I feel quietly confident, but at the same time I am concerned for the last six miles after all they do say the race starts on mile 20.

To say I am looking forward to that Sunday evening would be a little bit of an understatement. I am looking forward to the end of the marathon and showing my medal off with pride being the only person amongst my friends who would have achieved this feat of human endurance. But while a lot of my fellow runners will be glad it’s all over and be happy to put their trainers at the back of the cupboard or in the bin I will be happy as I get to drink and a little sad as I won’t get to run while I rest.

Now I have not entire given up the source. Even tho I said after Christmas I would. What can I say I like a bottle of wine as much as the next man if the next man happens to be Keith Floyd. However for April I have been T-Total. I, like my fellow runners might have hung my trainers up if it wasn’t for the month of 10K’s I have in May, clever thinking on my part to book my next races to train for.

I like running, the bug as truly hit me so being happy that I have crossed the line (hopefully in a sub 4) would be very nice, however the real reason why I will be so happy is that I get to drink wine again.  Not any old wine you understand, oh no wine that my best mate got me for my 30th. I have been saving it for this very occasion and to be honest it should make it taste even better. The bottle in question is a 1981 vintage. My mate knows me so well. The wine was bottled the year I was born and came with a posh cork screw, thermometer, cork stopper, basically the works all concealed in a wooden box. I think it is truly the best gift I have got, and if it wasn’t for the fact it had to be drank (shame I know) then I would be keeping it to gather cobwebs.

So as I reach the wall on mile 20 and try to scramble over to get to the finish, the freshly opened bottle that I would have left to decanter will be pulling me across the finish line, and hey after burning 4000 calories I think I will be entitled to a glass or two of the red stuff, after all the antioxidants helps the healing and recovery process.

A Letter

Hello,

Just a quick note to let you know how we are all doing. I have given you several warnings but you  seem to have ignored them, while I know that this is an unfair statement as you did take a couple of weeks off with the foot and went to see a trained professional I am sure that I am correct in saying this is the only time, and while you did carry the exercises out while you had the injury I am informed by the hips that you soon gave them up once you could run without pain.

There was the episode last week where you carried on running and I told you to stop but with no result, with that little incident I had to shut your legs off to make you stop. You also seem to be eating a lot of carb’s and sweets and your belly informs me that you are still loosing weight as we can’t store energy for long enough before your legs demand it. You’ll looking good tho, but the skeleton and knees would rather be carrying the weight of a 17 stone man than suffering the impact of a six-mile run four times a week, not that we aren’t glad to shed the 4 stone of blubber that you had, but your heart and lungs don’t know what have hit them over the past year. It’s all well good doing this running but you use to be a heavy drinker and smoker who sat on his arse.

Anyway I’ve been informed by the memory department that there are only two weeks left until race day so soon we can all rest. Well that is what I have been led to believe however I have received a memo from the eye’s telling me that they saw you writing dates down in May. I might as well take this opportunity to pass on the message from everyone. When you do your three 10K’s in May please remember to treat them as recovery runs, no PB’s, Now I mean it NO PERSONAL BESTS we will still be recovering from the 26.2 miles you dragged us through two weeks previous.

Now my colleague over at phyc tells me it all started to build self-esteem and loose weight plus the prospect of turning 30 well I have had a look and you have achieved your goals but some how it has infected your entire soul this running bug that has been analysed by the immune department is multiplying in your blood. The boys down in the virus department can not combat it and I was rather hoping it would be like that illness you had back in 95 that suddenly went away one day but it seems to be growing and everything ‘the mind’ is doing to get rid off it is just making it worse. We thought getting you to enter the Great North would rid you off it but that just made you crave more running and more half’s, and the idea of the marathon has just stepped up the determination.

To sum up, while we all adore what you are doing and the benefits you are bringing us you are also bringing us pain and putting extra strain on us, for example only this week I had sent the builders out to repair the muscle wall of your calve and no sooner had they finished, they had to pack up and leave as the calve had received orders to start a 8 mile tempo run. Spoiling us with a days rest and stretches and dark chocolate and more carbs is not good enough.

Please just remember we are not a machine, we can not fix and recovery from daily abuse as quick a car, to come to that you are not a car or a plane while your ancestors were born to run to escape predators and to hunt your body has changed over the years and it certainly was never designed to run the 80 miles a week those magazines tell you, you should be running while training. I can assure you we are all looking forward to the time you taper your runs and the weeks of rest I will force upon you after the marathon.

So please share a thought for your body

Your’s faithfully

The Brain