Down One Place at Number 2 (The Running Charts)

A Non-mover at #10 its the 5K a distance for anyone quick or slow.

Number 9 isn’t going anywhere its 10 Miles for when you want to let of steam but don’t have another 3 miles in the legs

Straight in at 8 its the 7 to 8 Miles – long enough to be tempo and not burn out, or useful if you want to extend that 10K if you have the energy or used as a long slow run with sections of speed.

Number 7 moves down five place partly because I’ve not done it for a while it’s the Marathon. A great distance and the training is the best bit.

Meaning number 6 has also slipped its the Half -or 13.1 miles, long enough to feel like you’ve ran and a distance you can keep the speed up.

So number five is Fartlek yet again not done this for a long time since I like to do it on a treadmill along with…

Non mover at number four Hill Sessions. Find a hill and run up and down, also great as you can mix up your routes with hills

Still clinging on at Number three where its been for 6 months is the 10K a distance that I can do at anytime at any speed – also my first major run.

Meaning number 2 has dropped from the top spot its Listening to Music. It somehow puts your mind of the task in question, but listen to the wrong tune and it throws your run out.

So back at number 1 is Just Running Yeah with no music or no set goal just a run and see where it takes you, add some hills if you wish, cut it short or extend it – but with no music allow your body to guide you.

Yes people last week I spoke about running with music again, this week I am still running with tunes, but todays run was so up and down with pace, what should have been enjoyable turned into a chore until I ripped out the headphones and just enjoyed the run for what it was.

The jury is still out on running with music as I feel that without it today the I’d have thrown in the towel after three miles. I am sure I will keep you informed.

Going the Distance

So where has this come from…

Well the other week my mate and I embarked on a 100 mile ride, one of only two for me and for both of us the first for a considerable time out of the saddle. Around the 70-80 mile mark as our legs were on fire and our hearts were about to give up on the final hill a little thought popped into my head.

“If our fitness levels were that of Olympic or professional athletes then what discipline do you think you would do?”

What I meant by this is that if our fitness and ability were the top notch and were good enough to be representing Great Britain, as in it takes me and my mate 6 hours to do 100 miles, or riding on the flat at an average speed of 21 mph then in this scenario those times and speeds would be considered the doings of athletes, not just your average 30 somethings dressing in lycra putting the worlds to rights on a Sunday jolly. So basically if our times and speeds were the benchmark then what areas would we compete in. My mate is all about speed and trying like so many to get the KOM (King of the Mountain) on Strava for his segments on the ride home, for me its about distance. I love a quick 5K, but I prefer a nice long hours run.

Now by no means are my mate and I ever going to be considered professional athletes, I have dreamt of beating Mo Faharh in a race, but in this world I have created then the World Record for the 10,000 would be 39:56 something very close to my own PB. But in this world our times and ability are that of elites and we’re about to be called up to represent Team GB.

So what did we decided? Well for me its all about the distance, at 80 miles even tho I wanted to throw in the towel and just phone a taxi my body still had enough petrol in the tank to get me home, all I had to do was switch of my brain… Your body can do fantastic achievements and can survive and power through, your brain however wants to protect you and prevent damage or injury so starts to lecture you until you stop. through my three marathons and training for them, even my 10K’s where I went out way to fast in 25 degree heat I have learnt to push through and complete my goal.

So for me it would be endurance, long distance. I’m quick, but I’m talking quick for like 300-400 meters on the bike, and even with my running I prefer the longer routes, the longer races. I love the Half Marathon, its long enough to feel I have done something but yet I can run it quick enough to push myself. I love my long runs, 8, 10, 12 miles just running where my feet take me.

So if we did live in my world where slightly beer gutted men who ate pizza before and after a race were representing us in the Brazilian Olympics, then I’d be lining up for the Marathon start line hoping to take the WR of 3:22:34 while my mate will be in the team time trail on the bike.

There are Good Drugs

It’s like a drug, well that’s what they say and to some extent they are correct but unlike people who ‘Chase the Dragon’ or drown their sorrows with a bottle of ‘Vodka’ there are no support groups for people like me. Come mile 14 I was feeling strong and felt good. One hill out of the way and the other climb had just two more miles before I would be running on a level playing field. Manchester at fourteen miles had seen me smack into the wall so hard that my run turned into a mixture of walking, hobbling and staying still. This time I still had tears in my eyes but it was more out of joy than the sheer agony that I was placing on my body and soul.

I am off course talking about the joyful drug of running. The full race report of Snowdon Marathon will be up soon but the main aim of this post is to report that as I was approaching the finish line I promised myself that this would be the last 26.2 miles I would run. I’lll stick to halfs in the future as I know I can run those in my sleep I thought as I crossed the finish line. A quick walk to find my friend and I suddenly realised I was already feeling better than Manchester. The fact I could walk, I could bend. The truth was that my legs didn’t feel like I had just completed a gruelling challenge that less than 1% of the population of the world have undertaken but I had and have the finishers medal and T-Shirt to prove it. I was now a marathon runner for the second time and I felt as fresh as a daisy. Not too fresh that I could go off and run the course again or indeed run for another five minutes but I could walk to the car unaided.

As I sat at home and watched the coverage on S4C and looked at the pictures and read forums on the race and the triumphs of the day I suddenly thought… I need to run a marathon. Now I know I said I wouldn’t run one again but you see I got a new PB at Snowdon and I still need to get a sub 4 that’s the very reason why I am still running the other distances. I wish or a more truthful look would be that I need to break a sub 1.30 on the half and go sub 40 on the 10K.

Running is a drug and it’s one that can be dangerous. I am now not only looking at running my next marathon but indeed looking at the world of ultra running. To say I don’t care about the distance is not true as I do love the 13.1 miles and shorter speeder cousin of the 10K but marathon running is fun. It’s a test from the training to the race day and as I sit up and rest and let my body recover I dream off being able to tie my laces and pound the streets to the beat of my heart. The only downside to running races and marathons is the sheer fact you have to rest for more than a couple of days but at least those couple of days will see me find time to hunt for my next marathon goal.

There is no one to help the likes of me and while the drug of running comes in many forms of pounding the streets to lining up on the start line and going all out all I know is it is one you can not come off and at the end of the day it’s good for you. Isn’t it?

Tyne Bridge, Red Arrows and a Cup of Tea

Yes the Tyne Bridge and the Red Arrows. They were the best bits. Apart from getting a sub 2 hour for my first ever half. The atmosphere was pretty much dead. Not that I have a great deal of running experience but Manchester 10K was buzzing all the way around. Newcastle is off course a lot bigger and therefore people lining the streets or having music at every point is hard to do and because of this there was a sheer lack of drive to encourage you forward.

Now I love Newcastle, and it contains one my favorite bridges and we crossed it within the first two miles, the Red Arrows for the first time started the race with a fly over followed by their tradition fly over at South Shields and of course the Tyne Bridge where they did the missing man formation in tribute to the pilot who tragically lost his life back in August.

So the day started at 5am and eating my breakfast. My very kind best mate has agreed to drive me up as a couple of months ago I was unsure if my foot would be fit enough to carry out the miles I was asking of it and as a consequence the hotels were all booked up and those that had rooms were charging an arm and leg for them and I needed both my legs to run. So with that alternative means of transport was needed. The plan was to drive up and drop me in Newcastle for about 9 as the race started at 10:40 and the pens closed at 10:30. This would give me enough time to find the porter-loos and spend 30 minutes queuing and then spend a good amount of time soaking up the atmosphere and warming up. He would then drive to South Sheilds. It turns out that he arrived at the finish line five minutes before I crossed it apparently it took him nearly 3 hours to travel the 13.1 miles from the City to the coast.

As I entered my pen and began warming up, listening to the music travelling down the central motorway with the annoying local DJ informing us of the weather conditions and the special people who were running, small tears came to my eyes. I never ever thought I would be running a half marathon and never thought I would be taking part in the biggest. I started to think of the money I had raised and the messages of support from my friends. This time last year I was out of breath and curled up in a heap after running for two minutes and now I was limbering up and stretching my calves ready to embark on a distance that for many isn’t even thinkable.

I was slowly getting worried, as I had never ran 13.1 miles before, and my longest distance had been 11.5 and that hurt, at ten miles my legs were like jelly. But the pistol sounded for the women’s race and shortly after those iconic planes though over with a large applause and cheering that started the main event and thoughts of not crossing the line flew away like Arrows above me.

I was off, I had set my watch and it found it’s satellites, I went to start it and found it had gone to sleep desperately I tried to wake it up wishing it would quickly latch back on to the GPS signal it had found minutes before hand, by the time my left foot had crossed the start line my Garmin was ready for use and I pressed the start button. I was now running at 7 minute a mile far to quick, I also now needed another pee. Of course the great thing about men is we can do it anywhere, and within minutes the field of male runners were heading to the bushes and trees myself included.

Off we went, 55,000 of us for the ones at the back of the pack it would be 40 minutes till they crossed the start line. As I climbed the first hill I quickly descended into one of the tunnels where ‘Oggi Oggi Oggi‘ was sung. The crowd at later stages would also chant this but there would be no retort of ‘Oi Oi Oi’ as there was no point in wasting breath.

At the 2 mile stage I was running on one of my favourite bridge’s as the red arrows flew over. I was comfortable and had settled into a comfortable 8:45 pace. Which was just as well as the next 10 miles had several gentle climbs. By the half way mark I was feeling good and was on course to get my sub 2 hour.

There was music and bands in some places, and water and powerade in all the correct places. at 8 miles I started to slow down, but then the Bupa Boost came, loud music and lot of support allowed me to strive forward for half a mile my pace increased. While the atmosphere was not as intense as Manchester 10K the locals came out in force with sweets, water and oranges to show their support. My name was called out a couple of times by strangers willing me on.

By the time we got to the 10 mile point I knew I was almost home and dry. Well not that dry as the heavens started to open which was a welcome rest bite from the sun and helped me to battle on up the last hill to the roundabout before the coast. As I reached the top and I saw the sea on the horizon and it was a steep hill down and a sharp corner to the left to reach the 12th mile marker. This was the longest mile in the world, but I sped up and sprinted to the finish as the rain battled on down and echoes of cheering surrounding the coast road, I held my head high and crossed the line in 1 hour 51 minute and 25 seconds.

My legs felt like they would drop off, and the only fix was to head to the charity village to claim my free cup of tea and get a wonderful photo for their website. The day ended with a fantastic display from the Red Arrows and a pleasant car trip home. The question of would I do it again, never even crossed my mind as half way round I had already planed on entering for 2012. I enjoy long distance running and am now hooked on the running bug more than ever, I am in search of all kind of half marathons and hopeful this time next year I may talk about going the whole 26.2 miles. As for my sponsorship that has been the hardest part, and I still have a way to go until I have met my pledge but my Just Giving page is still open for any one who wishes to contribute.

I’m now resting for a week, until I go for a quick run before my 10K race on 9th October and then I might enter the Birmingham Half on the 23rd October. Running is addictive and the weight loss, competition, feeling good about yourself is all side lined by the fact that running rules and is fun.

I like it, and I loved this run.


Friends can Help you Train!!!

Its true, and I will be able to prove it, in fact I already kind of have. When I did Manchester 10K I went training with my friends who to be fair were also running in the race but were not as eager as I was, by this I think the full bug had not bitten them. They helped me to pace myself and to carry on striding forward.

Now for the next race which is if you’re new to the blog is the wonderful Great North Run all 13.1 miles of it treading the roads of Newcastle and Gateshead hopefully my training will be using the same bunch of friends. They know there limits and I need to do some short runs and limit the bigger runs to once a week. By using my friends who are not in training they are more likely to put a halt on the proceedings as they have no goal apart from to enjoy themselves, which in turn will cause me to call it a day as long as we have done at least 5K.

So I get to do lots of short runs with my friends who I love. But what about the bigger runs. Apart from going down to the gym with a couple of albums on my Ipod to run away the time I need another plan, another friend, a friend with a bike and a canal not that he owns the canal, but has access to one. A friend who lives a long way away. Well lucky old me, I have a friend who lives 16 miles away, and there is a route along a canal to his house from mine, he also has a bike. The plan is he rides behind me, shouting words of encouragement, and I run. The long run completed, I achieve my target, my mate gets to ride his bike, and we all go to the pub. Well not me as I am in training.

Last night was supposed to be a rest night, but the urge was too strong and I went out for a run. With my GPS system, but I only looked at it to keep track of my time. I ran 8K, and did it more or less in my usual 4.30 per K mark. the run felt good, and it felt smooth. I had to pause at 8, as my legs were feeling it, which is why I’m defiantly having a rest day tonight. I won’t! I know I won’t I will be down the gym doing some treadmill stuff, or cross training.

But there we have it, with little less than 8 weeks to go, I have to get up to 13.1 miles. This is where friends come in useful. They all enjoy a run, and they can keep me going, those who don’t like to run more than 5K can ride with me, and hopefully within 4 weeks I will be up to 10 miles. I’m not following any precise plan, just taking a mix, of doing runs and slowly building up my distance. The only true advice I’m taking on board, is doing plenty of short runs and only doing one or two long runs a week. I’m not bothered about time on this race, as it will be the first marathon I’ve run, but I would love to do it in the 2 hour mark. 1hr 40 would be fantastic.

But at the end of the day we will see. At the moment the raising money is the hard part. But that is another post for another time.

Update, and Other News

Well, it’s been four days since my Just Giving page went live, and with several posts to Twitter and Facebook I am waiting for the donations to come rolling in. One of my friends said that I would have raised more money on the Manchester 10K if I had not posted my running maps and results showing or even proving that I had the ability to complete a distance of 10K. In his words ‘If you had just asked for money and told people you were running 10K people would have gone, What Fatty run 10K he’s never run anywhere, I loved to see that here’s a fiver’ My point here is am i finding it hard, as it’s only been a couple of weeks since I last asked, and are people thinking that ‘he can do it’ ‘It’ll be easy for him’ so there not showing support by donating.

However 13.1 Miles is not a 10K and is a lot harder, hopefully the donations will come in nearer he time, but I have £600 that I have to pledge to the charity and I feel it is a worth while one. Maybe I need to do other events and get sponsorship that way as well, do a cake sale to raise funds, not moan for a week or stand in Market Street with bucket and some stickers. Any ideas would be most helpful, as would any spare change people have. While I have not started to train yet, as I am still waiting for my foot to heal, I’m hoping that when I do, I will have the 13 miles down to a cool run in the park, but with only July and August to do my training in, I’m getting quite worried that I do not have enough time.

In other news, There isn’t really any. I was going to write a blog about confidence but there isn’t really enough material for it, plus I disagree with my mates comment about it. I did have a nice little sleep this afternoon that was nice.

In conclusion please do let me know if you have any fundraising ideas, and if you your self would like to donate, then please click the link in the side bar, marked my Please Sponsor me for Great North Run. Or if you would like to give in the old way then drop me a line.

Thank you.