Tuesday, 25 December 2012

114 Days to go - Post christmas half-marathon!

Let's do more running!
Just before things would rapidly go downhill due to christmas, I went on my longest sustained run on sunday. It was a steady two hour run through housing estates, industrial estates and ending with a circuit that included some country lanes and cycle paths. I got lost a couple of times too and almost had to turn back at one point as the path ahead was flooded.

I had my iPod with me (old style, generation 2) and haven't only recently discovered it - I delighted in remembering half-forgotten tracks all from the 80s; power-ballads the lot of them!
Despite the poor hair styles, the music was ok....

After the run, I was mildly surprised that I was not too tired nor out of breath. I felt that I could have run longer but my target of completing the circuit was achieved.

I think this is a good sign.

However, about to be outdone by the inevitable christmas feast about to hit me. 

Last distance run: 22.0 km
Total run so far: 125.0 km

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here.

Monday, 24 December 2012

119 Days to go - The Christmas Hurdle and cracking 100 KM

The herd, try running through this lot eh?

The Christmas is almost upon us and I am keeping in training with avoiding all the last minute christmas shoppers (of which I count myself unfortunately) - however, plenty of stamina and agility is required.

Went for another run last night - a quite late night run (20:00) and it was surprisingly mild though the first KM was tough as I didn't warm up properly and had to take it slow. I did pick up the pace from the +5km mark and the rest of the run was more than manageable.

I have also cracked the 100km cumulative distance run (since training began) - so quite pleased with this. A significant milestone for sure. 

Not too sure what plans I have but intend to stick to the training plan as much as possible over this festive period.

Last distance run: 8.0 km
Total run so far: 103.0 km

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

121 Days to go - Deep Heat Assisted Running

Slightly stiff, but a bit of Deep Heat and I was ready to rock and roll. The clothes I wore however, still damp from the wash the night before. I glanced at the map and decided on a all pavement/concrete run and a new circuit.

Rub it deep, rub it long..........
A bit of a slow run as I wanted to make sure that I did not aggravate my sore calf muscles but mindful that with christmas approaching, it would be a challenge in keeping up the regular run. I mean, christmas dinner and all the trimmings and dessert and chocolates and other goodies OR...more running? A tough choice for sure; however my wonderful wife has found my Saucony running shoes - the lightweight addidas ones aren't sturdy enough so now, I reckon I can tackle longer runs and more off-road routes now. She's also going to insist that I go out and do my bit.

Last distance run: 8.0 km
Total run so far: 95.0 km

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

122 Days to go - Football last night, means no running today...

A good friend of mine, Darren from WeAreTri has repeatedly told me NOT to play football as I continue with my marathon training. Especially the five-a-side version where there's a lot more stop-start type of play. I usually play in goal so my 'injuries' are more akin to blunt force traumas (ball to face, ball to stomach and ball to er, sensitive parts) so I regard this as part and parcel of the 'fun'.
Ouch - the ball was unharmed in the taking of this photo....
Anyway, I *did* hurt my left calf muscle and it aches when I walk so running at least for tonight, is out of the question. Took a few knocks during the game and was chasing the ball like a crazy hound. I will however go for a run tomorrow if at all possible.

We also had a christmas lunch for my floor/department today: a most excellent choice of calamari to start, pizza as main and a mint cheesecake to end. Very nice and no guilt whatsoever on my part! The pizza was a biggie, however but I wasn't going to be defeated and consumed it with focus and determination. This obviously doesn't compare to the gargantuan pizza that Adam Richman (from 'Man v Food' fame) has attempted to chow down...

Make mine an extra large one please....
So no running today or tonight but back on the road tomorrow afternoon for sure. Am looking forward to it. Oh, am also signing up for a couple of 10Ks and also a half-marathon just in time for the London 2013 marathon. I have my eye on the Berkhamsted Half Marathon in March 2013 but am torn between a number of 10K runs, probably want to do one in January to work off the extra poundage from the turkey and ham that I have consumed!

Last distance run: 8.0 km
Total run so far: 87.0 km

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

124 Days to go - Muffin Power!

Eat me....now
Not the best food to prepare oneself for the marathon but I can't say no. Lovely day for a training run, tried to increase the tempo a bit with short sprints every 100m or so for 50m; but I couldn't keep this up for long and settled into a steady run.

I think I could do with a iPod shuffle and some cool tunes.

Last distance run: 8.0 km
Total run so far: 87.0 km

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here

Friday, 14 December 2012

127 Days to go - wet and knackered

Yes, this is me and no, that's not sweat - it was raining very hard outside.....
The weather has turned today - it was very cold (but pretty) a couple days ago, but today it is much milder but so wet. Still, nothing should stop me from my lunch time run so after a few stretches I was off towards the canal. Bad idea.

What was solid (frozen solid) pathway was a mess of mud, very cold water and the occasional half-hidden iron work. The latter I slipped on twice, with the second time twisting my ankle and my cursing aloud to the bemused ducks and swans around the canal. I was half way round so I just continued round, hoping that running would prevent the ankle from swelling up. This actually worked a treat with me finally coming back to the office in one piece, albeit wet.


My ankle hurts now.

Last distance run: 8.0 km
Total run so far: 79.0 km

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

129 Days to go - The Canal is frozen!

The canal I ran alongside was a lot cleaner....

A quick run this lunch time with a work colleague, who sets a slightly faster pace than I am used to; so this is a good thing. We decided to run along a canal that leads straight out of town into some quite picturesque countryside, made more special by the the frost covered landscape and frozen canal. The air was very cold however and I really should have worn a hat.

After a 40 minute run, it was back into the office, shower and something to eat. Thank goodness there are showers at work!

Last distance run: 8.0 km
Total run so far: 71.0 km

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

130 Days to go - Quick sprint

This isn't me.....yet

Last night was an interval training, I came home late from work so had little time and decided to do a quick interval run over a shorter distance. This is where you sprint for 30 seconds, walk/jog for 30 seconds and repeat for about 10-12 times. It breaks up the training a bit for me and also shortens the time required. I have to say, it is getting colder too and I should have put on a hat for the run!

Last distance run: 5.5 km
Total run so far: 63.0 km

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here

Monday, 10 December 2012

131 days to go - Le Weekend

This weekend past was always going to be written off, in terms of my marathon training - instead it involved eating and drinking (all tinged with a bit of guilt I might add), this is christmas after all! I ate well and this included christmas dinner (venison stew and I went back for seconds), christmas pudding, a delightful pear tart/tort with cardomon flavoured vanilla cream and more cheese than I can shake a stick at. I also had a full cooked breakfast, alchohol and other calorific items of goodness.

So, it was with some trepidation that I pick up the training gauntlet once more, I fear that the last month of training has been up-ended and rolled backwards to a point way, waaay before the start. Oh well. I always relished a challenge.

'tis a daunting task ahead of me....
Knowing that I needed helped, I asked Darren: a MapAction volunteer and a good friend of mine for advice. He is a qualified Level 2 triathlon coach, a tri-athlete and GIS guru and anyone interested in some sound and patient advice should give his team a look see. They're collectively called 'Wearetri'.

Darren had helped me complete my first half-marathon a couple of years back. With 131 days to go, I needed to focus and Sensei Darren was the key. Running throughout christmas and in the winter can be quite demoralising.

So here's the plan in brief: 3 weeks of training with 10% increase in distance per week followed by one week of relatively easy running. The aim is to get me past the half-way distance in two months. This should be a nice challenge but it also means that my runs will be longer (though my lunch time runs can't be extended....)

So, going for my 'sunday' run tonight (monday) and boy does it look cold. Hope the 'Beast from the East' stays put awhile longer....

Last distance run: 8.5 km
Total run so far: 57.5 km

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here

Thursday, 6 December 2012

136 Days to go - Lunch time run at work

actually, for me - no.
I do most of my running at night though - am sure those training for the London Marathon 2013 have exactly the same programme: come home from work, get running kit on and out you go! Well today, I ran during my lunch hour with a work colleague. Makes a change, running during the day and with light! I did consider waking up early and going for a run but am unsure whether that would energise me for the rest of the day or exhaust me!

Anyway, a good run - excellent pace and a conversation (more or less) all the way round. However, I have discovered that my running shoes are starting to run the inside of my right foot (the arch area) and over the distance of a half-marathon, never mind a marathon - I will get a blister or two. Not too pleasant. 

Also, a wednesday lunch time run is possible because there's no football tonight. Dunno, about next week.

Distance run: 8.5 km
Total run so far: 57.5 km

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here

Monday, 3 December 2012

138 Days to go - Crazy kittens

These are not my kittens but they are very similar..

Chasing two kittens (one is teething) around the house is exhausting work and they are house-wreckers! With christmas presents already wrapped and lying around there is so much temptation to these rascals. So they make great warm-up exercise.

So, tonight's run was a fast affair. Same route as friday night but it was faster (well at least I thought so, something about running in the dark....) - but the last 1km is all uphill and a heartbreaker for sure.

A good run, had a shower and then cooked a lamb rogan josh. A nice way to end the evening.

Distance run: 8.5 km
Total run so far: 49.0 km

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here

Sunday, 2 December 2012

139 Days to go - Friday night run and the weekend

Damn it, it's cold tonight...
A quick run in the very cold evening is quite refreshing but friday night was bitterly cold. Made for a  brisk run, something about ice-cold air being pulled into one's lungs certainly keeps you alert!

I ran through some cold fog and almost ran into a few persons, all swaddled up and head down.

No snow, not yet. Lots of ice though and I took an uphill route this time round. My thighs and calf muscles had a good work out but I really need to get some better running shoes!

Distance run: 8.5 km
Total run so far: 40.5 km

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here

Thursday, 29 November 2012

142 Days to go - Another run and some football

Me in goal - actually, this is from Shaolin Soccer (film) but the kung fu intensity
 is the same...
A good friend of mine has asked me not to play my weekly five-a-side football team; I love football and it's a great way to socialise with work colleagues that I would not normally speak to. Not being unsociable but the company I work for is big enough that it's entirely possible that one doesn't know even half of your fellow staff members; not to mention those in different offices. So, football it is and since I play in goal, I think the possible knocks one would take when out in the field is avoided but I have taken a few to the face in the past but am sure this doesn't affect my running ability...does it?

Well it might affect whether I can see straight.....
So, I did another night time run and it was a fast one: the initial heart-breaking uphill run meant that the remaining 75% of the run was a relatively easy downhill sprint. I still ran through a load of mud puddles and er, other items on the path.

Distance run: 7.5 km
Total run so far: 32.0 km

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

144 Days to go - a half-marathon as a warm-up?

Check out the smiling chap on the right in the red hat!
 My father-in-law suggested that I should consider the Berkhamsted half-marathon (in March 2013) as a potential warm-up event and I have to admit, I like this idea. I already ran a half-marathon a couple of years ago (with a finish time of 02:03:03) so am eager to have another crack at it. However, I doubt that I will get significantly under this time but my aim is to finish first! They are not accepting any sign-ups until the beginning of December so I need to work my enthusiasm up.

My natural distance is still the 10 km (with an occasional 15km cross country thrown in) so I suppose I need to regard the marathon as approx 5 of these runs, with 5x the pain all in one day!

Any recommendations for some nice, scenic 10 Km runs during the cold winter months?

Distance run: 9.0 km
Total run so far: 24.5 km

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here

Monday, 26 November 2012

145 Days to go - thanks so far and where are my shoes?

My shoe cupboard doesn't look like this...

First, a big thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far: we're almost at the £200 mark so thank you, thank you!

Biggest donor was my employer who generously threw in £50.00 - I hope it didn't come out of my November pay-packet.....

Second, I can't find my 'main' pair of running shoes and I am holding out for the miracle that they will suddenly appear somewhere over the weekend. Well, they didn't and I need to make a decision soon on a replacement. The pair I have are addidas but they're not as stable as the Saucony pair I had.

So, any recommendations for a good pair of marathon-worthy running shoes that I can invest in?

Also, here's the route map. Since I work with GIS, I do need a map to keep me happy. Will probably knock something up in ArcGIS online when I have a moment to spare.

Thanks again!

Distance run: 9.0 km
Total run so far: 24.5 km

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here

Sunday, 25 November 2012

146 Days to go - Apps and a sunday morning run

Need more apps....

A MapAction colleague of mine is also participating in the London Marathon 2013, he being a veteran from last year. Being gadget geeks I was interested in any useful apps that can help me to track my runs, compare with other runners and inspire me to do more.

Been recommended 'Runkeeper' and it looks like quite a good application. Are they any other applications out there? Well, runkeeper does look good but you know what? 'Run Zombie Run' sounds even better! It tracks your run but converts your distance into actions in game play. So your running allows you to collect supplies, weapons and stuff. The longer the distance, the more you get done. Come on, it's to save the world - get running.

Run Ming Run!

Another friend put forward Endomondo as the app he uses. A quick scan of it and it looks like this app has a lot of support across multiple platforms.

Anyway, went for a run this morning: crisp sunday morning, just how I like it. A steady run and completed 9km with a few uphill and downhills for variation. The route took me north out of the town and one of the roads was flooded with cars pretending to be boats as they crossed it! One of the local parks has now a lake too complete with happily swimming ducks.
Not going to be able to cross this....
Distance run: 9.0 km
Total run so far: 24.5 km

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here

Saturday, 24 November 2012

147 Days to go - night run

Running at twillight
Running at night has it's challenges for sure: usually the muddy kind (or worse) that you can't see underfoot. Not deterred, I donned my reflective vest, got my thermal gloves on and went outside. It was foggy, cold and muddy and took me past my favourite curry restaurant. Was tempted to go in and get a takeaway.

Temptation resisted, I continued up the hill and got home. Hungry.

Distance run: 7.5 km
Total run so far: 15.5 km

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here

Friday, 23 November 2012

Missed training run

Actually, this is going to be one of my first 'excuse' posts; I was hoping to do an evening run last night but instead, I accompanied my darling wife to the cinema and watched 'Breaking Dawn, Part 2'. Not going to give any spoilers but there was a Bobby Ewing (from '80s Dallas fame) that had me going 'WTF?'

Still the film isn't as poor as part 1 and I am NOT a fan. However, I love my wife and saw it as my duty to accompany her to a cinema. There were other males there who nodded to me as they too, were doing their duty.

Says most of the males around the world.....
Anyway, I will make up for thursday's missed run with one tonight. I better find my reflective running top eh? Also realised that I missed an evening meal last night - two oranges and a bag of M&Ms does not make for a happy meal....

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Asking for advice

Not impressed....

Ok, I class myself as an enthusiastic and relatively knowledgable runner. I am a keen 10K runner and like cross-country but appreciate that preparing for a marathon requires a bit more planning and training. Now, being a novice at the long distance thing - what golden nuggets of hard-won advice can be passed to me? Anything from how to diet, what to wear on the day and how to train more efficiently would be gratefully recieved.

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

My first donation!

Donation makes me happy....!
 My first donation came in around 16:02 on the 20th November - thank you George! You're a star and a saint. Kind words too:

19.11.12 What a guy you are you got bitten once with those feet of yours walking now you are back for more running. Wow-Well done! Regards George 

George is referring to what happened to my feet when I completed the Trailwalker challenge, a 100km continuous hike over 24-36 hours. I do have pictures of my feet at the end of the walk, they were, er 'sore'.

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

151 Days to go - Prep work = food and diet?

Food fit for a king!
My dear wife has took it upon herself to design a diet fit for a marathon running husband! So soon? Already?

I will try and sneak in some high-energy foods (see above) as I reckon this can add much needed fuel to the training. However, jokes aside, I don't like junk food and prefer all my stuff as fresh as possible. I do have a weakness to crisps however and I LOVE nachos, pringles and prawn crackers too!

No running planned for tonight and football tomorrow. A run on Thursday evening perhaps?

Please sponsor me for the London 2013 Marathon, click here

Monday, 19 November 2012

152 days to go - Autumn running

Not the route I took but pretty nonetheless
152 days to go...

Where has the time gone?

Started into my training with a relatively quick 8km run, took me about 20 minutes but I was struggling halfway through. Not brilliant but playing five-a-side football each week probably isn't enough training. However, they say the first step is always the hardest.

The run was this sunday morning, a bright and crisp Autumn day - just how I like it. I actually, spent ages rummaging around the house for my running kit and waking up my poor, ill wife in the process. I didn't find my running shoes (if you spot a size 8, grey Saucony shoes lurking around, they are mine!) but instead, I grabbed my white addidas trainers. The same pair that my dear wife brought for me for the Olympic torch relay. It was clean and white up until 10:00am when I surged into a muddy section of the road.

I plan to do at least x2 10Km runs each week and vary the content of the run with plenty of sprint work in each run. There's a few steep hills where I live and I used them as part of my preparatory work from my half-marathon three years ago.

Time flies for sure but here we go!

Distance run: 8km
Distance run so far: 8km

Monday, 22 October 2012

183 days to go - accepting

Ok, so I have accepted the challenge of running in the 2013 London Marathon. I volunteer for MapAction, a unique humanitarian mapping charity and this time round, they have secured five places for MapAction volunteers to participate.

Having not run anything longer than a cross-country, it was time to step it up. So I signed up, part of me hoping that I would NOT be accepted. However, Chloe Browitt, the charity's energetic fund-raiser called me the other day and said, 'you're in! - now sign this and this and this...' - after dabbing my signature to the forms and handing over some monies I realised that I am, now indeed up to my neck in it.

Excitement mixed with fear in equal measure.

I have 183 days to go, surely that is enough time to start training? I mean, this blog and my donation page has been set up already. I must have time, right?

I hope to be at the finishing line....

Sunday, 21 October 2012

184 Days to go - My Just Giving Site

You know what? I want your money. Not all of it. Not even a half of it. Just a couple of quid (or more) in time for the London Marathon 2013. For this, you can see me wheeze and struggle my way round. It should be worth the money!
I am doing this for MapAction, my favourite charity. As I do need a good reason.
This follows my sponsored, 100km, Trailwalker endurance walk (organised through Oxfam) about four years ago. I have some gruesome pictures of the effect that this had on my feet. Now that I have finally recovered, I am going for the marathon. Unfortunately for me, I intend to run this one and not walk it.
I am using Virgin Money Giving, and they assure me that they are not-for-profit organisation and will claim gift aid on MapAction's behalf where the donor is eligible for this. I really appreciate all your support and thank you for any donations.


ps: my training has already started.