Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Milton Keynes Marathon.

After 4 months of hard training it’s finally here, this is my “A” race, and personally I have some unfinished business with the marathon, two years ago I missed my goal time by a combination of lack of long runs and over confidence, this time there is no such excuse I have followed the plan like it was the bible, I have added cross training even messed about with my diet. Honestly there is nothing more I could do, without dramatically changing my ordinary life and commitments.
Two weeks before and its weather watch, really don’t care what it does but please, please, don’t be hot. So what does the weather man say, race day 20 degrees C which doesn’t sound bad but all my long runs have been at  5 degrees and that’s a big jump, then you here about the hell the runners went through at Boston and I really started bricking it, even did all my taper runs on the treadmill to try and get used to warmer temperatures.
Race Day
Typically the weather man has been talking garbage, its 4 degrees “Yippee”  and chucking it down with 40+ mph winds “Doh”  but I am not going to worry about this, it’s only rain and skin is water resistant and with me knocking close 200lb wind isn’t going to do much.
Getting to the race was pretty uneventful left with plenty of time, pre paid the parking, clock work so good so far.
Waiting for the race to start was not ideal the start was on the road and very exposed but the camaraderie started to lift the atmosphere and a buzz was in the air, we were all ready for the starting gun.  
Bang... off we go, for the first few miles all that was going through my mind was “if it feels easy it’s too fast”  yes, i was little paranoid about blowing up before the finish, but that has always been my down fall and I didn’t want it to happen today.
The course was a lot more congested than expected, basically it was pathways two to three people wide and lots of tight changes of direction but the big surprise was the elevation change, the map issued by the organisers showed little elevation change but in real life there were lots of small sharp changers as we went under hundreds of underpasses, according to my Garmin these changes accumulated to a 4700ft climb 4640ft decent, so overall it was a bit of good and bad just to make pacing interesting. 
The other bonus of this type of course was with the exception of the odd bit we were well sheltered from the wind, there was plenty of different scenery to look at from lakes to reservoirs a small industrial estate, some vast parks and a wind surfing centre. One bit of bad scenery was my first encounter of the ginger bread man, at mile 5 I could smell it, wrongly I assumed it was just a dog walking area until this guy overtook me after what had been post full explosion, now don’t get me wrong we all have experienced a emergency pit stop but this guy just couldn’t have stopped, there were portapottys every mile and  there were thousands of trees to hide behind , frankly there was no need 20 seconds is not that important especially considering the course conditions, I was just glad he was faster than me not someone you want to follow for the next 3 hours.
Miles 5 to 20 became a bit of a blur whilst trying to get into a groove the one thing going through my mind was “if I can get to 20 miles I will run in the last 10K” this rapidly became a theme to the run almost an unofficial Mantra, I do remember the support was really good considering the conditions and there seemed to be a group of people in every under pass whooping away, which was pretty cool with all the echoes. Then there was what seemed like hundreds diversions around flooded parts of the path, each time this raised the question “do I plough through and get very wet feet or do I try to limit the damage but lose rhythm”  up to 20 I went with damage limitation after that didn’t care.
Miles 20 to finish, this was the hillier part of the track not saying there was anything epic but it was pretty consistent, however that was not the tough bit the tough bit was to keep going, I knew if I didn’t walk I would be under 4hrs if I did I wouldn’t and 4 hours was the goal at this point my hips were tightening up and my calf was starting to hurt and frankly I felt spent, the distance read out on my Garmin seemed to go in slow motion. Every mile closer to the finish was a little goal were I would tell may self not long now just a short recovery run left. Finally the stadium came into site which was a welcome sight I tried to give it a bit of a burst of speed but had nothing left, everything was left on the course today and when I crossed the line in a time of 3:53:40 a massive PB of 27mins from last time and beating the 4hr demon there should have been a feeling of euphoria but instead it was just exhaustion. To be fair the euphoria did come later once I warmed up in the car had a bit to eat and drink spoke to the misuses,  I actually enjoyed the drive home knowing it was a job well done.
Me Crossing the finish line exhausted

My mile splits.
8:32, 8:37, 8:36, 8:22, 8:23, 8:30, 8:43, 8:39, 8:47, 8:30, 8:27, 8:40, 8:46, 8:32, 8:46, 8:32, 8:52, 9:07, 8:57, 9:15, 9:19, 9:13, 9:31, 9:22, 9:29, 9:09, 8:16
Very happy with these the plan was to run even splits and I pretty much did that, with having nothing left at the end I know I gave it my all, a race were at the end there is no regrets, nothing I would go back and change  so very happy with the outcome.
The only question Left is “what’s Next?”

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Milton Keynes Marathon

As most of you know over the last few Months I have been training for the Milton Keynes Marathon, as a subtle bit of begging for sponsorship @ I thought I would give you a bit of insight into how much training is involved just to get to the start line.

At this time of year it can be difficult to imagine the work involved as we all know someone who is running a marathon and with the are big profile events being televised all around the world (London, Paris, Madrid, Boston, Bali, North Pole) which seems to water down the work involved just getting there, so please remember nearly every one of those thousands of runners you see on the television will have done a similar training regime to that shown on the training pages.

I would like to add special well done to James and Paul Mace for there brilliant race at the Brighton Marathon 3:37 and 3:19 respectively amazing times.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Review of the Kindle

Reviewing a piece of kit is not something I would normally do but I thought I would have a go so here follows.
Last year the wife got me a Kindle for Christmas this was one of those gadgets you kind of want but don't want to spend the cash on, 80 quid is allot of money for what is basically something that carry’s books and personally I felt it would lose the feel of reading a book, not wanting to sound cliché` but there’s something about the smell and feel of paper which is engaging it is all part of the experience.
However I got one and being a smidge on the nerdy side had to use it, so it’s now been nearly a month and two books down and frankly i love it, the page turns are simple and easy to use (i know that sounds daft) but it does work well, the screen is clear and easy to read, the absence of a back light is annoying and could easily have been resolved, in the end of the day if my 6 quid watch has a light it can't be hard to build one in and would have made a huge difference.
On the plus side the Wifi access to the Internet makes it easy to access blogs and other sites (bit strange on the ink screen but clear enough), and there loads of access to free books legal or not so legal ;-) which means you will never run out of stuff to read, on top of that I still haven't had to recharge the battery so all in all an excellent bit of kit. And I would recommend any one who likes to read to invest in one.

Happy reading

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Clean Slate

In my house we have a tradition that come the New Year we wipe the slate clean and start afresh, the idea is simple we clear out all the rubbish from the previous year and move on  anew.  The first act is to clear out the house, all the Christmas decorations go away on December 31st then we go through each room getting rid of the rubbish we simply don’t need, every room gets cleaned so in essence a we start the new year from a clean slate. Then on the 1st of January we open all the windows and doors as to let in the new year. This little ritual may seem a little odd but it’s something we have done for the last 15 years and probably will keep doing for the next 15 and  I like doing it.

As for goals I still have my aims and aspirations these are detailed on the Bucket list Tab and for those who read my Epic fail blog know I have a bit to do to achieve them, (it wouldn’t be worth doing them if they were easy) but the biggest thing I want to achieve this year is to invest more time into what I to do, and to do this I need to clear out the rubbish, the stuff in my life that’s consumes time and doesn’t serve my vested interests. Silly things like playing too much with games on my phone (dam you Angry birds) or the dreaded Facebook can be substituted with reading/writing blogs or my short story. Then there’s the evening once my kids have gone to bed I normally crash why? I sit behind a computer all day my body doesn’t need the rest, do a good hours training then chill it’s only a hour, over a year that 365 hours or 15 days you can do a lot  with that kind of time, but to do this I need to clear out the old habits and instil new ones.

 And that’s my aim for this year clear out the rubbish and reinvest the time to me

Happy New Year and a great 2012

Monday, 2 January 2012

Epic Fail

This is a review of my 2011, obviously from the title you won’t be surprised that I consider this not my most successful year with regard to personal challenges.

Right back at the beginning of the year like most of us will have done I wrote down  a list of things I wanted to achieve this year

1)      Run a sub 1:30 half

2)      Quit drinking

3)      Write a short story

Then there was the odd thing that came up which I tried to do as well

1)        HCA self-protection course

Well I didn’t achieve a single one of them Doh!!, well technically I did finish the HCA course, but I didn’t get out the course what I went in to achieve, this is no reflection on the teaching of the course as the other members who participated took the bull by the horns and blossomed, each one made some massive and incredible changes to their lives. Why didn’t I? well I suppose what I was looking for was an easy answer but what I really got was a reality check that If I am honest I didn’t like and was scared to face and still am, to be honest I am still a bit confused by it all, but it is something I am working on one step at a time.  

With regard to the rest of the items on the list I simply didn’t achieve what I started, normally at this point all the excuse would pop up, lack of time, work pressures, any means off  bull shitty blah de blah blah excuses, however the reality is I haven’t invested enough into achieving the goals. Don’t get me wrong just because I haven’t done them this year doesn’t mean they are not going to get done, and in all but one I have learned a lot about what needs to be done to achieve those goals, not more so than with the case of the Sub 1:30 half my goal was greatly unrealistic in the first place, just trying to do this has given me a whole new respect for those athletes that can run those remarkable times, the build up takes years and the level of discipline is just awe inspiring, like I said the goal is still there I just need to add some smaller goals on the way .

So what can I say for the year, yes I didn’t achieve what I set out to, but I have learned allot and that can only be a good thing. There has been some real highlights, I was honoured to be best man at my mates wedding, watching my kids grow this year has been amazing as they are at that wonderful age of discovery, The whole Mini scene which my wife has got into, on paper this still seems strange but the new friends we have meet and the places we have been to have been quality.  Me and Beck went to our real first proper outdoor concert together, I know that’s sad to say at our age, but it was brilliant. But I think that is the biggest thing I have learned this year, every single time we/I have tried something new or different it’s really paid off we have had some thorerly enjoyable experiences and every time we have stayed safe and done the same old thing, it’s been well, not so good. 
So what for 2011, well it’s not exactly gone according to plan, but has by been no means been bad, the good bits have been great and the rest is learning for next year.  So what next well? the first
thing I have done in preparation is book a April marathon in a city I have never ran in.  “MK here we come” ..