Twisted ankle, hypertension, the marathon is in the balance.

This post has sat in my draft box for weeks. A quick update is that I have deferred the marathon but have decided to post this still .
The old post from a few weeks ago.
Well I am still struggling with the ankle a bit. Its ok as long as I don’t pick up the pace, turn sharply, run down steep hills, run up hill or run on really uneven ground. Apart from that everything is fantastic.

Well sort of fantastic, to add to my poor old ankle my old enemy, hypertension has returned to join in the fun on this rollercoaster ride of training for the Brighton Marathon. Yes I have high bloody blood pressure again. For those of you who have read my early blogs will have read that I really started running in earnest to beat my dependancy on Ramipril and to get fit, loose weight and stop having to take a pill every day. Well that was a success story, well for a few years until now.

I had a check up last week and the nurse took my blood pressure, I suffer from white coat syndrome and sat there like a naughty school boy, out side the headmasters office waiting for the cane, feeling sweaty and nervous. As she wrapped the dreaded blood pressure sleeve thing around my arm I was not feeling that calm and collected. As she started to pump the thing up, I tried to say something funny but it didn’t calm me and the nurse actually said please be quiet as she looked sternly at the gauge. MMMMMMmmmmmmmm was the next thing she said, we will take another reading in a minute, just sit there and relax. Oh yeah thats easy to say to a bloke with white coat syndrome, a sore ankle and a marathon to train for. Reading number 2 was taken, at one point I thought she may need to get a foot pump to get enough pressure in the arm cuff to overcome the pressure running through my veins. Then it was over, the relief of air from the cuff, followed by the exhale from the nurse. Your reading was quite high was her reply, 166 over 95 I think was the reading, not really too sure as I sat there deflated just like the blood pressure arm cuff laying on the table. I was advised to monitor at home for 2 weeks and then return with the results, however if I get a few more readings of 160 plus over 90 plus to come back quicker.

Well after home monitoring for a week my blood pressure was not great. Not excessively high but I had a few high readings mixed in with a few just acceptable readings. After licking my wounds for a few days I realised that yes my blood pressure was high, get over it, I eat healthily, well not too bad, don’t smoke, well not for the last 4 years and exercise regularly, well when my ankle wants to play. So off I went back to the doctors with my spreadsheet of readings ready to surrender to going back on the pill. Well not the pill as I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant, but you know what I mean.

My results were inspected, I explained that I have not really trained for 2 weeks due to my ankle,

whereas normally I train 5 times a week, raised my concerns about the medication effecting my marathon training and running ability and sat waiting for the dreaded prescription to be handed out.

To my surprise there was to be no prescription at the moment, my readings were explained and that 50% of the readings were only just in the high zone but with my low heart rate and looking at the whole picture it was nothing really to be concerned about now. With only 8 weeks to go till Brighton, I was advised keep the training up, measure my blood pressure daily and as long as it doesn’t go any higher and my heart rate at rest is low then carry on. What I said no need for medication? “I will prescribe a really low dose if you insist but I think your readings are nothing to worry about at the moment taking into consideration the heathy lifestyle and amount of exercise that you do, but keep monitoring it and come and see me again after your marathon. Good luck with the training and see you in April” was his reply.

So the next day I strapped up my ankle and went for a long run, 17 miles to be exact and all went well. When I say well, my ankle held up with the strapping, my heart held up and my legs just about held up. Since Fridays visit to the quacks I have measured the old blood pressure and all readings have been OK just, but lower than before. After my long run yesterday I decided to see what the reading was some 2 hours after finishing the run and I actually thought that the machine had broke as instead of the little pump labouring for a minute to inflate the cuff the reading was taken in 30 seconds. Yes my reading was good at 119 over 75.

So at the moments its two fingers up to high blood pressure, although I think as this body gets a bit older and worn out the prescription will be needed, I am training for the Brighton Marathon with a new zest, and as long as the ankle holds up then I should make that starting line.

 

Advertisements

Oooppps a slight blip in the marathon training


Well as I write this blog I am sat with my left leg raised, ice on ankle feeling a bit sorry for myself. Yes exactly the same as Xmas eve, went over on it and game over. Yesterday I was participating in an off road Half marathon around Portland. Not even 3 miles in and it was all over. To make it worse I had started really well and where I pulled up lame I was a mile from the nearest pick up point unless I wanted to try and get back up the goat path against the flow of runners. Feeling p$%#ed off I chose to hobble on along the flat old railway line with my thoughts that the marathon training was over. However my self pity lifted as virtually every runner passing me asking if I was ok and do I need any help. No word of a lie I must have been asked at least 50 times if people could help, offers of support bandages, being told to stay where I was and they would come back with help for me. In the end it almost got too much but I hobbled on to get to a road where I could be picked up. One of the runners said only “That looks like game over, at least you will be in the pub before me” which made me chuckle. The railway line was longer that I thought and as I assured the marshal that I would be fine as I left the route to walk up to the road to be picked up I realised how cold I felt. Luckily I was carrying a foil blanket.

Anyhow my wife picked me up on the side of the road, wrapped in a foil blanket feeling sad. She dropped of at the St Johns Event Ambulance and thankfully after an examination they didn’t think there was anything serious , just soft tissue and ligament damage. As I was in the Ambulance they had a call for a suspected broken leg so I thanked them and made a swift exit so the could go off and treat this unfortunate person.

So there you go hopefully this will only set me back for a week or so and the marathon will still be a go, as up to now training has been going great.

On a really positive note! since my last blog, we have started a C25K course and this is  a great experience. We hade 25 joined up and a couple have dropped out but the camaraderie between the others after only 3 weeks is amazing. I am one of the coaches for my running club and absolutely love it and doing this course with absolute beginners is great and the rate of improvement with them is outstanding. I may or may not make the marathon but one thing for sure is I will complete the C25K with this amazing bunch of people.

Perhaps with my glass left ankle this will be my last Marathon but hopefully my coaching will continue and sharing my running nerdness will continue for years to come.

Happy running

1st race of the year, serious business.

Today saw me partake in my 1st race of 2017. It was a midday start so a bit more time to get prepared and get all my kit available. Todays distance was 15K ish, a 3 lap affair with other runners doing 5K and 10K. There was a big field estimated over 800 and this was to be a tough off road course.

I set my gear out early,

  • Salomon trail shoes
  • Dirty Girl Gaiters to keep the mud out of my  shoes
  • Ankle support as left ankle still not 100%
  • Running Tights
  • Club Vest with number attached
  • Buff
  • Day glow pink ankle warmers
  • Matching day glow pink top
  • Tu tu
  • Garmin (other brand timing devices are available).
  • Dry robe

Yes I was ready, so off we set for the 35 minute drive to the venue. As we reached the race we were greeted by marshals holding guns and massive hands all dancing about and telling us where to park. As I said this was a very serious race.

boris-gun-and-hand

On parking up a considerable distance from the start I decided to get ready now and then walk to the starting area (we were there 90 minutes before the start). This is where unbelievably I realised that I had left my day glow pink top at home. How I do not know as it is that bright it hurts your eyes. Anyhow I got everything else on and substituted my pink top for a boring black one and we went to the start area. The time went quickly, I socialised with the other 13 RMPAC runners there running this event.

Then it was the safety brief and this was the normal light hearted, funny brief, warning us about not straying into minefields, don’t pick up shiny metal objects etc. Then we had the quality warm up with  Mel and Kim of Dorset Carpool Karaoke fame. Then onto the start. On came “Jump around” on the tannoy so the warm up continued with 100’s of runners all jumping around, an amazing experience.

Then we were off, for the 3 laps in my case. The race is over Bovington tank ranges so its hilly, muddy, wet, very wet in the means of deep puddles thigh deep in places, scramble net and most of all a great atmosphere and fun. Yes I was running “The Dirty Stampede” a Bustinskins event. It was great, great marshals, great course, great competitors, well all apart for the one who told me to “F&*k off” as I gave a bit of encouragement to him as we were nearly at the end. Mind you a panting bloke, with snot on his face wearing a tutu and day glow pink leg warmers giving you encouragement is not to everyones taste. I did however save Nemo, well I picked an inflatable Nemo up out of one of the larger puddles, ran 1 mileish to the knife edge hill, got to the top of the hill with him and then launched him back down the hill again. Running over terrain like this, going under scramble nets, not being able to use your arms properly was not my best idea, but it was fun until I realised how chin strapped I was carrying my inflatable friend.

I am not going to go into any more detail, it a great race, look it up on Google and Facebook, there are load of photos being uploaded so you will get the picture.

Would I return next year, most definitely, however I am thinking 10K, a large group of us all in fancy dress having a blast. See you next year Dirty Stampede.

Happy running.

Caveman feet

 

caveman

At last I have virtually beaten off the man flu, my ankle is nearly back to normal and my training can recommence.

The last 2 weeks haven’t been great with my long run, last Sunday, being my worst long run in ages, but I completed it and its another one in the bag. I ran for 1 hour 45 off road to see how the ankle was and if I should pull out of the Dirty Stampede race that i am competing in the following week. At the end of the run ankle preformed pretty well, just the rest of me was pants. It felt like I had no energy after about 5 miles so I am blaming the  man flu and the fact that I am now trying to loose the extra weight that I gained at Christmas.

Went out yesterday for a bit of threshold and as it was so bloody cold and windy I was grateful to do hills down Underhill to keep warm and shelter from the wind a bit. My long run this week is being delayed till Monday as tomorrow (Sunday) I am running around Bovington Tank Ranges for the Bustinskins Dirty Stampede.

duathlon

Look it up it is a great day if you are anywhere near Dorset and one to put in the diary for next year. As long as I survive this and don’t catch pneumonia my training will continue to ramp up.

 

dirty-stampede

One thing I have had to do though is admit that I have too fat feet to wear my Solomon speed cross 3. They are a great shoe and the grip in mud is great. However I wore these at an off road half just before Christmas and my feet were very sore to say the least at the end. I then bought some fancy insoles for them but I now think this contributed to me going over on my ankle on Christmas Eve. Therefore I am now looking for a new pair of trail shoes suitable for the wider caveman foot (sorry Mr’s H, yes another pair of trainers will be coming soon) as I have the Grizzly coming up. The moral of this story is if the trainers don’t feel right after a few runs they’re probably not. I think I knew from the second I tried them on that they were too tight (and I bought them a size larger than my normal shoe). But as they were shiny and I was impatient I went out in them. The grip is amazing, the shoe is amazing but it is on the marrow side for me and after 8 – 10 miles I start to really feel it. You can’t beat going to a running shop and trying them on. They may be a bit cheaper online but if you don’t know that they will fit, they may end up an expensive pair of running shoes as I have now had to admit.

Until the next time happy running.

London Marathon the after thoughts.

I have delayed writing this report as I wanted it all to sink in and to give a correct blog of my thoughts and experiences of running one of the greatest marathons in the world.

To start of we travelled up to London on the train. I drove to Wool Station as there was engineering works and this saved us sitting on a bus for over an hour. We got to the station  and got on the train with no dramas. It was great we were on our way, my wife, my two children and our great friends Jim (who was also running in the marathon and my training partner for a number of years) and his partner Julie.

We arrived at London on time, relaxed and meandered to our hotel to drop the bags of. Well what a great bunch of staff they have at the Tate Modern Premier Inn, through out our whole stay the staff were amazing.

Then a short walk to Southwark Tube to get to the expo. On route we passed a cash point and much to our surprise Jasper decided to get some money out. Jasper is like another resident of London, he normally carries no money, just like the queen.

SONY DSC

Then onto the tube and DLR where we got to the expo. I didn’t really know what to expect here, apart from huge queues, and chaos. As we entered and found where to get our numbers from, for some reason our queue was at least 3 times as long as any others. Jim virtually walked straight up and got his number, luck of the draw I suppose. Any how after about 10 minutes I had my number, had spoken to some great people and was getting a tad excited. The rest of the expo was like this, it was filled with great like minded people, great exhibits and we spent a great couple of hours. At the end of the expo it was pretty busy and there was quite long queues for the bits where you can have photos but apart from this is was fine. One stand that caught our eye was selling anti chafe lotions. I left Jim there listening to all the spill and he returned triumphant with a tube of “BUTT SHIELD”. On looking at it I thought he could have the last laugh tomorrow if I end up chaffed to hell and he comes through scott free thanks to the powers of Butt Shield. I purchased the Sports Shield and we can both confirm that both products were superb and neither of us had any chaffing.

We then left the expo, continued to carb load and then headed back into London and back to the hotel. The evening was a quiet affair with more carbs and a few soft drinks, then back to the room sort out my kit and try to get an early night.

SONY DSC

Race Day!!!!!!!

I was up and raring to go. We had arranged to have breakfast at 6:30 as there was some talk that it would be very busy with other runners. Well it wasn’t and again this was a chilled affair. Porridge all round, toast, peanut butter and scrambled egg. There was a great atmosphere and about 10 runners in there all eating the same type of things. Then it was back to the room, toilet stop number 2, get the final kit ready and then a goodbye to our loved ones as Jim and I set of to tackle the London Marathon.

SONY DSC

Ready to go

A short walk to Waterloo East and then on the train to get us to the start. The excitement was building and as we got seated on the train I thought well there still haven’t been any mad queues, rude people etc. The whole experience to now, had been the opposite and everyone was so friendly and so organised. As we left the station it started to dawn how big an event this was. As we made our way to the blue start the numbers of runners was increasing, the roads were closed just to get us to the start. As I climbed the hill and looked behind it looked like ants swarming from everywhere all heading to the same point as us. We breezed through security, had a pee, dropped the bags off, had another pee and then sauntered of to the starting pens. My god we were surrounded by thousands of other runners but everything was so well organised and easy I don’t think I have ever been so chilled at the start of a race. This is where I had to say goodbye to my running buddy as he was starting in the zone behind. One last photo, taken by yet another really friendly marshal and of we went to our respective starting zone. One thing that I have forgotten to mention was the weather. At one point earlier we were predicted snow, however after the early rain that we had whilst eating breakfast it had now dried up and was overcast but looked like brightening up. I had my running vest on, a disposable poncho, gloves and hat. The plan was to ditch the poncho at the start and the hat and gloves as and when I though necessary.

DSC_0595

Last photo with Jim at the start. 

As I waited in the starting pen with all the other runners exchanging pleasantries, I still couldn’t believe how relaxed I was. There was a large screen to the side and we all watched Tim Peaks do the countdown and that was it we were off. Well not quite as it took about 3 minutes to get over the start line. As we started to pick up pace slightly I realised how busy this was going to be. For the 1st 3 miles because of the amount of runners I could not get anywhere near the pace that I wanted to run, however I  had the 3 hour 45 pace maker behind me and looking at him he didn’t seem concerned and as I was still really chilled nor was I really.

Because of the very slow pace where we were coming to a virtual stop every couple hundred yards I decided to use the 1st roadside urinal. I hadn’t even done half a mile but I thought I just as well have a pee now and then hopefully when it thins out a bit I will not need to go again. This didn’t quite work out as I had 2 more pee stops during the race, probably due to the amount of water stations and the cooler weather meaning that I was not sweating. Peeing in a plastic urinal looking over the top at a bloke doing exactly the same as you whilst being passed by hundreds of runners who are being cheered on by hundreds of supporters was a new experience to me, and just added to the amazing and at times surreal day.

Back to the race I will not go into a mile by mile account. You will be running in a massive pack of runners and I think it was about mile 16 before I felt I could just run and not have to worry about someone crossing my path or someone clipping my heels. A lot of the course could be anywhere in regards to scenery, but the amount of runners and the massive support of the crowds, the noise and the atmosphere I have never experienced anything like it. Virtually from the start to the finish the supporters line the route, continually cheering you on. At certain points of the course the noise from the supporters if unbelievable and I still smile now as I write this as to me it was amazing. The Cutty Sark it the 1st place that you really see the crowds and it doesn’t disappoint, the Tower Bridge which is where I was looking forward to most before hand was amazing. I remember running over the bridge and realising that I was grinning from ear to ear and was in awe of the bridge and the spectators.

SONY DSC

Seeing Donna and the family at mile 13

At mile 13 I got me first glimpse of Donna my wife, Chloe, Jasper and Jims partner Julie. This again was a massive uplifting moment. Just pass here I had a shout out from the Weldmar Trust team that I was running for in the other side of the road. From here as it started to get a bit harder in effort so did the mind games. Since about 6 miles I kept getting stomach pains and now think it was due to the amount of Lucozade sport on tap as when I stopped picking that up at the drink stations and stuck to water my stomach settled. I thought I was only having a few sips of the lucozade each time but I was probably drinking a quarter of a bottle each time and there was a lot of water stations on route. I hit the wall about 19 miles, feeling really ill, however as I turned the next bend there was music being played and again the support had reached fever pitch. At 21 miles I passed the MNDA cheering point and that was amazing. The next thing I knew was my pace had upped and I was going pass loads of people.

Now pacing was a bit of an issue as due to nearly loosing my Garmin watch at mile 6. Due to the amount of high 5’s that I was delivering in the early stages of the race I nearly lost my Garmin. Luckily I realised just in the nick of time as I went to do my thousand high 5, that the pin had come out of my wrist watch and I was able to grab it as it was hanging on my wrist by just the very last bit of the pin and wedge it in my fanny pouch. I was already ahead of the blue pen 3 hour 45 pacer at this point and could see the green pen pacer ahead, so I caught up with him and then slowly pulled ahead.

Anyhow back to mile 22, I was running back into London which felt good. I think it was about mile 18 that I got a glimpse of the O2 and it dawned on me still how far I was from the finish. I passed the Weldmar cheering point and Kate gave me a pack of Jelly Babies. After wrestling with the wrapper I chucked a couple in my mouth. Wholly shit these were the chewiest Jelly Babies I had ever had. After about an minute of chewing I decided that I was using more energy chewing than running and had to spit them out and chucked the other Jelly babies to the side of the road. I was so busy trying to chew my way through the Jelly babies that I missed Donna as I was as they said in the zone.

23 mile and as I passed it I felt good and strong. I laughed to myself as I had read an article that said you were most likely to have heart failure between 21 and 23 miles and thought, well survive the next mile and you are home and dry. Little did I realise what I was about to see. Suddenly after being able to run freely for the last few miles everyone bunched in front of me, as I went round people in the road I looked across to see someone having CPR on the floor. Sadly this runner never made it and my thoughts are with his family and loved ones.

For the next mile or so I was slightly shell shocked and didn’t really know what happened. Then the green 3 hour 45 pacer come up on my side. I then picked up the pace and carried on. The final few miles were tough, I was fed up of hearing my name by now ( it was written on the front and back of my vest) even though it was the support that was so up  lifting. As we ran down Birdcage walk I remember 3 guys in combat fatigues cheering me on and saying only a little way to go. I realised that I was nearly there, under a mile to go and although I was beat I knew I just had to keep plodding on. The green start pace marker was just starting to get ahead. I tried to kick and pick up the pace but I was spent. Rounding the bend past Buckingham palace and then on the Mall were amazing. people were passing me, I tried to sprint finish but no I decided that was not a good idea and just savoured the moment as I plodded over the finish.

As soon as I finished I seized up. As I crossed the line another runner was being helped over the line, well he was draped between two others. As they crossed the line they called for medics. As I hobbled a medic came to me but I said I should be OK and waddled on. I was smiling although in some pain as I had made it and in a PB.

 

Picked up bags and made my way to the MNDA reception in Trafalgar Square. Had a massage and some food and met even more amazing people. Then met up with family and friends and went for a pint or 2.

 

To sum it up it was amazing. Everyone was so friendly and enthusiastic. The organisation was second to none. The atmosphere from getting up in the morning to going to bed that night was brilliant. I smile now as I think about it. It was a day that I will never forget and is right up there in my top 10 experiences.

The only slight hiccup was that according to the VLM web site I never started the race. My timing chip never worked. Added to this when my watch nearly fell off and I rammed it in my fanny pouch it buzzed, on retrieving it it was saying workout complete. I hit the start button again and luckily it has recorded my run, but it does read 0.1 mile short. On looking on the computer I loose signal where I go through the tunnel and I assume this is where the short fall is although the time does not stop my pace disappears for a short period. I am taking this time as I told Donna that I crossing the line just over 3 hours and 47 when I called her as soon as I finished. I can’t really remember this but I did have an emotional wobble on completing. Bearing in mind my Garmin says I started at 10:03 the time of 3:44:32 seems about right. I have emailed VLM about a time but I am still waiting for a reply. Donna was slightly concerned as she was tracking me and a few others though the app and it appeared that I had not started. She was as happy to see me at the 13 mile point as I was her. Apart from this slight failure of technology everything else was out of this world, even the guy starting the race.

Now I am thinking will this be my last marathon, probably yes as its good to finish on a high, but then never say never.

Happy running.

 

 

Another year, another marathon.

running-nerdI have just realised that I have not blogged since my London marathon blog.

Since London I have meandered on with my training and have become and even bigger running nerd. Yes I am now a qualified running coach, or Leader in running fitness as English Athletics like to call it. To my fellow running nerds I am a LIRF.

I did the course as I like to share my running. It started with  the social Thursday group where we had a few beers after a 5 mile run, now I coach with my local club and love it, it is a great laugh and I feel that I am making a difference. Now to top it of I am starting a couch to 5 K, starting in a couple of weeks. So yes I am officially a running nerd and my wife and kids like to constantly remind me. I will give an update on the C25K but I am really excited and hopefully a few of the people completing the course will go on to love running and become a running nerd.

Anyhow back to the title. I have noticed that my weight has crept up, my training is not really that structured and I have lost a bit of direction in my own training, too busy nerding it on training plans. So what do you do to get back on track.

Yes you got it, enter another marathon. I have opted for the Brighton marathon as it is fairly local and has big crowds, and after London I want the buzz of all the crowds etc. Don’t get me wrong, at times I was fed up of hearing my name being shouted and being told that I can do it, but compare that to say Taunton I definitely like the crowds. When you are hanging out your ass with a few miles still to go there is no better incentive than a cheering crowd and being surrounded by other runners all in the same type of predicament. That is how I roll and I want to milk the crowds, however my good running buddy Jim is the other way and likes a more peaceful approach to marathon running.

So anyhow Brighton here we come, training program loaded and my training started on Christmas week. I am looking to train 5 times a week and Mr Garmin said that my long run of 75minutes was to be on Christmas day. Now I am a nerd but not that much of a nerd. Don’t get me wrong I have run with my wife on the past few Christmas days, but for a social stretch of the legs and to think that I have earned the 4000 + calorie of food intake of Christmas day and the copious amount of drinks that would be consumed later that day.

So on Christmas Eve I decided to do my long run. Shopping complete, veg prepped, presents dropped off, letter to Santa delivered, yes I was ready. Off I set, to run off road for about 8 miles, a spring in my step, cheer in my heart, the weather was good, lets smash this. Due to my coaching I now always have a gentle 1st mile to warm up, I was feeling strong, I was going to run up hills like they were not there, this was my 1st of many long runs where I was going to be a machine.

Lap 1 bleeped on my watch, I was floating over the ground, eating up the distance, no actually I was flying through the air. Yes I went over on my ankle, lost footing, went ass over tit and flew through the air for a second before crashing to the ground.

sprained-ankle-clipart-ankle-clipart-eng22r-clipart
My running euphoria burst, a bit like some of the ligaments in my ankle. Ouch or something like that came out of my mouth. I got to my feet and my left ankle hurt, after hobbling a little bit it eased and I gently ran home, knowing that I had caused quite a bit of damage, but hoping that it would be fine and that Santa would make it better when he dropped by that night. I arrived home, much to the surprise of my Wife and laid on the settee in a dramatic pose looking really sad. Iced it and hoped for the best.

 

ankle

No comments about my toes please, that was the only comments that I got before when I posted this picture on Facebook looking for sympathy.

On waking early on Christmas day the ankle was swollen and painful and to top it off I had man flu. I woke early not through excitement to see if Santa had been, but to my wife asking me if I had wet myself as I was sweating so much. Now I may be a big kid and childish at times, but I have been dry at night for at least 35+ years.

So there you have it week 1 of training not really a success, no real distance, man flu and a twisted ankle. A week on and my ankle is a lot better and I have been for a 2 mile run to see how it holds up, (it was OK) the man flu is nearly gone hopefully I can gently start training again. Due to my laying around on the couch feeling sorry for my self eating anything in arms reach and lack of activity I will be carrying some extra baggage around my waist for the 1st few weeks of training. At least this happened now and not 2 weeks before the marathon.

Until the next blog happy running.

This time next week I will be doing it (VLM)

7 days to go. Yes after 15 weeks of training I am about to enter the final week. Just returned from my final long, well taper run of 9 miles and what a beauty. The weather is great, the sun was shining and so was I. What a great place I have to train and the added bonus was I met up with wifey at the end. Don”t you just love it when a plan comes together.

I set myself a flat course to try my pacing. I have a bit of a hill fetish and normally throw a couple of hills in my runs but not today, it was a pretty flat one, just like London. Everything went well and Gary is a happy little bunny and I think I virtually smiled all the way round today and the grin was not caused by runners trots or wind I hasten to add.

Talking of the old trots I did get caught short on Friday. I had to pick my son up from the Train station as he had been away doing block release at college. From leaving work I would have an hour to spare waiting for him so my final threshold session was planned. I was going to run around Weymouth on a pretty flat route raising and lowering my heart rate as my watch commanded me.  On going to start I thought mmmmmmm bit of gut rot, 1/2 mile in, I thought may need to get to the toilet. I arrived at a toilet and it was open much to my relief. As I got in the toilet the need to lay a cable increased 10 fold. I went to trap one and some wonderful human being had decided to empty all of the toilet roll into the toilet so that it looked like Weymouths version of the pyramids but out of bog roll and not sand. Oh my god please can trap 2 and the only other trap be useable. Thank god it was, just!! and I just about kept control as I wrestled with my running belt, shorts laces etc.  I nearly did a Paula and that was after only 1/2 a mile.

poop happy

Right so here I go with my top tips to make your marathon a great day:

1. Be prepared and have everything packed and ready the night before. I am the worse at this and end up stressing and running around on the morning of the event. 5 minutes before I am meant to be leaving I decide to get everything together, but nothing is where I thought it is so I end up late leaving. I once forgot my Garmin. We laugh about it now but on that fateful day a few years ago I had what I can only describe as a grown up toddler tantrum. It was my first half marathon and I didn’t have my watch. How would I know what pace I was doing, how far I was, I was doomed.  My wife and daughter tried to say it would be fine, but to me it was catastrophic. I ran without the watch, did a great time and had a great race so no issue really. So be prepared, you won’t have an adult tantrum, stress yourself out and be cool as a cucumber going to the event. If you have forgot it just get around it as stressing won’t get you anywhere.

2. If you are staying in a hotel as I am, do not go mad at the breakfast buffet. Ok you are going to burn thousands of calories pounding the streets of London, but stick to what you are used to. Of course nothing is wrong with taking some muffins, bananas etc with you as you leave for after the race, you have to get your money’s worth. However do not smash a full English, every box of cereal they have, a loaf of bread for toast and a litre of orange juice unless this is your normal regime. If not the old runners trots may come and get you.

3. Leave in loads of time. Public transport is free for us runners, but don’t try and ride every tube line to get there, just because it is free, get to the start in loads of time, drop the bag of and drink in that atmosphere. Also allow time to use the porta loo. As we all know there are never enough, this fact is compounded by the thousands of nervous runners who will need to go at least 6 times before the race instead of the normal just once.

4. Drink fluids but slow down on the intake an hour before and I normally stop drinking 45 mins before the start but keep a bottle with me as a comfort blanket. Drink too much and you will be queuing for the porta loo and adding to the demand as mentioned in point 4. There are more drink stations on this course that you probably need, so little and often on the way round will be no problem.

5. Enjoy it, you will feel niggles, pains all sorts in the early stages. You will have little mind game battles. But you have trained, you are a machine and you will do this.  Try to stick to your pace, it is hard, but far better to let everyone stream by at the beginning of the race and then you are the one doing the overtaking in the latter stages. No matter what though embrace the occasion, the atmosphere, the crowd, this is you moment of glory after months of training. Milk it for it is worth I know I bloody will be.

6. As you bask in the post race glory, wearing you medal with pride, thank all those who have sponsored you and supported you. Tell your story. However make sure you thank your direct family extra specially who have supported and been there from the start of the year. They have put up with your running time table, you boring them with your splits etc.

7. This week, in the run up, as you scour the Internet for marathon trivia, find out what everyone else is eating, how many water stations there are etc and as your wife or husband who are trying to relax and watch tv, heard or the thousand time yet another totally pointless fact, but instead of yawning they smile and nod with encouragement. Remember they have already endured a marathon of you boring them with your marathon obsession. But if we were not some one nerdy and obsessed would we ever manage a marathon.
Enjoy the marathon, runners this is your moment that you have trained for and those travelling up to support, bask in the atmosphere, make sure you are spoiled whilst in London, and enjoy watching us post marathon runners trying to walk and go up and down stairs the day after.

Happy running.

PS if any of you nice bloggers would like to sponsor me that would be much appreciated. My fund raising page is Gary’s money giving page.