Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Blood, Sweat and (nearly) Tears

Here it is. The distillation of 6 months of commitment through all the training. Of nearly 6 hours of focus on the day, refusing to give up. Of quite a lot of running.

On 17th April 2011 I ran what may well be the only marathon I ever run. I was amazed, amused and humbled by the people who I passed and who passed me.
  • The guy dressed up as a second world war fighter pilot (complete with pipe).
  • The two guys carrying a full size surfboard.
  • The 2 girls who span hulahoops for the entire distance (at a pace that I struggled to stay with).
  • The several Army and Firefighter guys in full kit
  • The guy in full Bomb Disposal kit (the real deal, complete with bombproof armour and helmet).
I salute you all. You all have a grit and determination that is just astonishing.

But as for my little adventure, well there were a few high points. Stopping on the course just before the finish line to see The Boy Wonder in the crowd, running back to give him a hug and seeing how excited he was is something I will never forget. 

So for now, I have my feet up, a bag of frozen peas strategically placed to reduce the pain and I'm looking forward to joining  FMA on holiday next week. No more running.

For now.


Friday, 15 April 2011

Ready your meal and eat heartily - for on Sunday we dine in hell.

Well London actually.

At this moment I am sitting in my office, merrily shovelling paella into my mouth. Nothing particularly alarming in that, until you consider that my food intake today has been:

  • A large bowl of porridge
  • A round of toast & honey
  • A chocolate cookie
  • The aforementioned paella (large)
Still to come today is a bowl of pasta and probably a couple of other things later on. I love my food, but I'm struggling.

All this is carb-loading for the big day on Sunday. The Virgin London Marathon. And this will be the last blog post before heading down to That There London tomorrow.

It's been a long slog to get here, I worked out some numbers for my training last week that surprised me quite a bit:

  • 480 miles run
  • 87 hours running said miles
  • 58,000 calories burned

The training has been full of highs and lows too:

I was quite surprised at the start of the caper that I could actually run more than a mile without stopping.

I have experienced the joy of running in the warm late summer sunshine through the beautiful Leicestershire countryside and the misery of having to pry myself out of a warm bed to run 15 miles in the freezing cold winter rain.

I have learnt that I run best when I'm angry.

I have seen and heard things on night runs through the city that made me run just a little faster.

I can sometimes be a little competitive.

Sunday's target has taken up a huge amount of my life over the past 6 months or so and by extension has had a significant impact on those around me. The support that I have had has been fantastic and I know that without it I would have had a much harder time keeping going through the winter.

And for those of you that have commented on my "it's-so-tough-running" posts, thank you. You have helped more than you realise too.

Wish me luck!


Friday, 8 April 2011

The Wisdom of Super

Super, my number one employee* and I have just had a brief chat.

Me - Looks like it might be a nice day today then.

Super - Yeah. It said on the radio that it will be hotter than abroad today.

Me - To make that statement really work, you might want to be a bit more specific about where 'abroad' in particular it might be hotter than.

Super - OK, where's a hot place abroad?

Me - Cairo

Super - It's going to be hotter than Cairo then.

Yes, I know. I doubted the accuracy of this information too.


* - Super is my number one employee and also my only employee.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Your Mileage May Vary.

I am still running.

The distances are getting smaller as the taper begins, but it seems that the citizens of Leicester have heard that I am almost done now and have made a concerted effort to get out and interact with me as I complete my training. Although the mileages are considerably less than a few weeks ago, the comedy per mile ratio seems to be increasing exponentially.

First off last week was an elderly Chinese guy with an unfeasibly heavy looking load of shopping, heading in the same direction as me. I ran past him fairly early in my route, which was a straight run to a point and back. He gave me a gap-toothed smile as I went past and then had the bad grace to be far closer behind me when I turned around than he had any right to be. He still had the same smile, but I think I probably looked a good deal grumpier.

I think he secretly had a moped in the shopping bags. It's the only reasonable explanation, other than me being dog-slow.

Also featuring last week was a lady out running with her dog. If you imagine Margot from The Good Life in Nike trainers and a bodywarmer you'll be about right. The dog in question was a small terrier type affair on a retractable lead, so the situation had trouble written all over it. As we ran towards each other I tried to give them some space (mainly in an effort to avoid having to run with a dog attached to my trouser leg again).

Unfortunately, as we approached each other the dog spotted something of interest on my side of the path and made a beeline for it. The lead at this point was still set at about 2m radius. I was watching the 4-legged boobytrap like a hawk, trying to pick my line to avoid disaster when I heard Margot start to issue commands in her plummy, clipped, middle class voice;

"You're on the wrong side. For goodness sake get on the correct side. You'll trip us both over, you silly boy."

As we continued towards each other I thought to myself that rather than having a conversation with the dog, maybe a shorter lead or some shorter instructions ("heel" for example) might be more expedient. I looked up at her and realised:

She was talking to me.

As we passed, I was laughing uncontrollably. I don't think it helped the situation much, but some things are just too funny to keep a straight face, even when you're knackered.

I suspect that I'll have a few weeks off after 17th April, but then I'll be running again. The laughter is just too much to give up.