Tuesday, 24 April 2012

And the results are in...

So, how did I do? Well, I am going to go all American sit com style and go for a dramatic build up before a big finish.

Between my last blog and the race I still had a couple of warm up runs to complete, more just to keep my fitness up than really stretch myself although I was quite worried about doing myself some sort of stupid injury and wasting the months and months of training.  On the Thursday I did a 4km run on the treadmill and on Saturday morning a fast 3km along the canal, both of which went pretty well.

I also attended the runner’s expo on Wednesday evening.  The main purpose of this was to pick up timing chip and race information, although I also had a good poke around. Strangely there were loads of stalls selling trainers and clothes, even through the advice is to not wear anything new in the race! Also, in the goodie bag there was the usual health stuff, plus a can of Fuller's London Pride. Now, Pride is one of my favourite beers but it was odd to find it in a marathon goodie bag. A post-finish treat perhaps? Anyway, mine didn’t last beyond the evening.

I also had a 15 minute sports massage, mainly focused on my calves, which felt tight through the majority of my training.  The masseuse said that I had impressive calves, but they were also incredibly lumpy. After 15 minutes of pain she beat the knots out of the muscles and recommended some stretches for me to do in the next few days.

My alarm went off at 6.30 on the Sunday and I forced myself out of bed, trying not to think about what I was going to be up to that day. I had the usual pre race breakfast of porridge and a slice of toast with jam (carbs and a bit of sugar) and left the house at 7.30 to meet Steve (who was running for Shelter) and get the Overground to Shadwell, before changing for the DLR to Greenwich.

The weather forecast had predicted rain, but it was in fact a glorious sunny morning. Too sunny perhaps, and I was glad I had put on some sunscreen.  I was starting in the red area, with the majority of the other runners, and was in pen 8 to start. There was a lovely sort of Glastonbury type atmosphere, probably helped by the sun and the fact that no one wanted to think about what was ahead of them!

I joined my pen at around 9.30 for the 9.45 start and was over the actual start line surprisingly quickly, at around 10.05 to begin the race. However, it was more of a fast walk at the start, with so many people still bunched together and I found getting my pace up was pretty hard. After the first few minutes I just decided to go with the flow and was running at around 6.30 mins per km, slower than the 5.30-5.45 I needed to come in around 4 hours.

Nonetheless, I still managed to overtake a variety of mad people dressed in silly costumes.  These included the Blackpool Tower (all 12ft of him), a couple of rhinos, a giant apple, three wombles, a clown, two guys running BAREFOOT, some army blokes in full kit and a guy with an inflatable Zimmer frame. I also saw a couple of people running for Willow and had a brief chat with them.

So, miles 0-6 were pretty slow but I was getting on ok and enjoyed looking out for people dressed in silly costumes. By mile 6 though my right trainer had started to rub. No idea why, it has been fine on distances much longer than that, but there you go. My left shoulder was also quite achy, but that was no real surprise since it had been hurting the week before. It did mean though that when I saw my family at mile 9, I had to stop and get some painkillers from them, which my Mum took forever to find in her bag.  Still, medicated I trotted merrily on and was quite pleased that I had yet to even slow down to a walk, despite going over a few hills and feeling dehydrated due to the sun.

Mile 12 is roughly where Tower Bridge is, and I did have a little walk as I came up it, as I was feeling a bit tired and the slope is much steeper than it seems when you are walking over it!  Still, as I crossed the middle I picked up the pace again, and at the halfway point (mile 13) I was on for a 4.10 finish if I could maintain my pace. Now, given I had never run the full distance before I was not sure I would be able to hold that pace, but I was still very confident that I would do the lot in the target time of 4.30.

Coming down the other side of the bridge, I turned right and along this part of the course I could see the fast runners going in the other direction, now only 5 miles or so from the finish line. Bastards. Still, I was doing alright and came through Limehouse and into Canary Wharf, seeing my family again at mile 15 and some friends a few hundred meters along. I stopped for a quick chat (it would be rude not too, since they came out to see me) and then plodded on.

However, at mile 16: disaster. My right thigh suddenly tensed up and every step felt like someone was stabbing me in the leg. I slowed down to a walk for a few minutes, and then tried to run again, but after a few hundred meters I couldn’t take the pain anymore, and had to slow.

My race was over.

But there was no way I was going to waste months and months of training and not finish the damm thing. I revised my target time to 5 hours and worked out what speed I needed to hold to get through that.  Essentially a fast walk and some jogging where I could should see me home in time, so that was the new plan.

At mile 19 I saw my family for the final time, and stopped to get some instant ice packs from them and let them know I might be a bit slower than expected.

From then on I stuck to the plan, using the GPS watch to guide my pace, running wherever possible (especially down hill).  The pain was pretty intense but the crowd were marvellous, shouting encouragement and offering Jelly babies galore.

By the time the 25 mile post came up I knew that I would be able to finish the race and picked my pace up a bit, thinking that I would just deal with the pain later on, and the sight of so many people who had come out to watch pushed me on a bit further as well, although I still had to slow to a walk a couple of times.

The original plan was to sprint over the line, but in the end I just about managed to jog.

So, my final time? 4 hours, 54 minutes.  Not too bad, but I did feel like I might never walk again.  Annoyingly, the top half of my body felt fine, I was tired but still had some energy left and I know I could have gone quicker. It was just a stupid injury, and on something that I have had no issues with all the way through training that held me back.

After crossing the line I collected my medal and was found by Carol from the Willow Foundation, who took me to the recovery centre, where I was fed tea and sandwiches before receiving a well needed massage.  Again, the masseuse felt the need to comment on my “serious calves”, which were also spasmisming all over the shop, making it look like there was something trapped underneath the skin. Lovely.

I also had a shower, which made me feel much closer to being human again, before having my photo taken with the legend that is Bob Wilson and then going for a well deserved pint with my family. 

So, that’s it, over. I am not going to lie and say that I enjoyed all of the process.  I did find that I like running half marathons, and also having a bit of time to myself while I am out running, listening to some music and generally getting some fresh air (well, as fresh as can be expected in zone 1). I am also fitter and healthier, although I have only lost about 6kgs through all this (about 13 pounds) but I suspect I have managed to shift a fair amount of fat into muscle. However, having to go training all the time obviously had an impact on my social life, while the last 10 miles of the race itself was agony.

Anyway, onto the thank-yous.  So, thank you to my Wife and family for supporting me over the last 5 months, putting up with my moaning and getting me running stuff for Christmas. Thank you to EVERYONE who sponsored me, particularly those who I have not managed to see for some time, although of course every penny counts.  Special mentions go to the Mystical Mr Miyagi for being the largest single non-family donor and to Mark Coughlan for rounding me up to a square £2000, and if anyone else wants to contribute then the page is http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runningfatbloke

What next? – Well, I am looking at the Hackney Half marathon this Sept and the Run to the Beat at the end of Oct. Plus, the ballot for the 2013 London Marathon opens on Monday…….

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Do-do, do-do, do-do, it's the final count down!

Yes, there are only 4 more days to go until the big race! So, this is your final chance to sponsor me if you have not done so, at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runningfatbloke

I am pleased to say that I have reached and breached my target level, and am now looking to round things up to a cool £2,000.

Training wise things are also progressing well.  Since last week I have defiantly been into the taper, running much shorter distances as I start to conserve energy for the race itself. In fact all I have done since last week is a 6.65km, 10km, 5km, 13km and another 5.5km.  What is pleasing is that the last two runs were actually pretty quick, getting round the 10km mark in the 13km run in 55 minutes while I got through yest’s 5.5km in 29 mins, 14 seconds, way above marathon pace and I still felt fine after it. Maybe there is something to this tapering malarkey after all!

I have started to turn a little paranoid though, as after all this training I really don’t want to get injured or ill and muck things up. In fact I have got a little cold at the moment but ploughed through Boots and brought everything I thought might be helpful to try and shake the damm thing off before Sunday. I also moved away from someone on the bus as they coughed and am avoiding the tube at all costs!

So, as the day gets even closer the training will continue to wind down, with a 4.5km planned for Thursday evening before going to see Mark Steel In Town and on Saturday a quick 3km in the morning before Arsenal vs Chelsea, where I will only have one pint at half time, and that is it.

I also start carb loading from tomorrow, with pasta becoming my best friend, closely followed by potatoes and rice. What joy.

If you want to follow my progress on race day my number is 51446 and you should be able to track me on the London marathon website! I don’t think it is GPS style tracking, rather just showing when I have passed through each tracking gate, but you should be able to keep tabs on me as well as any bets you have on my finishing time.

So, wish me luck and think of me on Sunday morning when you are having a nice cup of tea and a bacon sandwich as I flog my way round 26.2 miles in the sodding rain. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

And now, the end is near…….

Yes, there is now only 12 days to go until race day! It has really come round fast. I remember back in November drawing up my training plan and thinking that a 10km run was the culmination of a week’s work, where as now it is just another medium length jog.

So, I am now into “taper mode”, which means I am cutting down the weekly mileage and starting to control my diet (ha!) so that I am ready for race day. In fact this has already started, with this weekend being the first I have not done at least a half marathon in the last seven.  However, I did do one last Monday and last week was in fact my longest to date, clocking up 47.8km (that’s just under 30 miles).

Since I last blogged in the middle of last week I have managed to get in a 5km, a 15km and a 6.5km, which is not too bad, especially considering I have been training with another cold, making it feel like I am running with a lung full of gravel. In fact apart from the last run I still felt pretty good and I am already looking forward to winding the training down as I prepare for race day.

It kinda feels like I ma coming up to a big exam and am at the point where no matter how much more I try and revise, none of it is going to stick, so I might as well relax and feel in good shape for the exam itself. So this week I am doing a 10km, 5km and 10km, before going for a 16km on Sunday.

After that I need to reduce my carb intake until Thursday and then start loading like there is no tomorrow, eating handfuls of dried pasta every waking second. OK, maybe that is a slight exaggeration but it seriously will be pasta and rice time, with a bit of protein sprinkled on top. I also need to do a few runs to keep up any fitness I happen to have built up, but also avoid any injuries.

Although training is drawing to a close, my fundraising is not! In case this slipped by any of you, I am running to raise money for the Willow Foundation (http://www.willowfoundation.org.uk/Home), which provides special days for seriously ill young adults. It is a great charity, so if you have enjoyed reading this blog please make a contribution here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runningfatbloke and help me reach my target! Thanks.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Only 20 days to go and a lovely trip to York

Right, not long to go until the big day now!

Sorry for the tardiness for this blog, in-between training I have had a long weekend to York for a wedding as well as a few other social functions, which has not left me with much time to sit down and write something worth reading,

So, last time out I had just completed my longest run to date, going through a number of Monopoly board locations en route. The distance was 27km, and was to be topped last Tuesday afternoon when I had a half day at work with the express intention of going out for a 33km run, marking my “longest run” of the whole schedule.

However, things did not start out that well when I was feeling a touch heavy legged right from the get-go, and it was more of a “plod” than a “run”.  Still I marched onwards and was doing ok up until the 18/19km area. Around then I could feel my right calf tighten up as I was progressing along the Holloway Road, with the uphill section near the top end of it proving to be especially painful. 

I though I might be able to run it off but to no avail. At around 22km I stopped and though about if I could manage another 11km, or if I was likely to do myself some proper damage. Now, a few years ago I managed to tear my right calf when I was living in NZ, and had to go through months to physio to get back on track. I don’t have time for months of physio. Not even weeks. So, in the end I limped home, doing 24km in just under 2 and a half hours, with my pace impacted by the limp home.

After that I had to give myself a couple of days off to make sure I didn’t aggravate the injury. I would far rather get round the marathon in a slow time than not get round at all, and so on Friday morning I was up bright and early for a run around the outskirts of York, where I was spending the weekend to attend a wedding on Saturday.

I managed to get round 10km with only a bit of tightness in my calf, which pleased me a lot as I was really worried I had totally banjaxed it. In fact I even got round in a decent time and followed this up with a quick 8km on Saturday morning before the wedding.

I had Sunday off to explore more of York and its fine collection of pubs, before catching the train back to London on Monday morning. After getting home around 2ish I though I might take the opportunity of an afternoon off for a quick half marathon.

Now, the intention was actually to go for a nice slow run in the sunshine, testing out a couple of energy gels to see how my body would react, as sometime they can make me feel a bit sick.

However, this time out not only did I feel fine, I managed to record my second fastest half marathon time and the fastest I have down outside of a proper race, so the gels must have done some good. One side effect though is that you can crash a bit afterwards, which I did, falling asleep in the bath when I got home.

So I am now down to just 20 days to go, and I don’t really have enough time to fit in a 30km run as well as start to taper properly, so I am just going to have to go with what I have got and make the best of it. For now on I have one more half marathon to do and then the size of the runs gets shorter and shorter, although the frequency will stay the same.

I am now really close to hitting my fund raising target but am running out of time, so please, if you keep forgetting to sponsor me, then forget no more and do it NOW! My page is at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runningfatblokeand it is super easy to sponsor me, so please do! I am trying to raise £1,600 for the Willow Foundation, which provides special days for seriously ill young adults.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Running around the Monopoly board and my biggest run to date

Hi there, before you read the rest of this blog, I have set a challenge – see how many places mentioned here are also on the standard UK Monopoly board. First one to post the correct answer in the comments section gets a prize!

As the big day approaches my weekly distance seems to have levelled off in the 45km area but the balance within this has shifted, with the longer runs getting longer and the shorter runs being less frequent.  This is because I have found I usually need a couple of days off after a big run before I tackle the rest of the week, with the first day after giving my muscles a rest and on the second day I still don’t quite have the energy to go and do more training. 

This was certainly true this weekend and since Saturday I have yet to hit the road again, but then I did do my longest run on Saturday afternoon, so I reckon I deserve a rest!

I set off in some light drizzle which was fine by me, as the baking sunlight from the week before was a massive pain in the arse, and started off down the Regent’s canal towards the Limehouse basin, as usual. Another benefit of the rain was a lack of “Shoreditch trendies” – you know what I mean, the sort of people who have “haircuts” and hats, with silly skinny jeans, rolled up at the bottom. If the weather is nice then they flock to the canal, drinking their cider and generally getting in my way. No such problems this weekend though! I sound so old.

I was also feeling much less heavy legged than the week before and was confident of covering both a distant distance and doing it in a respectable time. On top of this I was giving energy gels another go, so hopefully I would get a bit of a boost near the end and not flag as much as I had been.

So, down the canal to Limehouse, no problems, then through Whitechapel and Aldgate and across the city to St Pauls, where I dived into M&S for a bottle of water and my first energy gel, around the 10km mark and in around 55 minutes, which is my target marathon pace. So far, so good. Then down to Ludgate Circus and turning right to go generally uphill to Kings Cross station. I did have to slow to a fast walk up some of the hills, but I was still generally ok and the rain had stopped, which was another bonus.

At this point I then changed my normal route to extend it a bit. Instead of heading up Pentonville to Angel and then Upper St to Highbury and Islington, I instead went up Caledonian Road and then back down to H&I. Although this is slightly longer I think it was much faster, as I was running along some fairly quiet streets instead of the hustle and bustle of Angel on a Saturday afternoon.  From here it was then up towards Stoke Newington and then Manor House tube and having more energy gel, before then heading east to Stamford hill and then dropping back down through Stoke Newington and Dalston before heading for home.

I still had some energy left this point, which was a nice surprise and I did consider running on but at this point I was frankly bored of all the running and just wanted to get home and have a quick rest before going out that evening!

So, after all that I covered 27km (16.5 miles) is just over 2 hours, 40 minutes, which bodes pretty well for the big day itself, which is now just 32 days away! In that time I still have another 2 big runs to do before tapering off, as well as a long weekend in York for a wedding, although the runners will be coming with me to that one.

I am now really close to hitting my fund raising target but am running out of time, so please, if you keep forgetting to sponsor me, then forget no more and do it NOW! My page is at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runningfatbloke and it is super easy to sponsor me, so please do! I am trying to raise £1,600 for the Willow Foundation, which provides special days for seriously ill young adults. Since I know that most of you lot who read this fit into that bracket, then remember they could be helping you if something happened in your life, so just think of this as prepay ;o)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

GO GO GO! It's the Silverstone Half Marathon!


Sorry for the lack of blogging over the last week, but until now there has not actually been much to write about.

Last week was a week of little and often, going to the gym Monday-Thursday and just doing a few kms on the treadmill in the build up to the Silverstone half marathon on Sunday.  Since writing “Went to gym, did XXX on treadmill” etc is boring to write about and I am guessing boring to read, I didn’t bother.

However, after a quiet Saturday I was up bright and early on Sunday to get a lift from north London to Silverstone to run a couple of laps of the famous circuit, and ticking off my fourth half marathon in consecutive weekends.

Although lots of runners were glad of the sunshine I was less so, as I have a shaved head and didn’t really want to get sunburnt as well as extra dehydrated.  On top of this there was little in the way of shade (it being a race circuit and all, there were not many trees for cars to ram into) while there was a limited breeze.  So although it was great weather for a picnic, this run was going to be no walk in the park. 

However, it all started off well, with the theme to the BBC GP coverage (“The Chain” by Fleetwood Mac) blaring out over the speakers.  I couldn’t find the 9 minute mile pacer anywhere, so just trundled along hoping to see them at some point, with the plan the same as the Dorney Lake half marathon a few weeks ago: stick to them like glue for as long as possible.  Without the calming influence I charged off far too fast though, recording personal bests in both my first and second kilometres. 

This, coupled with the blazing sun quickly took its toll and I was not helped by getting a massive stitch at around 1/3 distance, so I slowed down for a few minutes. After this I found it difficult to regain my rhythm but still hit the halfway point in just under an hour, putting me in line for a good go at my overall personal best of 1.58.38.

The second half of the race was a different beast though. I was getting really tired and dehydrated and my pace slowed quite a lot. In the end I had to force myself to continue running rather than just jog along as normal, with the final 4km proving to be the toughest I have done yet.

In the end I finished in just over 2 hours 7 minutes – not a bad time at all, but the amount of effort it took was fairly frightening and the thought of doing that whole thing twice back to back still fills me with terror.

So, to try and combat this I am going to give energy gels a go. I used to use them when I lived and ran in NZ, but I can’t seem to find the same brand over here, and the ones I have tried before made me feel pretty rotten, which is not great when you are trying to run for two hours plus! Still, I am going to buy a few and give them a go in the gym over the next week or so. That way, if I do feel unwell I can just jump off the treadmill and hot foot it to the bathroom, rather than being stuck miles from home and feeling like rubbish. Anyone got any recommendations?

Remember, I am putting myself through this hellish nightmare to raise money for the Willow Foundation. I am only a few hundred quid off my target now, so if you are thinking of sponsoring me then please don’t forget. Why not do it RIGHT NOW, here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runningfatbloke. Cheers!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Going further, getting slower

Another weekend gone by and another long run completed. After last week’s relatively poor efforts at training I thought I had better up the anti and attempt 25km (15.5 miles).

However, it was not a great run.  Indeed, just 3km in my legs already felt like lead and I considered just turning round and going home, having another attempt on Sunday morning.  Then I remembered that is was probably going to chuck it down on Sunday and if I wanted to get this week’s long run done in the dry then it was going to have to be that day, so I plodded on.

I managed to get through the first 10km at an ok pace and then it actually got a little bit easier, especially as I went past the halfway point, despite having to run up Pentonville hill yet again.  I continued to plod on but by the time I got to Stoke Newington, around 19km I knew that a full 25km was probably going to be beyond me, so I cut across Clissold park and went past the ½ marathon distance after 2 hours 11 minutes, 3 minutes slower than last week and 13 minutes slower than my personal best. I thought training was meant to make me quicker???!!!!!!

Still, in the end I managed 24km, although I did have to walk the final 1km but I expect there will be some walking in the final race as well.

Over the last few weeks I have been getting progressively more and more tired, but on the other hand I don’t really want to take a break from training with only 6 weeks, 6 days left until the race, and remember the final week of that is tapering down.

So this week it is all about little and often. Last week I did 18km in two biggish runs, but this week I am aiming to do around 25km spread over 4 visits to the gym, before having Saturday off. Then on Sunday it is the Silverstone half marathon!  The start line is the same as it is for the Grand Prix, so I am going to download The Chain by Fleetwood Mac and hit that as I go over the line!

You can keep track of my training by following @runningfatbloke on twitter. And remember, all this pain and suffering is in order to raise as much money as possible for the Willow Foundation, so please sponsor me at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runningfatbloke. I only need another £309 to hit the £1,600 target!

Friday, 2 March 2012

More injuries, hills and a prize giving!

It has been a bit of a flat week so far, with injury and tiredness limiting my training activities.

Indeed, since last weekend’s longest ever run I have only managed to get in two training sessions and although I feel a bit guilty about missing out on at least one, if not two runs this week I think both my body and mind needed a bit of a break before what looks to be a busy couple of weeks for both training and just general stuff.

So, after having Monday off I went to the gym on Tuesday for a warm down from the weekend/warm up for the week ahead, and managed to get through 8km in around 43 minutes in a pretty uneventful session. I was actually feeling pretty good but had to see a man about a dog and ran out of time (pun intended).

Wednesday’s session was a fair bit more intense.  I was having a guitar lesson after work (see, more than one string to my bow) and in order to fit in some training I decided to run home from work. However, its only only around 3km from home to work, so I went a super long way round to extend it out to 10km.

Now, I work in the middle of central London, near the river, so not only did I have to go uphill for the majority of the run, but I also had to deal with loads of people making their way home, not really looking out for a fat bloke in a bright yellow shirt running along. This meant I had to do a fair bit of dodging and diving and this, coupled with the hills (especially running up Pentonville - see picture, copyright google I imagine) meant my 10km was pretty slow and hard work. 
Still I got though it and had a pretty good lesson afterwards. However, the injury on the side of my left foot is still there and I was in quite a lot of pain yesterday after a 10 hour stint at work, with no time for a lunch break. Given the pain and the tiredness I thought it best to have the evening off. On top of this I think I have got another cold, with my glands all swollen although I have not got the runny nose or sore throat yet. 

Anyway, this evening (Friday) is a rest day before tomorrow’s frankly massive run, giving me and excuse to eat loads of pasta bake tonight. The plan is do to just over 25km (15.5 miles) and hopefully this should only take me around 2 and a half hours, maybe a touch less. At this stage though it is predicted to rain, which could be interesting but at least it will mean there are less people around to get in my way!

Anyway, I hope you all have a great weekend and if you are also a runner you achieve what you are attempting.

Oh, and please SPONSOR ME! I am getting really close to my target now and when I reach it I will give out a random prize (price to be decided) to someone that helped me get there! You can make a donation at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runningfatbloke. I am raising money for the Willow Foundation, which provides special days to seriously ill young adults. I am most likely to just pick a name out of a hat. Warning: Could be some smelly running socks.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Furthest ever run

Sorry for the lack of a blog yesterday, I was just too snowed under to actually get anything non work related done.

So, since my last blog on Friday the injury front has changed a bit. I did manage to get down the gym after work and get though 7km with a bit of a sore knee, but it was generally ok, albeit at a slow pace.

Come Saturday afternoon and following a morning shopping at Borough market (managed to get some Monteith’s larger from NZ, lovely stuff) I hit the road determined to run for longer than I had at the half marathon the week before, although maybe not at quite the same pace.

I also had a new route picked out, running down the Regent’s Canal from Haggerston to Limehouse, then back through the city to Fleet St, up to Kings Cross, then to Angel, Highbury and Islington, Clissold Park, Stoke Newington, Dalston and back to Haggerston, 23km in all, 1.7km more than the half marathon the week before.

I thought running along the canal would be good as there are no traffic lights but the sheer amount of other runners, plus people drinking outside pubs, walking along with prams and on bikes (pedestrians have right of way) made it much more difficult than just running on the pavement. Likewise the tourists at St Paul’s cathedral were an annoyance. Everyone should get out of my way, I am training to run a marathon you know!

I also lost a bit of time quing to buy a drink on my way round as I didn’t really want to carry water. In the end it took me around 10 minutes longer to cover the half marathon distance and then a further 10 minutes to get through the additional 1.7km, so I was defiantly slowing towards the end, although I had not prepared for the run nearly as well as I had for the race the week prior.  In the end I got round in 2 hours, 16 minutes, which is not bad but I need to pick up the pace a little as well as learn how to run longer.

Unsurprisingly I decided to have Sunday off, especially after walking to the football when I noticed that the outside edge of my left foot seemed to hurt a lot.  Indeed, I continued to be in some pain all through yesterday, and thought it might be wise to give myself two days off to recover, although I will be back down the gym again tonight for a slowish run but I have no idea how far I will be able to go.

If you are impressed that I have even managed to get this far then you can sponsor me at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runningfatbloke, where I am raising money for the Willow Foundation, which provides special days to seriously ill young adults.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Injury scare

Hello peeps,

Sorry I have not blogged since Monday, but I have had a bit of an injury scare and not done much training this week.

So, on Monday I hit the gym just to do 5km in no particular rush, just as a warm down from Saturday’s half marathon. I felt a big heavy legged but other than that ok, which bodes well for the race etc. So far, so good.

However, on Tuesday night I was playing football. We drew the first match 1-1, mainly thanks to an outstanding effort from goalie Geri rather than any good defending from me. However, in the second match I seem to have buggered my left knee.  This is the knee I tore the medial ligament in a few years ago, which caused me a lot of issues at the time as well as a shedload of physio. 

In my training so far I have been waiting for it to flair up again, but until this week all has been well.  However, after a bit of argy-bargy, it was a drop ball, with me defending and the attacker walloped it right into the underside of my foot, jarring my knee.  This meant that Wednesday’s planned 10km was off, as at times it was painful to walk on it and I didn’t want to aggravate what could be a serious issue.

I was still in pain on Thursday but I don’t want to lose the fitness I have worked so hard to build up so far, so despite an ache I decided to go for a slow, gentle 7km on the treadmill and if anything could go wrong I could stop immediately and then just go home. Thankfully, although it did feel a bit sore the run seemed to do more harm than good and today my knee feels much closer to normal, so I am going to have a crack at 8km tonight. If that goes well, then I might have a go at 20km plus tomorrow afternoon, although the weather and not just my knee has to hold out for that.

If you are impressed that I have even managed to get this far then you can sponsor me at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runningfatbloke, where I am raising money for the Willow Foundation, which provides special days to seriously ill young adults.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Woah, I'm half way there!

First half marathon down!

Yes dear reader, I managed to get through the first half marathon of the training plan, getting through 21.30km (13.1 miles if you are old school) in 1 hour, 58 minutes and 38 seconds, smashing my previous personal best of 2 hours, 14 minutes, 59 seconds in the process. 

But bugger me was it cold.  The course was four and a bit laps of Dorney lake, just outside Windsor.  It is actually going to be used for the Olympic rowing and was just a big, open area. Which means there was absolutely no shelter from the wind at all  (see photo).   

Indeed, everyone else was there in their long sleeves and running tights, but I was just in my standard running shirt and shorts. At one point the wind was so strong I was actually running at an angle to make sure I stayed upright.

The race got underway at 10.15 as loads of people were stuck in the car park, by which time I was even colder.  I decided to stick with the 9 minute mile pacer, which should bring me home in 1 hour 58 minutes, but after the first lap she was defiantly going faster than that, with my GPS watch telling me that at ¼ distance we had only been going for 28 minutes, giving a finish time of 1 hours 52. To be honest I was just aiming to beat my previous best and decided to let the pacer go, slowing to catch a drink (not a proper one though. Not yet).

The second lap was no great problem either and aside from slowing a few times to have something to drink I was carried on motoring round. Now though I was starting to get really bored – it is a big open lake, there is not much to look at and by now the crowd had thinned out a lot so I was more or less running on my own. Apart from when I was lapped by the eventual leader. Yes, that’s right, lapped already, although no one else overtook me for a while.

By lap three I was starting to flag a bit, so had a couple of Jellybabies to cheer myself up a bit and I carried on plodding round. Looking back at my split times it was around here that I dropped from doing 1km in 5 minutes 25 seconds ish to 5.35 but I was still keeping up a decent pace.  Indeed, as I crossed the line to start the final lap I realised I had 33 minutes to do it in and still come in at less than two hours, which was a good jobs as the final 3km were pretty difficult – I was just running out of energy.  Still, it didn’t stop me absolutely hooning over the line, overtaking around 20 people in the process to set my time.

The tops of my knees/bottom of my thighs hurt a bit after the race but once I got my breath back I was feeling surprisingly ok, though the thought of doing 8 laps, which is what the marathon would be, plus hills is something I am still not that comfortable with.

Still, a decent time achieved and I went to a fancy dress party on Saturday night as the young Indiana Jones before getting to bed around 3am.  My legs and right shoulder were still sore and tight on Sunday morning but today I am feeling back to normal, and should be heading to the gym after work for a slow 5km as a warm down before football tomorrow and something a bit longer on Wednesday.

If you are impressed that I have even managed to get this far then you can sponsor me at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runningfatbloke, where I am raising money for the Willow Foundation, which provides special days to seriously ill young adults.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Aggggggggggggggg half marathon TOMORROW!

Right, the first real challenge of the training I have done so far arrives tomorrow, with the first half marathon of this year. I am doing the Race Your Pace half, round the Olympic rowing centre, just outside Windsor.  It is a totally flat course of four laps round the lake.  In addition there are pacers, so I am going to find the guy who is running a nine minute mile and stick to him like glue.

“Ah”, I hear some of you say, ”is that not a slower pace than your training, which has been around 5.30 mins per km?”  Well, yes, you would be right.  5.30 is roughly 8.30 in miles, meaning I can either go with the 8m minute pacer or the 9 minute one. Since I reckon I would struggle to keep up with the 8 minute one for the whole distance, and I have not run this far since last Sept, I have decide to go with the 9 minute one. If I can stay put then I should still beat my previous personal best of 2 hours, 14 minutes, 59 seconds and also slide in just under two hours.

So, I am staying at my Mum’s tonight before going to the race tomorrow, which starts at ten and could well feature lots of lovely rain. Joy. After that I am going home for a shower and sleep before driving to Oxford for a 30th birthday party, which could be interesting.

It has not been a great week training wise though.  I was feeling really tired on Monday and so though it might be best if I stayed away from the gym and instead had some rest. I balanced this off somewhat with a fairly quick 10km on Tuesday after work and then 6.5km on Wednesday, although this was much slower. 

I had also planned to go to the gym last night (Thursday) but am still feeling a little coldy and didn’t want to scupper this weekend’s run, so stayed at home and ate a huge amount of pasta instead. I have also had pasta for lunch today and guess what is for dinner tonight?!!

Please remember that I am putting myself through all this to raise money for the Willow Foundation, as well as getting less fat. You can sponsor me at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runningfatbloke and to all the people who have already done, so, thank you, it is very much appreciated and is spurring me on to train.

Monday, 13 February 2012

69 (heheh) days to go, but a half marathon in just 5!

Tally ho chappies!

Only 5 days (well, 4.5 really) until the first half marathon in my training program as I start to really build up the distances ahead of the Big One, which is just 69 (hehehehe) days away! On that note, ta to everyone who has sponsored me so far, with a big shout out (90’s DJ style) to the anonymous Mr. Miyagi for his generous donation as well as my brother for his deal – I have to give back half the money if I don’t do it in less than 4 hours 30. Incentive indeed. If you keep thinking “I should sponsor him”, then why not do it now at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runningfatbloke.

Right, that’s the money bit out of the way. Onto the running part:

So, last time out I had just done my second longest run of the program so far, an 18km run on the treadmill on Wednesday night. Unsurprisingly I had to have Thursday evening off as I was still pretty knackered and the tops of my knees were sore.

However there is no rest for the wicked and come Friday I was back in the gym, although it was not going to be a massive workout as it was a warm down from Wednesday as well as a bit of a stretch before the weekend’s work. In the end I smashed out 7.5km in just over 42 minutes, giving me a pace of 5mins 40 seconds per km. Not fast by any means and my shoulders felt really stiff after but I was pleased to have done it.

Shockingly, that was only my second workout of the week, due to illness on Monday and Tuesday, so it was back down the gym on Saturday. I actually wanted to go for a run outside, but there was still plenty of snow and ice about and if I injured myself due to slipping over then I would be super annoyed. So, more treadmill time and this time I quickly smashed my way though 9km. I wanted to do more, but was going to visit my grandparents and just ran out of time.  Still, I did it in 48minutes at a pace of 5.19 and felt pretty good afterwards, the stiffness having worked its way out.

This left my weekly mileage at only 34km, some way short of the 46.5km seen the week before. Now, before a half marathon you are meant to wind down a bit so you have plenty of energy come the day, but this was winding down a bit too far. So, Sunday afternoon, when I judged the snow had melted enough (and two different weather reports said the temperature was over 1 degree) I put on my cold weather running gear and went outside.

I was not sure how far I was going to run, with my only target to do at least 6km to round my weekly distance up to 40km. Essentially I was just going to do a big loop and if I got too cold then just cut across and get home. In the end I set off on the 14km route I had done a few weeks before, then cut towards home about halfway in, so I ended up doing 10km.

Actually, that is not quite true. I got to my flat having done 9.8km, so actually ran past it, round the roundabout at the top of the road and then back down the street to hit 10km dead on. That left the weekly distance at 44km, not too bad considering I was ill at the start of the week.

The plan for this week is to go the gym today (Monday) and then again before going out for dinner tomorrow night with Wifey, making it 5 consecutive days of running, although Tuesday’s run might be a bit shorter. I have then got Wednesday night off before the final pre-race run on Thursday evening. Then the race on Saturday morning, followed by a fancy dress 30th birthday party Saturday night. Should be interesting…..

Please remember that I am putting myself through all this to raise money for the Willow Foundation, as well as getting less fat. You can sponsor me at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runningfatbloke and to all the people who have already done, so, thank you, it is very much appreciated and is spurring me on to train.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Second longest run, but it was hard work plus ideas needed!

I had to have Monday and Tuesday off training this week as I could feel a cold coming on, but come Wednesday I was feeling better and decided to attempt this week’s “long run” on the treadmill, despite having only run 6.5km on Sunday and 7km  on Saturday.

This is because it is too cold to spend any great length of time outside.  It is also my final long run before the Windsor half marathon a week on Saturday, leaving me with just a few 5km and 10kms between now and then to make sure I am not knackered come race day.

I started off pretty well, going through the first 11km in 59 minutes without even having to slow down. However after an hour the treadmill automatically resets and this disrupted my momentum and after another 1km I had to slow down for a little walk.

From that point on I never really seemed to get back in the groove, having to slow to a walk every 10 minutes or so, and going past the 17km marker around 2 minutes slower than last week.

The plan was to run for 19km but it was all I could do to struggle through to 18km and then stop.  It is not a bad result given I have had a cold, but I am a little disappointed that I couldn’t force myself that little bit further. Hopefully the half marathon will provide a bit more incentive than being stuck on a treadmill for over 100 minutes! Still it is the same as running from Bank in central london all the way out past Kew Gardens!

So now it is down to just maintaining fitness for the next 10 days and then the first true test of all this training! Afterwards I am off to a 30th fancy dress party, although I will need a little sleep I think between the two events. So far I have had no ideas about what to go as. The theme is kids TV. Any ideas???????

Please remember that I am putting myself through all this to raise money for the Willow Foundation, as well as getting less fat. You can sponsor me at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runningfatbloke and to all the people who have already done, so, thank you, it is very much appreciated and is spurring me on to train.

Monday, 6 February 2012


Wow, that was cold.

I had Friday off after my 17km run on Thursday, as I was feeling a bit sore and also a little tired, and instead went to the pub for a few beers to catch up with some friends I have not seen for a while due to the training.

However I didn’t drink enough to stop me going for a run, outside, in the cold on Saturday morning.  The plan was to try and do a 10km, even though it was only around 38 hours after I had finished the 17km.  This idea was soon binned though when I went outside. Even though I had all my cold weather running gear on (see picture!) it was still blooming freezing!

As I now have my all singing, all dancing GPS watch I can alter my route but still maintain the correct time, distance and pace information so after around 10 minutes in the cold I thought that a quick 5km and back inside into the warm would be the best solution.

It didn’t quite work out that way though, as the new route I planned in my head was a bit longer than I guessed it would be, and I ended up doing 7.16km in just over 41 minutes, giving me a pace of 5.44.  Not too bad considering I was a bit knackered and it was cold, although I was back to my old habit of running fast and then walking, probably due to the weather.

This brought my weekly mileage up to around 40km, leaving me a little short of adding 10% to the previous week’s distance of 42km, so I headed out on Sunday to do another 6km to level things off. It was too cold and slippery to actually run outdoors though, so I trudged to the gym to just get through it on the treadmill and tick it off. In the end I did 6.26km in 34 minutes and that was that.

I have woken up this morning with a bit of a cold though, so instead of doing the planned 12km this evening it looks like I am going to have to stay at home and try and make sure it does not get worse so I can do the Windsor half in……………12 days!

Friday, 3 February 2012

2nd longest run ever!

“Why Mr Fatbloke, with this second consecutive day of blogging you are really spoiling us”

Yes, that is right, a second day of blogging.  This is because in yesterday’s blog I hadn’t actually done a long run this week, and now I have completed it I thought it was worth a quick update.

So the plan was to go to the gym after work, hit the treadmill and add to the 14.2km run I did last week, hopefully at the same pace of 5 mins 42 seconds per km. I was looking to try and stick to my +2km per week target, which would mean doing a 16.2 km run, taking around 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Things did not start off well when after 39 minutes I accidentally smacked the emergency stop button on the treadmill, bringing me to a grinding halt, again. I quickly reset the machine and got back up to speed, but was put off my pace a little, although the little “off the clock” stop was a tiny bit welcome. 

However a few minutes later I was back in my stride, and kept going. After an additional 30 odd minutes I slowed down for around a minute to take on some Poweraid, and then pumped it back up to my standard 11.2km. And kept going. And going. And going. I sailed pass 16.2km and still felt good, so decided to carry on to do 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Once there I was so close to 17km that I thought I might as well just power on and so I ended up running 17km in 1 hours, 32 minutes and ten seconds. That is the second longest run I have ever done, after the half marathon I did back in September, and the longest distance I ran in training for that was 14km, so I am feeling pretty pleased with myself today! This was at a decent pace of 5.25 as well, making me extra pleased.

I could have even gone on longer, I still had energy and was not that tired.  However, I had forgotten to put any Vaseline on my nipps and was in quite a lot of pain, as well as being bloody hungry!

Today I am feeling a bit sore in the legs and across my shoulders but other than that not too bad. The plan for the weekend is a 5km tomorrow morning and then hopefully a longer run on Sunday, although that maybe be a non started if it snows.

Please remember that I am putting myself through all this to raise money for the Willow Foundation, as well as getting less fat. You can sponsor me at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runningfatbloke and to all the people who have already done, so, thank you, it is very much appreciated and is spurring me on to train, even in the cold!