Monday, May 02, 2011

Off to the Great Wall

We are leaving the hotel this morning to head out to the wall. trekking starts today and it's going to be a hot one!

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dutch goes Dutch for 26.2 miles!

Today I completed my 6th full marathon; this year though it was Rotterdam rather than London!

The start of the race was rather a tense affair as there were no loos in sight and we ended up having to queue in a small MacDonald’s to use their toilets before the race (as did a lot of other runners!!!) - thankfully though MacDonald’s didn’t make us purchase a cheeseburger or similar for the privilege! We then had to find our way to the starting pen which wasn’t sign posted and it was generally just chaotic with no real organisation…not the best way to start a race but thankfully we made it to the start area before the canon went off!

The start was quite crowded as runners tried to find their pace and this proved a little tricky at times but after a few miles things settled and the race opened up a little. The plan was for Charlie, a fellow CYM runner and CYM’s founder, and I to stick together as far as we could and try to maintain a pace of around 8:20 minute/miles for the first half of the race to give us some ‘banked seconds’ to use in the second half. In order for me to challenge my personal best time of 3:47:57 I also needed to aim for a time of around 1:50 for the half and 2:50 for 20 miles…this was the plan! In the back of mind though I knew this would be a tough ask, as it was a really hot and sunny day, not ideal running conditions. However I had nothing to lose and I wanted to give myself a chance of getting a PB and if not, plan B would be to aim for a sub 4 hour finishing time.

The first few miles passed by quickly and we managed to pretty much stick to the timing plan. I never really feel that good for the first few miles of any run (in fact I am often only starting to get into my stride and feeling relaxed and more comfortable at around 10 miles) and today was no exception but I knew that I had strong running in me as the Oakley race a couple of weeks ago had given me that confidence and our timing plan today, which we were sticking to, was re-enforcing this.

Miles 6 to half way passed with relative ease although I did at times feel like the pace was getting the better of me but I knew that I had to continue and stick with it to give myself a chance at a new PB. I kept telling myself, “this is what marathon running is all about, it shouldn’t be easy and today is the day to push myself to my limit”.

Miles 14 to 20 went according to plan and I reached 20 miles in 2 hours 50 minutes and although I felt tired and the heat/sun was taking its toll I was inspired to see the 3:45 Runners World pacers. I was thinking to myself “keep them within sight and a PB is possible”…. However, as I neared the end of mile 21 the purple balloons that they were holding were getting further and further away and even though I tried I wasn’t able to pick up my pace to catch them; I looked at my watch as I completed this mile and realised that this was the first mile that I had let myself go over 9 minute/miles (09:14)…unfortunately I didn’t have anything left in my legs to pick up my pace again so I knew that all I could do now was focus on keeping going and try to not let the pace slip too much more.

Miles 22 to the finish line were the toughest 4 miles I have ever run; not even London last year, where I felt awful in the last few miles, could compare to how I felt today. My fitness was there but my legs had just given up, they felt heavy and were aching like mad. It was really hard mentally at this point too as I just wanted to stop and walk but I also knew that if I was going to finish and get a sub-4 hour time (Plan B was now the main focus) walking wasn’t an option…so I plodded on and just kept telling myself “just keep putting one foot in front of the other and it will soon be over”.

As I ran over the 1000m to go sign painted on the road, I felt some sort of relief that the finish was here and somehow managed to pick up my pace and push for the finish line. As I crossed the line my watch read 3:56:58 – I had made it and I knew that the official time would also knock off a few more seconds.

It’s hard to explain in words the emotion that I felt when I finished today’s race but the fact that I burst into tears as soon as I had finished I think is a sign that this race was one of the hardest things I have ever done but so rewarding too.

This wasn’t the best marathon race for me; the heat was overpowering at times and I think it played a huge factor in everyone’s run. I am, however, delighted to have completed this race and to have got a finishing time of under 4 hours again (my official finishing time is: 3:56:50). It has also made me realise that for future marathons (yes, I have already signed up for my next one! – Robin Hood in September) I need to put more effort into my long runs in training to ensure that the final few miles are not so painful.

I am so pleased to have had the chance to run this marathon and to raise money for my charity (Climb Your Mountain) and it was really nice to experience this marathon event with three CYM friends: Charlie, Stewart and Natasha – thank you all for making it a great weekend and well done on your own marathon achievements :-)

Thank you to all my wonderful friends, colleagues and family for supporting me and sponsoring me; it really is appreciated x

For anyone interested in my route and split times etc., they can be found here:

Next stop the Great Wall of China trek, 30th April…

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Location:Rotterdam, Holland

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Test blog message - testing blogging from my phone so that I can post my Rotterdam Marathon result here after the race on Sunday :-)

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Location:Ring Rd E,,United Kingdom

Catching Up!

With only 4 days to go until the Rotterdam marathon I thought I should update my blog on what has been happening and how my training has been going….I am sorry for not updating this more regularly over the past couple of months but things have been so busy with training, fundraising and generally trying to carry on with work and other life!! The result being that blogging has unfortunately had to take a back seat; however I am here now!

My training has been going well for the marathon and as part of my training I have also completed three races:

1) The Watford Half Marathon: this race was back in February, this was a very good race a little hillier than I remembered (!) but it was a good training run all the same. I didn’t run this race with a PB or fast finishing time in mind but I treated it purely as a training run, although I was still pleased to finish under two hours (my competitive side never leaves me unfortunately, even when I tell it too!)

2) The Milton Keynes Half Marathon: this race was on Sunday 13th March and it was a fantastic race; not only did I get a good finishing time (well good for me!) of 1 hour 47 minutes and 12 seconds I also saw lots of my CYM running friends finish the race too, some of them not having run in a formal race before, this was very special. Well done everyone :-)

3) The Oakley 20 Mile race: this race was on Sunday 27th March and well what can I say other than this is the best race I have ever done…not only did I finish in a great time (again great for me and especially in relation to my marathon targets) but I felt superb at the finish, strong and with lots more to give. Thanks to my running pal Charlie for his company during the race J

I am now well into my tapering period and trying desperately to avoid ‘tapering madness’….which anyone who has run a marathon will completely understand. I am feeling rather restless and feel like I just want to get on with it now…..

All that’s left for me to say is thank you to everyone who has supported me and kindly sponsored me – it really is appreciated and for anyone who hasn’t yet sponsored me but would like to then please visit my JustGiving page here: - no amount is too small or large!

P.S. You may have noticed that I have added a Twitter feed to my blog; this is so I can post updates whilst I am in Rotterdam and then again when I do my Great Wall of China Trek later in the month (more to come on that soon!)…so please do check back as I will be tweeting everyday whilst I am away :-)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The 1st CYM Half Marathon Longer Run Training Session

This evening a group of CYM runners looking to take part in the Milton Keynes Half Marathon on the 13th March ( got together to start a 10 week programme of longer runs. I am leading this group and tonight saw the first of 10 runs that we will be doing. Each week we will be increasing the mileage until we are doing around 11/12 miles just prior to the half marathon in March. We had a good turn out this evening and we did a great run. Well done everyone :-)

The run stats and route can be found here:

Saturday, January 01, 2011

A New Year - A new running focus!

Well here I am again, starting up my blogging again to help me through the winter training to my next spring marathon. This time though the marathon is the Rotterdam one as I didn’t get into London for this year. To be honest, I am rather pleased that I am not doing London again, not because I don’t like this marathon, far from it, London will always have a special place for me (after all, it’s the first marathon I did and the only course where I have (yet!) completed the distance in under 4 hours) however four times is enough for me now and it’s about time I ventured into new territory – so Rotterdam it is!

My pre-Christmas training has been going well; just plodding along really at a decent level allowing me to keep my base fitness alive. However, the New Year sees me start a more dedicated programme of training, helping me to get to the start line in Rotterdam on the 10th April. Not only do I hope to be fit enough to complete the 26.2 miles again I am also aiming to get my finishing time to back under the 4 hour mark. I am also lucky enough to be taking part in this marathon with three of my Climb Your Mountain (CYM) friends and colleagues which will ensure that the trip is not only rewarding on the running front but fun too! As I did last year, I will of also be raising money for CYM as part of this challenge so watch this space as I will soon be launching my Justgiving page!

To start off the new year, I took part in the Milton Keyens Parkrun event today. This is an organised run of 5k and timed - you just have to register beforehand. This is the first time I have done this event and it was a great way to start my 2011 running campaign (I was pretty pleased with my finishing time too: 24:14 an average of 07:46 minute/miles…pretty good for the first run of the year!). My run stats and route map of the Parkrun event today can be found here:

Hopefully after a period of dedicated healthy eating alongside my training I will also lose a few lbs – I am aiming to be as lean and as fit as I can for this year’s marathon and losing a few lbs will definitely help this cause!!

Anyway enough rambling from me for one day! I hope that everyone has a healthy year full of fun, laughter and lots of running :-)