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The fat lady has sung

Medallion Man

Well I think this will be my last post to this blog for a while now, I’ll go back to my main blog site at http://www.cloudzilla.net

My legs are much better today and I was able to walk down the stairs (to get my morning recovery beer and cake) quite easily. Of course I then went back upstairs and spent the entire day working from bed to “aid my recovery”.

It’s a very weird feeling not having a goal and knowing that I don’t have to run again if I don’t want to. I can even eat what I like woohoooo. It’s not exactly a great feeling actually, so I’ll have to set myself some other sort of challenge. Surely no-one has ever stayed on a sofa eating cake for a month, maybe that can be my new goal. Actually the truth is that most of you lot spend your days doing exactly that!

If you’re not considering running a marathon… well you should. It can transform your fitness, your feelings about yourself, how you approach the world *and* you get a medal at the end of it all. I was already a positive person before I started but I surprised myself at how I stuck to my goals and transformed my body.

If you are considering a marathon, then I think these are the most important points I’ve learned…

  • Get this excellent marathon book. You might feel that you know what you have to do and that this book can’t teach you anything (I thought exactly that), but it surprises you many times by giving you the right advice when you least expect it.
  • You think you can’t run, you hate running, your knees will give up, you have weak joints, you have a paranoid fear of kerbs… none of those things matter so shutup. You just need to give yourself time. For the first 2 months of training do not think about how you’re doing and how much it hurts as you won’t have made enough progress yet, just get on with it. In my case it was a crazy amount of time, something like 8 months, before I finally realised I could run, was actually fit and possibly even enjoying it (a bit).
  • Don’t worry about not sticking to your plan to the letter. If you give yourself long enough (i.e. at least 6months, preferably a year) then you can cope with any hiccups. If you manage to run two or three times a week on average then you will be able to achieve your goal.
  • You will get injuries, sure. I had loads of niggling injuries in my year but I was convinced in the final months that I was superman. Then my leg gave up on me, but I still made it.
  • Take supplements for your joints like these. They really help with clicky, aching joints. When you first start taking them you’ll think they’ve accidently sent you super-size horse suppositories, but after a few months you’ll be able to swallow one without crying.
  • Get a Garmin Forerunner and track your results online. It’s a great motivator and will help a lot to keep on track. It was worth every penny.
  • I don’t care how old you are or how fast you run. The oldest man at the New York marathon was 88 and it took him over 7hours.  Mum, this does not include you, please do not run a marathon (-:
  • It will be an achievement you’ll never forget. It will be your achievement, no-one elses and the day of the marathon will be an experience like no other.
  • You’ll end up with an ass as nearly as amazing as mine.

Thanks for all the sponsorship and messages of congratulations, I am a Marathoneeeeeer.

P E T E

p.s. if it looks a bit surprising that I’m smiling (this photo was taken at mile 24) then feel free to accept that the photo below is actually me…

Older Wiser Sexier

I appear to be broken

My calves are so solid that I have to be lifted out of bed (not unlike many of my blog readers I’m guessing). My back is completely shot, one toe nail is being held on by a plaster, one toe has gone black and I have a nice pool of blood all inside another toe. Urgh.

Yes, I do require a lot of sympathy and more medals!

So, yesterday, I went for this run thing after a full 5 weeks of not a single piece of exercise and the pain of a torn calf muscle.

It didn’t get off to a great start because the clocks changed at 2am. So, this meant I wasn’t entirely certain what time to set the alarm for. If my phone updated its time OK then I’d set it for 4:45, but if it didn’t then I’d have to set it for 3:45. This was easily fixed though as I set the alarm for 3:45, 4:45 and 5:45 (-:

Ready to Go

I got myself ready (after of course the alarm going off an hour early) and left for the 6am bus… shit it was raining! Urgh, but the organisation was amazing and I managed to get straight onto a bus at 5:30… it was a pretty long drive out to the starting areas and the sun had come up by the time I arrived… there were big crowds of volunteers to greet us as we left the buses with cheers and encouragement which was nice.

The start zone was, well, a bit of a huge run down car park and field. There were stalls with free water, dunkin donuts (!), coffee (!) and other snacks. I got a couple of bottles of water and noticed that there were hundreds of people huddled on the wet ground in the rain. Oh god, 4hours of this? Then I heard someone ask where the tents were… woohoo there are tents! So I wandered along to the tent area. Well, this turned out to be a few massive tents (without sides) on soaking wet, soggy grass! I put my sleeping bag out and got in, wish I’d had a damned ground sheet. It was quite quiet in the tent at this point so I lay on my back and shivered. When I looked around again I was slightly shocked. There were now about 4million people in the tent with me. I could have (I didn’t) pursed my lips and kissed the thigh of the man next to me he was that close! (yeh, I was tempted of course). It was extremely noisy, loads of loud conversations and a speaker system giving advice and calling people to the start corrals all the time. Urgh, 4hours of this, but at least I had my pony to keep me company (thanks Mum)…

Poniesss

But at least I was comfortable and not too cold…. then the worst happened. I need a wee. Noooo, the queues were pretty huge and I didn’t want to lose my patch… aha, no problem… I have an empty water bottle and I can justttt sneak that into my sleeping bag….

A word of advice for men out there, or adventurous women I guess. Before you get to the point of no return when weeing into a bottle, make sure your willy fits into the opening.

Mine didn’t, yeh, I’m bragging.

So, now I not only still needed a wee but had let a trickle of wee out in my sleeping bag! Sigh. So I got up and joined the queues. Luckily everything was wet from the ground so I didn’t look too silly.

Time passed slowly and when the 30minute call came I sorted out my running gear and started to head towards the corrals. My bum bag was FULL. Far too full. Inside it I had my phone, 100dollars (for taxi if I had to quit), 3 energy gels, some anti chafing gel, a lipsalve and, well, urrr, some jelly babies. When I say “some” I mean a lot. So I decided to ditch a couple of the gels and ate many of the jelly babies (here is the belt before I left the hotel)…

Sweeets

We then started walking slowly towards the starting area, what we left behind can only be described as the Day After Mankind Gets Wiped Out. It was the debris from 40,000 people who had all dumped several items of warm clothing and food each. We were serenaded by the American national anthem and rounded the corner and there was the start and the bridge. We were off! There was a guy with some loudspeakers calling out peoples names and shouting encouragement about this being the biggest day of our lives so obviously I was sobbing already. The pressure of the years training, the thought that I was probably going to be unable to finish and the general emotion of it all and I was whimpering quietly.

That bridge, urgh, it was half a mile up hill and then half a mile down hill, what a place to start. Weirdly an amazing number of people were stopping for photos, filming themselves and recording video diaries or climbing the side of the bridge to take photos of New York, wtf! It’s a marathon! This continued throughout the race where people would stop to have their photo taken with cops and firemen etc. Crazy.

The first couple of miles passed OK, no pain in my legs, just quite a bit of whimpering. The crowds were ridiculously amazing. If you ran anywhere near the sides of the road you were constantly called out by name and given amazing encouragement. People were giving out sweets, high fives and generally being so cool. I loved how when you entered a new area people would welcome you with for example “Hey Pete, welcome to Bedford, you’re looking strong”, constantly. I’m so glad I had my name on my top. Each borough was so different, passing through some poor areas was amazing, the orthadox jewish part of town was interesting as not a single person paid any attention to the runners, it was like we were invisible. Some areas made so much noise! Lots of people having parties in their apartments etc.etc. There was live music nearly the entire way around, this was mainly hip-hop (some with lyrics targeted at the peoples names as they passed), there was even a thrash-metal band… just what I needed!

Some highlights from the run…

  • I high-fived a goggie. Haha, how cool is that. He was stood on his back legs and his owner was holding his paws out, made me laugh so much.
  • The fire-crews and police all dressed in uniform shouting encouragement
  • All the signs, lots of typical ones like “Pain is temporary, pride is forever”, but my favourite one was a huge sign with a photo of a kitteh on it and MEOW below it. Haha, fantastic!
  • So many people with messages on their t-shirts like “This is for you Dad” or dedications to lost family members (these all made me sob).
  • The sticky zone… every mile of the race had water and gatorade stations. After these you had to wade through the plastic cups… then about 300metres later your feet started to stick to the ground as you ran through all the spilt gatorade, it was really difficult to run through this!
  • Seeing Jen and the rest of the Macmillan team who gave you a real boost.
  • Nearly having my entire race cut short by a little asian woman… I was nervous about the crowds of runners and you did have to constantly weave in and out of people but this was pretty easy to do. What I was not expecting though was a local woman who decided to cross the road in front of me. This wouldn’t have been a problem… except she managed to get a “Police Line Do Not Cross” stuck to her shoe which she pulled out behind her and I had to jump over! Jesus.

Am disappointed the Victoria Secret girls weren’t out… although the ambulance/poster combination was apt…

Alison

I need to check which bridge it is that nearly killed me… I think it was Queensboro… jesus christ it was hell. You began to realise it was going to be difficult as all the crowds before it were shouting things like “Don’t worry Pete, you can take this bridge”. It went up and up and up and up, urgh it was horrible but luckily Jen was screaming at me (along with tens of thousands of other people) at the end of it.

The Bronx was… hmm… not the nicest area. Imagine American cop films where bad things happen… that was here. Not  many crowds and the people didn’t cheer, just stared. But then it was back into Manhattan. I can’t really believe that they put a massive hill alongside central park, it was crushing. This was at about mile 23 and by then I was on autopilot. My injured right leg had been perfect through the entire run. However my left calf was sooo tight and painful. This paled into insignificance though compared to my back pain. I’ve never had back pain running before but from mile 12 it was excrutiating. Imagine spending a full day lifting heavy boxes and then having to run 26.2miles. So the last 4miles I have no idea how I kept going, if I’d stopped to think about it I would have just collapsed, I never walked though. I could tell I was suffering from the crowd feedback, comments had gone from “Looking good Pete, looking strong” to “Looking hot Pete, Don’t worry not far to go”. I made sure I said thankyou and waved back to every single person who talked to me. Oh and that reminds me, the guy from the restaurant who I’d met a couple of nights before and who’d said he’d make up a sign and watch for me was there! He was so pleased to see me (and me him).

24 miles and I am smiling

After a huge hill at mile 25 I knew it was going to happen, I was going to finish. I just had to make sure I didn’t think about anything though as I was having trouble breathing properly – I think due to the emotion of it. Lots of people were crying or in pain at this point and you could see people stopping and clutching at their legs or stopping, however some people even managed to sprint at the end, jesus. I had a good old sob as I passed the line and then the unbelievable pain settled in. Every single inch of my body went ARGHHGGHYOUBASTARD at me. The poor thing probably couldn’t realise what I’d just forced it through. I collected my medal and my food bag and had my photo taken and got the best thing of all… my silver foil space blanket. Didn’t take too long to meet up with Jen and we and several hundred thousand/million other people tried to make their way home. It took me a few minutes to get up a curb so thankfully we found one of those bike/rickshaw things and paid the guy 70bucks to get back to Time Square. Yes, I wore my silver blanket all the way from Time Square to the hotel of course and my medal when I went out to dinner (-:

If you don’t believe that I did it… here is the Garmin record of it where you can play back the entire run. To get an authentic experience then stamp on your feet and beat yourself with a stick and sob through the playback. It recorded my heart rate at the beginning at 204.. I don’t *think* it was accurate, gulp.

Now? collapssssse. I did it. Sob. My previous blog posts have said how I was always planning on doing another marathon… hmm… no, I don’t think so, maybe, I dunno, I doubt it. We’ll see after I recover. I didn’t spend a single second of this run concentrating on the actual process of running or breathing or speed and hadn’t run for 5weeks so I was really pleased with my time of 4:36, I know I can improve this… my own hidden dream time based on my long runs before my injury were 3:55 so there is a lot left in me if I decided to do another… but… jesus christ it’s extreme. Hats off to all those people who do a marathon each day of the week for 7 days, in fact, hats off to anyone who can do a marathon. It’s the hardest thing you could imagine doing… but it’s possible for anyone. Thanks to all my sponsors… if you haven’t sponsored me yet there is still time… use the JustGiving link on this page.

I didn’t get a pony, damnit, but I did get the amazing surprise of a helicopter tour of New York!…

New York

To finish, actually my favourite banner actually was this one…. “If you can get to the start, you can finish it”. Sums up my year perfectly.

New York New York

candh_useless

Am currently sat in bed (it’s 4pm and this is a rest day) and have been all afternoon. Went to see ZombieLand earlier at the cinema though, suchhhh an excellent film. Why can’t zombies attack us now, it’d be so cool. I imagine it would make tomorrow slightly more scary as well.

I say slightly more as it’s going to be difficult enough. My heart has been rubbish all week, my leg aches like hell – I’ve bought new leg-compression-thingies that have given me sparrow legs. Actually, when I wear them in bed it’s a very odd feeling, almost like I’m more than naked. I have to keep checking myself to make sure my skin is still on. I have a huge pile of stuff ready for tomorrow morning and have been drinking so much water that I’m on the verge of moving into the bathroom. Last night, I kid you not, I went to the loo once every single hour of the night. wtf!

New York is as wonderful as ever. On my first evening I mentioned the marathon to a waiter (when he bemoaned my lack of alcohol drinking) and he said he was going to make a sign with my name on and cheer me along – luckily he’s quite near the start so I should still be going at that point. I think my chances of finishing are crap. In fact I even wondered if I could fake a medal so when I did give up and wander back to the hotel I could look like one of the elite runners who finish in around two hours. It’s quite amazing to think that when I start they’ll be 30minutes from the finish!

Everyone keeps telling me that it’s been an amazing year and the transformation in my fitness and ass makes it all worthwhile still but obviously they’re wrong. It’s like visiting the moon and not getting out for a bounce around. However, I am a positive bunny and am already planning either London or New York for next year and truth be known I have really enjoyed my many runs along the canal, up the hills, past the tip. OK, that last one not so much.

On the point about my awesome ass, my god, it’s been about 5weeks of no exercise and I can already feel some fat on it! Although the runners I’ve seen (there are 40,000 of them in NY) have such amazing bodies that it’ll definitely make me remain fit. Think of me tomorrow morning, starting running at 10:20 and finishing some time after 10:21.

p.s. The image above does not reflect my state of mind. Well, actually, I would be the guy pointing out the mistake. Loser!

7 days!

theboss

Craptastic. Leg isn’t getting any better and it’s *less* than seven days now.

The facts at the moment seem to be that my leg isn’t healing particularly quickly even though I’ve been having physio, been sat on my ass 24hours a day, rubbing myself with frozen peas, wearing a leg compression thingie so much that my legs have got a permanent pattern and elevating my leg by resting it on the particularly fat cat.

Even if my leg does hold out for 26miles (ha) then I haven’t run for FIVE weeks! What on earth are the chances going to be? My toned body is already softening up, fricking thing.

So, in 7 days time my plan is to turn up at 6am, wait around till 10:20 (my start time) and just see what happens. There is no way I’m going to walk if it gets too painful. Having to stop is going to be gutting mentally, but, well I was always planning on running a second marathon anyway to get a good time so all my plans will just shift to the next one.

Imagining how I’m feeling right now?

FunBun has run out of Fun

sad_bunny

Crap, it’s not looking good. My leg (and the rest of me) is following the RICE programme. Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. But it’s not working. I’m having regular physio, but that doesn’t seem to  be doing much either. I’ve definitely torn a muscle, deep inside my calf  )-:

The fact is though, that even if my leg does recover then I’m going to be a full month behind in my programme, completely unprepared and really at risk of badly hurting myself when I do try to run the 26miles because my muscles will be in such a delicate state after 11months of effort and then a month of nothing.

FunBun could do with a hug big time, I’ll keep waiting and hoping.

M i s e r y

I has a sad

Bah, not that bad things get me down, well, not all of them… but it’s been a crap bloody week!

Today is ONE MONTH till the big day aieeee. And I was feeling pretty good. My training was going fine, I had pains but nothing a rub down from one of my cats couldn’t solve. Then we have a huge redundancy package going on at work (am not affected at the moment), then my thinkpad breaks, then worst of all I’ve really badly damaged my calf muscle and can’t run.

Yes, actually can’t run! I can walk OK, but I can’t bear any load on it. I don’t know how I did it, I definitely haven’t overtrained. I think it’s just one of those things that happens. I’ve had ultrasound and physio (and have more soon) and it just seems I have to rest during the two bloody weeks I should be training to maximise my strength. So, it means providing I do heal OK then I’ll just be taking it easy on November 1st rather than beating any records.

Poo. Am OK though

My mantra

OK, so this is a bit odd I admit. But my awesome marathon book suggested a couple of things to help during training. The first was to imagine a video in your mind of both your best ever run (urrr, best? maybe least worst for me) and then a video of you crossing the finish line. When things get tough you play these videos back to yourself in your head. The second suggestion is to have a mantra that you repeat to yourself when you need a kick in the pants during a run.

Now, you can imagine as it’s an American book that most of their examples make you want to take your trainer off, puke into it and then beat the American to death with it. I managed to create an image in my mind of myself crossing the finish line (in tears oddly enough). However I did manage to create a little mantra that I say to myself out loud when I need to focus.

The problem with saying that out loud of course is that it interrupts my breathing which is apparently an important thing to keep doing. But, at the very least it distracts me for 30 seconds. Here it is…

I’m a Marathoneer and I love to run
I run in the heat of Mexico with the anaconda and mosquitos
I run in the sunshine of Barcelona with the amazing churches
I run in the cold crisp mornings at home up the 2 mile Goodwood Hill
I’m fitter and stronger than I’ve ever been and I look and feel amazing
I never quit before my goal and I never give in to problems
I’m a Marathoneer and I love to run

Have you just been sick in your shoe?

Focusing

I’m not amazing. Shhhh now, cut that out, now now… OK I’m a little bit amazing. But I’m not *amazing*. These people are amazing…

  • Ranulph Fiennes : you know the story, Britain’s greatest adventurer, polar expeditions, heart attack, seven marathons in seven days, chopping own fingers off with a saw and a vice, climbed Everest.  etc.etc.
  • Dean Karnazes : One of the worlds greatest ultramarathon runners, ran 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days then ran home from New York to San Francisco, ran 350 miles non-stop in 80hours (yes, really), ran 148miles in 24hrs on a treadmill, ran across Death Valley in 124degree temperatures, etc.etc.
  • Lynne Cox : Amazing swimmer, twice held record for swimming English channel, first person to swim round Cape of Good Hope, first person to swim Bering sea from Alaska to Russia, swam for 25minutes in Antarctica etc.etc.
  • You, of course

Can you even take in what their achievements are? It seems impossible to imagine even being awake for 80 hours let alone spending the entire time running!

I’m not entirely certain what my point is, except, I’ve talked with a few people recently who’s entire approach to life can be summarised by the following three things 1)  moaning 2) thinking everything is someone elses fault 3) having the immediate assumption of total failure when faced with any challenge to make something more of their waking days.

The great thing about the combination of the can do and can’t do people is that they give me great motivation when I’m running. If I ever feel like I want to give up then I imagine Ranulph Fiennes cutting his swollen feet open each night to relieve the pressure then taping them up for the next day, or imagine the blimpos at work blaming everyone but themselves for their problems.

Unfortunately the downside is that spending all this time thinking really slows me down and stops me from running fast! To achieve my best time in the marathon I have to concentrate on two things, breathing in and breathing out. My legs move in time to my breathing so if I breath faster my legs go faster. However if I get distracted by thinking about you and poniez then I forget to breath and then slow down.

Of course, on the day there will be so so many distractions that it’ll be lucky if I get as far as the word “in” and then faint.

7 weeks to go…

got the staff to take it

Not long eh. The last two weeks have been difficult for training as I’ve been in Mexico tanning my gorgeous ass.

The gym here is 25degrees – sweet toasted jesus that’s hot, so I’ve only been able to run 6miles at a time – at least I’ve managed that nearly every day. I did run outside yesterday, trust me if you think I sweat a lot when running at home then watching the river pour off me in the 34degree sunshine was a sight to behold, I should have brought a surfboard although I’d have just ended up like a hollowed out coconut at the end.

At least concentrating on not melting allowed my brain to try to stop thinking of, well, you can guess what, which it tends to do a lot of whenever I go on holidays now (it didn’t work).

Back home hopefully to cooler weather and longer distances now. I might consider trying to get up to see Eddie Izzard who is due to finish his 43rd marathon next week, if time permits.

And yes, this is me… and no I’m not tensing my stomach. Actually it’s less toned now as I got worried that working on my stomach was causing me to have too many aches when I run. Look OK?

Yeh, I’m twittering again. Derren Brown’s twitters hypnotised me into it

They’re moving the goalposts!

262

Not that there are goal posts I hope, unless I’ve completely misunderstood what a marathon is all about?

I achieved a great target in the last couple of weeks – last weekend I managed an 18mile run and today I upped this to 20miles. I’m not entirely sure if I should be increasing this distance or just keeping to 20miles? Pfff, who can tell. Overall this week I ran 40miles eeeeeeep.

My goalpost comment though is that I read today that the last 6 miles count as half of the marathon godamnit! Apparently these last six are very challenging and probably involve hitting ‘the wall’, bugger.

Anyway, on a more positive note, my time was pretty good and I saw swans, rabbits, a fox, the white kitteh, a black kitteh and some herons and hardly any people… because my nearly 3hr run started at 6:30 fricking a.m.! In the morning!

Not long to go now. eep

Just call me Twisleton

Ran

I love this story about Ranulph Fiennes…

On the way to the north pole in 2000, Fiennes’ sledge, carrying 70 days’ worth of food and all his communications equipment, slipped into the sea and jammed under a slab of ice. Since he was on his own, he had no alternative but to free it, which meant removing his mitt and reaching into the water. He got the sledge out, but, as he relates in his new, updated and rip-roaringly readable autobiography, within seconds of withdrawing his left hand from the water (roughly -1C) and exposing it to the air (roughly -63C) “my fingers were ramrod stiff and ivory white. They might as well have been wood … I had seen enough frostbite in others to realise I was in serious trouble. I had to turn back.”

Evacuated by air the following day, Fiennes underwent emergency treatment in Ottawa but was told, back in the UK, that he would have to wait five months while the only partially damaged tissue healed and his “gnarled, mummified, witch-like talons” – or the top third of all his fingers, plus the top half of his thumb – could be safely amputated. Worse, he was informed, the pre-op costs were likely to be somewhere in excess of £6,000. (Feel free to skip the next paragraph if you are squeamish.)

So he decided to do the job himself. “I purchased a set of fretsaw blades at the village shop, put the little finger in my Black & Decker folding table’s vice, and gently sawed through the dead skin and bone just above the live skin line,” he writes. “The moment I felt pain or spotted blood, I moved further into the dead zone. I also turned the finger around several times and cut into it from different sides. This worked well, and the little finger’s knuckle finally dropped off after some two hours of work.” It took him five days to do the rest; a job, he says, well done.

I have just one word as a reply to this… “Pussy”.

OK, OK, so he’s officially the World’s Greatest Living Explorer and I am not exactly in his league. However check *this* out…

  • Saturday Morning : Alarm clock wakes me at 5am and I spend 3 hours on a change with my esteemed Indian colleagues. What a surprise the change didn’t work.
  • Sunday Morning : I wake at 6am and decide to go for my long run. Yes, 6am! In the morning! Practically in the night! And I managed 18miles which is the equivalent of running from Chichester to Gosport (although god knows why anyone would want to go there)

So, pretty damned impressive eh! Walking to both Poles, pfff. Being in the S.A.S. pffff, climbing Everest at 65 even though he suffers from vertigo, pffff. Chopping your own fingers off with a saw, pfffff. Having a heart attack and subsequently having a double heart bypass and then four months later running 7 marathons in 7 days pffffffffff.

Actually, jesus bloody christ he’s amazing isn’t he. Even his name is more impressive… Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes. Damn the man!

However, I still ran 18miles.

How Running Works

Running is easy right? One foot in front, well, in front of and off to the right a bit, urr, or left a bit, of the other foot and… OK OK, just accept what I’m trying to say, running is physically relatively straightforward.

Except of course like everything else in life it isn’t. Let me explain by example, you have to imagine that I’m both of the characters below…

Good Gollum Bad Gollum
Good Gollum Bad Gollum

I know, difficult to imagine me as good isn’t it. Anyway, this is how a run goes for me (and I imagine, many other runners)

Before Run…
Good Gollum : “Am looking forward to my run, am going to run 8 miles today, am being positive as I know that will help”
Bad Gollum : “Haha who the hell are you kidding, you could be eating pringles and stroking poniez, just skip the run, it’s cloudy anyway and it might rain”

Mile 1…
Bad Gollum : “Jesus Holy Christ this is awful my legs are actually going to snap off, what the hell is wrong with my shins? They feel like pieces of wood”

Mile 2…
Bad Gollum : “I actually hope I die to make the pain stop, I’ll never do 8 miles, what was I thinking? I’ll do more miles tomorrow instead, I think 4 miles is the maximum I could ever do, in fact tomorrow I’m just going to eat cake”

Mile 3…
Bad Gollum : Halp, I die now, please for the love of god set fire to me and throw me into a ditch, why am I even bothering, I can’t even do 3 miles let alone 26, what idiot had this crazy idea? Me? I hate myself”

Mile 4…
Good Gollum : “Right OK so I should be stopping at this mile but I’m just going to run up that horrible hill for a tiny bit, OK that didn’t kill me I’ll go just a bit further because then I can go faster on the downhill part, maybe just a bit further, wow I’m at the top!”
Bad Gollum : “Oh god, I’m beginning to enjoy it, and now I’m at the turning around point so it’s hard to be negative as it’s homeward bound, let’s hope a car hits me so I can have a nice rest in a ditch”

Mile 5…
Good Gollum : “Weeeeeeee I’m zooming down the hilllllllll look at my speeeeeed”
Bad Gollum : “Jesus he’s enjoying himself”

Mile 6…
Good Gollum : “This isn’t so bad now, I might try speeding up a bit!”

Mile 7…
Good Gollum : “Woohoo I’ve caught up all the lost time from my early slow pace and my speed is great now”

Mile 8…
Good Gollum : “Last mile now I can give it a final sprint, nothing hurts and I did 8 miles I’m so proudddddd”

See, basically the start of every single run is horrible, then it gets worse, then you begin to realise that you might as well push on for that extra half mile and turn around, then you forget the pain and look at the scenery and time begins to speed up, then it’s just a matter of making it home!

So the conclusion seems to be that I ought to run for 4 miles before I start the marathon in November, then the other t w e n t y s i x will be like a walk/run in the park. Sob, now I have to run 30miles.

Bits are dropping off

Zombie Kitteh

Yes, It’s official, I’m turning into a zombie. I must be as parts of my body are dropping off. Admittedly it’s not a major limb, but one of my toe nails is about to drop off which completely contradicts my earlier statement of how well my feet are holding out. However… the stat that I’ve run over half a million steps in the last 8months kind of predicts things like this!

On a much more positive note, today I ran the fastest run ever… I did a 5.6mile run at an average speed of 7.50mins a mile! I’ve never got below an average of 8.10 a mile so I’m seriously proud. What did you achieve today to make me proud?

Apologies for the scary kitteh, it’s not blood, he just killed a jam tart to death.

Yo Momma So Fat…

… she was baptised in Sea World!

Hehe, I quite liked that one. I’m sure your Mum is lovely really. And wow isn’t she good at jumping through hoops!

Anyway, cof, The purpose of this very short post is to show you this graph…

weight

As ever, you’ll need to click on it to read the writing. Yes, In the last 7months I’ve lost about 15% of my body weight and am now under 80kg. Before anyone tuts and tells me I looked like a chewed pencil before I started exercising I’d just like to point out that according to NHS health charts I’m bang in the middle of “Awesome” for my weight and age and height and general sexiness.

I really don’t want to lose any more weight though, in fact I’m struggling to eat enough as it is. Today I had… 1 banana, 1 choc and vanilla yoghurt, 1 apple, 1 jacket potato with chilli and cheese, 1 beef and mushroom meal thingie with rosti potatoes (that was a meal for 2) and a banana milkshake recovery drink. So it’s not like I’m living on fresh air is it so stop criticising me (-:

I’m really happy with the new bod though, it’s a lean mean running machine, well, OK, it’s lean and toned let’s leave it at that.

If anyone would like a squeeze of any particular parts then form an orderly queue! Urr, actually no, not you, you can keep your grubby mitts to yourself!

I had Fatty bronzed…

Kitty

So, only 3.5months to go *gulp*. In those 3.5months I’ve got to squeeze in a lot of miles though and according to my schedule I have some 20+ mile runs to do.

Oh god, I’m giving up.

OK OK OK stop with the eyebrows I won’t quit. People are starting to ask me what my next marathon will be after New York though. Urr, excuse me, maybe you’d like to lie in a ditch on fire?

As for progress, meh, it’s difficult to feel really positive about my progress and times because my damned distances keep going up. So tonight for example I ran 10miles in 1hr 23mins… which is awesome… but at 8:17m a mile that’s not my fastest time. Sigh, I know, I should shutup and be happier.

My body seems to be holding up, ish. Months ago I had bad pains in the sole of my foot. Then my knees were bad for a month or so, I won’t go into the details on my, cof, middlebits, but then I had bleeding nipples and finally on my run at the weekend my shoulders seized up. Seriously, my shoulders?!?!!? I think they must have been jealous because my legs and ass are getting all the attention from me so far this year. As my body pains are going up and up I might need to glue my eyeballs in on Nov 1st.

My feet are holding up surprisingly well, but changing. I’ve roughly pounded nearly 13stone of hunk (urr, that’s me) onto my feet 511680 times since I started training! Wow! It’s a constant battle though with blisters and hard patches and weird shape changes, but they’re still priddy! Get off them Aieeee!

My weight is sort of normalising but it’s hard to find decent food to stuff in every day. I can definitely relate slightly more to people who get obsessed about their weight as it was genuinely exciting to see the numbers 79.8kg on my scales! Ooo I could get to 69! OK OK put the eyebrows awayyy I’m only joking.

Hmm, I’m not being very positive am I. On a more uplifting note it’s good seeing New York in Ugly Betty! I wonder if Amanda will be waving to me?

I’ll finish with a cool quote… “Marathons are three legged races, you run the first leg with your body, the second leg with your mind and the third leg with your heart”.

Pecked to death by pigeons?

Waterhouse

Would you worry if I said I enjoyed running through a field with long plants and enjoyed the soft feeling of them as they brushed against my legs?

How about, if I said my long runs get a bit monotonous and I like to liven them up a bit?

Not so bad really? Sort of normal?

How about if I said that on my run on Sunday I purposely ran against some nettles to see what it felt like?

Oh right, so now I’m some sort of self harming freako! Great, thanks a bunch for your understanding! Yes I did actually do this, I have no clear idea why I did it, although my run was getting repetitive and it is good to get distracted. It didn’t actually hurt either, I think all of my blood just hides deep inside me on a run and keeps away from the pain. It did tingle, and it did distract me for a few minutes (-:

So, next Sunday I’m considering coating myself in bird seed, putting some fish in my pockets and maybe dragging a dead fox behind me for 2hours. That way not only will I break all my records but I won’t be thinking about the run at all. I’ll be thinking about being pecked, nibbling and chased to death.

The picture is from an upcoming exhibition…

Only 11 more mil…. Holy WTF 11 more!?!?!

Eggy Bread

I runned 15.5miles today! In one go! Without stopping! Another 11 and I’d be done! boohoo!

Wait, that’s a lie. I did stop to stroke a gorgeous pure white kitty on the footpath, soooo sweet. I saw him/her last Sunday as well so I am secretly thinking he/she was waiting for meeeee, maybe I need to keep some fish in my pockets?

As for the rest of the run, meh it wasn’t too bad, 2:20hrs but it’s clearly very apparent that after 13miles my body is actively considering just giving up and dying as a sensible plan to stop me from breaking it. I guess it’s all miles in the wiggy bank though (-:

The reward for my run today was pretty awesome – eggy bread with crispy bacon on top woohoo! I mean, that’s what all this running is about yeh?

More advice about how to be an idiot…

UhOh

I remember reading that if you are running with a time goal, you need to train at that time goal. If your goal is 9min miles there is apparently no point in running long distance runs at 10min miles when training… on race day there is no way you can “magic” that extra 1min/mile from somewhere.

Depressing eh! Adding on all those extra miles is no good if they’re not quick enough.

Of course, I don’t have a time goal, nooo, not me guv, promise. Actually, I’ve got three time goals! And I’ll narrow that down to just one based on my results in November (-:

I have two big aims at the moment though, I need to calm down and start planning each run better. One of the reasons is that you should only ever increase your weekly distances by 10% a week. Well, the week before last I ran 25miles and last week I ran 32!!! Ooops, increasing my chances of injury there. The other reason is that I don’t sleep the night before my big run and when I get ready for it I tend to charge around madly and then just shoot off out the door without any idea what I’m doing (and often I’m still nekkid).

For example this Sunday I had a private goal to run a half marathon in under two hours. But I also wanted to be back by 9:30am (yes, in the morning) so I could go to the Goodwood Supercar day. And also it was due to rain for the rest of the day and my nipples have only just grown back. So, this meant getting up at 7am, urgh, which meant no sleep, no planning, I forgot my energy gels, I didn’t know which route I was going and I started off at a sprint.

I’m a damned fool yes.

Anyway, the result was good 1hr 59mins and 34seconds woohoo! Maybe I need to try some yoga or something to calm down. Or drugs, they sound easier.

Cute Ass ?

Cute Ass

Ran my first half marathon distance today! Took me 2:03:34 to run 13.1miles and that’s not so bad as it was a pretty crappy run really. I think my speed must be very psychologicaly determined, as soon as I slow down (or start slowly) then no matter how positive I try to be the rest of the run will be painful and slow. One of the only things that speeds me up is if I find a downward hill which gives me a kick start that lasts at least a mile! I need you to release a swarm of bees to chase me. Or maybe an ice-cream van that I can chase.

On better news, I have restored my nips and my finger is growing back (oddly it seems to be growing back longer). I tried drawing you a flower on the runway today but, well, let’s just say it was a bit of a disaster. I think seeing me running in circles and loops in the middle of the runway might have caused the dog walkers some raised eyebrows as well.

Can it get any more fun?

On Sunday I cut the hedge, with a hedge trimmer. Basically a big, noisy, toothed device. Did I get part of my body stuck in it?

Of course! Mucho blood and nearly-fainting and trying to staunch the horrific wound (OK OK it was just a 2cm cut on my finger, although it is still bleeding now 24hrs later when I just checked the bandage).

And because of that I missed my long run yesterday and decided to do it today instead. It started pretty badly as it was heavy rain but I soldiered on like a hero. Half way through the run I found an abandoned airfield with a big fat runway so decided to have some fun (!) with my Garmin GPS thingie, here is the result…

Stick Man

Hehe, pretty cool image of me eh! Anatomically correct as well (-;

I mosied on my way in the heavy rain and thought to myself, this isn’t going so bad. Then a man about 20ft away from me behind a hedge decided to shoot a pigeon with a shotgun… jesus christ I’ve never leapt so far into the air. I hope he missed the pigeon, lovely pigeonnsss.

By then I was getting pretty hot even though it was raining and also noticed a slight amount of discomfort in the nipple region, oh no I thought, I’m wet, I have nipples, my shirt is sticking to me, my nipples are gonna be sore damnit. But anyway it didn’t really hurt that much so I soldiered on.

Now, you need to be sitting down to view the next photo, as when I got home this is the condition of my shirt… seriously, sit down…

OuchOuchOuch

Ouch Ouch Ouch! I was convinced I’d worn them off! Luckily it looked far worse than it really was and most of the marks on my t-shirt were watered-down blood. But, even though, OUCH! So, I googled and found out that bleeding nipples is apparently really common on long runs and there are lots of solutions from vaseline to plasters to something called “nipguards”, so I shall be making some prompt purchases! The run was pretty good though, 1hr 24mins for 10miles, in the wind and the rain, with no nips.

p.s. ouch!

Elevation Lost : 6ft 3inches

Durrrrrr

How do I know my elevation changed by that much? Is it my fancy Garmin 405 watch? Nope, it’s the difference in my elevation when I go from fully upright to lying on my back.

Yessss, the day has finally arrived, I fell over during a run. Hoooorayyyyy! At least it didn’t happen in front of the crowds at the 10K race at the weekend eh! Sitting here now stinging quietly to myself I can only think that the worst thing about falling over (trip, lose balance, fall on hands, roll over onto back, cry) is that there is hardly any blood! My arm, hand and leg is scratched and puffy and sore… but just a few trickles of blood! What the hell is the point of falling over like a heroic James Bond if there is no evidence! Bah. Well at least it gave me the chance to use the awesome Durrrrr picture above!

Luckily nobody saw me, but here is the evidence according to Garmin (I did stop my timer for a few minutes whilst I recovered just in case you thought I kept going!)

Garmin Falling Over Image

Send Noah!

Bognor 10k 2009

Eeeeep, today was my first road race since my one and only attempt (which was hellish) 1.5yrs ago where I took 1:04 to run 10K. Today helped me learn a lot about marathon day and what to watch out for.

Basically, I’m going to be a total freaking disaster, simple as that. The reason? Well today was just a local, unimportant, FUN 10K run. It had 1600 runners instead of 40,000, there was no pressure at all and it wasn’t in New York. However, I didn’t sleep a wink the night before, I did no preparation this morning apart from total blind panic, I had no race strategy and I just “legged it”.

Things started badly when I realised I’d only left myself about an hour to get ready instead of 2 months which is what I needed. For starters, I had to pin my race number onto my top. That means I needed safety pins… did I have any? No. Arghghghgh. Paniccc. From then on it kind of got worse! Things culminated into a disaster scenario when I was sat in Bognor in my car whilst the entire contents of the sea emptied themselves onto me. Even Noah would have lost confidence and just started eating the animals if he’d seen such rain. But amazingly 30minutes before the race the rain stopped and blue sky appeared!

I stuck 6 safety pins in my number (and body) and then put all my months of preparation and practice into effect… by legging it and trying to occasionally breath. Terrifyingly, my heart rate in the early stages seems to have hit 204bpm… wtf? I’m hoping that was just a glitch in the sensor because otherwise I’m really going to have to calm down in New York or, you know, “die”.

My entire goal for the rest of the run was “try to catch up with the person in front of me”. It’s a good way to make sure you don’t slow down without realising  and very satisfying to pass someone. I’m not sure if giving them the finger and shouting LOSERRRRR at them might have been a bit much, but ha, losers! Things were mainly a blur, I got water at the two water-stops but have you tried drinking and running at the same time? It’s unpossible, so I made the big mistake of just pouring it over my head. Now, I look truly like the creature from the black lagoon when I run, I get slightly “sweaty”, so pouring water on my head was my way of saying “no, no, I’m not sweaty, it’s water, ha, ha, ha”. Of course, I just looked like I’d sprayed myself by trying to have a wee at 8mph, but it made me feel cooler. Unfortunately immediately after getting water we turned onto Bognor seafront and it was WINDY. Shit was it windy! Was like running through treacle. So this made my shirt press against my chest. My wet shirt… and my chest with the nipples on it. Ouchhhhh. I’m sat here now trying to invert my ribcage so nothing touches my sensitive nips!

For the last 3K of the race I simply pegged it, that’s the most technical description I can find. I was pleased to see someone I knew (Ian) who gave me a cheer and that made a big difference up to the finish line. And then I saw my time, god I’m so pleased! 51:38, over 12minutes faster than my previous attempt! And apart from the nipples I feel fine. Of course the jumbo bag of doritos, crumpets, pork pie, pint of milk and 3hour sleep this afternoon did aid my recovery a bit!

Click here for the Garmin summary of the run (and playback of course). I’ll wear my medal with pride! Actually, the medal is truly terrible so I might wear it under my clothes (but away from my nips), but it’s proof… I R A Winner!

Actually, I came 537th. Bstds!

Eek race weekend!

Eeeee, I’ve just realised that this weekend is the Bognor 10K Road Race. And I’m entered! My one and only 10K run took me 1hr 4mins… now, I’m a lot fitter than I was 2yrs ago. But I still don’t think my time will have improved more than maybe 5-8minutes for the race. Which is crazy isn’t it!

I guess the disappointing fact is that there is no way I’m going to be able to “magic” faster running times from anywhere, I’ve never been able to run a mile in less than 8minutes (let alone 6.4miles) and even that would only get me to a 50minute race time anyway… where as the course record is 31minutes ffs!

Anyway, if you want to cheer me on as I’ll have absolutely zero support and company on the day (apart from some pringles in my car and maybe a pony to ride on) then the details are on the link!

I’m off to the European Parliament!

Running Distance

OK, so I’m not. But I could do if I wanted to. The reason? Well I’ve managed in my training so far to run for 402miles! It’s apparently taken me only 2.8 days. Hmm, that can’t be right can it? I’ve been running for bloody months and yet the overall time seems very short. Well, I guess 68hours is sort of impressive.

In the time I’ve been running the main thing I can remember is worrying about injury. I think in a way it might be holding me back a little. So many people say the mental preparation is easily as important as the physical and I am kind of obsessed about every ache and twinge. Luckily my injuries are moving up my body, first my toes, then ball of foot, now my knees. By the time I’m in New York my largest worry is therefore likely to be my head dropping off. (oh please, pleeeease).

I guess the other big change is both my weight and my body, I’ve lost nearly 1.5stone now (no more!) and I can’t get over how much of me is now muscle. I can’t quite get used to being very toned and having legs and buns and abs of steel. OK, I’m not getting on any magazine covers (Sofa’s Monthly?) but for me it’s a big change!

Am I enjoying it? Well, it’s all about location. Today I ran alongside roads and it’s just no fun at all. When I run along the canal it’s much much nicer. On a good day with swannies and rabbits to look at and a clear sky and no bloody people it can be quite a nice experience. I’m not sounding convincing am I (-:

How do I look? (excuse the terrible preview pictures, click on my photo or the map for a better shot!)

Me on my feet

London Marathon

Phil Packer

I watched the London Marathon at the weekend and realised that my biggest challenge in November isn’t going to be the W A L L or anything to do with my physical fitness. No, my main problems will be…

  • Blubbing at people who are clearly injured/disabled or raising lots of money for their dead children/parents/cats. Like the guy in the photo… Phil Packer, who is going to walk on crutches for 2 miles a day to complete the marathon in 2 weeks. Bloody hell, some people are amazing.
  • Getting fricking annoyed at people getting in my way constantly arghghghg. It looked like total chaos in the Marathon! There was one group that was something like 25 people tied together – wtf?!!? There was also the Ghostbusters StayPuff, a man dressed as a donkey and much much worse. Oh god, I’m going to get marathon rage I know it. Well, if I end up being chased it might help me run faster I guess?
  • Being totally distracted by every single thing that’s going on around me, namely 40,000 runners and several million spectators. I’m gonna be like the Pope on his balcony thing in Rome! Urrr, I am going to be the centre of attention right?

As for the actual running/training thing. Seems to be going OK. I’ve added two new pages to my spreadsheet so that’s good right? And a pretty graph! I’m beginning to level out on my speed improvements so I’m going to try more interval/fartlek training and am going to pootle up the side of the South Downs tomorrow as well, urgh I hate hills! Let me know if you’d like my diary to jump out of a bush and run with me (-:

For Years

The Best Four Years

4 years I’ve loved jaffa cakes, but now I don’t eat them any more, but it doesn’t stop me loving the memory of them. Urrr, OK, some of you might think I’ve lost my plot. But I guess I must be missing the good things I’ve had to give up in the past few long months of running.

Stylish moves, I no haz dem

Broadway Cat

I bought a new pair of trainers last week as I’ve had my current pair over a year now and think they might be contributing to my ball pain (ball of foot, now behave). The terrifying thing about going to a proper shop to buy trainers is that they put you on a treadmill and video you in slow motionnnnn. Why terrifying? Well, you assume, logically, that running is running. You lift a foot up, you move it, you put it down somewhere else. That’s what it looks like when you look down at your feets during a run. However, the truth is far from that. In slow motion I’m making some sort of shape describing the mathematical nature of the universe with my leg movements. My left foot lands where my right foot should be, causing my right leg to detour outwards which then causes it to swing back in landing where my left foot should be – and repeat! The shop guy didn’t really have a great deal of advice about how to fix this other than “try to concentrate on your running technique”. But what the hell does that mean, it’s running, you just… run, it’s like walking, but faster and sweatier! I will have to do some googling tonight to try to get some good advice. Who knew moving your legs fast was as complicated as dancing.

Progress…

feets

I’m slowly beginning to learn, I think, how to run to a time goal. Sure my idea of a long distance is only 8 miles at the moment, but I’m realising that if I want to get an average pace of 9.30minutes per mile for my 8 mile run then it’s logical… wait for it… to run at about 9.30minutes per mile.

Yes, obvious really isn’t it. But whether it’s because I’m male or stupid or both, I seemed to think “I’ll run faster than that and then I’ll definitely be under 9.30min/mile“. Then of course what happens is that I knacker myself out in the first couple of miles then hate the other 6 or so. Having the Garmin 405 is a huge help as it beeps at me in a friendly way after each mile telling me how much closer to dying finishing I am and what my pace is.

In other non-news, I’ve definitely hurt the ball of my foot. My 8 mile run on Sunday was pretty much a disaster. 2 miles into the run and my foot began to hurt so much that I had to stop. I had read that the pain might be due to horizontal (i.e. squeezing) pressure on your feet so I loosened my trainers a lot and this did allow me to carry on, but ouch it hurts. Oddly it doesn’t hurt all the time, and it doesn’t even hurt when I stretch my toes up, just randomly. Bloody feets!

I’m also beginning to spot the different stages in my running. Like most beginner runners, the first 10mins is fine, the second 10 mins makes you wish you were dead and the next 10 mins makes you wish everyone else was dead instead. I think this is something to do with where your body gets energy from and a switch over from one type to another (pretty technical description eh!). Suffice to say, after about 30mins you either lose the will to live, go numb from pain, or begin to settle into the run and then it just gets better and better. From then I just seem to be able to plod on forever. Happy sob Happy sob Joy sob Joy.

Oh, and as this post is titled ‘Progress’… I’m currently running 22miles a week, I’ve just finished the “10K Training Programme” and am now starting the half marathon programme which I think goes on for 16weeks. As for pace, for my runs in March I ran 83 miles and averaged 9.45 minute miles. Yes, I track my average pace in a spreadsheet, shutup.

Feets & Necks

cutfoot

I talk to myself in my head when I’m not running, so it’s only sensible that I do the same when I’m running, right? Normally it’s “oh god what am I doing this is horrible oooo a swan, hello Mr Swan, have you seen Bert?”. But when I get aches and pains I start with the positive thinking “I Will Not Get Injured!”. It’s worked pretty well so far, but my concern is often explained by the statement… “Well, yes that hurts, but it might be nothing so I’ll keep going” which of course may result in my leg dropping off one day.

So far, until last week, so good. After my almost enjoyable long run on Sunday I managed to really hurt my neck so that it was painful to move my head and then I trod on a piece of glass. Bloody hell! So I missed a run but am back on form (whatever that is) now. My ongoing complaints are… pain under the ball of my left foot which means I can’t bend my toes much, recurring blister on left foot, feeling like I’m going to die between the 10th and 25th minute of my run, and excessive wind caused by my recovery drinks.

p.s. I took the photo partly for foot related sympathy, but also to show that after 5 months training I still can’t touch my toes!?!?!?!? Are they moving further away each week? Are my arms shrinking? No tickling the photo or I’ll twitch.

Quick post for any stalkers

Stalker

For anyone keen enough (which at the moment just seems to be you, Mum) here is a link to my public Garmin Connect page where my running results are uploaded after each run…

http://connect.garmin.com/explore#activityType=all&eventType=all&currentPage=1&username=cloudzilla&sortField=relevance

From there you’re presented with a list of all my runs where you can view all the painful statistics. No, it’s not true that I’ve just attached my Forerunner 405 to a swan which swims up and down the canal all day!

p.s. I like stalkers. Or even people who go out on the route before me and leave jelly babies on the path. I don’t even mind if that redirects me to some witches cottage made out of gingerbread that you need a saw to cut through.

£1000 = 1 Pony

Woohoo I reached my sponsorship target already! I did sense a certain hinting from some sponsors that I was addicted to laziness, my sofa and food… yep that’s me!

To celebrate reaching my target my body decided to give up on me. Last night I burnt my thumb (running impact negligible), I trod on a piece of glass (running impact major) and then hurt my neck so it’s locked up and painful (running impact ohbloodyhell). So I think I’ll just take the money and run my time getting better before I get back on the road.

I might be enjoying running… urghh

There is soooo much contradictory advice about running and recovery on the internet. Well, that’s probably true about every subject on the internet, but I would like to know what the best method is for training. For example, one expert says it’s completely pointless to do any runs that are below your target speed as they don’t get you anywhere. He says therefore that your weekly long run is a crazy idea if you do it too slowly. Of course, many others say that the long run is vital for building up your endurance.

The other key area for contradiction is how much training. Sure the more training you do the more likely you are to injure yourself. But if you don’t do a lot of training how do you get really good at something?

By the way, my ‘long’ runs at the moment are 7miles and the one I did today (click on the link to play it back) went really well, managed an average pace of 9mins 40 per mile! However what is completely scary… is… that I actually looked forward to the run! Me! I hate running, how on earth did I look forward to it?!!?!? Fingers crossed that I fall in the canal soon and get bitten by a swan to hopefully bring me back to me senses. Ooooh and I’m down to a size 32 waist!

Am nearly at my sponsorship target!…

Sweeeeeeet

50quid tells me not very much

Hmm,

I added (at a cost of 50 quid) a Garmin FootPod to my Forerunner 405 setup. This monitors my cadence (step rate)… but I was disappointed to see that it hardly changes throughout a run – it sits at a pretty static 80 steps per minute. I wonder if that’s telling me something? Like, if it’s static but my speed changes quite a lot, does that mean I’m moving further through the air when I’m going fast rather that actually just speeding up? So I’m just bouncing more? Sigh, unfortunately I’m still wiped out from my 7 mile run so can’t work it out.

We’ll see if that changes over time I guess and of course it gives me the opportunity to say that my run today involved 5760 punishing, horrible steps.

Also, I’m nearly at my sponsorship target after just three weeks! Woohoo. Still hoping for at least one more sponsor if you’re out there and thinking of me ever.

Finally for tonight, I have two great lolcat photos to use some time in the future. One will apply to me being stupid and one will apply to me tripping up. I wonder how long before I get to use arghghghhhhhhhhh bumpbumpbumpbump. Bloody cat sitting at top of stairs!I twipped

Gadgets at last!

Woohoo all this effort is paying off! I went for my first run today wearing a Garmin Forerunner 405 and it’s awesome!

It looks like a normal nerdy watch, but it has a GPS receiver in it so it can monitor your speed and location as you run. Then afterwards you can upload your data to the Garmin Website and view tons of really cool statistics whilst viewing the run (even playing it back) on Google Maps. If you also get a heart rate monitor or foot pod you can also record your heart rate and cadance (step speed) as well. Here is a screenshot (click on it)…

garmin1

Of course apart from being cool it’s very useful, you can monitor your heart-rate as you run to make sure you run inside certain upper and lower limits and you can monitor your progress between runs and share them with other people. You can view the details of my first run along the river Arun and up a hill and around a like here. Don’t forget the “Player” button!

By the way, all dogs must die. I had three dogs “wander in front of me” because they weren’t on leashes today and to rub salt in even more one woman held onto her dog and said “I’d better hold onto him, he chases runners!”. Mutter mutter! p.s. if anyone wants my previous Garmin heart monitor watch then let me know!

Ever felt your life was tough?

Got a packet of tissues ready for a few tears? Don’t think you’ll need them eh?… well once you’ve watched the video below you might regret that confidence.

Team Hoyt are a father and son team who have taken part (at the latest count)…

  • 229 Triathlons including 6 Ironman level
  • 20 Duathlons
  • 66 Marathons
  • 84 Half Marathons
  • 212 10K races
  • And many many more, totalling 984 events

And just as a reminder, an Ironman is a 2.4mile swim, a 112mile bike and then a full marathon.

So that’s pretty impressive right? Especially as the father Dick is 65 and his son Rick is 44.

OK, still not that impressed? Well the son Rick had complications at birth and ended up with Cerebal Palsy… so when they compete… “when Dick runs, Rick is in a wheelchair that Dick is pushing. When Dick cycles, Rick is in the seat-pod from his wheelchair, attached to the front of the bike. When Dick swims, Rick is in a small boat being pulled by his Dad.”

Yeh, exactly. Unbelievable. So if you’re ever feeling rubbish because you don’t have a pony/iPhone/shiny car/diamonds… just watch this video and be overwhelmed. You can find more about them here

6.64Mile Chichester Canal Running Route

Urgh, I wasn’t recovered from my 10mile run on Sunday today… and suffered. The route today was only 4miles of the longer 6.64mile run along the Chichester Canal (which goes from near Chichester train station down to Chichester Marina). It’s a lovely route – obviously flat and has lots of interesting things (ducks, swans, geese,  fish, Lord Lucan hiding in a bush, more swans) to distract you from the pain!

6.64 mile chichester canal running route

Remember to click on the image to open a larger version in a new window. You can usually find somewhere free to park at the top of the route (which is right here). Then you run the entire length of the canal all the way to the Marina. There is a cafe at both the start and end of the route as well! If you’re not up to the 6.64mile length then you can turn around after the second bridge (where you have to actually cross the road) which is at the 2 mile point. Unfortunately the route isn’t circular but it’s a lovely pleasant location and a great running surface. The only downside… bloody dog walkers who think their cuddly Mr Wuffles should be allowed to wander in front of you as you plod past forcing you into the canal.

2.77mile Arundel Running Route…

I might post a couple more running routes over time – if I manage to find any decent ones that don’t make me lost or dead. For starters here is a lovely walk/running route in Arundel…

2.77 mile run in Arundel

You’ll have to click on it to view it properly… The run starts in Arundel Car Park (which is never free, bah) and immediately goes onto a grassy path next to the lovely river Arun… it stays on this quiet path all the way round to the Black Rabbit pub (which is ‘ok’) then onto a very quiet tree lined road back into Arundel. I’ve also marked a nice lake (where you can buy ice-cream mmm) on the way back that is good for hill runs. Nearly the entire route is in the shadow of the beautiful Arundel Castle. Sure the run is only 2.77 miles… but it does have good extensions you can add to it that I’ll describe at other times, possibly!

Lost yet again!

Urgh, I had to do a 6 mile run today – to keep on my detailed plan. So, I managed to get lost on the wrong side of the river and ended up running for 2hours, watching the sun going down and whimpering quietly to myself that I’d never see my car cats ever again. However, as you can see from the photo below (you probably need to click on it) I ran for 10miles!

22/02/09 Run

Apart from the horrible huge hill part (around the lake), and the getting lost on the wrong side of the river, it was a gorgeous run and my muscles coped just fine. Although admittedly now I can’t walk – small price to pay? The highlights were getting hissed at by a swan, thinking that I heard a mole (really, shutup, and I was thinking about moles at the time!) and seeing some nice farmhouses with access to the river that I’ll of course buy one day with the charity sponsorship money, urr, other money. Am up to £200 now on my fundraising!

Remember when I mentioned getting lost?

Well I’m in London tonight catching up with two dear cronies… So I came up here a bit early to go for a run. Sure in my schedule I was due for a run today, but of course I mainly did it so I could lord it over my fat, lazy, worthless friends later!

Well it kind of backfired as my run through Hyde Park started well, I even got raced by a real squirrel (no that isn’t a sign I should dress up as one), however on my way back I got lost! It took me 15 stupid extra minutes of running around london streets to find my aparently ‘executive’ apartment/shoebox. Yes, I’m an idiot, here are my feet.

Training Websites…

great-wall-2008

When it came to chosing a training programme I did what I always do when looking for advice on something… spent 3 hours looking around on the internet trusting complete strangers as experts, then made up my own solution.

This might sound mad, but the reality is there doesn’t seem a particularly perfect way of training for a marathon. My heart specialist has run something like 18 marathons… his training schedule was “run every single day of the week, never more than 13miles”. The marathon beginners book I’m using has a 16 week training programme that scales from 15 – 37 miles a week – and their starting point is someone who can jog for only 30minutes!

The most important questions for me were…

  • How many days a week did I want to train for? This is likely to be either 4 or 5. What was most important to me was that you need to seriously consider ‘recovery’ days… so I have one big run a week and need a free day before it and afterwards so immediately that uses three of the week days! In addition you will want to get your long runs in at the weekend when you have the most time free.
  • How much time do you have and what is your overall goal (just finishing, right?). It’s going to take you a minimum of 6 months and more realistically a year to prepare for the big day. If you’re going to do it you need to feel you at least did it to the best of your ability.

Once you’ve answered those questions, you can come up with a plan that suits your timescale and available time. I ended up with (so far) the following…

  • Monday : Recovery day
  • Tuesday : Fast short run
  • Wednesday : Medium hill run
  • Thursday : Recovery day
  • Friday : Just a good decent medium length run
  • Saturday : Recovery day ready for…
  • Sunday : Long run

One of my big downers was that my initial training plan ideas never gave me ANY time to consolidate. Every single week was harder than the last. When the hell was I going to get time to improve my speed rather than distance??? So in terms of schedules, I’m following a training plan that ‘sort of’ looks like this…

  • Stage 1 : 6 week beginners stage, going from 5 to 10 miles a week.
  • Stage 2 : 6 week intermediate stage, going from 10 to 16 miles a week. (this should get you to a good 5K race time)
  • Stage 3 : 10 week quality stage, going from 13 to 20 miles a week (this should result in good 10K race times)
  • Stage 4 : 16 week advanced stage, going from 18 to 27 miles a week (this gets you ready for half marathons)
  • Stage 5 : 16 week superman stage, going from 25 to 43 miles a week (then you’re ready for marathon!)

Do I know if this plan is any good? Well I’ve found very similar versions around on the net… I will be verifying it with brainiacs when I get a bit more confident as well. But what I liked about it was that each stage gives me the opportunity to go back and improve on what I could do before. Mentally that’s really positive for me as I’ll be able to look back and say “a month ago I did exactly this run and it took me 5minutes longer” – which will be a real boost.

Here are some links to get you going…. brianmac.co.uk, runnersworld.ltd.uk, runnersworld.co.uk and the one I built my schedule from… city-runs.co.uk

p.s. the awesome photo is from the Great Wall Marathon. No.Bloody.Way.

Back of the Net !

Overdoing it...

Quick bit of advice now, which I don’t agree with 100%!

One of the big things in my excellent running book is about setting yourself a goal… fastest marathoneer ever? Sexiest? Most ambulances called to your rescue? Got most lost?

No, their advice on the only goal you should ever have for your first marathon is ‘To Finish’.

The reason does make a lot of sense actually. If you do set yourself a goal, say something possible but very ambitious like ‘Finish under 4hours” then it means you have to average 9 minutes a mile. And if you make that for 20 miles then great… but then if you slow down a bit for the next 2 miles, not much, but enough to make it pretty much impossible to catch up for the final 4 miles… then they say there is a very good chance you might find that so crushing that you either completely mess up your time or at worst, not finish the marathon at all – those last few miles are mentally tough.

What’s worse though, is that you’ll feel like a failure. Even though you’ve just run 26.2 unbelievable miles! You failed to reach your goal.

So that’s why the authors of the book have the great advice of just bloody well finish it!

However, setting ourselves challenging goals, pushing ourselves beyond what we think we can do, is one of the characteristics of human beings that’s made us so successful. So secretly I do have a goal, shhhh.

Of course, pushing yourself a bit too far doesn’t always end up in success and I may end up proving that only the fittest survive (-:

Charity…

macmillan

I hope it’s not bad to say, but I’m not actually running the marathon for charity, I’m running it for myself as a huge personal challenge. HOWEVER, it’s far too good an opportunity to be missed to raise money for a really worthwhile cause.

Therefore, I’m running for Macmillan Cancer Care. Approximately one in three of us will develop cancer in our lifetimes and we won’t just need medical care. This is where Macmillan step in, they help people with cancer and their families get through this incredibly difficult time and they’ll always be by your side.

Just imagine for a minute what it must be like working for a charity that sends you into peoples homes at their darkest times, it must be incredibly draining and emotional, so we all should do everything we can to support the charity and their amazing volunteers.

You can find my charity page here, please contribute. And no, I won’t run the marathon dressed like a squirrel for anything less than a million pounds.

The pic is related, trust me

Squirry

There is no going back now…….unless I break a leg, have a heart attack, run myself over repeatedly with my car or become allergic to Americans.

Yep, this is it, I’ve booked my race entry for the New York Marathon 2009. I was planning on running for a designated charity but that didn’t quite work out…

If you want to take part in the New York Marathon (and this is true for many others) you have a few choices…

  • You can buy a place through a company. There seem to be two main companies – 2:09 Events and Sports Tours International. They both offer either “Race Ticket + Flight” or “Race Ticket + Flight + Hotel” options. And don’t expect either of these to be cheap. This option is good if you want to organise your own hotel and don’t want the pressure of having to raise a lot of money for a charity. I paid £949 for my place including flights. As of today BA flights to New York on the marathon dates are approx £400 so I’ve paid £549 for my marathon place. i.e. I’ll be paying around 20quid for every single horrible mile.
  • You can get a guaranteed place with a charity. Just google for “new york marathon charity places” and you’ll see a huge list of charities that have purchased race entries. Some charities make you raise a minimum amount then give you a marathon place, some make you raise money then buy one of their flight or flight+hotel packages. If you don’t raise the minimum amount then they “may” try to block you from getting tickets to a marathon again (and of course you’ll go to hell). If you know you’re going to be able to raise a lot of money then this route can be quite attractive as sometimes they subsidise the cost of the flight or the hotel… but in my experience this isn’t by much! When I was looking recently, a charity place typically had a minimum charity pledge of £1600-£1800. If there were charity places available for “Stroke the Squirrel” then I’d be prepared to dress up in that squirrel outfit at work to raise money… but bad luck for you there aren’t any. How much would you pledge to see that by the way?
  • If you have run lots of races before you can get a guaranteed place if you can prove your times are very fast. And I mean *very fast*.
  • You can enter the ticket lottery. I don’t know what the odds are for this but I imagine they’re pretty poor. For New York if you don’t get a ticket from the lottery three years in a row then you get in automatically.

If you choose a company or a charity you usually get pretty good support, like buses to the marathon start, practice runs, meet ups, parties before and after the race etc.

I was going to run for Macmillan cancer care as they initially thought they’d have a “ticket only” option. But now they’ve been told they have to have ticket+flight at the minimum then I can’t really afford the minimum of £2300 I’d have to get together (£1600 pledge + £700 travel+ticket deposit). I will of course still raise money for them as they were extremely helpful with my many questions.

So, basically if you absolutely must get a place in a specific marathon then be prepared to wait or pay. Of course there are much cheaper marathons available around the world… I’ll be in New York with probably every supermodel from Victoria Secret cheering me on while you could be enjoying 26.2miles in downtown Baghdad.

By the way, I thought you’d want to know, whenever I write “marathon” my fingers actually write “marathong”. So if in the process of reading my blog you find that word… then I apologise in advance.

The wrong type of speed

Lucozade

Not that I’m an expert on methamphetamines, but I tried some Lucozade Energy tablet things for my long run on Sunday. Jesus, rather than giving me speed it made me feel like I was on it! I obviously need to do more research, by the way, you only need these sort of energy suppliments for runs over one hour… so stop eyeing up those creme eggs bratty. Had a great run today though, outside with a river and 4 swans and a castle and some ducks… and loads and loads of mud.
Update: I have recently tried the Lucozade Energy Gel… this seemd pretty good actually, it was definitely more paletable (if still bloody icky) and felt like it gave me a boost on this weeks long run. Sure it might have been a placebo, but it counts as sweets to me!

World Record Coming Up!

Yes, I’m a nerd, but *you* love spreadsheets more than me so no comments…. I’ve been plotting my speeds per mile since I took up my training and logic and brilliance has proved what I knew all along.

Yep, I’m going to break the world record.

Speed/MileSee, the evidence is all in the above graph. As you can see my speed per mile is steadily decreasing (ignore the coldest day of the year when I ran up a massive hill). I’ve been plotting the trend for this speed improvement and on the 3rd of October I’ll be able to run a mile in ZERO SECONDS! So surely by the marathon date I’ll finish before I’ve even started?

Actually that might well be true as I’ll prob break my leg on the way there. Hopefully.

By the way, I ran for 49mins today (5miles) and it was actually just fine. Yep, you read that right. The reason? Well, I fantasised about my marathon run… it involved being knocked over by a madman, then a TV reporter, being unable to see because of blood in my eyes from the falls, then asking for Alessandra to run in front of me, but ended up being escorted covered in blood by Paula Radcliffe. wtf? Is that the internal state of my mind about running a marathon? Who cares though, I could be pecked to death by pigeons the entire way provided it made the run go quicker.

Chunka!

Alessandra

OK so this photo is pretty amazing, and it’s impossible to really find any fault in her (and she’s running, which of course is what awesome people do), but Alessandra’s huge tummy is an opportunity for me to say I have lost over a stone already! Which, considering my butt and legs feel like they’re made from steel is mucho pleasing!

Running is still going OK, ran 20miles in total last week! Now I’m just starting the ’10K plan’ so my runs go back to 13miles a week and start building up from there thankfully! Unfortunately after each run I feel fine physically but mentally I’m a blob, I can barely string a sentence together for the following 6hours! So don’t expect me to call you on Marathon day.

Ah and one other confession of stupidity, I did a ‘Brad Pitt listening to music on a treadmill’ when I finished my 1hr 20 run a couple of days ago. cof.

I’ve decided! I think

Obvious! Urrr, wot

I’ve decided not to have heart surgery this year. If I regret it… well… I probably won’t have the opportunity to regret it (-:

So therefore, I can get back to writing about running… and more importantly my feet. I’ve read a lot of good advice recently about breathing and eating and not falling over and giving up, but nothing about what to do about the pounding that my feet get when they get landed on by 13.5stone of Pete several thousand times. I’ve just got back from my longest run – 6.2miles, (10k) that took me 1hr and 13minutes and I have a couple of blisters. Now I don’t particularly want to change my trainers as who says the next ones won’t also give me blisters? Hmm, well I guess I’m going to have to go and visit a specialist running shop and get some ideas, you ought to go there as well…

As for how the hell I pass 1hr and 13minutes without wanting to top myself, I have a new approach. Music is too repetitive, there often aren’t enough fat people to watch. So my new tactic is very very boring and difficult to understand podcasts. Today I listened to a programme about Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems. Trust me, don’t click on that link.. you may never recover the use of your brain. Listening to a science show about it for 45minutes made that time absolutely disappear without me realising!

I won’t charge you for that running tip (-:

Decisions decisions…

Leaf Heart
How seriously would you take having a heart problem? Are you the sort of person who’d have several major tests on your heart and then a final decision meeting with your heart surgeon…. and forget to go?

So, OK then, I must be either in denial or just an idiot because I forgot. However with judicious driving I made it to BUPA on time, without my wee sample as ever.

I met with the surgeon and we discussed the risks and the benefits and arghghgh why are they just like mortgage advisors and refuse to tell you what to dooooo???

Now, I have to decide myself whether to have surgery or not….

  • If I do, it’ll mean at least 10 days before I can run again because my heart is going to get bruised at the very least
  • There is an approximate 1/100 chance that something could go wrong and I’d end up needing a pacemaker. You don’t just get a pacemaker and that’s the end of it, they need tinkering with and changing over the rest of my life so that ain’t so hot.
  • There is a 1/1000 chance that something (in his words) catastrophic would happen. Catastrophic is a great word, sounds like a very angry lolcat… except it’s not such a great word when it’s about something that’s happening to me.
  • If I go ahead, then never again will I have extra heart beats or eisodes where my heart beats at over 180, I’ll be able to drink and eat normally and not need to be careful about trigger foods, I will be able to run the marathon and not worry about having a dodgy episode during the 5hours I’ll be running. And I’ll be perfect! No abnormalities!
  • Hmm, what to do. If I don’t go ahead, am I missing an opportunity and if things get worse when I’m say in my late 50’s will I regret it? If I do go ahead though am I just taking unnecessary risk?

    At the moment I’m leaning towards doing nothing. I’ve never been so damned slim, sexy or fit, why go and risk it.

I’ve switched to mountaineering…

I had my next heart test on Friday… and I think they were trying to drum up business by nearly killing me. I was put, semi-naked, onto a running machine and told I needed to get to my target heart rate of 182. Now if they’d sat me on a nice sofa and let me watch the Victoria Secret Fashion Show I’d have reached 182 quite quickly indeed. But no, they made me WALK at 8kph on an incline of 16% !!!! Now for you fatties out there who don’t understand anything from the word “walk”, imagine you’ve got a banana held between your thighs (so you can’t run) but you’re trying to get to Burger King as quickly as possible… and to get there you have to waddle pretty much vertically! It was all I could do for the next 13minutes to cling on to the handrail and not let go and end up as a smudge on the carpet!

And this cost about 300quid! Thankfully not my money yet though.

Anyway, I passed and can carry on training, oh happy days, oh bounce bloody bounce. Let’s finish with a test to see how quickly your heart rate reaches 182…

Big Hugs!

Crapppppp

An entire week out of my schedule!

Because I got a cold!

Nooooo, I’ll never ever get that week back!

I actually would be really annoyed by this but luckily I received a really good book on Marathon running called The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer. It’s a practical guide to Marathon running by these guys who set up a university course about training for a Marathon.

It answers some of the really important questions that I need answering… what should my running style be? (e.g. how is the best way to move my arms when running – that’s not actually that stupid a question!), what speed should I run at? How often should I breathe? (again, stop sniggering – that’s not a silly question! and the answer is something like once for every 2 strides, I think). But most importantly it is a book about confidence. If I followed the programme in the book then I’d only actually be training for 16weeks before the marathon day – and they have a practically nearly 100% success rate so there.

However being an idiot I’m training for 52 weeks. Ohgod, I was ill…51weeks! aieeee

I’ve done my marathon!

Surprise!

OK so I haven’t, but I have finished my first training schedule! I’m no longer a beginner (I’m still a silly idiot though) as I’ve now run a total of 42.8 miles in the last six weeks.

Now I’m moving away from timed runs (my last one was 45minutes) and onto distance… so tonight I have to run for 3 miles. Or as you swines would put it “less than an eighth of a marathon”. bah.

Musckles and Happy Cheery Joy Joy stuff

Well I’ve learnt something new… Remember my earlier post where I was disappointed not to be building any muscle (apart from in my legs – my god I have thighs of steel) (ok, maybe slightly melty steel)? Well it seems that if you’re doing exercises it pretty much is the *ones that feel like they’re going to kill you* that do all the good stuff as they’re tearing the muscle fibres which then grow back thicker etc.etc. However you still need to do the easier ones as well otherwise you’ll just end up damaging yourself and achieving nothing.

On a related note… saw my heart specialist. I was impressed that he remembered me from four years ago and we chatted about my job… then he said that he’d noticed Delta Waves for the first time on my ECG. These are indicators that heart surgery is likely to be possible… urk. So I’m off to see the heart surgeon soon. urk. Heart surgery.

I’ve just had to log back on and delete the paragraph that was here as it was *terrible*

 

The utter boredom of running…

… is going to be the death of me. My god it’s mercilessly boring. If you’re home alone, on the sofa, during a power cut… well, there is always… um… entertainment. And that kind of entertainment is pretty difficult when running let me tell you. At the very least you can just lie there and daydream!

But when you’re running you have to concentrate, you have to remember to breathe and if you’re on a running machine then you have to be careful not to fall off. My running machine is in front of a nice view of a pool and hot-tub which occasionally has interesting blobby people to watch, but even that is boring after a while. This is what I do to make the seconds pass (by the way there are a lot of seconds in 40minutes – that’s my current run time)….

  • I count the number of letters in each word of the sign "Guests using gym must consult with trainer before using equipment" and try to remember the numbers sequence
  • I do maths with the running machines display. For example, if the minutes is 25 then I have to watch out for interesting pairs in the seconds such as 25:25 or 25:52. Then I have to work out what percentage of the run I’ve done so far, and how long 25%, 33%, 66% and 75% of the run is in time (which was particularly galling during the 35minute runs).

See? How utterly boring is it for you to even read the mindnumbingly boring things I do to make 4 seconds pass?!?! I usually have my iPod, but I’m beginning to catch up on podcasts, it’d be a disaster to run out! I’d have to resort to my music, aieeee. Sorry this post about boredom was boring!

I Heart Hearts

Good Day…

Bad Day…

Urgh, I guess as I mentioned it in my earlier post, I ought to mention the cause of nearly all my marathon stress. I’m lucky enough to have two of what most people only have one of. Before your eyes light up and you ask me if I have to buy special underwear, I mean electrical pathways on my heart. Now, don’t take the following as medical fact as when my specialists explain all of this to me I nod and listen and understand then within five minutes it’s seeped out of my brain.

I apparently have the awesome sounding Supraventricular Tachycardia, specifically Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, something which even useless Prime Ministers get.

I think I can sum it up by saying that I have two of the electrical pathways that govern my heart beat. And sometimes these ‘short circuit’ and get themselves in a right mess. The upshot of which is that my pulse can then race to well over 200bpm. The longest that an "episode" has happened for is over 24hours and although I can still sort of function during that time I’m constantly thinking paniccccccccccccccccc. The craziest thing is that it’s possible to actually sometimes see my heart beating if you look at my skin. My pulse is so strong that I "visibly" have a heart beat which you can see. Peeep.

Anyway, ignoring IT’S MY BLOODY HEART AND I ONLY HAVE ONE AND IT’S KIND OF IMPORTANT DON’T YOU THINK it means a few interesting things….

  • It’s very psychosomatic. As I’m writing this I feel slightly faint and my heart feels like someone has it in their hand and is squeezing it. Simply because I’m thinking about my condition! WTF? I’m trying to top myself!?!?!?
  • It involves the most amazing sounding Bundle of Kent. See, if I asked you what on *earth* that was you’d never ever guess… it turns out the electrical pathways are called the "Bundle of His", but if you have an extra group then that’s called the Bundle of Kent. How crazy is that!?!?!?!
  • Because I’m clearly not an idiot (well, in some respects) I believe in evolution, I love the fact that if I’m having one of these episodes then sometimes sucking on an ice-cube will fix my racing heart…. that’s apparently because we are descended from sea creatures and it’s still in our genetic makeup to "slow the heart down" when you experience the cold of an ice cube. This is because creatures when they dive deeper into cold water need to slow their heart rate down to survive longer.
  • This does not mean I’m a whale
  • I can possibly have it fixed via ablation. This doesn’t sound too bad until you realise that it involves a long wire being placed into an artery, being guided all the way up into my heart and then "burning/zapping/lasering" the extra pathway. That’s apparently not so complicated except that according to my ECG the two pathways are very close to each other so they might zap both of them.
  • That would really not be good!

I’m off to see my specialist again (who seems pretty relaxed about the whole thing)  in a few days to find out if I’m OK to carry on training for the marathon. If I’m not then this blog will finish bloody soon! I might have to slip him a fiver to make sure that’s the case!

 

Yodelllleeeeheeeeehoooooooo, cof

Ooooh, big temptation this week. I escaped to Switzerland to a very nice hotel for the week to get away from everything (not that it worked of course, it never will). As I was away… in a country that specialises in cheese, chocolate and snow I assumed I wouldn’t have to do any marathon training. But unfortunately it had a very good gym and pool so I exercised nearly every day. Not as impressive as the people who did their jogging up the steep streets of Adelboden in the snow of course, but there is always some bugger out there making you feel feeble!

For the record I’m up to 35minute runs now. My heart pain seems to be getting a little less, I think. Just even saying ‘heart pain’  makes me peep.

Wii Fit Can Wii Off

Yes, I know I was a fool to buy Wii Fit. I only bought it because I didn’t have it. And it *was* good fun for about 30 minutes. But then it went away neverrrr to be seeeeeen againnnnnnnn, cof, sorry went a bit dramatic then.

But recently Wii Fit has returned… to help me with my New York assignment… and it let me down big time.

Why? Because it’s bloody rubbish! And *infuriating*. It says the same bloody things every time you use it. SHUTUP SHUTUP SHUTUP JUST WEIGH ME. I don’t care about your stupid opinions on the Weather or Sundays or How Great A Work Out I Just Did. Arghghg, it just completely manages to take any enjoyment (if there ever was any) out of the experience.

As for the exercises, they seem pointless to me. I’ve managed to use the Step exercise for 30 minutes now and because the balance board is only a couple of inchs off the ground it’s just like walking on the spot! 30 minutes of total boredom, naff visuals and crap dialogue. Arghghg. (I have now balanced the balance board on four books so don’t be surprised if you see a photo of me in hospital with my head stuck in my TV). One of the exercises is *actually* running on the spot. Seriously, running on the spot on your carpet in your house for 30minutes?!!? Are you serious? You’d burn a fricking hole in the carpet!

I am using it to weigh myself on a daily basis. I do this at about 8:30am… naked. If you fancy checking me out? Well OK it’s a bit early so just ask and I’ll mail you a photo anyway.

Click on this cartoon from the excellent Penny Arcade to sum it up… “Sweat, It’s like my body is crying”, it’s just a shame Wii Fit is a gimic so far.

Fat Club

I’m doing sit-ups, and press-ups. They’re not working, nothing is happening. How the hell can nothing be happening? Maybe it is and I have too much fat covering the results? Or maybe I’m just not doing enough? I have been trying to find out if, say you do 50 situps, do the ones that don’t hurt count? Or is it only the really bloody painful ones at the end that count? Like, If I do 20, then 20, then 20, then 20… is that the same as doing 80 in one big go?

This is bugging me! I’ve been doing this for 2 weeks and I don’t yet look like Brad in Fight Club. Fat Club maybe |-:

I’m getting closer to be able to touch my feet! Of course when I do that I want to be able to place my hands flat on the floor (urr, when standing up of course). After that, well, I’ll be so supple I’d best not say where I want to be able to do.

And the gym, hmm that’s going to be a big problem as it’s soooo tiny. One of the running machines is literally next to the only aircon in the room… so you not only have the pain of running but also end up with a fricking numb ear. And it’s *boring* in there, nothing to look at.

Complain, Complain, Complain I know I know it’s only going to get worse. I suppose on one positive note my weight IS coming down, a bit.

I ain’t given up, yet

Nearly a week and a half in and apart from nearly dying in a hot tub (um, hot tubs are an important part of my training even though apparently Paula Radcliffe gets into a bath of ice after a run) I’m still going!

I’ve invested in socks that have L and R printed onto them – which is about the closest I get to using technology so far damnit. I’ve done 5 runs now for a total of 9.5 miles!

As you can see, for the first 6 weeks the time goes up about 5 minutes a week, which I can sort of deal with if I felt like I was improving on each run. Unfortunately all I can think of as a goal is not dying, which I’ve managed… so far.

Am I there yet? Am I there yet? Am I there yet?

No.

I’m really not.

Sob!

However, today at last I started on my journey to New York. I followed my schedule and ran for 20minutes at a “steady” pace (I have steady, fast, hard, hill and quality types of run and at the moment don’t really fully understand them!). However I did also break all the rules and move away from the training plan by putting an incline into the running machine to make it a bit harder, oops.

So, by running for 20minutes at 7kph, I managed the amazing distance of 2.33km. That’s 1.44miles. According to my schedule I have to run 1128miles. Oh sweet jeebus. That means I’m 0.12% through. Whimper. When can I give up?

Transmogrification

Well, my last day as a normalish person! Actually, I did find out today that although I start my training schedule properly tomorrow it turns out that I don’t do my first run till Monday woohoo!

Anyway, I was thinking about how this is going to change me…

  • I can’t touch my toes, yet. Now, at least I can see my toes which is more than can be said for some of ya. I know toe touching isn’t high on lifes ambitions, unless you’re a retifist, but it still seems like something that I should be able to do.
  • Will it change my positive energy and attitude? I’ve never been one of these exercise junkies, I just don’t get it when people do exercise then say how great they feel afterwards. I feel great after eating a burger, I don’t need to run 5miles in advance of eating the burger to enjoy it even more. But maybe getting fit will change that. And it might make me a more active person overall. My sofa is definitely hoping for this as I have worn a pretty accurate Pete’s Ass shaped dent in it.
  • According to my BUPA report, my ideal weight should be between 83 and 88kg… and at the moment it’s 89kg, so I don’t need to see much difference here, but it’ll be awesome to lose the fat around my tummy.
  • I’ve never really had muscles, or any muscle definition. I find muscular people pretty repugnant although I’d love to have a toned body I guess. Nothing excessive, just enough that I have to fight hoards of screaming supermodels off me on a daily basis. Obviously not all of the supermodels, just… most.
  • I look forward to wearing a pair of trainers out. That will be a big moment for me!
  • What if I damage my body? Urk, I might screw my joints up!

I guess, as long as something like the video below doesn’t happen then I can count myself lucky…

I’ve made a terrible mistake

So, as you know from the last post, I now have a tentative schedule that takes me round the course in New York, probably via the Cracks of Doom in Mordor. Urr yeh that was a nerdy reference, I’m sorry.

Well, I seem to have found a very serious mathematical mistake. Because I chose a more “realistic” schedule which has me running for 4 days a week for the year… (some of the schedules were 5, 6 or even 237 days a week) and being slightly technical I decided to work out how many miles I’ll be running in total.

And I appear to have found GOOGLE’S FIRST BIG MISTAKE

Yes, it turns out their Spreadsheet application in Google Docs cannot add up numbers! Yes! It must be true.

Because the total number of miles I need to run to prepare for the Marathon, by running 4 times a week for the next year…. appears to be….

1128 miles

There is only one response to that…

The investigation…

As the marathon is practically a year away, I’ve decided to make it an exact 12 months of training, starting on November the 1st. So woohoo I have about 5 more days of being normal, eating, scratching butt, playing on Xbox and wearing a dent in the sofa. Call it my Last Supper I guess. Except with two cats as disciples and not quite as much Eels with orange slices on the menu.

During this time though, I’ve been trying to build a training plan. Now, being clever and logical (ha) I imagined that if a Marathon is likely to take me 5-6 hours to run, then surely I’d only need to properly start training for it about 6months through next year. My plan for the first half was to start getting fit, adapting my diet and “getting ready” for the proper training.

Crap, was I seriously wrong. You knew I was wrong didn’t you?

At first I was truly amazed as all the websites I found that had “Marathon Training Schedules” on them typically had plans that lasted around 16 – 20 weeks. Wow, so I only need to train for four months!!!! Awesome.

Unfortunately this was even wronger than 6 months…

It turns out that the “16 week Marathon Training Schedule” was for someone who has completed the “16 week Half Marathon Training Schedule”

It turns out the “16 week Half Marathon Training Schedule” was for someone who has completed the “12 week 10K Race Training Schedule”

It turns out the “12 week 10K Race Training Schedule” was for someone who has completed the “12 week 5K Race Training Schedule”

It turns out the “12 week 5K Race Training Schedule was for someone who has completed the “12 week Complete Beginners Training Schedule”

WTF

So, that means, oh god, it means I have to start running. Like, NOW.

Whimper, The Last Supper analogy was right…. I’m gonna get crucified.

Oh you bloody fool

Earlier today I had a big BUPA health check, prodded, stabbed, measured and assessed… of course I won the first prize and made the doctors cry at my perfection… but boy did I want to fail and have them find something wrong with me!

The reason? I’ve foolishly decided to stick to my goal about running a Marathon, a word that I think deserves a capital ‘M’ (for Moron, Madness and Misery).

You can’t just "run a Marathon" though, it’s a bloody miracle to get a place, are there really that many stupid people who want to do this? It seems so.

So over the last month I’ve been investigating places with various charities, "Stroke the Badger", "Pet the Pony" and "Adore the Pete" didn’t seem to exist as charities, let alone have any guaranteed tickets to Marathons, but luckily Macmillan Cancer Support did have a place and as they’ve helped my family in the past then I applied with them.

Unfortunately they’ve let me have a place )-:

So, November 2nd (I think, god I hope it’s November the 1st and I turn up a day late) 2009 I’ll be in New York attempting to run 26 miles and 385 yards and then hopefully drop down dead. Actually, I think I’d prefer to drop down dead before running 26 miles and 385 yards. Or actually, really thinking about it, I’d rather not do either.

What the hell am I doing?

Welcome to hell…

“To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who’s never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind.”

Hello there! You’re currently right at the end, urr, or the beginning… of my blog about running the New York Marathon. So carry on reading upwards and once you’ve caught up, just bookmark http://www.cloudzilla.net/marathon for ongoing updates (i.e. me leaving the country, growing a beard and living on a tropical island a week before the marathon).