Things just don’t go as planned

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog and also with the exercise. The London Marathon is about 4 weeks away and I should be up to 20 plus miles a week with months of solid training behind me. This hasn’t happened and isn’t going to happen.

Back in December I was trying to get out and work seemed to get in the way. January and February saw me struggling to balance feeling ill and being ill with trying to train and all of life’s other commitments.

Over the past two weeks I have been in hospital and am now off work. It seems that there is something neurological going on and so planning to run a marathon seems not the most sensible thing to be doing. I have therefore had to withdraw from my first marathon and because it was a charity place, I won’t be able to defer entry.
I’ve been told that exercise can be good but that I need to be resting and so I am paring exercise down to working on speed over 1 mile and a new 5k pb. So shorter, more intense runs with perhaps the occasional longer stint. I think seeing some progress with my speed will help as I should feel better in myself for exercising but not doing so much that it exhausts me. I also hope that the exercise will help me recover speedily – the endorphins and feeling positive will help me overcome how I feel about my health, being signed off work and the fact that things just aren’t working out as planned at the moment.

It is apparent that there may be some issue with my spine and how the nerves communicate from C5 and C6 which means that there is not much sensation in my left arm and at times loss of movement. My left leg is also weaker.


Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me in my training and efforts so far this year. There is something odd going on with my health – how I coped over the 10k which turned into my first DNF should have taught me that. So my year of exercise will continue but in a calmer, quieter way.

This is where I went this morning for a gentle run around the lake.


10 weeks out – The plan.

So – after my DNF at Knebworth, I’ve had a chance to rethink my strategy and take into account my recent bout of colds and being generally run down. Whilst I still want to complete the London Marathon in under 5 hours, I am taking a realistic approach and want to get round. If I manage a time anywhere near 5 hours then that will be a bonus!

Here’s the plan for the next few weeks – should be manageable and also ups the mileage whilst allowing me time to recover and not do too much during the working week.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 11.44.25As you will see in the next picture (courtesy of the British heart Foundation photographer), I really was not looking too happy in the 10k. This picture was taken just over the 2 mile mark and I was going up a bit of an incline.

Lesson learnt – respect the distance and conditions as well as how I am feeling. Prepare properly and rest as much as possible!


My first DNF. It had to happen sometime.

Rather alarmingly, I felt completely empty and lacked any energy after just 2 miles. I’m 10 weeks out from the London Marathon and I couldn’t complete a 10k. Not good.


Is this now time to re-evaluate, throw it all in or just take a lesson from the experience tweak a few things and move on. I think I’ll go for option 3.

Did I prepare? Not specifically beyond my usual running but work and feeling I’ll has been stopping decent Tarmac time for weeks.

I had a good breakfast and drank but perhaps not enough.

Today I stretched and warmed up and started off feeling really good.
Mile 1= 8:47 pretty fast for me especially over rough and undulating ground. So perhaps I set off far too fast.
Kit was all old and trusted, comfortable clothes. Nothing let me down there.
I did try and keep my cadence in mind with a 180 tick tock but that didn’t feel too bad.
So what went wrong?

Perhaps I am just knackered – plain and simple. I have a Doctor’s appointment in two days. I have suspected iron and B12 deficiency. Maybe therein lies the problem!?

Well done to all of those who completed the Knebworth run. It was a greatmorning with almost perfect conditions for the season. Rain fell a few days ago so the ground was soft but not a bog. There was little slipping and sliding around this time. Frustrating as I really wanted a pb for the course (last year 61 minutes).

Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 14.42.13

It was a goo route with some lovely scenery and rolling hills. I devoured the first mile and my Heart Rate was around 150bpm. The second mile had a long steady climb over rough ground which felt like a killer but nothing unusual (apart from the surface) and this is where I first walked. This was followed by another spell of running which was ok but another rise led me to walk before a long slippery section. I walked and then lightly jogged the final quarter of a mile.

I was definitely in line for a new pb  – if I had managed to keep it going. I just couldn’t keep going and as I said earlier – felt empty.

Marathon : Miserable Long Run.

Keep on going… It all takes perseverance, determination and commitment.

Running Faster: Quest for Speed

Today I again tried a long run. Unfortunately it turned into a disaster.

Went through my normal pre run routine ok. Breakfast of toast and half a banana and a coffee. Massaged my legs with anti inflam cream. Sunscrean. Gels in special pouch. All good.

Ran with Tamami and started slowly. Wearing my light racing flats. Apart from feeling I should have left more time before breakfast and starting I was ok for about 10 Km.

But my 17 Km my knee was hurting so badly I stopped for a drink of water and an energy gel. But really this was just an excuse to rest my knee. I was close to limping. 😦
Tamami took this opportunity to run on strongly leaving me.

I caught Tamami at another drink stop at 22 Km. This had taken us almost two hours !
After yet another drink I then struggled on…

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The debate in my head – to run for fun or as a way of being?

I’ve had a day off work because I’m ill. I had no voice and when I tried to speak to leave a message to say I would be absent I was reduced to a coughing, spluttering mess. Not good and so a day of rest was in order.

Today then has given me an unusual opportunity to browse a bit of Facebook and see posts that I would probably usually miss. I also slept and spent time waiting in the Drs surgery.

I was really impressed and a bit inspired by the people who posted on Ultrarunning Community (A great place on Facebook, full of interesting, helpful tidbits based on collective years and miles of experience), telling their stories of transformation and fitness. Showing their  weight loss stories and posting some ‘old them’ and ‘new them’ pictures and celebrate their achievements.

It got me thinking…

January 2014 was when I signed up with Strava and decided to try and take exercise more seriously. By February I had entered a 10k and soon after had signed up for a 40 miler. I ran different things in between and over the course of 2014 had clocked up just under 500 miles by foot and several hundred by bike. It felt really good but I want to do more.

January 2015 – I committed to taking some exercise every day and have almost managed that – illness and long work / commuting hours have really made that difficult to maintain. I’ve also managed to get a place in the London Marathon but am now worried that I won’t do justice to that awesome and potentially once in a lifetime opportunity. (I don’t think I’ll ever manage a sub 3hr 5minute marathon which gives automatic entry – and so will rely on future luck should I re-apply). I really want to tackle the Grimreaper 40 mile run and improve on my time and am loving the opportunity all of this exercise and planning affords me – I just wish that there was the time to plan, exercise and then enjoy my relatively new hobby. I think I want to change my hobby into a way of life but can’t quite seem to get there.

I’m currently reading Eat and Run by Scott Jurek and it is a brilliant read.

In fact I’m feeling quite inspired by his story of achievement and hard work. He changed his life and allowed himself to focus on the thing he loved – running and fitness with a pretty impressive devotion focussed on his diet and training. Now – that is not me but I want to be healthier and I suppose, I feel that so my year of exercise has not run as smoothly as I would like liked and am feeling a little frustrated. After all I was also thinking of squeezing in a 100miler, being supported by family as I independently crossed Devon. If I’m to reach these goals then I need to train.

Illness, tiredness and everything else – work – seem to be getting in the way. So what to do?

I can look more at getting to work by foot (it’s a 30 mile commute and my cycling isn’t up to 60 miles a day!) and the train is quite expensive. So if anyone is out there who has read this and has some words of advice or suggestions then please comment.

By the way – this time last year I was around 220lbs. I weighed myself a couple of months ago and was about 210lbs – so no great transformation but I know why – I need to train more and eat more sensibly. I’m tempted by some vegetarianism or even veganism. We’ll see.

To finish this lengthyish post – some upbeat news. Below are my shiny new trainers, bought for the London Marathon (a lovely new year sale bargain) and also me a couple of weeks ago out for a run in the lovely snow. It only lasted a couple of days and was great to go out in. Hopefully more by the end of the week when I will also be feeling better!

A snowy run - more please! Adidas Boost Adios - New trainers!

Long(ish) run with a deer surprise!


This morning was my first proper for pre marathon training. My trips to the gym, which are just so dull, count of course but they just don’t feel like proper exercise – especially as there is just pounding music, silly little tvs and… ceilings. Outside is the place to be.

So, this morning I stepped out into the snow and headed off into the unknown. Genuinely this is the case; most of my route was a first time explore for me. I kept an eye on the general direction of home but was never quite sure where I would end up, especially when I was on the footpaths and out of site and earshot of roads. I was rewarded with bumping into a group of beaters and then the group of shooters shortly afterwards; running across beautifully frozen fields (which thawed as time passed – I got home with quite the saturated trainers!) and after rounding a corner I was suddenly presented with this group of young deer. A little further on I passed a group of more mature deer – all with full sets of antlers proudly on display.
There is no way that running in the gym could compare to being out and about this morning.

So, after listening to a good marathon training talk from one of my local running club’s coaches, I felt that I need to put more purpose into my running. I have a schedule of long weekend runs and will match weekly mileage to that done at the weekend. Over the next 16 weeks I should tot up the best part of 320 miles. Then run a marathon.

Thanks for reading – if you feel you can, please donate to the British Heart Foundation by clicking here.

Day 3 / 365

So – I’ve kept on top of the challenge for 3 days. Finding time for a daily run has been fine but then I am still in holiday mode. Next week, when I’m back to work will be a different story and I suspect that I will stick more to the minimum target of 3k a day. All just because of time constraints. Still – this may encourage me to get faster over shorter distances!

Any suggestions about how to deal with fogged up classes would be appreciated. This is something that has bothered me a bit recently but today was really bad. A combination of cold and rain I think. Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 10.55.51 IMG_6041

Still need to sit down and work out a proper marathon training schedule. Perhaps a job for this afternoon whilst its raining.

2015 time to get going

After a December lay off, I started things up again today. I feel fairly groggy but whilst I was out running and walking a slow gentle 10km I had a taste of that lovely runners high. Ah – want more.

So, to help re-motivate me, I have signed up to the Kx365 challenge and committed to 3km a day every day for 365 days. I have a handy 3km loop form my front door which I can easily extend but  as a straightforward pop out and run, it is there ready to go!

Today I am happy to report that I went out for 10km. It was slow and steady but my leg didn’t hurt (after the strain in the half marathon and Herberts Hole) plus my knees were also pain free which means the insoles may well be working. Hoorah.

2015 kx365