MY RUNNING JOURNEY AND RACE RECAP
Welcome to my blog I hope you will find what I have to say interesting and informative as you accompany me on my journey.
You will be able to read about my life, rediscovered love of running and nutrition along with my trials and tribulations as I try to get fitter stronger and faster.
My goal for 2019 is to run 1,200 miles during the calendar year and to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I will regularly update how this epic journey progresses and what I discover about myself both good and bad over this time.
I wanted to challenge myself during 2019 and to raise money for such a wonderful charity which is working tirelessly to eradicate such a horrible disease which has affected my family, friends and colleagues.
This will really push me to the limits week after week to hit the annual target which is nearly double the distance I covered in 2018, but will be nothing compared to the thousands of people being diagnosed and battling cancer over this period.
The Lincoln 10K took place on 7th April on a rather cooler day than last year event. Organisation at the beginning left a little bit to be desired with the start delayed as they tried to get all the runners into position.
The course was similar to last year with a slight tweak due to the renovation to Lincoln Cathedral but was well marshalled and the crowd support was good as always.
Coming into the race I felt mentally and physically strong with the miles I had put in during the first three months of 2019.
Personally, the race started well and felt strong over the first few miles and looked on course to go sub 40 minutes with the first 5K being 19:55, unfortunately the next couple of miles slipped back by a few seconds each and I crossed the line in 40 minutes 32 seconds a solid PB by nearly 3½ minutes.
Now a week to recover and onto the Boston Marathon!
The Boston Marathon took place on 14th April on a cool and windy day. The organisation was fantastic with plenty of marshals to help with parking and pre-race directions.
The course was well signposted with plenty of marshals, water available about every 2½ miles and portaloos at regular intervals, the only slight grumble were the mile markings early on which at some points were about 0.1 of a mile out.
On a personal note the race started well and I felt comfortable in the early stages going slightly faster than I planned but thought the benefits of running in a group outweighed the cost of running 30 seconds a mile faster than planned (how wrong could I be!).
The first few miles were generally into headwinds or difficult crosswinds. I kept with the group all the way through the first half of the race, still felt strong at this point and clocked just under 1hour35mins (7:17per mile average pace), during mile 14 as per my prerace strategy I tried to grab my second gel of the race (the first was taken at mile 7) but due to the cold temperature and wind by fingers were that cold I couldn’t undo the zip on the pocket in my shorts and ended up having to slow down to a walk to grab the gel, this lead to me saying goodbye to the group I had been running with and that seemed to be the start of my troubles.
At around mile 16 I needed a quick visit to one of the portaloos and after re-emerging I started to feel a slight tightness in my right calf but still felt reasonably good. Within the next half mile I had severe cramp in both calves, both hamstrings and both quadriceps! For the next nearly 10 miles I managed to run for only about ½ mile or less at a time before needing to walk for about a minute or two to relieve the cramps. It took all my willpower to keep going, but I wasn’t going to let it beat me and I kept thinking I was not going to let myself or my family down by not completing the full distance.
Incorporating the toilet break I managed to complete the first 18 miles in just under 2hours 15 minutes (7:29 per mile average pace), the next 8.2miles took just over 1hour 26 minutes (10:29 average pace).
I crossed the line in 3hours 41minutes and 3seconds with a mixture of relief it was over, joy that I managed to break 3hours 45minutes, but also frustration that it could have been so much better.
My fuelling strategy for the race day was porridge about 3½ hours before the start, SIS electrolyte drink over the 2 hours leading up to the race, a SIS energy bar about 15minutes before the race started, 4 SIS energy gels (miles 7, 14, 18 and 22) with the last energy gel having added caffeine.
After the race it was a protein bar and SIS Rego recovery drink which worked wonders and really seems to help with the needed protein and carbs post-race.
What did I take away from my first marathon?
1) It is a massive step up from a half marathon
2) You may seem comfortable for majority of the race but this can change rapidly within a few hundred metres
3) Stick to the time goals you set
4) The real marathon starts at mile 18, the first 18 are a long warm up!
MY JOURNEY SO FAR
During the middle part of 2017 I was committed to dieting to reduce my weight and size after the realization of how much weight I had gained over the last 14 years since suffering an injury that severely reduced the physical activity I could undertake, the takeaways and general eating patterns after long hours at work didn't help!
The photo above is me at my heaviest in late 2016 / early 2017.
I managed to lose around 30lbs in the first couple of months through dieting alone by severely reducing carb intake and portion size but then the reduction stagnated. I felt better in myself but still was getting out of breath just walking up a couple of flights of stairs and had the desire to do more. From here I started to cycle but a puncture scuppered this and I thought I would try a short run. That first run was agony I was so unfit and after only a couple of minutes was wheezing and out of breath, but luckily it didn't flare up my old injuries.
From here I continued to manage my diet and tried to increase my length of continuous running whilst carefully managing my previous injuries. The first few months were not easy, I had discomfort in my knees, calves and at times felt like giving up, but I persevered and this discomfort started to reduce and my length of time running continuously started to improve and mentally I noticed a massive improvement after every run. To keep me motivated I decided to enter a race in November 2017 and decided that a 10k was the way forward. I had butterflies for weeks before this and didn't tell many people at all as the fear of failing and whether I could actually still run this far. My goal was to complete the distance without walking and hoped to be around 1 hour mark. In the end the run went better than I could ever imagine finishing in 49:04 without walking, I was hooked!
During 2018 I really felt I shifted from running and dieting to lose weight to eating and exercising to become healthier and stronger than I had been for many years and managed to smash my personal best (PBs) race after race. During the year I completed one 10k and four half marathons seeing an improvement in by PB in the 10K to 43:50 and an improvement in the half marathon from 1:43:28 during my first attempt in April 2018 to 1:34:54 in September 2018.