Tuesday, 8 November 2011


It's been a week since I experienced the marathon - one long week of recovery. It has been one week of resting, stretching, icing the legs and elevating them. I particularly had problems with my left foot. The day following the marathon I could not move because of a terribly sharp pain on the underside of my left foot. But after a week of showing it some TLC it looked and felt like it was getting better. That is until I went for a run yesterday morning. There was no problem during the run. It was afterwards that the pain started up again. The good news is it wasn't near as bad as it was last week: the bad news is I might have to hold off running for awhile, give the foot more time to recover.  I won't make any decisions until I try another easy run on Thursday.

The past one week has also been a time of assessing my performance at that Marathon. What worked, what didn't and why did it go so spectacularly awry after the first fifteen miles? Those questions have got me reading up and researching a lot of stuff.   My room looks like the study of a crazed scientist or something. Books and magazines strewn everywhere with my laptop permanently on running websites. Anyway, I found some very interesting answers which I intend to use for my next marathon in spring so watch this space. 

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

My First Marathon...

Just over sixteen weeks ago when I started training for my first marathon, my goal was simple – to get round the course and finish the race. Time was not an issue. But by the time I got to the start of the Dublin marathon I felt like I could do it in four hours or just under four hours. That became my goal and my race strategy was designed to achieve just that. Unfortunately, like I found out yesterday marathons can have a mind of their own.
I started the race well and for the first fifteen miles it all went according to plan, then it all started to unravel. At mile fifteen my legs just gave up on me. I just couldn’t go on. Nothing I did could get them going. The legs just wouldn’t move. For the next five miles I resorted to a combination of walking and running (running? More like a funny shuffle on dead legs). I got out all my mantras, consumed copious amounts of sports drink, water and energy gels. Still – nothing. During those five miles all thoughts of running a sub-4hr time were drained away. All I wanted at that point was to finish. I got scared I was not going to finish. I had to make up mind – I am going to finish this race even if I have to crawl across the finish line!
Amazingly, at mile 20 my legs came back to life. I started running steadily again. By mile 24 it was all looking good then I got hit with cramps. By now I’m thinking, what on earth is going on today? But I was not going to be denied so I kept going slowly – walking and doing the shuffle again until I crossed the finish line in what was by now a torrential downpour.
I had done it! – finish my first marathon.
Will I do it again? Run another marathon? Hell, yes!!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Marathon Goal

Over the years I've done a couple of races - 5Ks, 10Ks and two half marathons. Not much but enough for my needs. There is one race missing in that list. Yes - you guessed it - the marathon - the 26.2mile monster.
I haven't taken part in a marathon yet because I've only ever wanted to run the London marathon and that is because of it's fame and popularity. Unfortunately for three years now I've not been able to get a place in this most prestigious of races.
Early this year I realise there was something wrong with that thinking. Why am I so fixated on the London marathon? I am a runner: it should not matter what race I take part in as long as I put in the miles and finish. Right? So I made up my mind I was going to run a marathon this year. It wouldn't matter where. It was time to take on those 26.2 miles.
I shopped around looking for one that met my needs and fit into my running goals for the year. Initially I picked the Marathon in Chester but due to a conflict in interest at work I had to change that. I finally settled on the National Lottery Marathon in Dublin, Ireland on the 31st of October.
I'm in my tenth week of training and it's all going according to plan. No injuries and absolutely no doubts. Come 31st October I will be one of the thousands of runners pushing myself to the edge.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

In The Beginning.....

When I started running about seven years ago it was simply to stay fit. I never envisaged myself running in races and becoming something of a running fanatic. I did not even take it seriously. I was not a regular runner. I only ran when I had time, when it was convenient and when I felt my waistline was getting too big. And when I did run it was not for long. I can't remember doing anything more than twenty minutes back then.
All that changed in 2006 when I was first diagnosed with High Blood Pressure. My doctor at the time told me he did not want me relying on medication to treat the condition. He wanted me to make some serious lifestyle changes that included changing my diet and exercising a lot more than I was doing at the time.
I did consider other forms of fitness like soccer, swimming, and the gym. Soccer I considered too risky for a guy my age, swimming was expensive and there was no pool in my neighbourhood. And the gym was just too expensive for me at the time. So I settled for running.
Three things helped make that decision an easy one. One, I realised running was something I could do anywhere, anytime and at minimal cost. Two, there were a lot more people into running than I thought. Three, I discovered Runnersworld and a little known website called goodrunguide.co.uk. A whole new world was opened to me and before you could say running I had fallen head over heels in love with running.
I was scouring the Internet for training plans, nutritional tips and all things running. I was mapping out routes, doing long runs and taking part in races. My weight dropped, I felt better about myself and other areas of my life was positively impacted.
It's not been smooth sailing over the years. I've had my share of injuries from shin splints to hamstring problems to problems with my toes, knees and ankles. All these injuries at one point or another have kept me from running but I never lost my love for the sport if anything it has grown stronger over the years.
I am still here, still running, still having the time of my life.