Sunday, 24 April 2016


Wow! Just wow!

What an incredible day! All those early starts, runs in the cold/wet/dark worth it in the end.

I started the day incredibly nervous but managed to get some breakfast in me.  The short trip to Greenwich Park from the hotel for the #TeamSense passed without incident.  Managed a quick FaceTime call to my brother in Australia whilst waiting for the train too.

It was great to see familiar faces at the photoshoot, some great views across the London skyline on a crisp Sunday morning.

As I made my way to the starting pens I met up with Dan and tried not to focus too much on the nerves and tried to keep warm.

It seemed like a huge wait to get going but there was a good atmosphere in the park and people lined the sides to wish everyone well.

We were off, Dan and I wished each other well and we started to find our pace.  The crowds were unending; waving, cheering, handing out sweets.  I found there was a lot more space to run than I had been expecting which was great.

As I ran I couldn't quite believe that I was doing the London Marathon. I purposely didn't memorise whether all the Sense cheering points were so I had something to look forward.  I was expecting that towards the end I would need the distractions.  The first one seemed to come quite quickly, Cutty Sark, mile 6.5.  I was a little worried that I might miss seeing them but I shouldn't have as they were loud and proud! My wife and in-laws waving and beaming dressed in bright orange... and then they were gone.  I was feeling good, comfortable, no niggles and I plodded on.

Mile 14 - having crossed the famous Tower Bridge and completed half marathon distance it was time for another #TeamSense cheering station, given away by the big orange balloons and vast army of people in orange.  They cheered and waved and I did the same.  Still feeling good and enjoying the ride.

Mile 19 was the next cheering point in Canary Wharf, having picked out my supporters I was still feeling good.  I was running at a pace that would see me finish at around the 3:35-3:40 mark and that was more than OK by me.

Then it happened.  The pain in my left glute that occurred 3 weeks ago in training was back, only this time I knew I still had around 10km still to do.  Now it was mind games.

How am I going to finish this? Doesn't matter, but you will!

My leg REALLY hurts.  Keep moving, don't stop!

Walk, hop, skip, jog was the routine I got into, I knew that if I stopped even for a moment I would be in big trouble.  The crowds continued to cheer my name and encourage me and thousands like me through the streets.

I made the mistake of paying too much attention to my watch, I could see the cushion of time I had built up start to ebb away and the distance remaining didn't seem to reduce at any rate.

I thought about the people who donated, those who had help secure my place in this magnificent event.  I thought of Ted & Ernie, the twins who inspired me to run for Sense.  I thought of my wife, she was telling me in my head "you've got this!".

I was feeling disappointed, gutted at the time, that I was doing so well only to fall foul of the same injury again.  I made the conscious decision to just try to enjoy what was left, I waved to the crowd, I applauded their support and most importantly I kept moving forward.

Eyes scanning the crowds constantly trying to glimpse someone, anyone, I knew to absorb some personal support, a distraction. Was there another cheering point?

There was, by Tower Hill, a mere parkrun from the finish.  My mind was all over the place.  In good shape parkrun should take about 23 mins, at this stage I'd settle for 40.  I'd long since given up looking at the watch as the cushion has long since disappeared from the target pace which have seen me cross the finish line in about 3:50.

As I hobbled along Embankment I saw the River Thames, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and something else.  A sign that said 2km left to go.  In my head that's like 10 mins.  A look at the watch said something else, 4 hours was still on the table!!

There were 2 aims initially, 1) finish 2) finish in under 4 hours.

My mind was set; EVERYTHING was being put into those last 2 km. The pain was awful, I'm sure I looked terrible, form went out of the window but who cared!? Not me.

Before long I was on Birdcage Walk, I could pretty much smell the finish line.  This is what I had dreamt about, perhaps not under these circumstance but still. Rounding that last bend, Buckinham Palace, the noise of the crowd, the grandstands... Eyes on the finish and giving it every last ounce of effort.  I crossed the line, finger in the air and shouted "YES!"

At this point, there was no pain, Not for several minutes. I had a few obligatory photos taken with my medal, beaming smile.

I was pleasantly surprised at how efficient the bag retrieval service was and I was milling about looking for someone in bright orange to direct me to Tiger Tiger but either in my state of elation or pain I didn't see anyone loitering.  I got directions from my phone and called my wife, then my brother in Melbourne and my Mum & Dad to let them know that I had finished.

Having arrived at Tiger Tiger I was offered food and drink but my first thoughts were making use of the massage facilities that had been laid on.  A quick reunion with my family, hugs and handshakes with some familiar faces who had completed the race before me and the painful trip downstairs for the massage.  I couldn't even bend down to take my trainers off without getting cramp.and the massage hurt like hell too but I could feel the impact as soon as I stood up again.

Some food and a few cups of tea later and all was well with the world.

I'm incredibly proud that I ran the London Marathon and that I ran it for such a worthy cause.  Huge thanks to my family for their support, Sense for their support, everyone who donated, my fellow runners for the encouragement.

Friday, 22 April 2016


Forgive me Father for it has been ages since my last blog update.  To be fair, I did warn you that my track record with blogs isn't great.

So what have you missed?

Bath Half - the day started off foggy and cool.  By the time we arrived in Bath the sun was starting to shine but it was still quite chilly as we waited in the Runner's Village and in the pens ready for the start.  With around 15,000 participants it was a good trial to see how I'd cope with a congested field of runners.  Probably not as well as I would have liked is the answer. The first 3 miles were the worst and as a result I was sweating quite a lot, it stinging my eyes, as I tried to get around people.  Traffic cones were obscured by the number of people adding to the fun.  Generally speaking the first 10km or so went well.  As I started the second lap I started to get a pain in my big toe on my right foot.  Trying to focus on the crowds and the number of signs that they held up, high 5'ing people, catching soundbites from the bands instead of the pain.   Seeing the mile markers and looking at my watch was mistake, the metres passed slowly.
As I got toward the last few kilometers I was really struggling, I was battling again the desire to walk, if only for a few steps but I knew that I'd be very disappointed in myself if I succumbed. The looks at the watch got more frequent, as I looked ahead trying to glimpse the finishing line.  With less than 500m to go I tried to sprint, anything to get the race finished with, I managed a few fast strides, there really was nothing left at this stage.
I did manage to bag a new PB by some considerable margin so a successful day in the end.

Generally the training runs since then have gone to plan but on my longest scheduled run I hit a problem.  Dorney Lakes Marathon Prep race was supposed to be 24 miles but I only managed 20.  I felt good during the morning and met a couple of #TeamSense before we set off.  The omens were there though when the pacer I wanted to follow dropped out after 100 yards.  The course was 4 miles laps and the first 2 were ok after that it became monotonous.  Between mile 19 and 20 all of a sudden my left glute became incredibly painful. The pain spread through my leg quickly and started to materialise on my right glute too, perhaps as I tried to over compensate.  I slowed to a walk for a few seconds and quickly evaluated my options. Option 1) continue and risk ruining VLM completely just 3 weeks out or Option 2) quit and 20 miles and hope to recover in time for VLM.Option 2 was chosen.

Since then the glute has improved, I wouldn't say it's 100% and unfortunately Donna had to cancel my last session with her as she was also injured.  So tonight I'm seeing someone else for my last treatment to free up the leg muscles as much as possible.

Yesterday I went to London to collect my race pack, driving into London and seeing the famous towers of Docklands set the imagination into overdrive. In just a matter of days I'll be running past them.  It was great to see #TeamSense, grab some cheering materials and see Fern there collecting her race pack too.  It's been a hard slog to get to this point and one that I will never forget.  Seeing the medal that will soon be placed around my neck, so close but yet so far. Thoughts of the long runs on Sundays, cold, dark and wet mornings and nights running, all for this one day.

Running has given me so much in terms of health and fitness but in sense of achievement too.  I'm incredibly proud to have represented Sense on this journey, I've raised over £2000 with the promise of more to come and I'm going to run the London Marathon - a bucket list thing, something I've admired for many years, it's finally my turn!  All that effort, training, early starts, lack of alcohol, will be worth it. Whatever happens on Sunday I will give it everything I've got: for Sense, for the countless friends, family, colleagues who have supported me in this quest and most importantly for myself. My dreams (in my broken sleep) of late have all been about running along Embankment, the River Thames glistening to my side, seeing Big Ben getting bigger as I get closer to it, Birdcage Walk (walk, run, jog crawl if necessary!) before hitting The Mall, summoning up whatever energy there is left to sprint toward and over the finish line. The soundtrack running through my head the way round, Chariots of Fire, the Theme from Trap (the music BBC use for the London Marathon) , Bowie's Heroes (we can be heroes, just for one day!), Perfect Day (Children in Need edition) and so many others that have inspired and motivated me when I needed it.

All that remains to be seen is will I beat the 4 hour barrier?

Monday, 15 February 2016

18 miles ia a long way!

During my training my long runs tend to alternate between longest ever runs and a little bit shorter e.g. 15 miles followed by 12 miles followed by 17 miles followed by 14 miles... Yesterday I set out to run 17 miles, I think the route actually worked out to be about 17.5.  However, due to it being the first time I had seen the route and a maze of footpaths I ended up running 18.6 miles and still ended up about a mile from my car! Most of the run was ok, I was was physically struggling for the last few miles so I know I need to get up earlier and get more energy into me.  I also ran without fluids other than my gels so that probably didn't help. I had ordered a Camelbak but it was out of stock with no ETA so I binned the order and paced another order elsewhere to and got a better deal to boot.
Hopefully next Sunday I'll have a running partner again for a 14 mile jaunt around Swindon.
Tonight I'm off to see Jack so he can work some magic on my glutes.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Long run Sunday...

On the eve of long run Sunday, 17 miles to do. Last Sunday I took part in the Longleat 10km, a hilly event that really took a lot of effort. It was different to the 10miles that was on the plan but it was good to run with other people, trying not to get carried away and stick to my own race. I've got 2 more races booked before London, the Bath half marathon and the marathon prep race, 24 miles. I'm still often surprised by how far I've progressed but it's a great feeling to hit a PB or a new longest distance. Running has really helped me keep me sane, during times of stress it gives me an out. That said, the thought of running a marathon often is terrifying and unreal but I'm proud to be supporting Sense, getting sponsored gives me a real boost and a kick up the butt to get out of bed when I'd rather stay under the duvet. 

Sunday, 31 January 2016

New longest run

Another long run done, about 15.5 miles!
On Tuesday night I had to abandon my run due to tight hamstrings. Physio on Thursday was painful but effective it seems. Delighted with progress!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Longest run

Since the last update I managed a 10 mile run last Sunday which was fairly comfortable, the route was a completely new one and I ran the vast majority of it on my own.  I had a good run on Tuesday night but Thursday night my legs felt tired, possibly due 2 runs in quite cold conditions.  In light of the fact my legs were feeling tired and I had a 14 mile run planned for today I decided to not do parkrun and instead go to the spa to give the legs a heat and ice treatment session.  The jacuzzi was the hottest it has ever been in my memory but the ice brought the legs back down to temperature pretty quickly.  I got plenty of rest but think I should have hydrated and eaten more yesterday.  I was a bit nervous about the run today, a) because it was uncharted territory b) I was testing my fuelling strategy today (a gel pack every 8km) and c) my legs were still quite tired and I was running with someone who wanted a 5min/km pace.

I think the fuelling strategy needs adjusting, before and during the run. At around 15km I was feeling like I wanted to walk a while, by 20km I had a stitch that didn't relent but I was spurred on by the half marathon PB I could see on my watch.  90 days to go until the big day, in fact, in 90 days I hope to be reflecting on another longest run ever feeling even more satisfied after completing my first ever marathon.

Physio is booked for Thursday night so my usual run will be moved and I think I will schedule more regular maintenance visits!

Saturday, 16 January 2016


Having spent the week travelling in Belgium, Holland and Poland for work, maintaining a decent diet and good level of training has been hard.  However, I did managed a couple of trips to hotel gyms, so everything has gone entirely to pot.  I found running in different trainers and on a treadmill to be hard work, what seemed like a fast pace was slower than usual but was far more difficult.
Back in the UK now and long run Sunday is set for about 10miles - hope to get back into the swing of things quickly!