Sunday 15 March 2015

The Berlin Marathon

I wasn’t going to enter a marathon this year.  I didn’t, and still don’t, know if my legs have got it in them to run 26.2 miles.  However, I found myself signing up to the 2015 Berlin Marathon in September.  I’ve always thought I would someday run a marathon, even before I became a runner.  It’s always been one of those things on my ‘must do’ list, but the more I got into running the more unachievable the distance seemed.  I mean, to sustain a decent pace for such a long duration would take a monumental amount of training.  So why sign up now?  And why on earth Berlin?

Readers of this blog (we must be nearing double figures now) may be wondering what all this talk of marathoning has to do with the #RoadToSub20, in short it has everything to do with it.  On that fateful night when the parameters of the bet were set, Mark, Tommy and I were keen parkrunners.  I can only speak for myself but I rarely considered any races that could be classed as long distance.  The bet has inspired all three of us to try to explore increasingly radical strategies to improve our running. We’ve implemented interval training and upped the length of our long runs in a bid to reduce our times.  So without parkrun and without our friendly wager, I’d most likely not have made my foray into long distance running at all.

Training has been going well, I feel the strongest I’ve ever felt. Combine that with my desire to one day run a marathon and I found myself hitting the submit entry button.  I always thought it would be the London Marathon but Berlin was there with the right timing for me.  Who wants to train through the winter anyway?  The good lady wife ‘er indoors asked ‘Did you sign up to Berlin because Dennis Kimetto just got the world record there and you think that you’ll get a better time on a fast course?’ Well no, not really, maybe a tiny bit yes, but mostly because the timing is right and Berlin is a fantastic city and I quite fancy an adventure.

I’ll be running for the British Heart Foundation. This was an easy choice for me because I had open-heart surgery as a baby so I feel a huge affinity towards the charity and would like to in a very small way show my appreciation.  The reality is that without the surgery I wouldn’t have been able to walk down the street without being out of breath let alone run parkruns each week or enter a marathon.  If you would like to sponsor me please visit my Just Giving donation page.  I would be so grateful if anyone who reads this chooses to donate on my behalf.

So there it is; by reading this blog you’ll be updated on the road to sub 20 bet and my marathon training. An enticing prospect I’m sure!

Thursday 12 March 2015

Another lesson learnt

Bar six years living on the west coast of Scotland, all of my growing up was done in West Sussex. Despite speaking with an accent that can only be described as 'hybrid' I would class myself as south coast through and through.  And I'm proud of it.  I love the county of my birth (it is truly beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone), however these days I feel that after 15+ years of living there I've seen most of what it has to offer.  There are plenty of other areas within the UK that command my attention now.

In fact there are only two real reasons that I continue to visit Sussex:
  1. The fact that a number of friends and family live there
  2. Harvey's Best Bitter
At about twenty past nine last Saturday morning I was cursing the latter, as I lumbered round Bognor Regis parkrun.  

The night before whilst making a trip back home, I had been delighted to see it on tap in the local, planning to have just two or three with a mind to getting an early night and giving my all at the run. But like a hoppy, yeasty Siren it lured me onto the proverbial rocks.

To continue the Homeric references, in this case (as with so many other times in my life), poor preparation was my Achilles heel.  Was it just my imagination or were people giving my a wide berth as they overtook me?

By Road to Sub 20 standards my time was little more than pedestrian, and certainly not likely to worry my competitors.  But perhaps I should consider it as a lesson learnt and move on.

Adrian also slowed down, not through alcohol, but instead because of his most recent investment: a running buggy enabling his daughter to join him while he runs.

Tommy didn't run, mainly I suspect, as I was not around to give him a lift to the parkrun.  It strikes me that I may be shooting myself in the foot with my generosity here.

All in all, a slow week for the Road to Sub 20 gang, or perhaps putting a positive spin on it: a week of consolidation, before mounting a big push?