Blackpool 10k Recap – 7th May 2017


In Which I Go To My Least Favourite Place

With Edinburgh marathon only a few weeks away, and a rare Sunday off of work coming up, I decided to find a 10k to do for last minute marathon prep. The only one I could find, however, was Blackpool. 

DUN-DUN-DUUUUUN!

Last time I went to Blackpool was for a half marathon, it was freezing cold, wet, raining and Blackpool. The time before was for my first ever marathon, when I had no idea about race nutrition or things like ‘sports drinks.’ Didn’t like either trip much.

But needs must (whatever that means) and I booked a cheap b&b, train tickets and 10k entry. (a bargain at £10.50.) I worked 6-6 on the Saturday so finished work, picked up a 4 pack of Bud Lights (taking the run seriously, light beer) and got on the train.

This book is amazing. Finished it in less than a day

Little under two hours later I was checking in to the bed and breakfast. I don’t normally advertise anything, but if you’re ever over night in Blackpool stay in the Phoenix Guest House. Friendly staff, exceptionally clean room and the comfiest bed I’ve ever slept in. Separate toilet, but a shower in the room. £30 for the night was incredibly cheap. 

I got settled then went for a short wander around Blackpool. I was planning on getting some chips from somewhere but everywhere seemed to be full of stag or hen parties singing and being idiots all over (standard Saturday in Blackpool).

Incredible sunset though

I went and played in the arcades for a bit, won a few Marvel toys and then went back to the b&b for some sleep, ready for the morning.

Race Day

The race wasn’t starting until 11am. Lovely! I got up at 9, went and had some coffee and jam on toast (for clarity, the coffee was in a cup, just the jam was on the toast) and then got my kit ready.

King of the toy grabber machines

15 minute walk to the start line, walked around for a bit when I got there to stretch my legs and then it was line up time. Countdown started, we were off. And it was chuffing warm.

Slow shuffle to the starting mat, few seconds of a jog, then congestion hit. 2’000 or so people in a two lane road doesn’t really go very well. Took a few minutes of walking before there was enough room to start running, but it cleared out eventually.

The route was an out and back run, from the Savoy hotel up past the north pier, along the main strip, going by Blackpool tower (like the Eiffel tower, but shitter) down to the pleasure beach, then turn around and come back the other way. 

I wanted around 50 minutes, which was a pace of 8mins/mile and it took me until 5km to get to that speed. (in part because of the start, but also there were some charity runners pushing a bed around the course and overtaking them was a bit difficult as they seemed to want to run together, all in a line across the width of the road.)

My pace steadily came down from 9mins/mile to 8:30, 8:10, 8:01… 8:02 (wait what) but then bang on 8. Chuffed.

Around mile 4 it dropped to 7:58 a mile, but then the heat got to me a bit and I kept slowing to take a drink of water. Plus there was a *slight* incline around mile 5. I pushed on though and managed a sprint finish at the end. Finished in 50:16. New medal earned!

Made my way back towards the b&b, watching and cheering on the other runners as I walked. Got too involved and missed my road by about five minutes, so turned back and found it. Had a shower, then checked out and went (finally) for some chips.

Told you

Bought some beers for the return train journey (Heineken) and finished my book. As much as I disliked Blackpool before going, turns out I had quite a nice time. Still 2-1 down  overall though.

Next Up: Edinburgh Marathon

Insta: @zepalm (Food, Runs and Books)

Strava: Marc Hemingway (Just runs. Obvs.)

Maranoia


The Feeling That Your Run Is Gonna Go Wrong

Few years back I got given free entry to  Manchester marathon. I didn’t do it, can’t remember why, but figured it’s no big loss as didn’t pay for the entry.

This year: Paid for Manchester marathon. Trained a bit more than I did for Vegas, but still nowhere near enough. Still, looked forward to it, to finally doing it, to get my year of marathons off to a good start.

Early night, early alarm. 

Woke up around 4am. Didn’t feel good.

Woke back up at 4:30am. No good still.

5am. Same.

Stayed awake.

6am and I’m talking to Hayley. Don’t feel good I say. Why? No idea. Just feeling off, bit sick, but mainly a feeling of… I dunno… dread? 

We talk a bit more and she asks I’m feeling. “I feel like if I go run, something will go wrong. Injury, falling, no idea, just… I can’t go.”

That’s fine, I’m told. If you want to go we can go, but if you don’t then we don’t have to. No, I say. Let’s not go. 

Second time in three years I post a DNS for Manchester.

Couple days latearrived email arrived

Fully what happened! 

I have no real end to this blog update, just going with what happened. Next up is Edinburgh marathon at the end of May, and there’s no way I’m doing this again. I’ll be there, I’ll be finishing. Then beer.

Not the most interesting update I know, but there you go! Feeling like a let down but trying to look forward to the next step. We’ve just got back from Scotland, having had plenty of walking and plenty more junk food.


And so! I’ve entered Berlin Marathon at the end of September. One of the six major marathons, and so need to raise money. And book a hotel. And flights… Be right I’m sure.

Needing a kick up my arse!

Delayed Las Vegas Marathon Recap


In Which I Finally Start Up My Blogging Again (Yet Again..!)

TL;DR – How Not To Prepare For A Marathon

In August 2016, my dad died a few days before his birthday. I was crushed and spent a lot of time being drunk, and miserable. Having one of those “life’s too short moments” I decided (as you do) to fire up my credit card and book the Rock and Roll marathon in Las Vegas, three months and 5’000 miles away.

Found a decent deal on a hotel, average deal on flights and a poor exchange rate on dollars. 

Then before I knew it, it was time to fly. Spent the night at a hotel at Manchester airport to save time the next morning as I was on an early flight. Then in the morning I had a Burger King and the standard holiday beer (at 7:30am.)

Thursday 

I got free upgrade to extra leg room (probably felt sorry for the loser going to Vegas alone) then I was well on my way. Nine hours flew (heh) by and touched down to 27 degree heat. (Along with a 60 minute wait to get through arrivals.)

My castle hotel to make me feel like a princess

Check in at the hotel went quick and got chatting to a few people in the queue who had running shirts on. I’ve never seen a hotel so big! My room was clean and bright, but the hotel in general had a bit of a musty smell about it. Ah well.

After a shower I made my way out to have a look at Las Vegas.

Jesus.

It’s mental.

The traffic, the people, the sounds, the buildings, it’s all exactly as you see on TV. Loud, noisy, busy. I loved it! 

I walked up the main strip for a half hour or so to get my bearings, and by bearings I mean beer. There’s a million different places to drink, all with offers on for different times of the day. And I know, drinking three days before a marathon isn’t a good idea, but I’d be fine if I only had a couple.

IF!

Think I managed about six bars that first day. Most of them, because I sat at the bar in each and talked to the staff, gave me a free beer and/or shot. Coupled in with the 8hrs time difference and  being awake for almost 20hrs, I was merry.

Went back to my hotel around 6pm local time (2am English time) and decided to have a bit of a nap.

Friday

3am and a lot of a nap later, I was utterly confused. Suppose that’s what you get for waking up in Vegas. I’d bought beer for my room from somewhere on the way back the evening before and as my body clock had NO idea what was happening, I opened a bud and looked out over Vegas

I was hungry, I knew that, so as I’d not actually explored the hotel yet I went downstairs. Multiple bars, restaurants and a casino that went further than I could see is what I found. More importantly I found food from a place called Johnny Rockets.

Then went back to bed.

6am, I’m wide awake. Watched some American TV (what with being in America) then had a shower and went out walking and exploring further. 

I figured out the bus service and made my way up to the expo to pick up my race pack. Looked around all the stalls and bought a couple of souvenirs but managed to not buy anything major. Lunch, followed by a few bars and a bit of gambling and I was worn out. (Stupid jet lag.) 

I needed to sleep even though I knew I should try get into a proper sleep pattern and told myself I’d nap for an hour at most.

Woke up at sunset. 

Bugger.

Saturday

I’d had an easy night after waking up, went and found a bit of live music then was back before midnight. Still woke up at 5am though. Went down to a bar in the hotel and watched a bit of American football that was replaying from when ever American football is played. 

Went to Denny’s when it was open for some breakfast and a coffee (free refills, bliss) 

Caught the bus to the outlet stores, right on the end of the line. As today was the day before the marathon I told myself that no alcohol would pass my lips and I’d have an early night. 

Had a nice relaxing morning, sorted out all my race kit for the next day and then watched a bit of TV. Then got bored. Stood up, looked out of my window and saw this:

Hooters

HOOTERS

Obviously I didn’t go in

Maybe I did 

Maybe I had some beer, maybe I had a lot. Maybe I shouldn’t have, the day before I marathon and maybe I’d regret it the next day. Maybe all these things.

All these things

Sunday: Marathon Day

Ow.

My head hurt. But at least I was awake at a normal time. 9am. The marathon didn’t start until the afternoon, so that your be running along the strip at night. Plenty of time to sober up!

And carb up! Good old Denny’s.

My day was spent making sure I had everything I needed, running belt, energy bars and stuff. Then it was go time. As it’s a Rock and Roll event they put on a gig at the start of the race, and it was Snoop Dogg. Not a fan, but watched a bit of him. Still not a fan.

24 degree heat

Slight hangover

Slight jet lag

Doesn’t make for a fun marathon.

Sound goes off and everyone’s running. We go one way for around a mile, going by the Vegas sign, turn around and back up the other side and up the strip. My hotel is right at the start line and am tempted to just run up to bed.

You run all up Las Vegas Blvd until mile 8. I was fine until about mile 6 then the previous few days caught up with me. It was horrible. Mile 7 took about five hours to do, mile 8 took about 12 hours. I wanted to quit. Seriously wanted to quit. 

I decided to quit.

I looked for a marshal but found a portaloo first. Went inside and evaluated what I was doing. 9 miles in, no way I’d be able to manage another 17 feeling like this. Drinking the night before, eating loads of rubbish, not getting into a sleep pattern. I needed to quit. Plus, I’d only run about three times since my dad died.

Ah. My dad.

Main reason for signing up to this. Main reason I decided to travel 5’000 miles, alone, to do a marathon. Main reason I needed to MAN THE FUCK UP and get on with it.

Main reason I needed to get out of this portaloo because it chuffing stinks.

Right. Get on with it. Push to mile ten, then you’re in double figures. Mile ten done. Just 5k to go then  you’ve finished half the race. Funny route now, winding in and out of loads of roads, up and down and back on short streets. 

Aim for mile 15. Bit by bit, run/walk run/walk. Am I actually starting to enjoy this?! Stop for a picture and have a breather

Soon be at mile 20. Huge milestone. Mile 20 passed.

21. 22. 23.

5k til the end, just 5k. Think of the Facebook posts, think of the medal! THINK OF THE POST RUN BEER!

And then. As always. The finish is in sight. 

And it’s done, and I’m hurting, and I’m chuffed.

Monday

My legs are still hurting and I’m going to make them hurt even more by  getting a tattoo. I’ve carried around a design that I sketched in my wallet for around six months and it’s time to get it done.

Very happy with how it turned out. And very happy with the race bling too!

Last full day in Vegas so did a bit of  shopping and sightseeing. (Trying to walk the stiffness out of my legs.) Also ate ALL the junk food

And that’s pretty much it. I flew home the next day, back to normality. Loads of amazing memories and I learned incredibly well how not to run a marathon. The course is incredible, running along the strip and plenty of bands playing rock music everywhere. Atmosphere and crowds and music and Vegas!

Bet its even better when you prepare properly.

100 Mile In June


In Which I Try Run 1… Just Read The Title Again

So I managed to finish May on 75 miles, which is a lot more than I expected as I’ve been a lazy bugger lately. Looking back over my stats since I started running and it seems its my second best month for miles EVER (since I started running in 2012.)

The best month I ever had was last year when I managed 100 mile one month. That month being last June…

…ooooo thats like a YEARLY JUNE CHALLENGE!

I got so giddy I made this to keep a visual motivational paper pen notebook drawing representation of my miles:

image

Obviously one box equals one mile. Don’t need a comment like housemate Rob when he said “there aren’t 100 days in June”….

June 1st

I worked a 12 hour shift, 6-6. So obviously you’re thinking that I didn’t run much, and honestly I was only planning on 10k at most, but ended up (no idea how) running 10 MILES.

June 2nd

Figured a short, 3.1 mile recovery run. Chuffing hurt that did though.

June 4th

A guy at work, Paul, has started running. He’s only fine treadmill runs up till now though, so I convinced him to come out on the road with me. His fastest treadmill 5km was 38 mins. We did a 5km on the road in 30:45. OooooAHHHHH!

June 6th

My day off so planned on running 15 miles. Slept in though, and stupid hot (for England) so put off my run for a day. Instead, I sat in the back garden and got sunburnt.

June 7th

Woke up around half 7. Didn’t fancy running and considered putting it off again but I’ve been reading Unbroken (about Louis Zamperini) and the things he went through with running and everything else made me realise I was being a bit sawft, so got my kit on and got out the door.

0830 and it was already 16 degrees. My plan was to run uphill for 5 miles to a reservoir called Ogden Water, lap it a few times (four) for another 5 miles then run 5 miles home to get a total of 15.

Honestly, I considered turning around at two miles. My breathing was off, both my shins hurt and I was dripping with sweat. In my head I told myself I’ll get to 5k, then I can turn and end up on 10k. Got there, and figured I’d try push on to 4 miles. Got there, then thought if I get to Ogden Water I’ll do a lap to see what its like and then go home.

God it hurt. Hardest 5 miles I’ve ever done. Got there though. The laps of the reservoir are around 1.2 miles so figured I’d struggle through one then bugger off home.

image

Water selfie, then got going. And you know what? The lap was amazing. Breathing sorted itself out, plenty of shaded areas, beautiful scenery and hardly anyone there. I flew round it. Decided I’d do the full four laps after all. I seriously enjoyed each and everyone. The best bit was when I ran by a mother and son (around 5 year old) and I heard the kid say “Mummy, does that man know he’s allowed to walk?”

image

Four laps done, ready for 5 miles home. Figured ‘sod it’, do two more. So I did. If I went home now I’d finish on 17.5 miles, 2.5 more than I thought I’d get.

image

But then, THEN, that voice came into my head…

“Two more laps would get you home with 20 miles…”

Looked at my drink situation, looked at the time, looked at the temperature (24 degrees) and made the sensible choice.

TWO MORE LAPS.

And I still enjoyed it. Finished those, then ran the 5 miles downhill home. God it was chuffing hot…

Dunno what happened with my camera but this is me after 20 miles, looking quite fresh!

image

“Mad Dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun, not to mention Englishmen in Mad Dogs running shirts”

In case you don’t believe me, here: (look at that elevation!!)

image

Didn’t realise how dusty the run was until I got undressed and thought I still had trousers on

image

So yeah! 36 miles so far for June, very chuffed with that!

Next Up

Hull 10k on June 19th

Who’s This Now…?


In Which I Make My Triumf Triumpfi Tryumph Happy Return

Check check… Is this thing on?

Hi. You may remember me from such blog posts as “that race recap” and “that other race recap.” Its been a while though, and your memory isn’t what it used to be, so let me remind you.

I’m Marc Hemingway and I’m a runner.

image

Hail Hydra

You look nice today.

So where have I been! Nowhere really, I did York Marathon (was aiming for sub4hours) and didn’t write up my race recap. Not sure why, it was always in the back of my mind to do it but as the days turned into weeks, other races were raced, and I thought “I can’t recap this race til I recap York Marathon.” Before you know it, seven months have gone by since you SMASHED YOUR TARGET OF A SUB FOUR HOUR MARATHON (3:59:15 to be exact.)

Not long before it I got a new 10k PB (old one was 50:12) of 47:57 in my home town run in Bradford.

Since then I’ve run three official 1/2 marathons, Mad Dog 10k for the fourth year in a row, a few 5ks (one dressed as Santa) and got a new 5k PB of 23 minutes dead.

image

Just like REM, that's me in the corner

Not sure what else I can tell you apart from I’ll be back to my old style updates constantly now, and that I’m training for a 24hr run in August which will be… Holy balls…

Thank you to everyone who’s messaged asking why I’ve not updated for ages, and hope you have managed without me. You’ll be ok now.

(Also, I almost adopted a duck. But you knew that.)

Bradford 10k recap – 27th Sept 2015


In Which I Do A Home Town Run

Got picked up by Ironman Tony and Susan just after 8. Just after just after 8, we came back as I’d forgotten my arm pouch for my phone.

We parked up in Bradford town centre and walked the few minutes to Centenary Square, as the race was starting in front of the town hall. 

Running the 10k, along with about 800 others, were:

  • Me
  • Ironman Tony
  • Ironman Rob
  • Ironman Robs sister, Sarah
  • Ashley from work

Tony and Rob had their Lanzarote Tri club tops on and ended up getting interviewed for the Bradford  radio station, as you do…

  
Then it was go time. It was Ashley’s first ever 10k run so I started off with him for the first half mile or so, then I left him behind. (Meant in the nicest way.) 

The route took us by the new Westfield shopping centre, then up a bit of a hill through Little Germany (where I saw no Germans, of ANY size.)

We then got onto Canal Rd where the main stretch of the run was taking place, out and back. I wanted to keep 8min/mile pace as my PB was 50:21 and that pace would get me just under 50 minutes.

My hill practicing paid off at around 3km as there was a hill that wasn’t advertised, but I kept the same pace up it as on the flat. Running at 7:54 a mile! Wouldn’t be long before my body realised I was going too fast though.

Although it hadn’t by the time I reached the turn around, so was waiting for it. I took a jelly baby off a spectator (it was offered, didn’t just steal it) and then grabbed some water from the water station. Averaging 7:52 a mile…

  
As I’m from Bradford I could picture the last few miles in my head and so it seemed easier than other runs. Before long I was approaching the town centre, along Market street, sprint finish and done! I’d love to have more to say about the course but it’s pretty much just one long road out and back with not much to see. Oh! There were a couple of bands! Will that do you?

Official time, AND NEW PB…

47:57!!!

VERY happy! Two minutes quicker than I hoped and almost 2.5 minutes off my last official PB

 

L-R: Sarahs friend (dunno her name), Sarah, Rob, Me, Tony


Afterwards we went into Lloyd’s bar to rehydrate:

  

And had a bit of food too. Then three more pints… Well earned!

Next race: York Marathon on 11th October… Eek!!

In Other News

A stray cat seems to have decided she now lives with us. Seems nice enough. 
  
 

#ProjectSub4


In Which I Get Back On Track (Not A Running Track, But Back On Track Running)

It’s been a fair few weeks since I didn’t start at Ironman UK and it took me a week or so to get my head sorted out and to get over the disappointment. York marathon is on the horizon however, so I can’t be too lazy.

I’ve not touched my bike or a swimming pool (my wet suit is still to get wet) and instead have been concentrating on running. I didn’t do much for the rest of July, but am over 50 miles so far for August. Aiming to finish on around 70-75, then to hit 100 in September, then try get under 4 hours for York marathon. Hence, #ProjectSub4 !!

My times over the last few years are:

2013: 4:48

2014: 4:27

2015: ……3:59? 

Last week I had a steady 10 mile run planned after a 12 hour shift at work. I set off from work and ran towards Shipley with my Nike+ app on loud. When I got to 3 miles it said it’d run it in 24:59… Bit quicker than I normally go!

Then a little voice popped into my head saying ‘ooo, hurry it up a bit and you could get a new 10k PB..!’

Stupid voice, making me work hard.

But, I listened. And I ran quicker. And I hurt and sweat and wanted to stop, but I didn’t. And I did this: 

  
A brand new personal best and MY FIRST EVER SUB 50 10k!!!

My mile splits perfectly negative, each mile quicker than the last:

  1. 8:28
  2. 8:17
  3. 8:14
  4. 7:55
  5. 7:42
  6. 7:09

No idea where that last one came from! Need to get a decent long run in this week of around 10-12 miles or so and keep working towards a sub 4 hour marathon and get back into regular blogging.

Hope you’ve not missed me too much..!