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.

Marc’s 30 Day Squat, Abs and Push Up Challenge


In Which I Try, and Fail, So Try Again Harder

Last week I was looking on blogs and fitness sites and stuff, looking for advice on how to improve my running. Nearly all the sites advised the same thing, IMPROVE YOUR CORE.

I did a bit of research, got distracted by kitten videos, then did a bit more research. There were a lot of exercises that I recognised, Squats, Push Ups and the like, but loads that I didn’t. (Supermans, (Supermen?), Oblique Twists, Bridges.) Then, when I was looking into the exercises, I noticed a picture came up for a 30 Day Squat Challenge.

You start off on Day 1 doing about 50 Squats and by the end of the 30 Days you get to about 250. I also found an Ab Challenge, again 30 days, with a couple of easy to do exercises on it. (Again doing more and more each day.)

I did the first 3 days no problem, then day 4 was a rest day. At the end of day 5 I remembered that I’d forgotten to do the exercises that day, so decided to carry on as normal and skip the next rest day so that I’d catch up. At the end of day 6 I remembered that I’d forgotten to do the exercises on that day too. Bugger.

The problem, I realised, is that I’m easily distracted. (Along with being addicted to Biggest Loser, I’m now a fan of Extreme Couponing and Bitchin’ Kitchin. Normally one of these on at all times so easy to get way-laid.)

Which brings me to this:

Marcs 30 Day Squat, Abs and Push Up Challenge

30 Day Challenge

30 Day Challenge

Click this link to download the 30 Day Challenge for Word

A no gym, no equipment, 30 Day Squat Challenge, 30 Day Abs Challenge, 30 Day Push Up Challenge, 30 Day Fitness Challenge, all in one!

I gathered together all the info for the Squat Challenge and the Abs Challenge, (found some info for a Push Up Challenge too, because they help with your core), and made a chart.

Do I know what I’m doing? Not really. Do I have any medical knowledge? None. Should you follow this Challenge? Up to you. Can you sue me if you get injured? Nope! Like I said, I have no medical knowledge and if you take this challenge on, it’s on your own head. (And shoulders. And Abs. And Core.)

Weigh yourself before you start the 30 days, then again after you’ve done Days 10, 20 and 30. Make a note each time on the chart. Measure yourself too before you start and after Days 10, 20 and 30. Measurements can be a better inclination of weight loss and fitness than weight alone. On the Challenge I’ve written to measure Hips, Waist, Chest and Torso but feel free to add more.

Take a photo before you start, front and side, and then take the same photos in the same clothes after day 30. If you want to, you can send me the photos and I’ll put them up on here so you can show off.

Remember to eat healthy (you can out exercise a bad diet) and keep hydrated. If you feel like it’s too much, half the numbers shown for each day. If the number ends in a half, don’t do half an exercise, round it up. So if it says 15 Push Ups but you’re doing half the numbers, do 8 Push Ups.

You can copy and save the picture above, or click the link underneath the picture to download the Word document.

Print it out, stick it on a cupboard or the fridge, and cross each day off with a big red pen so your progress is there to see.

Don’t wait for the 1st of the Month, or a Monday, get going!

Good luck!

Ironman Tony In The Local Fish Wrap


Our local paper has done an article about Father In Law, and apparently a radio station wants an interview too:

Ironman Tony Redmond has won an award for superhuman effort after the 50-year-old postman did the gruelling swim, bike and run competition for the first time last year.

The ardent Bradford City fan trains at Bingley Pool and is being presented with a “b active” award from Bradford Council for his constant success in pushing himself to the limit – and raising cash at the same time.

When he did his first Ironman challenge in Lanzarote last year, Mr Redmond, of Eccleshill, raised £1,400 for The Bradford City Burns Appeal.

He became keen on triathlons after hitting 40 and took part in the Ilkley triathlon in 2004 and 2005 with a young Jonny Brownlee, now the current World Triathlete Champion.

He said: “Lots of 50-year-olds may think it is time to put your feet up, but I think that is the time to push yourself even more.

“I love the challenge and it makes me feel good when I achieve my goal.

“It’s so important to keep fit and particularly when you get older.”

The Ironman race has a time limit of 17 hours, an average time of 12 hours and the current record time is 8.04.08.

It consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle ride and a 26.2-mile run to finish.

Only qualified triathletes take part in the world championship, having gone through a series of qualifying stages. The Lanzarote Ironman is one of those stages.

Mr Redmond said: “I had done some running and cycling, but wanted to take it to the next level so I joined swim triathlon training sessions at Bingley Pool.

“Swim coach Di Whittaker proved to be a great boost, building my endurance, improving my technique and passing on invaluable advice about competing.”

Coun Andrew Thornton, Executive Member for Environment and Sport, said: “Tony deserves a b-active award as he is a great example of someone who is really motivated and sets himself new challenges as he gets older.

“Keeping fit is important for keeping healthy and enhancing the quality of your life as well as helping you to live longer”

Mr Redmond and his brother-in-law Robert Thornton plan to do the Lanzarote Ironman again as well as the UK Ironman in Bolton in August.

The b-active awards are given out by the Council’s Sport and Leisure Service to people in recognition of their outstanding achievements in encouraging others to be more physically active.

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Day 8 of 365 – Progress


Stats

Weigh-in (Jan 8th) 15st 3lbs / 213lbs / 96.6kg
Gain/Loss Total: -4lbs / 1.8kgs

Miles I Should’ve Done To Date: 44
Miles That I Have Done To Date: 38.82
Difference: -5.18

Ran: 5.84
Cycled: 21.8
Walked: 11.18
Swam: 0

In Which I Set My Sights High

THAT’S more like it! Closer to my average than I was last time, almost caught up to it in fact! I have a rest day scheduled for tomorrow though, so that’ll widen the gap again, but I now know that I can catch up where needed, especially seeing as though I’m over my flu. (Thanks to everyone who sent me messages of support!) Also, I’m running home tonight a distance of 3.5miles which means I’ll only be about 1.7 miles short.

4lbs weight loss is quite good for a week! I read somewhere that on average you can lose 3lbs a week due to exercise and healthy eating. Wouldn’t want to lose more than 4lbs a week though, as I don’t want to be a crash dieter.

After today I’m off work for two whole weeks (due to not taking much holiday days last year) and I’m working on a training plan to get in the extra miles while I have the chance. I want to up the run millage to more than match the cycle miles, but will also be going on one or two long(ish) rides to get the practice in.

I cycled the 4.5mile route home the other night, and then something went wrong in my head (probably still ill) and decided to go out for a 1.2mile run to finish! (Technical term: A Brick. I think it’s called this because afterwards my legs felt like stone.) It was a strange sensation, going from a bike to a run in a short period of time, but I managed it!

Signed up to the British 10k run in London in July, in part because it’ll be nice to get away for a few days and do a bit of sightseeing, but mainly because you get a very cool medal, PLUS a spring/summer technical top AND an autumn/winter technical top!

photo

Conversation:

Me: I don’t think I want to do a marathon. I enjoy 10k runs, but didn’t really enjoy that half marathon I did last year. I think I’ll stay away from marathons and stick to 10k runs for most of the year.

Rob: I’ve signed up to the Blackpool Marathon in April.

Me: That sounds like fun, I’ll sign up too!

10 minutes and £30 later, I’m in it. Also, booked a hotel for the weekend in case I can’t walk afterwards. I was supposed to be doing the Lincoln 10k that day, but decided on this instead. (Yes, I checked, there’s a medal.) This means that I need to be upping my miles week on week to get the proper training in. Most marathon plans are 16weeks, but it’s only 12weeks away.

I think I’ll find a plan and just start on week 4, that sounds sensible…

In similar news, it’s announced today that they are starting in York Marathon in October this year, so I’ve gone from ‘No marathons for me!’ to ‘Signed up for two in two days!’

Awesome.

(As always, if you fancy leaving me a review on my blog, click the amazon link on the right. You don’t have to sign up to the kindle blog to review, so it’s free to do. Thanks!)

Cold Running, and a Cold


In which I feel sorry for myself, and get Lost

The past few days, I’ve been ill. I knew it was coming because Andy at work has been ill, and so has Ironman Tony. (The gits.) Only a matter of time before I caught it myself. Luckily, I seem to be over the worst of it.

What’s the best amount of time to wait, after an illness, before going out for another run? I guess it’s all down to how you feel inside. I’ve run home from work a few times in the past week, all uphill, and have been improving steadily. It’s 1.8 miles home, and from start to finish raises just over 325feet. I don’t want to reset all the hard work!

The first time I ran it (I can’t run the whole way without stopping, yet) it took me 20m 12s. Last week I ran it in 19:37. Two days later, 18:32. Over a full minute quicker in two days. A few days later, it was pouring down and cold. I ran it in 20:15. I could feel my ankles straining before I got halfway, and had to walk more than I would’ve liked.

Should I be warming up more in the cold weather, or do I need to wear more clothes? I have a 10k trail run in two weeks (in Brighouse) and want to run it in under an hour, so any cold running or running in the rain advice is more than welcome.

But for the next couple of days in staying in bed and watching Lost.

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Great North Run Eve


About 15 weeks ago I couldn’t run, at all. If I were attacked by a zombie or a lion I’d’ve had no chance of escape. Tomorrow morning, I’m running 13.1 miles in the biggest half marathon in the world, the Great North Run.

Since I started running I’ve gone for a run two or three times a week, and have entered and finished three 10k races but this is the first time I’ll have done anything further than 6.2 miles.

We’re getting on the train at 6am from Leeds and arrive in Newcastle about 8:15. The race starts, for us newbies, at around 10:40 and full coverage is on BBC1 til 1:30. Hopefully I’ll be done by then. Anything under 2.30hrs I’ll be more than happy with.

Meeting Martyn in Newcastle before the race, and then meeting up with three people that I’ve spoken to on twitter for a month or so, who are all starting in the same wave as us. (@blistersforheroes, @cherylpoulter & @michelleharps)
They seem nice and hopefully none turn out to be axe murderers, as that’d put a bit of a damper on the day. (Hope I don’t turn out to be an axe murderer, I don’t have an axe!)

Also looking forward to seeing the Guidedogs and puppies at the end of the race. My target was to raise £300 and have so far raised £360. Any sponsors are still welcome, even if it’s just one pound! Sponsor Me Here

Been carbing up on pasta and potatoes so will be well fuelled, but just incase have bought some Jelly Belly Sports Beans. Went to the White Rose Centre with Sarah today for a jacket potato and beans. Both got annoyed with how busy it was and how people claim a table before buying their food, sending their partners to the queue. We didn’t think this was fair, so when we finished eating we didn’t move til we saw a family with a tray of food looking for a table.

Did my last run on Thursday, so if I’m not ready now then it’s too late. Sure I’ll be fine! Plan for tonight is a few more carbs, watching Doctor Who, then an early night.

Good luck to everyone running the Great North Run tomorrow, and hopefully see you at the finish!

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Great North 10k – 22/07/12


0715hrs

My alarm went off on my phone. I pressed snooze.

0730hrs

My alarm went off on my phone. I considered pressing snooze again, but though it’d be best to get up and ready for the run. I had a quick shower, then got my kit on and went downstairs to where Martyn was getting his shoes on. I put the kettle on and made us both a coffee, and then some instant porridge. I knew that I needed to eat because I wouldn’t have chance before about half 12, so I tried to force the porridge down but it wasn’t happening. I think I had about 3 mouthfuls. The coffee was a big help though! Martyn ate his porridge and a banana. Greedy git.

0830hrs

We got on the Metro to Gateshead Station and talked tactics. We both agreed that getting to the end would be a good idea, and so decided to take the run at a nice steady pace. No point sprinting off into the distance if you have to walk the rest of the way. I was a bit nervous, but also excited for my first ever run. More and more people in running gear and race numbers got on the Metro at each stop, and all those that made eye contact gave a little nod or a smile. It was the friendliest train ride I’ve ever been on.

0900hrs

We arrived at the station. Not knowing which direction to go in, we did what anyone would do and followed the crowd. On the walk down we got talking to a nice bloke from Newcastle who said that he’s done this and most other Great Runs for the past few years for charity. I made a mental note of his number so that I could check his time after the race, but forgot it.

0915hrs

We made our way down past the stadium which would act as the finishing line, went and used the toilet, then had a look around. There were loads of people already milling about, some looking nervous, some looking excited, and one dressed as a giant rabbit. “What ever happens,” I said to Martyn, “We have to finish in front of that Rabbit.” There was a clown too, and he must’ve had about 20 finishers medals around his neck. He was trying to get the crowd worked up by shouting ‘Oggy Oggy Oggy’, but only a few people shouted back so he gave that up quite quickly. It’s not easy being a clown I guess.

0945hrs

Picked up a free bottle of Powerade from the powerade stand and they said that if we get weighed before and after the run, we get a free Powerade sports bottle. Both agreed, so went on the scales and got measured. I was exactly the same weight before and after the run, which they said was good because it meant that I had been drinking properly on the course. They mentioned some other stuff too, but I was only there for my free sports bottle so didn’t pay much attention. Went to the toilet again.

1015hrs

The group warm up session was about to begin when Martyn said that he needed the toilet again. I asked if he was joking, because we’d been twice already and he said ‘We’ve been twice already, but could still do with going.’ We left our place in the line up, went to the toilet, came back and got into our section again but a bit further back and then did a bit of warm up.

1030hrs

The first wave of runners were off. A few minutes later so were the next wave, and then the next. After each wave we all moved closer and closer to the start line and Martyn said he needed the toilet again so I ignored him. The Rocky theme tune was playing as we approached to pump us up, and everyone around us had a smile on their face. The Rabbit was stood right in front of me.

1048hrs

We were off! The chip on my trainer pipped as we passed over the start line, and I was ready to run. It took a minute or so for everyone to go from a mass huddle to getting into their own space where they could start to run at their own pace. As I thought, a few people sprinted off around the corner as fast as they could but we were sticking to the plan and going steady. There was a slight hill to start with, and as we approached the 1km sign there was a woman who was out of breath and had slowed down to a walk. As we passed I heard her say ‘I’m not running all the way.’ Not sure if she meant all the way to the end, or all the way to the first kilometre sign, but I thought it best not to ask.

We chatted quite a bit as we were running, careful not to trip or be tripped as we went. I was suprised that we seemed to be over taking quite a lot of people, but as we were in the last wave of runners, it’s not like we passed any olympians. I was keeping track of the kilometre markers that we passed against my watch to see if I could guess some sort of finishing time. The 1st marker we passed in 6 minutes, which put us on an hour run. Obviously we’d started steady and didn’t expect to keep this pace for the whole route, but it was a good feeling. When we got to the 3km marker, we were on 18minutes, still running 6 minutes a km. Not bad!

There were a few hills and a few ups and downs on the run, but we hadn’t encountered anything too difficult as of yet. As we got to the top of the steepest hill so far, I noticed that Martyn had dropped back. I looked behind and he was walking a bit, but quickly caught up. I asked if he was OK, and he said he was, so we carried on. A few minutes later, he’d gone again. I waited for him and he told me that his knee was playing up. (He’d injured it a couple of years back after tripping over a cobble when tipsy.) He looked in pain so we walked a minute or so, then picked up the pace again. We were nowhere near the first to have a little walk so we weren’t bothered. We passed a bloke who was doing the run in jeans and with a coat tied around his waist, so knew we wouldn’t be last.

1115hrs

We were now doing about 80% running and 20% walking. It helped us both, because it meant that Martyn didn’t have to strain his knee too much and also that I could have a breather without saying I needed a breather. We’d run along the side of the river and under the bridges that pass into Newcastle. Picking up a bottle of water each, in the distance we could see the turn around point and the 5km marker. ‘Look!’ I said. ‘Halfway done! Almost back now!’ My enthusiasm was soon downtrodded though, because as we were running TOWARDS the turn around point, coming AWAY from the turn around point, and a good five minutes in front, was the Rabbit. ‘Bastard.’ I said.

1130hrs

We’d gone past the turn around and had my name shouted my a radio bloke on a loudspeaker. I was feeling quite good about the race, now that we were on the home stretch. We were still walking a bit but we were still running more. The sun had come out for a bit and so we were very happy to see a shower stand set up in the road that you could run under. We decided to walk under instead of run, to get as refreshed as we could. A bit further on there were a couple of hills which we got up, and as we rounded the corner we ran past quite a lot of people cheering on the runners and waving and clapping. I didn’t wave back or anything though, because I didn’t want to look like a tit.

1145hrs

I figured by looking at the markers and keeping track of time, that we would be able to finish somewhere around 1 hour 10 minutes. Before the race, we said we’d be happy with 1 hour 20, so we were pleased. Even better than that though, was that we were getting closer and closer to the Rabbit. I was planning to say something clever like ‘I bet you’re bunny boiling in that suit’ or something, but couldn’t get the words straight in my head. Decided to just overtake him instead.

We approached the last hill in the race, and though it wasn’t a long one, it was quite steep. They were playing ‘Hearts on Fire’ from Rocky IV so I said to Martyn that we should run up the hill. Suprisingly, he ran off at a right pace and started sprinting up, so I followed, running as fast as I could. Even more suprising was when I looked to my right, there was a lad that was ALSO sprinting up the hill. I only sprinted because Martyn did, and I’m guessing that the lad just wanted to join in. Bit weird. Anyway, at the top we were gasping for breath and I said to Martyn ‘Why did you sprint?!’

‘Because you shouted ‘RUN!’

‘No I didn’t, I said we should run up the hill like Rocky, not that we should sprint!’

‘Who shouted RUN then?’

‘I have no idea, it wasn’t me.’

‘…Sure?’

‘Sure.’

‘Oh.’

1155hrs

We were back on the road where we started the run, and the barriers had been changed so that it lead into the Gatehead stadium instead of where we ran at the start. The course finished on the track, which meant that you did almost a full lap on the running track of the stadium in front of the crowds in the stands. It felt good, and I was so chuffed that we were about to finish. From our side of the track I could see the Timer above the finish line and realised that we were VERY close to finishing in just under 1 hour 10 minutes. I shouted to Martyn that we should run to make sure, and we did. We both crossed the line at exactly the same time and headed straight for the people handing out water, then for the people handing out the T-Shirts and Medals.

Our official finishing time was 01:08:53.