(Amazingly) Delayed Yorkshire Marathon 2017 Recap


In Which I’m Not Even Joking, It’s Almost Time For 2018 Yorkshire Marathon It’s THAT Delayed

Good evening! (I’m guessing. Evening here, but I don’t know where you are. Or when you’ll read this. Or IF! Oh my.)

Finally got around to writing my race recap for York Marathon 2017 (as written in the title. So this sentence is pretty much just filler. I’d skip it if I were you.)

We (myself and Hayley) drove down from lovely Edinburgh to equally lovely York on the Saturday morning. We arrived at an Airbnb (how modern of us) at around 3pm after a 4hr car journey. (Making sure you know it’s a car we drove and not a train.)

The host of the Airbnb had been in touch to tell us that she wouldn’t be there and had left details on where the keys to the house were, which meant that instead of just a room for the night we had access to a whole house the the bargain price of £35. It was a lovely house too, but I’m not telling you where because even after I left a 5* review and we left the house as we found it, the host didn’t leave me ANY review and yeah, I’m THAT petty sometimes.

We were planning on doing a Ghost Walk around York (theres a few that go on every night but the one you want starts from outside the front of the Minster. Best one.) But as it was a Saturday night York was heaving with Stag and Hen parties so didn’t fancy being heckled from people more interested in spirits rather than spirits.

Instead we had a bit of a wander around by ourselves (I think? Wooooooooo…..) and then made our way back to the house. We ordered take-away (carbs for the next mornings marathon.) I can’t remember what I ordered (Chips? Rice?) but Hayley ordered a Viking Pizza and it arrived like this and OHMYLIFE was it good!

BlogPizza

And then, to bed!

Before too long my alarm was going off and it was time to get up and at ’em.

The start of the marathon was (as is always) up at York university. You can pay on a transfer bus that takes you from York train station to the start, and back again at the end. As the uni is a few miles out, it always makes sense.

The marathon then makes its way from the Uni into York city centre (just before mile 2 on the handy map below) and then out towards little towns and villages dotted around the place. We had a chat and it made more sense for Hayley to cheer on from the city centre then make her way to the University for the end, rather than be stuck at the Uni all day. (Handily gave herself an extra hour in bed there. Convenient!)

yorkshire_marathon_route

Breakfast was the standard coffee and a crappy microwave burger. (It works for me!) Then I was off on my way for the bus which was around a 30 minute walk. (Nice warm up.)

Huge queue to get on but they put on loadsa buses so didn’t have to wait long.

Arriving at the start I messaged Paul to see where he was at. It was his first marathon today and so I said I’d run it with him for support and general niceness. He found me in the toilet queue (I needed to go, wasn’t just there for the fun) and then (after) we made our way to the start to line up.

JUST realised I didn’t take many pics for this post so you’ll have to imagine. No wait, I did art at school I’m sure I can do the scene justice! Give your thoughts a break, stop imagining and start VISUALISING!

Paint

Now, don’t let the picture fool you. First: That’s actually a drawing and not a photo. Second: There were more people than that.

Before we knew it, it was go time. It’s always a very well organised start and this year was the same. No waiting around to get to the start line, just a nice steady walk.

We started at a nice steady pace and the plan was to keep to that and walk through each water station (which are roughly 5k apart.) 15mins in and we’re approaching the town centre and I started looking for the missus. Saw her at the side, ran over to give her a kiss (Awwwwhhhhhh) and then we ran by the minster. (Me and Paul, not me and Hayley. That’d be against the rules.)

5k: First water station. All good.

10k: Just over an hour. All good.

Carried on a bit further and then felt a slight pain in my knee. Got steadily worse until around mile 11 where I told Paul that he should bugger off on alone so he doesn’t miss out on a decent time for his first marathon, and from then on it was painful.

1/2 Marathon in 2hr 12minutes.

Mile 13 is downhill to the turn around at mile 14 and I saw Paul coming up the opposite side so stopped for a little talk and told him I was in pain and not to expect me to be at the end anytime soon after him. From here to the end is a combination of slow running and hobbling. Few minutes run, more minutes hobble.

Mile 14-16 is steadily slightly uphill so that hurt.

Mile 16 to 18 is nicely steadily downhill so that was better, but still hurt. Mile 18 turn around and go back up. You shit.

Saw the archbishop of York on the way up high-fiving the runners. He was decked out in his traditional purple robes and I honestly thought it was someone in a Magneto fancy dress costume.

Mile 20 arrived (not soon enough) and it looked like I was going to record a PW (Personal Worst) time, I was estimating that due to the speed I was going and the amount I was slowing I’d be around 5hr 20mins. Ugh. Ah well, goonies never say die and all that!

Digging deep I started to count my steps. Run for 100, walk for 100. Keep the rhythm, feel the rhyme. The crowds at Yorkshire marathon are always fantastic and the support is brilliant. The cheers of the crowd really do motivate you on. (Looking back, that is. Not at the time. At the time you want to shout “No I will NOT run faster and I am NOT almost there!” But you don’t, because it’s hard enough to breathe as it is.)

Before long the end was in sight, and so was a nice sit down.

Amazingly, I finished in 04:51:47! (Paul finished in 04:22:32 but no one likes a show off.)

Total number of Yorkshire Marathons I’ve completed: 5

Total number of Marathons I’ve completed: EIGHT!

Met Hayley at the end and also Paul and his missus were waiting too. (He’d been sick after finishing. Serves him right.)

Congratulated each other then made our separate ways. Myself and Hayley got to the pub for beer and recovery chips and then a four hour drive back up to Scotland. (I had a shower first otherwise that’d be an interesting scent to take!)

Already entered Yorkshire Marathon 2018. Standard.

20171008_163226 (1)

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.

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..!