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.

Lanzarote Ironman 2013 (Spectator, obviously)


In Which I Forget To Mention Things, Or People, Or Stuff, Or Funny Happenings, Because It Was A Long Day!

Last year, Father-In-Law Tony and Uncle-In-Law Rob both entered the Lanzarote Ironman event.

Both Tony and Rob finished the Lanzarote Ironman event.

Afterwards, both Tony and Rob said they wouldn’t do another Ironman event.

Both Tony and Rob did the Lanzarote Ironman event again this year.

(Both Tony and Rob are signed up for the Bolton Ironman event in August, too)

Mental.

16/05/13

We had an early flight out to Lanzarote with Jet2 on the Thursday morning. Check-In was quick, security was a breeze, and before too long it was time to board. The flight was meant to take 4 1/2 hours but took just under four. Who says budget airlines are rubbish?

By 2pm we had arrived at the hotel, checked-in, dumped our bags and were drinking in the hotels pool bar. Roughly 20 or so of us had flown out to cheer them both on in the Ironman and both seemed relaxed.

Before long evening had arrived and we all went out for an all-you-can-eat chinese buffet. (Table for 20?) Myself and Sarah were tired as had had a late night followed by a stupidly early morning and so went back to our room and did a search for cockroaches. (Last year when we went to Lanzarote, I’d gotten into bed on the first night and a cockroach ran across my chest, causing me to scream like a girl and jump out of bed. Not having THAT happen again!)

Checked everywhere, everywhere clear. Decided to get us a bottle of water each out of the fridge, and there was a cockroach INSIDE the fridge. It was so big that it could’ve opened the bottle of water and passed it to me. I went to reception to tell them about it and someone came round with a 2 foot can of spray. He killed the ‘roach, then left us the spray. I sprayed so much of it around that when I was going to sleep I got a headache and felt sick. Still, no more cockroaches were seen all holiday.

17/05/13

The Friday was spent relaxing and not really doing much apart from eating cheap food and drinking cheap beer. The best thing about being abroad in the heat (it was about 27 Celsius) is that they keep the beer glasses in the freezer so you get an ice-cold brew every time. The bar had been taken over by new people since our last visit, Mark (7 time Lanzarote Ironman finisher), Lauren and Grant. Not sure if Lauren or Grant had done any Ironman’s. (Ironmen?) (There’s a joke there about ‘Doing an Ironman’ but I’m rising above it.)

18/05/13

‘Early to bed, Early to rise, Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.’

‘Late to bed, Early to rise, Makes Marc want to sit down and cry.’

We were up at 6am.

Myself and Sarah made our way up the apartment complex where Susan (Mother In Law), Tony and Rob were. They all looked nervous, as you’d expect. Not many words were spoken apart from ‘Good Luck’ and ‘See you on the beach’ before Tony and Rob made their way down to the start line.

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In case you don’t know, and were expecting this to be a review of Iron Man 3 or something, the Ironman events consist of:

2.4 Mile Swim + 112 Mile bike ride + 26.2 Mile marathon run, one after the other, with a 17 hour time limit.

Take a second to read that again.

Go on, I’ll wait here.

Done? Good.

The event starts at 7am and finishes at midnight. There are cut-offs too, for the ones at the back.

You have to have the swim done by 9.20 or are told to stop for the day. You have to have the bike finished by 18.30, or again, aren’t allowed to carry on. If you aren’t back from your run by midnight, you don’t get an official time. No pressure then.

We all made our way down to the beach at around 6.30 and got down the the sea shore, then edged our way across to where the Ironhopefuls would be getting in and out of the sea. It was warmish, but was raining on and off for a while. They do 2 x 1.2mile laps in the sea before running up the beach towards the bikes.

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This is the view from near where the bikes are. The yellow thing in the distance on the right is where the swim starts and finishes. So between swimming and biking, you have to run all this way too!

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All of a sudden, they’re off. The elites go in first, with about a 30second or so gap before the regular people go in. It takes ages for them all to get wet, as there were about 1800 people (guessing all with a screw or two loose.)

Watching the swim and trying to recognise who you’re there to cheer on is like trying to spot a needle in a hay stack. If the needle was made of hay. And the hay stack was about a mile square. And on the moon.

Pretty much everyone is wearing goggles, a black wet suit and an orange swim cap. They all look the same. You have no chance really of spotting anyone tha….

Oh there’s Rob. And Tony. Huh.

Turns out that even though they finished the first lap at the same time, they didn’t know the other one was that close!

We all cheered, not sure they heard us, then they both jumped in for lap 2. Both took just over 44 minutes for the first, so we guessed a little longer for the 2nd lap and positioned ourselves on the part of the beach where they’d be running up to Transition 1 (Where they get changed into bike gear.)

Rob was the first passed, with a 2nd lap time of 43:47 (quicker than his 1st!) and followed 3 minutes later by Tony. Both looked happy to be on dry land and vertical. They definitely heard us cheer this time. After they’d gone into T1 we ran across the beach, climbed a wall, and positioned ourselves next to Tony’s bike. Transition took him 11 minutes (a LOT quicker than last years transition of 18minutes)

He came around the corner from T1, got his stuff sorted with his bike, and then was off.

image (19)

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We went for a full english.

The thing about Lanzarote Ironman bike course, is that it pretty much takes in the whole island, in one continuous lap, so the people you’re cheering on can be away for up to 7 or 8 hours, so you need to entertain yourself. We went to the Ironman shop and Sarah bought herself an Ironman T-Shirt. I didn’t want one myself, because when wearing it people would assume I’ve completed one and I haven’t.

We walked passed a shop that printed T-Shirts though, and they had one that said ‘IRONMAN LANZAROTE’ with little pictures of each discipline underneath and the respective distances. Entering the shop, I approached the woman there and asked if instead of ‘IRONMAN LANZAROTE’ could I have ‘IRONMAN IN TRAINING’? She said ‘Of course!’ I paid my money and was told it’d be ready later that day.

On our way back to the apartments we heard a siren going off and realised the leader was coming back from the bike course already. It wasn’t even 1pm. He finished the 112miles in little under 5 hours. Average speed of 22MPH. Bearing in mind there’s over 2500metres of climbing on the bike. We cheered him on, then crossed the road and cheered him when he came out of T2 and started on his run.

Later found out his name is Faris Al-Sultan and he completed the 26.2mile marathon run in 2:55. Sub 3hr marathon after 2.4mile swim and 112mile bike ride. Mental.

Faris Al-Sultan - Quick

Faris Al-Sultan – Quick

We made our way back to the pool bar at the apartments (via a frozen yoghurt shop) and watched Bradford City win at Wembley.

We knew that Rob would be back a bit quicker on the bike, so positioned ourselves at the bag changeover stand so would be able to have a quick word when he came in. There were a few other people waiting for their family members too, but got a good view. While we were waiting a bloke got his bag from near Robs and a woman (wife or girlfriend) started cheering him and talking in French. He smiled and laughed and waved, and then started to move off to the change tent.

His wife/girlfriend wasn’t happy.

She shouted something in French, (Guessing ‘where’s my kiss’) He stopped in his tracks, ran to the fence, kissed her and ran off again. We all cheered and clapped and she did a little curtsy. Bless ’em.

A short while later, another person ran for his bag and got cheered on by his wife or girlfriend. Think these were German. A smile, a laugh, a wave, followed by him starting off to the change tent.

A theme was emerging…

Something was shouted in German (Guessing ‘where’s my kiss’) So he stopped, turned, ran to the fence, kissed, ran off. We cheered again. No curtsy though. Moody.

Rob arrived off of his bike at around 15.30, having completed the bike course in 6:56. He looked quite fresh, and set off for his marathon.

Last year Tony came back from his bike an hour after Rob, so expected him around 16.30. Sarah said that it’d be quicker than that so we waited by the fence near his bag. Susan, Hannah and the other sat behind us in a bar that was right on the edge of the path. At around 16.00 Tony arrived, knocking a massive one and a 1/2 hours off of last years time so far.

“HE’S HERE!” Shouted my lovely wife. “HE’S HERE HE’S HERE!” Bit loud.

Everyone jumped up from the table and came to the fence to cheer him on. He looked quite fresh too, and before too long he’d got his bag and was running to Transition 2 to get changed.

Everyone was amazed at how quick he’d gotten around the course and everyone was buzzing.

The marathon course of Ironman Lanzarote consists of 3 out and back laps, the first is pretty much a 1/2 marathon, followed by 2 x laps of just over 10k. The marathon is a lot more spectator friendly as is goes from the start/finish line and back 3 times so you see the person you’re cheering on six times. Cheering on two people means that you don’t have to wait for long to see one or the other.

Myself and Sarah positioned ourselves on the other side of the road to the runners, where all the bars are, and had some food. Sarah had pizza and I had a steak. It was lovely. Before long most of the others had wandered down to where we were and we took over the roadside tables of two bars that were next door to each other, but open plan so our tables were together. Rob Novis and his wife Claire arrived too and got on the cocktails.

I had an app on my phone called ‘Irontrac’ which recorded all the split times on their run so we could have an informed guess as to how long it’d be before we saw them. When it was getting close to the time, we were positioning ourselves on the running side of the road ready to cheer and whoop. We saw Rob arrive and about ten minutes later he passed us again having completed half the marathon. Everyone cheered, I whooped.

Rob

Rob

I figured that Tony would be back from the first 1/2 of the marathon at around 18.30 so was surprised at around 17.50 when Hannah shouted that he was here. We all ran across the road, but it wasn’t him. At about 18.00 Hannah shouted again that he was here, so we all ran across the road, but it wasn’t him again. I checked the app, and he was still on for arriving about 18.30. Surprised again at about 18.10 when Norman (Tony’s Dad) shouted that he was here, so across the road we ran. Wasn’t him.

The staff in the bar must’ve thought it was some kind of drinking game, running across the road then not cheering anyone on, before running back and having a drink. Or that we were REALLY shit at doing a runner from the bar bill.

About 20 minutes later Tony came passed, so we all cheered (I whooped) and then cheered and whooped again as he ran off to batter the second half of the run. Because they were both on the first of 2 10k(ish) laps, we saw one or the other without too much time between. On Rob’s 2nd time back, he walked a bit and said he felt sick but seemed to push through it. The sight of a runner throwing up at the side of the road wouldn’t’ve helped, I guess.

Tony

Tony

We waited for Tony to come back from his 2nd lap (Cheer! Whoop!) and after he set off we settled up at the bar (Ah, I knew they’d chicken out of running away Alfonso!) then made our way to the finish line. We cheered on the people that were finishing the Ironman, and spurred on the ones who were starting out on another lap. If you want a big cheer for your Ironman finish, run with a child or your wife, as the crowd go mental for these. There was a tense moment when a bloke was on his way to finish decided to bow, and almost tripped himself up. Straightening himself the shock on his face was obvious, as was the relief when he put his hand on his heart.

Before long we saw Rob making his way to the finishers chute and he finished with a time of 13:25:35, beating last years time by around an hour and a half.

Keeping an eye on Irontrac we roughly guessed what time Tony would be back and wasn’t too far out when he got back from the end of the marathon. As he approached where we were cheering, he grabbed Norman’s hand (His Dad, aged 83) and along with Hannah they all ran across the finishing line together. Official finishing time was 14:52:13, beating the previous years time by almost TWO HOURS.

Before you say it’s mean making a man in his 80’s run down the line, Norman regularly walks 40+ miles a week and is in training for the Skipton Sprint Triathlon in September. On one of the mornings in Lanzarote he went for a 5k run followed by a 20k bike ride. (On another morning he fell off his bike because he was eyeing up the Senoritas.)

19/05/13

The people at the pool bar organised a BBQ on the sunday afternoon which we all took full advantage of. Plenty of drink and plenty of food. (Rob Novis had FOUR burgers in a bun at one point. The same Rob Novis that I ran the Blackpool Marathon with.) Towards early evening talk came around to, as it obviously would, Ironman Lanzarote 2014. Nigel said that he was giving it serious thought as he’s done a few short course tri’s, plus multiple 10ks and a half marathon. I said that I wouldn’t be fit enough for next year, but am giving serious thought about 2015. At one point Tony told Mark behind the bar (who’s best time for Lanzarote is 9:57!) that myself and Rob Novis were considering.

“Big Rob?” Asked Mark.

“Yeah,” Said Tony, “They both did a marathon in April.”

“Four burgers Rob did a marathon?!”

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We had another week in the sun following the event, going to the zoo and carrying on eating and drinking too much. I had a swimming lesson with Sarahs Grandad and Tony, so can do a bit of front crawl now with my head under water. Not got the breathing right yet though, so need to work on that. I’ve come home close to a STONE heavier than before we left, which means I need to get back on the training ASAP.

Sarah At The Zoo

Sarah At The Zoo

Four Burgers Rob

Four Burgers Rob

We didn’t land til about 1AM so couldn’t get Indy from the cattery until the next day (Monday). All that day and all Tuesday were spent sorting out clothes, food and stuff so were too tired to do any exercise. On the Wednesday, I was still off but Sarah was working and had every good intention of going to the gym or going swimming, when this happened:

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Both Tony and Rob have said they won’t be doing Ironman Lanzarote again.

(But they both said that last year too)

Two Days Until Blackpool Marathon


In Which I’m Right Nervous!

So, in 43 hours time (if you’re reading this on Friday 5th April at 13:30, otherwise it’s less) the gun will go off, and I’ll go off, off on my first ever marathon.

Blackpool (the Paris of the north) is having it’s marathon on the same day as Paris (the Blackpool of the south) has their marathon. Don’t know how many are running Paris, but in Blackpool there’s around 900 of us. (A blogger I follow and that follows me is running Paris, his blog is here: http://parcequewhynot.wordpress.com/ Good luck!)

People keep asking if I’m ready, and I keep saying No. I’m sure most people think that before their first marathon though, especially if they haven’t trained enough. (like me.) Whatever happens though, I’m determined to get around in one piece. I started my carb loading last night (heap of pasta and bread) and have carried it on today (Turkey sandwich for breakfast, chicken sandwich at 11, flapjack just now, turkey for dinner, etc etc) and still have tonight and all day tomorrow to carry on carbing.

There’s a tower in Blackpool (Paris has nothing on them!) which we pass at around about the 10k point, then again at 20k, then at 30k and the last time at 40k, and as the run is pretty much flat the whole way in an out and back set-up, we should be able to see the tower the whole time. (Until we pass it, obviously. Unless we run backwards. Which I won’t.) I figure this’ll make it better for first timers like me, because there’s pretty much always a landmark to aim for.

I’m meeting Rob and his wife Claire in Bradford train station at 12 tomorrow morning, from whence we make our way to Blackpool to stay over night, quite near the start/end of the run. Followed by beer.

I’ve made a checklist of everything I might need (and more) so thats a load of my mind. I’m currently working out a playlist for the marathon, which has plenty of rock music to keep me motivated. My plan at the minute is run to each water station then walk through having some water. They’re spaced every 5k (just about) so again, a good marker to aim at.

After the run I’m off home to have a take away with Sarah and Indy, and then I’m settling in for the night to watch Wrestlemania 29. Should be a good end to (hopefully) a great weekend!

(All your best wishes towards me and Rob are welcomed!)

Where have you BEEN?!


In Which I Finally Update My Blog! Huzzah!

Hello! Nice to see you again! It’s been too long. Not even sure the last time I did a proper blog post, so sorry if it’s upset you that there hasn’t been one to read. Hope you didn’t get TOO depressed.

So what have you been up to? Really? Ah, I see. With a duck?! Right…

I’ve only done one 10k race since last time, it was the Keighley 10k run on March 10th. I have had a birthday though, and so now I’m in the 31 – 40 age group (as I turned 31.) What else… I did a 17 mile bike ride the day before Keighley (not advised) and last week rode a PB distance of 24 miles! Swimming is going well, I can now manage 2 lengths.

Anyway! Back to Keighley!

Keighley 10k Recap, Or ‘What I Learned’

Things I know for next year:

1. If it’s cold when you leave the house, it’ll be cold when waiting for the race to start. Snowing, even. Don’t think to yourself ‘I’ll warm up on the run’ because you might have frozen your bits off before the run has even begun.

2. Keep your eye on the startline, because sometimes the start isn’t properly announced. Sometimes they just set off running, even while the warm up is still going. You turn around and notice that the race has started, but aren’t ready.

3. Don’t try and keep pace with an Ironman.

4. Read the entry page FULLY before committing to a run. You know you can finish a 10k run, and you know you’re fine on the roads, but if you miss the bit on the entry where it says MULTI TERRAIN you’ll probably get a shock. Especially if there’s A LOT of mud, and you’re wearing your WHITE running shoes. (Now a shade of brown.)

5. Study the route. (Then you might realise before race day that it’s MULTI TERRAIN) you also might realise that the course takes in a LOT of hills, plus a lot of alleyways and narrow passages that you might not be ready to tackle.

6. There’s no shame in moving to one side if the other choice is running through a thin path on a muddy field for about a kilometre. Just make sure your shoes are fastened properly, so you don’t almost lose one in the mud.

7. Keep your eye out for the marker signs. If the last one you saw was 5K, and you’ve run for another 15 mins or so, then don’t think to yourself how rubbish you’re running, instead think that you might’ve missed a marker.

8. If you’re addicted to times and PB’s and stuff, use your own tracker app or watch or something, don’t rely on timing chips because sometimes they have a problem and none of them record anyones time, so you have to go on gun time. If you use your own tracker app or watch or something, DON’T FORGET TO STOP IT AFTER YOU FINISH.

9. If you find yourself struggling on the run, talk to someone. Doesn’t matter who they are, if you’re a similar pace, talk. I talked to a nice woman for the last kilometre or so because my legs were killing me from the bike ride the day before, and before I knew it I was over the line.

10. For the race organisers: If you design a T-Shirt for a run, or for any event, give thought to which letters you highlight…

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I don’t think anyone was expecting a T-Shirt with K K K on the front in what can honestly be described as ‘Blood Red.’

My next run was supposed to be this Sunday, 24th March but due to snowy weather, it’s been postponed. It looks like my next official run will be the Blackpool Marathon on April 7th! EEK!

View From The Trail (Well, canal. And a road.)


In Which I Go For A Ride, And Someone’s Had Their Last Ride (As In, Dead.)

Last Monday it was a rest day from running so I went out for a bike ride instead. I planned my route out and figured it’d take about an hour, in the late afternoon. I mapped the route so that I’d go along and down the main road for a bit, before venturing off on the canal path for a few miles before attempting (and failing to conquer) a MASSIVE hill near home, before having a steady mile of flat roads and then home.

I planned it like this, a big circle around where I live, so that I could cut it short at anytime if I got right tired, or crashed or got bit by a walrus or anything. Be prepared and all that.

A little while after setting off I was on the canal path, and thinking to myself how nice it was that I’m seeing all this nature and getting exercise, which I wouldn’t even of considered a few months ago. I saw a Heron/Stork/Bird thing, which flew off before I got a picture. (I’m not bad at naming birds; Crow, Magpie, Penguin and such, and can also name Dog breeds: German Shepherd, Labrador, Pug, but when it’s Cats it’s pretty much just: Cat, Cat, Cat…)

Anyway, there were a few birds flapping about and probably a few fish swimming about, when I saw this in the canal:

Whoops!

Whoops!

I’m not an expert, but I don’t think that’s how you drive one of these…

After taking a picture and getting back on my bike, I followed the path around the route, passing plenty of joggers and cyclists coming the other way which made me worry that I was on a One Way canal path and I was going the wrong way, with all the proper-way people tutting as I passed. Soon enough I passed another bloke on a bike though, heading in the same direction, so I used him as a pacer for a bit (mainly so I could blame him when the canal police told us off.)

I came to where I come off the canal path and took this picture of the evening:

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Not even instagrammed! (well, OK, it is. Not the colours though!)

I walked my bike up through the woods and got onto the main road, where I then cycled towards Shipley. Halfway down the road I was passed a couple of ‘proper’ looking cyclists who both said Hello to me. (I replied with **PANT**COUGH**HI!**PANT**WHEEZE**) They both passed me easily enough but as the road started to go slightly downhill I decided to try keep pace. I managed it quite well too!

Getting to where I was about to turn off, we approached some temporary traffic lights and they both went towards the front of the traffic (as the lights were on red.) I followed. Reaching the lights, THEY BOTH JUST CARRIED ON THROUGH THE RED LIGHT! I was so shocked THAT I ALSO WENT THROUGH THE RED LIGHT! Luckily no one saw. I turned left at the next (green) set of traffic lights and tried to go up Carr Hill. It’s a beast. Seriously, cars struggle to get up it. I managed a few metres before I got off and pushed my bike, which was hard enough by itself! I (slowly) got to the top, got back on my bike, and peddled the steady mile or so home. All in all, I managed just over 10 1/2 miles in just over an hour.

Tuesday, myself and Sarah were both off work and it was quite a sunny day (not warm though) so we decided to go up to a place called Yeadon Tarn where theres a boating lake and… ducks and stuff. A lap of the Tarn is just under a mile. We walked halfway round, then got an ice cream. (Sunny = Ice Cream. Even if the weather is freezing. It was cold enough to have to buy a Hot Chocolate at the same time, but Sunny = Ice Cream.) We walked one lap, and then decided to walk it again, but without another Ice Cream.

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Half way round our second lap, Sarah said that she could see a box floating in the lake near the edge, so we had a nosey when we went passed. Turns out that it was one of those boxes THAT CONTAINS SOMEONES ASHES AFTER THEY’VE BEEN CREMATED! The date on it was 2011. Now, I don’t know if they’ve been floating there for two years or not, but surely one of the boating people would’ve gotten them out by now? Otherwise, someones been to the Tarn recently with the box of ashes and accidentally dropped them in the water THEN JUST LEFT THEM THERE. I have no idea.

How I Think It Happened

“I’ve always wanted to be buried at sea.”

“Really? Bit far, the sea side. How about that Tarn Lake thing?”

“That Tarn… Yeah, I suppose that’ll do. I’d have to be cremated I guess, to go in there.”

“I’m not touching your ashes.”

“…What?”

“I’m not touching your ashes. I’ll get em everywhere!”

“Just open the box and tip me in.”

“Could do I suppose. What if it’s windy?”

“Do it when it’s not.”

“It’s always windy this time of year.”

“Do it in the bloody summer!”

“Yeah, could do…”

The bloke dies in 2011. Eventually, the day comes. 2013. It’s been windy for two years, but she’s glad she’s waited for this day. The first sunny day of the year, though it’s cold. Sunny days mean Ice Cream however, so that’s the plan for afterwards. Probably a flake too. Reaching the waters edge she sheds a tear as she prepares to open the box. A slight breeze tickles the back of her neck.

“Sod this!” She says, and lobs the whole box in.

The End

Speaking of made up stuff, I wrote a short story and put it on that WattPad website. If you fancy a read, it’s here (opens new window):

‘Super Hero For Sale.”

(A shorter short story, would be a better name.)

Any comments are welcome!

Sticking To The Plan!


Stats

Original Weight: (Jan 1st) 15st 7lbs / 217lbs / 98.4kg
Weigh-in (Feb 4th) 15st 0lbs / 210lbs / 95.3kg
Gain/Loss In Total: -7lbs / 3.18kgs

In Which I’m Doing It, I’m Actually Doing It!

Pleased with this weeks weigh-in as I’ve now lost a nice round 1/2 Stone since the start of 2013. It’s not too bad seeing as though I’ve only really exercised for two full weeks this year (the week just gone and the first week of the year.) My immediate goal is to get to just under 14st by my birthday (14th March) which is do-able healthily by dropping 3lbs a week. (Then probably put on another stone by the end of my birthday.)

Myself and Sarah have been mostly eating healthily at home (apart from a Chinese last Saturday) and I’ve cut down on beer (apart from with the Chinese last Saturday) and also I’m cooking my lunches at home to take to work, so that I’m not tempted by any of the fast food shops near by.

My favourite thing for lunch at the minute is Ricey Veggie Tuna Concoction (Trademark pending.)

It’s Rice, Veg and Tuna! (Does the name cover it enough?) Normally does enough for 3 servings.

Stuff You Need
It’s 200g of whatever rice you prefer (uncooked weight, but obviously cook it after weighing)
1 x Red Pepper
1 x Tin Tuna in Sunflower Oil
1/2 Red Onion
2 x Spring Onions
1 x Tomato (Deseeded, so you only use the fleshy bit)
1 x Tbsp Mayonaise
100g Frozen Peas (Defrosted under a warm tap)
Pinch Salt + Pepper + Garlic Granules (Or just chuck in some proper garlic if you can be bothered chopping it. I use Garlic Pepper.)
Dash of Lemon Juice + Vinegar

Is that everything? I think so…

Directions
Cook Rice.
Chop everything.
Rinse rice under cold tap til cold.
Mix everything in a bowl.
Seperate into 3 containers. (Or 4 if you aren’t as greedy as me.)
Take to work. Microwave til hot (or eat cold) Eat. Enjoy.

You can use anything you want in it, if you don’t like tuna just have a Ricey Veggie Concoction (No Trademark Pending, because that’s a stupid name for a meal.) Just make sure you have equal amounts of all the food going in (apart from the rice.)

The way I make it is around about 350-400 calories per serving. Not worked out fat or carbs or anything.

Day 7 of my 9 and a bit week Marathon training plan.

So anyway, today is Day 7 of my 9 and a bit week Marathon training plan and so far I’ve pretty much stuck to it perfectly. I say pretty much, because on Saturday after work we needed to go shopping so didn’t ride my bike home, but have re-scheduled that bike ride for this Friday after an hour in the gym, as have nothing else planned that day. Also, I’ll be nudging tonights run home to another easy day as I’m sore from the last few days of exercise, and the weather has taken a downwards turn again. Been blizzarding all day (not settled) and now it’s pouring down, but it’s COLD!

My millage is finally adding up to a half decent amount but still under 100 miles for the year, and about 60 miles short of my targeted miles. I figure that over the course of a year, this only adds on about 0.3 miles per day and know that in the summer I’ll be doing long-long bike rides of 30-50 miles (hopefully) so plenty of time to catch up!

My race number for the Mad Dog 10k on Sunday has arrived:

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Every race seems a bit more real when you get your number through! If anyone else is doing this race, keep an eye out and say Hello

Or shout: GETOUTOFMYWAYYOUSLOWGIT!

Whichever.

Marc’s Marvelous Marathon Plan!


Stats

Original Weight: (Jan 1st) 15st 7lbs / 217lbs / 98.4kg
Weigh-in (Jan 29th) 15st 5lbs / 215lbs / 97.5kg
Gain/Loss In Total: -2lbs / 0.9kgs

In Which, With 9 Weeks To Go, I Sort Out A Training Plan

As you can see from my weigh in, I’ve put a few lbs back on! That’s in the wrong direction! Ah well, I was more than expecting it. I had an operation to take out a wisdom tooth on Friday and then had the following three days off of work not doing much apart from watching TV and feeling sorry for myself. Also, the Royal Rumble was on on Sunday night so watched that and drank too much beer which probably accounts for the weight gain by itself!

Back to it now though, and in a big way!

Finally (FINALLY!) I wrote up my training schedule for the Blackpool Marathon at the start of April. That’s right, the one just over 9 weeks away! I had a look at a few 12 week and 16 week training plans, and most of them build up to a long run a few weeks before the marathon of 20miles or so. As I’m planning on walking each water station (every mile-ish) I’m not that bothered about being able to run 26.2 miles in one go, I’ll save that for the October marathon where hopefully I’m not hindered by Snow/Flu/Operations.

People manage to finish marathons in well under 4 hours using the ‘walking through water stations’ method so I don’t see any reason why I can’t use it to finish in under 5 hours. That’s my target for Blackpool, with my ‘hope against hope’ target being under 4 1/2 hours. (I’m saving the Sub 4 hour run for October too!) The longest training run I’ll be doing will be 18 miles, and that’s gonna be a mixture of walking and running.

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Not sure how well it’ll turn out in pictures, but I wrote a key on the right of the first pic. So on Sun 3rd March where it says W2W, R-LRH, that means ‘Walk To Work’ and ‘Run Longer Route Home.’ Makes sense to me, but I came up with it all so good luck.

Also, finally found some hi-viz tape to put on my Rucksack for the run/bike home at night! (H for Hemingway!)

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Hope everyone else has had a good January and stuck to your resolutions (like I… err… didn’t.)

Next run is Mad Dog 10k in Southport on 10th February.