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.

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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.

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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.)

Two Years On


In Which I Compare Stats And Stuff

Last week was the Great North Run (I didn’t do it. See my Great North Run post from two years ago for reasons why.) That means it’s two years since I ran the Great North Run (but I kinda just said that) and that was my first ever 1/2 marathon. It took me 2h 38mins.

A few days before the run (last weeks, not two years ago. Keep up) I decided to go out and run a half marathon around where I live. (Around the area where I live, not laps of my house or anything. That’d make me chuffing dizzy and the neighbours would prolly get annoyed, as we live in a semi-detached.)

I mapped out (what I thought was) a loop of 10k (6.2miles) figuring I’d do it twice and then just add a bit on at the end.

I set off from home, up the hill to the roundabout (thanks to all the Americans that gave me roundabout info a post or two back) and then ran towards Eccleshill where I turned left down Harrogate road and had a nice long downhill stretch before turning left onto Leeds rd and then started the uphill section of around 3.5km.

I had a gel around 7km to keep my energy up and felt good as I ended the first loop. Didn’t feel as good when I saw it measured 9km, not 10. Ah well.

Carried on, did the same lap again but a bit slower and with heavier legs. Had another gel at 14km. Uphill bit, got to the top of my road where I’d planned to just have a kilometre left to run but it turned out I had 3. Stupid map measuring app…

Ah well, carry on and get it done. Which I did.

New half marathon (13.1miles, 21km) PB and the first time I’d ever gotten under 2 hours:

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An improvement of 41 mins in two years. Chuffing chuffed with that!!

In Other Similar News

4 weeks tomorrow until York Marathon and this arrived:

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Unfortunately so did a pain in my shoulder and neck, feels like I’ve pulled a muscle while sleeping. Not run in a few days because of it, so it needs to hurry up and chuffing piss off!

Good luck to everyone at Ironman Wales tomorrow! Remember: Don’t Be Shit!

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Skipton Triathlon Recap – 31st August 2014


In Which I Swim, Bike And Run

6am on a Sunday morning and my alarm was beeping, because that’s what alarms are designed for, so it was doing it. 6am though. Ugh.

Ironman Tony was picking me up at 7am which gave me plenty of time to check through my stuff and have a coffee. Didn’t feel like eating so took an energy bar for when we got to Skipton. Time passed (as it tends to do) and Tony arrived. Loaded my bike into his van and after a ‘Good luck!’ from Sarah, we were off.

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Got to Skipton and walked across to the registration to get our start packs. We then went to the transition area to rack our bikes and put race numbers on race tops.

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We then made our way to the swimming pool (for the swimming bit.) After the swim you come out the back door to the pool and loads of people had used the outside area to put some stuff they’d need before getting to transition one (T1) like a towel and stuff. I decided to leave all my stuff here like shorts, socks, towel and running shoes rather than stopping to get ready twice.

Swim: 400m

Tony directed me to poolside (he’s done this one before so knew the setup) and there was a few nervous faces (mine especially) listening to the briefing. I was in Lane one (6 lanes, 4 in a lane) and was given a red swim cap which meant I was setting off first, with the next person 5 seconds after and so on.

We were told when to get in the pool and it was nice and warm, which was nice (and warm) and I floated about treading water a bit but then the countdown was on and before long the whistle went, and so did I.

I’d put down a swim time of 15 mins so everyone else in my start group must’ve put the same. Which is why I don’t feel so bad about saying everyone else in my start group IS A CHUFFING LIAR.

The person that started 5 seconds behind me overtook me on the first turn around, and before too many more laps I’d been overtaken by everyone. YOU SHOULD ALL BE EQUAL TO MY RUBBISH SWIMMINGNESS! I was one of the last out of the pool and the next start group clapped for me (bit condescending, but a nice gesture) and my watch said I’d done the swim in 14 minutes. A PB by a full minute!

Bike: 20km

Exited the building and got my stuff on. I’d swum in tri shorts so just put my normal shorts on over the top. This was followed by a 200m jog to T1 to get my bike. Helmet on, gloves on, bike off the rack, then an uphill walk up grass to where you were allowed to mount your bike.

A Marshall told me I could get on my bike so I told him I’d wait til I was at the top of the hill first, and when I got there I got on. As soon as I set off I decided to have my energy gel which I almost threw away because I couldn’t get the chuffing thing open. Managed to bite a hole in it and had the gel, then I got going properly.

I’d riden the course last week with Tony so pretty much knew what to expect from it. There was a bit of a headwind which didn’t help but didn’t think much about it. Figured I must be near halfway and checked my watch, which said I’d only gone 4km. Pft.

Followed the directions of the marshals and felt quite lonely out there seeing as though everyone else had set off before me. In fact I didn’t see another rider until around 10km, and that was only because they had a puncture at the side of the road.

Reached halfway, felt good. Decided to get my legs going a bit more, plus the second half was a bit easier than the first. Saw another cyclist in front so aimed to pass them. Caught up, rode by. Felt mean when I saw it was a girl on a mountain bike.

Ah well. Kept on pushing and saw another cyclist going up a hill as I neared the bottom. I pushed on and managed to keep a good speed uphill so overtook another. I was surprised at the pace I’d gotten to, and before long flew by another rider.

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Saw a sign saying Skipton was three miles (5km) away which gave me a boost and then before I knew it I was approaching the end of the cycle. Everyone (Sarah’s grandad, mum, sister, and sisters boyfriend) was there cheering me on as I got back and I felt quite good!

Run: 5km

The run was out of the park and along the main road uphill for a bit, then a nice downhill stretch back into, and through, the park. There was a water station at the turn around point so I walked through it as I drunk some free water and then started on the uphill return bit.

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There was then a short but steep path up to the wooded area (which I also walked) and then ran through the wood bit and got a wristband to say my first lap was done.

Pointed back to the road for the second lap and I ran it exactly like the first, walking through the water station and the steep bit, and then this time was directed to the finish line.

Then, done. Finished. Officially a triathlete. (Changed my twitter to say so.)

Had some coke and took some melon, but remembered I don’t really like melon so gave it to Hannah, Sarah’s sister.

Was aiming to finish in around 1:40 so chuffed enough with this!

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Especially pleased with my 5km run time! That was my favourite bit of the day. That, and the full English breakfast later on.

Ironman Tony started at 11:10 and obviously was quicker than me, finishing in a PB of 1:25! I’d like to point out though, that my run was quicker than his. Even though his swim, bike and transitions were a LOT quicker than mine…

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Ice Challenge & Other Things


In Which I Get Iced, And More (Tossers)

Yesterday morning I woke up and checked Facebook (as is the norm for the time I’m living in) and I had a notification.

An Ice Bucket Challenge notification.

Things like this normally pass me by, I didn’t do that necknominate thing and no one wanted to see my make up free selfie pic, so didn’t expect this. I work with some wazzocks though, so should’ve seen it coming…

No doubt you’ve seen celebrities do the challenge, dunking a bucket of ice filled water on your head, to raise awareness of… (and I’m a bit ashamed to say I’m looking this up right now, because I’ve watched heaps of these vids but have no idea…) so I’ve nicked this from Wikipedia:

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For a few days my Facebook has been filled with 45% ‘Yay, ice bucket! Raises awareness for charity!’ And 45% ‘Boo, ice bucket, does nothing for charity!’ (Also 6% Wrestling news, and 4% comedy pics.)

I’m not sure why people decide that stuff like this is something to have a go about, but the charities themselves say they’ve raised EIGHT TIMES the amount of donations that they normally do, so can’t be all THAT bad.

Anyway! Sean Ridley (Captain Cheese String) from work nominated me, and that nomination is the notification that nominated my… notific… Challenge…

First though, I had a ten hour shift at work. Went by easy enough. I then decided to run home so that I’d be all nice and sweaty, ready for a (n)ice shower.

Got changed, handed in my radio and keys and signed out then set my Nike+ going and got going. Ran my usual route home, 5km with half of it uphill. I’d not long started on the uphill stretch, so was maybe about 2km into the run with my mind on the Bucket of ice waiting at home, when BAM! Felt something hit my backpack as a van sped by.

I stopped and looked behind me. Egg shell in the road. I then noticed some raw egg on my backpack which I found odd because I almost NEVER put raw egg on my backpack.

Hang about…

I’d… I’d… I’D BEEN CHUFFING EGGED!

CHUFFING EGGED IS WHAT HAD HAPPENED IS WHAT HAD HAPPENED!!

Did I live in the mid 90’s?! I’ve not heard of anyone getting egged since I was at school, in the mid 90’s!

Why me? I didn’t order any eggs! It’s not like I walk around with a target on my back!

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K, maybe a bit of a target, but I’d imagine for helicopters if anything…

But yeah! Some Tosser tossed a chuffing egg at me! Tosser!

I carried on with my run, up to the roundabout (is it true there’s only like 3 roundabouts in America?) and then over the other side for a nice 1/2km downhill. I don’t know whether it’s because I wanted to get the Ice thing done with, or because I was… *ahem* egged on… but I ran my quickest 5k run home yet. (Bear in mind 2.5km is uphill)

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Anyway, I got home and Sarah had thoughtfully bought a bag of ice. Easiest way to describe this, is to show it. (My video blog debut!)

And to prove my donation:

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So there you go! Busy day! Both Rob Novis and Ironman Tony have done their ice bucket challenges too (Ironman Rob did one too) and Sarah’s been nominated by Rob Novis, but she’s not in the slightest bit chuffed…

Next Event

Skipton Triathlon on Sunday 31st August. I put my swim time down as 15mins (not a good swimmer) and they must agree as I start at 8:50am and am number 25!