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One year on

Hard to believe that it was over a year ago that I ran the Richmond marathon. Despite my best intentions I have done pretty much no running since completing what was one of the greatest achievements of my life.

Having regained all of the weight that I had lost during training, and all of the fitness that i had gained I had come to the point where I knew i needed to do something.

Yesterday, I had my first fitness consultation with a student at JMU. The tests included a full body xray that measured my BMI, also my resting metabolism was measured.

My goal is to run a 5k in ten weeks time. This evening i went running with the girls and the dogs. I can’t believe how tired I feel right now.

Today I began a major change in my food intake as well, drastically reducing ,y excess consumption. I hope that blogging about this will give me some type of accountability again while i am back on this health burst.

WOW that hurt!

Thirteen months ago I decided that I wanted to become a Marathoner, in the process I would raise money for a worthwhile charity dear to my heart Still Meadows Enrichment Center and Camp. I signed up for the Suntrust Richmond Marathon and started training in earnest.

Prior to this I had completed a few 5K’s having started running in again (after a 15 year break) in the summer  of 2009. I steadily increased the distances competing in a 10K and then the Charlottesville half Marathon back in April. Yesterday, my friend Mike Bailey drove us down to Richmond to stay at his families house as they had kindly offered to let us stay there.

The alarm clock went off at 5.30AM this morning. I got dressed, had a bite to eat, and we headed into Richmond at 6.00AM. Traffic was a nightmare so we ended up parking in some random private lot hoping that we wouldn’t get towed away. We arrived at the start/finish line just in time to see the 8K race start.

An hour later and it was my turn to cross the line. I was in a paced team aiming to reach the finish line in under four hours. I started very strong, The first 13 miles were brilliant, I was loving it, I even beat my half Marathon personal best (1:54.37). Unfortunately, I wasn’t getting enough fluids and at mile marker 15 my legs faded in a manner I have never felt before. I had hit the wall in spectacular fashion. Mike noticed at mile 17 that I was so dehydrated, I was no longer sweating. I could barely walk let alone run, I had muscle cramp in the calves and quads of both my legs. I honestly felt like I wasn’t going to be able to finish.

On several occasional I had to stop, sit down and stretch the cramp out of my legs. I was also in calorie deficit and there wasn’t enough energy left in my body to fuel the muscles movements. The time between miles 17-19 saw me battling a mental fight to convince myself to keep on going. By this time I knew that my sub 4 hrs finish time was long gone and I was just wanting to finish. I still had 7 miles to go!

While I was sat down stretching yet again, Mike looked at me and told me I needed to get up and get on as the finish line wasn’t getting any closer. So I got back up and between miles 19-22 I took on loads of fluids, glucose gels and Haribo’s. I made up my mind that I must run the final 4.2 miles and by the time 22 miles rolled around my legs were starting to feel like they could handle it.

I ran the final 4.2 miles, non-stop in to the finish.

As I turned the final corner and saw the finish line in the distance a wave of emotion came over me, I had done it, from this point onwards I would always be a Marathoner, no one could ever take that away from me. I had battled through the pain and made it out the other side. I had raised money for a fantastic charity in memory of my sister. As a crossed the finish line I was beaming from ear to ear and my eyes started to well up. My final time was 4:44.22. While it was slower that I had wanted, I was pleased to have reached my goal of crossing the line.

Obviously I am disappointed that I didn’t make it in under fours hours, and didn’t raise as much money as I could have, but I know I gave it my all and didn’t make it. I truly appreciate the pain and mental battles that Marathoners experience and today I joined their ranks. I do not have an accurate total for the total funds raised as I am still waiting on the total from England but I know I have raised over $1,700 for an incredible charity that desperately needs it.

So thank you for your words of encouragement, and sponsorship. I truly appreciate it. I owe my finish to Mike, I am sure, were it not for him I would not have been able to have finished. Richmond is a great race and I am looking forward to running it again next year. As Mike put it, I didn’t finish today, I started something new.

Now it’s time to sleep. Pictures will be posted soon.

Cheers everyone.

My longest run EVER!

Sunday marked a huge milestone for me. I reached a point that two years ago I would never have dreamed I would be able to achieve.

On Sunday morning, I put on my beaten up running shoes, switched on my iPod and started running. It was a perfect autumnal Shenandoah morning, cool temperature with beautiful sunshine. I stopped into 7/11 and bought a gel to down at the start and some Gatorade for the rest of this training run. I had made the mistake of running without fluids the weekend before and only managed 12 miles of solid running.

I had no idea where I was going to run but back and forth across Harrisonburg was the only way I was going to be able to do what needed to be achieved today. I monitored my pace carefully making sure I didn’t go out too fast and burn myself out. Two Gatorades and 3.5 hours later and I was passing the 30K mark (18.6 miles). At this point I was determined that today would be a 20 mile day.

I pushed on for the final mile and a half and completed the full 20 miles within 100 ft of my doorstep. I was so proud of myself. Up until this point I was questioning my ability to complete the marathon and had real fears that I might have to walk a large part of it. When I finished the 20miles I knew I could keep going, but I am going to save that for next weekend. If I finish 22 or even better 23 miles, there’s a cold beer with my name on it waiting for me at Jack Browns! And for those of you wanting to lose some weight, I lost 9 lbs during the run and burnt over 3000 calories!

Hopefully this weekend I will be able to get my new shoes. The shoes that I have at the moment are so knackered they are starting to hurt my legs.

If you haven’t already done so please make your sponsorship pledge commitment by clicking on the sponsorship link above.

Wow! We made it to the 1K mark. With less than two months to go (yikes!) I have passed one thousand dollars in sponsorship pledges. The training is coming on well but the thought of running twenty six miles is really starting to become a reality. Having had to take a week and a half off running because of an injury I sustained falling off my bicycle I am back up and running again.

This past weekend I competed in the DR100 memorial 5K race at the University where I work and came in 3rd in my age group. It was great to race again as the last time I ran competitively was the half marathon in Charlottesville.

I need to buy some new shoes and an iPod in the next month. My Nike shoes have done me good service but are thoroughly knackered! My current iPod only holds a 40min charge, and as much as I like to think I have improved my running skills that is pushing it a bit for a marathon.

If you have yet to sponsor me please follow the link at the top of the screen. I will only be asking for pledges of support for now, payment when I complete the race.

Please don’t forget to complete the pledge form under the tab “Sponsorship” on this blog. No payments required until after I run. I am so close to $1000.00 and I would really like to exceed that total if I beat 4 hrs.

Today I passed a major goal. When I got on the scales today I weighed 227 lbs! (16 stone 3 lbs). This may seem like a lot but when you consider this time last year I weighed over 250lbs (18 Stone!), entering the two twenties is a big accomplishment for me. As my fitness has improved I can clearly feel that the main thing that is holding me back is my weight.

Over the past two weeks I have hurt myself. The first was an ankle injury that stopped my running for a week while my ankle was in a brace. The second I felt like I had ripped every muscle in my back and stomach. This had been caused, I believe, by carrying too heavy a backpack on a ride I took after work. I had to lie down for most of the following day.

Thankfully, I am now back up to speed and only have a few aches and pains when I run. Yesterday I rode my bike after work out into the county for 13.5 miles.

Last week I started a new challenge. Inspired in part by a local reporter who over the course of a year drove every street in Harrisonburg, I have decided to bring a bit of a challenge (and fun) to my Marathon training to try and match this by running every street in Harrisonburg. Previous runs do not count, neither do parking lots, I will run every road in the ‘Burg (hopefully in less than a year). As I have a GPS watch that will keep things fairly simple. Here are the first two efforts.

Run Every Street in Harrisonburg #1

Run Every Street in Harrisonburg #2

Please don’t forget to make your pledge (no payments expected until I have run) for my marathon attempt in November of this year. I am running for a great cause. Visit the links for more information. Yesterday I was up at the crack of sparrows. The fatigue from the 1/2 marathon I ran on Tuesday had worn off and I was ready to to do it again. The alarm fired off at 5am and by the time I was on the road at 5.30am. It was a beautiful run. When I started there was no daylight, so I had on my reflective vest and flashing red lights as this run would be on the roads of Harrisonburg. The sunrise was a spectacular sight of vivid reds and pinks, this area can be so beautiful.

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Well I am officially knackered (English for exhausted). I got to UREC this evening and hit the treadmill at 5pm, I didn’t get off for 1hr 56mins when I hit 13.3 miles. Yes that’s right, I just hammered out a half marathon on the treadmill. This was the second half marathon I have run this year and the third ever. Certainly the first time I have run one on a treadmill.

I was really pleased with myself as my training only required 10 miles today, however I wanted to see how far I could push myself. Sadly I had to stop at the half marathon because they were closing for the evening. I then got on my bike and rode home. Although I do feel really tired, I don’t ache that much, only a few sore pieces of skin from rubbing clothing.

Tonight I will sleep like a baby. Night all.

Mileage covered today:

  • Running – 13.3 miles
  • Cycling – 6.7 miles
  • Total – 20 miles

Have some of that!

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