Thursday, 29 January 2009

Man, I Feel Like A Woman

Back into the mountains, Sunday 25 January 2009. High Street and Harter Fell in the distance.

First of all, many thanks to Thomas Coxon of Hilly running gear ( Thomas tuned into the blog and has kindly offered to supply Hilly running socks. TEAM fivemarathons' Amanda and Martin are big fans of Hilly gear and have recommended it to me strongly. I tried out Hilly's twin-skin socks last night and was impressed. Getting the proper socks is a big issue - you absolutely can't be worrying about blisters for 26.2 miles. Until now, I've worn two pairs of thin walking boot liner socks, one inside the other. The idea behind the two layers is simple but effective: instead of your trainers rubbing against your skin, the two socks rub against each other. This is exactly how the Hilly twin-skin socks work - but without the hassle of wearing two pairs of socks (and having to wash 14 pairs of running socks a week).

Near Keld, Sunday 25 January 2009. Trademark grimace.

It’s been a busy week at fivemarathons’ HQ. Sunday’s long run went well, which is encouraging. My friend Roxana accompanied me by bike. Not having to carry my own drinks and carb gels knocked at least 15 seconds off my previous personal best for half marathon distance. I should consider an accompanying cyclist for all of the fivemarathons. This week's photos are all Rox's handiwork.

All the acceleration of continental drift.

On Tuesday, I visited the Christie to see first hand the projects being funded by the money raised on behalf of the hospital. Many thanks to Marco and Emma, Christies' fundraising co-ordinators, for taking the time to show me and Kirsten around.

My motivation for supporting Christies and Macmillan was the loss to cancer of my grandmother, before I was born, and my dearest Auntie Moll, my grandmother's friend (and my surrogate gran), who looked after me as a child. Auntie Moll was a huge influence on my life and I loved her dearly. Both the Christie and Macmillan perform vital work in helping people affected by cancer. They are working 24 my hours a day, 365 days of the year, towards the day when no child will lose their Auntie Moll. All donations to fivemarathons will help Christies and Macmillan in their priceless work.

On Wednesday, I appeared on Heather Stott's show on BBC Radio Manchester to promote fivemarathons. You can listen to the show for the next week online at A friend of mine had offered to make a donation to fivemarathons if I could shoe-horn any of the following into the on-air conversation: "paraphrase", "Pluto" or "demonic". Keen as I am to secure donations to Christies and Macmillan, I didn't want to ruin a great opportunity to promote fivemarathons. Or, more truthfully, I didn’t have sufficient eloquence or mental agility to pull it off.

Today, I confirmed my flights for the Berlin marathon. I'm particularly looking forward to Berlin. Having previously worked in Mannheim, Germany has a lot of happy memories. While, the Germans may have a reputation for not having a sense of humour, that wasn’t my experience at all. A fantastic example was a letter I received from a rival German law firm: “Dear Sir, Thank you for your recent fax. We are amazed by the boldness of your Client's claims. Next time, please send a letter, not a fax. That way, you'll waste your paper and not ours”. They don’t like it up ‘em, Captain Mainwaring.

Finally, I’d like to remember my great friend, Dinesh Dorai Raj, who died on Tuesday after a long illness. Dinesh was a great bloke. I stayed at his house during my preparation for the London Marathon in 2004 and his unwavering generosity, good humour and collection of awful music made it a fantastic six months. The torment of listening to Shania Twain prevented me from having to consider the pain in my legs. Wish you were here.
This week’s training schedule:

Monday, 2 February 2009 Rest
Tuesday, 3 February 2009 5 miles very easy, off road
Wednesday, 4 February 2009 6 miles fartlek
Thursday, 5 February 2009 7 – 8 miles steady
Friday, 6 February 2009 Rest
Saturday, 7 February 2009 30 mins easy, on grass
Sunday, 8 February 2009 20 miles steady (target 3 hrs 20)

Barcelona, 1 March 2009
London, 26 April 2009
San Francisco, 26 July 2009
Berlin, 20 September 2009
New York, 1 November 2009

Christies is the charity which provides funds for, and supports, the work of the world renowned specialist cancer centre, The Christie, in Manchester (see Macmillan provides practical, medical, financial and emotional support for people affected by cancer and campaigns for better cancer care (see

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NYC Marathon, 2004

NYC Marathon, 2004
NYC Marathon, 2004