Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Family Guy

Preparation and fundraising continue to progress well. After last week’s interview on BBC Radio Manchester, I’ve just finished a photo shoot for the Manchester Evening News. Once I know the publication date, I’ll post it on the blog. Both of these have been fantastic publicity for fivemarathons. Many thanks to Rob Ainscough for setting them up.

Canoeing on Ullswater. Friday, 23 January 2009.

This weekend, I'm off to Ireland to see my family, so Sunday's 20 mile run will be in Dublin. After that, my training starts to taper down to the big day. This will be the first of my long runs for fivemarathons which has been outside of the Lakes. Ironically, I prepared for the 2005 Dublin marathon, only to get a bad cold two weeks before the race. Not being able to run was incredibly frustrating, so Sunday's 20 miles through Dublin will be satisfying, even if it is four years late. I did consider Dublin for one of the fivemarathons, not least because I'd have my family there to support me. Unfortunately, the date of the race is too close to the New York marathon, which is too good to miss. My Mum and sister spent last weekend planning a suitable 20 mile route for me. The support which I've had from my family for fivemarathons has been fantastic.

Only 3 weeks on Sunday to Barcelona. I'm looking forward to getting underway and chalking one up on the scoreboard. I'm also looking forward to a nice week-long break in training after the race. Certainly, my recuperation can't go much worse than after London in 2004. After the race, I flew to Beijing to spend a fortnight relaxing with friends. While there, I naively agreed to go for a Chinese massage. Although the masseuse was tiny and only 4'10” tall, it felt like a gorilla was trying to tear me limb from limb. Once the excruciating agony was over, my legs actually felt great. So much so, I did the same thing again in New York's Chinatown after the NY marathon later that year. As long as you wait at least four days after the race, it's a big help. Getting a massage before day four risks exacerbating the inevitable muscle damage in your legs.

Mike Howlett, canoeing down the River Annan. Saturday, 31 January 2009

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, my Dad is 70 later this month. Dad reaching 70 in fine fettle gives me some hope that I may have a few years of long distance running in me yet. Not that he hasn't had a few close, and often comedic, calls. A particular highlight was his ill-advised mission to lay fibreglass in my parents' loft, which culminated in him disappearing through the loft floor and reappearing through the lounge ceiling. On arrival in the lounge, he promptly removed his footwear, on the basis that my Mum wouldn't appreciate him wearing his shoes in the lounge. Given the man-sized hole he'd just created in the ceiling, I suspected he might have missed the point. He's still routinely reminded of his prodigious speed-reading prowess, based on an ability to go through two storeys in a matter of seconds.

Sunday's long run will be a useful rehearsal for Barcelona. It's important to have everything tried and tested before the big day. You don't want to be risking anything new on race day. For example, New York only provides Gatorade isotonic drinks (while London only provides Lucozade) – it's a bit late at mile 10 of the race to find out that you can't stomach Gatorade. Hopefully, I've got everything pretty much locked down – High 5 EnergyGels, New Balance 1023s, Skins compression tights, and Hilly twin-skin socks.

The High 5 gels work well for me: they're not too heavy on the stomach, and they go down much easier than the competitor SIS gels. Similarly, I'm sold on the New Balance 1023s. I trained for, and ran, New York in 1023s and I'm a big fan. When New Balance stopped making them, I stockpiled 5 pairs, which should get me through to the end of fivemarathons. Fortunately for me, New Balance has a factory shop in my home village of Shap. Not only are the trainers very competitively priced, the ladies in the shop are very knowledgeable and helpful. While New Balance is a well known brand amongst runners in the UK, it's huge in the US. In the starting pens for New York, every second runner was wearing NBs.

The fivemarathons running tops are still in production, but I'll have a few extended test runs in them before Barcelona. Thanks to Kyle Blackburn for his hard work in tracking down a manufacturer who can prepare suitable tops incorporating the logos of Christies, Macmillan and fivemarathons' principal sponsors. The tops we've chosen have the logos dyed directly into the material, rather than screen printed on. This makes the top more comfortable and breathable.

Kirsten (kirsten.arnold@pannone.co.uk) has full details of the corporate sponsorship opportunities which are still available for fivemarathons. For a bargain £500, your company could have its logo on the fivemarathons running top (coming soon to a marathon near you), along with a host of other benefits. Personal donations couldn't be easier: simply click on the Christies or Macmillan logos on the left hand side of this blog and you'll go straight to fivemarathons' pages on Justgiving.com.

Finally, many thanks to Pannone LLP, one of fivemarathons' principal sponsors. Pannone's help has been superb. Staff recently made donations in return for the right to finish work an hour early, or take an extended lunch break. In addition, the firm auctioned tickets to a top theatre production, the proceeds of which benefited fivemarathons.



Visit us at http://www.fivemarathons.com/

This week’s training schedule:

Monday, 9 February 2009 Rest
Tuesday, 10 February 2009 4 miles very easy off-road
Wednesday, 11 February 2009 6 miles steady
Thursday, 12 February 2009 6 miles, incl 6 x 2 mins fast, with warm-up and warm down
Friday, 13 February 2009 Rest
Saturday, 14 February 2009 4 – 5 miles steady
Sunday, 15 February 2009 Race 6 – 10 miles, with long warm up and warm down

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 www.christies.org). Macmillan provides practical, medical, financial and emotional support for people affected by cancer and campaigns for better cancer care (see www.macmillan.org.uk).

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NYC Marathon, 2004

NYC Marathon, 2004
NYC Marathon, 2004