Saturday, 10 October 2009

Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)

Registration for the Berlin Marathon took place at the former Berlin Tempelhof airport, scene of the 1948 - 1949 airlift. Despite the German reputation for ruthless efficiency, registration and the marathon itself was anything but. After three hours of queuing, we went for lunch and polished off an impressive mound of pasta to carb up for the race. Another diner spotted my Mum's fivemarathons tour t-shirt and asked if he could take a photo. He explained that he was running the marathon in the morning and had the utmost respect for my Mum's achievement in taking on five international marathons in 2009. He even went as far as to describe my Mum as "some kind of Iron Lady". A shame that Mum had to puncture his balloon. He had precisely no interest in Martin and me running the marathon! Had Martin, Mandy and I not been there, I wonder if my Mum might have been tempted to dine out on her achievements. Regaling him with graphic tales of gritting her teeth at mile 19 in London, clinging on for a PB in San Francisco, and shamelessly playing to the crowd in Barcelona? Don't worry Mum, you're a hero to me, marathons or not.

Into the final straight in Berlin

It was great to spend time with my folks, Martin and Mandy in Berlin. Mandy had also come to see me race in London and it was great to have her support, especially out on the marathon route, which my stomach was making very hard work.



Martin celebrating a fine run in Berlin

At the moment, my body is feeling very sorry for itself. Last weekend, I was in the Scottish Highlands, whitewater canoeing with Mike Howlett. Despite putting up a brave fight, I think it's fair to say that the river came out on top. More precisely, we got our posteriors well and truly kicked. Having been thrown out of the canoe on several occasions, we proceeded to fight a losing battle with various rocks. I bruised my ribs, while Mike’s knee is currently carrying off a passable impression of a football. For most of the week, I have been holding my side, looking like I’m playing a set of imaginary bagpipes. It hurts most when I laugh. Fortunately, I’ve spent the week in work, so my ribs have had a well earned rest. I ran 10 miles with Jessica on Monday, which went fine. Maintaining sub-8 minute miles was easy enough, but it’s uncomfortable when I breathe deeply. My friend Dan kindly cheered me up with tales of a similar injury he had a few years ago, which had led directly to a bad dose of pleurisy. Hardly ideal preparation for tomorrow’s Congleton Half Marathon with TEAM fivemarathons’ Amanda. I was hoping to get inside 1 hour 40 minutes, but I’ll now settle for a more comfortable training run.

On the summit of The Old Man Of Coniston, Pannone Outdoor Weekend 2009

While Amanda and I are racing in Congleton, Lucy will be tackling the same distance at the Great Eastern Run in Peterborough. Lucy is looking good for a great run, so I wish her the very best of luck. Seeing your work come together on race day is a great feeling.

While I’m now coming into the final phase of my training for fivemarathons, my cousin Melanie is just beginning her preparations for the New York Marathon. Mel is kindly planning the transport options to ensure that my support team will get to see me at various points on the route in NYC. Check out http://running.about.com/od/marathonsandreviews/a/nycmarathonfan.htm, which will give you a feel for the issues involved. Dealing with two million other spectators would be my chief concern. Fortunately, I only have to think about my running. Mel’s own training is coming on really well, notwithstanding the snow which is already falling in Athabasca, and we’re already talking about possible races for next year. The BMO Vancouver Marathon on 2 May 2010 is looking good, with Mel and I running the half marathon and marathon respectively.
My colleague Amy will also be running in New York. Amy has been working incredibly hard for the last eighteen months and the race will be an amazing achievement. We chat often and share marathon tips that we’ve picked up. Exactly as I was in 2004, I know that Amy is nervous about the last eight miles of the race. The atmosphere, the crowd, and the achievement waiting for you in Central Park keep you driving forward. I know that Amy will do it and her training should make her equally confident. Drinks on me when we’ve finished.

This week Hilly sent me some great new kit to trial: Hilly’s twinskin Lite Plus socks and their Capsule Long Sleeved running top. The socks are ultra lightweight and designed by Dr Ron Hill MBE himself. I trained in them this morning and they feel good – they’re already in the washing machine to be ready for Congleton in the morning!

Barcelona, 1 March 2009 3 hrs 57 mins (new PB)
London, 26 April 2009 4 hrs 01 mins
San Francisco, 26 July 2009 3 hrs 43 mins (new PB)
Berlin, 20 September 2009 3 hrs 46 mins
New York, 1 November 2009

This week’s training schedule:
Monday, 28 September 2009 6 miles easy
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 8 miles steady
Wednesday, 30 September 2009 6 miles hard
Thursday, 1 October 2009 Rest
Friday, 2 October 2009 Speed work
Saturday, 3 October 2009 Scottish Highlands: whitewater canoeing
Sunday, 4 October 2009 Scottish Highlands: whitewater canoeing

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