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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Happy First Birthday To My Blog!


In Which I Give You A Load Of Stats And Stuff

27th June 2012 – I posted my first ever blog post, about how I was trying to be a runner.

27th June 2013 – Still trying to be a runner.

Hello! How are you? Hope you’re well. I’m fine, thanks for asking! I’d go so far as saying I’m ‘Good’!

‘Very cheery’, you’d say back, ‘Have you won a free Twix?’

‘No!’ I’d reply. ‘It’s because it’s one year exactly since my first blog post!’

‘Wow!’ Would come your response. ‘I hope you have lots of stats ready!’

‘I do!’ I’d say.

How much do you now wish you lived at my house, when you see you’re missing out on brilliant conversations like this?!

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The first time I ever tried running, it was horrible. Really horrible. Couldn’t even do 1/4 of a mile without walking. I pushed and pushed though, and managed to get a mile done with a mixture of run/walk. After that, my legs were killing me. Did I give up? No! I carried on and on, and gave up a bit, then started again and carried on and on and on and on!

Since then I’ve run the following officially organised runs:

Run Stats

1 x 5k Run

1 x 8.8k Run (Sent wrong way)

5 x 10k Runs (Best time: 56.57)

1 x 1/2 Marathon (02.38)

1 x Full Marathon (04.55)

I’m signed up to the British 10k in July and also the Yorkshire Marathon in October.

I’ve collected 7 medals, 10 T-Shirts, One Water Bottle and One Towel.

As well as the above I’ve started riding a bike a few times a week to work and back, and have learned how to swim. (Not swim to work, not sure how that’d work or why you thought it to be honest…)

Blog Stats

As of yesterday, I reached 1’000 subscribers to my blog. (The DAY before my blog turned a year old! Good timing or what?!)

I’ve had over 15’000 views on the blog in the past 12 months. (Works out about 40 views a day, but  about 14’000 or so must be me.)

I’ve had visitors on my blog from 89 different countries. Google says that there are 194 countries in the world, so that’s almost half!

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One of my favourite stat things on WordPress is that it tells you when someone has found your blog through a search engine, and most of the time what they searched for. (A lot is ‘unknown search term’ and it’s unknown to me what that means.)

Search Stats

The number one search that brings people to my blog is ‘Guide Dog’ because I blogged quite a bit at the start about raising money for the guide dogs. There’s a lot of ‘hemingway run’ or ‘run hemingway’ or ‘hemingway run blog’ searches that get people to my page too, obviously people that know me or that have been on the site before. Another popular search that brings you here is ’50 fat diabetic ahead of you’ which is people searching for the image that I took from the internet and put on the Inspiration bit.

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Most search terms that come up I don’t look at anymore, because it’s obvious how they ended up here. Ones like:

‘Great North 10k Medal’

‘Blackpool Marathon’

‘Leeds 10k 2012 t-shirt’

I’m sure I’ve mentioned each of them quite a few times in various blog entries, especially Blackpool Marathon. (…did I tell you I ran a marathon..?)

Then there’s searches that people do that somehow lead them here, but I can understand why, when it’s those certain words in that certain order. Things like:

‘Bonfire the Manor Eccleshill’ I live near Eccleshill and have ran passed The Manor pub, and have also blogged about a Bonfire Night 5K.

‘Road running Etiquette UK’ I once did a blog entry about running etiquette, so guessing that’s why they got here.

‘Tattoo in Blackpool near the train station’ I’ve mentioned Tattoos, Blackpool, and Train Stations on various entries.

‘Wrestlemania 29 showing in Blackpool’ Bit obscure, but on the Blackpool Marathon blog I mentioned that I watched Wrestlemania afterwards.

Those searches, I can understand why they ended up here.

What I don’t understand is how searches like these ended up here:

‘Homemade radio’ As far as I know, I’ve never made a radio in my life.

‘Guy who got ticket for driving and consuming too many energy drinks’ No idea.

‘Sayings around waiting so long on the toilet’ I don’t even understand what they were asking.

And then there’s this:

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‘Great North Run Tit Flash’

Amazing.

 

EDIT: Thank you to everyone that takes the time to read my blog, and having done so doesn’t send me any abuse or anything, but instead leaves a nice comment, or follows my blog, or ‘likes’ the posts. You’re great. No YOU are. Oh, stop it, you!

Great North Run Eve


About 15 weeks ago I couldn’t run, at all. If I were attacked by a zombie or a lion I’d’ve had no chance of escape. Tomorrow morning, I’m running 13.1 miles in the biggest half marathon in the world, the Great North Run.

Since I started running I’ve gone for a run two or three times a week, and have entered and finished three 10k races but this is the first time I’ll have done anything further than 6.2 miles.

We’re getting on the train at 6am from Leeds and arrive in Newcastle about 8:15. The race starts, for us newbies, at around 10:40 and full coverage is on BBC1 til 1:30. Hopefully I’ll be done by then. Anything under 2.30hrs I’ll be more than happy with.

Meeting Martyn in Newcastle before the race, and then meeting up with three people that I’ve spoken to on twitter for a month or so, who are all starting in the same wave as us. (@blistersforheroes, @cherylpoulter & @michelleharps)
They seem nice and hopefully none turn out to be axe murderers, as that’d put a bit of a damper on the day. (Hope I don’t turn out to be an axe murderer, I don’t have an axe!)

Also looking forward to seeing the Guidedogs and puppies at the end of the race. My target was to raise £300 and have so far raised £360. Any sponsors are still welcome, even if it’s just one pound! Sponsor Me Here

Been carbing up on pasta and potatoes so will be well fuelled, but just incase have bought some Jelly Belly Sports Beans. Went to the White Rose Centre with Sarah today for a jacket potato and beans. Both got annoyed with how busy it was and how people claim a table before buying their food, sending their partners to the queue. We didn’t think this was fair, so when we finished eating we didn’t move til we saw a family with a tray of food looking for a table.

Did my last run on Thursday, so if I’m not ready now then it’s too late. Sure I’ll be fine! Plan for tonight is a few more carbs, watching Doctor Who, then an early night.

Good luck to everyone running the Great North Run tomorrow, and hopefully see you at the finish!

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Great Yorkshire Run 10k – 02/09/12


I wasn’t looking forward to this one very much.

It’d been two weeks since I’d last run (Birchwood 10k) and had had problems with my left foot ever since. (See last blog.) I got plenty of good advice on here from kind hearted people, but didn’t listen to any of them and didn’t do anything about it.

Also, the night before the run I ignored every article/website I’d read and had a Curry (lovely!) and two beers. Then I had another beer. And stayed up late watching The Office (U.S. Version) on Netflix. So all in all, I could’ve prepared slightly better, which is why I was (and still am) surprised at how well the run went!

Three of us taking part in the Great Yorkshire Run (not counting the 5000 or so people I didn’t know.) There was myself, Joe (Sarah’s cousin) and Nigel (Sarah’s uncle.) Ironman Tony came along for support and to take the pictures, but wasn’t running due to a bad dog bite on his leg; (He’s a Postman.) (Tony, not the dog.)

Nigel drove us all to the Park & Ride at Meadowhall in Sheffield and then we Parked & Rode the tram to the city centre. By the time we’d gone from the Carpark to the Tram (10mins) Nigel had gone to the toilet three times. Probably some kind of record there.

The tram stopped very near the start/finish line so we didn’t have to go very far to line up. (After another toilet stop.) I’d been tweeting with Aly Dixon (A proper runner) in the car on the way here and she said to watch for the end of the run. 1km all uphill, and it didn’t look nice at all. I’d just finished my water and the day was getting very warm, so slightly nervous about keeping hydrated. Being a Bupa sponsored run, however, there were a dozen people or so handing out bottled water to everyone getting ready to run so made sure I grabbed one.

This Picture Took Me Hours To Make.

Joe was in the wave of runners before us (as he’s a lot fitter and faster) and so as I was still a bit worried about not running for two weeks and trying not to injure my foot again, and Nigel was wanting to take it a bit steady, we Nigel decided to run the course together. Plenty of people were in fancy dress, saw a Superman, Batman and a Spider-Man in a group, then a Supergirl and a Batgirl. There was also a Kick-Ass and a Snow White.

Before long we were off and ready to put in a good showing. As the end of the run was uphill, that meant the start was downhill (I once did physics) and turning the first corner after starting the run, we all came to a stand still. Turns out that the road narrowed a bit where the traffic lights were, and so everyone had to slow down and make space to get past it. Not a major problem, but there were still plenty of people muttering and complaining about the set up. Me and Nigel laughed.

The first few kilometres flew by, and my foot wasn’t giving me any trouble at all. I might try beer and a take-away before the Great North Run too! We did a mixture of running and walking, but when we walked it was only for ten-twenty seconds at a time. The winner passed us on his way back when we were just getting going. He finished in under 30mins. There were a few bands and singers lined up along the route, and LOTS of supporters which was brilliant. The route they use is pretty much a there-and-back route, run down one side of the road and back up the other.

At about the 3-4km point I said to Nigel that we should just hop over the grass verge and run to the finish. Quite a few people around us laughed (never had an audience!) and said it was a good idea. A minute or so later we had caught up to some people and one of them said ‘It would be better to go over the road and run back.’ That didn’t bother me, it was an obvious joke. What DID bother me was that a woman that had been keeping pace with us, that laughed at my joke, said ‘I just said that a minute ago.’ Which she didn’t! She heard me say it, then someone else say something similar, and tried to take credit herself when none was for her! She annoyed me a bit, so we moved away from her.

The wave of runners that began before us were now coming back up the opposite side of the road so I said to Nigel that Joe would be there somewhere, and then seconds later I saw him.

“Joe!” I shouted, what with it being his name. I waved, he waved, but for some reason Nigel shouted “Joe” and looked up to the sky. Dunno why.

At the turn around point, Nigel stopped at the toilets (again) and so I walked for about a minute whilst I waited for him. The sun was pounding down at this point and so the water station was bloody lovely to see. He caught up, and in the distance we could see the walk-through shower so that spurred us on quite a bit. Oh-my-life it felt good!

By this point we were walking for a bit longer in our walking breaks, but still putting in some good running. During one of our walks, a woman and her daughter at the side of the road read our names and told us to start running and that we should be doing better! I don’t know about anyone else, but when you’ve been running only 12 weeks and are in your 2nd 10k race in two weeks, in the last 3k, having a walking break, hearing ‘You should be running’ is in no way a motivational tool. Still, we should’ve been running so we ran.

Reaching the 9km point, a woman asked Nigel if she could have a piggy back to the end.

“I might collapse!” He said, then realised what he had said, and followed it up with “Not that you’re heavy or anything. Because you aren’t. But… Er… I’ll stop now.” She didn’t look happy, so we tried to motivate her to run up the hill. We also tried to motivate ourselves to run up the hill.

Aly Dixon on Twitter wasn’t wrong about the hill finish, which she said ‘killed her’. This from someone who ran the Middlesborough 10k at the same time as we were doing this,  finished in 33.32, came 1st in females and set a new course record!)

We didn’t sprint to the end, but we did speed up and over took a few people. Both finished in a time of 01:06:52. PB for Nigel and my second best 10k! (Out of….three. So second worst too… No! Second best!)

Myself and Nigel, matching tops. Me: Happy. Nigel: Ballerina.

Met up with Ironman Tony and Joe at the finish. Joe ran the 10k in a PB of 00:51:37, which was brilliant. Even better though (I thought) was how he finished. Near the end, he felt sick (due to drinking too much water) and so threw up a bit into Sheffield’s City Centre flower display without breaking stride. Passing the finish line, he then threw up properly near the official photographers and the supporters that had pushed to the front. Paramedics ran towards him and gave him a bag to be sick into, and then one of them asked if he was OK and where his Dad was. Joe looked at him and said “Mate, I’m 25. I’ll be fine!” Brilliant.

Myself, Joe and Nigel.

So now less than two weeks til the Great North Run, and I’m feeling better about it. Still need a bit of sponsorship though, so if you feel like helping (even a pound will help!) it’s This Link Here

Thanks!

EDIT:

Oh my God, how did I forget to include this?! About 3/4 of the way round the 10k, we kept getting over taken by a Chinese man, who seemed like he just wanted to have a conversation with another Chinese man and so decided to join in the run about halfway. I know he wasn’t a proper runner because he was running holding his backpack. And wearing a shirt. Tucked into trousers. And shoes. He was very sweaty.

Great North 10k – 22/07/12


0715hrs

My alarm went off on my phone. I pressed snooze.

0730hrs

My alarm went off on my phone. I considered pressing snooze again, but though it’d be best to get up and ready for the run. I had a quick shower, then got my kit on and went downstairs to where Martyn was getting his shoes on. I put the kettle on and made us both a coffee, and then some instant porridge. I knew that I needed to eat because I wouldn’t have chance before about half 12, so I tried to force the porridge down but it wasn’t happening. I think I had about 3 mouthfuls. The coffee was a big help though! Martyn ate his porridge and a banana. Greedy git.

0830hrs

We got on the Metro to Gateshead Station and talked tactics. We both agreed that getting to the end would be a good idea, and so decided to take the run at a nice steady pace. No point sprinting off into the distance if you have to walk the rest of the way. I was a bit nervous, but also excited for my first ever run. More and more people in running gear and race numbers got on the Metro at each stop, and all those that made eye contact gave a little nod or a smile. It was the friendliest train ride I’ve ever been on.

0900hrs

We arrived at the station. Not knowing which direction to go in, we did what anyone would do and followed the crowd. On the walk down we got talking to a nice bloke from Newcastle who said that he’s done this and most other Great Runs for the past few years for charity. I made a mental note of his number so that I could check his time after the race, but forgot it.

0915hrs

We made our way down past the stadium which would act as the finishing line, went and used the toilet, then had a look around. There were loads of people already milling about, some looking nervous, some looking excited, and one dressed as a giant rabbit. “What ever happens,” I said to Martyn, “We have to finish in front of that Rabbit.” There was a clown too, and he must’ve had about 20 finishers medals around his neck. He was trying to get the crowd worked up by shouting ‘Oggy Oggy Oggy’, but only a few people shouted back so he gave that up quite quickly. It’s not easy being a clown I guess.

0945hrs

Picked up a free bottle of Powerade from the powerade stand and they said that if we get weighed before and after the run, we get a free Powerade sports bottle. Both agreed, so went on the scales and got measured. I was exactly the same weight before and after the run, which they said was good because it meant that I had been drinking properly on the course. They mentioned some other stuff too, but I was only there for my free sports bottle so didn’t pay much attention. Went to the toilet again.

1015hrs

The group warm up session was about to begin when Martyn said that he needed the toilet again. I asked if he was joking, because we’d been twice already and he said ‘We’ve been twice already, but could still do with going.’ We left our place in the line up, went to the toilet, came back and got into our section again but a bit further back and then did a bit of warm up.

1030hrs

The first wave of runners were off. A few minutes later so were the next wave, and then the next. After each wave we all moved closer and closer to the start line and Martyn said he needed the toilet again so I ignored him. The Rocky theme tune was playing as we approached to pump us up, and everyone around us had a smile on their face. The Rabbit was stood right in front of me.

1048hrs

We were off! The chip on my trainer pipped as we passed over the start line, and I was ready to run. It took a minute or so for everyone to go from a mass huddle to getting into their own space where they could start to run at their own pace. As I thought, a few people sprinted off around the corner as fast as they could but we were sticking to the plan and going steady. There was a slight hill to start with, and as we approached the 1km sign there was a woman who was out of breath and had slowed down to a walk. As we passed I heard her say ‘I’m not running all the way.’ Not sure if she meant all the way to the end, or all the way to the first kilometre sign, but I thought it best not to ask.

We chatted quite a bit as we were running, careful not to trip or be tripped as we went. I was suprised that we seemed to be over taking quite a lot of people, but as we were in the last wave of runners, it’s not like we passed any olympians. I was keeping track of the kilometre markers that we passed against my watch to see if I could guess some sort of finishing time. The 1st marker we passed in 6 minutes, which put us on an hour run. Obviously we’d started steady and didn’t expect to keep this pace for the whole route, but it was a good feeling. When we got to the 3km marker, we were on 18minutes, still running 6 minutes a km. Not bad!

There were a few hills and a few ups and downs on the run, but we hadn’t encountered anything too difficult as of yet. As we got to the top of the steepest hill so far, I noticed that Martyn had dropped back. I looked behind and he was walking a bit, but quickly caught up. I asked if he was OK, and he said he was, so we carried on. A few minutes later, he’d gone again. I waited for him and he told me that his knee was playing up. (He’d injured it a couple of years back after tripping over a cobble when tipsy.) He looked in pain so we walked a minute or so, then picked up the pace again. We were nowhere near the first to have a little walk so we weren’t bothered. We passed a bloke who was doing the run in jeans and with a coat tied around his waist, so knew we wouldn’t be last.

1115hrs

We were now doing about 80% running and 20% walking. It helped us both, because it meant that Martyn didn’t have to strain his knee too much and also that I could have a breather without saying I needed a breather. We’d run along the side of the river and under the bridges that pass into Newcastle. Picking up a bottle of water each, in the distance we could see the turn around point and the 5km marker. ‘Look!’ I said. ‘Halfway done! Almost back now!’ My enthusiasm was soon downtrodded though, because as we were running TOWARDS the turn around point, coming AWAY from the turn around point, and a good five minutes in front, was the Rabbit. ‘Bastard.’ I said.

1130hrs

We’d gone past the turn around and had my name shouted my a radio bloke on a loudspeaker. I was feeling quite good about the race, now that we were on the home stretch. We were still walking a bit but we were still running more. The sun had come out for a bit and so we were very happy to see a shower stand set up in the road that you could run under. We decided to walk under instead of run, to get as refreshed as we could. A bit further on there were a couple of hills which we got up, and as we rounded the corner we ran past quite a lot of people cheering on the runners and waving and clapping. I didn’t wave back or anything though, because I didn’t want to look like a tit.

1145hrs

I figured by looking at the markers and keeping track of time, that we would be able to finish somewhere around 1 hour 10 minutes. Before the race, we said we’d be happy with 1 hour 20, so we were pleased. Even better than that though, was that we were getting closer and closer to the Rabbit. I was planning to say something clever like ‘I bet you’re bunny boiling in that suit’ or something, but couldn’t get the words straight in my head. Decided to just overtake him instead.

We approached the last hill in the race, and though it wasn’t a long one, it was quite steep. They were playing ‘Hearts on Fire’ from Rocky IV so I said to Martyn that we should run up the hill. Suprisingly, he ran off at a right pace and started sprinting up, so I followed, running as fast as I could. Even more suprising was when I looked to my right, there was a lad that was ALSO sprinting up the hill. I only sprinted because Martyn did, and I’m guessing that the lad just wanted to join in. Bit weird. Anyway, at the top we were gasping for breath and I said to Martyn ‘Why did you sprint?!’

‘Because you shouted ‘RUN!’

‘No I didn’t, I said we should run up the hill like Rocky, not that we should sprint!’

‘Who shouted RUN then?’

‘I have no idea, it wasn’t me.’

‘…Sure?’

‘Sure.’

‘Oh.’

1155hrs

We were back on the road where we started the run, and the barriers had been changed so that it lead into the Gatehead stadium instead of where we ran at the start. The course finished on the track, which meant that you did almost a full lap on the running track of the stadium in front of the crowds in the stands. It felt good, and I was so chuffed that we were about to finish. From our side of the track I could see the Timer above the finish line and realised that we were VERY close to finishing in just under 1 hour 10 minutes. I shouted to Martyn that we should run to make sure, and we did. We both crossed the line at exactly the same time and headed straight for the people handing out water, then for the people handing out the T-Shirts and Medals.

Our official finishing time was 01:08:53.

I’ll Just Leave This Here…


Today, not only did I manage my furthest distance to date, I also ran it at my best speed too. I love this sports tracker, because I doubt that I’d realise my speed was improving. Obviously I can tell that I’m going further, but not faster. Now though, I’m aching like a…. Er… Aching like a runner that’s got a new Personal Best!

(by the way, if the saying is ‘if it’s hurting, it’s working,’ then my legs feel as though they’re working like a cart horse.)

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