York Yorkshire Marathon Recap 12th October 2014

In Which I Am Forgetful And Wet, But Am Light On My Feet, Which Get A Bit Bloody

Myself and Sarah were booked into (one of) the Premier Inn(s) in York for the night before the marathon so we’d have an easier morning on the morning if the marathon. Also, we’d get a night in York which is always good!

We got checked in and set off into York for a bit of shopping and some tea. Walking from the hotel and down Micklegate, it started to rain. Sarah looked at me and said ‘why aren’t you wearing your coat?’ So I said I’d forgotten it.
‘It was on the table when we were leaving.’
‘Yeah I know, I forgot it.’
‘You didn’t bring it.’
‘No, I forgot it.’
*Sarah sighs, looking at me in jeans and a T-shirt, with no coat.*
Luckily, I had a plan!
‘Lets find a charity shop and I’ll buy a coat!’
*Sarah sighs.*
(For anyone not in the know, charity shops sell donated goods that have been worn to death. But hopefully not worn in the act of death-ing…)
Few minutes later, I was in amongst the mothballs trying on coats. Well, I tried one on and decided that was the one for me. £6.99. Bargain.

We got into York and bought some Chilli Jam from the Chilli Jam Man, Sarah bought some posh soap from Lush and we spent about £25 in the American sweet shop. (Americans: if you ever visit England bring a suitcase full of sweets/candy. You’ll make a killing. Hopefully not LITERALLY a killing, but I suppose you could then donate the death clothes to a charity shop?)

Pizza Express for tea (carbs) and then back to the hotel for an early night.

Marathon Day
I’d slept quite well, considering I felt nervous. Sarah didn’t sleep so well because she said around 2am some people were going up and down the hallway shouting they were the ‘cabin police’ (?) and that she could hear the guy in the next room snoring, but maybe he was a chainsaw or something. That doesn’t even make sense…

We’d booked onto a bus from the train station to York University, where the marathon began. Chuffing heck it was cold and foggy! (Coggy?)

It was about a ten minute walk to the start part, and when we got near we got inside the expo centre to get warm. I went to the toilet. (At the designated toilets, not just in the middle of the expo centre.) Came back and had a small breakfast bar. Then I saw Stacy that I know from work so had a bit of a chat with her and wished each other luck.

On the way to the start line I queued up for the portaloos again and had to wait longer this time because obviously other had had the same idea. I was stuck near a right chuffing moron. He kept sighing and saying things like ‘what’s the hold up’ and ‘I’m going to be late for the start’, but as soon as someone was coming out of a portaloo he was saying, LOUDLY, “go go go, there’s one free.” EVERY. CHUFFING. TIME.

So close to saying to him how annoying I found him, but decided against it. I just don’t understand why people like that think that their needs and their race is more important than everyone else’s. Unless you’re a guest of honour or
The Celebrity of the race or something, just wait your chuffing turn like all the other 6’999 people do. Or go piss yourself. Either way, don’t be a dick.

It was chuffing foggy, but there was a lovely atmosphere. Everyone looked nervous, but happily so. I looked like this: (red top, not the angry looking hi-viz guy on the left)

Over at the side, Sarah looked like this: (blue scarf)

Then, go time!

Set the nike+ on my phone going and my tomtom watch got going too, and then after 20 metres or so an energy gel got going out of my race belt and onto the floor where it got left. I took the other one out of the loop and held onto it for when I needed it.

Ran from York University into York, ran by a shop that sells good quality coats for £6.99 and around the beautiful York Minster. There was, it seemed, a lot of people cheering at me. I figured it was because I was wearing my HemingwayRun running top but then realised I was being a chuffing moron so had a look around, and noticed I was running right next to Tony Audenshaw who plays Bob Hope on Emmerdale, so I said hello and he said hi, and I couldn’t for the life of me remember his real name, could only think ‘Bob’ so didn’t try carry on the conversation. (Fact: Bob has the world record for the fastest ever marathon, dressed as a baby.)

Mile 3: I heard someone shout my name and saw Ironman Rob at the side of the road, which was a nice boost.

Mile 5: Someone tapped me on my shoulder and said my name, and it was Angela from Twitter (@ilovelivingwell) who had only just done the Berlin marathon like two weeks before and got into this one through a competition! (Yeah, here’s your prize: a 26 mile run! Yay!)

Mile 6: Toilet stop. Same place as last year.

10k Time: 56:53

Mile Unknown: Ran by the same church as last year somewhere between mile 6-10 (I think) but the female vicar from 2013 wasn’t there. There was, however, an equally jubilant male vicar jumping up and down and shouting ‘KEEP THE FAITH!’

Mile 10: Saw Mr Burton from the show Educating Yorkshire. Should’ve asked if he taught P.E. (Gym) but didn’t really think of that til a after I’d finished.

Mile 12: Not counting the toilet stop, furthest I’d ever run without walking. Started negging out a bit (To Neg Out: To let negative thoughts get to you) so decided as soon as I got to the 1/2 marathon marker, I’d get my music on.

Mile 13.1: Got my music on. Oddly enough, the vicars advice came back to me. My iPod has around 20’000 songs on it, and I put it on shuffle. The VERY FIRST SONG was Bon Jovi singing Keep The Faith…

1/2 Marathon Time: 2:02:34

Mile 18: Saw Rachael from Twitter in pretty much the EXACT same place as last year! Will probably look out for her next year too.

30k Time: 3:01:10

Mile 20: Ugh. This is where the struggle started and the ‘telling myself off for not running longer than 13miles in training’ kicked in. (Authors note: only ran 13milea once in training, 2nd longest was 10 miles.) Last 10k though, so zipped up my man suit and got on with it.

Mile 22: The sun came out and it got chuffing warm.

Mile 25: Text Sarah saying ’15 mins.’

40k Time: 4:13:06

Mile 26: Ahhhhh, that hill. Forgot about that hill. Sod the hill, I thought, I’ve run steeper, so ran up the chuffing hill. Walked a bit halfway up but then got running again. 400 yards. 300 yards. 200.

100 Yards: Heard someone shout my name from the sidelines (Sarah) but was concentrating too much on my time.

Mile 26.2: Done. Finished. Over. A new PB of 4:27:30, knocking 21 MINUTES off last years time! Absolutely chuffed!!

We got the coach back to the train station and Sarah said she’d walk up to the hotel (5mins walk) for our suitcase so I could have a sit down in the station pub. Getting towards the pub door, almost tasting the beer, I realised I had no money on me.

Bugger. (Turns out Sarah realised too and came back to find me, but I’d gone to find a bench so missed each other. I was only waiting ten minutes anyway.)

(The bench I sat on had a sign on saying it was a priority bench for elderly or disabled people, and I decided I more than qualified for the latter.)

We’d left the car at Ironman Tonys house but they’d set off on holiday a few hours before we arrived so let ourselves in to collect Lily (our cat, that had stayed there the night) and got into our car.

Which wouldn’t start.

Tried family, but no one was answering so tried Sean (Captain Cheesestring) who I work with and he picked us up. Seemed a bit confused that we had a cat with us.

Arrived home (finally) and got my running shoes off.

Ugh. Was only a little cut though. Had a shower, then had this:

And a few beers too! Why not, seeing as though I now introduce myself as ‘Triathlete and 3 times marathon finisher.’

Next Event
Ready…? Save The Elephants 10k run on 22nd November in Central Park in NEW YORK!!! CHUFFING NEW YORK!!!

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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:


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:


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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York Marathon Recap – 20th October 2013

In Which I (Painfully) Finish My Second Marathon

Saturday 19th October

I’d been following my carbing up plan quite well and felt good about how it had gone. Myself and Sarah went out for dinner with Sarahs mum and dad (Susan and Ironman Tony) and I had a chip sandwich.

Me and Sarah then went to Sports Direct to buy some last minute marathon things like a gel belt, running socks, energy bars and… well, these (not for the marathon)

Not Marathon Standard

Not Marathon Standard

Afterwards we got home and I packed my bag as I was staying in the Premier Inn in York so I could be ready for the run in the morning. Sarah was having to work on the Sunday so she was staying at home with the cats.

She dropped me at the train station just before 7pm and I got stuck behind a bloke who was using the ticket machine. The machine had a large sign on it saying ‘Credit/Debit cards only’ but that didn’t stop him trying to insert coins. Even though there was no coin slot, just the card slot. Aware of how close it was getting to the train arriving, I stepped in.

‘I think it only takes cards.’ I said.

‘No, it takes coins.’ He replied.

‘Pretty sure it’s just cards.’

‘No, it’d say if it only took cards.’

‘It does, on that sign.’


Anyway, after I bought my ticket (using a card) I had about two minutes to spare before the train came. I got on it just in time, and settled in for the hour journey to York.

When I arrived in York it was pouring down, not a good sign for the marathon. Luckily the hotel was only a few minutes walk from the station and check-in was nice and quick. I got to the room and noticed something… SUPER KING SIZED BED! Awesome.

I had a bath, then laid out my gear for the morning.

L-R Back Row: Running Stuff L-R Front Row: See Above

L-R Back Row: Running Stuff
L-R Front Row: See Above

I got into my massive bed and watched The Hulk (wasn’t incredible) then tried to sleep.

Sunday 20th October

01:30 Woke up.

02:45 Woke up.

04:15 Woke up.

05:55 Woke up.

06:00 Alarm went off, but luckily I was already awake.

I forced myself to eat some porridge and had a coffee with lots of sugar. I then got ready in all my race kit and made sure I had everything.

Game Face - Level: Serious

Game Face – Level: Serious

I’d booked onto a transfer coach from York Train Station which said I could be on it anytime between 07:30 and 08:00. I checked out and wandered down to the station and got there about 07:10 so carried on walking and had a little wander down over the river to York Minster. I took a picture, but have made it into a motivational picture so it’s at the end of the blog entry. Down there *Down pointing arrow*

After walking back to the station, I got on a bus which was full of nervous looking people. I sat upstairs (because I’m cool) and an elderly bloke got on and sat next to me. I got chatting to him and it turns out he was 65 years old and he goes around the world, running on average A MARATHON A MONTH.

He had on a Boston Marathon finishers jacket from 1999 so I said that he must be fast. ‘Not really,’ he said ‘I didn’t get there through qualification. I know one of the Kennedy family.’

‘Kennedy family as in… the former President?’

‘That’s them.’ He said. Then followed it with:

‘Had a police escort from the airport and back too.’ AS THOUGH THIS WAS A NORMAL THING TO SAY!

Before too long we arrived at York University where the race was starting and ending and myself and the gentleman wished each other luck. We then both ended up walking in the same direction, the direction of the race (seeing as though that’s why we were there.)

We chatted a bit more then I said that I was going to the baggage drop so we wished each other good luck again and went our seperate ways. Except that when I’d dropped my baggage, I queued for the toilet and ended up stood next to the same bloke again. He was chatting to someone else though, so I didn’t have to make anymore conversation.

Until after I came out of the toilets and he noticed me, so I did what any polite Englishman would do and wished him luck.

I followed the signs to the start of the race and got into the correct section for my predicted time. For the past few days I’d been talking to people on Twitter about the race and told a few people that I’d keep an eye out for their race numbers. As I looked around I noticed a name and a number on a bloke, who as it turns out was Rob who I tweet with!

I approached him and introduced myself and we had a chat while we were waiting for the run to begin. It started pretty much bang on 09:30 and then we were off, I was running my 2nd ever marathon!

There was another bloke alongside myself and Rob (Dave, I think) that Rob had met that morning, and he had a Garmin watch so we stayed with him for a bit as he was updating us with pace. My immediate plan was to stay chatting with Rob for as long as I could, then work out another plan.

The first couple miles of the run took us towards the city centre where we ran passed a few pubs that I like going in, then around the Minster and away from York. The crowds so far were amazing, especially near the Minster where they were 2-3 deep.

I stuck with Rob until about mile 4 -5 where I had a call of nature and veered off. By the time I got back on the course, Rob was well away so my new-immediate plan became to keep running until the Energy Drink station at mile 6.

Mile 6 went by and then soon after the 10k clock was in view. My first 10k of the 42k was done in 59:13 (My 2nd quickest ever 10k!)

At around mile 7 (I think) I saw Ironman Tony, Susan and Hannah in the crowd cheering me on. I waved, and kept on running. It gave me a nice boost to see familiar faces. After that the sun came out and made it a very warm run.

The next boost I got was being high fived by a female vicar in full sunday vicar-dress outside a church.

Before too long I was into double figures for the millage, having gone passed the 10 mile point.

The next few miles went by, soaking up the cheers from the crowd lining the route, and I was very happy to see the 20k clock as it meant the halfway point wasn’t too far ahead.

2nd 10k done in 01:03:10

1/2 Marathon: 02:10:24

Had to give myself a bit of a talking to around mile 14 due to starting to get tired and negative thoughts coming into my head. I told myself that I can have 3 minutes of walking, then I have to zip up my man suit and get on with the marathon. Which is exactly what I did.

So far, so good. On target for finishing in under 04:30 too!

That was until I got to about mile 16 and a tosser tossed an empty bottle down at his feet instead of to the side, which meant that it went under my foot and caused me to slip slightly, but enough to twist my left knee.

I felt a jolt in my knee, but it didn’t feel too bad so on I ran. By now I’d got into a run/walk rhythm where I was running for 5 minutes then walking for 30 seconds.

Just after mile 18 I heard someone coming in the opposite direction shout ‘Marc! Marc Hemingway!’ and it turns out it was Rachael, also from Twitter. Plus I’d recognised Gemma from Twitter who said she was going to be cheering everyone on from the Mile 18 marker (and she was!) It’s little things like this that cheer you up when you feel rubbish.

I eventually reached the 30k clock and the third 10k was done in a time of 01:03:29, only a few seconds slower than my 2nd 10k section.

By the time I’d reached mile 20 my knee was hurting, and felt like it had a bit of swelling.

But still, I was in the last 10k of the marathon so was feeling good about myself. I couldn’t run nearly as much as I would’ve liked due to the throbbing in my knee so started running 100 paces and then walking 50.

I’d printed off a split-time race thing which I’d fastened onto my wrist and with each mile could see that the 04:30 finish was getting further and further away. Nothing to be done about that now though, so didn’t let it get to me.

I’d been taking on energy gels roughly ever 45 minutes so didn’t feel drained. There were water stations ever 3 miles and Energy drink stations every 6 so was nicely hydrated still.

The mile markers were passing slower than earlier, but still passing.

I reached mile 23 and told myself there was only 5k to go. The sun was beaming by this point, so made sure I kept sipping at my water bottle.

I reached mile 24.

Then mile 25.

On the corner just after Mile 25 I heard Ironman Tony shouting me from the side, so I smiled for a photo and then carried on for the last bit of the run. Then, at roughly mile 25 1/2, was a nice hill to run up. Bastards.

Pretty much walked all the way to the top and Mile marker 26, and a little further the end, was in sight. The crowd was cheering and shouting everyones names from their race numbers all the way to the end and I finally crossed, arms in the air, in a time of 04:48:19.

Slower than I wanted, but a new personal PB by almost 8 minutes.

I made my way through the finishers section where I picked up my T-Shirt and Medal, and then went and met up with the In-Laws. We went for a beer.

Sorry, can't hear you over the sound of my AWESOME LOOT!

Sorry, can’t hear you over the sound of my AWESOME LOOT!

When I got home I recovered with a cold bath, followed by beer and chinese food. Sarah got home from work around 10:30 and had brought me a McFlurry (Mississippi Mud Pie flavour.)

After Blackpool Marathon it took about 6 weeks for my legs to get back to normal, but three days after York I’m almost back to normal already. Apart from a couple of little blisters, and a sore knee, I didn’t get any major problems.

After I finished the marathon I said that that’s it for running for a while and that I’m not going to sign up to anything longer than a 10K for ages.

EDIT: I’m now pre-registered for York Marathon 2014.

York in the early morning, made into a motivational pic.

York in the early morning, made into a motivational pic.

Long Run, Facts And A Competition!

In Which You Can Win Something! (Not From Me, I’m Not That Generous)

Last Thursday I finally FINALLY got out and did a long training run. I’ve been doing little runs from work and around the area where I live, but this is the first time I’ve hit double figures. I did 10 miles! To put into perspective, this is the 3rd longest I’ve ever run, whether training or racing. These are my longest ever distances:

  • 1 x 26.2 mile marathon.
  • 1 x 13.1 mile 1/2 marathon.
  • 1 x 10 mile training run.
  • 1 x 8 mile training run.
  • 7 x 10k races.
  • Plenty x 3 mile or less training runs.

“But Marc!” You cry. (Why are you crying? Wuss.) “What about all the training runs you did before Blackpool marathon?”

“Look.” I reply, “I hardly did any. And that’s why it hurt so much and took weeks to recover. Wipe your tears or I’ll get the blister picture out again.”

I was aiming for around a 10:15 per mile pace (which in the marathon would give me a Sub 4:30 finish) so was pleased when I got home and saw that I’d averaged 09:58 a mile.

Although it seems my house sunk 3ft while I was out...

Although it seems my house sunk 3ft while I was out…

With only 4 weeks of training left before York Marathon, I’m making sure I get a long run in each week, upping the distance each time. Depending on which articles you read depends on how far you go on your longest long run before marathon day. Some say 20miles a few times, others say only go up to 16. I’m putting faith in the ‘only go up to 16 miles’ article, because it’s on the internet and therefore true.

Also, I’ve been practicing with energy gels. (Something else I didn’t do for Blackpool Marathon.) I got to about 5 1/2 miles on my long run and felt a bit tired, so had a gel (took ages, they’re like jam. Jam!) and felt a bit better for it. Plus they have energy drink stations around the course in York, whereas Blackpool just had water. They also have Lucozade energy gel at miles 15 and 20, but I’m expecting these to have gone by the time I get there. I might get myself one of those oh-so-cool gel pouch things!

(Ha! Just remembered I had a dream the other night about lining up for a race, and Sarah was shouting at me that I’d entered the disabled race by accident, so I decided to pretend to be blind. I was stood in the line up, looking up and off to one side, blinking my eyes loads.)

Marathon Facts

You lose around 2kg (4.5lbs) doing a marathon due to sweat. Think on that when you go to hug your loved ones at the end.

In 1908 the length of the marathon was going to be 26 miles, starting at Windsor Castle and finishing at White City Stadium. Queen Alexandra told them that they had to extend it a further 385 yards(to total 26.2 miles) – so that the royal children could watch the race from their nursery. When you get to the 26 mile marker in your marathon, remember that if it wasn’t for spoilt little brats, you’d be finished.

If you weigh 140lbs and run 10 minute miles, you’ll burn just under 2’800 calories doing a marathon. (If it wasn’t for those pesky Royal kids, it’d be less.) They say to eat an average of 2’000 – 2’500 calories a day, so added to the calories you burned off you can go ABSOLUTELY MENTAL on junk food for the rest of the day.

I don't even...

That horse has arms. ARMS.

Famous Marathoners:

  • Gordon Ramsey finished the Los Angeles marathon in 3 hours, 36 minutes.
  • George W. Bush ran the Houston marathon in 1993 in 3 hours, 44 minutes.
  • Ryan Reynolds ran 2008 NYC Marathon in 3 hours, 50 minutes, 22 seconds.
  • Will Ferrell completed the Boston marathon in 2003 in 3 hours, 56 minutes, 12 seconds.
  • In 2003, Sean Combs (Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Piddely Diddely) ran the NYC Marathon in 4 hours, 14 minutes, 54 seconds.
  • Alanis Morissette did the NYC in 2009 in 4 hours, 28 minutes, 45 seconds.
  • Katie Holmes finished the 2007 New York City marathon in 5 hours, 29 minutes, 58 seconds.
  • To raise money for Sports Relief, Eddie Izzard ran 43 marathons in 51 days after only 5 weeks of training.

The average man completes the marathon in: 4h, 32min and 8 seconds

The average woman completes the marathon in: 5h, 6min, and 8 seconds

It takes roughly 46’112 steps to get round a marathon.

99% of people have never done a marathon. In America, it raises to 99.9% that have never done one.

Suitably motivated? Good, on to…


(You probably just scrolled straight to this anyway. If you did, you missed some GREAT facts.)

I got an email from the Leeds Abbey Dash organisers who are busy organising the Leeds Abbey Dash and who are running a competition for 2 free entries to the Leeds Abbey Dash (which they are organising.)

It’s a lovely, flat, out and back route and it starts and ends in Leeds City Centre. (Near where the pubs are.)

Takes place on Sunday 17th November.


Probably best if you live in/around Yorkshire for this one…

Good Luck!

Any feedback? Thoughts? Abuse? Leave a comment, or follow me on twitter @zepalm 

3 Weeks Away and 17 Weeks Away

In Which I Make A Motivational Poster

3 Weeks today until the British 10k in London.

17 Weeks today until the Yorkshire Marathon in York.

“But!” I hear you say, “You’ll be fine! After all, you’ve been eating healthy and not drinking beer!”

You’ll be disappointed in me when I say this…

I’ve not been eating healthy.

I HAVE been drinking beer…!


That stops NOW. (Not NOW, because I’m planning on eating unhealthy and drinking beer tonight as one last night of excess before the seriousnessnessness of training starts.)

“How are you going to stay so motivated?” You ask.

AHA! I reply.

I made this to stick on my fridge!


York Marathon On The Horizon

In Which I Do What I Should’ve Done For Blackpool Marathon, And Forward Plan.

(Actually I DID Forward Plan For Blackpool, But Didn’t Stick To It)

In Which I Do What I Should’ve Done For Blackpool Marathon, And Forward Plan, AND Stick To It…!

I love York. It’s a beautiful city full of Olde-English history and streets, wonderful for a day out or a weekend away. There’s hundreds of pubs and bars within the city walls, and plenty of places to eat, along with museums, ruins, and things to visit. It’s one of the most haunted citys in England (as seen in England on the show ‘Most Haunted’) and is the birthplace WH Auden, Judi Dench and of Guy Fawkes (who tried to blow up Parliment, how can you not like him?)

In just over 4 months, however, I’ve a feeling I’ll HATE York. For a bit.

Just been on the Yorkshire Marathon website and it says it’s just over 133 days until York Marathon. Plenty of time, thought I, until following a swift calculation on a calculator, I worked out it’s 19 weeks.


That’s 3 more weeks of building back up a base fitness level, then starting a 16 week marathon plan. (Of which, I’m still yet to decide.) Seriously, there’s bloody LOADS of different ones! Makes me tired just reading them. (Makes me tired just SEARCHING them!)

At least I’m not going to be short on choice.

The York Marathon is a full loop, one circuit, where as the Blackpool Marathon was out-and-back laps of a 10k route. From the 10k runs I’ve done I know I much prefer the out-and-back run, because even though the miles/kilometres are marked, and you can see when you’re half-way done, my head seems to better process actually getting to a turn around point and heading back to the start, rather than carrying on in a loop. I think on the long runs leading to the marathon I’ll practice running loops instead of there-and-backs. (Or: TABs. Hope that catches on!)


After the holiday of eating and drinking WAY too much, I’m back on the exercise and healthy eating. I’ve been cycling to work and back twice a week (3.5mile each way) and also walking to, then running home from work twice a week. (Surprisingly, also 3.5mile each way!) I’ll be doing the long runs on a day off.

I also go swimming on a Monday evening, and keep trying to get out of bed early and go swimming on a Thursday morning before work (but that hasn’t happened yet…)

I need to get back to the gym and start going about twice a week for strength training and would love any comments on the best machines/exercises I should be doing to help me on my way.

100% determined to make a running schedule and stick to it this time. Not like Blackpool where I made a schedule then didn’t do anything on it, and subsequently hated the 2nd half of the run. If I hadn’t’ve already signed up for York before doing Blackpool, I doubt I would’ve signed up!

Does anyone have a decent marathon training plan? Or tips? Or free stuff?

Any and all advice is welcome!

Next run is the British 10k in LONDON BABY on the 14th July

Gunpowder Plod 5k 05/11/12

In Which I Get Hungry, Thirsty, and Very Very Cold

I’d been looking forward to this run for quite a few weeks, my first night time run with pyrotechnics and fireworks, followed by a hog roast and cold beer. Who wouldn’t be looking forward to it?! (Apart from someone who doesn’t like fireworks. Or a teetotaler. Or a vegetarian  I suppose…)

Point is, I was excited.

I met Nigel (Sarah’s Uncle) in Leeds train station. I mean I met up with him in Leeds train station. Obviously I’ve met him before I met him in the train station. It’d be quite a coincidence if I’ve met him then for the first time! As he turned up, so did the train.

We embarked (don’t really get the chance to use ‘embarked’ much in a sentence, so I take every chance I can,) and looked for seats. The carriage we had got on had a reserved ticket stuck on the back of each seat so all the passengers that embarked before us passed them by. I did the clever thing and looked at which tickets the seats were reserved from and to. The two right next to where we embarked were reserved from York to Newcastle, and as we were getting off in York, we sat down. (If you embarked in York and went to Newcastle on Bonfire Night, and thought you’re seats were warm, you’re welcome.)

Got to York station and Nigel went to the toilet. I had a bit of Powerade while I waited. We then walked the mile or so to York racecourse, where the run was taking place. Toilet stop again. We showed our tickets and then went and found the registration tent where we  found out we had to fill out a form first. We found the forms, then went back to the registration tent where we were told we had to go look at a board to find out our numbers before registering. We went and found our race numbers then went back to the registration tent and registered, where we were given a very nice technical T-Shirt and our numbers. Also, we got a sparkler each.


Nigel then went to the toilet again.

Working our way past all the food stalls selling chilli and hog roasts and things, we found a quiet bit of the field and got changed into our running gear. (Both had a base layer on so it wasn’t like we were flashing anyone. Anyway, if they don’t want people getting changed in the open they should supply a changing tent.)

We walked back to the toilets (past the changing tent) and both used them this time.

After that we made our way to the stage where the runners were supposed to gather. There were about 300 people there (out of 1500) and the run was 10 minutes away from starting. They made an announcement saying that people got in late to the registration and so it was going to be delayed a bit.

The ‘delayed a bit’ eventually turned in to 50 minutes. In the November air of England. Where the thermometer (if I had one with me) would have read about one degree Celsius. (Nigel went to the toilet again.) We waited so long that the pre race warm up became a pre-pre-pre race warm up, followed by a pre-pre race warm up, followed by the pre-race warm up, followed by walking about ten minutes across the race course to the start of the run, where we stood waiting for the race to begin, in the cold, where our warm ups cooled down.

Eventually, finally, the race began with a couple of fireworks being set off.

The race was run on a pathway around the circumference of the race course, and the path was about six foot wide with muddy grass on either side. 1500 people were jockeying for a better position. (Jockeying! whilst running round a horse race course! hahahaha!)

It was really slow to start with due to it being dark and so many people. A few of the more forward thinking runners brought torches and head lamps, but not us. We were told before the race started that the route would be one
and a half times around the track. A few of the sections of the track were marked out with little flames on each side and every so often there was a small burst of flame. Not quite the spectacular pyrotechnics we were promised. I’d’ve done better lighting my sparkler!

I lost sight of Nigel before too long due to the closeness of the other runners, and the dark, so didn’t talk much going round. Before too long my legs began to hurt due to being stood around in freezing conditions before we started, and after about 3k I walked for about ten seconds. When I set off again, Nigel turned up behind me and told me that he’d had to nip off the side of the track to go to the toilet again.

We ran the rest of the race together and finished at a faster pace. My official time was 33:15. Not my quickest ever 5k, but still happy with the time.

After we’d finished we made our way to the finishers tent (another queue) where we then collected our finishers medal, plus a bottle of water and a Snickers. We then went to the toilet.

I was looking forward to the beer tent and food stalls but there was a slight problem. Thousands and thousands of spectators were there before us. Queues had hundreds of people, all wanting beer and hogroast. We both agreed we’d had enough of delays and queues so we decided to go to the bar in the train station. We walked back, but it was closed, so we bought a few beers from the shop, embarked our train, and drank them on the journey home.

The day after the run I got an email from the race organisers saying that due to all the delays they would be donating £5000 to a local charity, and offering a 50% discount on any one event for next year. Which is nice of them!

Hope I get to embark another train.