So two years ago we completed the Reggae Marathon in 5h12m47s…. Competition time…… How long will we take on Saturday when hopefully it’s not quite as warm as today!!! A lovely 5k beach run this morning whilst Nicky swam. Were an active bunch here in the Athletes’ Village! So post in the comments a guess at how quickly we’ll go on Saturday – first (and only) prize us, er, er….. A MENTION IN THE BLOG!!! Guesses on here on on my Facebook page. Three Little Birds courtesy of these cool guys Jogging in the early morning sun Art? “Ya Mon…. Boat trip today??” Nicky will be looking to gate crash international group photos this year too!
Shock news coming in from Team GB in the Athletes’ Village…..
The runners have been seen….. EXERCISING!
In Negril preparing for Saturday’s Reggae Marathon, the British contingent started the day by not bothering with their planned early morning beach jog.
What a beautiful Jamaican morning
And they weren’t quite as sharp as yesterday claiming their beach spot. Concerns and rumours were abound as one of them only had TWO courses at breakfast.
Then the pair were seen to take to the water and swim. I mean really swim, several times up and down parallel to the beach in the lush warm waters.
This happened during despite yesterday’s HORRENDOUS (well, it did hurt at the time) jellyfish sting.
Tean GB. Teak tough and taking it all very, very seriously.
In other news, Negril is still, indeed, paradise.
Number collecting tomorrow and a blog competition to look out for……
3 days and counting………
Not a bad spot for a bit of scribbling
This beard thing.
Oh, and the new glasses. Strutting around thinking I’m cool. Like Elvis Costello.
Secretly knowing I’m gorky. Like Mr Bean.
One of us has lost a toe nail!
Team GB arrived here in Negril after 20 hours of travel, happy to have landed in paradise but rather fatigued.
And never mind Elvis Costello and Mr Bean. The locals seem to think I’m Mr Spliffy…….
As the coach driver pulled my cases from the under belly of his vehicle, he leaned in to me and whispered “You smoke weed? It’s good!?”. Couldn’t he see I’m an elite athlete in town to represent my country?
We awoke this morning, on this lush and majestic island, to pouring rain. I mean tropically heaving down…..
Nicky using the hydrotherapy pool.
A hearty breakfast. Does EVERY international athlete give the all inclusive breakfast a 3 course kicking? Never mind carb loading, we’ve taken the science out of it…..
It’s now simply called LOADING!!
We left breakfast as the emptied heavens took a breather to reload and massaged our athletes’ feet in the warm Caribbean Sea.
“Smoke?” enquired a suitably languid beach trader. We politely declined.
We sauntered towards our chosen berth on the glorious sand, passing another trader, casually dragging his feet along the water’s edge.
“Ya man…..?” As his hands mimicked the action of partaking of the leaf on offer and his eyes demonstrated the effects …….
No thank you, old chap, but please accept our thanks for considering us in your plans.
Beach traders here – just a gentle “no thanks” and you get a Marley salute and a “respect” and left in peace.
Any way 5 days until we pull on the Team GB vests and tackle the Reggae Marathon.Reggae Marathon.
No nerves yet………
I say ‘selected’ to wear the Team GB vests…..
We got our places by, er, paying for them on the internet. The vests? Yup, also off the internet, but still…..
We were last in Team GB almost exactly two years ago when we did our first international race together.
We enjoyed it so much, we decided to go back…..
After squirrelling away our pocket money we took the plunge and are off to the sunny Carribbean in the hope of winning the Vet 50 married couple from Britain prize at The Reggae Marathon (I’m completely sure such a prize exists!)
On the face of it a dull course, two out and backs, each done twice, AND passing our hotel FOUR times. BUT the location is, well……….
Watch this space…..
ME!! It’s brought to you by me.
As an aspiring writer (!), I try to read as much as possible, I’ve always got a book on the go, and I read online articles, normally running related. I also delve into others’ blogs as often as I can. Reading others work, and seeing which styles I enjoy, helps steer my own scribblings. Don’t forget the OTHER BLOG for occasional, mostly non-running related, witterings.
I have noticed that some of the ‘bigger’ blogs tend to have a leaning towards product ‘reviews’. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking some sort of reverse snobbery based moral high ground here. Oh no, although I always look for truly independent journalism , or writing in general, I would probably struggle to turn down a supply of free running kit if it was thrown my way. And then what would I do????
Anyway, luckily for me and my blogging integrity, that’s highly unlikely to happen. So if I do mention a product, company, event or any other service, then my opinion will be based purely on the experience I have had.
Which brings me to running shoes. I’ve just opened a box of shiny new road kicks, the umpteenth pair of Adidas Boost shoes I’ve owned. I find them soooo comfy, cushioning my clumpy and heavy running stride and compensating for the odd angles my feet tend to approach the ground at.
I may have mentioned before, my running ‘style’ was once described by an esteemed running coach to be like a drunk man herding cats!!
This latest pair are a few models old now, so I picked them up for a reasonable price too. Being rather dull, I keep a count of miles ran in my shoes and my last pair did 600+ miles of road running. The PREVIOUS pair (pictured alongside the new ones) also racked up 100s of road miles before becoming my work shoes. I’ve probably done 6 months of building work in them too, only swapping them for boots on heavy weather days.
So, if anyone asked me, even without a cash incentive from the multi-national fashion and sports wear brand, I would recommend them, especially if you have the same bizarre running geometry as me.
I used to use Adidas trail shoes too, but found said running technique tended to trash them too quickly. Some of you may recall I had the chance to run in a second hand pair of Inov8 shoes at the Conistion Marathon (read all about that beautiful event HERE). I splashed the credit card there and then and those shoes have been absolutely amazing, and still going strong after 500+ miles of all types terrain and weather.
I wore them for a lumpy coast path run on Saturday, keeping it simple, with an out and back route, but the views are always different in the other direction. The sun was barely awake at the start and it turned into a lovely crisp morning by the end. Have a nosey HERE, if you like.
Ahhhh, my wonderful wife……. I truly am INSPIRED by her…… we are both pretty exhausted at the moment and it would be easy to reject our runs and training. Hopefully, the cajoling is reciprocal. I am so, so determined to train, especially when I have the absolute joy of Nicky to be driven by.
On Sunday, we ventured a bit further along the coast, both feeling lethargic, but, together, convincing each other we were doing the right thing.
Running with Nicky is incredible, time becomes meaningless, and before we knew it we were 10 miles in, and ready to turn. We fancied a fairly flat 20 miler as our next planned marathon is on an out and back and flattish road course. We’re off on our holidays next week, and running a marathon on the middle weekend.
I enjoy running with Nicky so much. I ALWAYS enjoy running, but the runs with Nicky have that little extra magic….
In fact, whilst we were trotting along the Exe estuary, I started a ‘best of 2017’ conversation, in preparation for an end of year blog. I said my proudest achievement was when Nicky and I crossed the line of the 50k R.A.T. (read all about it HERE), where we smashed our best time for the event, in our third attempt at the route. Apparently there’s a 100k version….
She was surprised that I hadn’t said my Gower 50 Ultra, which I completed solo (blogged about HERE). I pointed out to her that, even if I successfully go on to complete longer and tougher challenges, and I will take great pride in them, that little bit of heart fluttering magic will be missing.
We will line up at 5.15am on December 2nd, for our holiday marathon, hopefully crossing the line holding hands a few hours later, and THAT will be the secret magic….
Anyway, we had a gorgeous (mostly flat) run on Sunday – check it out HERE – and we’re ready for a break now…….
I think it’s called ‘tapering’!
There’ll be blogging from holiday, but it’ll be short posts from the phone I guess, but mostly we’re looking forward to no alarms, warm breeze and seas, good food, the BEST company and, of course, a marathon!
A few piccies from last weekend’s runs….
Sometimes this blog writes itself. Not literally, of course, but you get my drift. Yup, the words are out of my brain, through my clacking fingers and on to some enormous data storage facility in the South Pacific before I can say ‘blimey’! And then, hopefully, they are recalled and perused by you people kind enough to share this bizarre, electronic story with me……
Other times, I sit.
And nothing happens.
But, mostly, I have vague idea of where I’m going with a blog post and it sort of evolves around my mind as I type. I know, with my writing ambitions, more proof reading and re-writing is required, but the flavour of the blog is to just….. well, get it out there…..
I’ve had this idea of writing about anniversaries slopping around my head for a few days, but didn’t really know how to attach blogworthy significance.
I know Facebook prompts me to remember the birth of my virtual friendships, reminds me of previous years frolics with pictures and posts and invites celebrations of fellow users’ birthdays, but some anniversaries need a more delicate touch….
Sometimes, there are dates which just fill the heart and soul with joy… for me, the best day ever was our wedding day and I get all goose-bumpy just thinking about it now. Our first date, and, of course our birthdays are truly special to remember. Our birthdays’ are on the same date….. aaaaahhhhh
For those new to the blog (and Nicky chastises me regularly for going on and on and on….) I am quite prone to publicly declaring how wonderful my incredible, beautiful and utterly inspiring my gorgeous lady wife, Nicky, is. I am so grateful and blessed to share this fabulous life with her…
Other anniversaries, like the day we lost loved ones, are less celebrated, but still marked, if only in our hearts. I like to remind myself of the good times shared, particularly with my dear departed sister, who I know would have loved to see me, finally, having the happiness which makes me treasure every moment.
Enough of this, lets talk about running. I’m quite partial to donning the plimsolls and trotting along, as has been mentioned on this blog occasionally, and luckily for me, so is Nicky….
What a weekend of running we treated ourselves to.
With Nicky fancying a change, we headed over to Parke (a national trust property in Bovey Tracey) for the fabulously named Parke Parkrun. Nicky drove the 16 miles, with Charlie and let him loose amongst the squirrels (he’s keen but far, far from being a hunter!). Me? I decided to run over…….
Luckily I enjoy a bit of road running, not as much as the trails perhaps, but, sometimes, I like to run with a steady repetitive stride and zone out. Apart from the first 5 or so miles, this is a traffic free route, much of it on the Templer Way.
So those lovely slick bottomed road running shoes were brilliant alllllll the way to Parke…….
Parke Parkrun (love that!) was an absolute mudfest. I basically slipped and slid my way along behind Nicky as she did her usual…….. Start at the back and just get stronger….. slicing through the field from start to finish….. (see the whole run HERE)
Bacon bap and a coffee to follow, what’s not to like…….
“I thought you said it was FLAT!?”
Nicky said this a few times on Sunday’s run. Our next marathon is coming, we’ll be running together, it’ll be on the road, and, it’ll be lovely and hot (so hot in fact, the start time is 5.30am to get some of it done before the sun comes up), we’re fortunate to be heading off for some winter sun and squeezing a marathon in whilst we’re there.
So we, as I had the previous day, headed for hard trails and quiet roads, doing an ‘out-and-back’ from Totnes following National Cycle Route 2. Heading out early meant we encountered pretty much nobody for the bulk of the run. Hillier, for sure, than it appeared on the map……. (see the route HERE)
Hence Nicky’s oft-repeated refrain during the lovely run.
Nicky is getting really fit and strong, swimming, spinning and running in equal measures as she gears up for the challenges of 2018…… Me? well, I seem to be getting back to fitness (if not pace) after ‘the injury’ (did I mention I’d done a 50 mile ultra……. read alllll about it HERE)
As ever, time is our enemy…….. please check out the other posts on this blog (there’s about 70 now!) and some of my other scribblings OVER HERE and keep in touch via FACEBOOK etc and look out for RUNDEEP MAGAZINE which features a column by yours truly.
Until next time……….
I’m growing a beard. Although, by the time you read this I might have abandoned it and burned it off……. It’s a bit itchy and scratchy and, quite frankly, not quite the suave silvery stubble I was hoping for.
Unlike Martin. For the uninitiated, Martin is our good running buddy who is known for his (VERY) chatty nature, the numerous sugars he shovels into his tea, and for being, well, ‘The Silver Fox’!
T’was the Templer Ten last Sunday, sold out this year, it is a lovely jaunt towards Bovey Tracey from Stover school, with barely any hills, but plenty of varied terrain. Organised by the Teignbridge Trotters, one of the most active clubs in the area and organisers of several of South Devon’s finest events.
As ever, they provided umpteen friendly, smiling and encouraging marshals, cajoling and guiding you through the countryside.
There’s a fabulous (I mean AMAZING!) cake stall, teas and coffees (including a free post race cuppa for the runners) and bacon baps to replace those calories burned.
There’s also a 1 mile fun run around the grounds of the school. Grandson, Callum, was pencilled in for this but at the last minute decided a morning performing stunts on his new Rocker bike would be much more fun……. Up steps Faith…… 6 years old, with that butter-wouldn’t-melt princess smile, and full of life and energy and, well, character…. “I’LL DO IT, I’LL DO IT!” she exclaimed, seeing an opportunity to upstage her brother.
Somehow, Grandad Kevin was volunteered to run with her….. “COME ON SLOW COACH” she giggled to anyone who’d listen as she whizzed around the playing fields in her treasured silver Hunter wellies.
Everything seems silver today.
Apart from my beard!
I bumped into a smashing friendly chap, Mark, whilst on my first post injury long run, the previous weekend (did I tell you I’d ran a 50 mile ultra marathon? No? read allllll about it HERE).
Well, Mark, it turns out was also at the Templer Ten and we pretty much lined up alongside each other, by pure coincidence. It wasn’t to be last we’d see of each other. (This, and all my other running can be found on STRAVA).
Also lining up alongside us on the start line was Ferg, race director and general top bloke from Mudcrew, organisers of many a fine event, including my all time favourite, the R.A.T. (you guessed it, read all about how Nicky and myself got on back in August HERE).
Mudcrew also host the scarily named Ark Of Attrition, which Nicky and I followed when we were on holiday in Cornwall (read all about it HERE), back when this blog was a brand new thing. It wouldn’t be the last I saw of Ferg either. And, the Ark is, well, hopefully where it’s all heading for me……..
In the interests of sharing the plugs for local events…… Steve from Pure Trail was also there – they have just announced a rather splendid looking 100 miler on Dartmoor.
Nicky started at the back. Nicky likes starting at the back. (Nicky, for those new to the blog, is my wonderful, WONDERFUL, lovely lady wife, soul mate and setter of endurance challenges) Nicky, she won’t mind me saying, is, like many of us, quite capable of having dips in confidence, particularly if she gets streams of runners overtaking her. So she starts at the back. Problem solved.
Considering she smashed her previous time on this course by over 6 minutes, and overtook 70ish people, I reckon this tactic is working very well. One of the first subjects I felt the urge to write about, when this blog was a youngster, related to how we can all support and encourage each other in this wonderful sport – read that post HERE.
Ferg ran away from me whilst Mark and I jostled for position (I’m probably exaggerating there!) as the first couple of miles unfolded.
Actually we did exchange places several times during the race, both sneaking past Ferg later on as he paid for his blistering early pace!
As regular readers, friends of the blog, friends, people I meet in the street, anyone who’ll listen, AND anyone who won’t, will know, I’m getting quite into this ultra marathon idea (hence the beard!)
With this is mind, as I ‘come back from injury’ and up my mileage, I decided to follow a lot of the training advice I read and go back-to-back. That is, I did another coast path long run on Saturday (HERE) so that this hard race effort, the following day, was on tired legs. It worked, I was proper blowing at the end.
Mark steamed past me in the final few yards to claim bragging rights for when we next bump into each on the coast path. So, I may not have been as nippy as last year, but really pleased to be fit and running well (see how my race unfolded HERE).
All three grandchildren enjoyed their trip to Stover and the late autumn sunshine meant they joined us for some more weekend fun in the garden……
Don’t forget, there’s plenty of my witterings over at…..
and please get in touch about anything writing or running related.
Keep on rolling people……..
Images from the week’s running…..