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
Ahhh, the longest days of the year. Heatwaves. Festivals. It’s summer now alright.
A few tetchy people around, obviously not including yours truly, as most of us are struggling to acclimatise to sleeping in the warm nights ……. Me? I lurrve the heat…
Obviously I’d choose a chilled afternoon at Seacombe Sands with my beautiful wife over screeding floors in a sweatbox with my workmate Jamie. Nothing against Jamie of course!
It’s Giant’s Head Marathon this coming weekend, a fabulous, award
winning, brutally hilly, trail marathon in Dorset. Upon completion participants are rewarded with monstrous ice creams and a monstrous medal featuring the Giant’s, er, spinning willy…
Nicky and I have done the Giant’s Head Marathon two years running so we’ve opted for a change of scenery (more of which later) this year as we build up to the Snowdonia Trail Marathon in July. It was warm last year, but in 2015 it was HOT! Fabulous event though, I mean FABULOUS. So good luck to everyone in Dorset this weekend, hope it cools off a tad.
It’s also the Glastonbury Festival this weekend. Back in the day I did a few of these too, struggling to sleep then too….. I wasn’t quite as fit back then…. Another fabulous event which, unlike the Giant’s Head Marathon,
doesn’t feature high in my list of experiences to repeat. Too old for camping, noise, crowds, late nights, debauchery…..
So, a relay this weekend. But before that, we are off to Bantham on Saturday as Nicky is participating in The Swoosh, a 6km swim from Aveton Gifford to Bantham. It’s a dawn start and we’re aiming to arrive for sunrise before Nicky is bussed to the start. Our regular accomplice at events, Martin, is also involved. Obviously it hasn’t been suggested that his breathing whilst swimming is hindered by incessant chatting….
I’m chief supporter and intend running the trails to watch the start before returning to see the finish. More and more and more, events are just that, EVENTS. The whole experience, the adventure of getting up at silly o’clock, meeting Martin, the drive on empty roads, the sunrise, the bubbling nervous excitement and sharing all of this with the most amazing person I’ve ever known. (That’s Nicky, not Martin, although, in that wetsuit mate………)
Soul mates? The two words never went together in my life, until I met Nicky and we set out on this life of outdoor pursuit and sharing everything. Everything? Well, apart from the time Nicky ran over to another path whilst we were walking one day, to ensure she didn’t have to reciprocate and give me a bite of HER crème egg!
There have been scuffles on the sofa over the last liquorice allsort on occasions….
So, to recover from Saturdays exploits, on Sunday, we’re doing a relay. A relay, I kid you not. Nicky is going to bravely swim a kilometre off South Milton Sands before handing over the, er, dibber to me as I head off for a 15km coastal and trail run. It sounds fantastic and the weather is looking good but not crazily hot luckily.
We were just chatting about how it really is the event we’re looking forward too, it takes as long as it takes. The process, the journey, the moments and memories rather than any measured ‘outcome’. Saying that, I wonder if there’s a Vet 50 Married Couple trophy!!
Nicky is having a great year of open water swimming, getting in the sea wherever possible and feeling stronger and invigorated for the experience. We are shoe horning our Snowdonia training into the available time and had a VERY hot 14 mile trail run on Tuesday evening, straight from work, which was hard but a beautiful route.
We also ran a very challenging few hours out of Kingswear together on Sunday. This too, was a stunning route.
It’s about the journey, and WOW what a journey it is.
I’m trying to mix my runs up a bit but keep mileage high, it’s ten weeks until the East Farm Frolic, where I shall endeavour to keep moving for the full 12 hours, so I need to know I’ve built an endurance base to support this. I do think that my work helps with this, some days it can be relentless. Up and down ladders or like this week mixing and carrying, it’s great work but can be very tiring, sometimes after a 10 mile run in the morning.
I firmly believe that ‘keeping going’ will be the key to ultra running and so I’m just going to keep on running. Wherever, whenever, for however long or however far, and enjoy every single step……..
The world feels like it’s under siege at the moment and so many are suffering unimaginable and unbearable sorrow and grief. We are so fortunate that we can’t even begin to imagine how life must be right now for those suffering and those who have lost. I truly hope the apparent groundswell of love, rather than hate, as a reaction to appalling events of late is the way forward for us all as a community, as a nation, as the human race and EVERYONE echoes the mantra “I refuse to neglect you”
Check out my latest running efforts on Strava if you fancy a nose.
Keep on keeping on……
Yeah, I don’t know where to begin so I’ll start by saying I refuse to forget you
I refuse to be silenced
I refuse to neglect you
That’s for every last soul up in Grenfell even though I’ve never even met you
That could have been my mum’s house, or that could have been my nephew
Now that could have been me up there
Waving my white plain T up there
All my friends on the ground trying a see up there
I just hope that you rest and you’re free up there
I can’t feel your pain but it’s still what it is
Went to the block just to chill with the kids
Troubled waters come running past
I’mma be right there just to build you a bridge yo
You can only control the controllable.
Having ran a total of 24+ miles on Saturday, totalling 5300ft of climbing, mostly on coast path steps, I was tired on Sunday morning.
Yup. Two runs on the coast path on Saturday. Home to Teignmouth (17.5miles) to meet up with Nicky after her swimming group’s session, then another 7 on the relentless up and down steps of the coast path with Nicky. I’d been sweating nicely in my running kit for about 5 and a half hours by then. I didn’t realise quite how badly until we stepped into the little shop at Ness to buy a drink after our run and the two young ladies both took a step back and I’m pretty sure were holding their breath!
Despite being tired, I know that I need to be able to run tired and keep momentum if I’m to realise my ambitions in August. I have bigger, longer term ambitions for distance too, so I need to become the person who keeps moving forward regardless.
So, Sunday morning, with Nicky’s second sea swimming lesson of the weekend some 3 hours off, I set off again….
She really is an inspiration. 18 months ago she couldn’t swim 33 meters of front crawl, now she’s a veteran of a 10k river swim (and several open water achievements) and is determined to crack the sea swimming this year.
We’re doing a relay soon, with Nicky doing a 1km sea swim, followed by me tackling a 10 mile off road run. I wonder how many husband and wife teams there are?
My mother said that it would be hard for Nicky swimming with that baton in her hand….
Recruiting the services of Pete Wilby who is knowledgeable, humble yet motivational and an all round top bloke, she really is mastering it. Mastering it to the point where a complete stranger approached me on the prom in Teignmouth to compliment her on her strong swim.
Anyway, I’d taken just over 3 hours the previous day but intended to take a slightly shorter route by not taking a couple of digressions and using a more direct approach to Torquay.
Once I’d hit the trails proper, I went for a slug on my drinking tube but despite sucking hard, like I was back on the Marlboro I was getting a mere dribble mixed with air.
Having scoffed at others with their trendy Salamon waist coat style rucksacks, I’m proudly sporting my Decathlon special……
So on the first big climb I removed my trusty bargain, thinking the tube must be kinked, thus restricting the flow. It was only on the third time of doing this that I realised that my increasingly soggy bottom was not down to the amount of sweat my herculean efforts were producing……..
There was split is in the bag where the tube attaches and so every movement squeezed another shot of blackcurrant flavored water down the, er, (for want of a better word) crack.
This presents two challenges – chaffing (oooo) and thirst (gasp).
My options? The one I was already achieving was to be chaffed and thirsty and hope I made it to Teignmouth despite it getting pretty warm and I was heading to the most remote parts of the route. Hhhmmmm, not ideal.
The most appealing, just sitting down and weeping at how the world obviously hates me and it’s everybody else’s fault. No, Nicky’s voice in my head (“oh man the **** up”)…… Can’t entertain this one.
Turning back? Nope, I really didn’t want to miss Nicky’s swimming (she was driving to Teignmouth).
So what did I do, I hear you chorus? Well, I sussed that if I removed the bag, held it at an angle, I could get a good gulp out. Also my new compression shorts (I know, I’m well professional!) were doing the job despite the blackcurrant soaking and appeared to be holding those vulnerable parts together pretty well.
So I knocked the effort level right off, stopped every mile or so for a drink, which just about lasted and text Nicky.
I’m please with the choices I made. Nicky and I arranged to meet at the golf course at Shaldon meaning I’d still covered the best part of 13 miles and still got to enjoy walking the dog in the sunshine whilst Nicky entertained the crowds as she ploughed through the waves.
Unfortunately, I missed the highlight of Nicky’s lesson as Pete apparently fell straight off his board whilst explaining the finer points of balance and poise in the water.
Talking of lessons……
I should always carry money on these runs, then I could have diverted to buy a drink somewhere. Actually, even if I replace the bladder and continue to use the bag, there’s nothing stopping me carrying a bottle of water in with my jelly babies and mini cheddars!
A weekend full of love, life and laughter with a healthy dose of adventure, we enjoyed it so much we started the working week with an early morning 5k in the woods, already plotting next weekend, and the weekend after that, and the one after that…….
Next target? BEAT THE TIDE!
So, today, Eliod Kipchoge and I both ran for 2h00m25s.
There the similarity ends.
So what is winning?
Kipchoge, as the world now knows, narrowly missed getting under 2 hours (for the marathon distance) in Nike’s Breaking2 effort. A string of pacemakers dropping in and out, in supposedly revolutionary kit and running shoes. Personally, I think that with athletics credibility suffering at the top end, it was a welcome and quirky distraction. They have never suggested that they would be claiming it as a world record. However you view it, hats off to Eliod for an incredible run.
I ran 14.6 less miles than Kipchoge, but I think we’re both winners today. We both smiled, doing something we love. I am proud that I spend every day being the best human being I’d ever hope to be and running is a massive part of that. I may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but I’m ME.
Me and Kipchoge, never been seen in the same room….
Have I previously mentioned my wonderful wife (I’m DEFINITELY winning!!), well she was in Teignmouth for her first venture into the sea this year, with Pete Wilby Triathlon, and we had a family drive there and watched, in total admiration, as the group acclimatised in the crashing surf.
There’s so much more to Nicky’s journey than this brief mention, but I’m lining her up for a BIG BLOG interview soon, so you’ll have to wait.
So, another win, I reckon, for Nicky and her fellow intrepid swimmers and for Coach Pete for making the session fun, relevant and safe in the wild conditions.
I’ve been reflecting all week about ‘winning’. I allowed myself some disappointment at not hitting my target in last week’s marathon, but will not let myself dwell on it.
It was still winning on many levels, you see:
Firstly, being fit and healthy enough to attempt to run a marathon = WIN
Completing that marathon = WIN
Having completed 32 marathons = WIN
Running a marathon in under 3 and a half hours = WIN
Helping, being helped by, a fellow struggler over the last couple of miles = WIN
Seeing my beautiful, amazing wife complete her 30th marathon in a Personal Best time = WIN
Seeing my good friend Martin complete another fantastic marathon = WIN
Sharing the day with our wonderful friends, Gloria and Jan = WIN
Yes, on reflection, it was definitely a day of WINNING!!
Back in work this week, my quads particularly enjoyed going up and down the ladder to the roof then dragging up dozens of lengths of timber…….
Anyway, I managed a few little runs this week and still loved every minute, despite the rather shuffling nature of some of the miles.
I felt I was ready to tackle some miles today, so I got Nicky to drop me off at Labrador Bay on the way back from Teignmouth and I ran the coast path to Torquay before following the normal route home – you can check out the run here. A very challenging, hilly route with plenty of steps for my quads to enjoy!
I’ve just finished reading Redemption, the John Mcavoy book. My interested in John began after his extraordinary interview on Marathon Talk and the book really has been every bit as gripping and inspiring as I’d hoped.
He speaks about enjoying the mental challenges as much as the physical preparation for endurance challenges. His motivational words and the inspiration of watching Nicky, yet again, pushing her boundaries, never accepting where her limits might be, really got my blood pumping for this run. So this morning was just WIN WIN WIN….
Getting to spend the afternoon with Nicky, Frank (Father In Law) and fantastic Step Daughter, who is still ‘ON IT’ as we say to motivate each other on that there social media, and the bubbly bouncy Grandchildren – more winning.
Anyway, we’re off east again tomorrow for the Ox Half (with no ‘targets’ you’ll be pleased to hear) where we’re hoping to spend the whole day WINING!!
A few more piccies from the week…….