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Marathon update: more photos online!

Virgin London Marathon 2010

I updated my marathon photos on flickr with the official ones

Virgin London Marathon 2010

Colm has uploaded his marathon photos

Virgin London Marathon 2010

Rosie has uploaded her marathon photos


Just waiting for James’ now! They all got such great pictures, I am thrilled! I think you can now appreciate looking at the pictures that I was having the time of my life on that run :)

I did it!

medal photo

At the finish, tired but so happy

London Marathon? Done :) My official time was 4:31:35, and I couldn’t be happier. Everything went smoothly, and I am feeling very pleased with myself. There’s no damage done, my knees were a bit sore last night but today everything feels good.

The Marathon is an amazing high. I had my name on my vest and it really felt on the day like the whole of London was chanting my name. The spectators are incredible and the vibe from the crowds just lifts you so much. The other runners are all in great spirits and there’s tonnes of banter en route. It really was a tremendously emotional day.

Once I get them, I will upload the official pics. My friends came out to watch me run and they took some incredible photos, which I look forward to sharing with you too.

I will do this again. Next time, the target will be under 4 hours. I may even do a fall marathon this year.

You can see my race stats here on garmin connect. As you can see from the split times apart from pee stops and chatting with my supporters I pretty much nailed my pace (10 min/mile).

In terms of the blow by blow I will say this: the first 15 miles went in a flash, the crowd and the runners were all in high spirits and the miles just whizzed by. I literally ran the first 15 miles with a gigantic, idiotic grin on my face.

Mile 6 was the Cutty Sark, the first thing I looked forward to. Next milestone was around mile 10 when we crossed Tower Bridge. That was truly amazing because the ROAR of the crowd was just deafening and the crowd chanted my name all the way across :)

The next milestone was mile 14 where my awesome friends were waiting with cheers of encouragement, supplies, cameras to take pictures and (omg awesome) a cold, wet towel to wipe my face with. Mile 14 was Narrow street and my absolute favourite part of the marathon. Another area where the crowd just roared, and there were so many people watching, dancing, chanting, waving, or offering goodies (brownies, bananas, oranges, sweets,  you name it!)

Next milestone was Canary Wharf, at 19/20 miles which was packed and really great too. Awesome crowds, and the drums! Amazing drums which really lifted spirits in a tricky bit of the race (everything starts to hurt from mile 18).

Then, mile 21 is back through Limehouse on Commercial road and I saw my friends again for a quick chat and another cold towel-down. At this point I was told about our dinner reservation at Gaucho Grill that night which basically carried me the rest of the way to the finish :) I was so happy to see my friends at this point that I probably looked like I’d already won the race :) Limehouse was so great – even down by the station the crowds were thick and chanting and yelling. Everybody was shouting my name and I was getting really emotional.

From mile 21, things got really tough. Everything hurt and the last 5 miles felt very, very far. Thames street was miserable for me. A real head down, gritted teeth mile… Luckily the crowds along Embankment and the Mall really lift you and suddenly you are nearly finished and picking up speed again. I managed not to stop running all race but around mile 20 a lot of runners start walking – this actually gave me a boost as I started to pass a lot of people, happy to have paced myself well.

At the finish, the feeling is indescribable. So tired, but so happy, relieved, proud, emotional… You get your medal and a goodie bag. I devoured every source of food in that goodie bag in about 3 minutes flat. Then my friends came and met me with champagne and more goodies and we hung out in whitehall drinking from the bottle :)

Back home, Colm showed off his brilliant pictures of the day to music while we drank Bolly 2000 – which was just awesome :) Then off to dinner at Gaucho where I devoured a 400g Fillet and whatever sides were in sight ! What an amazing, amazing day :)

I was thinking earlier today, that if someone told me a year ago I would run the marathon in 4 and a half hours this year (or at all), I would have laughed right in their face. Just goes to show you…

You can do anything, if you set your mind to it.

Isn’t that just awesome to know?

You’ve come a long way, baby

garmin data

Garmin data since Feb 2010

One more week to go.

Getting excited, and apprehensive. As you can see, my training has been a bit patchy, I have not managed as many runs as I would have liked, but work has kept me busy and injury meant I wasn’t running at all in January and not much in February.

However a recent burst has caught me up a bit and I am feeling as ready as I’ll ever be. Certainly the fittest I have ever been in my life. It feels good. In the last year my body fat has gone from 25% to 15%, I lost a stone in weight and my resting heart rate has dropped from 75 or so to 55. 55! I hurt my foot racing barefoot (I know, I know) in October last year but have since bounced back and fingers crossed, am ready for the big 26.

So I am totally going to do this (see me doing the positive thinking thing already?). Look out for me on Marathon day, next Sunday the 25th April. I am runner number 40310 and I’ll be in a Hope for Children vest. I should be doing about a 9:45 minutes per mile pace, on average. If you see me – YELL :) Oh, also, take pictures and send them my way!

Yes, you can still sponsor me!


The Virgin London Marathon

Me, in Lycra and NipGuards!

In Lycra and NipGuards after running 21 miles in training.

So this year I will be running the Virgin London Marathon. This is quite a challenge for me as I only started running regularly 10 months ago. It’s getting close to race day (25th April) and so I wanted to share with you my race number, so you can follow my progress online on the day: it’s 40310.

I also wanted to share with you my sponsorship form! I’m running for Hope for Children. It’s never too late to sponsor me and any donation would be gratefully received :)   Click here to sponsor me.

If you will be there spectating and fancy keeping your eye out for me, I am aiming to run about a 4:30, so that’s about a 10 minute mile pace, and I start at 9:45am, so you should be able to figure out where I’ll be when, assuming my run goes to plan :) I will be wearing skin tight black lycra (because it looks hot) and NipGuards (because bleeding nipples are no fun) and a white/red Hope for Children Vest over the top. I will also be wearing a grimace of pain and suffering for most of the distance!

If you’ve been following the automated Garmin Connect posts on this site you’ll see my training regimen, which is a bit behind what I’d like, but the best I could manage in the little spare time I have. My longest training run so far has been 21 miles, and I’m very very proud of myself for managing that! 21 miles of constant running is a lot of progress for a guy who collapsed in a heap after run/walking 3 miles just 10 months ago :)

I am about to start my taper towards race day now, but might manage one more long run this week if time permits. As always you can track my progress here by looking out for the Garmin Connect links which pop up from time to time…

Race result

Thanks all who sponsored me – my 10k time was 52:17, a new personal best and a time I am very happy with. My company are matching the donations of any employees who sponsored me so it looks like my total will be about £1400 once all the monies are in! Not bad.

However I may have pushed it a bit hard considering I was wearing my Vibram Five Fingers – my foot has been killing me this week -  I think I pulled a ligament on my final sprint over the line. It’s a bit better today but it means I’ve been off the exercise since Sunday. Hopefully I can do something light tomorrow.

Next time I do a race it will be in proper shoes – the VFFs are good for slow training runs, and I have been slowly building up the mileage I can do in them, but in a race you really push yourself… and clearly I pushed too far. I was running for most of the race at an 8:20 min/mile pace (for the first few minutes when I was struggling to find space to run in I was doing more like 7:30 and my split for mile 1 was 8 minutes). My fastest practise runs have been around the 9 minute/mile mark so as you can see race day sped me up a lot!

As the race was quite near my flat (actually on my normal running route), I ran there and jogged/limped back – this means I didn’t take a camera or phone with me. Still waiting for the official photos to go online so I can post em – I know they will because I saw several cameras pointed at me on the way around :)

Fitness update - 3 month gym weigh-in

Last week I had my 3 month gym weigh-in. As I said earlier, I have been working on my fitness levels this year. You can call it mid life crisis if you like (you jaded cynic you!) but for me it’s actually a combination of things:

  1. I am getting towards the stage in life when things don’t stay trim… automatically any more. A little maintenance is probably a good idea.
  2. The last year or two I have definitely turned around my personal life, and am enjoying life a lot these days. So I would like it to go on like this for as long as possible :)
  3. I have always been motivated the most by a sense of achievement. I used to write software in my spare time to do this, then for a few years I focused on achievements at work – which is still my primary driver (I am competitive and career-minded). But recently I’ve been in a more difficult work position where achievements are coming harder and slower. So I am focusing on personal achievements instead to keep my motivation and drive up.
  4. I am really enjoying being outdoors and doing physical activity.
  5. I am finding that I really enjoy being physically fit and want to stay that way.

Anyway blah blah blah, this isn’t livejournal. Where was I? I had my 3 month weigh-in last week, and am pleased to be making good progress towards my goals. If you are interested, my goals are:

  1. Get back to the 32 inch waist I last had when I was 25 (early last year I hit a peak of 35″)
  2. Get down to around 10% body fat (early last year I hit a peak of 23%)
  3. Be able to run 10 miles / cycle 50 miles / lift my own weight at least 20 times (press+chin-ups, not bench pressing)

Oops distracted myself again. 3 month weigh-in – right. Here’s the data:

3 month gym weigh-in. Old on the left, new on the right

3 month gym weigh-in. Old on the left, new on the right

…ah it’s good to be blogging again, sharing my vital statistics with the interwebs! :P

Anyway the big deal for me is the loss of 5Kg of fat, and gain of 1Kg of muscle (or lean mass at any rate). I am now in the 15% body fat range, and more than halfway towards my goal.

This means I am getting closer to my goals. My BMI and body fat percentage are now pretty much in the middle of the “healthy range” whereas before they were at the top end or slightly over that.

My waist is currently around 32.5, which means I am nearly at my target there too. The bad news is that none of my suits fit quite so well any more…

So what have I been doing these 3 months? Well, primarily I have been working out 3-6 times a week (less starting out, more lately). I started out doing 30 minutes of running 3 times a week, and these days alternate between running (3 times a week, every other day) and on the alternate days cross training (rowing on the machine in the gym or cycling – either on my bike outside or stationary in the gym). I quite often run to work and back, carrying my office clothes in a rucksack on my back. It’s about 2.5 miles to the office so this works pretty well.

My diet is a bit better than it used to be but I’m not making massive changes there, and I still drink quite a lot (probably too much). However I am doing enough exercise now that I can pretty much eat and drink whatever and still work on ditching the fat. This is a good thing, as far as I am concerned!

I am running a 10k race in a few weeks time (you can sponsor me for this at the link on the right!) and hope to run the london marathon either in 2010 or 2011 (it’s a bit hard to get a place these days, as I understand it). I also plan to do the BHF London to Brighton bike ride next year (as you can see I already practiced the route).

Did I mention I do a lot of my running barefoot or wearing minimal footware? Hehe okay maybe that’s a post for another day :)

The 2009 Maggies London Night Hike

Last weekend myself and six friends/colleagues took part in the Maggies London Night Hike, a 20 miles sponsored night hike around the streets of London, to raise money for Maggies cancer centres.

We started out at 9pm from City Hall, near Tower Bridge, and walked until about 7am, with various stops en route to drink coffee and visit London Open House weekend buildings, such as the Royal Geographical Society, the Channel 4 building and Horse Guards.

We made it pretty much intact, although we picked up a few blisters between us (I was unscathed, thankfully). It was fairly tough with the distance and the fatigue (we’d all done a days work already that day so walking all night was tiring stuff). A couple of team members were certainly a little grouchy towards the end – but then we all have our ways of coping with sleep deprivation :-)

We raised in total just under £5000 for the charity, which is the most important thing, and something I’m very proud of. We also got to accomplish something, and see some cool sights, some of which I documented through the monumental struggle of lugging my SLR along the course of the route (!)

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Our motley crew ready to get going.

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Our little jaunt on the London Eye.

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Some of the sights we saw on our journey.

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Some of the rest stops we took on the way (love the last pic of Fash looking bleak – that was at mile 18 or so) :)

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Arriving at the finish line!

You can see the full flickr gallery of the hike, or even view the annotated route on everytrail below:

Maggies night hike 2009 at EveryTrail

London to Brighton bike ride

Yesterday I decided to do set myself a bit of a fitness challenge – ride from my flat in Limehouse (east London) to Brighton seafront, along the route of the British Heart Foundation’s annual event. Why this route? It avoids major roads and is very scenic. And I’d like to do this charity event next year, and wanted to see if I was up for it :)

So I set off at 10:40am with the route programmed into my Garmin Edge 705 (you can see the route I used here: Limehouse to Brighton route), my camelback on my back with a couple of energy bars, and my camera, not really sure if I was going to make it at all.

Well I did! I must say when the pain really set in around mile 35, I had my doubts. My legs were burning, I was very low on energy and clearly hadn’t brought enough food with me. However once I found a newsagent, bought some snickers bars and took a lunch break I felt much better and found my second wind. The last 10 miles were torture as they involved crossing Burgess Hill, a tortuous ascent, especially after riding 50 miles! I remember the feeling of dread when I saw it:

IMG_1170 “holy crap I have to climb that?!”

But somehow I got up and over and was rewarded with the views!:

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Shortly after that I got my first glimpse of the sea and I knew I was home and dry :)

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It was at this point that I recorded the rather cheesy video you see before you:

Finally, after riding 63 miles in just over 7 hours, I arrived, elated, at Brighton beach :)

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I hung around to see the sunset, then hopped on the train back to London. Job done!

Sunset on Brighton beach

If you are interested in the actual route I took and the detailed stats (speed, heart rate, etc) you can find it here: garmin activity log – London to Brighton ride. You can also see the flickr set of the images I took here: flickr set – London to Brighton ride.

London to Brighton bike ride at EveryTrail