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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?

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…

Breaking in the new flat

Well I’m almost unpacked. 2 more boxes then maybe I’ll share some flat photos with you all… It’s been a busy few weeks getting settled in, but I’m 99% there and feeling good.

Today I finally have broadband – this is a huge milestone! It’s crap broadband, but that’s a long story for another day. I will detail my trials and tribulations getting decent connectivity out of the Poplar exchange in due course…

Anyway, Saturday I will have Sky, so then I’ll be all set. Things are looking good! The flat is nice. Not big, but it’s mine, and it feels good. I also have room to hang all my shirts up and have some of my favourite things back out of storage and I can’t tell you what a morale booster that is!

This week I’ve been breaking in the kitchen – it’s been great having my kitchen stuff out of storage and I got a bit carried away using it all, but as you can see I’m eating well :-)

Bread making! Steak cooking!

The steak I ate tonight was guilt-free, as I did an hour and a half in the gym today, running, rowing and cycling. Nice to eat and drink whatever you like :) There’s still time to sponsor me for my 10k run you know – it’s this Sunday!

Summer catch-up

During my long hiatus from the interwebs, I have been up to various things. Some of them are marginally interesting! Over time I will try to catch up a bit. Let’s start with this summer, because it’s been a pretty good one! Let’s see, what have I been up to?!

SanFran 2009

San Francisco and Vegas - 16th May

16th May - San Francisco and Vegas

This was a great fun trip to Vegas for a week for Colm’s birthday. I flew via San Francisco and took the opportunity to stay there one day and night to explore. I really love SanFran! As you can see I took quite a few pictures there, more than I did in Vegas. I spent a lot of time at the pool and at blackjack/poker tables in Vegas and taking photos in those places is generally frowned upon :)

Highlights:

  • Turning $300 into $2300 at a $10 blackjack table over the course of 2 hours
  • Sitting at the same poker table as Steph and the most annoying British poker brat I have ever met - they really went at each other and Steph gave as good as she got :)
  • Pulling an all nighter playing blackjack with the group (there were like 12 of us there!), then going for a full Irish Breakfast at an Irish Pub off the strip, run by a Scotsman, watching an Irish Rugby match at 10am local time, quite drunk.
  • Endless mornings by the pool drinking Strawberry Daiquiris!

Lowlights:

  • Losing my $2000 winnings on a $100 blackjack table in 5 minutes flat :o
  • Dropping a full Gin and Tonic into my own lap at Parasol Down in the Wynn. Much to everyone else’s amusement!

Glastonbury 2009

Glastonbury 2009 - 23rd June

23rd June - Glastonbury.

Ah, Glastonbury, always a pleasure. This was my second time - with the same crew as last year. I don’t think anything can live up to the religious moment I had at Glastonbury 2008 watching Leonard Cohen performing a legendary set with the sun setting behind him, but this was also a good year. Great weather (bar the odd little shower here and there), a good line-up, and once again we had a good camping spot and no major drama or incidents :)

Favourite moment? Probably Friday night when I was a little tired and emotional and pouring my heart out to Colm and Steph :) I think Neil Young was playing at the time? Or maybe hiding out in a tunnel in Shangri-la during a sudden and tremendous downpour - rain water coming through the ceiling and dripping down my neck - comedy!


London pride and madonna

London Pride then a Madonna concert - 4th July

4th July - London Pride and then a Madonna concert

I remember calling this my super gay summer day :) It was a really fun day. London Pride is always entertaining and this time we got to see One Star (Denise Pearson of the former band Five Star) singing. I even took some video of her and she is standing the test of time quite well as you can see.

Madonna was just brilliant. I was not expecting her to be that amazing. High energy, perfect choreography, great singing, and a tribute to MJ that was quite touching and nicely done. If only MJ hadn’t died, I could have seen both my childhood music heroes live this summer :( A somewhat selfish way of looking at it I know, but I think that’s how we all handle death isn’t it? How it affects us?

After London Pride, we took the Thames Clipper to the O2 for Madonna. This was a really nice jaunt on the river and as a Londoner I must remember to do this more often!



IMG_0384

U2 concert in Dublin - 25th July

25th July - U2 concert in Dublin.

Chance to see U2 live in Dublin? Not to be missed. Having not seen them live before (somehow), I was thrilled to see this show - it was epic, and to the home crowd! Sunday Bloody Sunday was amazing, I could barely hear the band over the crowd!

I had a great time, and sang myself hoarse, along with everyone else :)


August was very hectic indeed - check it out:


All Points West, 2009

All Points West in New York - 1st August

1st August - All Points West in New York

When a work trip lined up with the APW weekend I couldn’t believe my luck, nor turn down the chance to attend. What a line-up! Jay-Z, Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, Tool, MGMT, Elbow, Echo and the Bunnymen, Gaslight Anthem and Coldplay! Oh my!

Festivals in the US are funny - especially this one, with bizarre and annoying rules about a) how much alcohol you can drink and b) which areas of the site you can drink it in. Most of the weekend was spent finding creative ways around these rules :)



Amsterdam, 2009

Amsterdam Weekend - 7th August

7th August - Amsterdam Weekend.

I’d never been to Amsterdam, so when Rick and Colm suggested it (primarily as a means to get air miles and tier points with BA via a discounted business class return), I couldn’t say no!

It was a weekend in Amsterdam, so about what you’d expect really! i.e. lots of museums, culture, and canals, of course (what did you think I meant?!)

We stayed in a 3 bed private room in the Bulldog hotel (hostel really) - good location and atmosphere. Good value too - recommended.


U2 in Wembley, 2009

U2 in Wembley - 15th August

15th August - U2 in Wembley.

They were so good in Dublin, I couldn’t resist seeing them again in Wembley. Amazing concert - in Wembley it was fully a 360 degrees layout (unlike Croke park in Dublin where it was about 270 for safety reasons). This was the 360 tour so I’m glad I got to see that :)




Cannes and Monaco

Cannes and Monaco weekend - 21st August

21st August - Cannes and Monaco weekend

Summer drawing to a close - must go somewhere hot and beachy stat!! Managed it. Cannes was beautiful, I spent the whole weekend on the beach sunbathing, eating and drinking :) Popped into Monaco for lunch on Sunday “on the way” back to Nice airport.


Reading festival, 2009

Reading festival - 28th August

28th August - Reading festival

I really needed a weekend at home at this point - what a month! But what the hell, it was Reading festival and I’d not been to that before. Rick scored me a ticket and even got there early to score a good spot for me so all was set for a great weekend :)

Reading had an incredible line-up this year. Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party, Vampire Weekend, Yeah yeah yeahs, The living end, Gossip, Glasvegas, Gaslight Anthem,The Maccabees, Florence and the Machine, Faith no More, Prodigy, Radiohead, among others!

That said it wasn’t all roses. I must say having been to Glasto twice Reading was a shock. A much younger, more hectic, rude and “nasty” crowd. Some scary moments of pushing in dense crowds, people throwing stuff into crowds at gigs, and the absolute craziness of the last night….

It was like ‘nam - I’m telling you man, it was crazy! You weren’t there man, you weren’t there!!

…breathe. Okay, so anyway, picture a campsite at 2am on the last night. Groups of young kids roaming the site looking for trouble like something out of Lord of the Flies.. Flares and fireworks going off horizontally (occasionally hitting tents). Mushroom clouds on the horizon from kids throwing camping gas canisters and aerosol cans onto bonfires (!) Fire engines hurtling around… Crazy!

I’m not going to reading next year. (Unless the line-up is awesome again…)

Anyway - that was my summer. Not a bad one eh? How were yours?!

Back from Ireland

Back from my weekend in Dublin – was most enjoyable – couple of really nice meals and a good long cliff walk along the coast. Also maybe a few too many drinks on Friday :) Pictures to follow, I have had a bit of a hectic day and not got to uploading them yet.

The day was hectic as I picked up the keys for my new flat today, and spent my evening shuffling things around from storage, picking up some missing essentials etc. Will be a few more days before I’m anywhere close to settled in there but already I have a bit more space for my things which is nice.

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 :)