Mad Dog ’18 Race Recap


In Which I Go Back AGAIN

Mad Dog. One of my first 10k races ever and the one that I always say means that my running year has started properly. (York marathon in October signalling that I can take it easy over the winter. As though I’ve been pounding the pavements all summer..!)

The main concern with this years Mad Dog (Sixth year in a row I’ve been there!) was getting there. (Floo powder?) For the five years previous I’ve been living in Yorkshire and so a little over an hour drive and you’re there. At the end of last Summer we moved up to just outside Edinburgh and so the commute to the race got a bit longer. Four hours to be exact. (Not too exact. Four and a bit hours. Four hours 15 minutes. And 17 seconds. Not counting stopping off.)

(Four hours 37 minutes and 32 seconds in total to be exact.)

(Roughly.)

There was also the matter of staying over to take into account as it was too much driving (For Hayley) to go there and back in the same day (lazy) so we decided to make a weekend of it. (In Southport. In Winter.)

I had a hotel booked (Ramada Plaza) with payment on arrival, which was £90 for room only so we decided to stay Friday and Saturday nights. A few days before race day however, I got an email from the (excellent) organisers of the Mad Dog 10k saying that you could get Bed and Breakfast for £90 a night and organise late check out if you mentioned Mad Dog but only at the hotel… Ramada Plaza!

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Straight on to the phone was I, and the nice lady at the other end changed my booking. Same price as before but now with late checkout and breakfast for us both? Magic!

I won’t bore you with the Friday and Saturday details because you’re here for the race recap and not a holiday recap. But we ate plenty, had a good wand-around, Hayley spilled my beer all down me on the Friday, and we played in loads of Amusements and won a baby Groot after spending a few quid(ditch).

Sunday Morning 

Getting up nice and early (nope, snoozed my alarm loads) we went down for breakfast. I took it easy and had bacon (x2) sausage (x2) hash brown (x2) and coffee (x2 and a bit.) We then walked the 15 minutes to the car park where the coaches were lined up shuttling runners and spectators to the start of the race. Only takes five minutes or so on the transfer buses and its free for everyone.

Every year there’s a movie/tv theme to the Mad Dog 10k with a canine connection. This year was Hairy Potter and The Half Bred Pup and as such there were plenty of Harry Potter costumes going on. We saw a few wizards, plenty of HP scarves, a woman dressed as a broomstick and, oddly, five blokes dressed as the Spice Girls. (It’s not Leviosah, it’s Levi-Zigga-ZiggAH.)

A nice touch and to save time at the end, you can get your t-shirt and goody bag before the run. (Medals at the end still.) It means that if people want to run in that years themed tshirt they can, and also reduces congestion at the end of the race. The goody bag is BRILLIANT. You can wait til the end though.

Time to line up so went and lined up. Must’ve got giddy with my predicted time because I was right at the front. The race was started by Jo Pavey (an ACTUAL Olympian) and after a countdown and some barking, we were off. The course is an out-loop-back kinda set up. The first and last 2.5k are on the same stretch of road with a 5k loop in the middle.

There’s plenty of bands/singers/entertainment going on and the middle loop is always well supported. You run alongside the coast for a lot of the run and even though the day had started off icy, it was very nice running weather.

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Now the thing is, starting too far forward means that there’s fast people around you. From the start. And because they are fast you feel you have to go fast too as otherwise they all overtake you. Which is why, after planning to start off around 8m15s a mile, I clocked my first mile at 7m15s. WAY too quick. I actually did the first two miles in 15 minutes which is probably where the (golden) stitch came from to slow me down.

Running towards the Pier and by the Elvis impersonator (think he lives under that Pier, he’s always there) I made myself slow down because I knew I couldn’t keep that pace for long without messing up the second half of the race. Still, first 5km done in bang on 24 minutes.

Water station coming up so allowed myself to walk through it to get some energy back before tackling the second half (blood prince) of the course. I was nowhere near the speed that I had before and that was fine by me. Sub 50 was ebbing away but figured I can still get under 51 minutes. Before I knew it I was back on the main road and then turning towards the finish line, keep going keep going annnnnnnddd…… finished. 50:41.

Chuffed.

So that’s that! Mad Dog 10k done for six years in a row now. Will I make it back for next years race? Always. (Especially seeing as though it’s called “Bark To The Future”!)

Oh wait! Before you go!

LOOK AT THE GOODY BAG!

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Backpack, Running hat, Racebelt (THAT HAS A FLASHING LIGHT) Water Bottle, Fridge Magnet Picture Frame, Snood, Fruit, Energy Drinks, Number Clips, loads of snacks PLUS the Medal and TShirt! (The bar just above the bag is a doggy treat bar. I’ve seen a few people on facebook that didn’t realise it wasn’t an energy bar til too late… Mongrels!)

*flies off on his broomstick for butterbeer*

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Mapping Out 2018


In Which I Try Organise My Race Year

Where I’m At Now:

2018 is over a week old and I’m still feeling positive about my New Years Resolutions. I decided to take on Dry January (No alcohol for the whole month) and I’m pleased to say I’m still going strong. Not had a beer since New Years Eve and for someone that used to drink almost every night after work, I feel that’s a great achievement. Tomorrow is a third of the month gone! I’ve stuck a calendar for January on my fridge to cross off the days and put the beer that was still in the fridge in the pan cupboard behind the old pans we don’t use. Hardly hear it calling out to me anymore…

I’ve always said though that once you get through the first three days of something then you’re good for the rest of the time. (Just read an article that says it takes 66 days to make a new habit but mine gets it done in three days so we’ll stick with that.)

Also, I’ve been healthy eating as much as I can. (As in, sticking to healthy eating as much as I can. Not eating as much as I can of healthy food.) Apart from one meal at a chinese restaurant and one unhealthy-ish meal at home, I’m doing ok.

I’ve been out for a couple runs too but only 5k’s. Easing myself back into it. Weighing myself every Monday morning and the first week weigh in said that I’d lost 5lbs. In a week! Chuffed with that!

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Where I’m At Later On:

This Saturday (13th January) is the Edinburgh Winter 5k run. I don’t really enter 5km races but think doing the run and getting the medal and t-shirt at the end will be a good boost to my motivation.

Then in a few weeks it’s down to Southport for my SIXTH time running in the Mad Dog 10k race. I wasn’t going to do it this year (what with now living in Scotland and it being a 4hr drive away) but we’re using it as an excuse to have a weekend away from home. (To Southport. In winter. Logic.)

Plus I’m a Harry Potter geek and when the race is called this, how could I say no?

maddog

After that the next run I’ve got booked is the Edinburgh Marathon in May. Looking to get a new PB at that one (and no sunburn, not like LAST year…)

July might see us having a trip down to Yorkshire and doing the Leeds 10k. Depends on travel costs though, train tickets for that weekend at the moment are just over £100… EACH! Hoping they bring out some cheaper ones closer to the time.

Then October is the Yorkshire Marathon. That’ll be the sixth time I run it (every year its been going) and all things going well, will be my 10th marathon overall. I love that run.

And that’s it so far! That’s what I have organised for the year. I’ve been looking into a running club near home to get my arse in gear so when I get chance will have a wander down and see what the set up is. Think it’ll be good motivation!

Next Race:

Edinburgh Winter 5k – 13th January 2018

Instagram: @Zepalm 

Strava: Marc Hemingway

Running Recap 2017 & Looking Forward To 2018


In Which I Admit Where I Went Wrong And Aim To Go Right

2017: Quick review

In February I ran Mad Dog 10k again (Fifth year in a row) and I also ran the Yorkshire Marathon (October time) for the fifth year in a row. I got a Mad Dog PB but only got my third best time in York.

I ran the Scottish 10k, Blackpool 10k and York 10k races for the first time and enjoyed them all (Even though I don’t enjoy Blackpool!)

I ran Edinburgh marathon and got seriously sunburnt.

I’ve done rubbish at blogging this year.

We decided to move up to Edinburgh in Scotland in the summer and since then I’ve not got myself into the routine of running. When we were in England I worked around 2.5miles away so would run home from work most days.

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My new job is 11miles from home and so it’s too far to run home after work. (I’ve done it once so far.) Plus I now do a mixture of days and nights, all 12hr shifts so it can be difficult to get motivated when you’ve been on the go all day.

I only managed just over 350miles in 2017.

And so! I need a plan. A new plan. A good plan. An easy to stick to plan.

The plan is this: Do better.

It’s a good plan.

2018: Looking forward

January: Edinburgh Winter 5k, February: Mad Dog 10k, May: Edinburgh Marathon, October: York Marathon. (Others as I find them.)

I’ve decided to be healthy for the whole of January which includes NO alcohol, NO junk food and NO fizzy drinks. Limiting my coffee intake and eating healthy meals. I’m coping so far, but it is only January 2nd… Not long left though!

healthy

Every day off in January will be a running day, even if it’s only a short distance. No more of this “ahhh I deserve a full day of laziness” because I end up saying that on EVERY day off and that’s VERY lazy.

This year I’ll get a new 10k PB (currently 47:56) and a new Marathon PB (3:59:15.) I’ll blog more and take more pictures. I’ll be posting more about healthy eating and probably a few recipes here and there so I have more to blog about.

But mainly it’s so I can take more post-race-beer-pics

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Like my pics?

Instagram: @zepalm

(Amazingly) Delayed Yorkshire Marathon 2017 Recap


In Which I’m Not Even Joking, It’s Almost Time For 2018 Yorkshire Marathon It’s THAT Delayed

Good evening! (I’m guessing. Evening here, but I don’t know where you are. Or when you’ll read this. Or IF! Oh my.)

Finally got around to writing my race recap for York Marathon 2017 (as written in the title. So this sentence is pretty much just filler. I’d skip it if I were you.)

We (myself and Hayley) drove down from lovely Edinburgh to equally lovely York on the Saturday morning. We arrived at an Airbnb (how modern of us) at around 3pm after a 4hr car journey. (Making sure you know it’s a car we drove and not a train.)

The host of the Airbnb had been in touch to tell us that she wouldn’t be there and had left details on where the keys to the house were, which meant that instead of just a room for the night we had access to a whole house the the bargain price of £35. It was a lovely house too, but I’m not telling you where because even after I left a 5* review and we left the house as we found it, the host didn’t leave me ANY review and yeah, I’m THAT petty sometimes.

We were planning on doing a Ghost Walk around York (theres a few that go on every night but the one you want starts from outside the front of the Minster. Best one.) But as it was a Saturday night York was heaving with Stag and Hen parties so didn’t fancy being heckled from people more interested in spirits rather than spirits.

Instead we had a bit of a wander around by ourselves (I think? Wooooooooo…..) and then made our way back to the house. We ordered take-away (carbs for the next mornings marathon.) I can’t remember what I ordered (Chips? Rice?) but Hayley ordered a Viking Pizza and it arrived like this and OHMYLIFE was it good!

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And then, to bed!

Before too long my alarm was going off and it was time to get up and at ’em.

The start of the marathon was (as is always) up at York university. You can pay on a transfer bus that takes you from York train station to the start, and back again at the end. As the uni is a few miles out, it always makes sense.

The marathon then makes its way from the Uni into York city centre (just before mile 2 on the handy map below) and then out towards little towns and villages dotted around the place. We had a chat and it made more sense for Hayley to cheer on from the city centre then make her way to the University for the end, rather than be stuck at the Uni all day. (Handily gave herself an extra hour in bed there. Convenient!)

yorkshire_marathon_route

Breakfast was the standard coffee and a crappy microwave burger. (It works for me!) Then I was off on my way for the bus which was around a 30 minute walk. (Nice warm up.)

Huge queue to get on but they put on loadsa buses so didn’t have to wait long.

Arriving at the start I messaged Paul to see where he was at. It was his first marathon today and so I said I’d run it with him for support and general niceness. He found me in the toilet queue (I needed to go, wasn’t just there for the fun) and then (after) we made our way to the start to line up.

JUST realised I didn’t take many pics for this post so you’ll have to imagine. No wait, I did art at school I’m sure I can do the scene justice! Give your thoughts a break, stop imagining and start VISUALISING!

Paint

Now, don’t let the picture fool you. First: That’s actually a drawing and not a photo. Second: There were more people than that.

Before we knew it, it was go time. It’s always a very well organised start and this year was the same. No waiting around to get to the start line, just a nice steady walk.

We started at a nice steady pace and the plan was to keep to that and walk through each water station (which are roughly 5k apart.) 15mins in and we’re approaching the town centre and I started looking for the missus. Saw her at the side, ran over to give her a kiss (Awwwwhhhhhh) and then we ran by the minster. (Me and Paul, not me and Hayley. That’d be against the rules.)

5k: First water station. All good.

10k: Just over an hour. All good.

Carried on a bit further and then felt a slight pain in my knee. Got steadily worse until around mile 11 where I told Paul that he should bugger off on alone so he doesn’t miss out on a decent time for his first marathon, and from then on it was painful.

1/2 Marathon in 2hr 12minutes.

Mile 13 is downhill to the turn around at mile 14 and I saw Paul coming up the opposite side so stopped for a little talk and told him I was in pain and not to expect me to be at the end anytime soon after him. From here to the end is a combination of slow running and hobbling. Few minutes run, more minutes hobble.

Mile 14-16 is steadily slightly uphill so that hurt.

Mile 16 to 18 is nicely steadily downhill so that was better, but still hurt. Mile 18 turn around and go back up. You shit.

Saw the archbishop of York on the way up high-fiving the runners. He was decked out in his traditional purple robes and I honestly thought it was someone in a Magneto fancy dress costume.

Mile 20 arrived (not soon enough) and it looked like I was going to record a PW (Personal Worst) time, I was estimating that due to the speed I was going and the amount I was slowing I’d be around 5hr 20mins. Ugh. Ah well, goonies never say die and all that!

Digging deep I started to count my steps. Run for 100, walk for 100. Keep the rhythm, feel the rhyme. The crowds at Yorkshire marathon are always fantastic and the support is brilliant. The cheers of the crowd really do motivate you on. (Looking back, that is. Not at the time. At the time you want to shout “No I will NOT run faster and I am NOT almost there!” But you don’t, because it’s hard enough to breathe as it is.)

Before long the end was in sight, and so was a nice sit down.

Amazingly, I finished in 04:51:47! (Paul finished in 04:22:32 but no one likes a show off.)

Total number of Yorkshire Marathons I’ve completed: 5

Total number of Marathons I’ve completed: EIGHT!

Met Hayley at the end and also Paul and his missus were waiting too. (He’d been sick after finishing. Serves him right.)

Congratulated each other then made our separate ways. Myself and Hayley got to the pub for beer and recovery chips and then a four hour drive back up to Scotland. (I had a shower first otherwise that’d be an interesting scent to take!)

Already entered Yorkshire Marathon 2018. Standard.

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Mad Dog 10k Recap 9th February 2014


In Which I’m Almost Blown Away!

Goals For The Race:

  1. Get A PB
  2. Run the whole course, no walking
  3. Beat Nigel

Sunday morning, tried to eat some porridge but couldn’t eat much because I don’t really like porridge, especially in the morning. Had about half.

Still no idea how to pose for a decent picture. I'm 31 for goodness sake!

Still no idea how to pose for a decent picture. I’m 31 for goodness sake!

Got picked up by Ironman Tony and future Ironman Nigel, and we then collected Ironman Rob and set out for Southport on the coast, just under two hours away.

Hardly any traffic or roadworks or dead zebras so got there at the expected time. We all got out of the car and WHOOOOSSSHHHH!!!! Windy as a Windy day in Windy town on New Years Windy Eve! Also, it was freezing!

I’d packed a pair of long shorts for after the run, so I didn’t make the car smell of sweat too much, but decided to put the long shorts over the shorts I was already wearing because it was FREEZING.

Great Train Robbers: Me, Nigel, Rob, Tony.

Great Train Robbers: Me, Nigel, Rob, Tony.

We boarded the free bus to the race, found our way to the start (after a toilet break) and before long we were off. Ironmen Tony & Rob were well away from the start, where as myself an Nigel ran together. No one set off too quick however, due to the (what turned out to be) 30mph winds coming straight at us.

The run route was flat the whole way, but the first 5k honestly felt like we were running uphill. Ran passed a drumming/samba band and then passed a mentalist who was singing (?) at the side of the road, dressed as Elvis. Think he was there last year too. (Hasn’t improved. Not a jot.)

Along the sea front we ran, and on one part it was so windy the sand was blowing against my face. Didn’t tickle. Chatting to Nigel about triathlon and Ironman plans made the time pass easy enough, and we reached the 5k marker bang on 30:00.

I was feeling good as we ran by the water station and asked Nigel how he was feeling. He was breathing heavy, and so, due to wanting to beat Nigel, I sped up a bit without saying anything to him. Did I feel bad? Nope. Not one bit.

As it turns out, I’ve never run a 10k race without having a little walk break (or two) along the route. I normally walk at the aid stations so was pleased with how I was going.

Never even had any formal Paint training! None! (C) Me

Never even had any formal Paint training! None! (C) Me

3k – 7k was a loop, before meeting up with the road we did the first 3k on, and as such was a bit further in land. That meant that there wasn’t a tail wind until just after 7k. I started to pick people off from 6k and felt strong.

7k hit, and the wind was welcome this time, pushing me on towards the next marker. 8k passed, and still feeling good I pushed a bit more and a bit more. 9k in the distance, no problem. I knew that I’d manage to get to the end without walking at all, and that made me push a bit more. More people overtaken, more speed.

9k marker left behind, final corner, finish in sight and before I knew it, my 2nd Mad Dog 10k was in the (doggy) bag. Official time of 55:59. (No PB, but a PB by 2 mins on this course.)

I’d run the 2nd 5k of the race in 25:59, 4 minutes quicker than the 1st 5k!

I honestly don’t think that between 7k and the end, I was overtaken by anyone. Marc Hemingway: Boastful.

Rob was waiting right over the finish line, then we waited for Nigel to finish and went to find Tony. Goody bag and fruit collected, we went to get our race T-Shirts then back on the bus, back in the car and home.

  • Rob: 46:28
  • Tony: 53:23
  • Me: 55:59
  • Nigel: 57:48

Got home and Sarah had been out and bought me beer and a nice bit of junk food. She knows me so well! Also excellent goody bag again!

Well worth it!

Well worth it!

If the wind hadn’t’ve been so windy, I honestly think I’d’ve gotten a new PB. (The winner finished in 37:05, where as last year was 32:32, so must’ve been a slow first half for everyone) As it is, VERY please with my first non-stop 10k and VERY pleased with my millage times, most quicker than the last:

  • Mile 1: 09:31 mins
  • Mile 2: 09:41 mins
  • Mile 3: 09:44 mins
  • Mile 4: 09:03 mins
  • Mile 5: 08:14 mins
  • Mile 6: 07:51 mins

Next race: Bradford 10k on March 16th. Hometown run!

Anyone joining us?

 

Running Naked! (Accidentally)


In Which I Accidentally Run Naked

I wasn’t planning to, but today I ran naked. Outside. Nakedly.

I am, of course, referring to running without technology. (Of course I wore clothes. You minx.)

As I say, I wasn’t planning to run without anything motivating me but when I picked up my iPod, the battery was dead. Didn’t want to wait to get out running (might’ve not gone at all if I’d waited) so thought ‘sod it’ and got out the door.

I’d worked out a roughly 10k route in the morning, set Nike+ App going and I was away. Normally, the app shouts out at me every km that I pass, updating on how far/fast I’ve gone, but when I figured I’d gone well passed the first km, I still hadn’t heard anything.

Chuffing phone was on silent.

Couldn’t be bothered taking off my armband that holds my phone when I’m running, then messing about with the settings, so (remembering an article I’d read somewhere) I decided to listen to my body and ran to how I felt.

This is the first 10k I’d run since the York Marathon in October so didn’t want to push myself. Aimed for around about an hour to an hour and five, and put quite a few short walking breaks in. Turned out to be quite a nice day too!

The furthest I ran non stop was around two miles, mostly down hill. On the last mile (all uphill) my legs started to hurt a bit, so took it even easier. Finally, home.

Like I said, was aiming for around 01:00:00 – 01:05:00, figuring from how I felt when running I’d kept a pace of around 10:15 – 10:30 minutes a mile.

App says no.

I’d run an average pace of 9:14 minutes a mile, and ran the 10k in 57:24.

Not only had I run faster than I thought, I’d run my third ever fastest 10k! (If you don’t believe me, add me on Nike+! Marc Hemingway)

It seems that my training plan that I’ve been sticking to is working! The amazing thing is I had no soreness or stiffness in my legs at all, not even now. (Normally do!)

Next week I might try the same route again, but try push myself, see if I can get a brand new PB.

How’s your new years training?

In Other News

Cycling home the other night, got a new speed PB… 34.4mph on my mountain bike!)

Also, looking at two triathlons in April. One in Skipton, one in Queensbury. Not forgetting the Bradford 10k in March!

Next event: Mad Dog 10k