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?

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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!

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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

Running Is Funning!


In Which I DNS Due To Looking After Santa And His Reindeer (True Story!)

After I became a multiple marathon finisher (never getting tired of saying THAT!) I gave myself some time off from running to fully recover.

The first few days, I was a bit stiff (stop giggling at the back) but before a week had passed, my legs were feeling fine. I was cycling to work and back to keep a bit of fitness and then on the 28th, just over a week after York, I decided to try run the 3.5 mile home, most of which is uphill.

I kept a steady pace and was surprised to get home in just over 35mins. My left knee felt a bit sore from slipping in the marathon, but felt quite fit.

Fit enough to try the same route again a few days later and to push myself a bit more. Same route, but did it in 32mins. Still a bit knee-sore afterwards but not as much.

Confidence boosted, I decided to run a 5k at speed on my next day off. (6th November.) I set a route down to the park and then ran laps until I’d run 3.1miles. The lap around the park was a steady uphill that turned into a steep uphill, then a bit flat, followed by a steady downhill and longer flat at the bottom. I ran seven laps in total, with a shout out halfway round of ‘ GET YOUR KNEES UP!’ (Haven’t heard that in WEEKS!)

One year ago I ran a 5k in York in 33mins. This 5k was smashed in a time of 24:19!

With all this happening, I was looking forward to the Leeds Abbey Dash 10k yesterday, November 17th. Unfortunately it was on the same day as the Bradford Reindeer Parade, and as I work in security in the kirkgate centre in Bradford, they required all guards to work, to assist with the parade (and reindeers!) Sarah had to work too, so she was gutted not to come see the reindeers and Santa. (It was the real one.)

Me (to work): I need 17th off, doing a run in Leeds.
Work: Its the reindeer parade that day, but I suppose we’ll manage.

Me (to Sarah): Work said I don’t have to work the reindeer parade, so I can Abbey Dash!
Sarah: Oh, I wanted to see the reindeer…
Me: (to work): I’ll work the 17th.
Me (to Sarah): I’m working the 17th.
Sarah (to me): I now have to work the 17th! You may as well go run.
Me (to work): Can I still have the 17th off?
Work: Suppose so. It’s the reindeer parade though.
Sarah (to me): I’m on stand by on the 17th now, so I can see the reindeer!
Me (to work): I’ll work the 17th.
Me (to Sarah): Right, working 17th.
Sarah: Ah… I’ve been changed again…
Me (to the situation) ***SIGH!***

That's me in the beard. Oh wait, I mean that's me on the far right in a Hi-Viz

That’s me in the beard. Oh wait, I mean that’s me on the far right in a Hi-Viz

My number didn’t go to waste though, as a friend on Twitter snapped it up and ran a very good 53mins.

Abbey Dash 2012 is the first time I got a sub hour run with 59:58 so decided to go run a 10k today to compare. With it being Autumn there were lots of slippy leaves on the floor, and then the canal route was very muddy so took it carefully.

Got my first ever sub 55mins with a time of 54:54!

On't Canal

On’t Canal

I think if the ground had been more runner friendly, I could’ve gone a minute or so quicker, so getting quietly confident for a sub 50 at Mad Dog 10k in April.

So there you have it, if you want to improve your times, run a marathon.

Also, I’m now using Nike+ to track my running. Feel free to search and add me ‘Marc Hemingway’

Mad Dog 10k Recap


In Which I Have A Great Race and a Great Weekend

Cast:
Sarah – The Wife
Rob – …..Rob
Claire – Mrs Rob
Ironman – Tony, Sarahs Dad
Susan – Sarahs Mum
Hannah – Sarahs Sister
Indy – Our Cat

The run was on Sunday 10th February, but as it was in Southport and we live in Bradford, decided to stay over night on Saturday the 9th so we didn’t have to travel early.

We met Rob and Claire in the train station on the Saturday morning where we needed to catch a train to Manchester, then onto Southport. Myself and Sarah got there about 15 minutes before the train left, Rob and Claire got there with about 10 minutes to spare. Claire went for a coffee but the girl in the coffee kiosk was VERY slow at making coffee, so me and Sarah ended up convincing the train driver not to set off yet, with Rob stood in sight of us and sight of Claire shouting in both directions, and Claire waiting on her coffee. All worked out fine though, and a few minutes later we were off.

An hour later we got to Manchester, changed trains and went onto Southport on a train that was about as old as the first ever train. Another hour passed and we arrived at Southport train station with a rough idea of which direction to head for the hotel. GPS on Robs phone came to the rescue and after a LONG walk on a COLD pier we got to the Premier Inn. Because we booked about two months in advance, our rooms were only £29 per night. Excellent.

A short while later, after two lovely bottles of non-alcoholic beer, we hit the amusements and played on 2p pusher machines, Rob won Claire a teddy (I wasted about £10 trying to get one for Sarah, no joy…) and we had a very nice meal in an all-you-can-eat world food buffet restaurant place. It was then an early night.

On the Sunday morning myself and Sarah went down to breakfast and met Rob and Claire, and I had some porridge, a slice of bacon, a bit of fruit and a yoghurt.

We then walked the mile and a bit walk along the seafront to where the race organisers had arranged for free buses to take all the runners and their supporters to the start of the run. We met up with Ironman, Susan and Hannah who had driven over that morning for Tony to take part in the race.

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Rob, Ironman, Me

There was a queue for the buses but within ten minutes or so we were on our way, and ten minutes after that we were at the start. You could get your race t-shirt either before or after the race and decided to get them before to save time afterwards. There were girls giving out pens and shower gel and energy lemonade so we got a bit of everything, along with our t-shirts. The race was delayed by half an hour, but the hall where the t-shirts were collected from was nice and warm. (Also, where a bloke was giving his two kids energy drinks. Bet they’re still awake now.)

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Brilliant T-Shirt!

The race is called Mad Dog as it was named after a member of Southport Hesketh Round Table, who died suddenly (Tony McWade, whose nickname was “Mad Dog”). This is only the third year it has been run, but both the previous races have been voted the best in the country and it’s easy to see why.

The start line was a few minutes around the corner so went to the toilet on the way (for the second time since arriving) and then lined up with everyone else. (Obviously, the music blarring out was ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’) Didn’t take too long before the race was under way, and Ironman shot off. Rob started a bit behind me but within a few seconds he pealed off too. I had Rob in my sights the whole way around, but never caught him. I got within about 50 metres at one point but no closer.

It was a very flat course, but due to the time of year, a very cold one. We ran down the seafront that we had walked up an hour earlier, then past a band of drummers and passed the staff of Chiquitos who were cheering from under their own tent. With my marathon plan in mind (run 5k then walk through each water station in the marathon) I decided to run 5k, then walk through the water  station. Reaching the 5k point, there was no water station, but it turned up at about 5.5k so I didn’t cry or anything.

I had a steady run back, but stopped at 7k and also 9k for a drink of water due to my head over-heating a bit. When I was having a drink at 7k, a lad ran passed me and slapped me on the back saying ‘Coming on mate, you’re almost there.’ But he said it really smuggly so when I ran by him after my drink at 9k I slapped him on his back and said ‘Come on mate, you’re almost there.’ Bit petty, but served him right.

As I mentioned earlier, I had sight of Rob for the whole way and so I saw him cross the line, and it helped me find everyone after I finished. On our race numbers there was a QR Barcode thing to scan, and it turns out I got a brand new PB of 56:50! That’s over three minutes knocked off my best time! VERY chuffed with that.

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Tired

With Ironman setting off ahead of Rob, Rob knew that he was close to Ironmans finishing time. I scanned Rob’s code first, and it came back as 55:32. (A new PB too!) I scanned Tony’s and his came back as… 55:15. Rob was gutted, 17 seconds away from beating the Ironman! (The trash talk started straight away, and didn’t stop for the rest of the day.)

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Fantastic Medal

The organisers were giving out medals, goody bags and fruit so I got one of each. (I had an apple.) I put on my medal and had a look through the fantastic goody bag.

It included:
Money off vouchers for the restaurants opposite our hotel.
A can of Mad Dog Energy Lemonade
A bottle of Recovery Gatorade
A pack of sweets (Lovehearts, fruit salad, blackjacks and more)
Some Rice Biscuits
Some shaving gel
Few other bits!

Brilliant!

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Great Goody Bag

Afterwards we waited less than five minutes and got the bus back, then everyone got in the car to the hotel but as there were 7 of us, me and Rob walked back and talked tactics.

After a shower, we all met in the hotel bar/restaurant and had some food and a few beers. (No beer for Rob, being too healthy.) Tony, Susan and Hannah drove back and the rest of us used our return tickets and went for the train. (After visiting a few clothes shops and stuff for Sarah and Claire.)

It was a fantastically well organised run and everything ran smoothly. The crowds were brilliant along the route, as were the entertainment. I didn’t even mention the female singer on the way back, or the Elvis on the way out!

Already looking forward to next years ‘Mad Dog 4: The Good, The Bad and The Pugly.’

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Indy ‘Mad Cat 10k’ finisher

Sticking To The Plan!


Stats

Original Weight: (Jan 1st) 15st 7lbs / 217lbs / 98.4kg
Weigh-in (Feb 4th) 15st 0lbs / 210lbs / 95.3kg
Gain/Loss In Total: -7lbs / 3.18kgs

In Which I’m Doing It, I’m Actually Doing It!

Pleased with this weeks weigh-in as I’ve now lost a nice round 1/2 Stone since the start of 2013. It’s not too bad seeing as though I’ve only really exercised for two full weeks this year (the week just gone and the first week of the year.) My immediate goal is to get to just under 14st by my birthday (14th March) which is do-able healthily by dropping 3lbs a week. (Then probably put on another stone by the end of my birthday.)

Myself and Sarah have been mostly eating healthily at home (apart from a Chinese last Saturday) and I’ve cut down on beer (apart from with the Chinese last Saturday) and also I’m cooking my lunches at home to take to work, so that I’m not tempted by any of the fast food shops near by.

My favourite thing for lunch at the minute is Ricey Veggie Tuna Concoction (Trademark pending.)

It’s Rice, Veg and Tuna! (Does the name cover it enough?) Normally does enough for 3 servings.

Stuff You Need
It’s 200g of whatever rice you prefer (uncooked weight, but obviously cook it after weighing)
1 x Red Pepper
1 x Tin Tuna in Sunflower Oil
1/2 Red Onion
2 x Spring Onions
1 x Tomato (Deseeded, so you only use the fleshy bit)
1 x Tbsp Mayonaise
100g Frozen Peas (Defrosted under a warm tap)
Pinch Salt + Pepper + Garlic Granules (Or just chuck in some proper garlic if you can be bothered chopping it. I use Garlic Pepper.)
Dash of Lemon Juice + Vinegar

Is that everything? I think so…

Directions
Cook Rice.
Chop everything.
Rinse rice under cold tap til cold.
Mix everything in a bowl.
Seperate into 3 containers. (Or 4 if you aren’t as greedy as me.)
Take to work. Microwave til hot (or eat cold) Eat. Enjoy.

You can use anything you want in it, if you don’t like tuna just have a Ricey Veggie Concoction (No Trademark Pending, because that’s a stupid name for a meal.) Just make sure you have equal amounts of all the food going in (apart from the rice.)

The way I make it is around about 350-400 calories per serving. Not worked out fat or carbs or anything.

Day 7 of my 9 and a bit week Marathon training plan.

So anyway, today is Day 7 of my 9 and a bit week Marathon training plan and so far I’ve pretty much stuck to it perfectly. I say pretty much, because on Saturday after work we needed to go shopping so didn’t ride my bike home, but have re-scheduled that bike ride for this Friday after an hour in the gym, as have nothing else planned that day. Also, I’ll be nudging tonights run home to another easy day as I’m sore from the last few days of exercise, and the weather has taken a downwards turn again. Been blizzarding all day (not settled) and now it’s pouring down, but it’s COLD!

My millage is finally adding up to a half decent amount but still under 100 miles for the year, and about 60 miles short of my targeted miles. I figure that over the course of a year, this only adds on about 0.3 miles per day and know that in the summer I’ll be doing long-long bike rides of 30-50 miles (hopefully) so plenty of time to catch up!

My race number for the Mad Dog 10k on Sunday has arrived:

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Every race seems a bit more real when you get your number through! If anyone else is doing this race, keep an eye out and say Hello

Or shout: GETOUTOFMYWAYYOUSLOWGIT!

Whichever.