York Marathon On The Horizon

In Which I Do What I Should’ve Done For Blackpool Marathon, And Forward Plan.

(Actually I DID Forward Plan For Blackpool, But Didn’t Stick To It)

In Which I Do What I Should’ve Done For Blackpool Marathon, And Forward Plan, AND Stick To It…!

I love York. It’s a beautiful city full of Olde-English history and streets, wonderful for a day out or a weekend away. There’s hundreds of pubs and bars within the city walls, and plenty of places to eat, along with museums, ruins, and things to visit. It’s one of the most haunted citys in England (as seen in England on the show ‘Most Haunted’) and is the birthplace WH Auden, Judi Dench and of Guy Fawkes (who tried to blow up Parliment, how can you not like him?)

In just over 4 months, however, I’ve a feeling I’ll HATE York. For a bit.

Just been on the Yorkshire Marathon website and it says it’s just over 133 days until York Marathon. Plenty of time, thought I, until following a swift calculation on a calculator, I worked out it’s 19 weeks.


That’s 3 more weeks of building back up a base fitness level, then starting a 16 week marathon plan. (Of which, I’m still yet to decide.) Seriously, there’s bloody LOADS of different ones! Makes me tired just reading them. (Makes me tired just SEARCHING them!)

At least I’m not going to be short on choice.

The York Marathon is a full loop, one circuit, where as the Blackpool Marathon was out-and-back laps of a 10k route. From the 10k runs I’ve done I know I much prefer the out-and-back run, because even though the miles/kilometres are marked, and you can see when you’re half-way done, my head seems to better process actually getting to a turn around point and heading back to the start, rather than carrying on in a loop. I think on the long runs leading to the marathon I’ll practice running loops instead of there-and-backs. (Or: TABs. Hope that catches on!)


After the holiday of eating and drinking WAY too much, I’m back on the exercise and healthy eating. I’ve been cycling to work and back twice a week (3.5mile each way) and also walking to, then running home from work twice a week. (Surprisingly, also 3.5mile each way!) I’ll be doing the long runs on a day off.

I also go swimming on a Monday evening, and keep trying to get out of bed early and go swimming on a Thursday morning before work (but that hasn’t happened yet…)

I need to get back to the gym and start going about twice a week for strength training and would love any comments on the best machines/exercises I should be doing to help me on my way.

100% determined to make a running schedule and stick to it this time. Not like Blackpool where I made a schedule then didn’t do anything on it, and subsequently hated the 2nd half of the run. If I hadn’t’ve already signed up for York before doing Blackpool, I doubt I would’ve signed up!

Does anyone have a decent marathon training plan? Or tips? Or free stuff?

Any and all advice is welcome!

Next run is the British 10k in LONDON BABY on the 14th July

Lanzarote Ironman 2013 (Spectator, obviously)

In Which I Forget To Mention Things, Or People, Or Stuff, Or Funny Happenings, Because It Was A Long Day!

Last year, Father-In-Law Tony and Uncle-In-Law Rob both entered the Lanzarote Ironman event.

Both Tony and Rob finished the Lanzarote Ironman event.

Afterwards, both Tony and Rob said they wouldn’t do another Ironman event.

Both Tony and Rob did the Lanzarote Ironman event again this year.

(Both Tony and Rob are signed up for the Bolton Ironman event in August, too)



We had an early flight out to Lanzarote with Jet2 on the Thursday morning. Check-In was quick, security was a breeze, and before too long it was time to board. The flight was meant to take 4 1/2 hours but took just under four. Who says budget airlines are rubbish?

By 2pm we had arrived at the hotel, checked-in, dumped our bags and were drinking in the hotels pool bar. Roughly 20 or so of us had flown out to cheer them both on in the Ironman and both seemed relaxed.

Before long evening had arrived and we all went out for an all-you-can-eat chinese buffet. (Table for 20?) Myself and Sarah were tired as had had a late night followed by a stupidly early morning and so went back to our room and did a search for cockroaches. (Last year when we went to Lanzarote, I’d gotten into bed on the first night and a cockroach ran across my chest, causing me to scream like a girl and jump out of bed. Not having THAT happen again!)

Checked everywhere, everywhere clear. Decided to get us a bottle of water each out of the fridge, and there was a cockroach INSIDE the fridge. It was so big that it could’ve opened the bottle of water and passed it to me. I went to reception to tell them about it and someone came round with a 2 foot can of spray. He killed the ‘roach, then left us the spray. I sprayed so much of it around that when I was going to sleep I got a headache and felt sick. Still, no more cockroaches were seen all holiday.


The Friday was spent relaxing and not really doing much apart from eating cheap food and drinking cheap beer. The best thing about being abroad in the heat (it was about 27 Celsius) is that they keep the beer glasses in the freezer so you get an ice-cold brew every time. The bar had been taken over by new people since our last visit, Mark (7 time Lanzarote Ironman finisher), Lauren and Grant. Not sure if Lauren or Grant had done any Ironman’s. (Ironmen?) (There’s a joke there about ‘Doing an Ironman’ but I’m rising above it.)


‘Early to bed, Early to rise, Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.’

‘Late to bed, Early to rise, Makes Marc want to sit down and cry.’

We were up at 6am.

Myself and Sarah made our way up the apartment complex where Susan (Mother In Law), Tony and Rob were. They all looked nervous, as you’d expect. Not many words were spoken apart from ‘Good Luck’ and ‘See you on the beach’ before Tony and Rob made their way down to the start line.

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In case you don’t know, and were expecting this to be a review of Iron Man 3 or something, the Ironman events consist of:

2.4 Mile Swim + 112 Mile bike ride + 26.2 Mile marathon run, one after the other, with a 17 hour time limit.

Take a second to read that again.

Go on, I’ll wait here.

Done? Good.

The event starts at 7am and finishes at midnight. There are cut-offs too, for the ones at the back.

You have to have the swim done by 9.20 or are told to stop for the day. You have to have the bike finished by 18.30, or again, aren’t allowed to carry on. If you aren’t back from your run by midnight, you don’t get an official time. No pressure then.

We all made our way down to the beach at around 6.30 and got down the the sea shore, then edged our way across to where the Ironhopefuls would be getting in and out of the sea. It was warmish, but was raining on and off for a while. They do 2 x 1.2mile laps in the sea before running up the beach towards the bikes.

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This is the view from near where the bikes are. The yellow thing in the distance on the right is where the swim starts and finishes. So between swimming and biking, you have to run all this way too!

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All of a sudden, they’re off. The elites go in first, with about a 30second or so gap before the regular people go in. It takes ages for them all to get wet, as there were about 1800 people (guessing all with a screw or two loose.)

Watching the swim and trying to recognise who you’re there to cheer on is like trying to spot a needle in a hay stack. If the needle was made of hay. And the hay stack was about a mile square. And on the moon.

Pretty much everyone is wearing goggles, a black wet suit and an orange swim cap. They all look the same. You have no chance really of spotting anyone tha….

Oh there’s Rob. And Tony. Huh.

Turns out that even though they finished the first lap at the same time, they didn’t know the other one was that close!

We all cheered, not sure they heard us, then they both jumped in for lap 2. Both took just over 44 minutes for the first, so we guessed a little longer for the 2nd lap and positioned ourselves on the part of the beach where they’d be running up to Transition 1 (Where they get changed into bike gear.)

Rob was the first passed, with a 2nd lap time of 43:47 (quicker than his 1st!) and followed 3 minutes later by Tony. Both looked happy to be on dry land and vertical. They definitely heard us cheer this time. After they’d gone into T1 we ran across the beach, climbed a wall, and positioned ourselves next to Tony’s bike. Transition took him 11 minutes (a LOT quicker than last years transition of 18minutes)

He came around the corner from T1, got his stuff sorted with his bike, and then was off.

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We went for a full english.

The thing about Lanzarote Ironman bike course, is that it pretty much takes in the whole island, in one continuous lap, so the people you’re cheering on can be away for up to 7 or 8 hours, so you need to entertain yourself. We went to the Ironman shop and Sarah bought herself an Ironman T-Shirt. I didn’t want one myself, because when wearing it people would assume I’ve completed one and I haven’t.

We walked passed a shop that printed T-Shirts though, and they had one that said ‘IRONMAN LANZAROTE’ with little pictures of each discipline underneath and the respective distances. Entering the shop, I approached the woman there and asked if instead of ‘IRONMAN LANZAROTE’ could I have ‘IRONMAN IN TRAINING’? She said ‘Of course!’ I paid my money and was told it’d be ready later that day.

On our way back to the apartments we heard a siren going off and realised the leader was coming back from the bike course already. It wasn’t even 1pm. He finished the 112miles in little under 5 hours. Average speed of 22MPH. Bearing in mind there’s over 2500metres of climbing on the bike. We cheered him on, then crossed the road and cheered him when he came out of T2 and started on his run.

Later found out his name is Faris Al-Sultan and he completed the 26.2mile marathon run in 2:55. Sub 3hr marathon after 2.4mile swim and 112mile bike ride. Mental.

Faris Al-Sultan - Quick

Faris Al-Sultan – Quick

We made our way back to the pool bar at the apartments (via a frozen yoghurt shop) and watched Bradford City win at Wembley.

We knew that Rob would be back a bit quicker on the bike, so positioned ourselves at the bag changeover stand so would be able to have a quick word when he came in. There were a few other people waiting for their family members too, but got a good view. While we were waiting a bloke got his bag from near Robs and a woman (wife or girlfriend) started cheering him and talking in French. He smiled and laughed and waved, and then started to move off to the change tent.

His wife/girlfriend wasn’t happy.

She shouted something in French, (Guessing ‘where’s my kiss’) He stopped in his tracks, ran to the fence, kissed her and ran off again. We all cheered and clapped and she did a little curtsy. Bless ’em.

A short while later, another person ran for his bag and got cheered on by his wife or girlfriend. Think these were German. A smile, a laugh, a wave, followed by him starting off to the change tent.

A theme was emerging…

Something was shouted in German (Guessing ‘where’s my kiss’) So he stopped, turned, ran to the fence, kissed, ran off. We cheered again. No curtsy though. Moody.

Rob arrived off of his bike at around 15.30, having completed the bike course in 6:56. He looked quite fresh, and set off for his marathon.

Last year Tony came back from his bike an hour after Rob, so expected him around 16.30. Sarah said that it’d be quicker than that so we waited by the fence near his bag. Susan, Hannah and the other sat behind us in a bar that was right on the edge of the path. At around 16.00 Tony arrived, knocking a massive one and a 1/2 hours off of last years time so far.

“HE’S HERE!” Shouted my lovely wife. “HE’S HERE HE’S HERE!” Bit loud.

Everyone jumped up from the table and came to the fence to cheer him on. He looked quite fresh too, and before too long he’d got his bag and was running to Transition 2 to get changed.

Everyone was amazed at how quick he’d gotten around the course and everyone was buzzing.

The marathon course of Ironman Lanzarote consists of 3 out and back laps, the first is pretty much a 1/2 marathon, followed by 2 x laps of just over 10k. The marathon is a lot more spectator friendly as is goes from the start/finish line and back 3 times so you see the person you’re cheering on six times. Cheering on two people means that you don’t have to wait for long to see one or the other.

Myself and Sarah positioned ourselves on the other side of the road to the runners, where all the bars are, and had some food. Sarah had pizza and I had a steak. It was lovely. Before long most of the others had wandered down to where we were and we took over the roadside tables of two bars that were next door to each other, but open plan so our tables were together. Rob Novis and his wife Claire arrived too and got on the cocktails.

I had an app on my phone called ‘Irontrac’ which recorded all the split times on their run so we could have an informed guess as to how long it’d be before we saw them. When it was getting close to the time, we were positioning ourselves on the running side of the road ready to cheer and whoop. We saw Rob arrive and about ten minutes later he passed us again having completed half the marathon. Everyone cheered, I whooped.



I figured that Tony would be back from the first 1/2 of the marathon at around 18.30 so was surprised at around 17.50 when Hannah shouted that he was here. We all ran across the road, but it wasn’t him. At about 18.00 Hannah shouted again that he was here, so we all ran across the road, but it wasn’t him again. I checked the app, and he was still on for arriving about 18.30. Surprised again at about 18.10 when Norman (Tony’s Dad) shouted that he was here, so across the road we ran. Wasn’t him.

The staff in the bar must’ve thought it was some kind of drinking game, running across the road then not cheering anyone on, before running back and having a drink. Or that we were REALLY shit at doing a runner from the bar bill.

About 20 minutes later Tony came passed, so we all cheered (I whooped) and then cheered and whooped again as he ran off to batter the second half of the run. Because they were both on the first of 2 10k(ish) laps, we saw one or the other without too much time between. On Rob’s 2nd time back, he walked a bit and said he felt sick but seemed to push through it. The sight of a runner throwing up at the side of the road wouldn’t’ve helped, I guess.



We waited for Tony to come back from his 2nd lap (Cheer! Whoop!) and after he set off we settled up at the bar (Ah, I knew they’d chicken out of running away Alfonso!) then made our way to the finish line. We cheered on the people that were finishing the Ironman, and spurred on the ones who were starting out on another lap. If you want a big cheer for your Ironman finish, run with a child or your wife, as the crowd go mental for these. There was a tense moment when a bloke was on his way to finish decided to bow, and almost tripped himself up. Straightening himself the shock on his face was obvious, as was the relief when he put his hand on his heart.

Before long we saw Rob making his way to the finishers chute and he finished with a time of 13:25:35, beating last years time by around an hour and a half.

Keeping an eye on Irontrac we roughly guessed what time Tony would be back and wasn’t too far out when he got back from the end of the marathon. As he approached where we were cheering, he grabbed Norman’s hand (His Dad, aged 83) and along with Hannah they all ran across the finishing line together. Official finishing time was 14:52:13, beating the previous years time by almost TWO HOURS.

Before you say it’s mean making a man in his 80’s run down the line, Norman regularly walks 40+ miles a week and is in training for the Skipton Sprint Triathlon in September. On one of the mornings in Lanzarote he went for a 5k run followed by a 20k bike ride. (On another morning he fell off his bike because he was eyeing up the Senoritas.)


The people at the pool bar organised a BBQ on the sunday afternoon which we all took full advantage of. Plenty of drink and plenty of food. (Rob Novis had FOUR burgers in a bun at one point. The same Rob Novis that I ran the Blackpool Marathon with.) Towards early evening talk came around to, as it obviously would, Ironman Lanzarote 2014. Nigel said that he was giving it serious thought as he’s done a few short course tri’s, plus multiple 10ks and a half marathon. I said that I wouldn’t be fit enough for next year, but am giving serious thought about 2015. At one point Tony told Mark behind the bar (who’s best time for Lanzarote is 9:57!) that myself and Rob Novis were considering.

“Big Rob?” Asked Mark.

“Yeah,” Said Tony, “They both did a marathon in April.”

“Four burgers Rob did a marathon?!”

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We had another week in the sun following the event, going to the zoo and carrying on eating and drinking too much. I had a swimming lesson with Sarahs Grandad and Tony, so can do a bit of front crawl now with my head under water. Not got the breathing right yet though, so need to work on that. I’ve come home close to a STONE heavier than before we left, which means I need to get back on the training ASAP.

Sarah At The Zoo

Sarah At The Zoo

Four Burgers Rob

Four Burgers Rob

We didn’t land til about 1AM so couldn’t get Indy from the cattery until the next day (Monday). All that day and all Tuesday were spent sorting out clothes, food and stuff so were too tired to do any exercise. On the Wednesday, I was still off but Sarah was working and had every good intention of going to the gym or going swimming, when this happened:

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Both Tony and Rob have said they won’t be doing Ironman Lanzarote again.

(But they both said that last year too)

Postponed Bradford 10k – DNS – Short Blog Entry

In Which I Do Little Apart From Be Jealous

Today there was the following races being raced:

Manchester Marathon

Manchester Half Marathon

Marathon Of The North

Half Marathon Of The North

Lancaster Three Bridges

Sunderland 10k

Bradford 10k (Which I had entered, and had been postponed from March)

And probably loads of others.

My ankle and leg is still sore from the blackpool marathon three weeks back (blisters gone now, just loads of skin left. Hope you aren’t eating while you read this.) Also, I’m entered into the Leeds 1/2 Marathon two weeks today, so didn’t want to aggravate my soreness before then. (because you get a medal in Leeds)

Rob ran Bradford 10k and managed to edge under 53 minutes with 52:45, and Nigel managed a little over 56 minutes! Also, all day on Twitter I’ve being seeing updates from various people that had run various races and everyone seems to have gotten a PB today!

(Commiserations, however, go out to Martyn who ran Sunderland 10k and got sent the wrong way and so ran 10 miles, and to Steve whose car broke down on the way to his Lancaster race and spent it in a service station instead!)


Last Monday I went to my swimming lessons and managed to do two full lengths of the pool. (33 metre pool so thats…. 66m!)

That’s the furthest I’ve ever swum (only started lessons in February) so chuffed with that. Tomorrow I’m going for 100m to make up for not running the 10k today, cheer myself up a bit!

Next race: Leeds 1/2 Marathon on 12th May

Then flying out to Lanzarote on the 16th May to watch Ironman Tony race Lanzarote Ironman on the 18th May!

Blackpool Marathon Race Recap – 7th April 2013


April 6th – The ‘Day Before Race Day’ Day

I met Rob and his wife Claire in the train station at 12pm to get the train to Blackpool, as we were staying overnight. Sarah had to work early the morning of the run, so she had to stay at home with the cat. I think she was glad really, to get the bed to herself for once.

At about 2pm we arrived in Blackpool (The Paris of the North) and got a taxi to the hotel.

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We were staying at a place called Hawkes Hotel just off of the south Pier, and a ten minute walk from the start/finish of the marathon which was starting/ending at Blackpool’s Football Stadium.

Rob and Claire were staying for two nights but I was only booked in for one so that I could get home to Sarah after the run. If she had’ve been off, we’d’ve stayed two nights too but after seeing the room I didn’t really mind just one night.

Technically it was a Double Bedroom, because they’d fit a double bed in the room but left no room for much else. There was a bedside cabinet, a small desk and a single wardrobe with the TV on top, so when laying in bed the colour looked distorted because it was so high up and you watched it from underneath. The wardrobe faced sideways, because the door wouldn’t have been able to be opened if it was facing the room.

The cupboard/bathroom consisted of the toilet and VERY close in front of it, the shower.

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Handily, the sink was next to the bed.

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Nevermind though, it was only somewhere to sleep and get changed so it wasn’t a big deal. We’d’ve struggled with two of us there though, probably would’ve had to take it in turns being in the room.

A while later I met up with Rob and Claire downstairs and we went for a walk around lovely Blackpool.

I forgot how horrible it is.

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Parents shouting at children, children crying because they want to eat/drink/play in the arcades, dogs barking at children, people running the hoopla/throwing games shouting for business, people trying to sell stuff, trying to get you into their club/pub/cafes, mental!

Anyway, we had a couple of non-alcoholic beers and then a McDonalds for tea. (Carb loading with bread and chips) then later I had some chips (carb loading) and then we went to the arcades where I won Sarah a teddy, then I had some more chips (carbs) and watched the sun go down. After that it was time for an early night, but The Mummy was on TV so I went to sleep about 10:30.

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April 7th – Race Day

I slept quite well, but I think my bed was on a slant because when I rolled over it felt as though I was going to roll off. Almost bashed my head on the sink at one point. My alarm was set for 6:30 but I woke around 6:15 and laid in bed til it beeped at me.

I’d bought some porridge the day before, so put the kettle on to boil while I had a shower. I ate my porridge (carbs) laying on the bed (nowhere else to sit) and watched Cheers. It was the one where they all decide to grow beards.

At half seven I went down to the dining room to meet Rob and Claire for breakfast where I ate a slice of toast (carbs) and had which can only be described as the worst coffee I’ve ever tasted. There were a few oldies sat on the next table who said they were doing the half marathon and all of them looked shocked when me and Rob said we were doing the full. I think they were more shocked at the fact that two people looking like we do were attempting that distance.

After breakfast I went back to my cupboard and sorted out my race stuff. Laid everything out on the bed to make sure I wouldn’t forget anything, then once I was certain I got myself ready and went to meet up with Rob. I left my bag in his room because they were staying for another night and I had to check out.

We walked the ten minutes or so to the start of the race and (after a quick toilet stop) lined up with all the other runners. I saw someone that had a Mad Dog 10k top on and wished I’d worn mine, but decided to go for a Hi-Viz top so I’d be easier to see when I passed out in the gutter.

I drank a Red Bull before we started, and had a bottle of Mountain Dew energy drink to carry around the route. Also, I had an energy bar for half way and had a bag of Jelly Babies in my pocket.

It was due to start at 9:30 but we didn’t get underway until about 9:45, my stomach getting more and more knotted with each passing minute. A countdown started, then we were moving. A minute later I was passing the start mat of my first ever marathon!

A few days before I’d printed out a split-time list to stick on my wrist. I can’t remember the website, but you put in your distance and time you are hoping to finish, then it prints out a thin watch-width strip of paper with each mile split printed on it. I’d sellotaped one of these to my wrist that morning. My plan for the marathon was as follows:

Scenario 1. – Finish.

Scenario 2. – Finish in under 5 hours.

Scenario 3. – Finish in under 4 1/2 hours.

I’d printed the split times for a 4:30 finish, with the thinking that if it starts to go wrong then I might be able to squeeze a sub 5 hour time.

The run was very crowded at the start so we took it a bit easy, we both had headphones in but had the music on low so conversations could still be heard. I started the stop watch on my watch as we crossed the line too.

My original plan was to try and run between each water station, then walk through them all, as they were spaced roughly every 5k. (I’d drawn a red line on my split times to mark each water station.) I told Rob that I’d keep pace with him til the first station then let him jog on.

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We’d gone from the Football Stadium in a straight line to the Promanade then turned left towards the Pleasure Beach (which is a theme park) and then around 2 1/2 miles we turned back towards the centre of Blackpool and would stay on the straight until around 8 1/2 miles.

At the first station we wished each other luck as I slowed to a walk to have a drink and he carried on ahead. My legs already hurt, so I altered my plan slightly. Instead of running to each water station, I decided to run to each mile marker and check my progress with my watch and split times. When I got to mile 4 I was pleased to see I was roughly two minutes ahead of schedule, so decided that at each mile marker I’d walk until I was a minute in front of the split times. This worked brilliantly for a while, felt strong as I was running and it helped mentally that I could work out where my next break was coming.

At every marker I was walking for at least a minute, sometimes two, as I waited for the time to catch up to the split times. Also at every mile marker I was having something to drink (because I was carrying a bottle with me) and eating a Jelly Baby (for energy, they work really well!)

I passed Blackpool tower for the first time that day and then we ran on the sea front. The sun started to come out and I was – against everything that I thought I’d be doing – enjoying myself. The miles ticked by and before I knew it I’d gone passed the 6 mile marker and saw Rob coming back in the other direction up on the hill. We shouted and waved to each other and it spurred me onwards, then twenty minutes or so later I was at the turn around making my way back towards the start/halfway point of the race.

Another water station was passed, and I really needed the toilet. As it turns out, there are no portaloos on the route. Unless you have 20p for the public toilets (I didn’t) the only places I could see to goto the toilet were either in a Pub/Cafe on the opposite side of the road, or behind a wall. I chose the wall. I have no idea how the women in the race managed with the (lack of) toilet situation.

Still feeling good I passed the Tower for the second time which meant I had run around 20k and was approaching the Half Marathon. The thing about Blackpool Marathon, however, is that it’s not just the Marathon, they also have a Half Marathon option. We were doing two laps of the route, and the halfers were obviously doing one. I didn’t realise how utterly gut wrenching it would be to see them following the sign for Half Marathon Finish while I ran passed it following the Marathon sign, knowing I had to do another lap.

My Half Marathon time was around 2:07, and this was now official the furthest distance I had ever covered in a run.

My body thought the same.

At around mile 14, it all fell apart. My legs stopped working properly, my stomach started to churn, I got a headache, my motivation went. It was horrible. I knew that this could happen though, because when ever people talk about a marathon they talk about hitting the Wall, and I was now worried about hitting the Floor.

I had a few Jelly Babies to perk me up and decided to eat my power bar when I got to the next mile marker. As I approached the Pleasure Beach and the first turn around for the second time that day, I saw Rob coming in the opposite direction.


He laughed, I laughed, runners around us laughed. Me and Rob slapped each others hands and it was a nice boost when I was feeling quite down.

I was doing a mixture of running and walking, but mainly walking. When I reached mile 15 I ate my power bar and was surprised to realise that I was still on target with my split times. I knew that 4:30 finish wasn’t possible though because I didn’t have the energy to run the second half as quick as the first so set my sights on sub 5 hour.

I was doing my best to run as much as I could before having to walk but I bet I wasn’t running for a full minute before walking. At around 18 miles (after passing the Tower for the 3rd time) I noticed I kept getting passed by a very tattooed bloke who didn’t seem to be going that fast, but also I didn’t see him stop for a walk. He was doing more of a shuffle than a run, so I gave that a go and it worked better than trying to run did!

I still couldn’t run for long, but I was running for longer than before.

Eventually I reached the last turn around point and it was such a relief to be aiming for home. I was still keeping an eye on my watch but could feel the sub 5 hour slipping away. I gave myself a mental bitch-slap and knew I needed a system to keep going instead of stopping when my legs stopped working properly, so I started counting.

Everytime my right foot hit (shuffled on) the floor, I counted it as one step. I decided to run 100 of these steps, then walk 50, then run 100 and walk 50. Time passed, and so did the mile markers. 20 went by, then 21, then 22.

When I got to 23 I told myself there was only 5k left to go before it was over.

My stop watch read that I was on 4hours 20mins at 23miles. When I got to 24miles it read 4hours 33mins.

I knew then that I could get just under 5hours if I kept at this pace of 13 minutes a mile. Then a little voice in my head said ‘No, you’ll get to 26 miles in just under 5hours, but the Marathon doesn’t stop at 26. It stops at 26.2 miles.’


I did my best to ignore my legs and the pain, and the blisters and the pain, and the headache and the pain, but I was still shuffling at 100 steps followed by 50 walking. I upped to running to 110 steps and knocked the walking down to 40 steps. I passed the Tower for the last time.

What felt like ages passed and I reached the turning that the Half Marathoners had taken a few hours before. Down a side street, then turned left. The Football Stadium and the Finish was at the end of the road. People were cheering on the street. I got into the stadium car park and was directed around to the side. I saw Rob waiting at the side of the stadium entrance. “Almost there!” He shouted.

I turned into the stadium and saw the last 100 metres, saw the official clock above the finish line. I really wanted to sprint but couldn’t get my legs to want to sprint.

As I crossed the line, the commentator announced “Well done Marc, just nicely under five hours there!”

My gun time was 4:57, but my official chip time was 4:55.

Could’ve taken my time after all.


I got this:

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But I also got this:

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I knew I was going to be sore after the run but had no idea how much. It hurt to walk, to sit, to stand, to go up stairs, to get in the shower, to get out of the shower, to get dressed, to go down stairs. It’s now three days after the run and I’m still having trouble with stairs. I think it’s all worth it though, and I treated myself to The Hobbit on blu-ray which I watched Monday night, and we also had Chinese food. I did my best to stay awake for Wrestlemania on the night of the run (It’s on at Midnight in England) but only managed an hour or so. Caught up with it now though.

28th April I’m running the postponed Bradford 10k (if my legs work).

12th May – Leeds Half Marathon.

In October I’m already signed up to the Yorkshire Marathon in York, and am going to train properly for that one.

Before the Blackpool Marathon the furthest I’ve run, including training, was 13.1 miles which I ran once.

The second longest I’d ever run, including training, was 6.2 miles.

But as I only started this running business 10 months ago, I think I’m doing quite well to be able to get round 26.2 miles.

Rob finished in a time of 4:44.

Thanks to everyone for the nice messages of support!

Where have you BEEN?!

In Which I Finally Update My Blog! Huzzah!

Hello! Nice to see you again! It’s been too long. Not even sure the last time I did a proper blog post, so sorry if it’s upset you that there hasn’t been one to read. Hope you didn’t get TOO depressed.

So what have you been up to? Really? Ah, I see. With a duck?! Right…

I’ve only done one 10k race since last time, it was the Keighley 10k run on March 10th. I have had a birthday though, and so now I’m in the 31 – 40 age group (as I turned 31.) What else… I did a 17 mile bike ride the day before Keighley (not advised) and last week rode a PB distance of 24 miles! Swimming is going well, I can now manage 2 lengths.

Anyway! Back to Keighley!

Keighley 10k Recap, Or ‘What I Learned’

Things I know for next year:

1. If it’s cold when you leave the house, it’ll be cold when waiting for the race to start. Snowing, even. Don’t think to yourself ‘I’ll warm up on the run’ because you might have frozen your bits off before the run has even begun.

2. Keep your eye on the startline, because sometimes the start isn’t properly announced. Sometimes they just set off running, even while the warm up is still going. You turn around and notice that the race has started, but aren’t ready.

3. Don’t try and keep pace with an Ironman.

4. Read the entry page FULLY before committing to a run. You know you can finish a 10k run, and you know you’re fine on the roads, but if you miss the bit on the entry where it says MULTI TERRAIN you’ll probably get a shock. Especially if there’s A LOT of mud, and you’re wearing your WHITE running shoes. (Now a shade of brown.)

5. Study the route. (Then you might realise before race day that it’s MULTI TERRAIN) you also might realise that the course takes in a LOT of hills, plus a lot of alleyways and narrow passages that you might not be ready to tackle.

6. There’s no shame in moving to one side if the other choice is running through a thin path on a muddy field for about a kilometre. Just make sure your shoes are fastened properly, so you don’t almost lose one in the mud.

7. Keep your eye out for the marker signs. If the last one you saw was 5K, and you’ve run for another 15 mins or so, then don’t think to yourself how rubbish you’re running, instead think that you might’ve missed a marker.

8. If you’re addicted to times and PB’s and stuff, use your own tracker app or watch or something, don’t rely on timing chips because sometimes they have a problem and none of them record anyones time, so you have to go on gun time. If you use your own tracker app or watch or something, DON’T FORGET TO STOP IT AFTER YOU FINISH.

9. If you find yourself struggling on the run, talk to someone. Doesn’t matter who they are, if you’re a similar pace, talk. I talked to a nice woman for the last kilometre or so because my legs were killing me from the bike ride the day before, and before I knew it I was over the line.

10. For the race organisers: If you design a T-Shirt for a run, or for any event, give thought to which letters you highlight…

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I don’t think anyone was expecting a T-Shirt with K K K on the front in what can honestly be described as ‘Blood Red.’

My next run was supposed to be this Sunday, 24th March but due to snowy weather, it’s been postponed. It looks like my next official run will be the Blackpool Marathon on April 7th! EEK!

View From The Trail (Well, canal. And a road.)

In Which I Go For A Ride, And Someone’s Had Their Last Ride (As In, Dead.)

Last Monday it was a rest day from running so I went out for a bike ride instead. I planned my route out and figured it’d take about an hour, in the late afternoon. I mapped the route so that I’d go along and down the main road for a bit, before venturing off on the canal path for a few miles before attempting (and failing to conquer) a MASSIVE hill near home, before having a steady mile of flat roads and then home.

I planned it like this, a big circle around where I live, so that I could cut it short at anytime if I got right tired, or crashed or got bit by a walrus or anything. Be prepared and all that.

A little while after setting off I was on the canal path, and thinking to myself how nice it was that I’m seeing all this nature and getting exercise, which I wouldn’t even of considered a few months ago. I saw a Heron/Stork/Bird thing, which flew off before I got a picture. (I’m not bad at naming birds; Crow, Magpie, Penguin and such, and can also name Dog breeds: German Shepherd, Labrador, Pug, but when it’s Cats it’s pretty much just: Cat, Cat, Cat…)

Anyway, there were a few birds flapping about and probably a few fish swimming about, when I saw this in the canal:



I’m not an expert, but I don’t think that’s how you drive one of these…

After taking a picture and getting back on my bike, I followed the path around the route, passing plenty of joggers and cyclists coming the other way which made me worry that I was on a One Way canal path and I was going the wrong way, with all the proper-way people tutting as I passed. Soon enough I passed another bloke on a bike though, heading in the same direction, so I used him as a pacer for a bit (mainly so I could blame him when the canal police told us off.)

I came to where I come off the canal path and took this picture of the evening:

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Not even instagrammed! (well, OK, it is. Not the colours though!)

I walked my bike up through the woods and got onto the main road, where I then cycled towards Shipley. Halfway down the road I was passed a couple of ‘proper’ looking cyclists who both said Hello to me. (I replied with **PANT**COUGH**HI!**PANT**WHEEZE**) They both passed me easily enough but as the road started to go slightly downhill I decided to try keep pace. I managed it quite well too!

Getting to where I was about to turn off, we approached some temporary traffic lights and they both went towards the front of the traffic (as the lights were on red.) I followed. Reaching the lights, THEY BOTH JUST CARRIED ON THROUGH THE RED LIGHT! I was so shocked THAT I ALSO WENT THROUGH THE RED LIGHT! Luckily no one saw. I turned left at the next (green) set of traffic lights and tried to go up Carr Hill. It’s a beast. Seriously, cars struggle to get up it. I managed a few metres before I got off and pushed my bike, which was hard enough by itself! I (slowly) got to the top, got back on my bike, and peddled the steady mile or so home. All in all, I managed just over 10 1/2 miles in just over an hour.

Tuesday, myself and Sarah were both off work and it was quite a sunny day (not warm though) so we decided to go up to a place called Yeadon Tarn where theres a boating lake and… ducks and stuff. A lap of the Tarn is just under a mile. We walked halfway round, then got an ice cream. (Sunny = Ice Cream. Even if the weather is freezing. It was cold enough to have to buy a Hot Chocolate at the same time, but Sunny = Ice Cream.) We walked one lap, and then decided to walk it again, but without another Ice Cream.

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Half way round our second lap, Sarah said that she could see a box floating in the lake near the edge, so we had a nosey when we went passed. Turns out that it was one of those boxes THAT CONTAINS SOMEONES ASHES AFTER THEY’VE BEEN CREMATED! The date on it was 2011. Now, I don’t know if they’ve been floating there for two years or not, but surely one of the boating people would’ve gotten them out by now? Otherwise, someones been to the Tarn recently with the box of ashes and accidentally dropped them in the water THEN JUST LEFT THEM THERE. I have no idea.

How I Think It Happened

“I’ve always wanted to be buried at sea.”

“Really? Bit far, the sea side. How about that Tarn Lake thing?”

“That Tarn… Yeah, I suppose that’ll do. I’d have to be cremated I guess, to go in there.”

“I’m not touching your ashes.”


“I’m not touching your ashes. I’ll get em everywhere!”

“Just open the box and tip me in.”

“Could do I suppose. What if it’s windy?”

“Do it when it’s not.”

“It’s always windy this time of year.”

“Do it in the bloody summer!”

“Yeah, could do…”

The bloke dies in 2011. Eventually, the day comes. 2013. It’s been windy for two years, but she’s glad she’s waited for this day. The first sunny day of the year, though it’s cold. Sunny days mean Ice Cream however, so that’s the plan for afterwards. Probably a flake too. Reaching the waters edge she sheds a tear as she prepares to open the box. A slight breeze tickles the back of her neck.

“Sod this!” She says, and lobs the whole box in.

The End

Speaking of made up stuff, I wrote a short story and put it on that WattPad website. If you fancy a read, it’s here (opens new window):

‘Super Hero For Sale.”

(A shorter short story, would be a better name.)

Any comments are welcome!

Ironman Radio: Homemade Video

In a post last week, I mentioned that Father In Law was going to be on the radio to talk about Ironman (competition, not the movie.)

The other day, he was on it. The link to it was put on the radios website, but the sound quality was poor, so I decided to do a bit of technical wizzardry and make the sound listenable. Then decided to take it a little bit further and make a video to go along with the sound.

(Also, does anyone know how to change the background so it’s not a baby? Thanks!)


Mad Dog 10k Recap

In Which I Have A Great Race and a Great Weekend

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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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.)


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!


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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

Ironman Tony In The Local Fish Wrap

Our local paper has done an article about Father In Law, and apparently a radio station wants an interview too:

Ironman Tony Redmond has won an award for superhuman effort after the 50-year-old postman did the gruelling swim, bike and run competition for the first time last year.

The ardent Bradford City fan trains at Bingley Pool and is being presented with a “b active” award from Bradford Council for his constant success in pushing himself to the limit – and raising cash at the same time.

When he did his first Ironman challenge in Lanzarote last year, Mr Redmond, of Eccleshill, raised £1,400 for The Bradford City Burns Appeal.

He became keen on triathlons after hitting 40 and took part in the Ilkley triathlon in 2004 and 2005 with a young Jonny Brownlee, now the current World Triathlete Champion.

He said: “Lots of 50-year-olds may think it is time to put your feet up, but I think that is the time to push yourself even more.

“I love the challenge and it makes me feel good when I achieve my goal.

“It’s so important to keep fit and particularly when you get older.”

The Ironman race has a time limit of 17 hours, an average time of 12 hours and the current record time is 8.04.08.

It consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle ride and a 26.2-mile run to finish.

Only qualified triathletes take part in the world championship, having gone through a series of qualifying stages. The Lanzarote Ironman is one of those stages.

Mr Redmond said: “I had done some running and cycling, but wanted to take it to the next level so I joined swim triathlon training sessions at Bingley Pool.

“Swim coach Di Whittaker proved to be a great boost, building my endurance, improving my technique and passing on invaluable advice about competing.”

Coun Andrew Thornton, Executive Member for Environment and Sport, said: “Tony deserves a b-active award as he is a great example of someone who is really motivated and sets himself new challenges as he gets older.

“Keeping fit is important for keeping healthy and enhancing the quality of your life as well as helping you to live longer”

Mr Redmond and his brother-in-law Robert Thornton plan to do the Lanzarote Ironman again as well as the UK Ironman in Bolton in August.

The b-active awards are given out by the Council’s Sport and Leisure Service to people in recognition of their outstanding achievements in encouraging others to be more physically active.


Sticking To The Plan!


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…

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