In the month of September my aim was to run 500 miles; get back into full time training after Pneumonia and start to feel more like i’m exhausted from running rather than from just being exhausted from sitting around.
So I managed just 382 miles. My body wasn’t quite ready. But towards the end of the month, just a couple of weeks ago i’ve been feeling more like me for sure. Legs tired, loving the training miles. I did have a slight hamstring soreness; probably from over doing the hills a little.
Let’s recap the month of September, It’s been busy, in fact it’s almost a 5 week month. I had the Thames Path 100 booked for the second time in as many years… but i pulled out. It was tipping it down with rain, and my body just wasn’t up to 10 hours of rain and wind after being ill. So for the first time in a long time, potentially ever, i pulled out of a race due because i was being sensible. This, i immediately regretted once it was midday and the great north run was all over the TV. Still, this was probably for the best. So after week one i was at about 85 miles down. Not good enough really.
So after the depressing non race weekend i was then inundated with races. It’s rare i get a 5 week period where i have races every weekend. I loved it.
First race of the month was the Drei Zinnen Alpine Run. This was a 17km mountain race up the Austrian and Italian Boarder from a village called Sexten. It’s a ski resort really, and even in September the mountain peaks were covered in snow; so much so that the races distance was cut short by 2 miles because of the dangerous weather.
We said goodbye to our race pack, warm clothes and supplies at about 8 in the morning, these were then flown by helicopter to the summit. Although the race was only 17km the accent was 3000 meters. By the time we were close to the top the oxygen was thinner and i could feel my left lung, ‘The Pneumonia Lung’ was not happy; still i continued to climb and the views got better and better.
Thanks to MJ for driving from the airport. All round great weekend. I finished about 73rd and enjoyed the leisurely but slow, very slow stumble back down the 10 mile course. Made a few friends on the way and shared stories of crazy races. We flew back the next day after a typical Austrian style awards ceremony, including dumplings, pasta and a suitably crazy live accordion playing live band. A great weekend.
And now to Berlin. This was a race i’d been looking forward to for a while. Just a short weekend in Berlin but a famously flat course, good weather and a lovely hotel. Even managed to fit in the famous Fat Tyre Cycle Tour of the city on the Saturday before the race. I would seriously recommend this tour by the way. What a great informative way to see the city and learn at the same time. So after a lovely 13 miles on the bike, great tour guide, and blue skies, I hit the cocktails at the hotel. Mistake. These were great but somewhat not what you do before one of the most famously fast races in the world. I don’t usually drink much, and i’m very strict; i have 9 months a year of not drinking and only 3 months on. So when these 3 months roll around I tend to make the most, but if i’m honest even then i’m not a big drinker, not because i’m actively cutting down but just don’t ever ‘fancy’ a drink.
The morning of the race i went to meet sponsors Pro Direct Running and Adidas for a pre race snapchat story, interview and to pick up some kit for the race. I met with Dan from Pro Direct who’s a great guy and was only running his second marathon himself. I was a little hungover to say the least. We made our way to the start pens, took a few more pics, made the promo video for Pro Direct and Adidas and off we went. Blue skies still.
I finished the races in 03:04:00 exactly which considering i had very little sleep, sore legs from the 85 mile week before, a booze preparation night and was still sort of recovering from Pneumonia. A quick nap in the hotel, and then home for another week of training for another race. The Cardiff Half Marathon.
This year it was the second time i’d ran the Cardiff half, and by that i mean i also ran the race in March; Cardiff were playing host to the World Championships. This was a very different race in March. Cold, windy and really not very enjoyable. Enjoyable, but not exactly a sunny day. This weekend however was a great weekend, but also a little different.
Big Moose is a non profit organisation set up by a friend, Jeff. I met him in the Sahara Dessert running the Marathon des Sables in April this year. He lives in Cardiff and does a great deal to help the community as a whole. He had spent the past 6 months supporting, and indeed hosting a campaign called Run for Emily. Emily sadly died from cancer a year or so before; her mum and family wanted to raise awareness, and some funds for charity. Jeff and Big Moose arranged training days for about 100 people to train as a group and on race day ‘Run for Emily’ Everyone raised loads of money for the charity; i believe this was around £25,000. Good Job Jeff and Chloe. And Thanks Donna, great day. Everyone did Emily proud. Watch this space because there’s plenty more going on regarding the Run For Emily campaign.
IT felt like the race was over in minutes, and i suppose it was. I wasn’t planning to run very fast, and just wanted to enjoy it, because similar to Berlin I had a few drinks the night before, so one again not the best prep. Jeff was kind enough to put me up the night before, some of the Run For Emily gang were over too, and the wine was flowing. Thanks Tania for some lovely dinner too. So i crossed the line and to my surprise i wasn’t far off PB of 1:22. My time was 1:26. We all went for a quick drink and a natter, and headed home. Another great weekend of running and socialising.
The month was also successful on a few other fronts. I met with a friend from the gym, Rob. He’s an ex GB runner with a Marathon PB of 2:14, so i was really interested to hear any advice. Everyone is always learning. To my surprise Rob had copies of his training plans and milage from back in 1994 when he competed. Thanks so much Rob. Since meeting with Rob i have changed my training plans for October and for one month will give a new set up ago. Using Rob’s old training days for inspiration I have now built in three quality runs per day, 6 days a week. Although i was running basically 3 times a day before, i now had more quality in my plan.
Other than this great fortune, Pro Direct have been as great as ever and supplied me with a pair of Ultra Boost Adidas trainers. These are fantastic and my usual training shoe; they in fact already worn out, well nearly. Thanks Pro Direct, i look forward to working with you more in the future.
So what’s next for 2016. Like i say, October will be a chance to try a new training plan out first of all. I do however have a few exciting races continuing. First is the Paris 20km on 9th October, and then a few weeks later i have the Sandstone Way 120 mile ultra in Northumberland, and even better still at the end of the month i have The OMM. The original mountain marathon is a pairs event so i’ll be buddying up with my mate Gary. We often train together, although less lately; Gary if you’re reading this get your training shoes on and get out on the cold Tuesday mornings. So The OMM will be great, navigation and a two day event covering 40 miles across trail.
So that takes me to November, and November is a big important month for me. Not only do i stop drinking again (breaking for Christmas in Canada) but i start my World Record Training once again. From November 2016 to July 2017 i will be slowly using my milage to about 300 miles a week. The record next year is the same record i attempted this year when i got pneumonia; this is running the length of Ireland in 3 days. I will cover 350 miles in 3.5 days. This time i’m going to make sure my body is even more ready. I have built in 5 key training runs of long distance. Ranging from 150 miles in 30 hours to 300 miles in 3 days. These are spread over the course of the 35 weeks before the attempt and will be supported by the Ireland World Record team. Family and friends, thank you.
As i’ve mentioned 2017 will hopefully put some demons to rest and i’ll finally get my first world record, and perhaps the first of many. Along with the world record i’ll be ticking a few of the major races off my bucket list. I have a pretty lengthy doc that i call my goals list; this houses anything from the races i want to run to the bigger challenges such as rowing the Atlantic or climbing all 7 peaks. It will soon be published on my site. The races i’ll cover off in 2017 will start to make a dent in this list. The list and indeed the 2017 race calendar will include races such as the Australia 100, the famous UTMB, and the epic race across Grancanaria, aptly named TransGrancanaria. Plus plenty more ‘smaller’ marathons. I’ll also be planning the biggest adventure to date. This takes me on to 2018 and what i have in store.
Another item on the goals list is writing and publishing a photo book and a written dairy of my time running and travelling, I hope to raise a few quid for charity by telling the stories of my trips, adventures, successes and failures. This ties in nicely with another line in my life plan; in 2018 i want to travel to 30 countries in all 7 continents and run 70 marathons in 200 days. The reason, A, because it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun and i’ll get to be apart of cultures and peoples lives that i would otherwise not get anywhere near, but more importantly i want to attempt to raise £200,000 for Prostate Cancer and create a running community that is world wide. The plan is to have 1 person in each country that has never run a marathon or ideally never run at all, and change their lives for the better. Provide kit, race entry, and a training plan to help them on their way. I plan to stay in their homes, understanding their lives and in the process take a load photos, raise a load of money for Prostate Cancer and ideally complete the 7 month trip having benefited many lives all over the world. So 2018 will simply be epic. I am in the process of finding a sponsor for the event and indeed a team to support, be it back home or ‘on the run’.
If you’d like to get involved please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anything you’d like discuss i’m ready to listen. This trip is one of inclusiveness and community is the main driver behind this. Getting people introduced to the power of running.
Please watch this space i have a new website launching very shortly. Get involved and help me get the world running.
The next 24 months will be a great time for me all being well.
Follow me on Twitter at @runatthefront, and Instagram at @manofsport