Hello one and all and welcome to the fourth instalment of the blog! This week, there will be no poignant reminders of why I run, no tales of inspiration and overcoming adversity and no mention of emotional turmoil, mental anguish and death. Instead, this blog will contain anecdotes about seeping sores, the truth behind man’s obsession with weight and metrosexuality and why you shouldn’t talk about the disability discrimination act and follow it by saying “he didn’t have a leg to stand on”.
A lot has happened since the last blog. It was a whole two weeks ago, after all. The reception to the blog was amazing. I’m so pleased I decided to publish it. I had loads of great comments, lots of people contacted me to wish me well and more people got interested in the challenge. That’s exactly what I mean when I talk about using my experiences to influence others. Now just to keep them all reading…
Usually this is the point where I say I have run two marathons in the two weeks since the last blog, but I’ve actually run three! Because I want to take a week off before the Brighton Marathon, I thought I’d create this ‘buffer’. So I did. The first two were treadmill marathons. The first was on the Thursday, then another on the Sunday, and then a week until another in Eastbourne. One good thing about this constant running lark is that my legs are hardy – I can walk normally the day after a marathon. Contrast this with the fact that I walked like I shit myself for an entire week after my first marathon, and it proves the body is a brilliant thing by adapting to demands!
There is nothing eventful about the first two. The Thursday one was straightforward and done in a reserved 3 hours 43. The second one was surprisingly quick. With only two days rest, I ran a 3 hour 35 marathon on the Sunday. This is because I got so bored that I changed the way I ran and did some intervals. I ran a ‘normal’ half marathon, followed by intervals for seven miles. That’s why there’s lots of peaks and troughs in the Garmin chart. I’m going to stop publishing the pictures of the running machines and the heart rate charts, but they are on file if you need proof of times. of The heart rates (and distances etc where relevant) can be accessed directly here:
Thursday 24th Feb: http://is.gd/5v5B58
Sunday 27th Feb: http://is.gd/njsRas
So what else has happened in the two weeks? Running wise, not a lot. I’ve ticked over with a few jogs, played a lot of football and cycled to/from work a couple of times. But I keep putting on weight! Unbelievable. At this rate, I’m going to be running a 3.30 marathon whilst carrying the equivalent of Rick Waller on my back! I’ve so far put on 2kg this year. 4.4lbs! So it seems I have been eating too much. I’m definitely fitter, but take away the ‘i’ and add an ‘a’ and I’m also fatter. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not super chunk. I don’t wobble when I walk and I don’t get a semi at the thought of cheesy chips. But equally, my body isn’t doing what it is supposed to be doing.
Blokes talk about their weights more than you might think (ladies). I don’t know if all the blokes reading this will agree, but when we’re in groups, weight, knobs, farting (and other toilet activity) and “I suppose I can see why women might think he’s a good looking guy” all come into a general conversation. The number of times we have discussed which of our mates is the best looking (Graham invariably wins) astounds me.
I have this mate. Not unlike Ris Clang, I won’t give you his proper name. Instead, we shall call him ‘Mitch Ray’. I would say that Mitch, more than most, worries about his weight and his body shape. Here is a picture of Mitch. I have disguised his eyes so to save his identity:
Mitch wants to be a ‘big unit’; he wants people to look at him and go “wow, that bloke is massive”. Mitch also worries about his love handles, though. He wobbles them a lot and says “no matter what I do, this area of fat never goes”. Then he lifts up his next pint of Guinness and declares that it’s genetic like his short calves, which also give him jip. Mitch is a man who has many a great anecdote associated with him. One of my favourites that is often brought out in the pub is as follows: whilst working out in the gym he turned to our mates and with a straight yet inquisitive face and said, “do you weigh more with a hard on?” Sheer genius. Unless we work with professionals in the world of fitness and other areas of our lives, I don’t think we will ever reach our full potential. We will always try our best, but without people in the know, we only do what we think is right. Mitch could lose the love handles, get massive muscles and do an equation to see how much more his tallywhacker weighs when it’s in a friendly mood – but he would need the advice and guidance of people in the know to reach full potential. More on Mitch later.
I made a couple of silly running relate mistakes in the last couple of weeks, too. The first was to wear shorts that were too short (I’m not talking budgie smuggling short, but mid-thigh). I got sores on the insides of my legs. The weepy sort that sticks to the bed clothes at night and you have to peel it off in the morning. In such a place that never properly heals because I’m always walking somewhere. I took a picture with my with my contortionist like skills, carefully hiding the wrinkly dangly bits to show the (ahem!) wounds. Yum! Note – they look worse in real life!
Anyway – this was on the Thursday, which meant I had to get a quick fix for the Sunday. Easy – pop into the Tesco Express on the way to the run, get some Vaseline and lube that bad boy up. They didn’t have any of the big pots in the shop. In fact, all they had was Vaseline lip-balm. Never mind, that’s fine. It’ll do. It was really over priced and in a small round pot, but lips or legs, it’ll stop the chaffing. I really should read the labels of things before applying them, though – turns out I bought the mint/tea-tree flavour one. It was akin to rubbing Deep Heat on your todger. The sensation/pain was somewhere between the Deep Heat scenario (ie agony worse than child birth) and the Mint Source shower gel scenario (you know the one that tingles and you’re not sure if you’re enjoying it or not?). So that hurt and wasn’t ideal.
The next idiotic thing I did was just this Sunday, where part way through the Eastbourne Half Marathon, when the sweat came on, my head started to itch more than usual. It wouldn’t go away and it felt uncomfortable. Turns out that in my early Sunday morning stupor, I had a shower and forgot to wash out the shampoo from my hair. Instead, I just wiped it out with the towel and went. You might say I only did the 'Go' half of ‘Wash&Go’!
I’m not the most politically correct of people. Raising money for the charities I do, I realise now that I have to be careful not to offend people. Like many people, I don’t mean anything when I use terms like ‘mental’ or ‘crazy’. I never mean to offend, I just have a casual relationship with language and with descriptions of things. So whilst at a management training session just last week, I couldn’t help but laugh when the group was told that the disability discrimination act could be used for many reasons and a person may choose to sue the organisation they work for, should it be relevant. Deadpan, the course trainer said “in which case, the organisation wouldn’t have a leg to stand on”. A couple of ‘those looks’ flew my way when I sniggered a little but I’m comfortable that I don’t discriminate and that I’m a fair and non-judgemental person. That’s why I am fine with letting my mrs think she makes all the important decisions, and why I don’t have an issue with the fact that my mate Rob has Chinese heritage or that the gap between Elliot’s toes is bigger than those of most people.
To finish, it’s back to Mitch Ray. Who this weekend became a hero. I’m not kidding, either. Eastbourne Half marathon (twice) was planned and undertaken. Mitch is a massive supporter, a top bloke and someone who flogs himself to help me out for nothing more than my thanks. He never seeks the recognition he should perhaps automatically get. He’s driven me to a number of run venues, taken part in them and cycled/run in bitter cold when he didn’t have to. This weekend he went the extra (13.1) mile(s). Instead of cycling the first half of the run followed by taking part in the second half marathon himself, he decided to take it on with me. The whole thing. The whole shebang. The lot. All of it! He is in training for the Brighton Marathon in April so he’s fit and he’s got a few decent runs in him. But his furthest ever run was 18 miles - up until Sunday, that is. Another 8.2 miles on top of that is huge. Rich, sorry – Mitch, took the first half marathon easy and felt good when it came to starting the second. Around we went and as time went on he struggled. His colour drained and his style became sluggish. Welcome to the joys of a marathon, Mitch. As I said in my Q&A, a marathon isn’t simply two half marathons back to back. It’s a huge challenge – physically and mentally. Which is why I’m bloody astounded that Mitch completed it, and a fair way under four hours, at that. I’m really proud of him for his achievement and can totally relate to his feeling of relief and emotion on completion. It’s a massive achievement – huge congratulations on completing that run. But more than that, I can’t offer enough thanks for him helping me out so much.
Having said all of that, I did take great pleasure in seeing him suffer. THAT’S WHAT IT’S LIKE. THAT’S THE PAIN A MARATHON BRINGS. HA! IT’S NOT THAT EASY, IS IT? FEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEL THE BURN, BITCH!
Details for the Eastbourne run can be found here: http://is.gd/w3cBnH
Ignore anything beyond 3 hours 55 minutes. I managed to turn the timer back on when I was on the bus back to Brighton. We didn’t run at 120km/h at any point!.
Mitch is such a nice guy that at the end of the run, he presented me with my lunch. Here is is…
NOM NOM NOM
And finally (in a Sir Trevor McDonald kind of way), I have some other big thanks to offer. Brooks Running donated three pairs of running shoes to me. Some trail, some standard stability shoes and some race shoes. Thank you – that’s saved a lot of cash. Here they are:
Mark (@Marks10in10in11 on Twitter) and Sharon from the JW Ultra have given me free entry into their 30 mile trail run this year. See www.ultrarunner.co.uk for details. The site has been under construction, so keep checking back.
The lovely people at the Potters ‘Arf up in Staffordshire have also given me sponsored entry, too. I’m told it’s a brilliantly supported run, and Phil (@6townsrunner) has promised me a spot on his radio show to promote me doing it. http://www.potters-arf.co.uk/
The wonderful people at Events To Live have also given me free entry to next weekend’s Spitfire 20 (with an additional 6, obviously). They do loads of great events. Take a look: www.eventstolive.co.uk
Finally, the lovely Liz Yelling of brilliant marathon running fame has donated a pair of signed trainers to the cause. They will be used as a prize or similar for a future event. I also gained a place on the Virgin London Marathon training day with her and her husband Martin. Can’t wait – will report back on that.
Next blog – my plans for a New Year’s Eve fun marathon (is there such a thing?), the amazing people who support me and follow me on Facebook and Twitter, forgetting to add flour to the cake mix for my very own cake sale! I’m also going to address what I eat!
For now, it’s over and out. Keep the questions, comments and witty remarks coming. You know the drill by now – please pass this on to your friends and family. One day, I dream of trending on Twitter. Then I’ll have made it!
It was pay day last week – so hand it over…
www.justgiving.com/52marathons - Passingiton
www.justgiving.com/52marathons2 - Rethink! Survivors of Suicide
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