Where do I start?

So as an update to my post last week, I am still awaiting confirmation of whether the Marathon is happening or not. It is 100% happening in my mind, and my desire to do it increases almost hourly, but as I’m waiting for confirmation from someone else as to whether they are doing it too, I’m in limbo, a bit. That’s frustrating (and that’s possibly the understatement of the century!) but it is what it is, and it will be what it will be.

A bit of light bedtime reading….

I am in the meantime very indebted to the various people I am getting good advice from. It’s great to get such encouragement and people telling you how incredible they find it that you are even entertaining the idea. Maybe they find it incredible that I am contemplating it at all, who knows, but it is all positive so far :).

I’ve also had some great help from a work colleague, Esther, with whom I run with at lunchtimes at work from time to time. Esther has done a great job of encouraging other people in our office to get from the couch to do a half-marathon, and sacrifices a lot of time and her own running time to do so. That’s really as inspirational as it is admirable, and she is also already helping my journey too. Yesterday she brought into the office a veritable library of books for me to borrow, dealing with almost every aspect of running, from the physical to the theoretical, the down and dirty to the esoteric. and as I have a thirst for knowledge I could be buried in books for some time……….:)

I cannot however bury myself in theory for too long. While it is important, there is nothing to beat getting out there. Strava tells me that I have run 268 miles this year so far, which is a (not bad for me) 14 miles a week on average. I’m currently (the last two or three weeks) at about 20 miles a week, which whilst a decent base, is nowhere close to what I will need to be running in order to get myself over the finish line.

The tale of the tape as at 14th May 2019…

Most training plans I have seen seem to go up to around 50 miles a week, and that is a massive (and daunting) amount to say the least. On top of the effort to do the miles themselves, is the time. That is about 9 hours of running, plus the faffing and changing, showering and what have you, so you can probably double that. So 80 hours plus a month, over 4 and a half months (most training programmes are 16 – 18 weeks) just to do the training. Gulp!

But even before that, I have to keep up my base fitness, keep doing at least the 20 miles a week, and then choose which plan to stick to. I have downloaded 5 so far, and while they are broadly similar, they differ by number of days, amount of miles, how hard you go, what you supplement your long runs with etc. I want to get the right balance between motivational, and doable, without being too taxing. I will stick to any training programme as long as it isn’t too hard, as if it is I will not succeed. I’m at the point where I now for the first time in my life am starting to actually enjoy running, and I don’t want to take the fun away altogether. Having said that, I know the next few months will be tough, very tough at times and I have to make sacrifices, but that’s all good – I am up for it completely.

So for now, let’s be patient (hard for me, as this is all as massive as it is massively exciting), and hopefully get my news through and my booking made. Then the hard work starts. Watch this space…….


So after way too much inactivity, the blog is back, and the above title says it all. Yes, indeed, I’ve decided that I need to do the Big One. And not just any Big One, but New York. Go big or go home, as they say!

Why, I hear you say? Why, at my very (and some would say over!) ripe old age, do I decide to suddenly do a marathon when one has never been contemplated (or thought possible, especially by me!) before? Good questions!

The answer is twofold. One, in short, is that I really, really, badly want to. I have for a couple of years in fact, but I didn’t think I was physiologically capable, and now I do. Secondly, someone (and you know who you are 🙂 ) has inspired me into it. And that’s actually the best reason of all. I’ll cover that latter point in a subsequent blog post.

But before I get too carried away, I need to ground myself. 26.219 miles is going to be hard. Ridiculously hard in fact. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last few years, is that if you put enough, and the right, training in, you can get there. So that’s exactly what I’ll do.

I’m lucky in one respect, in that because I’m so anal about these things, then if I have a training plan to follow, I’ll follow it to the letter. It’s how I’m wired, and also that attitude allows for the fact that I have a fear of failure. And I thus have a training plan, or three in fact, and they have been scrutinised intimately for variations, difficulties, and the like. They are hard yes, but not daunting at all. The reverse in fact is true.

These things (by which I mean running full stop!) do not come naturally to me. I couldn’t run any distance at all over about 400m when I was young, my asthmatic physiology just didn’t allow it. But over recent years, despite a bit of a major mishap with two broken heels a few years ago when overtraining for the Great North Run :O, I’ve steadily built myself up to being able to do distance ok. I have a best (this year, in the Vitality London Big Half) of 1:48:58 at the half marathon, and have run 14 and a half miles as my longest run. I’m therefore never going to be great, or quick, but that’s not the point. I can keep going, and have enough determination, I hope!

In short, if something is good (by which I mean exciting) enough, and you want it enough, I do it. And I throw myself into it, and that’s what I’m doing here.

The marathon is to me the ultimate test of endurance, and also the most inspirational thing to so many people, even those who (very much like me until this year) thought they would never even think about doing one.

I also realise before I even embark on this that marathons take over your life. This one already has my attention for about 23 hours and 57 and a half minutes of my day for example, and I haven’t even signed up for it yet! But I do know from speaking to others who have been through it, that your eating, drinking, weekends, emotions, relationships and so much more will all be affected by it. But they are all containable, and they will all be dictated to by the extent of your determination. And I can honestly say that I have never (at least at this moment in time) been more determined to do anything, ever.

And mentioning emotions – I’ll talk about that in future posts, but it’s something I know I will have to control, especially in New York, the biggest of them all. When I did the Great North Run last time, I got such an overwhelming head rush of emotions after about a mile I thought it was going to completely consume me. My heart was beating so fast that I had to just slow down and think of anything but what I was doing to contain it all.

And the reason in the here and now as to why New York? Well that’s because at the moment of writing (early May 2019) it is the only one of the Big Six that I can get into. I’ve entered the ballot for London next year too, but that’s a lifetime away, and also around half a million other people have as well. My chances of getting therefore are a bit slim at best. And, being the impetuous sort, when I decide to do something I do it!

And of course New York is a city I love. And it’s an adventure. It’s hilly. It finishes in Central Park. It’s the biggest marathon in the world in terms of people and crowds (and I love that). It’s the City that Never Sleeps. It’s probably the most famous city in the world in fact. It’s HAPPENING, in every single aspect of the word 😀

So this is the start. I have a training plan, I have the desire (in absolute abundance). I have a travel company who can get me into the event and the whole shebang. I’ve even, for goodness sake, resurrected my blog after three years of inactivity – now that’s a sign if ever there is one! All I need now is someone to do it with………………………..as this has to be shared. And so, watch this space, because that’s the gating factor right now. More to follow (I hope and trust) very soon 🙂