Sometimes you have those moments in life where everything slots into place and for a short while it feels like the puzzle is complete. The last 7 days have been precisely one of those moments and I’m going to keep surfing the wave for as long as a I can so make no apologies if this post is very happy and positive!
Broadway marathon 2016 goal achieved
Last week was my last week working for a company I’d worked for since graduating 11 years ago. I’ve taken voluntary redundancy and been job searching for the past month which I can confirm is exhausting when you have a family and a day job to keep going too. But last Tuesday I was offered a new job that is just perfect, no commute and a really good role that will challenge me. Already a great week hen on Sunday I took on the Broadway marathon 2016, a final goal race for the year and one where I’d racked up more miles than ever training for. My goal was sub 4 hours and a top 10 finish and I smashed it finishing in 3:53:49 for 5th place. I’ve never been in the top 20 of a race before let alone the top 5, so bloody happy.
3 years ago today I did my first ‘proper’ endurance challenge, the Scotland Coast to Coast, which feels like a lifetime ago. But good to remind myself that I really haven’t been doing this running thing for very long, before that race I’d run 3 half marathons, a couple of 10k’s, a little dabble in adventure racing and that was pretty much it. But I loved the idea of taking on a challenge and where better to do it than the Scottish Highlands? I roped my little brother into joining me and that was the beginning of both of our journeys into the wonderful world of endurance sport. Since then I’ve run 9 marathons (with no. 10 in November), 2 ultra marathons and 2 half ironman’s. Plus of course multiple shorter races and lots of training adventures.
Have you done a race recently? Have you seen the litter fairy that follows behind the runners picking up the litter and making the course look like no runner has been there? A fabulous person, making the difference, ensuring the good name of our sport continues. Except kids I’ve got some bad news, and you might want to sit down for this, the litter fairy does not exist.
Yet just like Christmas where we all keep up the charade that Father Christmas is real, at races we seem to all carry on not noticing that someone has just thrown a gel wrapper on the ground or has decided to wait until a mile past the water station to throw away their bottle. We carry on in the belief that the litter fairy will pick it up and so our conscience can rest easy. Besides even if the litter fairy doesn’t exist I’m sure these big road races can use some of the massive fee they charge us to pay a team of litter pickers right? Don’t think so.
At the Milton Keynes marathon I saw a guy about 50m in front of me very gently bend over a lay a bottle and gel wrapper on some grass, right in the middle of a beautiful park on the edges of a lake, nowhere near a marshal or an aid station. At that moment I decided the next person I saw dropping litter who was within shouting range was going to get called out on it. So it was that I found myself shouting at a woman at around mile 15 who’d decided that it was ok to dispose of the bottle she no longer wanted by throwing it on some grass which was actually someone’s front garden (incidentally if you ever need to pick yourself up mid race I thoroughly recommend a bit of a rant). Her excuse was that she thought it was near enough a marshal that they’d collect it and besides ‘she’d seen people doing it at other road races so must be fine, but maybe those were main roads and that was the difference’.
There are 2 types of people at the start of a race; first there are those like me who get quite nervous and deal with it by finding a bit of peace and calm to focus and prepare themselves for the challenge ahead. We fidget a little, do some pointless half arsed stretching and remind ourselves that we’re ready. Then there those people who’s nerves get too much to contain and they fight their way out of the persons mouth in the form of mainly pointless chatter. This chatter is normally fairly harmless “what you aiming for today” “is this your first time doing this race” “where are you from”, but it inevitably descends into a self depreciating competition of who is going to do the worst. Maybe it’s a British thing, we don’t like to shout about ourselves so why would we be as bold as to say we think we’re going to be awesome? Whatever the reason the bullshit you hear in a starting pen would have a lie detector test flashing red very quickly
It doesn’t matter how big or small the race is either but there is definitely a correlation between the distance being run and the amount of bullshit you hear with a multisport race adding an extra bonus level because the bullshit has more than one sport to cover. With it being peak spring marathon season I thought I’d share my top 3 bullshit phrases you’re bound to hear. If you’re nervous like me at the start of a race why not play your own game of bullshit bingo and see if you can tick them all off.
I beat the Quadzilla, of course by beat I mean limped over the finish line battered and bruised, but victorious nonetheless. I even finished the final of the 4 marathons with my fastest 2km of the 4 days, amazing how you can find that extra burst when you know the end is in sight. Sitting here just over a week since finishing it all feels a little surreal really, running 8km at 6am this morning on trails frozen with a hard white frost felt like hard work, not entirely sure how I ran 4 marathons in 4 days.
But I did and I have the 4 medals to prove it. The first 2 marathons were actually quite easy, my metronomic pacing meant I finished them within 11 seconds of each other with day 2 being fractionally faster at 3:49:17. Amazing how doing a marathon 20 mins slower than your PB can feel so much easier, clearly tiring but I finished both days feeling good and nutrition before and after the races was working well. Continue reading Quadzilla race review→
Parenthood is the perfect training for ultra running