Posts Tagged ‘robin hood’

This could be dangerous… I’m sitting with a full bottle of wine in front of me, determined to move on from my last post ’10 things I like about marathons’ (which was only partly tongue-in-cheek) and work out where I’m going.

I might even neglect to check it for spelling and grammar. Yeah… I’m living life on the edge!

I’m not an elite athlete.
I wouldn’t describe myself as an ‘athlete’ at all.

That may not come as a shock to you but I state it clearly because it’s relevant to the next bit.

I’m not even sure I would describe myself as a runner.
But I run. I have enjoyed running (and sometimes hated it).
I play tennis.
I ride a bike.
I swim.
I like a physical challenge.

I don’t do these things because I’m brilliant at them. I do them because I enjoy it. Sometimes, there and then at the time – THE PROCESS… and sometimes because of the results, accomplishing something that was tough, feeling fitter, feeling stronger, feeling healthier – THE PRODUCT.

I remember entering my first marathon, which happened to be London in 2000 and thinking it was well out of my scope of possibility but with regular training, being unable to afford food, and a large helping of blissful ignorance, I made it over the line in what has since remained my PB. This marathon, I enjoyed. I would have been happy to just ‘get round’ but I felt like I’d really done myself justice. I finished in 4:15:something.

5 years later – another marathon. It was a 5:32:something misery.
5 years after that, a respectable marathon time of 4:32:53 followed by a 4:38:something a few months later.

Now, I’m not an elite athlete. I think I’ve made that very clear, and this isn’t about the times, but it is about feeling fit and feeling strong….. Or not.

The Nottingham Robin Hood Marathon was completed by me a couple of weeks ago in 5:17:something – I could go and look up the ‘something’ but there isn’t really much point because it’s not about the time.
I didn’t feel strong.
I knew the build up was not good.
A little nodule, which has since been diagnosed as plantar fasciitis was niggling a little, then a tendon injury 5/6 weeks out meaning my longest training run was 16 miles at just the point when I was building up nicely with speed work, hills, tempo runs, you know… all the ‘proper’ running stuff!
(Around about this time, I also fell on my shoulder during a game of football, but my foot/ankle was so painful, I ignored this)

I’d like to give a full-on race report but I’ve never been good at that. If I did, it would go something like this:

Arrived in good time.
Hung around a bit.
Used loo numerous times.
Hung around a bit.
Chatted to some people at the start line who thought I was weird for chatting to them.
Walked a bit.
(Repeat x lots – it was a walk/run strategy I’ll have know, to prevent tendinitis flare up and all that)
Got cramp.
Saw family.
Got cramp.
Hid in toilet.
Had a little cry and slapped myself in the face.
Got stone in shoe.
Bent down to remove shoe,
Breathe… Breathe… Breathe… Thank goodness it wasn’t in both legs at the same time!…
Talked to self lots.
“Just get round now and hope there’s a Mars Bar at the end”.
Eat mars bar.

Or something like that, anyway..well… I’m now half-way through the wine and I’m not too worried about checking for correct chronology (that’s easier to type than say, right now).

There is an element that I’m happy to have made it round. And the fact my tendonitis did not return is good. Even the plantar fasciitis (which was never bad enough to stop me running) did not, and has not since, worsened.
But if I’m honest, I didn’t want to just ‘make it round’.
I’ve ‘made it round’ before. And I’ve been happy with that before.
Despite everything in the build-up, I think I was hoping to prove to myself that I wasn’t actually getting older and unfitter.

At least at the moment, it feels like I have proved the opposite and I’m finding that a little hard to deal with.
Especially as I have recently dragged myself to the docs with this:

…which in recent weeks has been really frustrating me as I can’t play tennis pain-free, swim pain-free, or ride a bike pain-free. I used to do push-ups or pull-ups periodically for strength training but find that too painful now as well.

I’m booked in for an x-ray next week.

To make myself feel better I paid for a proper hair-cut yesterday (I normally just grab my trimmers and shave it all off for a few months), and when he’d done, the barber offered to trim my eyebrows too!

I punched him*

*in my imagination only (in reality, I accepted the offer).


1. Finishing










I have not given up… I’m using a run/walk strategy.

I have not given up… I’m using a run/walk strategy.

I have not given up… I’m using a run/walk strategy.

This could perhaps be my motto for life in general, but that’s another story for a different time and place.
It shall certainly however, be my mantra next week at the Nottingham Ikano Robin Hood Marathon on 29th September.

‘Mantra’ may be the wrong word. Explanation/excuse/reason/apology may be more appropriate. In fact, I may put it on the back of my shirt so I don’t feel the need to explain it to everyone who overtakes me.


I’m paranoid that people will ‘tut’ and shake their heads at me when I walk after only a mile. But this is exactly what I plan to do.

Today (Sunday 22nd) I ‘ran’ for 10.5 miles using a run/walk strategy of walking for a minute after completing each mile.
It seemed to work for me.
No aggravation of recent injuries.
All parts of my body appear to remain in their given locations.
I can still walk.
…and my overall pace worked out at only a little over 10 minute miles.
These things are all good, especially considering I felt I would have to withdraw just a little over a week ago!

If you are a regular running reader of this blog then ignore the next bit as you know doubt have your own charities you run for, or perhaps you don’t agree with sponsorship for stuff you do for ‘fun’ anyway (a position I quite genuinely understand). It is purely for the benefit of those I may have directed here personally.

I am doing this marathon anyway. I am doing it because I want to. I paid the entry fee myself, etc. But I was asked if there was a chance I might also raise a few pounds for a brilliant Nottingham charity that I supported last year doing the JOG/LE bike ride – the wonderful Rutland House School for Parents . I agreed, figuring if they can get a little something out of this venture too then all well and good, and there is nothing lost, if not.
So if you feel so inclined then here is the link…
JustGiving - Sponsor me now!
Or you can text ‘PINT55 £3’ to 70070 to buy me a virtual pint at the finish line, except with the money going to the charity. But I will have a real, actual pint and think of you as I drink it 🙂

In other news… Here is another one of those ‘guess the running injury’ pictures. This one is quite hard. It’s almost better to think of the running injury and see if you can fit it to my picture. Good Luck!


So there we have it. Not 100% fit but… I think… fit enough.
We’ll see.
I said I’d never do another marathon unless I weighed less than 13 stone.


I saw this quote the other day…

I added the picture of the knife, by the way. I don’t know how sharp it is, but it looks pretty sharp.

To follow that up, as I’m playing around with adding text to pictures in an ‘inspirational quote with an inspirational background picture’ kind of way, I give you…


There is now a little over two weeks until the Ikano Robin Hood Marathon (Nottingham Marathon) and due to my inability to correctly ‘sharpen the knife’ my training diary looks like this…

My longest training run has been 16 miles, performed very slowly and with a recovery time of… Oooooo… Only three weeks… so far.
I eventually got a physio friend to look at my left foot/ankle and received confirmation that in addition to the anterior tibialis tenosynovitis, I do indeed also have mild plantar fasciitis.
Yes folks, that was the answer to this from last week…

20130911-223815.jpg(planter fascist eye-test)

So…To cut a long story short….I’m getting old and I’m falling apart.
I have been doing right by resting it up to now, but I have a few exercises and have been advised to try some orthotics to help further.
There is still a chance I’ll be able to take some sort of part in the marathon on the 29th Sept but to what extent is still very much in the balance. A run/walk strategy is the best I can hope for.

A taper is usually entered into approximately two weeks from a big race/run to allow full rest/recovery after having steadily built up the miles and time spent running over the preceding months.

It is not usually entered into a full five weeks out from the big run, when miles should still be being steadily increased.


NOT to be confused with an extreme tapir (cue more playing about with photos), because that would look like this…


Or this…


Or this…


Or (…and this is my personal favourite…) this…


Blog posts between now and marathon day can only go downhill now.

I went on holiday last week. One of those ones where there’s lots of trees and countryside and sunshine and activities for the kids.
I had spent day one having a great game of tennis with NotMuchOfaSitStiller and getting lost on our bikes. I particularly enjoyed seeing his growing confidence on a bike that is actually the right size for him.
We even entered a family quiz in the evening and won £40!

Everything was going swimmingly.

Deciding to make the most of the lovely weather, I set my alarm for 6am with the intention of heading out on a long run first thing in the morning of day two… especially as that annoying left foot niggle I don’t mention was practically non-existant.

I ran.

For three hours.

Over sixteen miles, with a little break at a fresh fruit and veg shop in Edwinstowe for an apple and nectarine. Lovely.

I walked/ran the last couple of miles as I was slow anyway and my shin was feeling the effects of my non-runner’s frame.
I got back home. Tired but happy. Proud of myself for being bang on track for the Nottingham Robin Hood Marathon in 4 weeks…

…except….over the course of that day, my shin pain worsened, my ankle swelled and I could barely walk.

Initially it felt like my lower shin, but later, a sickening ‘crunching’ sensation was to be felt just above my ankle and I was not able to flex or extend my foot without major pain.

Ibuprofen is being taken for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I am snacking on paracetamol.

Google + self-diagnosis indicates ‘anterior tibialis tenosynovitis’ and a 4-6 week recovery period.

I’m not a happy chappy. I was so looking forward to using this holiday to be really active, to attempt a parkrun PB, and sleep well – none of which have happened.

Soooooo… I’m petty much tapering now and my next few updates before the marathon, if I do it, will be even more boring than this one.

Well it’s five o’clock on a Saturday morning. I’ve just been woken by my smallest child because not only has Teddy fallen out of bed, but Giraffe apparently sacrificed himself in an attempt to save her. This required immediate attention to rectify the situation and return all stuffed animal representations to the arms of their concerned owner before attempts at sleep could be resumed.


Dreams of being eaten by a shark while open water swimming have not helped me sleep, however… so here I am once again with a marathon training update (/countdown to disaster).

Last Monday, while at work, I had a ‘good idea’. This ‘good idea’ was to run into work one day. It would involve waking up early…and running (obviously)…but would allow for minimal disruption to others as they would remain in dreamland (hopefully without the company of sharks).
“Well there’s no time like the present!” I thought. Although, the fact that I was already at work, was somewhat limiting with regard to the execution of the plan. I therefore, on the spot, decided to run the 12/13 miles to work the next day, and in a rare moment of forethought, removed my current underwear and socks and deposited them in my locker*. I figured that this would be slightly preferable, upon my subsequent arrival at work, to the sweaty ones I would have been running in*.

I then travelled home by car, as usual but commando, as not usual* , went to tennis, ate, slept, etc. and rose the next day to a sunrise and the challenge of a half-marathon to work.

*(oh yes, this is such a classy blog!)


There is nothing quite like the threat of dismissal and colleague ridicule to help maintain a steady running pace and ensure timely arrival at work. I could have done without my usual pre-run faffing before leaving the house however, because delayed departure also meant increased stress on the run, when I realised that any injury or further delay would result in tardiness.

Two hours (and 12.2 miles) later, I arrived – with time for a shower – and felt fine for the working day, which passed without incident… until I thought about getting home.


I was a little concerned that if I did run home too, I’d not be able, psychologically, to ‘only’ have done 24.4 miles that day, and would have to force another 1.8 miles out to make it up to marathon distance (albeit a broken one).

I needn’t have worried. I only managed 7 mile before being collected en route home by my lovely wife… and I was not at all tempted to make it up to marathon distance.

A marathon is going to be hard. Proper hard. I think I may have forgotten just how proper hard running a marathon is.

DOMS set in for a couple of days and speed work has been sacrificed this past week. I would REALLY like to carry less unnecessary weight around a marathon route with me…and that side of things is not going brilliantly, I have to say.

Later this morning, I will be deliberately carrying excess weight, however as NotMuchOfaSitStiller and I will be doing a parkrun while I carry a nearly three year old – NotMuchOfaSleeper around on my shoulders with me.

Should be fun, right? :-/

Another good idea.


Right everyone… Settle down… Apologies that I’m a bit late with this past week’s appraisal but I’m glad that so many of you have all made it here today.

Quick roll call:

Back? Yes
Shoulders? Yes
Legs? Yes
Muffin top? Yes. Oh… You’re still here are you? I thought you were moving on? No? Yes? You thought you’d hang around for a bit longer did you? Right! Please yourself!
Knees? Yes
Ankles? Yes
Feet? Yes
No Blisters?… Ok… Absent.
Mojo? Yes
Brain? Yes
Heart? Yes


Right…First of all, I’d like to start with a big ‘WELL DONE’. You can all be very proud of yourselves for making it through last week. It was a tough week with some good sessions and it could have all been very different after the poor week we all had before, so well done again for cracking on with it. Give Back a pat would you, somebodypart… Thanks.

Brain, you did well. Rallied us all into action. Didn’t back out. Stayed committed. Good! Perhaps some reflection on your idea to ‘run a half-marathon without any breakfast in an attempt to simulate energy depletion’ would be in order. The theory sounds good but maybe it’s worth at least googling it instead of just ‘going for it on a whim’ eh? Also, Muffin top here will attest to the fact that it had no effect on net weight-loss this week did it? Mmmm?

Legs… Awesome work! Well done. Fast. Solid work. Didn’t overdo it. Nice one!

Ankles… Don’t take this the wrong way… (I know you twist things sometimes and I don’t want that to happen here)…Don’t try to be something you’re not. Don’t be a hero. If you’re hurting, tell us. Don’t keep it to yourself all day and then whine constantly the day after that nobody was paying attention to you. We are ALL important and ALL will be listened to, ok?*

Mojo, Heart… It’s been great having you back. We missed you.

Great work, all of you. We’re not there yet. Plenty to do. But have a day off, recover well, and then we’re back on it for more of the same.




*apart from ‘annoying left foot niggle‘ …we don’t talk about him.

I have run past this bench at night….


I have run past it as the sun is going down…

…and this morning, I ran past it before most people were awake…

I have not yet sat in it.

But I will.

In about 10 weeks.

Once I have finished my training.

It will be like Rocky’s steps…

Like Daniel son’s ‘Crane kick’…

Like Tom Cruise’s ‘I want the truth’ ‘you can’t handle the truth’ court scene in ‘a few good men’.

Like that cute penguin doing his tappy-tap dance in that movie with the animated penguins that dance, well most of them sing, but he dances because he sounds like a strangled cat when he sings and because of that is excluded by most of the penguin community despite his clearly outstanding dancing talents which later prove instrumental in saving the entire penguin community!
(You don’t have to watch that one now.)

I have been good at doing my speed work.
I have been good at doing my hill sessions
I have been good at thinking clearly and sensibly about the food that passes my lips

I ran ten miles this morning before breakfast. The idea being that it MUST…MUST…SURELY burn some fat at least. I also figure it’s a good way to mimic the feeling of ‘the wall’ because I run out of energy really pretty quickly, relatively speaking. I was certainly a fair bit slower than I’d normally expect for this distance.

I even refrained from eating the entire contents of the fridge upon my return. Yes, I am taking this whole marathon thing THAT seriously.

So, no folks, I will not be sitting on that bench until I have earned the right to do so*.

*DISCLAIMER: I might, actually… if I get tired and stuff. I was just being all dramatic an’ that, really.

Training has got serious…

Stage 1 – Decide to actually do some running

Stage 2 – Drink beer while choosing training plan from internet

Stage 3 – Laminate the training plan

Stage 4 – Actually do some running


I reached stage 3 yesterday and I’m now well into stage 4. Stage 5 is “only eating one breakfast” and has served me well in the past… really ought to get back on board with that one.

So here we are. 12 weeks to go until the Nottingham Robin Hood Marathon and the first of what is to be a weekly training update. Note how I have titled it “1 of 12” to help me actually remember to write something each week and stay accountable to the bloggosphere.

Week 1 has been pretty successful so far, sticking well to the training plan… I’ve done the rest day, the gentle run day, the cross-training days and even the speed-work day. I still have the ‘long run’ day to go, but I’m fairly confident it will happen, although I do have a tennis match to fit in too.

My gym membership is (sort of) benefitting me even though I haven’t made extensive use of it. The lighter evenings have meant my children are not settling easily at the usual bedtime so it has been pushed back and this means if I was still paying for swimming I would have thought it wasn’t worth leaving after 9pm. This evening, however, I was happy to cycle to the leisure centre, swim 3 sets of 400m in the remaining half-hour available to me and cycle home.

Here’s a tip, by the way, for daily contact lens-wearing swimmers who think, like me, that it seems a bit of a waste putting them in just for an evening swim…well… just put one in. You can still see well enough to not to crash into other pool users but you double the lifespan of your contact lens collection. You’re welcome.

I enjoyed June and the process this year of daily exercise and blogging as part of Juneathon… BUT…

…since it finished, I have felt a sense of freedom.

I have enjoyed more runs than usual as a result and (at last) it seems that some weight is beginning to go too.

Maybe, like running, blogging requires a recovery period.
That’s not to say that this post will be the equivalent of a ‘comeback PB’ (or ‘PR’ if you’re that way inclined) but more of an ‘I’m still here and do occasionally blog when it’s not January or June’ sort of thing.

If I was still blogging every day, there has been plenty I could have written:

1) My boy won his first tennis tournament (albeit just a local town one, but he got a little trophy so it was Wimbledon to him).

2) I went to Wimbledon last Wednesday (men’s quarter-finals day) and saw Murray on centre court fight back from 2 sets down

3) I’ve now joined a gym (over a week ago) and have only been once since. Not a good thing… but bloggable.

4) Although triathlons have slipped off my radar at the moment. Tri-bars make excellent tennis racquet holders…


Seriously now, running-wise I do need to find myself some sort of proper training plan to follow for my marathon, twelve weeks away (at the end of September)… and more importantly, I need to actually follow it! Any suggestions welcome.

I have run…errr…two…three… FOUR marathons in the past – 2000, 2005, and two in 2010

I may never do better in terms of time, than that first marathon (4:15) …but I hope to never do worse than my second (5:30 !)
(The ones in 2010 were 4:32 and 4:45).

The biggest difference in the build up to each, as I can remember, was that I never actually believed I could do it the first time…

… After that, as much as I tried not to pay attention to it, there was always a little voice inside my head that said, “it’s’ve done this before, go to bed / eat that doughnut / have a lie-in /etc.”.

So, yeah. A training plan… Maybe one that involves running this time… rather than the one I dreamed up in 2005 which had a heavy ‘mental-rehearsal’ bias.