Monday, 22 September 2014

Reasons to be cheerful

The Yorkshire Marathon is 20 days away now and I’m now fully focused on the last nine (NINE!) training runs before the big day.


I did my longest run yesterday – 22.2 miles – which is the furthest I’ve ever done in training and the second furthest I’ve ever done in my life.  The time of 4 hours 10 was a little outside what I’d hoped, but nothing too demoralising so I felt pretty pleased with it all things considered.  I didn’t push hard at all to be honest – didn’t tackle any of the major inclines on my route as I was trying to leave a bit of energy for the later, more gruelling miles.


I got to about 19 miles before I really felt like I was struggling but, that said, a lot of the last 3 miles was uphill which I took at a walking pace.  I’m also having to do these longer runs with a backpack carrying spare water as I can’t convince people to set up impromptu water stations for me around Sheffield.  Losing that bit of weight might make a difference.


I’ve decided that while a sub 4:30 marathon might still be a remote possibility for me, a lot of that will come down to conditions on the day.  You can train, plan and prepare as much as possible but sometimes things just won’t quite click and you’ll not get the performance you wanted.  Conversely, you can feel under-prepared and go out and have a great run.  I’m prepared to accept that unknown factor so I’ll just take it as it comes.  I feel confident I’ll beat my last time (5:30:41) and I’m quietly confident I can do sub-5.  Anything after that is a bonus.


This coming weekend will be interesting as I’m doing 20 miles on Saturday followed by another 6 on Sunday morning as part of the Great Yorkshire Run.  After that it’s some swift tapering before Race Day.


I’m also feeling pretty pleased about my weight for once as I’ve finally managed to get below 180lbs for the first time in about 5 years.  It’s fair to say that marathon training whilst dieting has played a major part in that, but I’m now looking to  just try and maintain this new weight.  It feels strange actively trying to find extra calories to eat (rather than avoid!) but I’m hoping it’ll build up my energy stores over the next few weeks and maybe make those last few miles a bit more bearable.


My diabetes seems to be behaving itself as well with all my post run blood glucose levels being in a ‘normal’ range.  I’m having to scoff most of a bag of jelly babies throughout the course of a long run but it seems to be paying off.  Hopefully that’s going to continue without incident.  It’s an added variable I have to take into account on each run and the longer I can keep it well controlled the better.


Finally it’s been a pleasing week from a fundraising perspective with people generously donating another £30 to take the total raised to £215 so far.  There’s still a long way to go to the £1000 target but it’s great to see the notifications come through about new donations – it really is an added incentive to get out and run.


I read something recently discussing how running a marathon had become ‘normalised’ because of the number of events and the number of people signing up for each one.  I think that is true to a large degree because it is a lot easier to find an event that it was 15-20 years ago.  But what that doesn’t do is normalise the amount of work that goes into preparing for running 26.2 miles.  It’s still an incredibly hard slog and the support that comes in from friends, colleagues and family makes a real difference.


As you probably know by now, I’m raising money for Diabetes UK so they can help to support the millions of people living with diabetes on a daily basis.  Diabetes is a chronic condition that directly affects more than 4 million people in the UK (and over 30,000 in my home city alone).   There’s also an estimated 700,000 people who may have undiagnosed diabetes at present, and seven million adults are currently at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.


The money I’m hoping to raise will pay for 20 qualified assessors to help people at risk understand what changes they can make to reduce their risk and be able to live a long and healthy life.


If you feel like you can spare a few pounds to help this incredibly worthwhile cause, please visit or text BROO81 + your donation to 70070 (e.g. BROO81 5 to donate £5).


As always, thanks for reading.





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