The London Marathon Race Recap – 23rd April 2017

The days, weeks and months of training were finally over and the big day was here. Here is my race recap of The London Marathon.

The Taper

Part of every marathon training program is the taper period. For most people, this is basically a gradual reduction of running in the 3 weeks prior to the marathon. For me it consisted of no running at all for 3 weeks prior to the marathon. Not the best pre race preparation but I’d picked up a knee injury during my last long run and just wanted to give it as much time as possible to heal.

Fueling

I’d read about “carbo loading” online so spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday doing just that. I was quite looking forward to it but actually found it really tough to eat all the extra grams of carbs that’s recommended. It became so complicated I almost wrote a whole blog post on this alone. One piece of advice I do have is that fruit juice / sports drinks have a decent amount of carbs in them which can be a bit easier than trying to eat so much.

The day before

I tried to take it easy on Saturday, doing as little as possible to try to save energy. I did go to the train station to buy my ticket so I didn’t have to worry about that in the morning. I barely moved all day unless it was to eat more carbs. Oh and of course I packed my race kit.

I went to bed early but I couldn’t sleep. Finally drifted off but soon woke up again a couple hours later. Checked the time, it was 3:10 and I was wide awake. Great. Eventually managed to go back to sleep for another hour or so and then it was time to get up.

Raceday

Bran flakes with raisins and a slice of jam on toast for breakfast and I was out the door. Train was at 7:52 which I was 10 minutes early for. There were quite a few other runners at the station too, which for some reason I was surprised about. Ate a banana and sipped a bottle of Lucozade on the train before arriving at Blackheath station. A 10 minute walk later and I arrived at the start area.

There were 3 different starts; green, red (chairty runners) and blue (ballot places). I was in the blue start. The queues for the toilet were long but they moved very quickly. After a quick toilet stop, I dropped my kitbag off to the baggage lorry and made my way to the starting pen.

Standing in the starting pen I had a few minutes to gather my thoughts:

I was hoping that my knee would hold up or at least be kind enough to not seize up conpletely so that I could finish the race.

I was wondering how much fitness I had lost over the last 3 weeks that I hadn’t run.

And finally I was wondering whether id be able to run at all after the month’s worth of food I had eaten over the past 3 days. Fatso.

3, 2, 1, Go!!!

I had an energy gel and finished the last mouthful of water I had left. Then a few minutes later the Royals pushed the big red button to start the race.

I started to run. I felt….. fine. A bit bloated but fine. I was running pain free. The 4 hour pacers were a little bit in front of me, I kept them in sight for the first few miles. It was really hard to overtake with it being so busy so I didn’t bother trying.

After a couple of miles the crowd started to thin out a bit but then the red start merged with us and it become quite crowded again.

Soon reached 5k, time 27:56. Not bad at all. Still feeling good, but a bit of trouble with my breathing. Wasn’t sure if it was due to fitness or eating too much or both.

Carried on running with the 4 hour pacers still in sight.Had a gel at mile 4 and some Lucozade from the stand at mile 5. Soon arrived at the first famous landmark, Cutty Sark, at around about the 10k point. Time 56:29 so still on track. The crowds around here were fantastic.

Carried on running taking on water when needed and another gel at mile 9. Next landmark, Tower Bridge at approx 20k reached 01:56:07. Then through the halfway point in 2:02:55. A couple of minutes off sub 4 pace now but still feeling pretty good, though starting to tire slightly.

Disaster

Just before mile 14 I felt me knee go.

I was absolutely devastated.

I stopped at a portaloo for a toilet break and to readjust my knee strap to see if it would help. But I knew that my knee had had enough. I text my Amy to let her know what happened. Game over.

“You can do it babe” – Amy’s reply came through. “We are all here for you, love you so so much”

That was all the motivation I needed. I would finish this marathon if I had to crawl.

I wished Amy and the rest of my family were a bit closer than the 23 mile point that they were at, but I knew if I could get to them them I would make it to the finish line.

I ran as best I could, and hobbled when the pain became too much. My mind was in a very dark place at points throughout the next 8 miles, and I had to have a real talking with myself to just put one foot in front of the other. I got talking with another runner who was having the same trouble as me. We ran together over the next 4 miles or so pushing each other on.

After what seemed like 4 weeks, I finally approached mile 23 and put in the best mile I managed all afternoon, driven by the sheer image of being able to see my family.

And then I finally saw Amy. I ran over and almost crumbled in her arms into a ball of emotions.

“I am so proud of you” she said.

“My knee is f*cked” I said.

A quick embrace with my mum, step dad, mother in law and aunty and I was off again. Just 3 miles to go.

The last mile of the course is a tourist dream. The Lonond eye, Westminster, Big Ben and Buckingham palace.

I finally went round the last corner and saw the 385 yards to go sign. I put on a brave face and ran as best I could to the finish line.

The second half had taken 2 hours 49 minutes compared with the 2 hours 2 minutes the first half took. My official chip time was 4:52:18. Not bad for a first marathon and even better considering my knee. Oh and of course it is a Marathon PB by default as its my first Marathon. So not the sub 4 hour marathon I was hoping for, but I’ll just have to save that one for another time 😜

I even got on TV! (thanks to my sister for spotting me) Here’s the proof:

Got home, had a bath, then ate Chinese food which Amy bought us. Had a proper look through my goody bag, and admired the T-Shirt and medal which I added to my collection:

Just look at that medal!

A lot of people have asked me if I would do another one? Well, would I do another one with an injury? Not a chance. But would I do another one fully trained and uninjured? That’s not so easy to answer.

What I can say is that I have run The London Marathon 😁 It will take along time for me to get bored of saying that.

Oh and did I mention that I am a marathon finisher?!

What’s next?

First thing is rest.

Second thing get my knee sorted out.

Third thing is to enter the ballot for next years London Marathon which opens on Monday 😜

Want more updates?

Follow me on Twitter: @Craig_Runs

Add me on Nikeplus: Craigruns (Capital “C”)

Instagram: Craig.Runs

The London Marathon Expo

Only 3 days til the London Marathon!

Yesterday I went to The London Marathon Expo at the ExCel centre in London. You have to go to collect your race number and timing chip before the race.

I booked a half day from work and got the train at lunch time (didn’t fancy going on Saturday – the day before the race).

It’s quite an awkward venue to get to considering it’s in London, a train and a couple of DLR trips later and I arrived just after 2 o clock.

Race Number collection

IMG_20170419_153407_239

Collecting your race number is quick and easy. There are loads of desks with a range of numbers above them, you just go to the desk which corresponds to your race number. Once you hand them your registration letter and show some I.D, they hand you your race number and Kit bag.

Race number and kit bag collected, next stop is the timing chip (“Sports Tag”) collection. Again, another very easy and smooth process. You hand them the envelope with your race number in, they scan the barcode on the envelope then scan the sports tag which then links that specific sports tag to your race number.

The rest of the expo

So that’s everything you need for the day collected, your race number, timing chip and kit bag – now you can enter the main part of the expo.

You walk through a really cool looking Adidas tunnel which lead to a massive Adidas running shop where you could buy a range of clothes, shoes and accessories. I already have all my race kit sorted, so I just had a quick browse before moving on.

The next area had loads of different stalls. Clothing, shoes, accessories, massage stands and healthy food products. I done what every self respecting person who is just about to run a marathon should do, headed straight for the beer stand. Wahey!

The free beer sample was small, so I came back 10 minutes later for another.

I picked up a couple of free pace bands from the Lucozade stall/exhibit. The pace bands show you what time you should reach each mile in the race to complete the marathon in the time you chose. Should come in handy if your running watch plays up/loses signal.

I wandered around a little bit more before leaving. Collected my goody bag on the way out. Got home and checked out the range of samples and vouchers inside:

Pretty decent little selection of goodies – if you like that sort of thing.

And that was pretty much it. Overall it is still a pain in the arse to have to go to an expo before a marathon, but the stalls were decent and the process was quick and easy – something I wont be able to say about the marathon itself!

What’s next?

Carbo-Loading! oh and The London Marathon in 3 days time of course!

Want more updates?

Follow me on Twitter: @Craig_Runs

Add me on Nikeplus: Craigruns (Capital “C”)
Instagram: Craig. Runs

Lydd Half Marathon Recap – 12th March 2017

I run my first Half Marathon!

A bit of a delay writing this up, but better late than never!

So on the whole, training for the London Marathon is going well. Part of that training called for a half marathon a couple of weeks back. After some research, there were a couple of options available, I settled on the Lydd Half Marathon as its flat and local-ish.

Race day

Race day arrived. Weetabix for breakfast at 7:30. Left at 8:30 and sipped a bottle of water and a bottle of Lucozade on the way to the event. Arrived at 9:30 ready for the start at 10:00. I only booked the race the night before so had to collect my race number and timing chip on the day, which was painless. Queues for the portaloo’s were huge.

Start

By the time i’d got my self sorted and made my way to the start line, the majority of people had already lined up so I started towards the back of the pack. There were over 1,000 runners at the start, some were doing the Half Marathon like me, the others were doing a 20 Mile race which branched off from the Half Marathon route at mile 6.

The plan for the race was to finish. I really wasn’t sure on a time as it was my first half marathon and only the 3rd time I would’ve ran over 13.1 miles. I would try to hold 8mins/mile and just go from there.

We were soon under way, quite a slow start as we filtered onto the country lanes. it was hard in places to pass some of the slower runners, but it was also very satisfying. This carried on for the first couple of miles or so.

Mile 3 had a water station. drinking water out of a plastic cup is somewhat of an art which I soon found out. I think i managed to drink half of the cup and spill the other half of the cup over myself. Carried on.

I soon set into a rhythm and was now with a pack of runners who were all running a similar pace to me. Mile 6 had another water station where i could practice spilling half a cup of water over myself again.

Lydd Half Marathon

Halfway there

The half way point was literally a human cone which we ran around and followed the same route back.  Mile 7 grabbed some more water and was starting to get the hang of drinking and running at the same time.

By this point the race was starting to get a bit lonely. A chunk of the runners had gone a separate route for the 20 mile race and the countryside does start to get boring after a while.

I was starting to miss my music, but plodded on anyway. Finally reached Mile 10 which had a water station so I grabbed another cup of water. This is where I started to struggle to keep pace. The last 3 miles were really tough, mentally and physically. There was a little bit of scattered support which did help a bit.

and Finish

Finally made it back off of the country roads and headed towards the finish line. I managed to give a decent burst of speed to overtake and out-sprint someone to the finish line. And it was over. I was handed my medal and helped myself to Jaffa cakes, water & coke.

Collage

Walked back to my car, took a quick medal selfie (see above) before making the journey home.

The results were posted online later that day… chip time 1:45:00 – absolutely over the moon!

Lydd Half Results

What’s next?

So my first Half Marathon was over, but the training for the big one (London Marathon 2017) continues…

Want more updates?

Follow me on Twitter: @Craig_Runs
Add me on Nikeplus: Craigruns (Capital “C”)
Instagram: run.Craig

Just a quick update

Its been a while hasn’t it?!

It’s over a year since my last post, sorry about that. I don’t even have any excuse for not updating – I just simply couldn’t be bothered, lack of motivation etc etc. But we’re still cool right?

So why the update now I hear you ask? Well, today I have a reason to be bothered and I have some motivation which I will get to in a minute.

First, a quick update on what I’ve been up to for the past year…

The last event I was preparing for was The Nuts Challenge back on the 5th March 2016. It had to be one of the coldest things I have ever done. I didn’t even write a race report because I just wanted to forget about it. The event itself was brilliant, the obstacles were great, the course was challenging but it was so cold. It even snowed at one point during the course, but we did make it round.

 

14730543_298224003910403_5698816574043979776_n

Coldest event ever

After getting that out of the way I couldn’t wait to just have a break from training. So what did I do? I went on a nice holiday in the sun…. Oh that’s right, no I didn’t. I booked the Tough Mudder for 24 September 2016. Twat.

As is the norm for me lately, I struggle to get out the door and go running. To try to encourage myself , I finally bought myself a running watch and some new running trainers.

14717544_542574092605229_4920626705405575168_n

 

Garmin Forerunner 25 & Nike Pegasus 32

They helped for a while and both are genuinely great.

In preparation for Tough Mudder I started the gym. Just once a week to add a bit of strength. I done a bit of running but no where near the level I reached in previous years.

Anyway, the event soon arrived and I am pleased to say that we actually cruised round in just under 2.5 hours – not bad for 10.5 miles and obstacles.

 

race_1901_photo_45961262

The finish line

Although Tough Mudder was the longest course we had done, it was by far the easiest. I think with it being so mainstream, they cannot make it as challenging as perhaps I would like. Most of the obstacles were fun as opposed to testing – which I think was a blessing.

Tough Mudder done, I haven’t been for a run since. Then the reason for this update came through the post:

14693650_1231323343597873_8651879659769692160_n

I’m in?!

So yeah…. Next race… The London Marathon. Better get running.

Want more updates?

Follow me on Twitter: @Craig_Runs
Add me on Nikeplus: runCraig (Capital “C”)
Instagram: run.Craig

October 2015 Summary

Here’s my summary for October 2015:

First, my running summary:

October 2015
Total Number of Runs 12
Duration 07:55:12
Miles Covered 53.79
Average Pace 8’50”/mi
KM Covered 86.54
Average Pace 5’29”/KM

October has been brilliant in terms of running. I have really got back into a routine of running three times a week, which I am very pleased with. I have been struggling in past months with motivation, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem at the moment.

I successfully completed The Major Series, and booked my next event – The Nuts Challenge. I didn’t get a ballot place for the London Marathon, but there’s always next year.

I met my two goals of running 3 times per week/12 times per month and a total of 40 miles/65 km per month, something which I haven’t done for a long time. In fact, October has been my best month for amount of running in over a year!

Here’s a picture of all of my running for the month recorded with the Nike+ app my username is runCraig if you want to be friends (the “C” is a capital).

Oct 2015

Other Workouts

Not a lot again this month, need to get back into doing press ups, pull ups, sit ups etc

Weight Summary

October 2015
Weight (Stones & Pounds) 11 st 1 lbs
Weight (Pounds) 155 lbs
Weight (KG) 70.30
BMI 23.56

3 pounds gained this month, but not too bothered.

Other news

October is one of my favourite months because of Halloween. We took the kids to a scare tour, picked our own pumpkins and went to my sisters Halloween party.

IMG_20151101_151308

Good times all round.

Want more updates?

Follow me on Twitter: @Craig_Runs
Add me on Nikeplus: runCraig (Capital “C”)
Instagram: run.Craig

The Nuts Challenge

nuts-banner-small

As is usual after just finishing a race, we were all eager to get the next one booked. Last Saturday, one week after The Major Series, we booked our next race. The Nuts Challenge.

The Nuts Challenge is another Obstacle Course Race, which is between 7km and 28km depending on how many laps you do ( 1 to 4 laps, each lap is 7km). The Major Series was 10km, The Dirty Dozen was 12km, we didn’t want to go too mad, so chose 2 laps which equals 14km.

Nuts Course Map

(The Nuts Challenge Course Map)

Apparently, The Nuts Challenge has a big focus on obstacles, so training will have to have to consist of more than just running.

The four of us (me, Richard, John & Callum) booked onto the 10:00 wave on Saturday 5th March 2016, which gives us 5 months to prepare.

Nuts Challenge Booking

Having a race booked always helps to keep me motivated and I’m really looking forward to this next event!

Want more updates?

Follow me on Twitter: @Craig_Runs
Add me on Nikeplus: runCraig (Capital “C”)
Instagram: run.Craig

The Major Series South 3rd October 2015 – Race Report

No Mud, No Glory

I’d been looking forward to this day ever since I completed my first mud run/obstacle course race back in April (The Dirty Dozen). And it finally arrived. The 3rd of October. The Major Series. Lets do this.

The day started well, I got a really decent night sleep which is unusual for me the night before an event. I’d set my alarm for 7 o clock to give myself plenty of time to get ready and have breakfast (2 x toast and a cup of coffee), before being picked up at 8 o clock by John & Callum.

The Major Series South is set in Eridge Park, Tunbridge Wells which is about an hour away. We left at 8 to pick our friend Richard up on route and arrived at the venue at 9:00. Exactly 1 hour before our start time as advised on the pre race instructions.

There was no need to register as everything had already been posted to us, so we pinned our numbers to ourselves and prepared for the race. There was a small bag drop (big enough for wallet/keys), but we opted to leave our belongings in the car.

Major Series South Start

After a bit of a group warm up and a few chants of “No mud, no glory!” we were off.

There were various obstacles scattered around the 10km course, ranging from:

Crawling underneath Barbed Wire:

Major Series South Barbed Wire

Running across a “vanishing” bridge:

Major Series South Vanishing Bridge

A log carry:

Major Series Log Carry

and plenty of “Stench Trench’s”:

Major Series Stench Trench

There were other obstacles which were not photographed, including a cargo net (to climb over), a cargo net (to crawl under), and even a small track which had to be completed on pink space hoppers.

And of course the big finale of sliding down the giant slide:

Major Series Slide

After the slide, you have to climb one last hill to the finish line to collect your goody bag, medal and T-shirt and have a finish photo

FINISH_0265

(From left to right: Richard, Me, John & Callum)

We all finished the course in around about 1 hour 20 minutes, which put all of us in the top 10 percent of finishers. Not bad at all.

Major Results

Unlike other obstacle course races, I’d say this event was more of a hardcore trail run than an actual obstacle course race. It focussed more on the environment (Water, mud and hills. And more hills. Oh and did I mention hills?). This isn’t a bad thing at all, but this is definitely an event that you need to train for (hill sprints!), which frankly I hadn’t done enough.

On the way back home, we stopped and had a couple of beers and a bite to eat. We all agreed that this was a bargain of a race, considering the relatively cheap price (approx £40), it was very well organised and the inclusion of the goody bag, T-shirt and medal.

Major Series loot

So, what’s next? Watch this space…

Want more updates?

Follow me on Twitter: @Craig_Runs
Add me on Nikeplus: runCraig (Capital “C”)
Instagram: run.Craig