Archive for September, 2009

33, no make that 32, Days to go and a bad running week

September 29, 2009

 Yes, only 33 days until I run the New York Marathon

Thanks very much to the two people who have very generously sponsored me since the last posting.  I could do with quite a lot more though… I know lots of people get paid about now. So please sponsor me. And tell all your friends and family as well. You can find my just giving page here.

I have had a bad week from a running perspective. Because of being ill last week and work commitments I have only managed two runs in the last seven days. Here is what my schedule for the week said I should do:

Mon: rest
Tue: 1 mile jog, then 3 mile fartlek then 1 mile jog.
Wed: rest or 5 miles slow
Thu: 10 miles steady
Fri: rest
Sat: rest or 3 miles easy
Sun: 18 miles slow

What I did was one three-mile run and one very slow 11 mile run. So out of all that, I kind of did the Thursday and Saturday runs and none of the rest.  That isn’t great at this stage of the game. So I have got to crank it up a bit for the remaining four weeks!!!!

I wrote all that yesterday.

So today I thought I would try  a bit harder and got up early and set off at 05.50 this morning for the: 1 mile jog, then 3 mile fartlek then 1 mile jog . 

It was relentlessly horrible.

I thought I was going to be sick. Even when I just stopped and walked for a bit it was horrible because the voice in my head (one with a harsh Scottish accent) started saying things like, “What are you thinking? You are running a marathon – that’s 26.2 miles by the way – in one month and you can’t even run five miles without stopping!”

I then made the mistake of weighing myself when I got back and found my weight has gone up a bit. Oh woe is me.

About this point I imagine you are saying, “Oh for pity’s sake. Enough is enough. Stop, already, with the moaning will you, Allan.” 

And it does feel like I have been a bit moany the last couple of blogs. And strangely, this morning, after that horrible run, I actually felt quite a lot better.  The other voice in my head (the one with the softer Scottish accent of the western isles) said something like, “Oh not to worry. You still have some time, don’t panic. Take it all a wee bit slower. See if you can do a bit of a better fartlek by the end of the week, maybe. Anyway, who cares if you take five or six hours to run the marathon.”

Now I imagine you are thinking, “OK. Voices in the head again. Voices with different accents and personalities. Uh huh. Maybe I should stop reading this blog, because Allan is clearly going mad.”

Well, you may think that. However, my friend Danny (who is nearly always right about everything because he spends a lot of time reading things on the interweb) was telling me, over a drink last night, that apparently, particularly with endurance stuff, the main instrument for success or failure is the brain – not the relevant body muscles, ie, those in the legs. So the key to success for my marathon is tricking my mind into thinking I can run it. So either of those Scottish voices might work for me so long as they can motivate and trick me into running a long way. (I tend to favour the nice one who tells me everything will be all right. I think they might make me some shortbread as well. While the other one would make me porridge with water and salt.)

So what I am saying is that I am probably not mad because my mate down the pub told me that he read something on the internet about tricking your brain. QED!

Remember to sponsor me: you can find my just giving page here.

 I think I have been talking about running too much. I am turning into that old marathon bore that Helen, my wife, warned me about last year.  Once again I am droning on about me me me and running running running while it has been a big week in our house this week.  Both our older two children have left home and started university this week. (Not twins, just both starting at the same time.) Which is of course wonderful and a bit gut-wrenching at the same time. And being a man of Scottish Presbyterian heritage I naturally want to talk to you all in great detail about my feelings over this important transition in our lives. Ha ha. Not really. Which might be why I have gone on about running so much this time. Hmmm…

This week’s haiku:

Training’s not so good
but it is all in the mind.
So please sponsor me.

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38 Days to go and I am ill (but it’s only a cold)

September 24, 2009

Yes I have a cold, so I haven’t done the 10 mile run I should have done today by my runners world schedule    (pronounced with a sh like shed – I may be doing the New York Marathon but I will keep my standards). Any excuse it seems to avoid running those long distances.

I think that I have been anxious about a recurrence of the serious medical problem that prevented me from running last year and that has been a bit of an elephant in the room as it were. However, I got the all clear from the hospital earlier this month and don’t have to have another check up for a year! And  now I have done a 16 mile and an 18 mile run with only a normal amount of pain and muscle ache, all should be ok. But that doesn’t seem to stop me having crazy anxiety dreams about it. Being chased by large wolf-like beasts; or being trapped in a room with the walls closing in: the usual sort of thing.

I think the long runs have helped me feel a bit more positive about the whole thing and have prompted me to actually look  forward to the marathon and the trip to New York. A city I really love.

And on that note. Thanks for all the comments and support insisting that I still have my blogging mojo that literally one of you made. Good to know.  And another (the other) reader said I should be pushing the fundraising more. So here goes: Please please sponsor me. I am Fundraising Operations Manager for the NCT, so I really do need to raise some sponsorship for this run. It could get embarrassing.

I do think I am still a bit rusty with the blogging. After going on about campaigning for permanent signage on the London Overground  (MOSP), since this is an NCT thing, I should have said “And talking about campaigning, the NCT Campaigns and Public Policy Team is doing fantastic work at a UK-wide and local level working to improve people’s experience of pregnancy , birth and early parenthood.  Why not visit http://www.nct.org.uk/active/  to find out more and see how you can get involved!”  But I didn’t, so apologies Campaign & Public Policy Team.

Oh yes, I am also now in actual print on paper. Yes, rush to your local newsagent to pick up the exciting August issue of Charity Funding Report where, on page 34, you will find an article of stunning insight, wit and brilliance by me! If they have already sold out or by some crazy quirk don’t stock it let me know and I will send you a pdf! No haiku in the article, though.

I could not ignore
an elephant in the room
and was chased by wolves.

Only 41 Days to go!! Oh Crikey!

September 21, 2009

That’s right. Only 41 days until the New York Marathon. That doesn’t seem very long at all. (Because it isn’t.) It is less than six weeks, in fact.

I have been worried that I have lost my running mojo and my blogging mojo. Blogging has been very sporadic this time around. As has the running. I blame Neil Spencer. He writes the horoscope in The Observer. Like many people I don’t believe in horoscopes except when it suits me to do so. So sometime in early August when Neil told me that I should rest and take it easy until after my Birthday (28 August) I did what he said. I had a very lovely relaxing August with lots of food and drink and the occasional gentle run here and there.

This meant that a couple of weeks ago I spent a long night lying awake getting very worried about how far behind in my training I was and how I was miles behind where I was this time last year. I got into a bit of a panic.

(And did I mention that there are now only 41 days to go!!!)

So I have given myself a bit of a talking to (“Do some more running you soft southern soft softie!”) and have been out running a lot more.

Last weekend I ran a 16 mile run. It took me just over three hours, so it was quite slow.  (To give you an idea of how slow that is, my colleague, Andy, ran the Paris Marathon this year  – also raising funds for NCT – and completed it in pretty much exactly the same time it took me to run 16 miles. In other words he ran 10 miles further  in the same time.)

Helen, my wife, asked what I was thinking about on my long run. I wish I could have said to her, and could say to you, that I was really working through some important and difficult issue to do with work, or even world hunger, or the financial crisis. It would be great to say that after thinking about it all for over three hours I have found an amazing solution to the very important issue at hand.

However, I generally think about things like what can I write in this blog or how many minutes it is until I can stop. This week what I really actually thought about was starting a pressure group to force London Overground to make their signs permanent. (All or most signs on London Overground stations contain the message “Temporary Sign“.) I thought it could be called Make Overground Signs Permanent or MOSP. And we could have rallies and sit-ins and stuff, like in the 1960s, and we could shout:

“What do we want?”
“Permanent signage!”
When do we want it?”
“After a sensible and appropriate period of stakeholder consultation!”

Well it’s something to think about to keep me busy after the marathon!

Other, stuff I think about on my long runs is about the joys of New York and how much I am looking forward to being there again. And where we will eat! We hope to eat in my old favourite, Balthazar, again. So I have been trying to summon up the smells and tastes of New York to help motivate me to run and run and run.

So, this week I have run a total of 35 miles (ish). Including an 18 mile run today. (The longest so far this year – and it really is a long way, by the way (btw).)  My weight  is down to 80kg if I look at the scales at the right angle. (Not as good as at this time last year, but moving in the right direction.) But I have raised £0.00 on my just giving page. (Probably because I didn’t tell anyone where it is before now. Btw, if you sponsored me for the marathon I didn’t run last year, you are naturally excused sponsoring me for this one.) I have raised £5 off line, thanks to one very generous colleague. So please sponsor me if you can.

So, although it is all a bit close to the edge (I don’t know if I mentioned to you that there are only 41 days to go!) I think I am getting there with the running. I will leave it to you to decide on how the blogging is going.

running and blogging
are back on the road again
just in time, I hope

MOSP!