July 2017 Running blog. A rollercoaster of lows, highs and miles. 

Wouldn’t normally write a blog about a month of running but it’s been a crazy month of highs and lows, which in many ways is a continuation of my year in general.

This is a chance for me to get things off my chest. 
Apologies but a couple of tweets wouldn’t really do it justice. 

So the month began –

The month got off to a hectic start with BLACK COUNTRY HALF MARATHON on 1st July. 

This was a tough but enjoyable race. Meeting twitter friends before the race is always a pleasure. That day was no exception. Met the legendary Bill as well as Charlotte and David. 

Immediately headed north for SOUTHPORT HALF MARATHON which took place the following day. 

Had a good day and once again met legends from UKRunChat community. 

Twin Power meets ‘Wonder Woman’ Helen Bly

LEGENDS FROM TWITTER- Katie, Scott, Adam, Helen, Douglas and twin brother Keith


Double half marathons are never easy so it was a satisfying weekend. 

4h of July saw me run a virtual 10k race organised by twitter friend Michael Bourke in aid of Stroke Association. Very happy to support this cause – the medal was pretty cool too. 

DNF –

Heavy workload continued with CANAL CANTER HALF MARATHON on 8th July. 

Option was there so I took a chance and upgrade to FULL marathon.

In hindsight this was a stupid decision. 

Hip/calf pain was evident from the outset. This intensified, getting worse as Marathon reached halfway point. I had no choice but to quit after 20.3miles.

This was possibly my lowest point as a runner. First ever DNF still hurts today.

Massive effort, all for nothing.

Why didn’t I stick with original plan to do the half marathon?

There was no time worry about it as I had another assignment to tackle. 

Twitter pal Brett Anderson had been doing a series of running events in aid of NSPCC, this included running LEEDS 10k as BATMAN. He was looking for a small person to take the role of ROBIN. 

I think you can guess where this is going 😂😂.  

How could I turn this invitation down?

Holding out for a hero – Colin.


Trotting round Leeds dressed like an idiot might not seem like everybody’s idea of fun but it was the perfect ‘pick-me-up’ after the failed marathon. 

I donned my ‘race kit’ and met Brett in Leeds city centre. 

We were also met by more friends from UKRunChat. 

UKRunChat legends Batman, Mandy, Tristan, Ian, Brian, Alison, Tom, myself and twin

Caped crusader and side kick ready for action

 

LEEDS 10k was an awesome experience. The support we received along the route was unrelenting. Running as Robin was a hot, sweaty but brilliant. 

LOW POINTS-

**Downside of the year ironically occurred on 2nd anniversary of my first race.

Behind the smiles I’ve been suffering personal issues since Oct/November 2016, which I don’t really want to go into. 

Losing my job on 12th July was a big blow but stress and other problems have been mounting for several months so something had to give. 

Running is therapeutic. It’s MY time, a chance to forget troubles.

This possibly explains the amount of races and miles I do.

Next up was the WINDMILL HALF MARATHON. Another chance to forget outside issues and just run. 

Met up with twitter pal Brian before the race. A pleasure as always. 

It was a good day. 

Windmill medal – very nice!

 
No employment at moment means extra time on hands. As mentioned before, running is only time I feel ‘free’ so LSR’s happened almost on a daily basic.

Rest days were cancelled even though I knew a time out was needed. 

On 19th July I ran 17miles to complete 2017 1000 mile challenge. 

Circumstances meant this happened much sooner than anticipated. 

Usual patterns followed……

Happy whilst running, VERY low afterwards. 

July 27th saw me spontaneously travel over to Preston to attempt ‘SALWICK SCORCHER’ MARARHON. 

I knew it was risky as my legs were not in great condition due to the heavy workload. The chance to bury the ghost of my failed marathon was too hard to refuse. 

Salwick Scorcher HQ

Salwick was certainly an experience I’ll never forget.

This was a multi lap race with 6x laps to complete the marathon. 

It was run in varying conditions including the heaviest rain I’ve ever run in. 

It was a tough race but I was still on for a reasonable marathon finish time as I approached the 26 mile mark.

Steady trot would mean a time of around 04:20:00 – All good.

This was where the problem occurred!

On final lap I somehow missed a turning and only realised when Garmin watch showed 27mile mark. 

I turned around and headed back, looking for the run route.

Thankfully running legend Adam Holland, having already finished his race passed by and was able to point me in right direction of race route.

I finally crossed finish line having run 29.37 miles!!

Those final 3 miles were long and slow. They nearly broke me! 
 

29.3mile marathons- not good for body or mind!

I can kind of laugh about it now although seeing my official ‘marathon’ finish time of 04:51.03 does frustrate. 

That said, to get a marathon done still felt as good as ever. 

IN SUMMARY : 

It’s been a record month of mileage (227.9 miles), with triumphs & disappointments along the way. 

Away from running it’s been a very bad 2017 and from a personal point of view, a horrible month of July. 

Hard fought race with medal and coffee as my reward

July medal haul.

Record mileage fuelled by personal issues

 
Running has been my only release at times.  It might sound weak but that is the situation. 

August tomorrow-

Hoping a new month brings fresh optimism. Im sure it will. 

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Blood, Sweat, Tears, Triumph, Tragedy & TweetUps – 2 years of running. 

12th July marks exactly TWO years since my first ever race so I thought it was about time I wrote my first blog. What an amazing rollercoaster it’s been. 

The start-

I kind of stumbled into running by accident.

I’d seen photographs of twitter pal Karl Rennison (& friends) from 2015 Leeds Half Marathon, and was rather envious. Seeing the joy & camaraderie amongst their group was so special. I wanted that same feeling myself but was 41 years old at time, had never done any sporting activities so thought it was an impossible dream.

May 15th 2015 is the day when all that changed.


I was having a few beers at a boxing function in Scarborough and just googled “How long to get fit”.

Google told me ‘couch potato to 10k’ can be done in 12 weeks.

I turned to my twin and said I might try a ‘bit of jogging’.

The next day I was in Leeds city centre and noticed a poster advertising 2015 Leeds 10k which was just 8 weeks away.

This got me thinking, could it be done? Run/walk if required. 

At 41 years old, I thought, it’s now or never.

I got phone out and registered there & then. I’ll be honest and say, I didn’t even know how many miles 10k was.

People laughed when I told them of my intentions. Most thought I was joking or would lose interest.

They couldn’t have been more wrong.

I instantly gave up drinking, ate better and starting training vigorously.

A friend told me about Park Run so I registered and made my debut Cross Flatts parkrun on 20th May 2015.

I was soon joined by my twin brother Keith who also took up the challenge and also entered the Leeds 10K. We did several parkruns and well & truly got the running bug. The effort & hard work paid off on July 12th when we both completed 2015 Leeds 10k. It was an amazing feeling which felt like a marathon at the time – the fulfilment of a dream.

The following day after completing the Leeds 10k we noticed Vale of York half marathon which was due to take place on September 20th 2015.

This was a fast, flat course. I asked my twin if he was willing to step up the distance? Thankfully he said yes so we entered it. 

Most said we were stupid and taking on too much but we just ignored them. I had found running much easier than I ever could have imagined. The half marathon was a daunting challenge but one we wanted to try do. 

The weeks went by and training was going very well. I was loving every minute of it. Couldn’t wait for the next chance to run. 

I had chance conversation with a manager at work who mentioned his wife was running 2015 Yorkshire Marathon which was due to take place in October. She was behind in her training and doing similar distances to us. 

This got me wondering if we could do the marathon ourselves. If she can do it, why can’t I?

We got home from work and went on line to book a place. The race was sold out. Only option was a charity place but it was too late to ask for sponsorship so we took decision to enter and pay for our own charity place – that’s £350 + £50 entry fee EACH. A massive amount but a small price to pay for a chance to achieve the ultimate dream.

It was high risk and a bit wreckless as we hadn’t even completed a half marathon.

On 20th September we completed the Vale Of York Half Marathon. 

Can’t explain my joy but I was also worried because I knew the ultimate challenge- a marathon was on the horizon.

The marathon almost never happened. Just 5days before the race we recieved the tragic news that my nephew (sisters son) had died in an accident at the age of 27yrs old. This obviously had a devastating effect on the entire family.

My sister insisted we go ahead & run the marathon in memory of her son.

So the big day arrived. 11th October, 2015, just 94 days after completing my first ever race, I was on the start line with my brother,  ready to take on the challenge of a lifetime.

Given what had happened just days earlier & the usual pre-marathon fears you would expect meant it was extremely hard, both physically & emotionally. The marathon itself was extremely tough. The raw emotion of the week which preceded it was too much to bear. Crossing the finish line brought out all the emotion. It was hard to fight back the tears.

Just 21 weeks & 2 days from the spontaneous decision to take up running, and 94 days after our first ever race we had done it.

I have since gone on to complete 75 races including 14 marathons and 32 half marathons, an Ultra whilst clocking up 1000’s of miles.

In summary….

I can’t express what an impact running has had on my life.

Was alway told I was useless. Running has changed that. It’s given me the confidence & belief I never had before. 

It’s also made me realise what an amazing, wonderful group the running community are.

I’ve met so many inspirational and amazing people along the way.

Meeting friends from twitter at races is without doubt the highlight of the day.

Their support has been immense. It’s something I’ll always be grateful for.

The last two years have been the best time of my life. That’s the honest truth.

It hasn’t been all plain sailing but the highs far out weight the lows, that’s for sure.

What does the future hold?

I just want to run happy and race for as long as I possibly can.

Key dates 

15th May 2015 – idea to run.

23rd May 2015 – first ParkRun

12th July 2015 – first race (Leeds10k)

20th Sept 2015 – first Half Marathon

13th Oct 2015- first Marathon

16th Dec 2016 -first Ultra.

Race stats

77 races.

14 Marathons.

32 Half Marathons

1 Ultra (30 miles) plus 1000’s of training miles.

Highs- 

First race, first marathon, marathon PB at York 2016, PB at Manchester HM 2016 and the TweetUps.

Low points- 

My first #DNF after 20.3miles at last saturdays canal marathon (it still hurts), injuries & missed races.

Thanks for everybody who supported me along the way, especially my twin brother who has been with me all of the way. I’m so proud of him. 

I have always tried to support others because I know how important it is.

Running has been a truly amazing, life changing experience.

Here’s to the next 2years, and beyond……..