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Monday, 22 April 2013

The Virgin London Marathon 2013

Here we are then, totally off Ironman plan this week as i prepare for the weekends marathon.

Calorie burn January = 29,160
Calorie burn February = 34,932
Calorie burn for March = 47,799
Calorie burn for April =  19,143
Calories burnt for the year = 131,034


No training today although had a 2 mile walk to work and back. Calf still a bit painful. Bought some deep heat to rub in and have continued to use the foam roller.

Overshadowing any of this though is the terrible news that has come out of Boston tonight. A cowardly act of terrorism took place this evening with two bombs exploding near the Boston Marathon finish line. 3 people dead & many have been injured at the time of writing this. Why things like this happen is beyond me.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families.


No exercise again, sometimes think the calf is improving, then it starts aching again. So, foam roller, deep heat and ibuprofen is order of the day again.

Plan of action is now in place for the weekend. My friend Andy is doing all the driving, which gives me more rest. He will also run me up to Greenwich Park on the Sunday morning. Andy & Danny will then head into the city centre to watch the race.

Wednesday & Thursday

Cut out the hard foam rollering due to bruised calf. Have continued with light massaging and deep heat.


Finished work at 3.30pm to go buy supplies for the weekend. Also bought my dustbin lid sized pizza. Should be plenty of carbs in that. Packed all my bags ready for tomorrows trip to London

The Virgin London Marathon 2013 weekend

Crap nights sleep. Even worse than the sleep deprivation I've had for the past week. Had a normal breakfast of toast, banana, yogurt & waited for Andy & Danny to turn up at 8am.  8.10 am, no sign of the boys, was about to call them up to see if anyone is OK just as the knock on the door came. They had been driving round various parts of Lakenham as Andy had forgotten where i lived.

Ready to fire up the Sat Nav to find Andy's Sat Nav couldn't find the postcode for the Travelodge at Battersea. Luckily Danny had brought his so a quick rummage in the boot & we had a fresh Sat Nav with a route to follow. Time. 8.30am.

No music on the way down as Andy's radio didn't work outside of Norfolk (same as his Sat Nav) so he had asked us to bring ipod's. Although we had know means of connecting the iphones to the stereo though. (noticed on the way home, Danny pulled out a full thing of CD's from the glove compartment so not sure why ipods were

Arrived on the outskirts of London in pretty quick time. It was difficult to navigate with the sat Nav as Danny had set it up with the crappiest view, an aerial view that made no sense to anyone driving. Suggested changing it to first person perspective, happy days. We were going to head to the hotel first then shoot back over to Excel but seeing the Millennium dome not far away we decided to park near Poplar & catch the DLR from there, this saved us loads of time.


Arrived at Expo around 10.30am I think. Had a bit of a mission with the train ticket machine trying to work out what ticket we needed. The first of a couple of ticket machine issues.

Spent about two hours at the Expo. Our lunch consisted of protein bars and chewy energy sweets that were being offered out in abundance. Only bought some of my usual energy gels as they were £4 cheaper & a bag of energy beans (which turned out to be crap)

Registration took around 10 minutes including getting my chip.

Thoughts were always going to be with Boston
Andy & Danny tempted by Comrades
 We were tempted into doing a few of the other marathons that were being promoted at the event.
Jerusalem looked interesting. Although security would be a concern, despite the guy promoting it telling me it was probably one of the safest marathons. Yeah right.

Others we were interested in are 4 days, 4 marathons in Ireland. Danny is thinking of doing Amsterdam this year. Both of us may do Berlin in 2014.

Leaving the Expo

Got to drive over Tower Bridge which was a novelty for us

Got to hotel around 2pm. Went to check in but they wanted a tenner for checking in an hour earlier. Battersea Travelodge is probably the scruffiest, miserably staffed hotel I've ever stayed in. At a mere £30 a night in London, it was OK though. Rooms were clean & good enough. As a resident we were also able to park for the whole weekend for £10 as well.

Decided not to take advantage of the £10 per hour early booking in charge or make use of the extensive lounge area (sarcasm). Headed up to a weatherspoons we'd past earlier to get some more lunch & take away the sickly taste of all the protein bars & energy gel sweets we had troffed in the Expo.

Pleasantly surprised to find the Weatherspoons prices in Battersea were the same as Norwich, so got a meal and drink for around £6 each. Andy was asked for his ID. Turned out this was a joke that the barman uses regularly, he then proceeded to go into detail about how often he used this hilarious joke.

Went back to the Hotel. Ended up having some bizarre conversations about Norwich being in Holland & there not being any sea view rooms in the Battersea Travelodge, with the guys on reception. Wished i hadn't made the joke comment 'can you tell me where the pool is please?'

Danny had also made a bad on the room booking & not booked twin beds, unfortunately there were no other spare rooms so they had to share a double bed. Much to my amusement & a weekend of gay boy banter.

Sorted my kit out for Sunday, pinned my number and black ribbon to my top then had a couple of hours dozing.

Went for tea at Wetherspoons then back to the Hotel for around 9pm. Sleep for me, spooning for Andy & Danny

The Virgin London Marathon Race day

Crap nights sleep, same ol. Woke up every hour from 1 am. Hotel was also quite noisy all night.
Got up at 6 am. Had a pot of porridge & a breakfast bar thing. Was going to have a second porridge pot but couldn't face it. Couple of cups of coffee, shower & i was ready to go.

Andy & Danny drove me towards Greenwich park, roads were clear till about a mile away so i hopped out the car & tubed the following bit. May have paid me to walk the rest of the mile from getting out the car because it felt like I'd walked another 2 miles once disembarking from the Tube.

Green start was great, still queues for toilets but blokes were only waiting for 5 minutes to use the urinals. Was a bit unpleasant wading to your trough through the soggy grass which one can only assume was your fellow runners urine.

Free coffee  & tea. Had a chat with a few celebs then chucked my bag on the lorry. Didn't need to bother with a bin bag to keep warm this year as the weather was glorious sunshine.

Green Start & blue skys
 Celebrity area

Probably some TOWIE's & Hollyoakers in this one. I wouldnt know who though.

Naga Munchetty from Breakfast TV

Ed Balls running for Whizz kids

Mike Bushell from Breakfast TV. Mike carried a video camera to film himself ll the way round

Susanna Reid from Breakfast TV

Harry Judd from McFly
Sophie Anderton

Andrew Strauss & Sophie Raworth in the background
Went to my starting pen at 9.50am and set my iphone to tweet & update FB via mapmyride app every mile. This turned out to be a disaster & i think only a few updates went out. Two people i was stood next to in the pen were from Norfolk. One lived in Bungay, cant remember what the other said but she had lived on Unthank Road for a while. Small world. A whistle blew & silence descended everywhere as everyone cast their thoughts to the victims of the Boston bombing earlier in the week.

As there were not as many runners going from green start i was going over the start line within 2 minutes . My plan had been to run round in around a 10 min/mile pace as this has been what I'm most comfortable at. However, the pace at the start was sub 9 min/mile. I decided to stay with this for a while to see how it went.

I had forgotten how crowded it was, it was like the first lap of Eaton park run in Norwich, but stayed like that  for a good 12 miles.

Felt really good & I was keeping a sub 9min/mile pace for 6 miles & importantly, no calf pain. By 7 miles i was in to sub 10 min mile pace. My plan had now changed as i felt so good, & i was going to try hold this pace now as long as possible. Thoughts of a sub 4 hour run were flushing through my mind.

Mile 9, commeth the niggles. I never suffer from chafing, so i hadn't bothered with greasing up anywhere. So it was a surprise when i started to feel a burning sensation around my right arm pit. Took me another mile to realise what was actually happening. Thankfully there were lots of St Johns ambulance volunteers handing out Vaseline so i was able to grab a lump of that & proceeded to rub it everywhere.

16 miles i was still on a sub 10 min/mile. But i was starting to feel it now. Legs were starting to ache especially around my groin. Calves were remarkably fine. I was now in the hardest part of the Marathon in my opinion. The trek from Tower bridge round Docklands and back. You don't realise how far this is & it does seem to drag on & on.

The temperature had really ramped up by this point & i could feel my neck & head starting to burn. Last thing on any ones mind before the start was to put suncream on. The dextrose tabs I'd been munching on were really good. The sports beans had by now melted into one glob in my shorts though. Didn't really need to carry additional stuff as there were water stops every mile, Lucozade stops every few miles & two gel stations. Running though the gel station was like a night on the dance floor in the Waterfront, Norwich.

17 to 18 miles i was really slowing up. Down to sub 11 min/mile. This however had been my average pace over my my long training runs so i was feeling chuffed that I'd kept my pace up & only had 8 miles to go.

It was around this point i was running next to Sian Williams from the BBC. We saw a lady in front of us whose legs just turned to jelly & she slumped to the floor. Sian went back to help whilst the rest of us tried to find a paramedic to send down there. This was the first of many people i saw flake out from this point onwards.

I was really starting to struggle now & my legs were seizing up. I had a tight pain in the left hand side of my groin. I wanted to stop and walk a bit but one of my goals was to run it all. At 20 miles i was still trotting although my pace was sub 11 min/miles now.

At 23 miles i had to pull up, i could hardly move my left leg forward let alone run. I grabbed a barrier and started trying to stretch my groin and calves out. My legs were so wobbly when i stopped i must have looked like a baby giraffe. Even with that quick stop i still did a 12 min mile.

Only 3 miles to go, i was telling myself it is only a park run now, i do these  every week. I could also feel a burning on the side of my foot which would no doubt be a blister. The most uncomfortable thing now though was feeling my toe nail being slowly tugged off with every step i took.

2 miles to go & i was having to run walk. Although this was minimal, the support from the crowd definitely played a big part in getting me running again.

Finally saw the 800 metres to go sign. The only thing on my mind now was to get in before 4 hours 30mins. I had wanted to video the finish so i got my phone and hit what i thought was record, videoing the crowds, myself and crossing the finish line. Turns out it was in camera mode so i just wound up with one photo of my feet.

Big, big thanks to the crowd, the support for 26 miles is unbelievable, such an amazing atmosphere

Finish time 4:29:31

London marathon route -

Got my medal, bag & goody bag then called Danny & Andy who were in the VIP Grandstand. They actually met Richard Branson & family who were sat just behind them.

I had to stand up in the meet & great area so the lads could see me but i was starting to feel very flaky now. They arrived just in time & i was able to sit & sort my feet out. Toe nail was black & i had a blister the size of a slug on the side of my foot. Slipped into my sandals, that felt so good. Thanks to the girl who sorted out my Virgin stuff for that tip.

We headed for the after party which was a short walk (thankfully) to Planet Hollywood. As usual the Virgin staff were so friendly & hospitable. As i walked in to Planet Hollywood my name was announced over a loud speaker congratulating me for finishing. To which everyone i there turned round and applauded me. That was weird being centre of attention in an environment like that for that moment. Was a lovely touch though.

Free drinks were then dished out, Danny made the most of the free beer, good job as Andy & I were on cokes. Plateaus of food were coming round. Lots of food was available, i had a much needed plate of roast salmon & chips. Followed by a big slice of chocolate cake. With that & 3 pints of coke i was feeling alive again. I then went for my massage in the James Bond room which hit the spot.

The Virgin Air Hostesses were lovely girls.
Big thanks to all at Virgin for making our weekend even extra special. Their face to face customer service as ever is second to non.

So, left the party around 5pm & went back to the hotel in Battersea to get the car. Was a couple of miles walk from the tube but i think that helped loosen the legs a bit more.

Arrived home at 9pm, hugged my girls, showered, went to bed.

 Will have a few more pictures to post up from the day once Andy & Danny send theirs through.

So, writing this on the morning after, feeling stiff as a board. Be no training until Wednesday when I'll go for a swim. May do a small bike ride on Thursday. The get ready for the 5k Swimathon next Sunday.



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