Tag Archive for James Ellis

Oh no, 10 days left of life before 1095miles.com…

I write from my hidey hole in the back room of the flat. Nursing two achey knees. The pre-1095miles anxiety has well and truly set in. And I’m concerned. No, scared. What seemed like a good idea some weeks ago is finally, and at great speed, approaching reality!

I spoke to a lovely guy called Martin today (from www.timetorun.co.uk) about some 1095miles.com running shirts I’ve ordered. He told me he’d seen lots of crazy challenges over the time he’s been kitting people out in their finest challenge advertising clothing. Martin mentioned the 7 marathons in 7 days and other truly insane challenges that are, in his view, nigh on impossible. It was nice to hear him say that the 1095miles.com challenge was, in his words ”achievable”. “It’s a massive personal commitment, but at least it’s an achievable target” he said. Thanks Martin…

Nice to hear. Achieveable, yes. Daunting? Without doubt! So here it is, I’m going to run *at least* 3 miles every day, for a year. There, I said it. To the world. I’m in and there’s no getting out now.

In an attempt to make myself feel better about the situation, I checked my trusty (not so trusty at present but more on that at some later date!) Garmin 305 to see what I have achieved in my first year of running. 450 miles. Ah. Nowhere near then! It’s been an incredibly long year of running for me with many a set back and a few injuries to contend with. I’ve seen more physio’s than you would believe and have, in great detail, had medical explanations of why I’m not really a runner physically. As I hope you’ll understand, the next year is going to be a challenge in many ways.

So why? Well, those of you who know me already will be aware I’ve been working with a charity called Sense for some years now, leading holidays for deafblind people. The prospect of coping with the loss of my sight or hearing is enough for me to decide that to put myself out for an hour a day to raise a few quid and make sure a few more people hear about what Sense do is a small gesture in support of their work, and one (that Martin says) I can achieve.

Enough of the reasons why I’m personally taking it on and back to the man of the moment, James. I met james a few months back now and he’s a really great bloke. I had been following his blog for many months prior to this as it was a great motivator. There’s a sense that you’re not the only non-runner trying to run and finding it hard work. I think James has made the transition to being a true runner and athlete through the months of dedication and I am in awe of his achievement. He still claims to not be a runner but I think we should all congratulate him on a superb achievement and one which has driven me to keep running and to accept the baton in just a few days time.

I hope you will enjoy following my challenge over the coming months. James will continue to blog regularly too, though I believe he wants a break from running daily for some reason 😉 There is a third blogger joining us too, Damian but I shall leave the honour to him to introduce himself. I also hope you will be able to (geographical location permitting) join one of us for a few miles. I have 365 possible dates available in my diary, it’d be great to have some new people to run with. We’ve also had this crazy plan to try and get the “1095miles.com plodders” off the ground too. If you’re London based and available on a Wednesday evening, come and join us for a few gentle and not at all competitive miles.

Anyway, here’s to (hopefully) another great year for 1095miles.com and give one of us a shout if you’re interested in getting some miles in with us… see you on the 21st… or beyond!


Please support my fundraising efforts for Sense here – VirginMoneyGiving
Thanks, it’s appreciated!

The new look 1095miles.com

First of all, apologies to anyone trying to read today who could not get onboard – but we’ve been migrating the site to the new, fresher design that can do some cooler stuff like actually displaying the Garmin/Google maps on each post so you don’t have to click through if you just want an overview of where I/we ran.

I say ‘we’ because Andy will be taking on the 1095 challenge in 20 days and will begin blogging too and, while I will still be popping in to let you know about my running, he will be, ahem running the main show.

As such, in ‘categories’ on the left, you can now see the 13 months I have ran in under James Ellis’ runs, when Andy takes over, his will follow suit, so you can follow one, both or none of us.

We’ve also decided to launch an informal social running club that will be setting off every Wednesday evening in Hyde Park and, when we can work it out, there will also be a dedicated 1095miles Twitter account for those minded to follow it.

As for today’s run, I was still hurting real bad in the shins but it was a lovely sunny afternoon when I went out and so I decided to take a nice slow run around Streatham Common. Loads of people were out sunning themselves and it was quite lovely to drop back to 10minutes a mile and just enjoy it.

Miles today: 3
Target: 1041
Miles to date: 1,457.68
Please donate to my chosen charities by clicking here

The run

The hangover runs are the worst

I was very silly last night. It was Stephanie Boyle, PR manager at Visit Britain’s leaving do and I’d said I’d pop in for a couple after my course as I had to be up early to go again.

Best laid plans and all that… I ended up leaving at 11pm, a mixture of red wine and strong lager coursing through my veins. 5am, this morning and it was me cursing… my stupidity.

My head ached, I felt sick, had to go for a run and be in some kind of shape to not look stupid on the course. I ended up stumbling around Streatham like an idiot and turning up at the course feeling even worse.

One of the things we have been learning are nutrition guidelines: one of the main ones is no CRAP (caffeine, refined, alcohol and additives, processed). Of course, for me it all went out of the window.

Click here for a link to Garmin Connect for a map and details of the run

Miles today: 3
Target: 1020
Miles to date: 1,421.68

Please donate to my chosen charities by clicking here

Today should have gone smoothly…

… but it didn’t

Today was meant to be a nice easy run – just a three miler after yesterday’s 14 miler and associated fuel tank problem.

The idea, as I was on the PT course in Southwark was to knock off there at 5pm and head to Hyde Park for a 6pm meet and run with Andy who is taking over the challenge and Damo, his pal, who will be joining him on some of the runs and trying to do 1095miles in the year but as a cummulative total rather than an every day challenge.

All well and good until about 4.45 – we’d even been doing some stretching techniques on the course and I was more than happy to let most of the group get in some pracitice on my hamstrings.

Then, just before we left, I noticed the Garmin was at about 5 per cent charge…. I was about to go on a run with nothing in place to record the fact I’d done it.

iphone in hand, I Google mapped the nearest running shop, London City Runner on Ludgate Circus, over the Bridge from where I was. I decided to run over, switch the watch on to get some mileage under the belt and pray they had a Garmin charger in stock.

A mile – or eight minutes later and I was in the shop. Great, a charger was found and I stumped up an extra £16 – only to discover it was a USB charger with no plug.

“Please tell me you have the adaptor,” I begged. The Aussie girl behind the counter started to root around… “I’m not sure we do she replied,” before finally locating one. Another tenner thank you very much.

Then I was off to the local Starbucks for a cuppa and some charge. At 30 per cent, I thought I was good to go and went for a pre-run number 2… only to find half way through there were only two sheets of loo roll in the john that necessitated me using them before heading out for some more tissues and back in.

Great – 30 minutes to get across London to meet the boys – jump on a bus I thought, failing to take into account rush hour traffic.

Ten minutes later and we had crawled a few hundred yards and so it was out of the bus and on another run… I was doing all this by the way with my backpack with normal clothes and school books in. It weighed a ton and running with it through rush hour commuters was no fun.

By the time I got to Hyde Park, I already had 2.5miles on the clock.

Thankfully, meeting the boys was a great idea – despite the fact I still had to run three miles with them. They’ve both got some great ideas for where we can take the site when Andy takes over in September…

More to be revealed in the coming days and weeks.

Click here for a link to Garmin Connect for a map and details of the run

Miles today: 6.18
Target: 1014
Miles to date: 1,415.68

Please donate to my chosen charities by clicking here

14 miles, 1,400 miles and running out of gas

As part of my training for the Athens Marathon, I had to do a 14 miler today… No problem I thought, after doing just over a half marathon last week.

With more DIY and some paid-for writing work to complete, I decided to set off early and was out of the house for 7.30am, fuelling up with a banana and some Maxifuel Viper to give me an energy boost.

When I first set off, it was sprinkling with rain which got a little heavier about four miles in when I hit Wandsworth Common.

At this point, I was doing okay, congratulating myself on passing the 1,400 mile mark for the year and feeling pretty chipper and full of beans thanks to the carbs and the cooler weather.

Six and a half miles and I crossed Battersea bridge to get on the north side of the Thames and after running down the Embankment in Chelsea for a while, crossing back at Chelsea Bridge.

I slowed a little here, it must have been 7.5 miles to grab an energy sachet from my shorts and pulled my iphone out at the same time.

Alex Kyprianou, who I mentioned yesterday was saying how much he missed the chance to run in London since he has been living in Oz, so I decided to take a snap to show him what he’s really missing

Cold and wet on the Thames

Yes Alex, it’s still the height of summer!

On the other side of the bridge, some idiot passed in a car and flicked a fag butt out of the window that hit me on the hand, sticking momentarily to the expanding gap filler I got on my hands in yesterday’s DIY fest.

After cursing him to high heaven, through Battersea and Clapham I trekked, feeling pretty good and going at around 8 minutes a mile and thinking I was doing well on a long training run for the second week running.

By the time I got back to Tooting though, two miles from home, every bit of energy in me decided to bugger off and I hit a bigger wall than I ever have, even in the marathon.

For about a mile, I had to grit teeth, slow down and just push on as best as I could… I knew if I stopped i would not start again and the psychological blow would have been massive.

In the end, I stumbled back to Streatham, a little short on mileage, so I had to do a round of Sainsbury’s car park to make up.

For next week’s long one, I need to take more gels with me.

Tomorrow, I’m back on the PT course for a week… wish me luck.

Click here for a link to Garmin Connect for a map and details of the run

Miles today: 14
Target: 1011
Miles to date: 1,409.50

Please donate to my chosen charities by clicking here

Mums always think you're the best

Please donate to my chosen charities by clicking here

I swear there was a time, maybe ten or 15 years ago, where doing any kind of exercise, never mind a big challenge was kind of frowned upon. It seems like it used to be that instead of counting the miles you ran, the number of pints you drank was your badge of honour.

I’m not sure where the change came from – these days it seems everyone is at the gym or racing a 5k or half marathon – but I suspect it came over from the States. While the Midwest may still have its fair share of dumplings, New York and LA have always been terribly body conscious. And over the past few years, people have taken it one further by raising cash for charity at the same time.

Whatever the reason, Greece, where I was brought up and where my mum still lives, is still pretty much behind the UK when it comes to this kind of thing. Sure people go to the gym and they don’t drink loads but you hardly ever see anyone out just pounding the streets simply because they enjoy running. And no one does extreme events for charity.

I was telling George, my Greek brother-in-law about the Portsmouth Half Marathon the other day and how some runners had mates located around the race who would pass them a bottle of water or a banana. He said: ‘In Greece, your mates would be passing you a cup of espresso and a fag’ – and he was only half joking.

So trying to explain to my mum what I’ve been doing for the last six months has all been a bit of challenge. She’s 75 bless her and not lived in England for more than 35 years so the idea of running for fun, running loads and raising money for charity by running are alien ideas.

She gets that I’m running a lot… but that’s about it. I was telling her about Sunday’s half-marathon yesterday and the conversation went something like this:

‘So mum, I ran this half marathon.’
‘What’s that?’
‘It’s a race, like a marathon but half the distance.’
‘So it’s not a marathon?’
‘No mum, that’s why it’s called a half marathon.’
‘So did you win?’
‘No, I came 174th’
‘It sounds like you had no chance of winning.’
‘I didn’t’
‘So why do it?’
‘For fun, to take part, to see how good I am.’
‘Trelos.’ (it means crazy)

A bit of silence followed where I think neither of us knew where to take the running conversation. And then she came back with:

‘So, with all this running, will you be training for the London Olympics?’

Bless her, she really did think I had a chance of running in the Olympics, despite the fact I’m 42, have been running seriously for less than a year and have knackered legs.’

You’ve got to love mums, they always think their kids are the best.

Miles today: 3
Target: 564
Miles to date: 741.07

Click here for a Google Map and full details of the day’s run

The make or break run

Well that was interesting… a supposed 17mile run that ended up being 18.5 thanks to my map reading going out the window somewhere around Wimbledon Common, a relatively stiff and not a little painful first three miles, a great middle section around the Common and a last couple of miles where I stumbled from step to step like someone who’s just had a night on Lagavunin single malt (which I did by the way).

Laura had me a freezing bath on for when I got back. I lasted two minutes in two different goes of one each and followed it with a hot bath to try and warm myself up. Now Im in front of the fire, with a hot water bottle, cup of tea, ice pack on legs and, despite just having a double helping of porridge, am still starving – not unreasonable given Garmin Connect estimates I’ve spent nearly 3,000 calories running this morning.

My feet, by the way, are becoming like proper runner’s feet, the blisters from the Portsmouth Half Marathon have now turned into hard skin and the hard skin has blisters on it… one of them a nice juicy one full of blood I’m contemplating popping. Around the rest of my feet, particularly on the heels, the skin is getting all gnarly and worn – I wonder if a toe nail might go at some point.

Tomorrow is the acid test though, how I react to today’s run will determine a lot about my future endeavours.

Oh, I forgot to say… today was the furthest I have ever ran in my life!

Click here for a Google Map and full details of the day’s run

Miles today: 18.5
Target: 507
Miles to date: 655.9

Want to dedicate a run to someone or have one dedicated to you? Click here

Split to the gym and back

Still a little tight today so another fairly easy run that I actually split in two.

I’d not made it the gym at all this week so decided to run there and back, happily, in another case of running serendipity, it’s about 1.47 miles to the gym…

Click here for a Google Map and full details of the day’s run

Miles today: 3.00
Target: 477
Miles to date: 615.19

Want to dedicate a run to someone or have one dedicated to you? Click here

Signed up for the disney Marathon

Very excited yesterday to find out Disney actually hosts a marathon around Walt Disney World in Orlando every January that runs through the four parks – I’ve already put my name down to come back next year and run it.

This morning’s run was another dark one as we have another early start but I managed to just run a straight and back instead of going around the lakes as I have done the other days I’ve been here.

It’s something I’d not done previously as I had no idea where the road that goes right from our hotel goes, but we drove it yesterday (it heads to Epcot park) and so, even though I knew it was dark, I kind of knew where I was going…

I’m not sure if I ended up somewhere in one of the back lots at one point, but I did pass a building called Disney University – I’m sure they give Mickey Mouse degrees.

Click here for a Google Map and full details of the day’s run

Miles today: 3.00
Target: 435
Miles to date: 548.78

Want to dedicate a run to someone or have one dedicated to you? Click here

Walt Disney World Orlando, the second run

I set out a little later today than yesterday and could actually see where I was running to!

Our hotel, the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World looks over Bay Lake which joins with neighbouring Seven Seas Lagoon (where we zipped around on Sea Raycers yesterday, see Worldofjames.com) and there’s a path that leads someway around the latter and so I headed that way, running almost as far as the Grand Floridian resort before having to turn back.

At the road that splits the two resorts (and lakes for that matter), I was a little short on distance but zipping up and down the queue lines, separated by chain, for the ferry boat service that starts later in the day and goes between the Contemporary and the Floridian made up for it.

Normally, I’d hate winding around them, this morning they were  a godsend.

Click here for a Google Map and full details of the day’s run

Miles today: 3.00
Target: 429
Miles to date: 542.78

Want to dedicate a run to someone or have one dedicated to you? Click here