Tag Archive for Sense

Day 203 – The post marathon punishment and the full ‘Brighton Marathon (…The Return)’ race review

I left the run until late afternoon. My left ankle is very dodgy, just like a few weeks ago when it went ping so I’ll be very cautious. I cannot walk down stairs with any control or indeed composure! Every muscle in the lower half of my body aches a lot. I still have a smile on my face, I broke three and a half hours, did I mention it? πŸ˜‰

Last night I woke up every two hours, doubled up with abdominal pain. No doubt that was the result of the preventative medicine I’d had to take in the morning just before the marathon and I had a thoroughly terrible night’s sleep. I’m still suffering now, 36 hours later. Being this worn out and then getting very little sleep leaves you in a horrible state the next day and I feel truly shocking today! Add to this the neck and shoulder are still not right, I still feel stiff and they ache constantly, my stomach is tied in knots, the abdominal pain persists and you have the recipe for a terrible run.

Today’s run was really tough. My legs weren’t up for it and it hurt all the way to three miles. I managed to keep just over a nine min/mile pace somehow, but not without pushing through some serious pain. Even the act of stopping myself running to walk after I’d hit 3 miles hurt in my thighs, but I was pleased to find that the stiffness in my calves and thighs had eased a little in the post run shower.

And now for the full Brighton Marathon race report

The 2011 Brighton Marathon

It’s been a long build up to today. This is the big one. The truly long run of the challenge year’s calendar.

Brighton hosted it’s second marathon today and along with a good few other runners I know, I lined up at the start to see Steve Cram fire the pistol and set us all on our not-so-merry way, 26.2 miles shy of the finish line.

I’m here today to compete in a marathon, though there isn’t a single person in the field I’m actually competing against. I’m here to beat myself. Break my PB. Even that’s a bit of a misnomer really, having only run one marathon before (and that was Brighton last year). The time to beat is 4h41. It went sort of like this…

07:00 Against all the rules and all of the advice I tuck into a bowl of cornflakes, a full english and a large pot of strong coffee. How bad can it be?

07:15 Off we go to Preston Park. The barriers are up, the marshalls are out, there’s a buzz about Brighton this morning.

07:30 Time for the Imodium to combat the adverse effects of anti-inflammatory pills. This is not going to be a good day!

08:00 There appear to be a sea of runners making their way up to Preston Park for the 2011 Brighton marathon. It’s a hilly challenge in parts and many are here sporting t-shirts advertising they’re return competitors from last year, as is your’s truly. Damian and I find James and our official photographer does a great job of capturing the moment. James appears to be sporting a knee support and receives intense interrogation on the subject. Turns out he’s still as crazy as he ever was and is planning to run his three heroic events this week on said dodgy knee!

08:15 Whilst discussing target finishing times I show my 3h30m target finishing time wrist band on my right wrist and my back stop 3h40m timing band on my left. Damian says that breaking 3h30m will qualify me for the Boston marathon. It’s unanimously agreed that Boston would be a great place to go, so I agree that my target is now to break 3h30! I text my brother and tell him that 12:30-13:00 finish is no longer the target, he should be at the finish line from 12:15, I’m feeling good this morning. Frankly all of this is pie in the sky at this point. I have no real basis upon which to claim I could run sub 3h30.

08:30 Damian and I wander off to the back pen discussing his plan for the run, making sure he’s comfortable with everything and on the way I spot Heather, a lady who volunteered with me on a Sense holiday a couple of years back. Damian tells me I know too many people!

08:45 I wished Damian the best of luck and headed down to the blue pen, just behind the club runners and elites. In the pen I meet a guy called Sacha who is running for Sense. Nice bloke, we had an interesting chat about what Sense do, the 1095miles challenge and his running career too.

The Front Runners at the Start

09:00 Bang, the gun goes. We’re stationary for an awfully long time. Then I hear the PA announce that the 3h30 pacer has just passed under the gantry. He’s some way ahead of me so I resolve to catch him up, but not before a good 15 or 16 miles at least. We’re off. This is exciting. I click into an 8 min/mile pace from the start, only slowed a little by the large proportion of the field who seem surprised by the hill after the first bend!

Another 'Where's Andy?' Competition ;-)

The Guys at Saucony Clearly have a Sense of Humour

What little time I’d lost on the way up the hill (to the highest point on the course!) was quickly regained on the way back down. As I passed by the Start line for the second time, I spotted Damian still walking towards the start. I shouted over to him and he replied “Run faster!”

Settled in my pace, the next few miles went really nicely. I’d set the Garmin to ping every half mile and update me on my average pace for that section. If you click through to the Garmin map for yesterday’s post, you’ll see just how consistently I managed to hit my target 8min/mile pace (look at the lap splits).

After about 5 miles I met another Sense runner whose name has sadly slipped my mind. We had a brief chat and on I went. I caught up with Heather on the way back down to St. Dunstan’s and wished her luck before she told me to get going and let her know how I did at the end. At 10 miles I saw Damian again. He’d have been at about 6 miles I guess and he looked like he was enjoying it. Once again, more “Run faster you slow coach” type banter came my way.

I crossed the half way point at about 1h42m. That’s only 6 minutes shy of my half marathon PB so I was a little concerned I may have gone out too quick in the first half. I finally saw the 3h30m pacer in front of me at around 15.5 miles and caught him up by mile 16. I had a chat with him about how he was pacing the miles and he seemed to think I was looking good for finishing it at this pace, mainly due to the fact that I looked ok and wasn’t really feeling it yet. We compared stop watch times and I jokingly said it was so I could work out exactly how far I could let him get ahead of me at the finish! I carried on creeping ahead of the pacer and met a guy called Kris who was keeping an eye on, and trying to keep ahead of the pacer I’d just been speaking to.

Kris and I ran and chatted for the next nine miles. This was a really good thing for me and I think for Kris too. At least four miles just seemed to pass without notice and even the tougher later miles were made somewhat easier as we shared the odd joke, often about how we kept looking back for the 3h30 pacer, and discussed why we had chosen to support the Charities we were both running for. At 24 miles or so, Kris was looking much stronger than me for the finish so I wished him luck and off he went at one hell of a rate! Nice to meet you Kris.

Then my ankle went a bit wobbly. The same left ankle that plagued me all those weeks ago. I plodded on for the last mile trying my best not to twist it unnecessarily and slowed down a bit for the last half a mile. I really had no clue what time I’d run, only that Mr 3h30m Pacer was behind me so I knew I’d broken the revised target!

Moments Before I Smashed the 3h30 Target!

Crossing the Line in Under 3h30m!

Wearing my Post Marathon BacoFoil

I'm Smiling Because I Know it's a Fast Time!

I found out moments later that I had crossed the line in a chip time of 3 hours 25 minutes and 38 seconds (PB). That’s an hour and sixteen minutes off last year πŸ˜‰

My brother had assumed the faster target finsih time was just bravado and missed me crossing the line by about 5 minutes!

We headed back to the hotel and I showered. Met my brother and had a quick beer, then dashed out to try and spot Damian coming in. I’d expected him at around 4h50m, given the 21 degrees predicted (And I’m very sure it was 21 degrees!) but he was nowhere to be seen. I did spot Keith though, coming in to claim a superb 4h57m. Very well done mate! I even got a photo.


Having decided we’d missed Damian, we began to walk towards the pub that was planned as the venue for post marathon celebrations, with a workmate of mine Sam whose wife Megan had run the event too. As we walked along, there he was! We shouted over, but he’d put the dreaded headphones in and couldn’t hear us. I’ll let Damian blog the story for himself and save the punchline for him to reveal…

And speaking of Damian. It turns out that the qualification time for Boston is 3h05m. Well done buddy, you got me to break 3h30m, even though you were wrong!

Damian and I have agreed to have a go at beating our PB’s in Chester in October.

I said if I ran a marathon in under 3h50m I’d call myself a runner. Done!

Oh, and I’ve redeemed my priority entry for 2012 already. I’m in!


Today’s shoes: Newish Kayano 17β€²s
Miles today: 3.00
Target: 609
Miles to date: 794.33
“You also need to look back, not just at the people who are running behind you but especially at those who don’t run and never will… those who run but don’t race…those who started training for a race but didn’t carry through…those who got to the starting line but didn’t cross the finish line…those who once raced better than you but no longer run at all. You’re still here. Take pride in wherever you finish. Look at all the people you’ve outlasted.
– Joe Henderson

Day 146 – Nine o’clock on a Sunday?

I was out… I’m not kidding here… at 9am this morning. And it’s Sunday! Lot’s to do today and so had to get the run out of the way. I suggested yesterday that I would need to start running 7 miles or more every Sunday as from today. As you will no doubt notice, I only ran 4 today. I don’t have time to run further today and so will delay the long(er) run until tomorrow evening.

I’m still on the lookout for a place in the Wilmslow half in March if anyone would like to admit they have one they don’t need any longer… You can contact me here

Finally, I see it’s been announced that Steve Cram is firing the starting pistol at the Brighton Marathon. With a bit of luck I’ll have heard from him beforehand and run with him prior to the marathon πŸ˜‰

That’s all for today, have a good Sunday.


Miles today: 4.00
Target: 438
Miles to date: 523.30
Make a difference to a deafblind person.Β  Volunteer for Sense at an event or holiday in 2011
Find out more at www.sense.org.uk/volunteering

Day 128 – The A400 run AGAIN!

So after the debacle of last night’s train delays, I find myself roughly at the start end of the Skins A400 Landmark Challenge yet again! Just shy of 36 minutes later I’d done the 4.3 miles to Trafalgar, thought I have to report, it wasn’t ideal conditions. There is some serious building work going on a centre point so overall there are a good 2-3 minutes of waiting at traffic lights and general confusion around the CP area too. Shame, but I was in no rush anyway, having promised myself no running heroics this week in the lead up to the half.

5.2 miles down, I’m left with the realisation (and I know the deal was never to beat the target mileage by as much as possible, but as was pointed out today by a colleague, I have a certain competitive streak hiding *just* below the surface) that I am now over 60 miles ahead of the target mileage. Not bad, that’s half a mile a day, roughly over the first third of the year. I’m hoping it’ll start to ramp up soon, given the marathon looming in the near distance!

Damian and I were planning to get a practice half in, about 5 weeks from now. The suggestion is to do the first half of Brighton (yes, I know, that’s the hilly bit of course!). Anyone care to join us?

As threatened, blogging will be hit and miss for a few days now. I’m on for an early run tomorrow morning then throwing the running gear into my bag and heading into town. Barcelona here I come…

Enjoy Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, just in case I can’t get to you in the meantime.

Say Hi if you see me in Barcelona (I won’t bite). I’ll be running EVERY DAY as usual and will make sure I have the 1095 t-shirts on for the occasion.

Have a good one,


Miles today: 5.20
Target: 384
Miles to date: 446.05

Day 127 – Tuesday run and challenging trains

This evening was the weekly Tuesday run. After a gentle three miles, I dashed off to complete the extra half. So I ran 3.77 miles due to a little miscalculation in how far the entrance to the park was, no problems though, which is a good sign lately.

A beer or two later and I was off to Waterloo to get on a train. Delays on all screens didn’t bode well. I gave up, quickly. Off to kip at my brother’s for the evening and as was planned anyway, I’d run into work. Just a bit further than the usual run-train-run routine…

Early one tomorrow down to the factory, then home to pack my running gear for the trip out to Barcelona.

Have a good Wednesday…


Miles today: 3.77
Target: 381
Miles to date: 440.85

Day 126 – Commuting’s frustrating

I’ve never been a long distance train commuter until very recently. Did I mention I hate it? Anyway, let’s talk about the run…

Back to the ‘burbs today. A not so quick run around the familiar route of recent weeks. The only thing of note is that I passed some temporary traffic lights that I noticed last night weren’t working as someone has pushed them over. They are unsurprisingly not working this morning either. Other than that, 3.53 miles done, uneventful, nowt to report.

This week is a logistical nightmare, what with a half marathon at the weekend in… let’s reveal it finally… Barcelona! I’m out and about a bit this week meaning I’m on a train this morning with all my running gear and a couple of spare shirts to see me through the next couple of days. This is the week I’ve ended up with diary entries for when the runs fit into my schedule! Little did I now when I started this challenge that life would get *so* busy I would have to plan when in the day I can run and have enough time / the necessary gear with me to do so.

So, in anticipation of being away this weekend, I will warn you now of impending poor blogging service from Thursday on. Whether I’ll have internet access available to allow me to edit the blog is questionable and I certainly won’t be uploading the Garmin data until beyond the weekend. I’ll try and keep the blog up to date as much as I can.

Tuesday run tomorrow, see you there…


Miles today: 3.53
Target: 378
Miles to date: 437.08

Day 125 – Should I Find A Dog To Tie My Garmin To?

I was invited for a lovely dinner last night where my silly, obsessive running problem came up in conversation. I was trying to explain why I’d taken on the 1095miles challenge and was asked how I would run a marathon as part of it, being that the 26 miles just counts as another day. That and the more important fact I would still have to hit 3 miles the very next day (3.5 now actually, damn). It was suggested that I should just tie the Garmin to a dog and not mention it to the world… Thanks Angela.

So, I didn’t tell you, right?!? πŸ˜‰

Lots to do today, sadly. I wanted to just relax for once, but the hassle of life is getting in the way. Morning run and then off to play boiler repair man.

Enjoy yours,


Miles today: 3.50
Target: 375
Miles to date: 433.55

Day 124 – Putting It All In Perspective

You know when you meet someone and they just sort of let it all out, explain their life story and put yours into perspective? Yeah, me too.

I met a guy this afternoon who was going for an MRI for the second time in recent years. The first time he’d suffered from a condition which attacks the nervous system, had lost all feeling in (and use of) his lower legs and had spent the following couple of years learning to walk again.

Well… I think I’ll go for a run now.

And be thankful I can.


Miles today: 4.25
Target: 372
Miles to date: 430.05

Day 123 – The second ‘third of the year’ begins with meeting running legend Steve Cram

Just when I was beginnning to hate myself for agreeing to this. Just as I was revealing the Groundhog Day feeling. The moment I mention that my life has become one long run interspersed with work and, if I’m lucky, a bit of life outside running… Something appears that sets me back on track in an instant.

Yesterday morning I headed into work, knowing I was off to an event at 10am. I had few clues as to what was involved in the event, and little did I know that my downer about the running challenge was going to be sorted out in an impressive fashion. “.Andy meets Steve Cram

There was to be a special guest in the morning session, which turned out to be none other than running legend Steve Cram. Now, having been wondering how I was going to manage the next third of the challenge, another 4 months, another 122 days running yesterday morning, it was interesting to hear Steve. He said that getting out of bed every day to run 5 miles, as an athelete in training would do, is often not at all exciting and regularly very difficult. So it’s not just me then!

He also mentioned a comment from a running coach he knew in response to an athlete having a bad day. “One day doesn’t matter, but every day does”. Having run no less that a hundred and twenty three days, many of them ‘one days’, off days that don’t matter, I think he’s right. I’ve had a few very off days recently, many of which have left me thinking I’ve underestimated the challenge of running every day. But, in the end, a few off days isn’t a year. Running every day is what matters, as that’s the challenge I have set myself.

Speaking to Steve after his talk, he reminded me that no matter how bad I felt, running every day is tough going for anybody. Even athlete’s take time off. I asked him for two things whilst I had the opportunity. The first was a photo to post on the blog. As you can see, there is one… The second was to ask if he’d be prepared to run with me at some point and he said yes! I’m looking forward to running with someone famous, finally. The opportunity to get some tips and talk to a real runner will be fantastic and hopefully it’ll give the blog and the fundraising the boost it needs to get to the huge target! Steve, I look forward to hearing from you.

Today is also an interesting day. I’ve finally begun to mention the blog to people a bit closer by. The fact that I’ve now run every single day for a third of the target year, that and the ankle/knees seem a bit better today has meant I think it’s time to start really spreading the word and trying to chip away at that Β£18,000 target I’ve set. Spread the word, if you will. Join us for a run, if you’re able. Sponsor my challenge if you would be so kind…

That’s about all for now, more tomorrow no doubt! Enjoy your weekend…


Miles today: 3.60
Target: 369
Miles to date: 425.80

Day 122 – A Third of the Way ‘Groundhog Day’

There it is. 3.5 miles more. A third of the year under my belt. That’s quite good. Right?

Strangely, randomly my mind turned to the film Groundhog Day today. I remember the image of Bill Murray as he’s woken, again, by his alarm clock, the realisation hitting him that he’s stuck in one simple perpetual loop of life.

This morning began with my daily wake up call. The usual fight with myself, to get out of bed, or not. Then the ‘oh no, now I’m late and I’ll have to rush’ panic moment. Then a frantic throwing on running gear and running out of the door, followed by 3.5 miles, slowly today, left knee still making it’s presence (and protestations at the idea of running again) very clearly known. Then a quick shower and throw on a suit and off to the station. Frankly, this is my ‘every day’ now and I’m feeling a bit like Bill Murray. It’ll be nice to do something different tomorrow, believe me!

Last night I was discussing the challenge and my progress so far with a colleague, Simon. This was the beginning of Groundhog Day thinking! He asked how it was to just run the same route over and over again. I explained that generally I don’t do this, but looking at the blog last night, an outsider would be forgiven for thinking that was the case. The route maps from most of the last couple of weeks running look identical! Even the distances are virtually the same too, though that’s more because the leg is in a bad way and I’m running the ‘New Year’s Resolution’ enforced minimum of 3.5 miles.

Brushing my teeth this morning, my mind was pondering new routes, or even old ones I haven’t done for a while. It’s been an unusual couple of weeks as I haven’t ‘been anywhere’ for a short while to be able (or forced, depending on your view) to run in different places. All change… The next 3 weeks will see me all over the place, further afield than ever before (in the last 122 days!) and hopefully see me run my longest day so far in the challenge.

I’m looking forward to the Half. It’s my first event within the challenge and it’s in a place I’m happy to be visiting again. I’m not at all sure of my physical ability to complete it though. The knees are not in a good way, the achilles is bad too. I’m concentrating on resting as much as is humanly possible for the next nine days to improve my chances. That’s a scary thought. I have nine more runs, 31.5 miles more to cover until I try and run 13.1 miles in one go. I haven’t run a half since the Great North, back in September. I’d like to get a 5-8 miler in over the next week, but I’m too concerned about the potential injury to insist on it. Maybe I’ll just do the minimum and cross my fingers on the day.

Anyway, at the risk of writing another terribly long blog post, there’s one more thing I want to talk about.

The marathon schedule has been successfully ignored for another week. I know if I look at it, it’ll only annoy me that I’m failing to hit the required mileage. It’s safer, psychologically speaking, to disregard it for the moment and plod on. Returning to Brighton for my second, and the second running of it’s marathon will be a big event in my life. I’m hoping to preserve whatever running ability I have, and try not to ruin myself before April so I can run another marathon. I never thought I’d do that. That’s what runners do and I’m not one. Anyway, that’s the big one this year and I’m really looking forward to completing it.

That’s it, I’m signing off for another day. You must have had enough of my ramblings for the day. Have a great Thursday, keep running…


Miles today: 3.50
Target: 366
Miles to date: 422.20

Day 121 – Commuter Hell Again

Remember the day last week when the train was full enough for some guy to end up resting his bag on my head. Well, thankfully it isn’t quite that bad today, but I’m on the same packed commuter train. The ankle/achilles/the bit at the bottom of my calf feels just as tight this morning. In fact, without a group of people to set a pace and with the wonky pavements around here, running on it is not pleasant this morning.

Banana and coffee in hand, I’m camped out by a train door again, amongst the be-suited individuals, on their way to the treadmill of life at their respective offices.

This evening I’m off for a couple of beers with a few colleagues, so the run only fits the morning. Tomorrow is much more difficult though, I have to fit the run into the *early* morning. Over the next two or three weeks I’m out and about all over the place and have actually had to plan where and when I *can* run, to the point of noting it in the diary as it’s so tight!

There’s a half coming up, I may have mentioned it πŸ˜‰ The plan was to try and run over the distance prior to the event. I’m scrapping that idea in favour of resting up, with the hope that I will actually make it to the event at all. It’s looking more than a little questionable, to say the least, given the current…dare I say it…injury situation. Not sure I actually want to label this as an injury, that makes it an issue. Maybe we’ll call it a mild discomfort for now. Yes. That’s better.

Anyway, a bit more stumbling at the other end and we’re 121 days down. I’m designating it the ‘a third of the days’ milestone tomorrow. I have to make that now don’t I!

Enjoy the day. Expect poor blogging service for a couple of days now, life’s busy. I have a couple of reviews to get up, too.

It’s nearly the weekend…


Miles today: 4.20
Target: 363
Miles to date: 418.70