My Blog

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Not exactly sure what I'll be posting about, but will be centred around preparation for the marathon - fund raising ideas, run routes, things that annoy me when I am running, etc. Will look to update and maintain every other day (or until I lose interest).

My reason for starting a blog is to keep you kind people who have (or will) sponsor me ( informed of my progress in preparing for the marathon. Additionally, once my running career is over I imagine I will look back fondly on the drivel posted.

Lastly, I appreciate any support you can provide. It would be great if you could donate but also any tips you could give for fund raising or preparing for the run would be much appreciated. If you want to join me on a jog, let me know - cheers!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

What More Can I Say?

My mum (mumsy) emailed me a few days before the marathon with some words of encouragement.  She is my biggest running fan and is now (after discovering my blog) my most avid reader ( –yes, I am pulling a weird face). 
She reminded me that from a young age I had a “thing” for running and would typically lead me to getting lost.  In Menorca I ran off (I was about 5) and had an old couple pick me up from the side of the motorway and take me back to the holiday site (irresponsible parenting).  Similarly a couple of years later I performed the same trick in Orlando where I ran off in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids attraction and was eventually discovered by the worm slides (irresponsible parenting).
I was never the quickest or had the most stamina but I have always got a thrill from running.  When my cat (Smoky) gets excited she runs – sprints upstairs, gallops round the hallways and ends up in the kitchen sliding across the faux wooden flooring.  Similarly whenever I was excited, I ran. 
As a teenage from about the age of 11 – 15 I still used to run home from the school bus stop but due to embarrassment used to come to an abrupt stop whenever I came near people.  Especially my equivalents from the local “rough” state secondary schools - a chubby kid in a blazer was always a target.  I would typically burst through the front door to chomp down on a sneaky yum-yum before spending the evening with Solid Snake (“LIQUIDDDDDDDDDDD”).

Writing is something I stumbled upon and have enjoyed posting this drivel over the last 18 months.  My initial reason for starting a blog was too keep people informed of how I was progressing with training for the marathon.  Essentially it was evidence that I did somehow warrant your sponsorship.  It could be frustrating at times and feel like a chore, what is interesting is that I could easily point out which of my posts was half hearted as tended to dwell a lot on the negatives. 
I was speaking to someone who also set up a blog and they thought the effort to reward for this wasn't great/worth it i.e. the amount of time it took to write it was not worth it for the money raised.  I think this is quite a cold empirical way of viewing it; there are many positive I took from writing a blog and did think it helped raise donations.
Firstly (as someone commented at work) these are in essence my memoirs; I have lived a quarter of my life (I plan to live past 100) and a chunk of it is now recorded.  There is a lot about running, the knee (too much) and also touches upon my childhood which as I get older becomes a dimmer light. 
Similar to running when I write it is one of the few things that I do where I feel truly in the moment – time flies by although this post has taken bloody ages. 
Finally it led me to discover that most of my ideas/themes for this blog came when I was in the shower.  This will serve me well in life as I now know if I need to do any critical thinking/soul searching I should take a shower – which is perfect because I love showers!

If you've made it this far (a marathon in itself) I can hopefully provide some insight into the 2013 London Marathon. 
It was perfect running conditions and Adam and I arrived in good time to the site.  Unlike previous runs ( I was not making a last ditch dash for the toilets.  We had decided to run together and there was a camaraderie spirit and excitement among the runners.  There was a roar of excitement when the buzzer went to start and so it begins ( 
There were a few odd moments that stood out from the day.  Around 2 miles into the run there was a heavy set guy in shades on his balcony presiding over decks streaming out “Bass to the Place London”.  This was also around the point that the Oggy chants started– OGGY OGGY OGGY, OI OI OI!
My name was on my shirt and because of it the crowd were shouting my name as I bombed past - “You can do it Pete”, “Go on Pete”, “Way to go Tiz”, etc.  The strangest shout was from a 9 year old girl who screamed “think of all the calories you are burning”.  I am pretty (pretty) sure this was the last thing on runners’ minds (although it was probably quite a lot). 
What was great was when you were running near the pavements people stuck their hands out for you to slap.  However, I was burnt on a number of occasions when the children removed their hand at the last moment.  This was not just constrained to children as a colleague did the same when I ran past her (probably a good thing as I was aiming to leave an imprint).  
One runner I met was Len – a white haired bearded gentleman who I had the pleasure of running beside for a few minutes (he was pretty slow though and had to power past him – sucka!).  He was 75 and had run in every London marathon (33) – he had a big smile on his face.  He is a great inspiration and it would be fantastic to be able to run at the age let alone marathons – what a guy.

The day was hugely emotional – I haven’t experienced such an out pour of positivity from so many people before.  It makes a massive difference when someone chants your name, it is a verbal pat on the back and I treasured everyone.  If you get the chance to go down, DO, and put your inhibitions aside and chant/scream/sing everyone name. 
My heart goes out to the runners who struggled on the day – the runner limping on mile 2, the lady who fell at mile 12 and the many more who suffered and were greatly assisted by the St John ambulance crew. 
Up until around 23 miles I was enjoying the day.  The sun was out and I had an open run around the great city of London whilst being cheered on by thousands.  To my family and friends who came out to see me it – I was overwhelmed by your support and thank you for coming.   I found it difficult to contain my excitement when I saw you it typically led me to spray my water around and sprint past.  

The London marathon was an event of firsts for me, it was the first time I had a run a marathon, first time I had run without music and was the first time I had to stop running and walk (this was something I hope never to never go through again).  After the 22nd mile mark I felt good – hydrated and still had a lot left in the tank.  Throughout the run my legs felt good, the knee and the other knee were behaving impeccably and the only thing that was bothering me from the get go was my right ankle (still had not recovered from 3 weeks ago  Something that was on my mind was my stiffness and the possibility of getting cramp – I kept getting twinges but would answer this with doing my mental check of my body to make sure my running style was relaxed e.g. was upright and comfortable. 
At around the 23/24 mile point I started up a steep road and I felt the back of my left hamstring get tighter and tighter.  If you have ever seen that scene in Watchmen where Rorschach realises he is in a trap (planted dead body on the floor with a SWAT team waiting outside) he echoes the line “NO NO NO NO” as he realizes the predicament he is in, that’s exactly how I felt.  As my hamstring started to seize up I made it to the side and tried to stretch it out – it was rock solid.  
Back many posts ago ( the doc mentioned to me that his sister was short and would not make a good basketball player.  He also used this as a way of saying that I was perhaps not built for hills and should try to avoid them.  At this point there was about 3 miles until the finish but I could barely walk and was in quite a bit of pain (8/10). 
I am glad the hamstring went as had it not I would not have experienced the care from the other runners & the crowd.  For the remainder of the run it was me walking a bit – running a bit – slowing – cramping – stretching –walking a bit – etc.  2 moments come to mind, as I approached the 25 mile mark my hamstring went again and had to painfully stop.  A runner stopped and gave me his last 2 painkillers and said I was doing a great job.  The other time on the stretch of road opposite the London eye leading up to the House of Parliaments I collapsed on the side next to St John Ambulance.  The medics were able to massage the back of my hamstring and get the muscle back into play.  The crowd began a chant of “PETE PETE PETE” to get me going, it was very emotional and it was because of this that I was able to cross the finishing line running (4:49:37) in tears. 
I will never forget this day and I would encourage anyone given the opportunity to run.

I need a break from running and allow my body time to rest and heal.  I want to improve my core and will start doing my downward dog and peter pan legs again (pilates).  Also I will take a look at my running style and potentially switch to free running as is supposed to be better for the old knees.  Long term I would love to run and enjoy more marathons.  Running is still a passion for me and I am excited about the places it will take me to.

Thank you for your support over the last 18 months.  It has been quite challenging/frustrating at times with the injuries and stop/start training but am very glad that I gave it a go and was able to complete it.  I was overwhelmed by the amount of donations that I received and it was greatly appreciated – I hope to thank you all in person.
I am going to step away from raising money for a good few years now but have enjoyed helping RNIB and will be volunteering with them in the future – let me know if you fancy joining me.
If you haven’t donated yet, it would be great if you could - - my page will close on the 22nd May 2013.

About 3 ½ years ago I was moving into my first place in London, it was a shared maisonette in Old Street.  Before I moved my Grandparents gave me a leaving card – Big Papa (my granddad) has always had elegant handwriting and had written a note inside.  It was a quote, it was touching that he had written this as at this stage he had practically lost his sight and would have involved him using his magnifying glass and lots of squinting to complete. 
It wasn’t the most profound quote (in fact it is quite cheesy) but I want to leave you with it – thank you for reading.

Don't be dismayed by good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.

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