50 marathons in 56 days VIDEO

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Getting Started Running

Some advice before you start….

Training for your marathon or half marathon will be challenging, but should also be fun and enjoyable. Finishing a marathon is an accomplishment that less than 1% of people in the world can say they have achieved. You are about to be one of them!

Are you a beginning runner? Already a runner? Haven’t run in a long time? Either way, you can finish a marathon. Reading through some of the pointers below will help you along the way.

*****Please Note******

I would like to stress that you should always take the time to train properly for any event, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are trained for the distance. This can only be done by putting in the work.

If you do not think that you can put in sufficent time to get ready for a marathon then you should aim for a 10k race to condition you’re body enough to deal with the stresses of a marathon.

Motivation:

Whether you are training for a marathon or half marathon, it takes a lot more than good old determination and willpower to get you through training and the big day. Let your mind lead the way, not your body. Try to determine the big picture of why you want to do this. By the way, why do you want to do this? Don’t let yourself off by stopping at your first answer! Dig deep! Why do you want to run a marathon or half marathon? When you go beyond that first answer, you will begin to realize what is really driving you. When you learn what is really driving you, then you can use that to push yourself through willpower and determination. You will build the foundation that will get your subconscious mind working for you, not against you. In short, you are in for an incredible experience.

Wear the right gear:

Treat your feet to a good pair of running shoes as these will be your most important piece of gear. Shoes are designed to fit feet with different arches, pronation, width etc. Visit a local specialty running store to find the best shoes for your feet. A comfortable, well-fitted pair of runners will add to your enjoyment and may also prevent painful and costly injuries.

Pre-Training:

Before you begin your training, you should be able to run for at least 30 minutes without stopping. Distance is not important, you just need to get your body used to running. Combinations of run/walks are great to use during pre-training because they ease your body into the exercise and minimises the chance of experiencing a running injury. See the 8 week ‘Get Started’ programme below for ideas

Avoiding Injury:

Use your non-running days to rest and recover. If you feel a niggle, back off the training for a day of two. Better to miss two days than two weeks! Ice down any soreness a few times per day for 15-20 minutes.

Training:

Your mileage should gradually increase each week before tapering off in the final weeks leading up to the marathon / half marathon to allow your body to recover from training and so you will be strong on the big day. Having the long runs under your belt will give you a major psychological advantage on the day.

Stretching:

Stretching regularly should be part of your running routine. Stretching offers many benefits including helping to prevent muscular aches, pains, cramping and injury. It will also reduce the possibility of muscular fatigue and increasing the muscles efficiency/ effectiveness of movement. Although it is generally considered more important to stretch after a run than before, if you feel that you need to stretch before your run you should ideally jog or walk for 5 or 10 minutes before stretching to warm thee muscles up and to get blood flowing.

Some stretch basics:

Stretch the muscle to the point of its greatest range of motion, but do not overextend. You should feel very minimal tightness/discomfort (but not pain).

Hold and control the stretch for at least 30 seconds (and maximum 60 seconds).

Stretch all the major leg muscle groups (e.g., calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, groin, hip flexors).

Stretch uniformly (after stretching one leg, stretch the other).

Don’t overstretch an injured area as this may cause additional damage

Long Runs:

The key to these programs is the long run on weekends. Consistency is most important. You can skip an occasional workout, or juggle the schedule depending on other commitments, but try not to cheat on the long runs. Notice that although the weekly long runs get progressively longer, every few weeks there is a “recovery” week, where mileage is reduced to allow you to gather strength for the next phase.

Run Slow:

Do your long runs at a comfortable pace, one that allows you to converse with your training partners, at least during the beginning of the run. Toward the end, you may need to abandon conversation and concentrate on the act of putting one foot in front of the other to finish. However, if you find yourself finishing at a pace significantly slower than your pace in the first few miles, you probably need to start much slower, or include regular walking breaks. It’s better to run too slow during these long runs, than too fast.

The important point is that you cover the prescribed distance; how fast you cover it doesn’t matter.

Walking Breaks:

Walking is a perfectly acceptable strategy in trying to finish a marathon / half marathon. It works during training runs too. You could walk 1 minute out of every 10, or 1 minute every mile. Walking gives your body a chance to rest, and you’ll be able to continue running more comfortably.

Cross-Training:

Cross-training is any other form of aerobic exercise that allows you to use slightly different muscles while resting (usually) after your long run. The best crosstraining exercises are swimming, cycling or even walking. Cross-training for an hour the day after your long runs will help you recover.

Rest:

Rest is an important component of any training program as it is during the rest period (the 24 to 72 hours between hard bouts of exercise) that the muscles actually regenerate and get stronger. Hard running (such as the long runs) allows you to improve, however, you’ll find that you can’t run hard unless you are well rested. If you’re constantly fatigued you will fail to reach your potential. This is why rest days are vital. If you need to take more rest days – because of a cold or a late night at the office or a sick child – do so. The secret to success in any training program is consistency, so as long as you are consistent with your training during the full program, you can afford, and may benefit from, extra rest.

Keep track:

It is advisable that you keep track of your training efforts and results during race preparation. This will allow you to analyse your improvement. Looking at your “diary” can also help with motivation. I use www.goodrunguide.co.uk to log my runs, great user Friendly website.

Taper

This is a golden rule of marathon / half marathon training, which forms one of the main cornerstones of all the schedules. If you don’t taper (ease off) sufficiently for the race, you may find that you’ve wasted all those hard sessions. You will find that these schedules reduce your weekly and long run mileage during the final weeks to ensure that you will be fully recovered from previous workouts while at the same time be completely rested for the big event

Hitting the wall

You’ve heard the phrase, you may have even experienced those energy-sapping effects 18 miles or so in, affectionately known as “hitting the wall”. The weak legs, light-headedness and strong urge to stop are caused by a depletion of glycogen (carbohydrate stores) and an almost complete reliance on fat for fuel. While fat can power a runner for days in theory, it can’t maintain the same speed and intensity as carbohydrate. Couple that with dehydration and it can bring you to a sudden and grinding halt. Fortunately, there is an effective weapon against the wall…

Nutrition:

Understanding how nutritional status affects the body during exercise is very important. And it’s not just about race day. Eating the right foods at the right time, before during and after long training sessions will compound to make your overall training program that much more effective. Be sure to get the nutrition you need (carb’s, proteins, unsaturated fats) to keep you strong and allow for adequate recovery. Cut down on junk food such as biscuits, sweets, soft drinks and the like. You’re going to be asking a lot of your body over the coming weeks and months so you want to make sure to fuel it properly

Hydration:

On runs of an hour or more, carry fluids with you and consume 6-8 oz. every 20 minutes. During training it can be advisable to weigh yourself before and after each run and get your body weight back to the weight it was before the run by drinking water or sports drink within the first hours after the run. Always hydrate well – you will lose a lot of water through sweating (even if it’s cold outside).

And finally ENJOY IT! It’s all worth it in the end!

Mark

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Ultramarathon Foods

I have been drawing up a list of Ultramarathon foods. These are things that I like to eat when running long distances.

There is quite a bit of information out there on this subject but I personally find it confusing and a little over the top for someone who just wants to enjoy their running and get to the finish in one piece.

I’ve gathered this from my own experiences and from feedback from other runners. It is in no way a list collated by experts just people who have experience of going long and eating what they like and need to keep on going.

There are some elite ultra-runners who prefer a plant powered diet and that seems to serve them well, people like Scott Jurek and Rich Roll also the Paleo Diet is said to work wonders for endurance and health.

Then there is people like Dean Karnazes who has been known to eat a large pizza during long runs, at the end of the day it’s whatever works for you.

The important elements in these foods is that the all contain high amounts of carbs, sugar, fat and protein. Some of them contain all of these items and some of them contain individual parts.

You can and probably should incorporate energy drinks as well and sodium tablets into training/racing but these can be overpriced and you are able to make your own by mixing half orange juice, half water and some table salt.

For me however, getting energy from real food is always better, not that some of the items on this list can even claim to be real whole foods!

Please feel free to add your favourites in the comments below and also note that these are in no particular order.

1. Jelly Babies

2. Muffins

3. Cookies

4. Haribo

5. Flapjacks

6. Rice Pudding

7. Yoghurt

8. Cereal Bar

9. Pop Tarts

10. Baked Potato

11. Jam Sandwich

12. Bananas

13. Macaroon Bars

14. Carrot Cake

15. Fig Rolls

16. Dried Fruit

17. Snack a Jacks

18. Jaffa Cakes

19. Swiss Roll

20. Hot Cross Buns

21. Tree Nuts

22. Potato Salad

23. Hot Dogs

24. Sausage Roll

25. Oranges

26. Baked Beans

27. Nectarines

28. Cous Cous

29. Porridge

30. Tea Cakes

31. Soreen or any Malt Loaf

32. Rice Crispie Squares

33. Salt and Vinegar Crisps (I don’t think flavour is important)

34. Cold Tuna Pasta (Whole-wheat is best)

35. Honey Sandwich (Brown Bread at least)

36. Nutella Sandwich

37. Granola Bar

38. Walnut Cake

39. Figs

40. Fresh Beetroot

41. Fresh Grapes

42. Fresh Blueberries

43. Pot Noodle

44. Custard

45. Turkish Delight

46. Chocolate

47. Watermelon

48. Beef Jerky

49. Lentil Soup (Or any other)

50. Skittles

and finally…the best of the lot

51. Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwich!

 

 

 

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Run Around Mull

Today I have a post about a Friend’s challenge…..

I was running the Speyside Way Ultra in 2011 and struggling up a hill when a rather chirpy looking girl ran beside me. “Hi!” she said energetically.

We chatted for a while until on another steep hill I couldn’t keep up with her.  had to utter the words “I’ll catch you later.” and off she ran. I never did catch up with Caroline but I did see her at the finish.

Caroline and Me at the end of the Speyside Way Ultra 2011

Since that day we have been chatting via email about ultra-running and Caroline’s self-made challenge.

Caroline has set herself the challenge or running around Mull in aid of Wildlife Conservation.

Two things spring to mind for me, Wow, Mull, that will be stunning and the other is how jealous I am that she is doing this. Special note should go to the fact that Caroline is doing this off of her own back and she deserves applause for having such an audacious goal for a worthwhile cause.

Full detials of the run can be found on her website by clicking HERE

And you can follow her progress on Twitter by clicking HERE

All the best Caroline!

 

 

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Half Marathon & Full Marathon Training Plans

I have been working on some training plans for my website, they are now live.

We have to date half marathon and full marathon plans for every possible target and level of runner.

There is even a “how to get started” document to have a look at.

I would like to thank all who contributed to these plans, I believe that they are some of the best around and will help you to meet your targets for the coming races.

Visit – www.runwithmark.com to have a look and all the best with your training!

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Waging War on Procrastination

A Friend passed this blog post on to me today, I was so impressed by it I felt that I had to share it…in fact, the whole blog is great. Lots of useful posts to encourage you to do what you love.

Here is a link to the site this was taken from – 30sleeps

Dream Chasers Unite: Waging War on Procrastination

You wake up and reach over to your mobile phone to check the time. 9:48 AM. You overslept a bit, but whatever, it’s Saturday. You’ve got the whole day to work on your website. By 10:30 AM, you’re up and in the shower. You come out, dry off, butter up some toast, and at 11:13 AM you’re already catching up on the day’s news. Human ear grown on mouse’s back? Whoa. Saturn may have another moon? Cool. Oh, and look here: “Scientists discover how to regrow teeth”. According to the article, they could start experimenting with this stuff on real human beings within 5-10 years!

All this information feeding is making you hungry, so by 1:15 PM, you head out to grab a bite to eat before really diving in. An hour later, you’re back and feeling ready for some hardcore hacking. Your website idea is going to rock. You start to clearly picture what your life will be like when you’ve automated your income stream. Time, mobility, and income will all be yours in ample quantity. You’re feeling so pumped up that you jump into your favourite tech and business blogs to add some fuel to your entrepreneurial fire…

[Cue introspective piano music.]

Do you often put off important tasks until the last possible minute? Are you constantly making excuses for why now is not the right time? Do you harbour feelings of stress, guilt, shame, and resentment knowing that you’re not living up to your full potential?

Procrastination is like the gravitational forcefield at the center of our comfort zone. It’s constantly trying to reel you in, weigh you down, and protect you from venturing into the unknown. Procrastination is Public Enemy #1.

But by understanding how procrastination works, we can learn to fight back against the feelings of stress and anxiety that keep us standing still. The fear we feel is like a doorway marked “Do Not Disturb”. But the door is not locked, and walking through it is the shortest path to adventure.

Dream chasers unite: This is war.

Why We Procrastinate

According to Dr. Neil Fiore, author of The Now Habit, there are three reasons why we procrastinate:

  1. Regaining control. When we feel like we’ve been given a task that we don’t want to do, or feel like we’ve been put in a situation of powerlessness, we can use procrastination as a form of silent protest.
  2. Fear of failure. The easiest way to avoid failure is to avoid risking it in the first place. Procrastination gives us permission to write off our underperformance because hey, we weren’t even trying anyway, right?
  3. Fear of success. Success comes with its own strings attached. Landing your dream job might involve relocating to a new city. Your promotion might alienate some of your co-workers. And dedicating yourself to the pursuit of happiness might require letting go of the people in your life that drag you down.

We procrastinate because of the benefits offered by inaction. Procrastination helps us protect our ego by avoiding failure and rejection, and keeps us from venturing too far outside our comfort zone, where things could get a little risky and unpredictable.

But safety and security are deadly. Comfort leads to boredom. The benefits of idleness are fleeting. The relief we feel from avoiding risk eventually turns into stress and guilt. We start questioning and doubting: Why am I so lazy? Why can’t I just take action to get what I want? Will I ever break out of this vicious cycle?

Overcoming procrastination requires acceptance. It means giving yourself permission to be human and make mistakes, and accepting that the present moment is always full of reasons why you shouldn’t chase your dreams.

Now Is Not the Right Time

In fact, now is never the right time. The “right time” implies security, certainty, and a predictable result. How can you start your business if you haven’t even fleshed out all the details of your business plan? How can you move to another city right now if your son is still in college? He’ll never make it without you! And you obviously don’t want to sell your house yet. Wait until the housing market picks up steam.

But guarantees are for kitchen appliances. Human beings are creatures of growth, and growth is inherently organic and unpredictable. Setting goals means charting a path into the unknown. Uncertainty is where the action is. Living happily means living dangerously.

Instead of seeing all the unknowns as excuses to not take action, consider them a part of the adventure. Focus on how your circumstances can be made to fit your ideal world, rather than on how they’re preventing you from getting what you want. By thinking this way, now becomes always right time.

For example, a few years ago, I wanted to live in Europe. Lacking experience, not being a UK citizen, and not having a university degree, I had a hard time selling myself to companies in London, where I wanted to live. I could have easily written myself off and “waited for a better time” until I had more experience.

Instead, I forced myself to think creatively about the situation. The easiest way in would be to get citizenship, but what could I do to get it? After some research into my family tree, I discovered that I met the legal requirements to become a German citizen. And since Germany and the UK are both part of the EU, my entry problem would be solved. So I applied for my citizenship, and got it.

Unfortunately, it took a full two years to process my application, and by then my interests had shifted and I instead chose to move to Montreal. But I have been back to Europe several times, and used my German passport to enter on work-related travel. And, of course, I can now live there whenever I want.

So, even combining creative thinking with taking action won’t guarantee that everything works out, but I still ended up much better off for my efforts.

Do Anything

Another common pattern of inaction is the person who wants to “get into business” but is currently “sorting their shit out”, waiting for a surge of motivation, or a flash of divine inspiration. And they know that when this happens, somewhere over the rainbow, it’s going to be spectacular.

It’s easy to spend years keeping your dreams on a low simmer, waiting for the perfect moment to crank up the heat. In fact, there was at least a three or four year gap between me seriously acknowledging my desire to become an entrepreneur and actually doing it. The key to stepping off this treadmill is:

  1. Take action.
  2. Figure out what you want.

If your idea for a website isn’t completely fleshed out–even if it’s hardly more than a one sentence description of what it will do–start coding something anyway. Do anything. Crappy output is infinitely more useful than a brilliant idea stuck in thoughtspace. Making mistakes gives you a starting point for improvement, and your experiences will help you clarify your objectives.

Make Failure a Requirement

One of the biggest reasons for procrastination is fear of failure. But fear only works when we resist it. In my experience, the key to overcoming fear is to chase after it.

Instead of worrying that you might fail, aim deliberately low. Rather than trying to write an epic novel, start with a cheesy poem. Trade painting a masterpiece for producing a sloppy abstraction. Set the bottom end of a world record.

Pursuing failure removes the straightjacket of perfectionism. When you stop depending on the outcome, you lose the fear that was preventing you from taking action in the first place and start focussing on the task at hand. Giving yourself a chance to fail means giving yourself a chance to succeed.

For example, when I go out with the intention of meeting people, I often do my first approach telling myself “Okay, I’m just going to do this one and get blown out.” Sometimes I actually do get blown out, but other times it turns into engaging conversation.

Put Your Money Where Your Intentions Are

Finally, if you’re still finding it really hard to enter the action phase, this last technique has worked for me literally every time I’ve used it.

The idea is simple: Give your friend some money–an amount you would be uncomfortable losing–and make yourself earn it back by completing a certain task. For example, to force myself to break out of my social bubble, I would give a buddy $100 and earn it back, $20 for every person I talked to. You can apply this technique to just about anything. If your goal is to create a website, for example, give a friend $100 and tell him you get it back only when you’ve registered the domain and pointed it at your web host.

Make sure the output of your challenge is measurable, so that your friend can easily verify that you’ve completed it. It might be hard to tell if you’re “getting in better shape”, but “run three times this week, for 30 minutes” is clear cut.

Most people spend the better part of their day getting paid to achieve other people’s goals, so why not get paid to meet your own objectives?

Procrastination is the Governor of the State of Boredom. It wants to rule you, hold you down, and keep you from reaching your potential. It feeds on your fears and encourages you to keep talking in tomorrows. But by accepting that now is never the right time, you’ll start leveraging your present circumstances for future gains.  By acknowledging that you might make mistakes, even making failure a requirement, you’ll experience the benefits of imperfection. And by using action to clarify your goals, rather than ready-aim-aim-aiming, you’ll have taken the most crucial step towards living your ideal life.

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Mini-Adventure this Friday Night

I have been thinking about going on an adventure that basically involves leaving the rat race at 5pm with basic supplies, walking all night then sleeping on top of a hill. It will probably be a cold night which means I will once again have to spoon Matt for warmth We go on adventures quite often together and have become accustomed to each anothers routines.

Well the talk is over and I have decided that this Friday 24th February is to be the night that it finally happens. I am pretty exicted about this, I am sure it won’t be everything I imagine and ill probably wish for bed long before I get home but isnt that the point? To get outside of your comfort zone and appreciate it more when you step back into it?

At the moment the logistics are pretty much unknown, one thing is clear, somebody will be getting their arse cheeks used for warmth and quite possibly a dribble of pee will be spilt as there is NO WAY that i’m going out in that weather to do the toilet. I read once that Bear Grylls used to do a number 2 in tin foil and wrap it up then use it for heat…..that definately will NOT be happening.

We will leave our day job at 5pm on Friday and walk until around 5am, so roughly 12hrs, no distance in mind just to enjoy the outdoors and the company. We will then pitch our tent and sleep for a couple of hours up on top of a mountain somewhere.

I know you are asking why someone would do this? Well why not? I cant afford to go to a far flung country for an adventure, nor do I have the time at the moment so I’ll find a mini expedition right here on my doorstep.

Just because I work a full time office job and have other life commitments doesnt mean that I shouldn’t go on an adventure.

This whole idea of “Micro-Adventures” was started by @al_humphreys (currently rowing the Atlantic I might add) see here – Alistair Humphreys

Will be tweeting throughout the evening on Friday using the hash tag of #NightWalk

Photos and a follow up blog will follow on www.runwithmark.com
Thanks for the support,
Mark and Matt

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Free Race Entries & Fuel for You’re Training – Please RT & Share

This is an exciting day for me….

I have three great prizes to give away, this competition will run in conjunction with the launch of my new website.

www.runwithmark.com

On my site you can keep up to date with my fundraising and challenges.  You can find out about inspirational people, watch footage of previous challenges and hear after dinner presentations that I have given.  It is a place that I hope will inspire and motivate you to fundraise for you’re own charities, push you’re boudaries and most of all, get active.

So what are the prizes?

First off I have two entries into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon Edinburgh to give away (one entry per person).

The event will take place on 15th April 2012.

This promises to be a brilliant event with a different live band every mile along the route, there will also be a lot of fancy dress thrown in to keep you’re spirits high.

The race will start and finish in Holyrood Park making a loop around the city centre.  This will replace the previous ADT Edinburgh Half Marathon which originally finished in Musselburgh.

The new race route offers runners a chance to take in some of Edinburgh’s most scenic views including the Meadows, the Mound, the Queen’s Palace at Holyrood and the Scottish Parliament.  The final stretch travels along the Royal Mile with a glimpse of Arthur’s Seat in the background.  Runners will also enjoy views of Edinburgh Castle while running downtown and the Firth of Forth as they pass along the seaside stretch on Portobello Promenade.

The Rock n Roll Half Marathon website can be found here and their facebook page here

Is that it? Any other prizes to be had?

The answer is yes!

My sponsors Orbana Healthy Energy have also donated a great prize to aid you in you’re training for the race.  An 800g tub of Orbana Healthy Energy and a 750ml Orbana Specialized Purist Water Bottle to drink out of.

I use Orbana for all of my challenges and have found it to be a long lasting energy boost, I would recommend it to people who take part in endurance events, no spikes or crashes.

But how do I enter?

Simply email mark@runwithmark.com and wait for the winner to be announced on Tuesday 14th February.

Winners will be selected at random as will the prizes

It is as simple as that!

GOOD RUNNING AND GOOD LUCK!

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A video that everyone should watch – INSPIRING

I don’t really need to say anything about this, just watch it and share it around please

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Jog Scotland Presentation

A few weeks ago I gave a presentation at the Jog Scotland conference as part of the Scottish Athletics awards evening.

I presented this with Bryn Williams of my charity Wobbly Williams

Here is a video from that day

And this is the video I showed at the end of the talk

 

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Plans for 2012

I cant believe its been so long since my last post, life has been pretty hectic recently, I bought a house with my Girlfriend, it has been undergoing major renovation work, we are four months into it and still not near to moving in, its safe to say that training and racing has been put on the back burner for the last little while.

With a plan to be in the property for around March I have started to turn my attention to my plans for the year.

I will start the racing year in Aberdeen at the d33, a 33 mile run along the Deesideway, I ran this last year for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it, a nice way to kick of the ultra season and a great value race, recommend it for first time ultra runners – http://deesidewayultra.webnode.com/

Later in March I am considering running the Glasgow to Edinburgh Double Marathon again, I finished 6th in last years race after running the first 40 miles in 2nd place, I was disappointed with the final result but I feel given that experience I can come back and perform better.

In 2011 I was guilty of not giving the West Highland Way Race the respect it deserved, I got sidetracked with other challenges but this year I am making it my main focus for the first 7 months of the year, a 95 mile race of this nature demands it! The training begins on January 21st with a 30 mile training run on the Way to ease into it.

In April I will run the Highland Fling, which is the first 53 miles of the West Highland Way, great prep for the real thing in June but certainly not one to be taken lightly.

Then in June comes the big one, I will finish this year no matter what it takes.

I will then take July off to go away with my Girl somewhere hot and relaxing, I havent had a sun holiday for about 7 years so the rest will be welcome.

In August I will probably run the Speyside Way Ultra again, I loved this race in 2011, great organisers and a lovely course.

I have ideas for October and another possible 100 mile race but just now I want to focus on the West Highland Way and do it right, get myself back to full fitness and get back to where I was physically 12 months ago.

Look forward to meeting new people at the races ahead and catching up with some old Friends as well.

As ever special mention to my support crew, could not do it without you.

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When you dont give up, you cannot fail

Interview with Derek Redmond…..

The Cheesy Version……

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How bad do you want it?

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The most moving scene from any television programme

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Don’t Postpone Life

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24hr Treadmill Video

Distance was 129.2 mile and I’ve just been told that I am 16th in the world for overall distance (even ahead of Dean Karnazes)

http://www.recordholders.org/en/list/treadmill.html

Best pint of my Life

Thanks to Cut Mustard TV for making the film!

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Savor the Little Things in Life

Do you eat while reading? If so, you might have noticed the phenomenon I’ve noticed: sometimes you can eat an entire meal without even really tasting the food. This applies to a lot of things in our lives: we can spend an hour with our family without really talking to them. We can go to a park or the beach, and not really notice the things around us.

Here’s a tip that seems so simple, and yet can be difficult to maintain in practice: stop, and notice what you are doing in this moment. Become more aware of the present, instead of always thinking about the past and the future.

This is hard to do throughout the course of a day, but being perfect isn’t the point. Stop and do it once in awhile, at different times of the day, and just notice the little things. And enjoy them.

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Steve Jobs inspirational speech

This is 6 years old but still as moving and relevent as it was in 2005. Unfortunately Steve Jobs is still suffering from ill health, I wish him a full recovery.

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K-Swiss Blade max trail shoe review

So k-swiss have developed their first trail shoe, I was looking forward to trying these out and when they arrived I wasnt disappointed with their appearance. I decided to test them out on a few training runs and on the Speyside Way Ultra, an off road 36.5 miles race in the Scottish Cairngorms. This would put them to the test.

It did seem for a while that all k-swiss were able to focus on was tennis and everyday footwear but with this new product they are looking to challenge the best known brands in the trail shoe department. In appearance I think they certainly matched up to the others but in the end appearance counts for nothing if performance isnt there also.

The shoe weighs around 375 grams, a little heavier than some trail shoes that are out there but about average compared to a lot of the market. The Blade-Max Trail is marketed at the off road/ trail running scene, a very hard market to break into as many Ultra runners have a brand of shoe and indeed specific pair that they are happy with and stick to religiously.

The shoe has some nice features, a “hydrophobic Ion Mask” and a stitched toungue to keep your feet dry. On the Speyside Way Ultra last weekend I noticed that they had good cushioning on the off road sections. Even though I was out running for close to six hours during the Speyside on uneven terrain I did not have a single blister, this was a miracle to me considering my feet were still pretty messed up from running 129.2 miles only four weeks before.

On the trail the shoe sole did not get clogged up with mud (and it was very muddy and wet in places) I did however almost slip twice but as I say the ground was very muddy in parts so I would forgive the shoe for this, anyway I only ALMOST slipped so they done their job.

They do seem to have lost a little bit of their original shape at the front section but this is probably to do with me having wide feet, they still feel comfortable and as I write this I am sitting at my computer screen wearing them to walk around town.

Overall I would say these are a good all round shoe, comfortable with great ankle support. The look great for those that care what a running shoe looks like (not me). A little soft on top perhaps, I would prefer a larger toe guard for the serious trails.

Cost – around £90

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Speyside Way Ultra

The main reason I entered the Speyside Way Ultra was to get a couple of nights camping with my mate Matt. Every year we go away together and do some travelling/camping and so far this year we hadnt managed to get anything sorted so this was a good chance to do our traditional adventure together.

We headed towards Buckie aiming to get there for around 8pm, upon arrival at the campsite we spoke to the owners and asked where we should pitch our tent up. We made our way to the spot and unzipped the tent bag….now….I can be pretty silly at times but this was probably my finest hour.

We emptied the bag to discover that there was indeed a tent inside but no poles or pegs to be found, oh shit!

After discovering there was a Tesco 4 miles away we jumped in the car to try and buy a tent, long story short we got it for £15 and settled down for the night.

Race Day

We drove to the High School in Buckie to register, I seen a few familiar faces there. After that we went to a bakery on the high street to get some food, I couldnt believe it was only 50p for a Latte! Its £2.50 in Edinburgh!

At the start line I had the pleasure of meeting Paul (@pyllon) and his sister Nicola (@lilacswizzle) I didnt have much time to chat as my stomach was already churning like crazy.

Race briefing was brief just like it should be, theres not much to it, just go and run as fast as you can. 9am and we were off.

The Start Line - Photo by Matt Corney

The first 10 miles were flat, pretty uneventful, I did start to feel a slight niggle in my right knee, the same problem that I had after the 24hr Treadmill run 4 week earlier. It worried me to be feeling any sort of pain after this short a distance but I put it to the back of my mind and got the head down. I only went to this race to spend time with my boy and see some nice scenery and I wasnt let down, the route was stunning in places, some of the bridges were a little unsteady but this just made it more interesting.

Got to the first checkpoint and filled up my water bottles, had a gel and kept moving. I wasnt bothered about positions but I knew I was near the front at this point, nowhere near the leaders but respectable.

The route pretty much followed contry roads and wooded trails, there was a hill which zapped a lot of energy out of my legs, I had been running with two other runners at this point, we chatted and then I left them to run to the top of the hill and I walked and took on some fluids, I would shout to them that I would “catch them up” but I never did.

By the time I had run a marathon (3hrs 41mins) I felt exhausted, the night before with all of the confusion I had only managed to eat two jam sandwiches for dinner and I was now feeling the effects of this in my energy levels. At this point I decided it was just about finishing and any ideas of times I had in mind were to be forgotten.

At checkpoint 2 I felt weak, with 11 or so miles to go it felt like a marathon still lay ahead of me, no point in complaining though, just get on with it.

A few people began to pass me, a sign that I hadnt really recovered from the treadmill event as I couldnt run for more than a mile without stopping for a rest.

With a couple of miles left I made it to the coast, I have never been happier than to have made it to a place than I was now, I knew it was 2 miles along here and I could rest and get some food down. I decided I wouldnt stop at all for the last stretch and increased my pace to 8 minutes miles, I just didnt have anything left in me at this point.

I got to within sight of the finish line and had one last climb up to the top of a hill, turned right and was greeted to applause and the cheers, a great finish to a nice but tough race. I have to say a special thanks to the organisers, cracking job and a brilliant route.

THE END

Biggest thanks goes to Matt Corney, Matt has been there at a lot of my events and I owe him a lot for this.

Only low point for me was at the start line – I decided to listen to music during the race, which is something that I never do. At start line another runner seen me with my earphones and said “If your listening to music why even do the race?” All I could think was, “What a complete prick”.

Need a bit of a rest from racing now, unless something pretty special comes up ill be focussing on getting myself in tip top condition for 2012. I have really enjoyed my first SUMS season, met some really nice people as well. Ill be back in 2012.

Photo by Colin Knox

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