London – The Mid Term Report

Posted on March 23, 2015. Filed under: Ironman Austria, virgin london marathon, vlm |

Progress is slow.  At the moment I am slower than planned, fatter than planned, and not getting as far as planned.

And I am OK with that.

With 5 weeks to go I had planned to have run for 45 hours and I have only run for 34 hours.  I put 4 hours of the shortfall down to the fear of illness/injury, 4 hours down to real life getting in the way and 3 hours down to championship level procrastination.

And I am OK with that.

You see the thing is that I am just glad to be running.  Having had a broken toe from the end of the Ironman Austria experience until August and then a chest infection that plagued me from August until December I am just glad to be moving.

I am happy to run again and I am keeping it very, very simple.  Like me.  For a long time I have taken a pretty stripped down approach to running – I don’t run with music so you never see me buggering about with headphones or selecting just the right playlist for the weather/terrain/mood etc etc, I am mainly fuelled by water, porridge and whatever I can scavenge on the course so you never see me looking like a Navy Seal wearing bandoliers of sugary gels and hydration tablets and I just wear trainer socks sans gaudy calf guards.  I am like a tech free “athlete” from the 1970s, which I am I suppose.  A run is simply kit on, watch and heart rate monitor on and follow whatever I have planned.  For very long runs I pop two pound coins in my pocket just in case the porridge doesn’t get me the whole way round.  A simple approach and snot free lungs makes it fun again.  And I am very happy with that.

I didn’t say much about the chest at the time but it is a recurring theme over the last few years – do long distance endurance event, get kiss from snotty child swarming in a million nursery bugs, fill lungs with snot and bollocks and then suffer.  Normally, it is a virus and after a couple of weeks it passes.  But this time it felt different – it was a bacterial infection, probably contracted due to poor immunity after IM and it gave me the most gloriously technicolour phlegm.  In fact, Damien Hirst would have got a year long exhibition at the Tate if he had got a hold of my gobbings.  I got antibiotics, and then stronger antibiotics, and then even stronger ones the size of a vanguard class submarine that made me vom myself inside out.  I was pressed, probed, sounded, sputum tested and was about to be chest x-rayed when I realised that I needed to start training for London.  Call me a loon if you wish, but I decided not to be ill any more and…..then…..I wasn’t.  Like some kind of mental magic.

IMG_20150320_181611Since the VLM2015 campaign started I have been unspectacularly steady in my approach.  Early on I knew that I shouldn’t be contemplating a PB so I took a long refreshing drink of Sensible and approached the campaign that way.  I am now where I would have wanted to be 11 weeks ago.  Unusually, with 5 weeks to go instead of wishing it was over I am already surveying the landscape of PB marathons to target something later in the year.  (I haven’t decided on that something yet but 26.2miles of gentle downhill in a cool climate would be ideal if you could suggest an event.)  VLM will just be a training run.  It’s probably worth making an estimate now to keep me honest.  It will be slow.  My aim is to hit halfway at 2:15 which is the pace I have been training to.  However, having started training from scratch 11 weeks ago I don’t have the legs to keep that up for 26.2 miles – I am hoping to come in around 4:45 provided I am sensible in the first half.  That’s a big ask for London as the crowds are mercilessly supportive.  We’ll see.

It’s not all been slow and steady though.  I discovered a new approach to speed training last week.  Rory has now progressed directly from balance bike to pedal bike, a beautifully built Islabike to be precise.  However, with ice and wind, icy wind and windy ice since Christmas he hasn’t been out much to get the miles in in readiness for Roubaix.  So this week, as the wind subsided and the sun keeked through angry clouds he hit the road for long distance training.  Following a hospital visit after an accident last year he has a fear of downhill.   And so it was I discovered that I can gasp words of encouragement while careering downhill in a sprint before collapsing in a sweaty pile.  Zone 5+ training indeed.

The proudest moment of all, though, had to be on the uphills.  I have no idea where he learnt it from *innocent face* but on uphills he now yells “Shud up legs” in a Scotto-Germanic accent.  Eat yer heart out Jens.

In other new news, I have a new training partner.  Well, technically about the turn of the year I will have a new training partner.  Of the canine variety.    It’s a whole new world of dog owner chat and poo bags.  Who even knew canicross was a thing!?  I didn’t but I do now AND THEY GET MEDALS.  If he would just hurry up and grow up already.  Anyway, meet Ted.




That’s it for this entirely uninspiring update.  It wasn’t glamorous.  It wasn’t sexy.  It was just sensible.

If anything of interest happens you will be the first to know.


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