Archive for the “Sport” Category

A half marathon is 13.1 miles or 21km for those of your who are metrically minded.

Except it’s not really.

August MilesAt 43 years old you can’t really just rock up at the start line and expect to survive that length of run.  So you train.  You run 4 times a week for months.  You start off at where you are and you do more and more miles.

For me the start was a slow 5k.  You add some distance to one run each week and this becomes your long, slow run.  Next comes a short recovery run which is more of a really slow jog to get your muscles working after the long, slow run.  The other two runs are where the speed comes.  A quick 5k, a tempo run for 8k or maybe a run that you up the pace a couple of times.

Pretty soon the miles are starting to rack up.

I’ve spent 8 hours running this month and have covered nearly 80km (50 miles).  There are still two weeks of the month left!

Why am I telling you this?

Well, because when you sponsor someone to run a 13.1 mile race you’re actually sponsoring them to actually run close to 200 miles.

Every mile adds up and every mile counts.

Just like the sponsorship you’ve been so generous to donate.

So far I’ve raised £460.

That’s amazing.  A massive thanks to all of you for your support and generosity.  It’s always exciting when my phone makes the ‘Just Giving’ ping noise meaning that someone else has just donated.  You have been so generous.

I was leading worship at Carluke URC on Sunday and mentioned that I was running.  The people there sponsored me £117.  That kind of support is really overwhelming.  You are all part of the team…

we are macmillan

So, what will Macmillan do with your money?

  • £1,020 could pay for a Macmillan nurse for a week, helping people living with cancer and their families receive essential medical, practical and emotional support.
  • £537 could pay for a Macmillan social worker or family support worker for a week. They work with community and social services agencies to help people manage the social and practical problems of living with cancer.
  • £390 could cover the costs for a person to attend a small physical activity scheme in a rural area for a year.
  • Between £200,000 and £600,000 could pay for a new chemotherapy suite in a local hospital.
  • Between £3 million and £7 million could pay for a new oncology and outpatient unit in a hospital.

You can help by visiting my Stewart’s Just Giving page or by texting STEW68 £5 (or any amount) to 70070.

So, thank you.  Thank you so much for your support.  It means the world to me to be able to help a charity that gave so much help and support to my mum and to my dad.

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So, this is what rejection looks like.

Well, rejection from the Virgin London Marathon ballot.  3 time unlucky for me.

To be honest I’m stuck somewhere between disappointment and relief.

The disappointment comes because London is one of the big 4.  It’s a world marathon major.  It is one of the marathons on most runner’s lists to run.  One day I want to do it.  I could try for a charity place but I don’t fancy trying to raise the £2,500 most charities demand for a place.

The relief comes from the sensible part of my head that says, ‘You’ve been injured, again.  What on earth do you want to sign up for all those long runs in the winter for?’.  London comes early in the year.  The end of April might be well into spring down south but it can still be cold and wet here.  Long runs in that kind of weather are absolutely no fun.  I’m pretty sure I came close to hypothermia a couple of times when I was training for Edinburgh.

And I know that part of my head is probably right… but…

Targets… goals… those work for me.

I ran 6k today.  That’s my first proper run for nearly two months.  I’ve missed it, much more than I thought I would.  I feel better when I run.  I feel more alert, I sleep better, I eat better, I drink more water, I can concentrate better and I get more done.  It gives me time to think, to process, to have ideas and to work off frustrations.

So, I’m going to continue the rehab.  I will do my exercises.  I will train through the winter and next year I’ll set out to run PBs over 5k, 10k and half marathon (I’ve still never run under 2 hours for a half!).  There will be no 26.2 mile runs for me in 2014.

But I might put my name in the ballot for London again next year… maybe 2015 will see another crack at a marathon.  Maybe…

 

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FcertA4.tmpl-1On Sunday I followed in the footsteps of Olympic heroes in the National Lottery Anniversary Run.

Last year I won a place on the Olympic Park Run and was one of the first to cross the Olympic finishing line in the newly opened Olympic Stadium.  At the time I thought that was a one in a lifetime experience…

The National Lottery, one of the biggest funders of the 2012 Olympics, thought otherwise.

Legacy was always one of the questions hanging over the Olympics.  How would the Games translate into wider participation?  Well, 10,000 people signed up, paid up, and ran the anniversary run with 5,000 people,  children and their families, taking part in the 2.5k family run.

This year David was also able to get a place so we set off on Saturday morning for a weekend in London with our better halves.  The 7am flight from Glasgow to Luton is always a shock to the system.  It means a 4am start.

It also means that being shattered for the rest of the day!  We spent most of Saturday morning drinking coffee and trying to wake up and shopping at Westfield, then it was off to check in to our hotel out at Docklands, a nap and then off to the West End for dinner and The Phantom of the Opera.

I’ve seen the show on TV and we watched the movie the other night but there is always something magical about live theatre.  Phantom didn’t disappoint.

Sunday morning started at 7am with a light breakfast then we took the DLR to Stratford, along with thousands of other runners and their supporters.

There was a a real sense of excitement as we wound our way through the shopping centre at Westfield and out towards the Olympic Park.

Anniversary Run

 

The last time I was here the park was a building site.  All the major venues had been completed but the landscaping and temporary seating was still being installed.  Just over a year later and the Olympic Park is in a similar state.  The temporary venues have been removed and their sites are being redeveloped.  The extension wings have been taken off the aquatics centre (photo above) making it look very different.  The new glass walls are almost complete and the building looks great.

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The warm up, courtesy of Mr Motivator himself, Roy Gale preceded start by Britain’s greatest ever Olympian, track cycling king, Sir Chris Hoy.

The race route was different this year.  It even had a bit of cross country at the start!

It was also pretty tight and twisty so it was difficult to run at race pace at the start of the race.  And it was hot and humid.  Thankfully it was cloudy which kept the temperature down a bit.

It was a great run and you could feel the sense of excitement building as we wound our way towards the Olympic Stadium.  At around 21 minutes a roar erupted from the crowd as the first runner entered the stadium.  The noise was amazing, especially as the stadium was less than half full.  It gave us a real sense of what it must have sounded like as Mo Farah was cheered round every lap of the 5,000m and 10,000m on that Super Saturday.

I was only just past half way!

I was looking forward to the tunnel more than the stadium.

As I entered the tunnel under the stadium I could hear the crowd… but not the crowd from today.  It was the crowd from Mo’s gold medal run, along with commentary from Steve Cram and Chariots of Fire in the background.  I could feel a wave of emotion sweep over me as I pushed my pace knowing I was close to 40 minutes.  There’s light at the end of the tunnel… brilliant sunlight.

Anniversary Run

 

The thing I noticed about the track is the bounce.  Maybe it’s because you come straight off the concrete of the tunnel but the track is fantastic to run on.  And all of a sudden you find yourself on the home straight and crossing the line, gasping and smiling and knowing that you have followed in the footsteps of legends.

Anniversary Run

 

Once we found Pam and Avril in the crowd we sat in the sun, ate our way through the nuts, biscuits and crisps in the goody bag, and watched the rest of the runners come in.

It’s fair to say that the runners came in all shapes and sizes.  I stood to applaud a woman with crutches cross the line but also for a woman who must have been at least 20 stones struggle down the last 100 meters.  At some point she must have thought “I can do this.  I can run 5 miles.”  And she did.  She made it, along with all those others who must have wondered what on earth made them sign up, wondered if they could do it on such a hot and humid day and, as they crossed the line, knew that I can do this I can do whatever I put my mind to.

That’s the real Olympic Legacy.

There is something amazing about a mass participation event.  There’s a sense of community, shared experience, a knowledge of what it takes to get to the start line, the gratitude to those whose support makes all the training possible.  If you’ve never entered a run, try it.  You never know where you might find yourself…

For us the rest of the day involved a picnic from M&S, a shower and a change of clothes and off into London for a wander around Harrods, a fantastic (and very expensive) cake from the Gand Cafe, sunbathing in Hyde Park and dinner at Jamie Oliver’s Union Jacks at Covent Garden.

Monday was the hottest day in years.  33C.  We headed back to the air conditioning of Westfield in the morning for some breakfast and shopping then to Trafalgar Square for a sandwich and then the National Gallery and a wander round Whitehall.  By late afternoon we were just hot and tired so diner was Yo! sushi at St Pancras and then off to Luton for the flight home.

What a weekend.

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It stuck me that my ‘Unresolved’ post was almost entirely negative.  It was all about what I didn’t do in 2012, what I failed to achieve.

Well, I’m not going to let 2012 pass without adding some balance because in 2012 two brilliant, never to be repeated things happened…

The Olympic Park Run

In March I ran a race with Sally Gunnel, Roger Black and Princess Beatrice around the Olympic Stadium and I beat a guy called Bolt by 2 seconds.  It was Andy Bolt from Sheffield… but it makes a great story!

olympic park run certificate

I won one of 5,000 places in a once in a lifetime race around the Olympic Park in London.  I was part of the first race to finish in the Olympic Stadium and it was amazing.  I’ll never forget it.

olympic park run

We ran past the now iconic venues of the 2012 Olympic Games and round the tunnel beneath the Olympic Stadium to the strains of the theme from Chariots of Fire.  Emerging onto that track was one of the most unbelievable feelings.  It still feels like a dream.

My First Marathon

marathon

At the end of May I did battle with the 26.2 miles of the marathon for the first time.

It was an outrageously hot day in Edinburgh but I loved the run.  It was hard, I had to dig deep, but the sense of community and shared purpose and achievement was something I’ll treasure.

I am the 1%… even if I did throw up at the end and loose the nails from my two big toes!

Time Isn’t Everything

I set time goals for both these runs at the start of the year.  I decided before the start of both that the time didn’t matter.  I wanted to enjoy the runs and see the finish.  I had been injured before the Olympic Park Run and it was just too hot to chase a time in Edinburgh.

Sometimes the journey is the important thing.  Of course the destination is important but every run is made up of each step, not just crossing the line.  I’m glad I ditched the times and took my time to savour as much as I could.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere…

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Last year I posted some running goals…

  1. I will run the 5 mile Olympic Park Run in March in under 40 minutes.
  2. I will run my first marathon in Edinburgh in May in under 4 hours 10 minutes.
  3. I will run the Great Scottish Run half marathon in Glasgow in September in under 2 hours.
  4. I will beat my 5km parkrun PB (23:50) by more than a minute.
  5. I will run more kilometers than in 2011 (915km).  I will run at least 1200km in 2012.

So… how did I do?

Well… not so well.

  1. I will run the 5 mile Olympic Park Run in March in under 40 minutes. – 42 mins.
  2. I will run my first marathon in Edinburgh in May in under 4 hours 10 minutes. – 4.49 on the hottest day of the year!
  3. I will run the Great Scottish Run half marathon in Glasgow in September in under 2 hours. 2.10, again!
  4. I will beat my 5km parkrun PB (23:50) by more than a minute. 23.50 is still my parkrun PB
  5. I will run more kilometers than in 2011 (915km).  I will run at least 1200km in 2012. Nope…

I’ve spent big chunks of 2012 being unable to run.  I have a recuring muscle injury and it has claimed about 3 months of running.

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I managed 780km, which is less than 2011, even though I ran a marathon.

Still, the Olympic Park Run and my first marathon are things I’ll never forget!

So, 2013…

  1. Break 2 hours for a half marathon (I mean really. How hard can it be!!!)
  2. run under 23 mins at parkrun
  3. run 2 half marathons and a few 10ks
  4. run more than 1200 km over the year
  5. stop getting injured (do my rehab exercises, stretch and cross train)

Let’s see how that goes…

 

 

 

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I’ve been running seriously since March 2011.  If you’ve been following my progress you’ll know that I’ve had some ups and downs with injury, particularly a troublesome glutte that has kept me off the road for nearly 3 of the last 24 months.

Part of the problem is that my core strength isn’t as good as it should be.

I spend much of my day sitting at a desk, driving or watching tv and reading.  The days I don’t run I’m pretty inactive.

If you don’t really think that’s a problem then watch this…

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I really like running.  Running is good.  It gets me outside and gets me moving 3 or 4 times a week but I’ve hit a bit of a plateau and I want to get faster.  I set myself a target of a sub 23min 5k by the end of the year and at the moment 25mins is a struggle.  To achieve my goal I need to get fitter overall.

To do that I need to try and exercise pretty much every day.

I also want encourage the kids to do more exercise and that’s always more difficult over the winter as the weather gets cold and wet. (well, colder and wetter!)

I could go to the gym but that costs £30 a month and it only works for me.  I could go to circuits but that’s £5 a class but again that’s only for me.

So… I’ve decided to put some of our tech to use and give  Nike Plus Kinect Training (Xbox 360) a whirl.

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I tried the assessment today.  There are 3 options: get strong, get toned or get lean.  I chose get toned, mostly because I don’t want to use weights and build muscle.  I want to work on my core strength using my own body-weight as resistance.  So, here’s my starting point:

 

I’m looking forward to getting started on my programme and I think it could be pretty good for the kids too.

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I’ve been captivated by the Olympics.  Team GB have been outstanding, the BBC coverage superb and the sport has been top class.  In short, it’s been inspiring.

‘Inspire a generation’ was always the aim of these legacy games.  It seems as though people have been inspired, but I wonder which generation?

I see more adults out running.  The weather helps with that, but still, it’s great to see people out pounding the pavements.

I see more adults on bikes.

But a thought still niggles at the back of my head… when will the x-box game be out?

Is there a generation of young people who are vaguely aware that the greatest sports event on earth has been happening because their gaming time has been interrupted?

And does it matter that they might not have been inspired if their parents have been motivated to make some changes to their lifestyle which will in turn impact on those young people?

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