Thursday, 3 November 2016

Desire....


I’m not a runner who runs everyday or every week, I move in and out of desiring the feeling that running gives me… That desire can be generated, when I am facing a run or a distance that genuinely scares me – a marathon will do that.

Or it comes back naturally, softly insinuating itself in the back of my head.  I catch myself wondering how to take my kit on a work trip, wondering where my Garmin is and whether its charged.  I start thinking about what I’m eating, not changing much, but just thinking…

It must be infuriating to watch, as I seemingly go into running hibernation, still turning out for runs and not doing horrendously – nowhere as good as I should be, nowhere as good as I had been six months earlier.

Which brings me to my first race of 2017 – an mixed terrain half marathon along the Wirral Way – I printed the plan, and I followed it for a week and then I didn’t.  The desire wasn’t there… So plan B is going to kick in, I know I can run halfs with little or no training – not fast and not prettily – but I start and I finish.  As its mixed terrain, but flat, the target will be to try and complete it in the same time as the GNR or Dublin – c2:45.   My training is going to be rather specific – I’m going to walk/run the route… Not sure how many times, but it shall be done in a way that I’ll enjoy – so expect the night running tracks from endomondo, the weird times and odd photos will kick in soon.

If the desire comes back then that will be great, and I can feel the tingling, the itch is beginning to come back. For now I’m going to keep getting my steps in, if the average person only gets 7000 steps a day then I’m double the average as minimum – my fitbit is set that I don’t get the gamification reward until 14,000 steps (about 10k) each and every day.

It some ways it would be nice if I had one of those personalities that meant I could keep steady on things like running, but I know I’m a neophyte about a lot of things so “starting again” as some of my friends call this is what I need to do.

Now, where is my garmin???

TTFN

Paul


Monday, 17 October 2016

Fat and Flabby

Elite athletes have a concept known as periodisation - they organise their training around key events; there's the four year cycle of the Olympics, the Worlds, the Diamond League and so and so forth... They will plan their lives, marriages, children around these cycles.

I'm not an elite athlete, I'm not genetically predisposed to that, nor do I have the single minded determination to make that.

What I am is someone who can train hard for a focused period of time, push myself in that time slot and then get distracted afterwards and do other stuff...

So, after the Dublin Rock and Roll Half, and if I'm honest with myself since the Liverpool Rock and Roll Marathon I've been closer to competing in an eating competition than bothering any of my PBs, the desire to get out there and run has been minimal and the weight has come back - I'm back to my pre-marathon training weight and feel it (uncomfortably in some trousers).

But I've not been inactive -  I cycled the Leeds-Liverpool Canal... Well, I cycled half in one day (65 miles) and then 9 miles into day two I had the choice between landing on my knee, going into the canal or squashing a dog...

The knee lost... Which may sound like a daft option, but it wasn't the dogs fault...

However, I had done 65 miles in one day on a bike that folds in the middle:-)

The Great North Run was its usual packed insanity, 13.1 miles of festival... Just for once it would be nice if it was a cool run.  The objective, on the back for 5 training runs was to run it faster than Dublin... Which I did, by 8 minutes so I was happy.

The Reaper was beaten, a 10k... 1:13 is slow, but it was a course best - last year I'd been 48s slower...

And that's what gives me heart - last year I ran the Reaper Race in 1:13... and through that focused dedication ended up smashing my 5k & 10k PBs.  Yes I could wallow in the fact I ran a 10k 16min faster in May - but that was on the back of near miraculous training - destroying training PBs at every distance up to 18 miles and a race in perfect conditions (wet, cold and a little breeze).   Marathon's are tough, and in the heat of the late MAY Bank Holiday its no surprise that it took a lot out of me, and that was psychological as well as physical.  Any normal person would've stopped running a long time before me on that day...

So where am I - I'm where I was this time last year.  But with more confidence of what my body can take, and how to push it.

I'm also on new adventures - my pedalling jiminy cricket also covers one of my long standing issues - why can't I swim.  So to the pool I have been, a nice 95cm deep training pool.  This is not my natural environment, but the drills have started, the glides, the breathing exercises... And drills I understanding, they're the equivalent of one foot in front of the other.

It's not going to be a simple or easy process, I have an uncanny ability to head in the wrong direction, normally down and will be trying to swim before I can float...

And as normal when I'm not running a lot I'm not good at keeping this blog up to date... I have no idea why there is a connection between the two - so, the other bits and bobs - I have the BA to go with the BSc (Hons) and I'll be working up to the BA (Hons) this year.  It does give me a ridiculous set of letters after my name:

Mr P M Willgoss MBE BSc (Hons) BA Open (Open) PGDip

I might limit myself to three of them there letters...

I also appeared on stage with Marcus du Sautoy, well he was on stage I was a lemming, playing musical lemmings... When the video is up I'll share (that was the day job!), enjoyed another trip to the Fringe, saw the history of England on a rainy hill in Northumberland, walked the 100 steps in Whitby, and started that last course for the Hons bit of my BA - Languages and Culture... I don't think it'll teach me why I can't learn languages, but I'm happy to learn new stuff...

Behind the scenes the dicky-ticker work continues, pushing the NHS to make the service we get to be world class wherever in the UK we are - I'm not in the business of being popular, I'm in the business of making sure people do what they said.

So, where do I go from here??

January 8th - a half marathon along the Wirral Way... I don't know if my head and my body are ready for a heavy training plan, but if I'm going to do it, without it hurting too much I need to do something...

So reader, I promise there will be more blogs, and I promise that there will be more miles.  There should also be less food of the unhealthy kind... That I can't promise!

TTFN

Paul

Thursday, 11 August 2016

An international adventure…



Running in foreign lands holds a mystique, and for this dicky ticker runner a few problems – across continental Europe some race organisers ask for ECGs, others for positive approval from medics for undertaking an event.

Whilst I’m sure I could get a copy of my ECG, I’m not sure it would help much – let's face it there’s plenty of general cardiologists who wouldn’t get my ECG and what it meant, let along alone if it's was flaky.  The positive approval thing is an interesting one, I’m encouraged to exercise – indeed welcomed as a shining light (on the exercise if not the volumes of food I consume, but as I’ve often said I’m no saint and definitely no angel).  However, in an increasingly litigatoius age would any cardiologist risk saying I’m positively fine to pound the streets for a number of hours???

Which made the choice of international run easy – I needed somewhere that didn’t ask for ECGs, and a run organiser I trusted to have the right support in place.  Roll up Rock n Roll Dublin.   The added advantage was if anything bad did happen I’m fairly sure one of my old cardiologists is based in Dublin.  Yes, I know this is all ridiculous, I’m an ultra runner who defies convention… But in the small hours planning these adventures these things play on your mind…

The added bonus – being another Rock n Roll run, my descent into being a medal whore was facilitated to its highest level.  Like Liverpool in May there was a medal for the 5k, a medal for the long one – a half in this case – a remix medal for doing both and then… And then… A world rocker medal for doing runs in more than one country…


The runs themselves I’d prefer to forget – hilly, hot, humid, slow… But the main things is I did them, finished them and will smile each time I look at the medal which means I’m an international runner:-)

And now the hard work begins - I've just over a month to get myself in better shape for the GNR... Then a Scouse Run... Hmmm... More medals;-)

TTFN

Paul

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Injured?

I suppose it had to happen... A near perfect marathon training period, only marred by the heat of the run itself.  A cracking month of learning to ride a bike again and then doing my first big bike ride... And then I should have switched back to running... and I did for a whole week...

The plan was to start building the hills in for the Ultra in mid-Aug.. So off to the Peak District I went, a merry walk to the youth hostel from Edale station - some of my favourite miles in the world...


However. somewhere along the way I jarred or twisted my knee... and spent a painful 2km walking down the backside of Losehill...

Now an injury should be a massive bruise, a whole body scrape or something which is spurting blood... Mine is a dull ache, an awareness of something not quite right, a pressure that nags at me when I'm walking.

RICE has been engaged, as has ibuprofen internally and externally and a week and a bit later its still there, a pressure on the inside of my right knee that niggles, makes me narky, and really means I don't feel like chancing  a run on it.

And so its strapped, and I'm being sensible - no runs, no bike rides, bend and stretch, keep the strap on... try not to eat too much.

It might take a few days to get better, or it might take weeks... If the former, then Dublin for the rock & roll half will be my first long run before the Ultra.  If the latter its will be my test to see if its worth starting the Ultra - if I can't get through a Half marathon without minimal pain then I've no place on the start line of a 30 mile ultra ...

Yup, that's an injury!

TTFN

Paul

Monday, 18 July 2016

Renaissance?

Hello Reader,

it's been a while - sorry, it's been busy...

So the highlights for those who go TL/DR (too long, didn't read)... I've cycled a fair way, started to pick up the running again, walked my favourite 5km and managed to twist my knee a bit... Oh, and I've added some more letters to my name.

Last, first - The OU is weird, OK, I'm coming from a bricks and mortar Uni background - but the idea of giving a degree then allowing people to do a bit more and get an honours is a tad... Well... Odd to me.  So with another 80% I've passed my Renaissance Art History, which in OU terms is a 2:1 (another oddity, in brick uni world 70%+ is a first)... However, when I started my OU journey I said I was doing it for fun and interest, and my choice in modules would be driven by interest and my approach would be to have fun with the issues - rather than playing the game... On that basis I'm astounded by my scores, and impressed with my application.  In the last few years I have roamed the arts and humanities like a lost soul hunting solace - or in my case knowledge - from the destruction of World Heritage sites in Afghanistan, through the Braque/Picasso dialogues in pictorial form, onto how planning legislation can impact on multiculturalism and this year knowing I can write 4500 words on something most would not look twice at, but I fell in love with 20-odd years ago when I first saw it...

I'll add my own pic in a bit - linky to an official one....

So, next I wander off to language and culture - for fun, and interest, I'm useless at languages, as my German, Finnish, Swiss-American naturalised Canadian, married to a Norwegian friends, will testify having mangled their languages for many a year.  However, this is a course I just need to pass to convert from a BA to a BA (Hons), and I'm interested in seeing if there's anything that gives me a clue as to my inability to do languages.  So we will see, starting in September.

That's the brain cells, now the body.  The usual post-Marathon fatigue set in, tempered by a challenge set by a friend, who may just be madder than I am.  She knew I had a new bike, and was determined to get me to use it... So "suggested" that I should do the Liverpool-Chester bike ride... No worries, I thought I used to do that... "And back" she added... That's 52 miles, on a bike that folds in the middle... Good job I bought a decent bike that folds in the middle!

To the amusement, well they were smiling, of my friends at work, my discussions about running gear mutated into discussions about padded shorts, saddles, panniers... And I trained, well instead of long runs I did long rides... 30km, 50km, 75km and then 80km... The Liverpool-Chester-Liverpool bike ride is fun, for a re-learner like me a good starting point, though I wish I'd learnt my gears more.  The sheer terror of going down the tunnel, the grind of coming out... The madness of other riders (if you've got a light bike, you don't want to stop in front of me - indestructible bike mets carbon fibre, could be expensive - for you!).  The hills were interesting, but with Jimminy Cricket on my shoulder (she disliked that nickname in minutes;-)) shouting instructions at me, and yelling "pedal pedal pedal" I didn't stop on a hill, in fact - one pit stop at half way for the loo and a mini-stop to stretch my toes out were the only stops in 80km, on a hot day...

Liverpool - Chester & Back...

Since then I've bought more gear (it's me, what did you expect) - spd pedals (with flats on one side), and shoes, and practiced my gears.  Will I ever be a proper cyclist?  That's a bit like being a proper runner - I cycle therefore I am.  My plan always was to use the bike as a bit of a tourer... And doing 80km in under 5h is better than I'd planned to do - so the books have been ordered for my late summer couple of days in the saddle, and the training continues - 22 miles in an evening, along a Sustrans trail, that sort of thing:-)

Which is being combined with the running - I have a half in three weeks and an ultra in five.  A couple of runs have shown that I've not lost all of my fitness, but have added some poundage - so the plan is to build up to 10 miles before Dublin (my first international race), and to try and get some hills in for the ultra.  The latter is dependent on my knee settling down - no idea why it started aching after five miles along the Great Ridge yesterday, but it's painful to walk down stairs this morning - so ibuprofen gels, ice wherever I can get it and take it easy for a couple of days.

So, the Renaissance is both over in terms of studies (well for now) and starting (in terms of cycling).

TTFN

Paul

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The Marathon

This is going to be a race review and a rant... I should apologise for the rant, but it happens almost every run I go on, and I'm grumpy about it...

The Rock and Roll Marathon was hot; 20 degrees of heat, 26.2 miles with the added fun of the humidity of a couple of parks.

The first half was a dream, I deliberately (because of the heat), ran well within myself, sticking to the 5:15 pacer like glue up out of town, around Goodison and Anfield and up the terror of St Domingo's.  Coming down back into town I had to allow my legs to run themselves, to run slower than felt comfortable would've have been harder and more likely to get me tripping over myself than the risks of being over exuberant. However, one eye was on the Garmin and I was still clocking 30s a KM slower than normal on the downhill, the flat was fine and took in the front, a couple of awesome bands and the Chinese Arch (complete with Chinese drumming group) and the second really nasty climb up Upper Parliament Street was fine - apparently I was sweating rather a lot, but that's to be expected.

Princes Road, and I was chugging along, still slower than training pace, but still well ahead of PB territory, a quick shimmy into Princes Park, and the humidity started to have an effect, I slowed a little more... Still on target, but beginning to feel it.

Through Princes Park, and the unpleasant little hill of Ullet Road, and the wheels started coming off...  Instead of slowing a bit, I walked a bit... and then Sefton Park happened... I tried structuring the walking into 200m blocks, followed by 800m run... which lasted all of four miles... because at mile 20, on Penny Lane, I was reduced to walking.

Six miles of walking... with a sprint finish...

As ever the Rock and Roll organisers and volunteers deserve medals for their efforts.  Every water station was well stocked, every fuel station well stocked - but even with taking on 4l of fluid I stopped sweating, and I know at that point to slow and take it steady.

Which moves me on to my rant... I said, and texted, and post on social media the same simple message - Well I can train well, I can hydrate as much as I can but I can't beat the heat - 5:49:43... And I hurt!

Those runners out there commiserated with me, those who know me best told me not to beat myself up, because no one can beat the weather.  All congratulated me on finishing what is beyond most runners, and most wished me well on my next adventure... Which if they didn't know I had one planned, they had assumed there would be.

So, why am I grumpy... Because about 10 people, have asked variants of "you alright?", "was it too hard for you?" or in one really irritating case "Should you tell your cardiologist you had a bad run?".

Now I know these are all, I hope, coming from a place of caring about me... But this is a marathon... I've done more than a few of them, I am as I often say tongue in cheek, but now in deadly earnest - I am a recreational endurance athlete.  I'm one of those people who enjoys pushing his body beyond what most people would consider normal.  I'm jealous of friends who spent the weekend doing a 145 mile ultra marathon, because I know its beyond me.  Some will be shaking their head at that, and considering me mad - but its true.  A normal day for me has a minimum of 14,000 steps (as counted by my fitbit), that's roughly 10k of walking in a day.  My baseline, e.g. walking to work, pottering around the office and back is about 4k... so it's 5 miles extra walking a day.  My average for the year, so far, 19,300 (give or take a bit of rounding).

So, think of the questions from my perspective - I avoid being the inspirational disabled person in the inspiration porn context as much as possible, if people are inspired by me to get up and do something then great. But I have never done a race, a run, or any of my other activities with the first thought of "if I do this, then I'll be inspirational".  I do events because I want to, because they challenge me and give me some headroom with what I can eat.  And above all other things because they are fun, and I enjoy them!

So, what do the questions focused on my health relay to me - they bring back all of the crap I've had to deal with in my own head.  Am I alright to do this, I know I am - I've been tested every way that the best in science can do, and more, more than that I know my body.  I've not run because I've felt crap, had colds etc.  I've pulled out of challenges with injuries and often get asked advice by others on how to do things... or not do things.

So, am I alright? Yes - I ache, I've done a marathon, if I didn't I'd be more worried.  Was it too hard for me? No - I've done harder, further and hotter.  Should I tell my cardiologist I had a bad run - Yes, he will know I ran a marathon, and it was hot, and he will, probably, ask for a photo of him beside me wearing my medals...

So, think on this if its inspiration porn to eulogise on a disabled person doing normal stuff, what is it when you focus on the health of a disabled person doing, what they think of as, normal stuff?  I can't think of a term, but there should be one...

So, I ran a marathon.  It was hot.  I ache.  I'll run another one in a bit.

TTFN

Paul

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Streaking...

I've said before that I don't know where this streak has come from, and I'm desperate not to jinx it... But the runs are flowing and the PBs are falling.

Last weekend was the Spring 5K & 10k in Sefton Park - good runs, well organised, flat and enjoyable.  I did the 5k as Ironman, so went out with no expectations...

Hmmm...

No expectations...

That'll be 74s off a PB that has lasted since 2012, on a busy field, on a distance I hate - its far too short, I don't get into my stride, never feel warm, never feel comfortable.  Add in a mild panic attack as there was a thumping in my chest... that'll be the arc reactor I was wearing...


Yup, that thing was bouncing on my sternum... and I forgot about it... Until hammering around the course, it bounced and those demons of living with a dicky ticker came back for the merest of seconds to disappear in an amused instance... 

And then there was the 10k, I'd come so close to dropping below the hour that I knew it was possible.   I applied that brain cell of mine, and though fast runners may be amused by this I ran more tactically than I knew I could.  My basic plan, 3k steady, to warm up.  Then 3k harder, moving to 3k at max... which leaves 1k, which would be blood, guts and gory. 

As ever, the plan almost came off the rails before the start when someone stood on my heel, and passing the club secretary with a cheery Happy Birthday, the first K was slow with the crowds and the inevitable shoelace requiring retying... 

And I sort of stuck with the plan, with additions... The course is flat, but has inclines, and there were points where people slowed to go up them, and I accelerated to go past them, and more oddly to me they slowed on the downward incline - which is when my love of hills comes in and I just unleash the power of gravity... 

The additions, I should apologise - if you were wearing a charity top I recognised or a club top I was trying to run you down, target, after target, that mentality pulling me around the course.  And the approach worked, I hit the last KM with enough time that I could've slowed down and taken it easy... and my legs were telling me I should... So I didn't. A final push, and through the gun time in less than a hour, and a 57:18 PB for a 10k - 3:30 off the one set the other week, and 5:40 off the one from 2012... 

The conditions were perfect for me - mild and wet... 

And how do you celebrate two more PBs... You go and run 5 miles... because in running the 10k's you know you went quicker than your PB.  So on a warm Thursday evening, I got caught by traffic crossing the road, I dodged trucks (big ones) pulling out of entrances to the dock road, a lunatic cyclist and it being a tad warmer... And the PB fell, by almost 3 minutes.  

So, I'm entering the final stages of the training, the last scarily long training run - 20 miles - is tomorrow... Just as the heat wave hits, and the toxic smog comes over... So, the PB stretch may end tomorrow.  And if it does it does... It does. Running this well consistently is unusual for me, and looking back I've done it only twice before, both times ending in a marathon PB.  

It's far too early to start thinking about that, I have my acceptable, good and dream zone targets for the end of the month... and they haven't changed since February when I strapped my shoes back on. 

So, as you have your BBQs, or dodge the thunderstorms, tomorrow think of me, pounding the streets for 20 miles, one foot in front of the other... 

TTFN

Paul



Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Hour

No, this is not a new direction for the blog - Virginia Woolf is not high on my reading list....

So the hour...

It's another arbitrary target, another random point in time that is utterly meaningless... and means everything... And I'm very conscious this is a running thing... and probably a me running thing.

Ten kilometres... 6.2 miles... in an hour.  Ten sub-6 minute kilometres, one after the other.  No let up, no easy kilometres in the middle, no real time to warm up - at least not for me.

And the hour has sat there, its something that's been discussed with my running mates, the fast ones giving hints and tips, the others commiserate and wonder if they'll ever get near too.

I'd all but given up, that elusive hour seemed to be slipping away... And I'm marathon training, so the mid-week runs are meant to be looseners, gentle plods that help the legs recover....

Apart from something didn't quite go to plan on Thursday, the first couple of k's were normal even down to having to stop to retie my shoe laces... The route is quiet, but bobs across enough roads that its inevitable that I'll be pausing to get across a road at some point, it doesn't quite get into the touristy bits of Liverpool, but I get close enough to the Liver Building that a few confused tourists need to be stepped around.

And then back along the Dock Road, up and down the countless kerbs...

I'm not sure when the legs started moving faster than normal - the first five k are good for me, for a training run very good and then I'm not sure what happened... the next two seemed quick, and then the turbo-charger came from nowhere... Three k, sequentially faster, each below 6min... finishing with a 5:34... This from someone whose 5km PB is 29:15... And this at the end of a 10k...

So, the hour.. Not quite... 45s are all that's left.  That's a two minute PB.  The previous PB was 2012... four years and bang two minutes off.

Forty-five seconds... I've two 10ks, proper races, to come in the run up to the Marathon.  Both favourite runs - the Liverpool Spring 10k around Sefton Park and then the Manchester Great Run.  I don't know if I'll get those 45s, because the long runs will take their tool... but I do know I can...

Which is, in one of my more reflective moments, why I run - to find out what this battered old body can do.  Like many with dicky-tickers I spent a lot of years believing what I'd been told I could do, rather than finding out what I could do... This year is very odd, the PBs I'm getting are huge, and I'm not sure why, and if this is me running at my limits then so be it.

Which takes me back to the hour, 46 seconds is what I need to do... That's it.  To get the hour.  A target, arbitrary, meaningless, and just there, tantalisingly close now.  Something I didn't believe I could do... Now I know I can...  

TTFN

Paul



Sunday, 17 April 2016

Barnstorming...

It's been a funny old week (insert old cultural reference here); the mental push to get an OU essay in, the fear gnawing that my run of good runs was over, bad news and good news in almost equal measure, irritations from work (yes I know that's my fault for turning the blackberry on) and then the run itself.

The guts settled down about Wednesday, but I felt drained and was conscious that I'd not eaten a lot for more than a  few days.  A night out with old friends; a decent steak and a share of a decent bottle of red seemed to cure that, if not leave me in much position to tag a training run in on Friday morning.

For those not used to marathon training plans, they have two main components - the LSR, the long slow runs that systematically break your body down a little bit more than the last one, just enough to build the muscle during the recovery week.  And the recovery runs, for me two are planned each week, and in a good week I do the two... Most weeks I concentrate on the longer one of the recovery runs and walk enough the rest of the week to do the recovery thing...

So, since my exercise test a couple of weeks ago, I've had one bad run, as in only one run - 10 miles. That was last Sunday. Its done, its over, it was 10 miles.

Mentally doing that is a lot harder than typing it, and for too much of last week I was over analysing what had gone wrong, and whether I should do anything different before the next run... And in the end I did very little different.

As normal I prevaricated before getting going; that's unfair, I chose to answer an email that deserved my attention.  I followed the two poo rule, I ate my now staple small bowl of porridge and went out the door.  After the usual faff of getting the lock on the satellites and I was off.

In my head, this was a repeat of the 16 miler, just go out there and get back to where I was.  Nothing too scary to risk the dreaded injury...

And I flew... The 10 miles of pain were gone, my starting hill was over quickly, everything just worked, and kept working - according to Strava it was my fastest ascent of St Domingo's relentless rise - not by much, but importantly 20s and a lot of good feeling better than the week before.

Dropping down to the city centre, I bobbed and weaved betwixt and between the shoppers and then faced that second monstrosity of a hill - Upper Parliament Street... No Personal Record, in Strava-speak, for that hill - nor surprising as I got caught at every single crossing by cars wanting to get through.... Up along Princess Road, down and then up Princess Park and then around Sefton Park - copying as much of the course as I can cram in and finish in a sensible place to get home.

Through to Otterspool and more stopping for traffic (how rude of them ;-)) and onto the Prom.

Anyone who has run a half or a full marathon in Liverpool knows the Prom, you know you've only got 5km to go, the ground is flat, if hard on the feet, its a case of keeping the Mersey on your left, bolting down your last gel and going for it with whatever is left.  At least it is when the wind is with you, in the headwind its a raw battle, you can feel your strength sap, your legs getting heavier, every step becoming a masterpiece in determination.

And on race day it will only be that 5km... By this point my brain had said 16 miles wasn't enough when I was feeling that good that I trusted my brain- never trust your brain for important decisions, why not take it out to 30km - you know your PB for that is about 3:50 - go get it...

So, that headwind was my friend, my constant companion for 10k.. From Otterspool to Bootle I battled, so focused that I forgot my 20km gel, the marina turned into the Arena, the Arena gave way to the Albert Dock, past the Three Graces, along the docks and onto the Dock Road - uneven paths, constant curbs of the numerous ways into the docks.  The Dock Wall (architectural side bar - a fabulous piece of construction, so go see it) provided no apparent shelter from the wind, past the Captain America shoot location, and on I ground.  By now I wasn't probably a pretty sight of a runner, and some would question if I was running, or staggering, but I was moving and not walking.

At some point I looked at my watch and realised two things - 1) I ballsed up the laps, must have done it when I took my wind shirt off when I got warm, no matter just don't run to the beep 2) I knew that a dream time of sub 3:30 was going to be agonisingly just out of reach.

Now in the past, knowing I'd not make a target would put me in a spiral of defeatism... and I confess the shoulders slumped, but then got shook... A small bit of visualisation - if on race day I got to this point in this time at this distance then I'd have two hours to jog out 12k and still get a PB....    Doesn't mean it will happen, doesn't mean that I'll be able to do it, but it was all I needed...

Three hours, thirty three minutes for thirty K - has a nice ring to it.  And was a 16 min PB.

So what did I learn? I must remember to take my gels, I shouldn't listen to my brain, and sometimes a PB is just too big to sink in on the day (though my friends who were texted/emailed/facebooked got it long before I did).

Why are the gels so important? Its a me thing, I ran 30km on two gels.  That means I probably ripped into my glycogen levels in a way that isn't good.  When I started running long distances the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) was agony - I tried sports drinks, I tried sports massages, and it turned out that if I take slightly more gels than a type II diabetic should, but less than the books say I should I get around and I don't get that much pain.

So what's next?  I took my legs for a walk, and a "climb", I did easy stuff to try and loosen the legs off and in the main it worked. This week there will be a 10k one morning, and the weekend is a genuine 16 miler...

My job now is to keep going, I've six weeks until the 26.2... In the meantime plenty of my friends will be doing London, and yes Liverpool is the same length ;-)

TTFN

Paul