They say when a door closes somewhere a window opens.
I won't lie its been a tough few weeks.
There are a number of things going on at the moment, including a second Lockdown for Wales that has been looming for a while. The 'come down' after the London Marathon, even though it was virtual, was bigger than I anticipated.
Then to top it all on a 5k run, where I got a new PB, I did something to my foot which has prevented me from being able to do more than a mile walking at a time.
Things weren't helped by seeing picture of people with their VLM medals and T shirts, whilst there was no sign of mine.
Now as an event manager I know how difficult it is to fulfil 45,000 t shirts and medals, but I was starting to wonder where mine was.
Today however....it arrived. I am so thrilled! This is just the sort of pick up I needed.
I know I have completed other races but this has felt like a major achievement. As my friend Paul said - "Only 1% of people have evr completed a marathon" - Well thats me.
I am taking things easy, allowing time for my foot to get better, but I also want to get on with my Wales Coastal path Challenge - less than 250 to go.
To keep me occupied I have be helping MoRunning prepare for this years 'virtual' races and did a video chat with them today - see their FB page.
If you can spend a little time supporting mens health then please join me at MoRun this year - ok you will be running on your own but happy to run on the same weekend (14/15 Nov)
Up early and as I had been told "stick to the normal routine". I had decided to have a warm shower to help get the legs ready for running. My usual bowl of cereal and as it was a running day - no tea - I find the need to find facilities increases if tea is involved first thing..
We headed out to join the rest of the Every Runner Counts runners at 7.30.
Kerrie has been an inspiration for me, ever since we first met. Her determination to complete London in 2019 set me on the journey I now find myself on. Kerrie did her Live piece for the BBC as we watch on the TV inside race HQ, well there was no point in us all being outside getting wet.
The weather was awful, cold, wet and windy, so my running jacket was over the top of my MoRunning T shit and my running number. I normally take my jacket off after 2 miles as I get too warm....lets see what happens today!
Just after 8 we set off. I knew my pace would be different to Kerrie and we had already agreed that it was important to run your own race. The first 3 miles went well and it was lovely to see Chris and Sarah, complete with cow bell to cheer me on in Hailey Park - I'm a real runner now.
I was running with Adam and with us both was Richard on the support bike. We headed up the Taff trail stopping briefly at just over 6 miles for a selfie, as this due to lockdown was the furthest up the trail we could get. We had all noticed lots of other runners, all being very polite but not the encouragement we thought there would be. As we got back to Hailey park our wonderful Medic Ellen was waiting along with my friend Alex plus Darren, all with supplies of Jelly babies and water. Adam and I decided to take our numbers and pin them to the outside of our jackets, so people could see the challenge we were on.
From then on everyone was giving us encouragement, it felt amazing. Very soon we were at the half way point at the Welsh Institute of Sport, Sophia Gardens, for a meet up with Jay, Pip and Kate with more supplies of fluids and homemade flapjacks. Richard had been keeping me motivated with discussions about food, so these were very welcome.
As we turned into Castle street to join the Cardiff Half route, it hit us! The wind was blowing directly into our faces - this was not pleasant. Suddenly road running was difficult. We turned towards Leckwith and then Sloper road, I had plodded on a little faster encouraged by the wonderful people in cars and vans all tooting and waving and shouting encouragement. On to Penarth road and a big wave from the staff at Nathaniel cars before heading to new ground the path that goes to Grangemoor park.
We were still together as we approached Ikea, but my feet were finding it difficult to walk, strangely plodding/shuffling was easier but it did mean I was moving away from Adam. Richard did well keeping an eye on both of us.
Due to the lockdown rules the route had changed a few times and as I entered Hamadryad park I realised, I didn't really know where to go next. Thinking 'just head to the Bay area and if necessary make the distance up elsewhere', I got a little lost but soon was heading towards the Norwegian church.
I knew in the Bay there was a few things I had to do, meet Michelle, Rick and the family, make sure Richard had coffee, he had mentioned it a few times and go to the World Harmony Peace statue and hold the torch - this is a must for any runner.
Whilst Richard had coffee, I plodded around Roath Basin, stopping only for a selfie and a jelly baby by the BBC studios, this seemed appropriate as its the home of Dr Who. The weather now was bitter, the rain felt like little needles on my face. Meeting back up with Richard we headed through past the WMC into Sloper road to meet with Kate.
I decided now, with 5 miles to go, to change socks and trainers - OMG what a difference to have dry feet again. Somehow Adam had caught us up, he also git a bit confused in the park so we plodded slowly towards the mansion house where the rest of my family, plus Kate and Alex were waiting. By now I needed to walk a bit, knees were hurting, clothes were damp, hands cold....but at least I had dry feet.
We walked together with Alex for around a mile, before turning at Waterloo gardens to head back to the finish. My knees and feet needed my to run(plod) so I set off around Roath park for the final few miles.
It was amazing to have people encouraging me along, people running to the end of the street just to give me a cheer, cars tooting, friends appearing it seemed from nowhere. I had Paula Radcliffe cheering me on via the official app as headed to Fairoak Hill (Cardiff runners know this well) and the final few yards to the finish.
I am so grateful to everyone who took time to support me, physically, via social media and of course by sponsoring me and the work of Movember. Physical and Mental health are so important, probably now more than ever.
I am also grateful for all the advice I have received from people, you all know who you are. For me the key things I remember are:
To be honest the last couple of weeks have got away from me a bit. Life has taken over and the effects of Covid-19 have had an impact, fortunately not in a medical way.
I have had fantastic support from my friends at Movember and MoRunning who have been like an extra support network and for that I am grateful.
Training for London Marathon.
This has been a great way to get out and clear my head. there is something about being in the open air that helps to reset the head. taking in the surroundings beiong aware of other people walking, running and in my case plodding along, each of us with our own story to tell.
I managed to complete a 16 mile training run, and that would be the longest distance I will run before virtual London. It is my plan on the day to run 3 miles then walk a bit....and repeat. This will be my first ever marathon so any time is a PB.
Talking of PB's I managed to do a sub 30minute 5K during training, I set out just to do a quiet head clearing run and at 2 miles I saw I was running under 10 minute miles. So with a little push I hit that magic milestone.
Everything got a bit real when my pack arrived. I real set of running numbers to wear on the the day and a good luck message from the team.
Weeks 14 and 15
In the excitement of longer distance and with London looming I forgot to input my miles for these weeks
Week 14 - 40.46
Week 15 - 37.47
Week 16 will be lower due to tapering but then 17 will be longer again.
There is still the small matter of the Wales Coastal Path challenge to complete as well. As I write this I am 583 miles complete with 287 to go.
And by the look of things I'm on a bit of the coastal path that may not be suitable for running.... That yellow marker is me!
After 24 years of helping others to achieve their running goals - it is now my time.