Dublin Marathon, Mile 3

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mannheim Marathon May 2014

Yesterday was the Mannheim Mannheim. Mannheim is in Germany, about 4o mins south of Frankfurt, and is my adopted home town. The Marathon is run in the evening on a Saturday and is a very lively, party atmosphere event!

I have lived here for 11 or so years now and have run the half marathon a few times but never the full one. I recall a few times coming to the point where the "halfies" go left to finish at 20KM, and the "fullies" go straight on to do another 21.1 KM, and thinking to myself, "i could NEVER do another half marathon at this point!!". So I had it in my head that this point in the race was going to be psychologically difficult for me as i am used to turning left there. But it turned out not to be such a big issue.

The strategy I got from my trainer Darryl was to keep under 0615 per km as much as possible up to 30K, and then just tick of the last 12K as best as possible. So that's what I had in my head and I nailed it to perfection. I ran KM1-KM25 mostly at under 0600 pace so new I was ahead of my schedule and had some time in the bank for when I slowed and tired toward the end. Then at KM 30 I recalculated what I needed to come in at 04:25 and slowed the pace a little.

About 1Km from the end the pacers with the 04:30 balloons tied to them came passed me and I wasnt having that, so I put the boot down and flew passed them, right at the spot where my mates were gathered to cheer me on. I ran the last bit of the pace at full pelt, hamstrings screaming, and finished in 04:26:01!!!!

That was a PB and the first time ever under 04:30, making this Davey a very happy bunny. The icing on the cake was that this morning I weighed in at the lowest I have been in 11 years - 87.6KG.

After the initial elation of the PB and going to meet my mates for a beer, I quickly dipped and felt pretty crap i have to say. I think it was a combination of 8 gels, ibuprofen, Imodium etc, but the beer i thought i was so much looking forward to, went back to the bar as i didn't drink it.

Off to a wine fest today though, so should make up for that!

Now, with 2 records met this weekend, its time to find a new challenge........

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The London Marathon!

So... a week ago today I ran the 2014 London Marathon! I am very happy to say that I completed the race without any major issues or injuries, and pulled out a personal best too (4.34) so was very happy with the outcome! Here's a quick #marathonselfie of me just crossing the finishing line and collecting a medal:

It was an amazing day; the weather was great, the organization was amazing and the general mood of everyone was good. Its so much better when the sun is shining! We were staying close to The London Eye and got the "Thames Clipper" boat from The London Eye down to The Cutty Sark in Greenwich from where we walked to the start. Here's an AM picture whilst waiting for the boat to arrive:

Looking back, I think I ran the first half well, but then slowed in the second half. I guess most people do that also, but I really want to train more to work on the second half of the long runs; keeping the pace so as not to drop time. Its a hard job but with some work I hope to get a better time. For now though, I was happy to beat my own record.

Some more pics of the day are below. It was nice to have a few beers afterwards - I was off alcohol for a while before the race and saw the benefits, but the pint did taste good! My mum, mother in law and some of their friends were down to support, and my mate Charlie also made the journey up too. We had a nice night in London / Covent Garden afterwards, and I got a discounted dinner for having my medal on. :)

I will definitely look back at this marathon with much fonder memories than the previous London race! Thanks to everyone who donated to my charity. Next stop is the Mannheim Marathon at the end of May. I pretty much ate and drank anything I wanted to this week, but it will be back on form starting Monday. Got to get under 4Hr 30 mins next!

Cheers, David

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

4 days to go...

.......... till race day. Things have been going well in the last weeks and I am hoping that it continues up to and throughout the race!

Its Wednesday night as writing this; I get the train to London on Saturday morning and am getting quite impatient waiting. I just want to get at it now. The plan is to aim for somwhere around 4 hours 30, which would be 9 minutes better than my best time. We'll see how it goes on race day! Weather is looking good - no rain and approx 17 C. If it stays like that then I will be very happy.

On another note, a mate of mine is currently running The Marathon Des Sables this week! Makes my marathon seem like a stroll around the park.

(The Marathon des Sables (MdS, Marathon of the Sands, or Sahara Marathon) is a six-day, 251 km (156 mi) ultramarathon, which is the equivalent of six regular marathons. The longest single stage (2009) is 91 km (57 mi) long.)

So right now, my knees are good, toe/foot is as good as its gonna get, and although my achilees is not perfect, it should be ok. The reason i am writing this is so i can read after the race and compare notes.

I do have a little fatigued quads to be honest. I helped a friend move house at the weekend and the lift was out of order, so we had to move everything down six flights of stairs. Should be ok in a few days with some luck.

Target weight for the race was 88KG. I got to 88.8 on Sunday so that will do me! 

Looking foward to a beer after the race.....

Sunday, March 30, 2014

2 Weeks til Race Day...

Time flies doesn't it? Its only 2 weeks until thousands of us will be pinning on our numbers, tying up our shoelaces and heading to the starting line at The London Marathon! I am looking forward to it immensely and so far the training has been going pretty good. Work has been hectic and getting in the way of training a bit, but for the most part its been going according to plan. I have had some small issues with my left foot and ankle, but I am hoping its all going to be ok. The last two marathons that I started, I almost didnt! I had some bad knee pain right before both races and almost didn't make the start, but hopefully this time round will be different. Time will tell!

This morning was my last big run before the tapering starts, and I decided to change things up a bit and take a new route. I ran out of the "burbs" and into the city, right through the city train station and out the other side. But at the station - what a sight! Its where the hardcore party goers all congregate after the late night bars and clubs empty them out at 0630. They all go there for a last few beers or to try and squeeze the last bit of Saturday night out of Sunday morning ( I know, I have been there before!). As I watched the drunk teens arm in arm singing, and others having a doner kebab and beer for breakfast, and one guy wide eyes and arm bandaged as he'd just left the hospital, i thought to myself... "Bollocks to this running lark, I should be over there having a beer and partying!" But I kept on running and rocked up a good paced 24 KM's.

Total time was 7 hours 20 this week and weigh in was 89.1 KG. Goal weight for the race is 88KG so nearly there!

Cheers, David

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Show Must Go On...

So not a bad week all in all, but it didnt start out too well. I picked up a mysterious foot injury last weekend. It was in the ball of my foot and was really sore, so I was unable to hardly walk, never mind run. I told my fitness instructor this and advised that I probably wasn't going to be able to train for this week. However, I didnt want to lose any momentum so I decided to hit the bike rather than run. I done 4 x 1 hour sessions in the week and then on Saturday morning I kitted myself out for a long ride. I live in Mannheim and planned the route from home, to Schriesheim in the Odenwald, on to Wilhelmsfeld, Heidelberg and then home again. It was a total of 82 KM and was about 3 hours 20 mins from door to door. 

There is one brutal climb on the way to Wilhelmsfeld; its a 5KM pull all the way to the top without any flat areas to catch a breath. I had previously never done it without hopping off the bike, but this time I was committed to getting up there, and I did! I needed a break at the top though. :)

Today (Sunday) I just got back from a great day skiing in Feldberg. One of the best things about living in Germany for me is that one can go skiing. There aren't many places to go skiing in England or Ireland! But I am a keen skier and love the fact that you can be in Austria or France or Switzerland in just a few hours drive. Today though, I went to Feldberg in the Black Forest. Its only 2 hours 20 from Mannheim and is like another world. We havent seen any snow in Mannheim this year but Feldberg was covered. Its got enough slopes to keep you interested for a day, but is quite small compared to the Alpine resorts, but the ability to be able to go there and back in one day is great. You can check it out at www.feldberg.de

My boarder mate, Padraig

  My foot is almost back to normal now, so back running this coming week. Only 9 weeks till marathon day! Best get cracking on booking a train ticket back to the UK....

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Who says marathon training makes life unsocial?

11 weeks till race day.

This week was a big week, packed with not only training but work and a few social events in the calendar too. Last week I asked my training instructor to give me a "big week" as I wanted/needed to experience running on tired legs. I asked for this as I always suffer in the last 15 kilometers of a marathon. I am sure everyone says the same thing! But I can remember last year, running in London and was in absolute torture in the last section, to the point where I had to resort to running 800 meters and then walking 200 meters, just to get to the finish line.

So, a big week was what I got. I had to manage it around our fist ever "The Used Car Guys" company meeting on Tuesday at Saks Hotel in Kaiserslautern, and then a curry and drinks afterwards. Also, it was my wife's birthday on Friday night and we went to a very nice restaurant in Mannheim where we live. That was a late night too, but I still managed to get in 15 kilometers on Saturday, and then the big one was a 3 hour run on Sunday. The idea was to have a few running sessions in the week, a slightly bigger session on Saturday, landing me at the start of Sundays run, already with fatigued legs. The prescribed pace was faster than I usually run but it all went fine and I was pleasantly surprised at how good my legs were in the last portion of the run. All in all a good week!

So if anyone ever tells me that they wont commit to a marathon training plan as it conflicts with work and takes over your social life, I will suggest that they just get up earlier like I do!

Total time: 8 hours (missed 2 sessions mid week)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

13 weeks till London 2014

WEEK 2, 2014

This was my first full week back after the Christmas holidays. First week back at work and first week back training. I had asked my training instructor to send me a calorie burning, high intensity plan to get rid of some of the weight that i gained over the holidays, and I got what I asked for; a good solid 8 hour plan of running, biking and one swim session. I managed to get everything in apart from the swim session, as the feckin pool was closed when I got there after work! Swimming pools in Germany really frustrate me, they are either packed full, have no swimming lanes, or stupid opening hours. Anyway, I finished off the week today with a really nice 2 hour, 20k run in the forest behind my house, and then went for brunch with my wife and some friends.

I thought about completely abstaining from alcohol until after the London Marathon, but thats a long time to go without a beer or glass of wine! So I have made a compromise and told myself that I will abstain all week and have a few glasses of wine only on the weekend, staying away from beer as much as possible as that bloats me big time. We will see how this "compromise" works out in the coming weeks. (Will also have one or two get-out-of-jail-free-cards for birthdays etc :) .

I calculated today that its actually 13 weeks till the London Marathon so that gives me plenty of time to get match fit again. Have to say though, that the 20k run today was pretty good. I kept a good pace of around 0545 per KM and was running faster at the end than i was at the start.

Signed up for the Mannheim Marathon on Saturday too! Thats May 31. :)

TOTAL this week - 7 hours
Weigh in - 91.3 KG.
Target weight for April 2014 - 87 KG.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 - back to work, back to training, back to reality

So the real 2014 started for me this Monday when i went back to work. I had a great two weeks holiday over Christmas; one week at home in Cambridge with my folks and family, and then a week in Austria skiing with a group of pals. Both were great times and surprisingly relaxing. Even the ski week, which is usually filled with Apres Ski and loads of booze, was much more laid back than normal. Maybe i am finally "coming of age" as one of the group suggested! (Nah, fcuk that!)

So got back on the Saturday and decided to head out for a big run on the Sunday to try and burn off some of the holiday calories. I did bring my running gear with me to Cambridge and Austria but manged only two measly runs in the two weeks. But this Sunday i knocked out a good 15k at good pace which got me back in the mood and back in the game.

And game on it is! Only 12 weeks left till the London Marathon and i am determined to do a better job than i did last year. I had injuries and was ill on the run up to the race last year so it didnt work out as i planned, and came over the line in 5.55 or something like that. This year i would like to get under 4.30.

Looking back over last year as one does around these times, i can say that i completed 2 marathons and maintained my training throughout the year, but didnt really lose any weight on the scales, although i know i am fitter and leaner than this time last year. One of my resolutions for 2014 is to eat healthier and not to allow myself to eat what i want just because i ran 10k that morning. Need to also lower the alcohol consumption too!

Off to set up my Just Giving page - gotta raise two grand for the London Marathon entry....

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I got a ticket for the 2014 London Marathon...

Week 47 - November 24:

Man, i am crap at keeping this blog up to date these days. Its been nearly two months since i wrote about the Basel Marathon. Its supposed to be my running diary more than anything so I will make an effort to update it weekly again.
October wasn't a great month of training for me. After the Basel race I took my foot off the gas with training and dieting really, and didn't put the effort into running much. If i am honest I don't think my head or my heart was in it. But we went to New York on business at the end of October and when I returned on Nov 4th I decided i was going to get back on track and get training seriously again. So I put myself on the wagon and went for it.

Had a good few weeks and a this last week was very good. A solid 9.5 training hours, with a mix of gym, outdoors running, and biking. I have been at the gym more than usual lately and am starting to like it more and more.

Most important is the fact that i am running The 2014 London Marathon again! The charity Addaction who i ran for last year, have offered me another slot and i have accepted. I need to raise GBP 2000 which is going to be tough as i really rinsed people last year, but my wife said she will handle the fund raising if i put my head down and concentrate on the running. Sounds good to me!

So the race is April 13 2014 - a little under 5 months. Hopefully I will get a better time than last year!

Off skiing this coming Thursday for the first trip of the season! Cant wait to hit the slopes, see old friends and have my first beer in nearly a month. Lets get it on!

Week 47 - 9.5 Hours, 90.9 KG.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Basel Marathon, done and dusted!

So I completed the Basel marathon yesterday! I didnt get a PB but just to finish was an accomplishment for me. I was still injured in the days before the race and wasnt sure if I was even going to start. I spent the night round our friends Gavin and Anna, who live in Basel, (Switzerland BTW) with an ice pack on my knee and some heavy thoughts in my mind. I was moody, as I had done all the training and wasnt confident that I was going to be ok to run.

But when i woke up the next morning and tested my knee, I thought it felt "ok" enough to give it a shot, so had breakfast, got my stuff together and went down to the race meeting. Only then did I try to run for the first time in a good few days.... and it wasnt good. When landing on the right side my knee wasnt painful, but it was uncomfortable; certainly not the best situation to start pounding it for the next 42 km!

But pound it I did, and after 4 or 5 km's it felt fine. The weather was lovely and the city of Basel was a really nice place to be running. It was a smallish race with maybe only 300 marathoners, so it felt like I was running on my own course for most of the time as most of the other runners were much faster than me. At times I really thought I was the last of the pack but occasionally saw some people behind me, which was nice. :)

Around km 25 my left quad starting screaming more than usual at me. I must have been over compensating for my right knee by leaning more on my left, so my quad was in agony for the remainder of the race. I had kept a good 6.05 per km pace for the most part but had to slow down and introduce some walk breaks in the last 12 or so km's to make sure i got to the end. I didnt want a DNF!

The end result was 4 hours and 50 mins - thats 11 mins slower than my best time in Dublin 2011 but I was simply happy to have been able to get the medal.

Towards the end I said to myself  "no more fcuking marathons David!!" but now as I write this I don't think that will last.... :)

Sunday, September 15, 2013

A week before marathon day means.....

.........injury! It bloody happens to me every time! This time my right knee has decided to crap out on me. I was having a great week of training but then on Thursday me knee started to hurt. Come evening time it was very sore and by the next morning i couldn't bend the fecker. Gutted.

But I i was injured a week before Dublin in 2012 and also a week before London earlier this year, so I am hopefully that come next Sunday, my knee will be OK to run. Not sure if its just bad luck or something I am doing wrong, but thats three out of three marathons that I have been injured in run up to race day. I am following a proper plan so its not like I was overdoing it...

Ah well, time will tell.....

Monday, September 2, 2013

Feeling like a runner again...

Wow, its been a while since I last posted anything on this blog. Anyway, last week was a good training week for me, but it didnt start out that way. After returning from my vacation in Croatia last Sunday, I started the week with good intentions of going hell for leather to lose the KG's I put on whilst eating and drinking away on holiday. The Monday was OK but on Tuesday evening whilst out for a planned fast 6.5 km run, i got a sharp pain in my left knee and had to walk the rest of the way home. Now my knee has been niggling at me for a few weeks and I thought my hopes of running the Basel Marathon in 3 weeks were kaput.
So I got myself a sports massage and got the dreaded foam roller out, and felt a lot better coming towards the weekend.

Come this Sunday it was my last chance to get in a long run before the looking race day, and I am happy to report that i pulled out a nice 29km run at good pace without any issues! BOOM! Davey's back in the game. :)

So, the Basel "run to the beat" marathon is on Sept 22 and I am feeling much better about tackling it now. Only thing is that its a 2 loop run which I have always avoided, but I am sure it will be fine....

Still need to drop a couple of KG's before race day so off the booze completely until after the race. I now have a full size running machine and spin bike at home too, courtesy of someone we know who was refurbing a gym and gave us some of the old stuff!

Week 35- total training time 7.5 hours. Running, spin, gym. 
Longest run 29km, 6.00 Per KM pace. Mannheim - Speyer.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Big Week

Week 30 -

I have been pretty crap about keeping this blog up to date recently. I guess i can tell myself that i have been too busy with other stuff. Anyways, this week was a good week training wise. Managed to get in a good 8 hours. I have signed up for the Basel marathon in September too, so thats good.
Had to jump into a lake on my long run on Saturday as it was so hot! 37 C! Not complaining though.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Running and vacation in Croatia

Week 25/26

Today I just arrived back to Mannheim, from a weeks vacation in Croatia. We go once or twice a year to a place called Ciovo, on the Trogir Riviera. Its a really nice place and we own an apartment there. You can leave our house at 0530 in Mannheim, fly from Stuttgart airport and be on the beach for 0915! The week was nice; my wife's parents and some friends were there for 4 days and then we had two days alone, and then my brother James and his partner arrived.

I managed to get some running it, but not as much as i had planned! Slept in a few days and couldnt be bothered for some days, but managed to get out 4 times and covered around 30km. Thats not too bad for being on vacation!

There are some awesome places to run there, but you cant escape the hills. Here is a picture I took whilst out on a 10 K'er:

Drank too much, ate too much but what can you do when on vacation, eh? :)

On the last day my brother James arrived. We went out to dinner and was celebrating our 1 year anniversary of our car sales business. Here's us tucking into a bottle of bubbly:

All in all, it was a great week and happy to chill out and let the running take a bit of a back seat for a bit. Next week it will be all about losing the weight gained though...

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Didnt do the Mannheim Marathon last week

Week 23 and 24

So after all the training and preparation for my "home town" marathon last Saturday, I didn't even get to lace up my runners, never mind get to the start line. An unexpected very warm stint suddenly blew up the pollen count and caught me off gaurd, and knocked me for six. Now I suffer from hay fever every year, mostly only for the month of May. So i take tablets for all of May but as this year May as a wash out, I guess the pollen only started flying when the sun started shining at the start of June, by when I had ran out of tablets and thought i didnt need any more. Boy was I wrong. On the Friday before the race i was wrecked and didnt sleep over night. The race was on Saturday evening but I knew by Saturday that I didnt have the energy and wasnt in a correct state to even try. GUTTED.

But hey, life goes on. Well, i was a bit of a moody fecker this week as my wife will probably tell you. And I had lost the motivation to get out and run for most of the week, only clocking up two 5 KM runs mid week. But today (Sunday) i ran a nice low key, local 12km event in Mannheim that was really nice and got my juices flowing again. I decided that i wasn't going to push myself but was going to just enjoy the race, but quickly I started to push myself and saw that I might clock a 10km PB if i pushed a bit more. Going past the 10KM marker I was at 53.43 which is 23 seconds faster than my previous PB! BOOM! That got my spirits lifted, but i was pretty fucked for the last 2 KMs. 12k is not a normal distance that one would normally train for, and caught a few people out at the end.

A friend of ours Mike who also ran, came 6th overall with a very fast 48 mins for the 12km, only a few seconds behind the winner.

Anyway, that was what I needed to get my head back into the training mode. I said I was going to do 4 marathons in the space of a year. With Dublin last October and London in April, i have to find 2 more to do in the next 4 months! FCUK.