Archive for May, 2013

Well, back-to-back actually, but a quick AC/DC reference never hurt, eh?

I’ve completed my first “proper” back-to-back run, a long plod yesterday, followed by another long amble today. Because I like a bit of variety, I ran one way round the loop yesterday and then the other way round today. Clever, eh?

In short, it was a flat bit, a big downhill, a big uphill, a flat bit, a downhill, another flat bit, a trail bit, then a ridiculous uphill bit followed by a downhill bit back home. Sorry, that was today, it went the opposite way yesterday, but I won’t bore you – suffice to say there was enough uphill and downhill and surprisingly little flat. Just goes to show you what valley are like. Gain of 1,254ft, which doesn’t mean a great deal to me, I’m more of a metres person when it comes to height…

Was it good? Yesterday was grand, I felt like a proper runner. Today was pretty good too, though the final ridiculous uphill was a bit of a chore – I had to walk a couple of times as the strings in my legs were getting a bit tired.

What did I discover? Some drivers are arses, but most are great. Think I knew that already actually. Orange flavour gels are brilliant (though still not as good as banana)! I love my toe-socks, no blistery nastiness with these babies. The more you drink, the less you pack weighs – this is a key point when approaching hills. My wonky foot is getting better, I think, though off-road can be a bit of a problem.

So, that’s 24 miles in two days, but nothing compared to the fun of two 35 mile days when I run The Wall in June.

Still, proved I could run decent distance back-to-backs without my bum falling off.



All about the money…

Posted: 18/05/2013 in Uncategorized

A quick shout out for my JustGiving page – at the end of June, myself and my partner-in-crime Jon Ritchie are running The Wall. As it’s 69 miles of hills and such, we felt that it would be an ideal opportunity to raise a quid or two for Medecins Sans Frontieres, and so we’ve set up fundraising pages. So far, I’m almost half way to my £250 target, and here’s where you can help – if you go to the page below and donate a small amount, I’d be ever so grateful…

Dave’s JustGiving page


There are a lot of injuries out there that runners can avail them of. The discerning runner aims for things with a good Latin name to sound posh. illiotibial Band Syndrome being one of those, as is Planar Fascitis (I may have spelled that wrong). However, I’m not discerning, heck I’m not that much of a runner, so I prefer to be afflicted with much more working class ailments. In case you’re excited with this glossary of problems, I though I would share them.

Wonky Foot reveals itself as a mildly aching foot, all the way to a properly painful foot. The defining factor being that it just doesn’t feel right. A good wonky foot will defy any attempt to pass it off as something more high-brow, achilles problems or whatnot. If it could feasibly be a stress fracture, but not enough to lay you up, then the chances are that you’ve got Wonky Foot. You can run on it, but face the dilemma that the bottom of the offending limb may just possibly fall off.

It’s sometimes hard not to confuse Wonky Foot with the far less serious Bruised Bone. I had one of those once, and thought that was what I had again, but no, it’s not.

Foot + Wonk = Wonky Foot.

The ITB Strikes Back

Posted: 08/05/2013 in Uncategorized

Not the best movie title, I’m sure.

Still, my iliotibial band (that’s the string in your thigh to the rest of us) is a bit achy tonight.

Probably nothing, and I’ll see how it feels tomorrow, but I may have to rescue my foam roller form storage and really pulverise that bugger to sort it.

If you hear screaming from this direction tomorrow night, you know that’s what I’m up to.

Blame it on 7.5 miles round the hills of Chopwell. Lovely, but also massively hilly.

Loving the hills.

New house, new neighbourhood, new routes to run. Mint.

Only it’s quite hilly where we’ve moved, which was a bit of a worry. Especially with a still-mildly-dodgy ankle that doesn’t like ascents and descents.

Still, I went out the on Sunday morning, ran a quick five miles round, through the village, down to the bottom of the valley, along a bit then back up and home. Yesterday I did the same thing in reverse.

It was good.

Actually, it was surprisingly good – I plodded up the hill nice and slow, kept running all the way and my ankle is feeling groovy. Perhaps this “put stress on it to make it better” thing works. Plus, I can run up an actual hill without either dying or having to walk.

Planning something a little longer for tomorrow night after work – there’s an 8-mile round that looks like it could be fun.

On Monday, I discovered you can get apple flavoured gels. Not as cool as banana, obviously, but I bought a couple to give ’em a try…

The countryside rocks.

Let’s cut to the chase – 4:40:12. That’s how long it took me to complete the Marathon of the North. Four hours, forty minutes and twelve seconds. That’s not the speediest, but it is 35 minutes faster than the other marathon I ran last year, the Kielder Marathon. So pretty good, eh?

A common question I’ve been asked over the last couple of days is “but did you enjoy it”? Which is a tricky question. I think I go a bit cross eyed when asked, as I give it a bit of thought. As anyone who’s pushed themselves outside their comfort zone knows, enjoyment is a relative thing, often best viewed through the rose-tinted specs of the past. At the end of the marathon, I barely knew my own name, never mind whether I was having a nice time. In retrospect, I think I probably was. It’s trying to explain that bit of it that makes a simple sounding question quite tricky.

Many thanks to Katy for the photo!


See? That’s me – I clearly look like I’m having a good time. It may also be that I’m chuffed I’m approaching the finish line. Or the fact that, after a few miles of rather lacklustre run/walk combo (I went to the toilet at one point – in an official race toilet, not a random bush – mainly because I realised I could stop for a minute) I’d finally run more than a couple of hundred metres in one go.

Psychologically, I reckon that once you decide a bit of a walk is OK, you’re going to be doing a bit more. It happened to me at the 18 mile mark, and I’m still a little confused as to why. Something in my head went twang, and that was it, I was walking. After that, I could manage a bit of a run, then walk for a bit. The marshals were ace, cheering, shouting encouragement, and sometimes telling me get a shift on (a bit of tough love doesn’t go amiss towards the end of the run). Half way through mile 26 mind some person told me to “show a bit of character and get running”. It was not the ideal comment, and barely managed not to be a bit …well… sweary.

In terms of learnings for The Wall in June I reckon I need to get started on the back-to-back long runs – I wasn’t up for another marathon never mind 35 miles on Monday morning. Also, as James “Bananaman” Bailey pointed out, it didn’t do a great deal to improve my eating-on-the-run strategy as I didn’t.

It was a good event, I met up with Jon, my Wall co-conspirator, and we marvelled at just how windy Sunderland had chosen to be that morning. I bumped into Heather from Whitley Bay Parkrun, which is always nice, and I plodded past Weedy Gonzales (I presume that’s his actual given name) who is the originator of the thread for The Wall on the Runner’s World forums which was ace – he was there supporting folk. I failed to see Neil from work, who was there for the 10k – he made it in good time.

As it’s one of Steve Cram’s events, it was as well organised as the Kielder Marathon, which was really well organised. It was also my first go with a silver blanket at the end, which was great fun – nice and warm, and in my befuddled state I got to imagining I was a spaceman – don’t ask why, as I’m not sure, but it was still good fun.

At the end, as I passed the finish line, we walked through the Stadium of Light to pick up our goody bags – I think I took twenty times as long as anyone else, partly because I was a bit confused, partly because I don’t think I’ve been in a football stadium before, and also because I was trying to work my way through the handful of bananas I was passed (well, I was passed one, I blagged the rest) as I entered.

Mmm, spaceman blanket.

Oh yes there were two Bananamen, which was odd, I was lucky to be there while they ran past each other – no fights broke out, I know that much. There were also two bananas running, which added another surreal note to an already odd meeting. I didn’t see any teethmarks.

Boom! Marathon number 2 done.

Lord knows what my hair was up to – it hadn’t cleared that look with me…