Boston bound

Two weeks today I will (hopefully) have finished the Boston Marathon and completed all six World Major Marathons.

 

My last post was after I had been officially accepted and before any training had been started; I was expecting a slow start considering my lack of running over a period of 9 months, but as with previous breaks before (admittedly only breaks of 4-6 weeks), I was thinking I would find some form and get close to where I was before… how wrong could I have been!!

To say I had lost ALL my running fitness wouldn’t be far from the truth, but to be fair I was being stupid to think I wouldn’t have. 96.9 miles over 25 runs in 9 months is hardly great training!

My first run of 5km on 4th Jan was a real eye opener; I was looking how far I still had to go only ¼ of a mile in and blowing out of my arse the whole way… and things haven’t gotten much better 😀

I have used my ginger stubbornness to grind it out though and I’m at the stage where I have done all the long runs I’m going to and I just need to keep things ticking over until the big day. I have only managed one 20 miler in those runs and I’m glad I got it out the way when I did as the next week it was a struggle to complete 15 miles. My last couple of short runs have been in sunny, warmish weather and running has finally felt nice (sort of) again… the previous 3 months have been pretty shitty weather wise.

I don’t know if a little bit of the training struggle has been down to a change of location, it certainly is a lot hillier around where I live with Mrs D than it was in the Stotfold flatlands?! But then the extra couple of stone of padding has probably not helped either, haha.

Here I am though, 245 miles and 3 months in, my legs complaining a lot but hanging in there with a fair amount of sports massage help from my physio and some hippy shit reiki from my wonderful wife, ready to finish what I started 5 years ago; doing it in style with upper class flights and luxury hotels in Boston… and New York as we’ll be coming home via a train journey and a few nights in the big apple.

I’m in Brighton this weekend with Mrs D and my in-laws as my sister in law is running the Brighton Marathon to raise some money for the Stroke Association (for Mrs D)… all donations gratefully received https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Lucy-Bence

I’ll be running the 10km race that starts before the Marathon and then hopping the barrier to do a few miles with my sister-in-law to get her through a rough part of the course… she did it last year… and with being at work the rest of the 10 days before we fly out to the States, that will pretty much be it for me running wise. I’ll just have a sports massage the day before we leave, where no doubt my sadist of a sports physio will enjoy stretching my IT bands for me!!!!

 

And then what?

 

Well running wise; I do have an entry in to the London Marathon that I have just deferred to 2018; will I do it? I honestly don’t know right now! I haven’t enjoyed this training and I’m not sure I can cope with another winter of running. I’m telling myself I’ll carry on running through the summer, in the nice weather, but I could also see myself just enjoying life instead. I will also be spending time on our house getting it ready for a new arrival… yes, there is going to be a little Dring entering the world towards the end of September 😀

That itself has been a bit of a rollercoaster in the middle of training. We found out we were expecting at the end of January, but then due to some complications and a big dose of hospital incompetence, there were a couple of weeks in February where we had lost our baby! But lo and behold the stubborn little bugger had been there all along and another scan revealed a healthy heartbeat… with stubbornness like that, he/she has got to be a ginger surely?! I’m trying to convince Mrs D that he should be called Jesus if it’s a boy 😉

 

So my road racing career may be coming to a conclusion, but it looks like I will have my hands full running around after our son or daughter in the not too distant future and that sounds pretty perfect to me!

Where have I been?!

You could say it’s been a little while since I lasted posted… that would possibly be a bit of an understatement! So what have I been up to?? Living life!

 

My last post was following the Tokyo Marathon and just before running the Cardiff World Half Marathon race. With not having run in the four weeks in between these two events, I took it easy… haha… yeah right… I went off at PB pace and held on as I was dying in the second half. Managed a 1:32:something, with a spell of rain like I have never seen, and was pleased. My calf still wasn’t 100% though, so I decided to rest it a bit more and seven months later, you could say it’s fully rested (if not fixed).

 

I haven’t stopped running completely, but with only 24 runs in those 7 months and nothing further than 10km, it’s a lot less than I had been doing for the previous four years. The reasons for this are varied. I had a 100 mile bike ride at the end of July that I needed to train for, so I was concentrating on that. I chose to spend time with my partner rather than the amount of time I was putting in to running. During my hiatus, my partner has also become my fiancee 😀 We also have a couple of pupsters that are time consuming in their own right! We have been through the offer/purchase/fall through stages of 6 properties in these months. An unforeseen health emergency decided to throw things out of whack too. So all in all, a busy few months.

I did however manage to drag myself round a 10k race at the start of September… a painful 44 minutes!

 

Why have I come out of the woodwork to post again. Well the whole purpose of this blog has finally come to fruition and my marathon journey appears to be coming to an end… I have been accepted in to the Boston Marathon 2017! Whoop, whoop!!! As the title says ‘sub 180 marathon… although a BQ will do!’, I haven’t gone sub 180 minutes (and never will), but I have managed to do a good enough Boston qualifying time to get an entry in to the race. Technically I did this in 2014 and was able to submit an entry for the 2016 marathon, but I hadn’t been far enough below my qualifying time and missed the cutoff. However, I knocked close to five minutes off my PB and was able to submit another entry this year and it was confirmed in September that it was good enough. Having run that time in September 2015, it had been close to a year before I could apply, knowing it should be quick enough but not having anything guaranteed. It was such a relief to officially have it confirmed… especially as I had already booked flights and hotels for myself and the future Mrs Dring 🙂

Assuming I make it to the start line and complete the race, it will be the sixth and last of the world majors for me to complete and I can retire! I do have a good for age entry for London that I can defer to 2018, so I may do that. I definitely won’t be running it in 2017 and it would bookend my marathon career nicely as my first and last marathon, but my passion for marathons has definitely waned; not running altogether, I will carry on, but nothing further than half marathons.

 

So over the next couple of months I will hopefully be moving into a new house with my fiancee, we will be getting married and then honeymooning in New York… New York just before Christmas! Can’t wait! 😀 Then there is the little matter of Christmas here before kicking off my training in the New Year. The joy of cold weather training and sports massages… can’t wait 😉

 

I'm in... official!!!!

I’m in… official!!!!

World major number 5… done!

So, what happened in Tokyo?!…

After having left home at 5:30am Wednesday morning and arriving in Tokyo  7:30am Thursday morning (including a 9 hour time difference), the sensible thing would probably have been to get a few hours sleep… I went with checking in to hotel, leaving luggage and heading for a full day of exploring and getting my race number from the EXPO. I finally gave up after 30 hours of no sleep and hit the sack. After 12 hours solid sleep, I was up and at em for a day trip to Mt Fuji on the Friday. It was a bus journey out with a visit to a couple of lakes, cable car journey up another mountain, traditional Japanese lunch… where I tried amongst other things, tuna sashimi, jellyfish and kamaboko (steamed fish cake)… for a non fish/seafood lover, this was quite impressive I think!!! We did also got to the 1st station of Mt Fuji! 😀

This was all followed by a trip back on the bullet train to Tokyo. 160mph and it felt like you were not moving… pull your finger out British Rail!

proof that I was actually there!

proof that I was actually there!

Saturday involved lots more exploring Tokyo by foot. With a calf tear I should probably have been staying off my feet, but what’s the point travelling all that way and sitting in your hotel room. The one issue I had was with food. Not speaking Japanese, most of the restaurants were small places and there was a certain language barrier going on; I managed to get some carbs and protein each day though without resorting to too much junk food.

Sunday was race day and after waking early I shovelled some porridge down me and made my way to the start. I got here early as reviews of previous races had suggested it was difficult to navigate around and a bit of a nightmare. I didn’t find this at all… it probably helped that I had done a recce the day before. It was probably good that I had arrived early those as the queue for the toilet was massive. The baggage lorries also left quite early, so that left me a little chilly in my singlet, but I headed in to my starting pen and huddled in the mass of sweaty bodies for warmth. Certainly didn’t help having the height advantage I did though, haha! I thought I’d be okay as it was quite sunny… the starting area was in the shade, d’oh! I did manage to pick up a sunburn on the way round though!!

When we did eventually get going, it was a bit slow to start with as there were quite a few bottlenecks in the first couple of miles, but as I was relaxed and not going for a time, I didn’t mind one bit. The organisers were very helpful in telling you how far the next toilet was and each station… I made it a whole 4km before I had to stop… what is wrong with me?! I’d already been 3 times!!!

I just set about running comfortably, trying not to put any pressure on my damaged calf and get round. I had some paracetemol and ibuprofen with me to take if I felt it starting to niggle and could probably have gotten round without them… I did pop the ibuprofen at 26km though, more as a precaution than need. In fact it was my damaged calf that was about the only thing in my legs that didn’t get sore. It was good to run the whole way without having to push myself too much. I got quite a bad stitch at 38km, which lasted until 40km, but even this didn’t stop me running. When I crossed the line in 3hrs 18mins and some seconds, I was very pleased with my day’s work. Even more so that I had done Seville marathon on the same weekend 2 years previously and worked my arse off for 3hrs 23mins something… so there is improvement there. If anything let the organisation of this major down it was the rigmarole at the end. There was a massive walk to get some water, and then to the baggage area, then to the exit, and finally to the nearest open metro station… although this final bit of the walk took you through a street food festival thingy, so I indulged in barbequed meats!

As for the route, the first 10kms were pretty much all downhill, followed by 2 long out and backs with gentle undulations that brought you to the 35km point, with a couple of bridges going out to the finish line being the only uphills of note. This is probably a very good race to go for a PB, although I did feel for the people you can see on the out and backs that are over 10km behind you and struggling! There are lots of spectators out, but they are rather quiet, no whooping and hollering like the US and European races. Aid stations are well organised and plentiful.

bling and stuffs...

bling and stuffs…

After the race I had an hour or so rest back at my hotel then made my way into the Tokyo night. I also had another full day of exploring on Monday before flying back Tuesday… via an unsolicited upgrade to business class! Thank you very much BA!! 😀

club world... kir royale sir?... don't mind if I do!!

club world… kir royale sir?… don’t mind if I do!!

What have I been doing since? Nothing!! I have done a couple of short bike rides to turn my legs over, but there is still no running whilst my calf recovers. It was in remarkably good shape when I saw my physio, but still damaged. I was meant to see him again last week to check me over before attempting the World Half Marathon Championship race in Cardiff this weekend, but it got cancelled due to some teeth issues (on my part – another story), so I’m going in to this Saturday’s race blind. It’s feeling alright… I’ll rock up and see what happens.

One week to Tokyo

So a week tomorrow I will be running in the Tokyo Marathon and ticking off world major number 5… will I be finishing it though?!

I have been slightly lacking training wise for this one; I have managed most of my long runs but not done much in the way of shorter speed work or hill strength work. The long runs I have been doing have been feeling okay; they have felt far from Berlin PB material, but I had felt confident about going for a comfortable sub 3:30 attempt… that was until my last long run of 15 miles on 9th February.

I had built up my long runs and ran two consecutive 20 milers. These were both in cold and very windy conditions. I felt some twinges behind my left knee on these, but nothing too bad. I saw my physio after my second one and where I’d been leaning in to a strong sidewind whilst running, my body was all twisted. I put my niggles down to this, he straightened me out and I didn’t worry about it. Instead I headed off for a relaxing holiday in Finland with Kate and forgot about running…

Finish Lapland was amazing, we had a cosy little log cabin with an open fire, feet of snow outside, minus 19C temps (no running here!), horse sleigh ride, great food and a brief glimpse of the northern lights! 😀

cosy log cabin

cosy log cabin

 

The day after flying back I headed out for the fateful 15 miles. The same area behind my knee started to twinge after 10 miles, but where as before it had stayed a twinge, this time it kept getting worse. I slowed my pace (apart from the last mile) and shortened my stride. I was going to rest it and see what happened, but when it was still sore going up and down the stairs at work the next day, I thought I should maybe get in to see my physio. He kindly fitted me in to his schedule the next day and after some investigations, he diagnosed a tear in my left calf muscle… SHIT was my instant reaction and can I still run Tokyo my first question!!

He is not known for pussy footing around and if Tokyo was a no go he would have told me. The fact that he said I could start the race, take a couple of paracetamol and ibuprofen when I start to feel it twinging and then don’t stop until the finish otherwise I’ll be screwed, filled me with confidence, haha. He will fix me when I get back! 🙂

So for the last ten days it has been gentle stretching, cycling and pilates only. Am I confident of my shape for running a marathon… not one iota! I’m going to be relying on a big dose of stubbornness for this one!!

But still, it’s a visit to a new area of the world. With a trip to Mount Fuji and the bullet train sorted, plus lots to explore, I’m looking forward to it.

 

In other news; myself and Kate decided to add a new member to the family… Basil the dachshund goes very quickly from cute puppy to whirling dervish, but we wouldn’t have him any other way!!! 😀

crazy mutt!!!

crazy mutt!!!

 

Sayonara

Long time, no blog!

So, what’s been going on?!

 

Since my last post I have kicked my Tokyo training up a gear; run a marathon in Milton Keynes I shouldn’t have; finally gotten round to running a local Christmas 10 miler; spent work at Christmas and saw in the New Year with friends and the new lady in my life.

 

I say I’ve kicked my training up a gear, but it is still probably well short of where it should be. The main uptake in mileage could probably be put down to running a marathon in week 4… it didn’t go well. I ran a 1:31 for the first half (even after taking a tumble on a slippery bridge), then started dying on my arse from 18 miles onward. I hadn’t done enough long training since Berlin/Amsterdam, plus my head really wasn’t in the game. My body was suggesting a walk and my head gave in. The last 8 miles were a mixture of walk/jogging. I finished with a second half of 2:05, but in a respectable 3:36. My legs felt very heavy, but no injuries, so I had survived yet again.

The next few weeks were nothing too heavy and as the wind has been quite strong, that has been fine with me…. blasted headwinds!!

I am slowly building up my mileage though and with half of my training left, I should hopefully be able to get in long runs of 15, 17, 20, 18 & 20… we’ll see.

 

Due to a switch around of shifts at work I was able to get a last minute entry to Buntingford 10. This is always around Boxing Day or just after and was on the 28th this year. It’s a local race but as I’m virtually always working Christmas, I haven’t been able to do it up to now. I was hoping to run around a 1:05 but at least average 7 min miles for a 1:10. I split the difference with a 1:08:30 and a 64th place. As it was the first time I’d run it, I had no idea of what the course would be like… it was certainly undulating!!! I was very happy with my effort though and I earned a nice bit of bling whilst burning off Christmas excess.

 

I managed to get out for 13.1 miles of training on New Years Eve to finish my year off with 1218 miles. So all in all, I’ve had a very good year!

I’ve managed to get through a whole year without missing any time from injuries; I’ve averaged over 100 running miles a month; my cross training bike mileage went up massively (which probably helped a lot!); I’ve run a 10k and marathon PB… the later hopefully getting me in to Boston for 2017; with no real negatives. Yes I’ve had a few disappointing times, through running races very stupidly, but it’s all been good experience.

 

As for seeing in the New Year. I had a great night with Sarah, her family and friends, plus the aforementioned lady. It’s early days but Kate is a little bit special, so we’ll see, 2016 has started off very well though.

 

What does 2016 hold….

7 weeks more training to get me to Tokyo, hopefully in shape for a sub 3:30. 4 weeks after that I’ll be in Cardiff for the World Half Marathon race… great planning again Dring!!

After that, there is no real plan. I will probably look at doing some 5/10k’s and maybe a half marathon or two in the Autumn. I don’t want to run another marathon after Tokyo in 2016; I think my body (and my mind) needs a rest from the constant pounding of marathon training.

Hopefully my place for Boston 2017 will be confirmed without stress in September and I can look forward to completing the World Major Marathons, injuries withstanding.

I do fully expect my mileage to drop this year… hence why I pushed to break the 100 mile/month avg this year… I don’t see it happening again. I have no targets at this minute. I’ll get my planned races out of the way and see what speed the summer brings… I’ll take a sub 39min 10k and sub 1:25 HM though!

 

Away from running…

I have my Mothers 60th birthday to celebrate in the Lakes in a couple of weeks, which will be very nice! Then there may be an amazing holiday booked to Lapland with Kate in early February to hopefully see the Northern Lights!!! 😀

February is going to be quite the month!!!

Beyond that… the world’s my lobster…

 

Happy 2016!

 

End of year stats…

2015
Sport   Count   Distance   Time        Av. Pace
Swim        1        1.5miles     1h04       42:40 per mile
Bike         26      532miles    33h04     16.1mph
Run         164     1218miles  150h00  8:07 per mile
Run**    139     1119miles   135h19    7:15 per mile
and compare to past year…..
2014
Sport    Count    Distance   Time       Av. Pace
Swim         3         4.5miles    3h16       43:33 per mile
Bike          13        255miles    19h03    13.4mph
Run          150      1092miles 141h01   7:45 per mile
Run**     127      986miles   125h50   7:39 per mile

**treadmill running stats removed

 

Sneaky Tokyo training

I’ve done very little since the Amsterdam marathon. I had a couple of weeks of single digit mileage and slowly built up from that. With a little local marathon booked in for 9th December, I thought I better see where I am at; so I did a few more miles last week, totaling 32.3 for the week. The most in one go was still only 13.1 miles though. It felt alright but I’m not sure I’m ready for another marathon… physically or mentally. I guess I’m just going have to wait for 8th Dec and make up my mind.

What has snuck up on me though is that this week is the first week of Tokyo training (if I stick to my traditional 15 week block for A races). It’s slightly worrying considering that I’m not really feeling it… and the little matter that I haven’t booked a flight yet! 😀

Oh well. I’m not chasing times now; hopefully I can get fit enough to dip under 3:15. It would be quite cool to do all the majors sub 3:15. Although that would mean having to go and do Chicago again… plus doing it at Boston (if I get a place with my Berlin time!!!)

I’ll worry about that later…

Sayonara

Targets met and calories consumed

Being bored at work, I have looked at what targets I set myself for this year and some stats (beats entering races… although Luxembourg night marathon is appealing to me!).

Apparently my targets were 1000 miles running, 500 miles cycling, 10 miles swimming, a sub 40 minute 10k and a sub 3:05 marathon.

 

Well, as of finishing the Amsterdam marathon, I have clocked up 1012 miles running, 517 miles cycling, a 39:21 10k and a 3:04:48 marathon. I’ve only done 1.5 miles swimming and I’m unlikely to do any more before the end of the year… so you can’t have it all 🙂

One interesting stat (to me anyway) is the estimated amount of calories I’ve burnt according to Endomondo and it has got me wondering what shape I’d be if I wasn’t doing so much exercise. From just my running and cycling alone this year it reckons I have burnt 126,369 calories. Considering that the recommended daily male average calorie consumption is 2,500 calories; I have earned myself just over 50 days worth of extra food. Shockingly, somewhere along the way I must have eaten it as well as I am only 1/4lb lighter than I was at the start of the year. Admittedly I don’t really worry too much about what I eat as I assume I will burn it off at some point, but I can’t remember really being particularly gluttonous and to have eaten 50 days worth of extra calories to be the same weight is slightly worrying… I’d be the size of a house if I hadn’t been running/cycling so much!!

I guess I’m just going to have to carry on pounding my body as I quite like eating 😀