Let Taper Commence!

Firstly, thanks to all of you who have sponsored me in the past couple of weeks – your kind generousity has taken me 3/4 of the way to my target and I’m extremely grateful. You’ve seen in previous posts what an amazing charity we are all working for here and I’m happy and confident that every pound earned is going to a good cause.  If you haven’t sponsored me yet, please do so here – it would really spur me on during the marathon knowing that I’ve hit my target!

Talking of the Marathon… I’ve now hit the taper! For those of you who don’t know (I didn’t until I started this crazy scheme) the taper is a wonderful invention that comes at the end of a very cold, dark period of training and allows the trainee to recuperate, rest a little, allowing the muscles and the mind to heal and get strong again.

And man, do I need to heal. Sunday was the biggest run that I’ll do for this marathon: 19.5 recorded miles, but with warm up and warm down I hit the 20 miles required for training peak.

This was a very lovely 20 miles, I have to say. I had dropped Max off at Legoland where he was having fun with a friend then I parked in the centre of Windsor and embarked upon my big journey.

So long the river I plodded from Windsor up to Taplow past Bray and up to Maidenhead. All lovely areas with multi-million pound houses nestling smugly alongside the riverbank – many nice sights and lots of nature to behold. The sun was shining, the river was glistening and after 13 miles, my left knee was screaming. Note to self: get this checked out PDQ.

On the way back a brief stop at a petrol station in Maidenhead for lucozade and chocolate then off I staggered for the journey back. All in all a super slow time – I’m probably looking at a 6 hour marathon – but 20 miles is 20 miles (and nearly 45,000 steps according to my Garmin). And that makes 82.3 miles run in the past 4 weeks – plus over 13,000 calories burned (why have I not evaporated yet?).

So back to this tapering malarkey – yes, oh yes,  a great invention indeed! I now get to reduce my miles significantly – tapering from 20 miles downwards  over the next few weeks where I’ll be doing some short 4/5/10 mile runs in the weeks running up to the event. Deep joy.

And that event is a mere 25-ish days away. Am I looking forward to it? Yes I really am! The darkest days are over now – Sundays have been a total write-off for the 4-6 weeks for example, consisting of a run of up to 4 hours, a journey home, a little basking in the endorphin rush that running brings, a hot shower, some moping around in pain, some snoozing, some staggering around trying to achieve some sort of normality while one’s body just wants to shut down then, finally, collapsing into bed early. A couple of days of recovery (at work) the I’m off again for a couple of weekday morning runs before Sunday comes around again.

So the fact that I’m at the top of the mountain looking down is a good feeling – and as daunting as the 26 miles is, I’ve trained for it, I know it won’t be pretty but I know I’ll get through it…somehow.

The other thing: ironically, I feel the marathon training is actually now getting in the way of me getting healthy. Sounds weird but this journey has sort of taught me where I have been going wrong for 43 years in terms of health and exercise. But being knackered all the time due to marathon training now prevents me from doing decent moderate runs and eating healthily – I look forward to getting things back to a sensible level; everything in moderation as they say.

Onwards and upwards – and looking forward to getting my summmer bikini body on track…

Peace and love all!

Ambitious About Autism & Training Update

Hi All,

A quick update from the training and fundraising camp on this rainy Sunday.

Marathon Team Ambitious Meeting

Last Sunday was our big team meeting at the HQ of Ambitious About Autism, the Treehouse School in Muswell Hill; a really uplifting and interesting event.  Some of our co-members of the Team Ambitious marathon team were there and we got to share our stories – what a very inspiring and friendly bunch. From the guy (like me) who has a Son with Autism to the guy who works at the Treehouse college to a Special Needs teacher who is a multi-marathon runner to the very polite and friendly young man who has Autism himself and, like the rest of us, wants to give something back. Everyone had a story, everyone had some sort of connection with Autism and I commend the Ambitious team in choosing a really great bunch of people all of whom are extremely committed to the cause- we are all in touch on Facebook now which means another support group which helps. 

Secondly – we got to meet some of the amazing and massively dedicated staff members who not only have a huge pride in their organisation but were giving up their Sunday to corral us bunch around the school on their day off.  We thank them for a lovely tour and for being so engaging and enthusiastic with us.

Onto the tour – Treehouse School is a purpose-built school for kids with ASD; indeed the school has been designed with input from the children and experts alike and it shows. The school is light and airy with high ceilings and well laid-out rooms and corridors and despite being a Sunday one could feel a real energy in the place.  There is obvious input from the business and local community – Arsenal FC have some real presence in the place as do Capital Radio to name a couple of supporting organisations, both of them contributing to special therapeutic and business tuition areas. The school also has a strong patronage with prominent figures such as Nick Hornby and John Bercow being involved as parents and supporters.

The interesting thing is that as well as supporting mainstream academic subjects, there is a strong emphasis on giving the children life skills with facilities dedicated to cookery, business, art and science – students have shops, business enterprises and cafes that they run on and off-site.

Above all, a very very strong endorsement that I chose the right charity to run the 26 miles for – and now I am even more grateful that they chose me.

Learn more about Ambitious About Autism here and don’t forget to sponsor me here – with 7 weeks to go I am only 36% towards my target so need all the help I can get…..PLEASE! (but a big THANKS to all my sponsors so far!).

Training Update

What to say…. well it’s definitely getting tougher 🙂  Following the Hampton Court Half Marathon on the 22nd Feb I did the right thing and did a few easy runs this past week (well, a couple of easy runs and a very rain-sodden, muddy, dung-ridden cross-country 5 miles).

However back into the long runs with a bang today with a long, slow 15 mile run from Risborough to Thame and back. Managed to dodge the rain but I know I’m gonna ache in the morning. Going well but I need to up the pace as right now I’m looking at a 6 hour marathon;  although I said I wasn’t going for time, I’d like to do sub-5.5 hours if I can.

Again, 7 weeks to go and the pressure is on:

On the one hand, only 5 more miles to graduate up to in the ‘long’ training runs:

  • 16 miles this Sunday
  • 18 miles the following Sunday
  • 20 miles the Sunday after that
  • Then comes the taper…

On the other hand, with midweek runs that’s about 85 miles in the next few weeks… Easy eh… Hmm.

Peace and love – until next time.