Back clubbing it

Yesterday I was supposed to do 10k. I didn’t.

After a bit of a family road trip during the day I had pencilled my run in for the evening but, after arriving home, I felt queasy and quite simply not up to running. These things happen, I’m not going to worry about it and you do have to listen to your body when the occasion arises.

However, that meant it was imperative I made it along to club this evening for the regular Monday night session.

Obviously if I’d been still feeling ill then I wouldn’t have done so but because my motivation has been lacking lately I knew that running with people would help me, as compared to attempting it on my own when I knew there was a high likelihood I wouldn’t stick it.

My plan called for a progressive run ie: starting easy and getting faster with each mile. I’ve done this successfully on my runs back from Cullybackey when I was helping out with the C25K but this would be different because I was very much at the mercy of the speed of the group, as is the club ethos.

As ever, I ran up to the leisure centre to meet up with everyone else, taking it gently.

Because I wasn’t feeling 100% it was always going to be the 30s tonight. I figured the run there and then a run home would be enough.

In the end, it wasn’t as bad as I feared it might. The route took us through the local parkrun route, or parts of it anyway, and other surrounding areas which were new to me so it was quite pleasant from that perspective.

I’m happy to report that I coped quite comfortably with the pace. I hoped I would seeing as it was the 30s, but I had an awful lot in reserve which was nice. I’ve got a slight niggle in my left knee so it was good to be able to take it easy rather than go with another group and feel compelled to go faster and perhaps hurt it further.

I didn’t quite manage to go faster with each mile, the format of the club session makes that difficult, but for the miles I was in control of – the mile there and the mile home – I did go faster so that was my objective for the evening achieved.

Tomorrow … interval training. Eeek!

Relive my run


#18in18 … at the halfway point

If you’ve visited my blog before you’ll maybe be aware that I’m attempting to run 18 half marathons this year (#18in18). To many experienced runners, it might not sound a big deal but to me it’s potentially quite an undertaking.

So far I’ve done nine out of the 18. I’m halfway there (I’ll leave the obvious Bon Jovi reference but I bet you’re already singing it!) but that still means I’ve got another nine to go … and all before the middle of October when I hope to end the series at the Royal Parks Half.

Anyone new to this might be wondering what I’m doing, why I’m doing it and so on. Hopefully the following will answer some questions:-

What is #18in18?
I’m running 18 half marathons in 2018. Why 18 though? It’s 2018, so 18 seemed to be an appropriate figure. I don’t think I’m fit enough to run any more than that!

Am I doing it for charity?
Not primarily but I would also like to use the challenge to raise something for Diabetes UK.

I ran my first London Marathon for them and since then have received lots of advice and support not only from the charity but from their other runners, and have made some good friends along the way. So I’d like to give something back. I have no set fundraising target, no charity places to pay for, I’m paying for all my races myself and funding my own travel. Everything I raise is going straight to Diabetes UK.

I’m aware that everyone seems to be rattling their virtual collection tins under your nose these days but if you would like to donate something to help Diabetes UK continue their research and support into the condition then I’d be delighted and honoured if you could.

No worries if you can’t at the minute, this is a year-long challenge so maybe you could do so further down the line. My JustGiving page is

Why do it?
Lots of reasons. The idea initially came to me when I missed out on a ballot place for the London Marathon. In the past, training for the marathon has helped keep me running and active but, without that to motivate me, I knew I needed something to maintain my focus not only during ‘marathon season’ but throughout the entire year.

Then I thought about it a bit more. I don’t know if I can do this. Yes, I *think* I can, and I’m confident (at the minute) that I can but I know it will be a real challenge.

I’ve got Type 2 Diabetes and other unrelated health problems, I’m carrying too much weight and you’ll always find me trundling along at the back of a race. I’m not an athlete. I’m just an ordinary bloke from Northern Ireland trying to do something to better himself.

So, I thought, why not go public with this challenge and use it to help or inspire others in a similar position?

A lot of us have thought about running and duly dismissed it. “I’d be too slow, I’d be laughed at if anyone saw me, I’d finish last, I’m too fat, I’m not fit …”. I’ve heard them all and I’ve used them all.

I’m not for a moment suggesting that anyone reading this drops everything and goes out to run a marathon or half marathon or anything like that. But, if I can inspire even one person to take up running regardless of how far or how fast then it’ll be job done as far as I’m concerned.

I am the dictionary definition of “If I can do it anyone can.” … I’m running for people who think they can’t.

What races am I doing?
It all started in early March with The Big Half in London, and ends with the Royal Parks Half in October. But it’s not all London based, far from it. I live in Northern Ireland so a lot of the races will be at home which is practical for both logistical and, more importantly I guess, financial reasons.

For example, my second race was the Larne Half Marathon, my third was a virtual run around my hometown with number four comng on VLM day when I swapped Greenwich Park for Greenisland Golf Club.

Number five took me back to London to the state of the art facilities of the Olympic Park whilst the sixth, in stark contrast to that, centred on the aforementioned village of Lacock and all its history and scenery.

Lucky number seven was back in NI (Lisburn) before, four days later, I was off on my travels again to Swansea and then, a couple of weeks after that, I could be found plodding through some disused railway tunnels in Bath!

My schedule is almost complete but I still have a few races potentially pencilled in so if there’s a race local to you that you think I should do I’d welcome your suggestions.

For the record, my list looks like this but it is very much subject to change (those in bold are either completed or booked):-

  1. The Big Half (London) – 4th March 2018
  2. Larne Half Marathon – 24th March 2018
  3. Reading Half Marathon (Virtual) – 15th April 2018
  4. East Antrim Marathon Series #NotTheLondonMarathon – 22nd April 2018
  5. Lee Valley VeloPark Half Marathon (London) – 26th May 2018
  6. Lacock Half Marathon – 10th June 2018
  7. Lisburn Half Marathon – 20th June 2018
  8. Swansea Half Marathon – 24th June 2018
  9. Bath Two Tunnels Half – 8th July 2018
  10. Dark Hedges Half Marathon – 22nd July 2018
  11. Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Half Marathon – 12th August 2018
  12. Dambusters Half Marathon – 18th August 2018
  13. The 401 Challenge Festival of Running Virtual Half – 25th August 2018
  14. Waterside Half Marathon – 2nd September 2018
  15. Chippenham Half Marathon – 9th September 2018
  16. Belfast City Half Marathon – 23rd September 2018
  17. Great Scottish Run (Glasgow) – 30th September 2018
  18. Royal Parks Half (London) – 14th October 2018

All I ask of you is to follow my progress, read my blogs, offer your support, make a donation to Diabetes UK if you like. I know I’m being selfish, but I’ll need your backing to complete this.

However, what would really encourage me is hearing your story. Has my challenge inspired you to put your trainers on and go for a run, maybe even for the first time? I’d love to hear from you. Are you already a runner but have suffered from the same doubts and lack of self-belief as me? Any hints or tips? Let me know.

But, please, keep tabs on my progress and keep in touch. Hopefully it’ll be fun and interesting and, for me, not too sore on my old body!!!

The story so far:-
Relive the Big HalfBlog
Relive the Larne HalfBlog
Relive the Virtual Reading HalfBlog
Relive the #NotTheLondonMarathonBlog
Relive the Lee Valley VeloPark Half MarathonBlog
Relive the Lacock Half MarathonBlog
Relive the Lisburn Half MarathonBlog
Relive the Swansea Half MarathonBlog
Relive the Bath Two Tunnels Half MarathonBlog