The road to Belfast is paved with £ notes

So its been 3 days since I challenged my immediate universe to help me raise £1K in 10 days to run 2 marathons in 2 weeks, and I thought I’d better update this as life has turned a bit upsidedown since then and differed immensly to anything I could ever imagine.

At this exact point in time I have raised £810 in approximately 76 hours. If you deduct the small ammount I already had in the pot, that works out at about £10 an hour every hour for just over 3 days. That my friends is very cool. What is also cool is the fact that every single person I know has genuinely stepped up to the mark to help me with this.  Laura Sutherland lead the charge on a Twitter and Facebook assault and to my astonishment my blog has gone from having approximatley 29 views in 3 months to having 67 views in 1 day!!! And I’m not even interesting.

What is not so cool is that now I have laid down the gauntlet its looking increasingly likely I’m going have to complete this challenge… without having the first idea of how I’m going to go about it. Its a total change of strategy now. Where before I could go out and kill myself doing London and then gorge on pizza and cider for a week without batting an eyelid – I’m now having to have a bit of a rethink. Nevertheless (now here’s a sentence I thought I’d never say) – its only 2 marathons… how hard can it be?

This morning I was at a networking breakfast (taking full advantage of forthcoming calorie burn and opportunity to carb load) and a fellow networker mentioned their latest physical challenge and the fact they were blogging about it. After the formal bit we had a chat, I was actually feeling quite self riteous when he said that this was his first fundraising challenge and he was doing a cycle. “Oh that sounds very impressive” I said. Its only a few short minutes later that he casually announces that he used to run ultra marathons “you know…just to keep fit” and his cycle challenge is actually a leg of the Tour de France – a 4000m ascent over 109km to the summit of Alp d’Huez. I take my hat off to you George, my marathons pale into insignificance in relation and I will of course be supporting you.

So I go back to the question… its only 2 marathons, how hard can it be? With the backing of the most amazing family, friends, colleagues and supporters it wont be hard at all… haha yeah right, its going to be bloody agony but what the heck. Bring it on that’s what I say.

Just before I go I want to tell you about 2 other cool things . First, apart from all the giant donations from all my wonderful friends, yesterday I got my first donation from someone I dont even know that thought I was doing a good thing. Cool.

Second – for the tech geeks – JustGiving has an app (thank you Jordan). When people donate your phone goes “kerching”. Given that I have just got the app and my phone is normally on silent at work I havent heard it yet – if someone could make it “kerching” for me that would be awesome 🙂

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The kids are upping the ante

For the last 2 weeks I have been following the progress of an amazing 6 year old boy from the Lothians who, after his brother spent time in the Sick Kids Hospital, decided that he wanted to raise some money for them. His name is Jack Henderson (@jackhenderson) and (with the help of his dad) he began a website called www.jackdrawsanything.com where if you pledged money to Jacks appeal then he would draw you a picture in his own creative style. After 14 days and 65 pictures, and countless picture free donations Jack had raised over £10K for the hospital  – a truely inspiration story I am sure you will agree.

This week I am supporting Lee Kilbride (@Leekilbride) who is 7 years old and is walking 96 mile in 6 days in aid of children’s charity Children 1st – a cause I also support. Lee is spending most of the week trying to build up a Twitter following including the likes of Lord Sugar and the Dragons by pitting them against one another.

With stories that pull on the heart strings like that then how are people like me – with no health issues, a reasonably comfortable life, and a dream to run the London marathon – supposed to compete on a seemingly level donations playing field in order to make it happen? I’ll be the first to admit that the kids win hands down . In fact I myself have donated 3 times this week to various children’s appeals because… well how can you not?

So, in light if that fact that I dont have a small child with a toothless grin and a cheeky freckly face that I can demand does something adorable to make you all donate to the cause that is closest to my heart, I find myself having to make the challenge more outrageous to justify my ask. So here it is folks – its time for me to up the ante. I am now pledging to run BOTH the London Marathon on the 17th April and the Belfast Marathon 15 days later if I can get to a total of £1000 in sponsorship by the 15th April which is the closing date for entries to Belfast.

Granted I am spurred on slightly by the fact that some of my running buddies are also doing Belfast. My running partner Sharon who first entered is doing the whole race as are crazy Bryn (who actually has Parkinson’s if you havent already figured that one out) and Karen. Al and George + 2 are doing the race as a relay. Nevertheless to put my body through the paces of 2 marathons in the space of 15 days is more of a challenge than I have ever attempted. If I was the kind of uncompetitive person who could just plod along to get through then I guess that would be ok – but I’m sure you all know me too well by now to know that wont happen.

Is that enough of a challenge for you yet? If so, I’d love your support.

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Stronger, faster, longer…older!

Well its been a few weeks since the last update, and if I’m going to be perfectly honest I’m not too great at this whole blogging malarky however I guess once I get into it its going to become somewhat cathartic.

My main reason for updating this week is because I am about to sign off this week on a high! Not only am I going to celebrate my 32 birthday with my friends but I am going off to toast the fact that I have broken not one but 2 lifetime best times in a half marathon and 10k this week.

I have heard many well respected runners say that they didnt get into running until their 30s and it wasnt until their mid to late thirties and even into their 40s before they started to run extremely well. The cynic in me said “haha I dont think so – surely the older you get the let active you become?” Not so aparently.

The fact of the matter is that despite having a whole raft of running medals for events I have competed I have never felt stronger or fitter than I do just now. Despite the IBS (which I also havent mentioned in a while) I have never felt in better condition. That is not to say that I havent put the work in. The introduction of hill running, speed sessions, regular distance running and even morning runns – its all true – it really does work! I hadn’t quite believed it before but all the maniacs in the magazines are right.

On Sunday the wobblies headed off down to Balloch to run the half marathon. The weather was miserable but it wasnt windy and despite being a bit cold the conditions were just fine. Sharon and I set off together with the sole aim of getting through the race in under 2 hours. At 10 miles we were well within the time and both started to get a little over-excited at the prospect… so much so that both of us lost our breathing and pace and were weaving all over the place until we managed to calm down, focus and set our attention on the final 3 miles.

The net result was a finish in 1h 53m and 54 seconds – which for me is a lifetime best time by a whole 13 minutes. Not only did I beat my target… I bounced up and down on its head shouting look at me, look at me!

This weeks second achievement was an after work run with Sharon again. Desperate to take out her new super, duper, whooper Garmin watch for a test drive we headed out for a seemingly innocent 10k. 49m 12s later we were finished… a whole 2 and a half minutes better than I have ever run in my life.

To say I am chuffed with myself is an understatement. So I may have gained a year but I’ve shed a whole lot more this week – now where’s that birthday cake?

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Mad March Morning

So in true march madness and in the spirit of really doing thing differently this year I managed to struggle out of bed for my first ever run before work on a weekday morning. This may sounds trivial to those of you who are those sunshiney morning people or those who have to get up early for shift work or a longer commute. But for those of you that know me know I am neither a morning person nor do I ever enjoy getting out of bed early. In fact on most mornings I can be found snoozing for at least 40 minutes then running for the last possible train to get me into work at 8.59am.

So – this was for me quite an undertaking!

I have to say after the initial shock I was quite enjoying pounding the streets as the sun came up. Sharon and I ran a 10k in an incredible respectible 52m 20s and I could justifiably have that mid afternoon cake that I so often feel guilty about. Bonus!

I am not saying this is going to be a regular occurance but I am pretty pleased that I have managed to rack up another first for this year and its only the 1st March.

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Park Life

Saturday 26th February – 14 miles

This week fellow wobbly runner Alan Kennedy introduced the genius idea of doing the Park Run.

The Park Run is community event organised by and for the people of a given local community. The idea is that like minded people who want to run together over a set distance congregate at the same place and time each week and challenge themselves over a 5k. It is open to all ages and timed and in Pollock Park in Glasgow this Saturday there were in the region of 250 individuals who ran times that varied between 16 and 50 minutes.

Having done the run a few times (veteran) Al also had the genius idea that we should run to the park – do the timed run – and then run home. For me this would be a total distance of around 17 miles. Spurred on as always by the competitive element I went for it however running a 5k race after you have already run 7 miles to get there is a different story.

Once complete the thought of running 7 miles home was beyond me and alas for the first time in a long time my legs gave way at 14 mile and I had to call for assistance from my mum to get me home!

Nevertheless it was a great experience and I will certainly be joining the park run more often when I no longer have marathon obligations on  Saturday morning. I would also encourage anyone else that is thinking of taking up running and is looking for people to run alongside at all levels to consider the event. It will only take about a minute for the start line to disperse and you find yourself amongst those running the same speed as you as you settle in. It is also a great way to make new pals and share the experience with.

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Going the distance

Sat 10th February – 18 miles

This week the challenge was to up the distance for the 3rd week in a row. Defying all general rules Sharon, Bob and I set off for the same route as last week but with an additional 2 added on to the end – a grand total of 18 mile. Sharon had a nightmare, not only did she have to listen to me repeat all of my useless tourist information from the previous week but she was also testing out a new waistband which only succeeded in rubbing her skin raw.

The only surprise the week was the fact that we managed all 18 miles at the same average pace as last weeks 16 miles which bodes extremely well for the marathon. Nevertheless I did have to go and spend the rest of my day in bed keeping warm, rehydrating and reading the latest issue of Runners World.

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Good company

Sat 6th February 16 miles

Having established last weekend that well trodden walking routes were not ideal for runners, and that leaving the house at 6am was not altogether ideal, this week I set about finding a route that was challenging but enjoyable with varying terrain and enough changes of scenery to keep my interest for 16 miles or 2 and a half hours.

This week I was running with Sharon who’s only criteria was that the run started and ended at her front door (which thankfully is only 100 yards from mine).

So I took Sharon on a tour of the countryside around Baldernock, which thinking about it now has a loads of interesting things to see and do within a very small radius – with the highlight being running past Magnus Magnusson’s house – if you can incorporate a bit of celebrity spotting with the run its always a bonus, its just a shame the excellent old guy isn’t around any more.

10 weeks to go and this weeks mission – up the mileage and reduce the time. Mission accomplished! Moral of the story, if you can keep yourself entertained the miles pass without even noticing.

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