I want to start this post with the admin. Not to get it out of the way, but because, for me, it's big news:
February Training target: 140.00 km
February Training distance: 176.78 km (110 miles)
Total Training distance to date: 942.17 km (585 miles)
So the first victory is how far beyond my target I trained this month. I thought February was going to be a difficult month and, I'll be honest, there have been too many cold, wet, grey days when it has been difficult, but February is also a transition. Of course, this year lack of motivation could be post-60th-birthday blues (haha!), but I know really it's the dragging suction of winter. It's not the cold or the wet; February certainly threw more than my fair share of rain, sleet, snow and even (ouch!) hail at me and everybody else in the country, but I can wear layers of appropriate clothing for them (except the hail, which gave me an intense, painful, 4-km sand-blasting at the end of one lunchtime run!). It's the dark. And it's at the beginning of February that I feel it most, when my working days still start with dark mornings and end with dark evenings and everything in between still feels grey, constrained and claustrophobic. So imagine how surprised I've felt that in February I ran far beyond my target and, even more, that I wanted to. Yes, let Ciara blow, let Dennis howl, let Jorge deluge us; I wanted to get out there and run and get wet and feel the wind and the stinging rain in my face (though I'll happily skip the hail) and I wanted to run further and harder than I ever needed to. It may be a long, long climb out of winter, but something in my attitude changed and it changed for the better. Let February fling rain and snow at me - I have not only done it, I have loved it too!
And then the second victory is that total training distance. When I sat down last August with my training spreadsheet and mapped out how many training runs I needed to do and how far, I realised that I could possibly, maybe, potentially run in excess of 500 miles before I got to the London Marathon. Of course, it was a completely theoretical figure, because it depended on sticking to a bigger plan than I'd ever attempted before and remaining injury free. But this month I've done it. In fact, I've done more than that theoretical 500 miles - I've now done 585 miles. And when you run it on foot, 585 miles is a very long way (and a very long time - 98 hours!), but it gives me a quiet confidence that, whatever happens at the London Marathon, it won't be because of a lack of training. The Proclaimers sang that they would walk 500 miles "just to be the man ... to fall down at your door", but I've gone further and I've run it, although it doesn't scan quite so well when you sing it in a Scottish accent. Next question then ... can I make 750 miles by the London marathon?
I should also report on a couple of other things. The first and most mind-boggling was my fund-raising cake sale. Many weeks ago, my friend Lesley said she wouldn't sponsor me but she would bake me £10-worth of cakes to raise further money for Macmillan. My gorgeous wife pitched in and said she'd bake cakes too. So we set a date and then I went round as many other bakers as I know in the office and they all volunteered cakes of one sort or another. I put posters around the whole building to make sure everybody knew. On the day, even more cakes turned up than we were expecting and Lesley's "£10-worth" proved to be exceedingly elastic (and exceedingly good!); we covered 3 tables with so many cakes that we didn't think we were going to be able to sell them all!
But I shouldn't have worried; my colleagues rose to the challenge and munched their way through all of them. By the end of the day we had raised a quite amazing £429! Nobody in the office can ever remember raising so much money from a cake sale! To my wonderful colleagues, for their unstinting devotion to cake, I can only say, repeatedly "Thank You Very Much!".
The second thing to report is my weight loss. Or, more specifically, my lack of it. If ever you wanted proof that you can't run away from a poor diet, then my last 6 months efforts have been it! Over the last 7 months and 585 miles, I have lost (drum roll, please) ... 4 lbs. 4 lbs? Really? I thought I'd be a stick insect by now! However, it's quite apparent that as my running has increased, then so has my appetite, and some days I could eat the proverbial scabby horse. Some days, I have. I'm definitely trimmer, I definitely have more muscle, but, let's be honest, I'm barely any lighter!
So, 2 months to go. My target distance for March is 150 km, or 4.84 km/day - relentless, but possible. I've booked myself onto the Twin Lakes 20 in Milton Keynes at the end of March, which should be a strong indication of how well my training has gone and what time I can expect at the end of April. I'll let you know next month how it went!
In the meantime, if you want to support me on the way to London 2020 and the amazing work that Macmillan do, then please visit my fundraising page and make a donation! And remember - Gift Aid your donation if you’re a UK taxpayer!
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