Tag Archives: running

Ealing Half Marathon 2016

Last Sunday I ran the fifth Ealing Half Marathon in London. It was my first time running the Ealing marathon, which only started after I moved away from Ealing to São Paulo.

Unofficial time, chip time will be faster 🏃☺️👍🏻 #meiamaratona #halfmarathon #ealing #londres #London #ealinghalf

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I had been training all over the place in September and my travel schedule was a bit crazy just before the race. Leading up to September 25th (race day) I was training in Serra Negra (São Paulo), São Paulo itself, Oxford, Montreal, New York City, and London. Even though I had quite a few flights this month, I still managed to get up and go out for a run each day. One day when I was travelling from Oxford to Montreal that meant taking a run at 5am in Oxford then catching a 7am train to the airport and being in Montreal by 5pm that same evening.

Meia maratona 😂👍🏻🏃🏃🏃 #meiamaratona #halfmarathon #ealing #ealinghalf #londres #London

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The Ealing race was really well organised. The race day team were excellent and there was no stress collecting my race number or dropping my bag off at the start. The weather was perfect too. It had been raining early in the morning, but had cleared up for the race start at 9am. It was a little chilly, but dry, so it was perfect for a long race.

Warm-up 😂👍🏻 #meiamaratona #halfmarathon #ealinghalf #London #londres #ealing #katyperry #firework

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I started the race intending to aim for a 1:45 time, but I found myself soon following the 1:40 pacers and finding that the pace was OK. I decided to stick with them as I was not having any trouble. There are a few long gentle hills in the race, but the pacers were excellent. Not only did they let us know when the hills would end, they got the crowd excited as we passed by.

Once I was 3-4km from the end and I knew that I could finish even if I put in more effort, I started running faster than the pacers. Eventually I completed the race in 1:38:21, which is my best half marathon time.

It’s a great location and a great race and really well organised. I know that I live far away, but as the 2017 race is on my birthday I might have to find an excuse to be back in London for that one!

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Running more = reading more

I’ve always liked running, but I’m prone to the same problem as everyone – I run out of time. If I don’t do it first thing in the morning then I feel too tired by the evening and it doesn’t happen. Then, once you are out of the habit it can feel really tough just to put on the trainers and do 5km.

But I’ve been making more of an effort to seriously get out and run most days. As you can see on my Nike+ app, I managed to run 153km in July – that’s getting close to four marathons in one month.

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It’s great to be back out on the streets more regularly – I don’t go to a gym – but I’ve also found a spin-off benefit. I’m listening to loads of audio-books while I’m running and I usually then leave the book running while I go home and get ready to do something else.

I use the Audible app on my phone for audio-books – take a look at my monthly listening stats:

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As you can see, I’m a regular listener anyway, but the push to run most days has boosted my book time. I totaled over 104 hours listening to books in July – mostly political biographies, but now I just started on Stephen King’s fictional story set around the JFK assassination 11/22/63.

It’s a great outcome that I’ve managed to get through so many books by using this time to listen to books rather than music. I know some people prefer music as it’s more motivational – Spotify can even play music where the beat reflects the speed you are running at – but I like to switch off and get into a book.

I’ll see how it goes in August, but I think I can probably beat these numbers because it’s a quiet month for my clients – USA and European clients are taking a lot of holidays right now. 🙂

São Paulo marathon 2014 – better luck next time!

After months of training, being careful with my diet, and resting completely in the final week, I participated in the São Paulo marathon yesterday.

However, I didn’t manage to finish the race this time.

A maratona #maratona #marathon #saopaulo

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I have completed the London marathon a couple of times before and I’m used to 10km and half-marathon distance runs so the marathon is longer than usual, but it’s not a once-in-a-lifetime challenge. I had trained really well and was looking forward to it. In fact, based on my training runs I was expecting to do it this time in about 3.5 hours.

But once I started running I knew something was wrong. Within 3-4km I didn’t feel at all as if I was warming up. By that point I should have been hitting a regular pace and enjoying the early part of the run, but I was feeling really odd, a little out of breath and way too hot. That wasn’t helped by the water stops only appearing every 5km – so I knew I wanted some water and had to keep running to find some right at the start of the race.

It was hot yesterday, that’s true, but we started at 8am when it was about 27c. It did go up about another 10c, but in the early stages I don’t think the heat was my problem. I just felt like I couldn’t warm up or get going – as if there was no energy in the tank.

I rested for six days immediately before the marathon to ensure any little injuries were fixed – I had a niggling foot pain and a cut on my leg that was healing up – and all this was fixed. In the week before the rest I had run two half-marathons and several 10kms in training.

During the marathon, I kept going until 12km, but it was hopeless. I still didn’t feel at all like I had warmed up and I couldn’t get a regular pace going, it was like a constant struggle. I quit the race, took off my number, walked away from the track and found a taxi to take me home.

I then went to bed and slept. I’d had a really good sleep the night before, in bed by about 9pm, but I just felt shattered. Clearly something was wrong – whether I had a bit of a cold or something I don’t know, but the moment I got back from the race I just crashed out for a couple of hours.

It’s a shame as I was looking forward to the race. I’m feeling OK now so I don’t have any illness I can actually detect. I’ll head out for a 10km around town this evening just to see how I feel and to get the trainers back on.

I knew that I probably could have run and walked the race, just to get the medal regardless of how long it took, but I was keen to do this marathon in quite a good time given how much I’ve trained for it. I’m also aware that if I had forced myself to carry on for another 30km when I wasn’t feeling well then I might have ended up injured – because I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on why I just didn’t have any speed.

The Rio marathon is in July next year and I’ve got my eye on a few half-marathons before then so I’ll try again, but this time all I can say is that despite being well prepared I just didn’t feel right on the day. Better luck next time eh..?

A maratona #maratona #marathon #saopaulo

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Could the New York Marathon still help the Sandy relief effort?

So the New York City marathon has been cancelled by Mayor Bloomberg. Of course it’s the right decision, but it should have been made earlier. If there are still bodies being pulled from wreckage then a major sporting event is just a distraction from the relief effort.

If the relief operation was a little further along the track then this could have been a great opportunity to see the city pull together around a major sporting event – to show the world that New Yorkers really can pull together and recover from any adverse situation. But the situation is obvious – while some TV cameras would be following runners along the streets, others in the media would be pointing out the ongoing relief effort and suggesting that 40,000 fit people with an entire Sunday free might want to do something more useful than just jogging around the city.

So the decision is right, but in all the debate I have seen so far, nobody has mentioned that the marathon itself is an enormous fundraiser for many charities. It’s not 40,000 middle-class folk just taking a stroll – many of those people have trained all year, setting the marathon as an enormous personal challenge that has allowed them to raise sponsorship and support for a chosen charity.

In the London marathon over 80% of the runners are doing it just to raise cash for good causes. New York is not quite at that level of charity runners yet, but let’s just do some sums.

Most charities will ask a runner to get a minimum amount… $2,500 to $3,000 is common for New York. So if 80% of the 40,000 New York runners are raising at least $3,000 then that is almost $100m being raised for charity from a single race. It could even be more if you assume that most runners will be raising more than the minimum expected.

The way it works is that the charities buy a guaranteed place in the race – they have to pay up front for a place and many charities will buy dozens or even hundreds of places. Then by ensuring runners get a minimum amount, the charity can ensure they raise a lot more than the places cost. Everyone wins.

If the race is now cancelled then what happens to all the money pledged by people who were supporting the runners?

One obvious answer here is to refund the charities all the money they invested in buying places in the race and to then ask runners to divert all the funds they would have raised from the race into the relief effort instead of their chosen charity.

That could put $100m on tap almost overnight and would ensure that cancelling the marathon still created something worthwhile for the city. It’s difficult though – many choose a charity to support for very personal reasons and some might feel that if they have gone to the effort of raising the cash then they should have some say in where it goes.

Will it happen?

I don’t know if the Mayor and the marathon organisers can get organised fast enough to make it work, but they need to make some fast decisions, because after the dust settles, hundreds of charities will be asking about their missing millions if nothing is done.

New York City Marathon

Photo by Young Yun licensed under Creative Commons

Footing

In my 20s I used to smoke a lot and never did any exercise beyond walking to the pub. When I got to the grand old age of 29 I realised that if I did not make some changes to my lifestlye then I would start getting old pretty fast.

So, I quit the cigarettes, I cut back on the booze, and I integrated exercise into my daily life. For several years that meant cycling everywhere. I was cycling around the streets of London – commuting by bike and covering at least 30km everyday.

Now I have moved to São Paulo and after the initial chaos of moving house and country, I wanted to get back into some regular exercise again, but I’m mainly working at home now. So I checked with a few local gyms – all the gyms I asked are actually far more expensive than the gyms in London. In fact the gym closest to me wants nearly £100 a month and an extortionate ‘joining fee’.

It shocked me. Millions in Brazil (not in São Paulo obviously) live on less than that amount a month as their total income. I assumed the gym in Brazil would be cheaper than in London.

So to cut a long story short, I now pound the streets ‘Rocky’-style every morning. Road running and doing laps of my local park. I have also set up some boxing bags and equipment at home, so I can do fight training in my own basement.

But what interests me is that when I go to the park, nobody is running. Everyone is out there walking and waving their arms about in mad circular movements – ‘footing’ as it’s called locally. And this is not the power-walking of someone not quite fit enough to run, but still raising their pulse a few notches, it is literally people out having a morning stroll.

Nothing wrong in that, but many of these people arrive at the park by car – I see them parking. They probably spend a lot of their day driving kids to school, or driving to work. Instead of walking in circuits around the park and then driving home, why don’t they just incorporate some additional walking into their daily routine?

People always complain they don’t have time for exercise and then they do something like driving the kids to a school when it would be a 15 minute walk… None of it makes sense to me, and those waving circular arm movements can be dangerous to run past!

Oxford train station - do not run