Category Archives: Training

The Causeway Coast Marathon Starts Here

Over the past 6 months I’ve become far too lazy and far too fat. I’ve come to realise that without a goal to aim for I end up getting this way.

So I’ve decided to sign up for the Causeway Coast Marathon in September – that’s 6 months away. I’d like to aim for a sub 5 hour time so the training isn’t just going to be about putting in the miles, but also upping my pace.

My fastest marathon to date (Amsterdam) was 4.30 with my 2 Belfast times in and around 5.15. I know this will be a tough ask but I want to aim for more than simply plodding along and finishing in 6 or 7 hours – I already know my body can plod.

I aim to document my journey on here and via my YouTube channel

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Ely to Cambridge (in a roundabout kinda way) Report

So a few days ago I left my job of 17 years to follow my passion of photography. I wanted to mark the occasion with something a bit different so upon waking up this morning I decided to test myself at marathon distance. Having only done a handful of runs in the past 10 months with the longest (by a fair shot) being last month (15) it was always going to be a challenge. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Start the Day with Coffee

Start the Day with Coffee

You know it really hit home how quickly the train can travel between Cambridge and Ely – around 18 minutes, and as the countryside sped past I realised I would be on my feet for a good few hours going in the other direction.

One Way Ticket

My pace would be considerably slower

I had run part of this route before, as part of the Monster Ultra so upon exiting the station I made my way to the River (Great Ouse), making sure it was on my right. Within about 10 minutes I was out amongst typical Cambridgeshire Fenland views – flat and wild.

Welcome to Ely

Hello Ely

Goodbye Ely

Goodbye Ely

I pretty much followed cycle path 11, well until I took a wrong turn which meant I had to double back and around on myself a few times – also meant the overall distance was going to be more than a marathon.

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Pit stops included the coffee shop at Wicken Fen where I devoured in record time a very tasty sausage roll. I had also packed a lunchbox of pasta and this was consumed in the wilds of White Fen, with a Marsh Harrier hunting overhead for company – idyllic.

Pesto Pasta FTW !!!

Pesto Pasta FTW !!!

I reckon I hit close to my limit around mile 23 but pushed on and ended up with around 28 in the bank. Currently sitting on the sofa with the smell of a steak being cooked by my other half wafting through the house – glorious.

Oh and the run was also part of my #30DaysWild ….. So what was so wild about it I hear you ask? Well how about

Marsh Harrier (Male and Female), Kingfisher, Hare, Lapwings, Reed Buntings (also being shown a bit about surveying the nesting progress), Azure Damselfly, Several Butterflies, Bumble Bees, Cuckoo (heard, not seen), a few friendly dogs (and one which sounded like it wanted to eat me) …

A top day in the wilds of Cambridgeshire …. A little video showing some of my exploits …

Fulbourn to Wicken Fen Report

So yesterday I decided to run to Wicken Fen – as you do.

First long run since July last year. Felt great to be out and I even surprised myself with how comfortable I felt. Looks like it was around 14.5 miles in total, including my first ever sub 2 hour half marathon. And there was cake !!! There ALWAYS has to be cake.

And Lo There Was Cake And It Was Most Pleasing

And Lo There Was Cake And It Was Most Pleasing

Backwater

Backwater

Boobs for the Next 10 Miles?

Boobs for the Next 10 Miles?

Also my first report on the new FujiRunner blog can be read here. Running, for me, is a fabulous way to discover photography locations. I plan to document some of my adventures on the FujiRunner blog.

The Running Photographer

I was out for a mid-week trail blast this week and given the beautiful Spring conditions decided to record a little video. As you can see I like to use my running as a recon. mission for future photography sessions.

Big changes since my last post. I won’t go into the details but you can read all about it here. As for my recovery and path back to some kind of fitness? Well it’s coming together, one day at a time. I’ll be updating my progress in more detail in the next week or so.

By the way, every time I slip on my Inov-8 Rocklites it’s like putting my feet inside two tubs of buttery runner’s goodness. That’s the best way to describe them. They are so so so dam comfortable. Certainly more comfortable than any road shoe I’ve ever worn. Can’t wait to really put these puppies through their paces this year.

Remembering Why We Run

I think some runners have a problem – they have forgotten the true meaning of running. Instead the first thing they are looking at is their watch. What’s their pace? Can they run a negative split?  Putting additional pressure on themselves. Invariably at some point they not only start to take some (all?) of the enjoyment out of running, but they are forgetting the true meaning of why they are running in the first place.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have nothing but respect for those people. Those who can break records, run a sub X hour marathon, continually pushing their body to the limits to better themselves. No it’s not that. It’s more that I think once in a while they should get back to really connecting with their run. Falling back in love with it. It will help them in the long run.

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The first step is to ensure you don’t take your run too seriously. This isn’t about speed records. Stop. Look around. Dance if you want to (heck I’ve ben know to rock out a bit of air guitar from time to time). As above cover your face in mud. Jump in the puddles. Get your feet wet. Run like Phoebe.

Second step is to remember to smile. There are may times when I’m out running that I realise I’m running with a huge smile across my face. This typically comes when I’m really listening to my body as it runs. No doubt running is good for you physically, but it’s amazing for you mentally as well. Those endorphins don’t lie. Allow yourself to smile, to laugh and to feel the enjoyment that your run is bringing.

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Third step is to ensure you pay attention to your surroundings, whether you are running through the most magical trail in the world or through the city that you call home. Stop and feed a horse. Dip your feet into a cold running stream. Smell the flowers. Watch the sky for birds of prey. Remember this isn’t about time. It’s about being aware of the beautiful place we call home.

I’d seriously recommend a running adventure  – one of my favourite weekends (of my life) was during a training weekend with my running buddy The Dr (but don’t ask him to perform a heart transplant on you) Alistair Reid. We decided we needed a bit of a challenge so we decided to run around the wonderful island of Arran – over 3 days. It was magical. We chatted. We laughed. We talked utter bollocks.

Now it won’t be possible to take off for 3 days on a whim so in the meantime consider a running adventure closer to home. Grab a buddy. Head outside. Plan a adventure. Enjoy the freedom running gives you. Plan lunch as part of the adventure. Take a camera.

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Trust me. Get yourself outside, forget about the pressures of time. Leave your watch at home. Go connect back with why you love to run. You won’t regret it.

Making Room for Running

I have a post over on my photography blog which approaches this subject from the photography aspect. This post will be from the running aspect.

I have a bit of an obsessive personalty (as you may have already realised from looking at some of the pictures of my feet after ultras). My main passion in life (and growing) over the past few years has undoubtedly been photography with running coming a close second. I also used to fill the remaining hours of the day with other pursuits including, drumming, gaming, home cinema and conservation.

There came a time in 2012 when I had so many things whizzing around in my head  (as well as holding down a full time and pretty time consuming job) that I’d sit at home on a Saturday morning and get frustrated about having so much to do that I would quite often do nothing. Well actually that’s not strictly true as I would run. I needed to run as I not only found it a bit of an escape from the pressures of all of the other stuff, but I knew I needed to keep running if I were to maintain my chances of completing some upcoming Ultras.

Every time  I’d be out running however I’d be frustrated that I’d not been out with the camera. My two main passions as they had become require many hours of one’s time – and even for me (being an insomniac) it felt either running or photography needed to take a back seat.

This worried me as in my heart of hearts I knew photography would  be the upfront driver and yet I also knew if I simply decided to run shorter distances (and therefore cut the amount of hours needed) I would loose interest and with that would come an unhealthy lifestyle and finally piling on the lbs I’d managed to loose over the past 2 years.

Making room for both of my passions meant that other pursuits such as gaming and home cinema took a back seat – resulting in not only the end of year sale of some of my consoles but also the agreement with myself that for the first time since I became interested in gaming I would not be picking up either of the latest consoles (which launched this past November).

I’ve helped myself on the running front by not entering as many events in 2014 – so far just two (which I’ll talk about in a later blog post) which will allow me to focus more photography while still having something big to train for.

As I start to ramp up the training heading into 2014 ready for my first event (April 2014) I feel I’m in a much better place to devote just the right amount of time to running while ensuring I leave enough time to continue to grow as a photographer.