This Blog is a tribute to Lloyd Newell, my wonderful little brother, to document our trials and tribulations as we embark on numerous events in the build up to The 100 Peaks Challenge in 2017. We have two aims; keeping his memory alive and trying to raise as much money as possible for some wonderful causes.
Lloydy was KIA June 2011 and we hope in time that our endeavours will enable us to create a foundation as a permanent tribute to the man he was, and the legacy he created.
6 Days to go.........
…….and I’ve done all
I can now, yesterday was my last run of any major miles, a gentle 10 miler to
signal the beginning of the final prep and the build up to Marathon Sunday. The
taper as I guess with most, has been difficult, almost sitting on my hands or
feet as the case may be, to stop myself from over doing it. Since the taper
began I’ve felt the niggles more and more, my glutes especially have been quite
literally, a pain in the arse! The taper miles have been gentle because to be
honest, we all know that with two weeks until the marathon, if you haven’t got
the right sort of training in before that, the last two weeks are not going to
do any more than keep the legs ticking over and recuperate the body for the
challenge ahead. I, on the whole have been pleased with how my trainings gone,
but I must admit with the intensity of the niggles I was beginning to question
my ability to cope with 26.2 miles without swearing a lot because I hadn’t been
able to make it to the start line feeling as good as I could do.
I know I’m my own
worst enemy, my stretching routine is non-existent and has been since I started
running at school, I never saw the point of stretching pre-work out as
stretching cold muscles seemed like a waste of time, and after work out, I was
too bloody knackered, nothing’s changed in that regard, however I must remember
I’m nearly 42 and flexibility and looking after the muscles needs to be
considered if I’m to carry on putting myself through the grind of these events.
The intensity of the problem in the glutes or top of the hamstrings was
beginning to become excruciating, I was beginning to feel it in the very first
strides and I would get home feeling despondent, despite the fact that I was
still running well. I was beginning to feel worse than I ever had at any point
through the 10 weeks of training. Caz could see it in me, and I know it was
beginning to play heavily on my mind. I could handle feeling shit after
18/20miles but dealing with deep pain in the butt, that I knew would then creep
into the hammies and eventually the calves for the whole of the marathon wasn’t
a prospect I was looking forward to, certainly would mean digging in more than
usual that’s for sure. Mentally I know I’m capable of that, but I think the
disappoint stems from knowing I have put the work in to give myself a chance of
not just completing the marathon but running well. All of a sudden the
realisation during the taper was, that maybe despite how much effort I had put
in, that I was just going to have to grin and bear it, instead of being able to
enjoy the occasion as I should have been able to, because of the effort I have put
I know that in
previous events I have relied too heavily on my stubbornness, my doggedness and
my ability just to put my head down and get the miles done, and I’ve probably
achieved that because I’m able to call upon the inspiration and pride that I
have in Lloydy. However the target for the VMLM was always to, "not just do, but
do well". I can reflect on my training now and know I’ve done all I can and
given myself a chance of not just finishing, but performing and I’m proud of
myself for that if nothing else. By the time I line up in the pen with all those expectant hopes, alongside all those other people on very similar journeys I will have run (most of) 500 miles plus in 10 weeks, gone through countless pots of Vas and medicated talc, two pairs of running shoes, two pairs of running trousers and a weary wife from all the additional 'training' washing, not too mention losing a stone and a half! So reflecting again, that despite the soreness and the niggles, sacrificing sleep for 0500 alarms, it has been worth it and I can honestly say I've enjoyed it, and know regardless of how I'm feeling come 10am Sunday morning, I'm in the best nick I've been in physically for a little while.........
My 10 week training plan complete!
After much advice, Saturday
afternoon, I treated myself to a sports massage. Waking up Sunday morning
with very little stiffness (in my legs) was something I hadn't experienced in a
while, at that moment I just felt as though a massive weight had been lifted. Don't get me wrong, out on the 10 miler I still felt some little niggles (mainly down my left side), but in terms of pain or discomfort it was insignificant and ultimately very manageable in comparison to the weeks before. Not only has that 30 minute session made me feel more comfortable but terms of the confidence it has instilled in me and the training I've done, is immeasurable. I now feel ready to take on the marathon, I know I won't be setting the tarmac alight or indeed setting any records, but I know I'm capable of hitting the target I set myself and now I know I can give it everything I've got to try and achieve it.
When I set out on this journey, I don't know what my expectations really were, other than trying to pay tribute to Lloydy, by doing my bit for The ABF The Soldiers Charity. Of course I still have 26.2miles standing between me and realising that tribute and ultimately realising 'my bit', but as I write this post I'm £13.99 short of my £1600.00 target. That's the financial bit almost sorted, when I began, I looked at following a sub 4 hour training plan, knowing I was coming in to it 6 weeks late due to taking part in the Fan Dance, but I hoped 4 hours was a realistic target. When I was younger (as I guess we all do) I found training easy, progression was easy, now older and wiser I know that to achieve a goal, takes time and considerable effort, especially for marathon running. I've knocked some serious minutes off my first projected times, but I know I need many months more to bring sub 4 down to 3:30. So come Sunday, if I manage to hit the magic sub 4, I'll be over the moon, but conversely if I don't I will know it's not because I couldn't, but because something happened on the day, that meant I didn't, 10 weeks ago, I couldn't have dreamt of that.
I often blub on about the support I receive, and I can only apologise if it's tiresome to some reading but I couldn't have got to this point without it. I'm often left in awe of the support I receive and humbled by the generosity of those around me and even more so by strangers that are willing to support me, especially when they've never met me. Sunday will be an emotional day, and I know come the finish I'll be a blubbering wreck, maybe just maybe, on the eve of what would have been Lloydys birthday I can be proud of my efforts...........so to all of you I say thank you from the bottom of my heart, for getting me this far!
.......in every sense, and I can honestly say, in the last few days, when it comes to emotions; I've been through them all.
There are tough events, and then there's the Fan Dance!
Let me put it into context:
Saturday 20th July, I'm awake at 0440, the alarm is due to go off at 0515. The bed is unfamiliar and the room is like a frickin sauna! I lay there just waiting for the ducks to start quacking (if you have an iPhone, you'll understand) and listening to and watching my wife sleep. My admin is sorted, so I've got nothing to keep my mind occupied, well that I can get on with, without disturbing Caroline. When I return to the room from the shower, my beautiful wife as she always does, had placed a card where I had been laying, every event she has done this, and boy does it put a lump in the throat. I'm just waiting for breakfast to turn up and to get myself in my kit. Breakfast arrives and to be fair, I can't face it, the banana loaf that's on the tray lo…
........it's been two weeks now since we completed The 100 Peaks Challenge and to say the post-challenge blues have set in is an understatement of epic proportions. Don't get me wrong being back home with my family is the best thing ever, especially after a month of what we had to endure. The moment the hotel door opened in the Travel Lodge in Merthyr, the night before we completed the Challenge, to reveal my littleman and gorgeous wife standing there, will live with me as one of the most precious moments of my life, ever.
However, there's something magical about pitting your wits against everything that nature can throw at you (bar midgie hell), which is immeasurably a lot easier to tolerate than being back in the daily big city grind, which poetically itches like midgie hell! There is no substitute for the freedom that affords you.
Over two years ago I had an idea, and I nurtured that idea (with some pretty significant help) into reality, on three fronts it has been suc…
Firstly my apologies as I publish this post, I've still got loads to catch up on from the second half of 2016 and the first part of 2017! I will get back to that I promise, there is some great stuff to write about, The Cateran Yomp, Berlin Marathon, The Winter Fan Dance - Trident Edition and my first official Ultra and a few Marathons in April (this month)!
But with 30 days to go and the weekend just gone being Lloydy's birthday it seemed appropriate to pen an update on The 100 Peaks Challenge.
We are now as you can imagine into the business end of the Challenge, with Ops and Logistics being the spearhead of our focus at the moment, even relatively simple tasks of getting to the start of the Challenge (Basecamp 1 - Glen Nevis) are more difficult than you can imagine, especially when you have no money as such to fund a Challenge like this! We have though been fortunate in the last week to receive a cash sum towards the Ops costs which means at least now we have some cashflow an…