Its Sunday afternoon and this time next week I'll be celebrating Easter Sunday by running from Oakham in Leceistershire to Toddington in Bedfordshire- for the third day in a row, attempting to complete approximately two and a half marathons. This past week has been the last real week of training, as between now and Thursday I will be tapering off and trying to preserve my body from too much stress before the big day. I will still be running twice a day in order to get myself to work and back, but will be getting the train to Syon Lane and running from there (approx 5 miles) rather than running door-to-door. One of the highlights of any training regime is the carb-loading that comes the week before a race and this week will be no different- my flat mates and work mates are going to see something pretty special when it comes to meal times. Pasta, bread and bagels are the order of the day in an attempt to build up as many energy reserves as possible.
I have had another week of 100+ miles, with 12 runs in total this week. As usual, the brisk 5k on Monday with my training partner Matthew Bennett was the highlight- the admiring looks that we get running through the streets of south-west London really spur me on. What makes it particularly entertaining is that he believes these are in light of his towering physique and rugged good looks, whereas I happen to know that they're actually affectionate glances aimed at myself from those touched by a friend's willingness go jogging with his evidently mentally-challenged pal.
This weekend I have been taking it easy and not touching a drop of alcohol, having made the difficult decision to shun a trip to Amsterdam with friends from work. Despite the fact that those I was supposed to be going with are the most sensible of individuals, I couldn't risk jeopardising any aspect of the run given the months of preparation and incredible support from friends and sponsors. Although gutted that I'm sitting at home missing out on a brilliant weekend, I think the voicemail I received at 9am on Saturday morning informing me that a pint was waiting probably justifies my decision. I'm sure the coming years will present plenty of opportunities for visiting Europe's finest museums, bars and cafes with Messrs Shah, Bosworth, Kempster, Boulton and Tyers. For now, the focus is completely on the task in hand.
Today I decided to run into central London and watch the end of the London marathon. I set off at about 11am, with the elite women approximately 5 miles from home and the men nearer ten. By the time I had jogged down the Thames and up the Kings Road to Buckingham Palace (no further than 6 miles), the winners of both races had been and gone. The speed that these elite athletes run is simply incredible and watching them in the flesh really puts it into perspective. For anyone who doesn't appreciate the brilliance of marathon runners, I urge you to get down to the gym and set the treadmill at its highest setting (usually 20km per hour). See how long you can keep this pace up- if its more than 60 seconds I'll be impressed- and then try to comprehend that elite marathoners run at 20km an hour (or just under) for 26 miles. That any human being can run a marathon in 2hrs 4mins is for me, truly inspirational. London, however, is more about the commitment and courage of tens of thousands of ordinary people who attempt and achieve the extra-ordinary, year after year. I want to say a massive congratulations to everyone that I know who has completed the marathon today and encourage them to join me for a warm down on Easter Monday at some point ! Hopefully the guy in the snail outfit will still be going strong next weekend when i pass through London- I'm willing to bet that he'll probably be capable of overtaking me by that point!
Anyway, I am travelling up to York on Thursday and will be setting off from Haxby Road at about 6am, heading out of the city past the racecourse and along the cycle path to Selby. From there it is through the villages of south Yorkshire for another 40 or so miles, past Goole and Doncaster before arriving in Retford for the first nights kip. For those who want to follow my route, or even run or cycle any part of it with me, I am trying to work out the best way of publishing the map. I have one saved on mapmyrun that is not quite the final route- as it doesn't include a slight detour from Milton Keynes to Toddington via Woburn on the Sunday and is incorrect from Berkhamstead onwards. On the last day, we will be picking up the Grand Union Canal path at Berkhamstead and following it all the way to Kew Bridge, before crossing the Thames and heading down to Croydon. Go to http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/20764306 or follow the link via my facebook page if it does not work from here.
For anyone wanting to run with my dad and I at any point, please get in touch and I will arrange specific details with you! For anyone who would like to sponsor us- please visit www.justgiving.com/8in4
Thanks so much for your support.