Published: March 8th 2009March 8th 2009
Another Sunday, another early start. For the weekend warriors amongst you, I'm actually starting to forget what a lie in is. At this present moment in time I seem to get out of bed earlier on Sunday mornings than I do in the week!
I've not had the best of nights preparation. It was my mate Glenn's 30th birthday bash yesterday in Bath (Happy Birthday big man) and so by the time we had got back to London, we didn't get to bed until about 2am. Who needs more than 5 hours sleep anyway. Ben had his own way of preparing, he decided to give blood on Friday night...the crazy fool, admirable but if I was him I'd be hanging onto it, come Sunday lunchtime he might be in need of it!
I make up the invaluable runners kit bag, consisting of bagels smeared in Marmite, energy drinks and a tin of Vaseline for the lips not the nips! (For the non runners amongst you, you sometimes find that after particularly lengthy runs your nipples start to chaff on your shirt. Fortunately I don't seem to have that problem. Phew I bet you thought for a minute
Always take the deep heat.....
when you're dogging in Milton Keynes!
there I had some kind of Vaseline nippular rubbing fetish, well relax, I find Deep Heat works better for that!)
Ninety minutes north of London finds us arrive about an hour or so early into Milton Keynes, this weeks destination for a half marathon. This allows us some time to wake up a bit and get ready. Whilst waiting, Ben decides to text one of those 'answer any question' services from his mobile to locate the nearest Harvester restaurant, upon receiving his answer he then decides to text back asking 'Why is Milton Keynes such a shit hole?'. Now at this juncture I would like to point out three things. The first of those being that I don't share Ben's opinion, it seemed quite a nice area to me. Secondly, at least he isn't biased. Every destination we have been to so far at some point he has labelled a shit hole. Finally and perhaps most importantly, Ben is from Grimsby. I don't think I need to go on. The name says it all.
Fortunately the man of the other end of the service responding to him shared my opinion of Milton Keynes and was quick to point
out the facilities the town had to offer.
In a bid to motivate ourselves for the race, we listen to some tunes courtesy of Ben's I-pod. A spot of Bon Jovi, Eminem and then of course some new music in the form of the Cancer Bats (yes their real name). For those of you into hardcore metal, may I suggest you also check out Carcinogenic Porcupine and AIDS Riddled Squirrel (not real names...but they should be!).
And so to the race itself. Feeling rejuvenated after last weeks 20 mile run in Kent, we were relishing the prospect of a smaller distance. Also today was to be our last organised run as in exactly two weeks time, the three marathon challenge commences in Rome.
As we lined up at the start line, I can't exactly recall what brought up the following conversation, however it heard Ben utter the immortal line that most men have probably used or at least thought about once in their life time. 'Which two birds would you choose to lez off then?'. It dawned on me that we had either been stood waiting too long or that they had clearly not taken enough blood
With my new running shoes.....
I appeared to be a 'shade' taller than before.
from Ben on Monday night. Oh and in case you're wondering, his were the ginger one from Girls Aloud (his obsession isn't that bad, I mean it's not like he queued up at a book signing flanked by a load of young girls waiting just to meet her) and Amy Barnes from Hollyoaks.
We're off to a good start. It's a cool crisp day if not a tad on the windy side, still at least the sun is shining, almost the perfect running weather! The route seems to be a mixture of fields, country paths and residential areas, so as expected we got some fairly good support from the locals.
As with last week, the run was tough and after his Herculean effort last week I think Ben was finding the going tough. For once, he was hanging off my shoulder instead of the more usual role reversal. These last three weeks have been a very valuable lesson in a small taste of what the real challenge will be like.
Though shorter distances, I think we have both learned a lot about how hard and fast to push ourselves. We have to treat all three marathons as one
and ensure we leave enough in the tank to go the full distance. With how badly I struggled last week and Ben admitting he would have been hard pushed to run much further today, hopefully we can apply ourselves a bit better in just under a fortnight.
The toughest part of the race was around 9 miles in. We were running along a really exposed section of dual carriageway, and the sideways wind was blowing so hard across us that we must have used a fair amount of energy just trying to stay on the path.
This brought us nicely back towards the home straight. Where the support started to increase, helping to drive us on to the finish line. Sadly there were no Derek Redmond like moments this week, but then I guess there was no real need for them. We both finished in 1:39 and I had enough in the tank to fire up the afterburners for a sprint finish.
Amusingly on the way back to the car we were accosted by a photographer for the Guardian. Apparently they're doing an article on amateur athletics in Mondays edition so watch this space! Thankfully we also
Hopefully with the beard gone......
I could 'shave' some seconds off my time!
managed to avoid the ridiculous downpour that soon came down! With the wind getting up too, we felt sorry for the many runners that had still to finish!!
So this is it then. The final chapter before we start the 3 marathon challenge. With just a couple of short distance runs to keep the body ticking over, it seems a bit frightening to think that the next time I lace up my running shoes, 26 miles will have been clocked before I can consider undoing them again. It's all come up on us very fast.....I just hope we're ready!
Finally boys and girls, thanks to your overwhelming generosity, we are within touching distance of the £2000 target we set. The support, encouragement and kind words has been phenomenal. It's asking a lot in the current financial climate and I know we don't have the likes of Lenny Henry or Bono (thankfully!) in our charity corner, but we need you to dig deep in those pockets. Feel around as deep as you can, past the lint, past the chewing gum wrappers and hopefully there you'll find a shiny coin or even better a crisp note that could really make a difference to someone's life.
Come on people, make a difference and be part of the 3 marathon challenge team...if you're lucky, we might even let you run some of these miles for us! http://www.justgiving.com/3marathonchallenge