Monday, 29 October 2012

Base camp

This week marks the beginning of training proper at EGTC. As I mentioned in previous posts October has focused largely on swimming technique but now it's time to start building up the fitness. While I have obviously been a good boy and running on my own during the week (well most of the time) I now need to sum up the motivation for an extra running session on Saturday with the club after our swim. Also Tuesday night sees the first turbo training session of the training year. I'm trying to be organised this week so have actually planned out what I intend to write about each day. I will therefore give a fuller explanation of what turbo training entails in the next few days. But in a nutshell it involves attaching a device to your racing bike to turn it into an exercise bike.

So on paper this week I intend to have a weights session at the gym today, a session on the treadmill and a swim tomorrow morning, turbo training tomorrow evening, a rest Wednesday, a 7km run Thursday morning, the EGTC swimming session Thursday night, rest Friday. Then a Saturday swim session with the club followed by the first coached running session. But then guess what? Smug Running Guy is coming over to stay at the weekend and he wants to run the 7km loop with me on Sunday. I think I am going to be a broken man this time next week!

While this sounds like a lot (it certainly does to me, what the flip am I doing?!) this part of the training season is called the "base" period. Effectively the training cycle for the year involves the "base" period (which lasts around 12-15 weeks) followed by the "build" period (around 15 weeks). Finally there is the "peak" period. As the name suggests this is when you should be at your best and is a month or so before you start racing. However this seems to be the time where I pick up man flu messing up all the work I've been doing for the previous months. Anyway this period is then followed by the "race" period. I'm sure you can work out what that entails.

According to Joe Friel, author of The Triathletes Training Bible the philosophy behind "periodisation" training is akin to the fact that to build a sturdy house you need to have good strong foundations. The foundation building for me will be the "base" period. While I'm sure we won't be sipping cocktails at the side of the pool or taking leisurely strolls round East Grinstead the idea is that the training sessions during this time will be relatively gentle to build up strength and endurance for the later training stages. So as the season progresses the number of training sessions stays the same but the intensity of these will increase. So here's hoping I can build some decent foundations without the builders taking too many fag breaks.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Product review: Man sweat vs headphones

I'm quite a sweaty person who likes music. I also like to listen to music when I'm out for a run. I'm therefore highly qualified to take a look at some of the current crop of waterproof and sweat proof earphones. Each of these earphones were tried out while running a 7km cross country route and I was listening through my iPhone.

As I run either on the treadmill or cross country I don't have to worry too much about traffic but these earphones may not be suitable for running in areas where you have to be aware of passing vehicles. Obviously all my comments are based on my own personal preference for the different designs and I have earphones for different budgets so please bear that in mind. If you are tempted to make a purchase I have included links to the manufacturers websites but as I have said before it is always prudent to shop around for the best bargain.

Finally a big thank you to Sennheiser, JVC and Overboard for sending me these earphones to try out.

 JVC HA-EB75 Sport earphones

These JVC earphones are splash proof and and have an adjustable ear clip. They stood up to the toughest conditions, coping not only with my sweaty disposition but also torrential rain on the day I used them. The sound quality was superb, with a rich bass, while the earphones sat comfortably in my ear. The only criticism was that while they didn't actually slip out of my ears I could feel the earphones ease out slightly so they weren't at their optimum position. As a result the sound quality started to suffer towards the end of the run but overall a good budget earphone.

Price £14.99

Overboard Pro-Sport Waterproof earphones

The Overboard are billed as being 100 per cent waterproof, weatherproof and sweatproof and have a round neck sports band. As they are designed for watersports they are also guaranteed to a depth of 6m. As I have enough trouble staying afloat on dry land this wasn't something I tried out.

When I first put them on I was impressed with the excellent sound quality and how secure they felt round my head and in my ear. However once I started running I was constantly having to adjust my left earphone as it kept slipping out. This is a problem I have experienced before with similar designs from other brands. It's therefore likely that this could be due to the design of my head or my left ear as opposed to the design of the earphones. I say this as the right earphone remained firmly anchored in my ear without any reduction in ear quality despite me perspiring heavily.

Price £24.99

Sennheiser Adidas CX 685 Sports earphones

As these waterproof and sweatproof earphones have been designed in conjunction with Adidas obviously they were manufactured with the athlete in mind. As well as someone like me. The CX685 feature a slide to fit system within the ear, as opposed to around it, and a "sealed in ear canal design" for blocking of outside noise, definitely a plus if you're in the gym and being subjected to some ghastly Europop or whatever the kids are listening to these days. The slide to fit system certainly did its job as the earphones were successfully positioned in the required area. They did not move in my ear at all so the awesome sound quality did not diminish at all as my clamminess increased. The Adidas and Sennheiser team up is certainly more akin to the dream couple than the odd couple.

Price £49.99

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Positive mental attitude

While I said in yesterday's post that I was going to mix up my running routes, today I went out for a run along my usual 7km loop. A slight confession here, this is actually my first run since last Tuesday's session on the treadmill.This has been due to a mixture of medical ailments and family commitments. Real life does get in the way of training sometimes and obviously you have to be flexible about the fact that you may have the odd week where things go slightly awry. And sometimes a bit of a rest can do you good. Anyway, those are my litany of excuses, feel free to use them anytime you want.

So, back to today - I finally managed to get out for a run and mixed things up a bit by running the loop in the opposite direction. By this I mean starting where I'd normally finish rather than running backwards. I'm not trying to compete with my Chinese friend from Amsterdam.

During the first five minutes I thought my running fitness had abandoned me, after my week long running sabbatical, but it got easier as I warmed up. One of the reasons I decided to run the loop in the alternative direction I normally would is that I think it's a little bit easier. This could be a psychological thing as whichever way I go it finishes with a bit of a hill climb. I was generally pleased with my overall performance (and perhaps felt a little fresher during the run for having a slight break) I again struggled with the final incline. At first I was a bit annoyed with myself as I felt that after four weeks of increasing my running I should be able to do that route without having to walk any of it. Also, as I've mentioned before, this is a route that I'll be running on Boxing Day and I want to make a decent improvement on my time. I had a moment where I thought that if I can't get up these hills without walking now then I'm probably not going to be able to do it in December.

Stuart Pearce misses a penalty: sad
But then I thought back to a presentation we had at EGTC a few weeks ago on having a winning mentality. In a nutshell it examined how the brain is bombarded by negative messages and you have train it to filter them out to focus on positivity. This is massively simplifying the ethos of the presentation but it boils down to seeing problems as challenges that can be overcome in the future. So rather than it being a case of "I can't get round this course without having to walk up a hill" it should be "I can't get round this course without having to walk up a hill yet but I will be able to do in a few weeks."

Stuart Pearce scores a penalty: happy
It actually occurred to me that a few weeks ago when I started writing this blog I had to stop and walk up several of the inclines. But now I'm beating myself up about the fact that I couldn't get up the last part of the final hill rather than focusing on the improvement I've made in the last few weeks. So rather than bemoaning my inability to run up the last hill I need to channel my efforts on introducing more hill running into my training. Now I am miserable.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

If you go down to the woods today

Obviously a lot of my spare time is spent on triathlon, even more since I started writing this blog. So once the Saturday mornings exertions with EGTC are over the rest of the weekend is spent with the family. One of Mrs Trihard's favourite pastimes is Geocaching. Without going into too much detail Geocaching is essentially a giant treasure hunt using GPS devices to find small containers hidden around the world. You will have definitely walked past one without realising it, whether you live in the middle of a thriving metropolis or out in the country wilds. These are hidden by other Geocachers and range in size from tiny magnetic capsules, that can be put on the back of a street sign, to an ice cream box or larger hidden under foliage.

Mrs Trihard and Toddler Trihard scour the undergrowth for treasure
 But before you rush out from your office and start to rip up the street furniture outside I must add that it's not real treasure hidden in these magical containers. No it's usually a bit of paper you write your Geocaching moniker on to prove that you've found it. And then when you're able to, you log it on the Geocaching website. This is just in case your Geocaching peers don't believe you've just spent 20 minutes on your hands and knees, scrabbling in the mud, trying to avoid dog muck, sticking your hands amongst various tree roots searching for a piece of paper in an old camera  film case.

"So what the flip has this geekorama pastime got to do with triathlon?"  I hear you ask. Continuously running the same route can seriously damage your motivation to pull your trail shoes on. However Geocaching has helped me get to know a few different interesting routes, that I otherwise would not have known about, that I can easily introduce to my training. A lot of the time there will be a series of caches that someone has set up to introduce you to their favourite walk, typically along a loop. I have been blessed with a terrible sense of direction so being given the opportunity to properly scope out a running route first limits (although not completely eradicates) the possibility of me getting lost in the wilds of West Sussex and having to live as part of a pack of wolves for the next seven years.

Some of the routes I have discovered I can do directly from my house and others require a short car ride but I'm sure running a variety of routes will help stop me getting bored with my running routine for the coming months. And my first 10k is starting to sneak up, less than four weeks to go.

It's never too late

This week two of my fellow club members were competing in the Amateur Triathlon World Championships in New Zealand. One chap, Michael, has only been taking triathlon "semi seriously" since 2010. And he's in his late 60s. So if that's not inspiration to give it a go then I don't know what is. Anyway, congratulations to Martin and Michael and as a special treat you can get a sneak preview of an article I've written about their exploits for the East Grinstead Courier which won't be available until Thursday. Aren't you lucky!

East Grinstead takes on the World

While the majority of the country may be suffering post-Olympic blues two members of East Grinstead Triathlon Club have continued to fly the Great Britain flag, competing at the amateur sprint triathlon World Championships in New Zealand. On Monday 22 October Martin Darlison, 50 of East Grinstead, placed 17th out of 77 competitors in the 50-54 age group, while fellow club member Michael Diebel, 66, finished 23rd out of 27 competitors in the very closely fought 65-69 age group.

However reaching the final was no mean feat itself. As well as many arduous months of up to six training sessions a week, the triathletes battled against their peers in several national qualification races which, like the final, involved a 750m swim, 20km cycle and a 5km run.

Michael, who only joined East Grinstead Tri Club two years, grabbed his slot on Team GB in the first of his three qualifiers, taking second place in his age group with a finishing time of 1 hour 24 minutes. Before flying out to New Zealand he remained particularly modest about his achievements. He said: “While I went through the same qualifying process as Martin, there was a lot more competition in his age group than in mine. Still, as I am reminded, you can only beat those that turn up.” 

Michael Diebel
 Unlike Michael, who was competing in his first World Championship, Martin was representing Great Britain at a World Final for the fifth time. However the founding member and head coach of East Grinstead Tri Club was not being complacent. “As well as my six training sessions a week I have also cut down on cake and red wine. That shows how seriously I’m taking this,” he joked.

While a good overall ability in all three aspects of triathlon is required both Martin and Michael stated that their approach to the World Championships would be dictated by their favoured disciplines. Martin, who is a strong runner, said: “My race tactics are to try and get ahead of the melee in the swim, attempt to hold that position on the bike and leave just enough in the tank to push up a place or two in the run. You have to cross the line with nothing at all left to give.”

Martin Darlison
 Michael had a slightly different approach. He said: “I think my strongest discipline is the bike, which tends to dictate tactics as I try to go fairly hard on the bike and hold on for the run after a steadier swim.”

While they intend to enjoy all the spectacular sights New Zealand has to offer following their success in New Zealand, the East Grinstead triathletes are already focused on the next season of racing.

Michael said: “My wife and I are spending three weeks touring New Zealand in a motor home, resting after a long season of racing.  Then I start training again for the World Championships next year, which are being held in Hyde Park.”

Martin said: “After the race I will enjoy a glass or two of the best New Zealand red wine and a holiday touring the north and south islands. Then it’s back home to begin some gentle training working up to next summer season to start again.”

Friday, 19 October 2012

Evening bike ride

Here are some outtakes from the rather impressive video I posted on here last Wednesday.

Man's best friend

Despite yesterday's fears of man flu I managed to soldier down to Thursday's swimming training. During October these sessions have had a very strong focus on kicking. Our coaches are very genial fellows so I don't mean that they give us a good kicking if we don't perform as expected. No it means that we spend a lot of time in fins kicking our way up and down the pool. Without giving away the clandestine training secrets of EGTC (if you want to know more then you need to come down to the Olympus pool in East Grinstead at 7pm on a Thursday evening or 7am on a Saturday morning) this mainly involves swimming on one side for several kicks, taking a few arm strokes, then kicking on the other side.


In terms of getting the kicking motion right, the idea is to make your legs as long as possible by pointing the toes and kicking from the hips. One of our female coaches describes this as imagining your legs as flowing ribbons. One of our male coaches described this as imagining you're kicking a small, randy dog off your leg...

 My kicking ability is perhaps the weakest part of my swim so I have found these sessions very helpful. Not only has my kick been getting progressively stronger but my overall stroke is getting a lot smoother, meaning I am starting to glide through the water rather than trying to smash my way through it.

A major part of this transition is that I'm now finding it a lot more natural to breathe bilaterally (breathing on alternative sides) when I'm swimming normal front crawl. There's still a lot of work for me to do but it demonstrates the benefit of spending at least one session a week on technique rather than just trying to swim faster or longer than you did during your last trip to the pool.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Some people are sick

It doesn't matter if you're Lance Armstrong or Tiger Woods there's one thing every male athlete fears. No I'm not referring to being caught cheating, whether in your sport or on your wife and being subjected to international humiliation, but a vicious case of man flu. More debilitating than a golf club to the balls from Mrs Woods, a bout of MF can seriously derail your training schedule or race preparation.

There are times when you feel a bit low, when exercise feels like the last thing you want to do, but it actually completely invigorates you. However, as I've said before there are other times when you should just listen to your body and rest. So what does my favourite expert, Joe Friel author of the Triathlete's Training Bible, advise? When a cold or bug gets you down should you continue to train normally, cut back or stop altogether? According to Mr Friel a "neck check" will dictate your course of action. If you have "above the neck symptoms" such as a runny nose, sneezing or scratchy throat he advises a shorter workout than normal at a lower intensity. He says that once you are warmed up you will feel better but suggests you stop if this isn't the case.

If the symptoms are below the neck, such as chest cold, chills, achy muscles or you have a fever and are coughing up mucus Mr Friel says you shouldn't even start. He warns that intense exercise in these conditions will increase the severity of the illness and can even cause extreme complications, including death! Mr Friel says "below the neck" symptoms are sometimes accompanied by the Coxsackie virus, which can invade the heart muscle and cause severe complications.   

I have to confess that in each of the three triathlons I competed in this year I wasn't feeling in rude health. But, as I explained earlier in the week, I am extremely stubborn and find pulling out of a race a very difficult thing to do. One of the races I did last year was the East Grinstead Triathlon which is put on by our club. As a result you can only take part the first year you are a member, after that you take on marshaling duties. I therefore raced when I hadn't properly recovered from a chesty cough. I didn't have any major problems but it did probably take a good week longer to recover.  

I'm pretty sure that if I'd done the sensible thing and sat this or the previous race out then I would have probably have been in better shape for the remaining races. But as you may have gathered by now I rarely do the sensible thing.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Retro race report: Flashbacks from the Dam Part Four

So I was facing the prospect of having to pull out of two marathons within seven months. This time I decided I'd try a chiropractor. By now we'd moved out of London to West Sussex so I took myself down to the local clinic where I met a man by the name of Johnny Phoenix. No, I haven't made that up. If you want someone to be the hero of a story then a name like that is a very good place to start. After a lengthy consultation and some x-rays Johnny Phoenix told me he'd be able to fix me up in time for the marathon. It was music to my ears. He also told me that he'd run the Brighton marathon the year before and that it was one of the worst experiences of his life. That wasn't quite music to my ears.

I lost several weeks of training, spent an awful amount of money on three chiropractic sessions a week but Johnny Phoenix helped me rise from the ashes of defeat. Over the next few weeks I managed two 15 mile runs (well 10 miles of running followed by five miles of staggering home) and soon found myself on a plane Amsterdam. Mrs Trihard and Toddler Trihard had once again decided to lend their support from a distance. The night before the run I didn't sleep that well but didn't think anything was going to make a great deal of difference to my performance at that point.

So 16 October 2011, a year ago today. At around 8.30am I was nervously walking round the Olympic Stadium where the race starts and ends. I appeared to be the only person attempting the madness on their own. With my estimated time of five hours I took my place at the back with all the other slow coaches. One of my racing philosophies is that it doesn't matter how long you take as long as you're not last. However I noted that they would begin clearing up the course, and anyone with it, at around 13 minutes 45 seconds a mile (anything slower than a six hour marathon.) I'd not seen this on the London marathon! With the training I'd had I had no idea how long I'd take.

 Eventually once everyone else had left, us slow runners trundled out of the stadium. One chinese chap was doing it backwards. At least I'd beat him, I smugly thought. However I'd made the fatal running mistake. I'd filled up with too much water and was now desperate for the toilet. After about 20 minutes I came across a portaloo but there was a queue. As I waited more and more runners passed me by, including the backwards runner. He seemed to be going a lot quicker than 20 minutes earlier. The number of people passing me, as I waited with my legs crossed, appeared to be thinning out. Finally it was my turn to go to the toilet. When I came out there was no one around. I was officially the last person in the Amsterdam marathon. All I could think about was a helicopter aerial shot of the runners with me a mile behind them. I panicked a little bit, would the clean up car pick me up before I'd even started?! Luckily after a mile or so I managed to catch up with the stragglers but it was a good 45 minutes before I pulled ahead of the man running backwards.

Luckily the next few miles passed without incident. I felt good, wasn't having any problems with my back but at the back of my mind I started wondering when I'd hit the infamous "wall." After all I'd only really managed a maximum of running 10 straight miles in training. I plugged on and finally reached the half way mark. I felt amazing, I hadn't had to walk just yet and the hardest part was behind me. So I thought.

At 15 miles I needed to walk, just for five minutes. I then started running again but had to stop and walk again soon after. The next 11 miles was absolute agony. I just couldn't get into a decent rhythm. Not only that but we were now in the arse end of Amsterdam, what seemed like a desolate industrial estate, with no one cheering you on. I felt so alone and I'd well and truly had enough. As I've mentioned in a previous post I even decided I was going to pull out. But I didn't know how to get back to my hotel and with all the roads shut off there was no hope of hailing a taxi. Somehow I carried on, making it back to where the cheering crowds were and to a point where I thought I could make it to the finish.

Two things stick in my mind about the last mile or so. By that point I was very much on my last legs, walking at a very slow pace. Suddenly I heard a very English voice shout: "Come on David, almost there. You can do it big fella." I don't know who that was, he certainly didn't know me - my name was on my race number - but it got me running again. Secondly with about 500m left I was walking again. A runner in their seventies went past me. After all I'd gone through I was going to let a geriatric beat me. I started running again and entered the stadium. There were still a lot of people in their cheering on the remaining runners. I broke into a bit of a sprint and not only took down the first seventy old but a few others. I crossed the line at 5 hours and seven minutes and I'm not ashamed to say broke into tears. A trip to a coffee shop a few hours later soon cheered me up though.

Retro race report: Flashbacks from the Dam Part Three

So I was preparing for my first half marathon with my close friend Smug Running Guy. A few days before the race it started snowing. This wouldn’t be a problem, the organisers said; the race would definitely go ahead. As the race was in Norwich, a good three hours away Family Trihard would be staying with one of the many members of extended Family Trihard that lived in that part of the world. Before setting off on the Saturday a final check of the race website revealed that an inspection of the course had taken place and the race was definitely going ahead. Hurrah.

Norwich November 2010, health and safety gone mad
 Several hours later, while enjoying a cup of tea with Grandma and Grandad Trihard (“nothing stronger, I’m racing tomorrow”) in Norwich, I received a message from Smug Running Guy. The race was off. To say I was gutted was an understatement (“Grandad Trihard, I need something stronger!”). All those months of training for nothing. So then my attention turned to the marathon. The half marathon would have been the furthest I’d run so it was a bit of an anticlimax to pass 13 miles in training but I plugged on. 

I slowly progressed to reach a 20 mile training run. I still had four weeks before the marathon so was confident that I’d be able to tackle a 22 mile run and then have a couple of weeks of “tapering” which is essentially winding down to shorter runs, to allow your body to rest and recover before the big race. That week I took Toddler Trihard in to central London to meet a friend. Rather doing the sensible thing and taking Toddler Trihard out of her buggy to carry her up the stairs on the Underground I thought I’d be a big man and carry her in the buggy up the stairs. No problem. I met my friend we had a nice lunch, a few glasses of wine and myself and Toddler Trihard returned home.

The next day I was in serious pain. I’d never had back problems before but I had them now. That week I tried swimming, lots of stretching and a deep tissue massage. By the Sunday I felt quite a bit better but rather than trying a 20 mile run I thought I’d play it safe and just do 11 miles. Although in a bit of discomfort at first, the further I ran the better I felt; job done I thought. The next day I was in more pain than I’d ever been in, I literally couldn’t walk. There was no way I was pulling out of this marathon though. This had been a year in the making and I wasn’t going to just throw all that training away. I’d also collected quite a bit of money for charity, so wasn't entirely sure of my legal position. 

Over the next couple of weeks I tried one more run, of just a few miles, with a similar result to the 11 miler. But I refused to give in, even if it meant crawling the 26.2 miles. Smug Running Guy said I shouldn’t do it. I said I’d think about it. Two more of my friends said I shouldn’t do it. I said I’d think about it. But I wasn’t pulling out. Finally a friend who had run two marathons (in a more respectable time of around five hours) phoned me and said I shouldn’t do it. It was then that I realised that perhaps they all had a point. I thought it had been tough training for a marathon. I thought it had been disappointing not being able to run the Norwich half marathon. But without doubt the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do was making the decision to pull out of the Brighton marathon. 

But I dealt with it in an adult way. That night I emailed the organisers of the Brighton marathon to notify them of my withdrawal, drank quite a few cans of Kronenberg and then signed up for the Amsterdam marathon in October. About six weeks before the Amsterdam marathon myself and Toddler Trihard were in Marks and Spencer. The lift wasn’t working. No problem, I thought I can carry Toddler Trihard in her buggy up the stairs. The next morning I could barely walk...

Did I make it to the marathon starting line? Click here to find out and if you're a bit confused click here to read the start of my tale.

Retro race report: Flashbacks from the Dam Part Two

Enthused by my exploits at the Kingston Breakfast Run I immediately set about finding another event to enter. I'd struggled towards the end of the 8 miles so I thought a 10km run (which is a little more than six miles) would be just the ticket. It turned out that there was one on the second May Bank Holiday in London- the Bupa 10k. Not only was it right on my doorstep but it took in part of the course of the London Marathon, so I could experience what it would be like to run the London Marathon - the crowds, the atmosphere, the home straight down the Mall - without having to put in any of the effort required to run the London Marathon. It was a win, win as far as I was concerned. Seeing as it was also a mid-morning start I even had Mrs Trihard and Toddler Trihard to cheer me on. I finished this one in 54 minutes 47 seconds below my target of 55 minutes. I was very pleased with myself. However this is where events took a sinister turn.

I'm the one in green
 A friend of mine who I have known for almost 20 years, and who had got into running a year or two before, had by then run a few half marathons. Since I started writing this blog he has asked if he can run with me next time he visits so he can appear in the blog. He however voiced some concern that he might come across as "a smug running guy." A couple of weeks ago he completed his second marathon in three hours and 17 minutes. I shall refer to him as Smug Running Guy.

Anyway, Smug Running Guy was quite impressed by my new found appetite for pain and asked if I had ever thought about doing a half a marathon myself. "No freaking way!" was my response. However I did agree to take part in a marathon relay in July 2010 which involved a team of us covering 26.2 miles without having to run more than 10km each. It is a bit of a cliche that many people who were not exactly renowned for their sporting prowess in their younger years take to running in their thirties. Out of the team of six, four of us had known each other since we were 16 so had therefore spent many years going to festivals and doing the sort of unhealthy things teenagers (and in our case people in their twenties and thirties) do at festivals. And here we all were pushing our bodies to their limits again, but this time by running.

Olympic training village Reading 1996 with Smug Running Guy (centre) and Mr Trihard (right)
Not long after this race Smug Running Guy slyly sent me an email about a half marathon in Norwich later in the year. He'd got me. The thought of running with a friend greatly appealed to me, I had massively enjoyed the buzz of running with people I knew in the relay. I had a lot of family in Norwich so I could expect some good support, probably topped off with them carrying me shoulder high around the City once I'd completed the race. So I signed up.

But then I had another thought. Why stop there? Whenever I'd seen the London Marathon on TV it had caught my imagination. What must it feel like to cross the finishing line? I had often thought I'd much rather be telling my grandchildren in my old age that I'd once run a marathon rather than thinking I wish I'd run a marathon when I was capable of it. If I'd signed up for a half marathon in November then I'd technically be half way towards the fitness required for a marathon. If I was ever going to do it I might as well do it now. So on the same night of signing up for the Norwich half marathon I went for broke and also signed up for the Brighton Marathon for the following April.

"What?" I hear you ask, "The Brighton Marathon?! I thought you were talking about the Amsterdam Marathon?! Why have you been wasting my time with this drivel?!" Sorry dear reader, this is taking a bit longer than I thought to tell my tale but, as you'll find out things didn't quite go to plan...

For the next exciting installment click here and if you missed the beginning of my exciting adventure click here.