Feeling weak (and dehydrated)

30 07 2009

Lance Armstrong’s charity organisation is called Livestrong. After today I might start one called Liveweak. That’s how I felt today. A miserly 4 miler was on the programme. You can’t underestimate any run though it is the cumulative effect over the week that does the damage. This marathon training programme is nasty and unrelenting. I hope it is all worth it.

Another 6 miler tomorrow and then I will have run 152 miles in July. A monthly record by 50 miles or so. Overall I am still making progress. I just yearn to get to the start at Fleetwood. The goal will be so simple – just get round.

As far as my virtual run to Madrid is concerned I am now bearing down on Bordeaux but such is the scale of France that it will probably take me a good two weeks to get there. Allez Robert ! Vivreweak ! Bonjour Lance je suis weak !


Feeling solid (and hydrated)

29 07 2009

There was no reaction to my run on Sunday and now I am back on track following the training programme to the letter.

Tuesday 6 miles
Wednesday 8 miles

Two good solid performances. Averaging at around 9 minute mile pace.

I am trying to focus on hydration this week and monitoring the colour of my wee as I think I might not have been drinking quite enough on my runs generally. Making it a rule on the Wirral Way that when I get to a bridge I take a drink under it.

Flatter courses do seem to agree with me.

I have also received my race number for Fleetwood (No. 2025). Helen is horrified to see that she is number 10 for her 10k race. She still has a cough poor love.


A quiet week

27 07 2009

I felt I needed a relatively easy week after my long run so have not followed the programme as closely as I should. In particular I took both Monday and Tuesday off. Despite this I still managed to run over 32 miles rounding off the week with a 16 miler again accompanied by Simon on bicycle.

The 16 miler was a far more undulating course than my run from Seacombe and I felt it. I also lost strength in my right leg a mile or so from home. This has been the weirdest thing that has happened to me so far. It could be that it was a warning sign that my muscles were running out of energy or possibly a trapped nerve. It was quite worrying. I managed to get home by running very gently on my right leg and transferring more of my weight over to the left. The condition did seem to ease slightly as I got closer to home but I’m not sure I could have run an additional 10 miles in that condition.

Overall my pace was much quicker at around 9:30 a mile. Perhaps I was a little too fast. It is difficult to know how fast to run now. It’s all new territory. If I run too slowly I won’t make the cut off time of 5 hours 30 at Fleetwood. My predicted marathon time based on my Seacombe pace would have been approaching 5 hours.

Looking at my long runs I have been unbelievably consistent (ignoring Seacombe which I did literally jog)

Date Run Distance Time Pace/mile

19/7/2009 Seacombe 19.37 Mi 3:29:10 10:48
26/07/2009 16 miler Burton 16.16 Mi 2:32:46 9:28
03/05/2009 Hooton Lane 16.03 Mi 2:30:57 9:26
15/03/2009 Wallasey Village 15.8 Mi 2:30:00 9:30
05/07/2009 West Kirby 15.16 Mi 2:27:48 9:45
21/02/2009 Hooton 14.19 Mi 2:14:52 9:31

This week I need to stick to the programme as close as possible. Time is beginning to run out.

Hitting the wall ?

Hitting the wall ?

My longest run – part 3

21 07 2009

Now I was expecting the damage to start. We passed through West Kirby alongside a partially empty Marine Lake and on down towards the Wirral Way.

West Kirby "Marina" currently undergoing repairs.

West Kirby "Marina" currently undergoing repairs.

The Wirral Way is familiar ground. All I had to do was to follow the route , keep going and I’d be home. By now my left knee was beginning to ache slightly. Nothing major though. I continued to take small sips from my carbo drink and push onwards.

Fortunately the Wirral Way was not too busy and we were able to pick our way around the dog walkers and ramblers fairly easily. We soon reached Caldy and then Thurstaston. At Thurstaston I treated myself to my isotonic drink. My God it tasted good. I drained the bottle. When I ran my half marathons I noticed my stomach was full of liquid after each drink and took it easy. I don’t know what happened in this case. The drink disappeared, didn’t seem to be heavy in my stomach and didn’t hit my bladder either. Tasted lovely after the carbo drink.


Now into the unknown post 15 miles. My legs were getting stiff by now but I knew I was 40 minutes or so from home. I called Helen to tell her the good news.

I just had to keep going. After Thurstaston there is a dreadfully boring stretch of the Wirral Way. I hate it. This was going to be the tester. Fortunately with Simon we both came out of the other side no less saner than at the start. 30 minutes or so to go.

A short uphill climb and I was below the Cottage Lane bridge in Gayton. Simon rushed ahead to take this last picture.


I then focussed on my next goal of 18 miles. I did it. Still no wall. Still my legs were going. They were gradually stiffening but I was running. M y heart felt strong and the thought of stopping didn’t even cross my mind. I was going to make it.

I attempted to surge to see what was left. Yes there was a little increase in pace there. I settled back to my original pace.

Before I knew it I was turning the final corner and running down the home straight and even kicking up a hill. I reached the end of my road and saw Helen and the boys playing outside.

I had done it. What a feeling ! Almost 20 miles.

One of my clients said if you can run 20 miles you can run a marathon. Well I now believe I can.

My longest ever run – part 2

21 07 2009

I was now into my rhythm and my legs were doing me proud. No pain. I focussed on one thing that is conserving energy. I had urges to go faster but kept on at the same steady speed. In no time we were in Meols and then on through Hoylake in what seemed no time at all. I reached the end of the prom in 1 hour 40 or so. 10 miles down. 10 minute mile pace. Just what I wanted.


Simon was becoming a fantastic photographer. He was now taking photos from the bike whilst on the move.

We reached Stanley Road alongside the Royal Liverpool Golf Course. The biggest test for Simon was to come – the dreaded Red Rocks.

Powering down Stanley Road, Hoylake

Powering down Stanley Road, Hoylake

This was the tricky part of the course. A coastal board walk through a bird reserve with some deep sand, steps and rocks thrown in. I pulled ahead of Simon as he dealt with all the obstacles thrown into his path. They were no match for his technical excellence.

Simon rock solid on "Bertha"

A mile or so later we reached the beach at West Kirby, some beads of sweat had appeared on Simon’s brow and we both had a well earned drink and banana.

We had gone around the Northwest corner of the Wirral and I was now heading home. It was lovely to see the more familiar River Dee and the Welsh Hills beyond. Only 8 or 9 miles or so to go. South..


My longest ever run – part 1

20 07 2009

After finishing my last entry and Simon confirmed he would be able to accompany me by bicycle I decided to adjust my goal.

I know that a prom runs right around the top of the Wirral and down to Seacombe ferry terminal. I mapped the route to see how far it would be to run home from there…19.35 miles or so. Runners can “hit the wall” at around 18 miles so this could be interesting.

I decided to take a break on Saturday and carbo load with a huge pile of pasta on Saturday night. I was going to go for it. If I could manage 18 miles I would be back on the edge of Parkgate and could get myself home from there quite easily. If I could still run on I would do.

Helen continues to feel unwell but felt she could cope with the boys for the afternoon. I continued to carbo load at lunch time. The conditions were perfect. Sunny intervals and cool temperatures of 15-16 degrees with a nice breeze.

We arrived at Seacombe on time and I was delighted to find Simon ready and waiting.


I was rather nervous. The mere thought of having to run 20 miles to get home is absolutely terrifying. The only way to deal with it is to switch off and set small goals.

The first part of the run was to make our way Northwards towards the top of the Wirral along the Millennium Promenade up to New Brighton. I set off at a very steady and sedate pace. Simon rode alongside. His bicycle made a wonderful sound so comforting….until he used the brakes !!

On we pushed through the delights of New Brighton which was in its heyday a massive resort and has hit on very hard times since.

After about 30 minutes I realised that I had only just started and would need to keep going for for 6 or 7 times this distance. Big mistake. Better not to think about it.

We ran out of land and turned westwards along the top of the Wirral only to hit a headwind. Not terribly strong but there none the less. I droned on about 8% reduction in performance etc… Simon looked suitably impressed.

The next major landmark was Leasowe lighthouse which we reached in around an hour or so.

"Did you get the Lighthouse in Simon ?"  Reply "Oh"
Robert :”Did you get the Lighthouse in Simon ?”
Simon : “Oh”

On I surged along the promenade. This part of the Wirral is relatively sparsely populated as you can see. Lovely vistas out to sea though.


Great..only 15 miles or so to go… TO BE CONTINUED

Steady as she goes

17 07 2009

Well I did decide not to risk my long run on Sunday. Helen really wasn’t up to childcare on her own and I felt a cold coming. By Sunday evening I was full of cold. By Monday afternoon the symptoms had almost gone.

On Tuesday I picked up again. I am attempting to run the week’s programme that I didn’t complete last week. So far so good but a great mix in the runs.

Tuesday 4 miler – felt great. Good kick in legs. Set a personal best.

Wednesday 6 miler – legs felt heavy. Was surprised to get home in sub 9 minute mile pace. Certainly didn’t feel that way. What I have discovered though is a website with free downloadable audio books. Mostly classics. I enjoyed part 1 of the Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. I almost laughed out loud for parts of it. The narrators are all amateurs and this one was so intense. Great story. So much pain though.

Here is the link and more info :


Thursday – 4 miler – steady, a bit tired.

Friday – 6 miler. Really windy and had rained most of the day. Cool. I felt pretty good and listened to music this time. Have loaded up my mp3 player with all new music. Nice change.

So Sunday (all being well) I aim to tackle the 16 miler. If it is cool I may go a little further. It may well be that my cyclist friend joins me. If so and conditions are good I may go for 18 miles. I am meant to do that next week anyway.

Quite excited about that. It will easily be the longest run I have ever done. I would rather have someone with me for that one !!

As for the health of Helen and the boys. Helen is recovering but still has a cough. She seemed to have the same cold symptoms as I had once her flu had run its course.

Dominic has a cough. Eddie has had a cold and now a cough.