I have been thinking about this for so long and after some deliberation and a false start I can confirm I have a place in this years Royal Parks Half Marathon in London.
This is my first ever half marathon and I have to say I am more than a little bit nervous. I thought I was nervous about running the Mo Run 10K last year but I am more than a little daunted by this prospect.
That said it has been just over a year since I started running so to contemplate a half marathon last May would have been laughable. I really am amazed at how far I have come in such a short space of time (regardless of the winter set backs).
I have a great support network though, Richard is fully behind my decision and understands why I feel the need to run this Half Marathon.
You may recall I cojoulled my friends to sign up for the race with the intention to run as a group. Sadly I did not get a place and some of them did which left me feeling a little guilty.
I have been thinking about a charity to support as I can only get a charity place now and with the recent events (let’s call them 2013 events) I now know the charity I want to support.
I am therefore announcing I am running for the British Heart Foundation on the 6th October.
I have a fundraising target and I would very much like all your support to not only help me reach this target but to help me raise as much as I can to help such a worthwhile charity.
My mum was recently taken ill and ended up going into hospital for an angioplasty (her fourth such operation).
The maternal side of the family all suffer from coronary problems and my mum has been through the wars the last couple of years. Mum however has been fortunate and survived all of her procedures – her siblings have not been so lucky.
My parents have found help in the literature and support the BHF offer and I have had my mind put at rest by the informative and supportive information on their web site.
It is because of this (and many others reasons ) that I have chosen to run for the British Heart Foundation.
Paul and I are already working on getting me up to pace for the Richmond 10K at the beginning of June and I am sure Janice, Enda and Em (to name but a few) will do all they can to encourage me towards my 21K target.
I have no doubt my friends will support me and my training efforts and I am sure those who I talked into running the Royal Parks Half will be pleased to hear that I will be running alongside them (or maybe a little behind them as they are all super fit!).
I will charge up the Kindle and re read the Half Marathon Guide I downloaded months ago and start to think about how I can achieve my running target. I am however not going to obsess over it as the race is not until October and I have more than enough time to train.
I am asking for your support to help me reach my target and I am sure you won’t let me down. I have set up a Virgin Money Giving page to raise funds online as they do not take a cut in the proceeds (unlike Just Giving). I would like to see every penny I raise to go to the charity.
And before you ask, no I am not planning on running a full marathon in the future!
Tonight I started the main phase of training for my 10k which is at the beginning of June and this means speed work to get more oxygen into my system.
Today also marks a year since I started running. I cannot honestly believe it has been a year already and I cannot believe just how much I have enjoyed, hated, struggled, gained, grown, learnt and built as a runner.
I remember mulling the idea of running in my head, conversing with friends about a plan of attack. Harassing them for advice and support. Promising Richard I wouldn't spend a fortune on running gear or talking about running all the time (I think I've managed both rather well – the blog is the perfect outlet).
A year ago I started this on a whim and never considered I would achieve what I have, my first 10k, raising £1,600 for Alzheimer's, running a 5k for the local hospital raising £500 etc.
I've since learnt what a friendly and supportive community runners are, I've run in various places, seen and experienced things I wouldn't have done had I stayed at home. I'm probably the fittest I have ever been in my life and have an outlay for stress. I also have a nice toned body which I am proud of and I know Richard enjoys too
For tonights run Gipis suggested I run just over 3k with a split of fast and normal sections (ala Fartlek) to exhaust my body to reach maximum oxygen limits. I am not sure if I was exhausted but it was hard work.
I spent the run dreading the beeps that signified the start of each fast session but soon got into my stride and got on with it.
I did stupidly decide to continue running until I broke through 5k as this is a mental target I like to hit. At the time (at the end) that seemed like a foolish mistake but since the run I have made and ate dinner and although I am a little sore I feel ok considering…
The next run is scheduled to be similar with a long fast section. I'll see how I get on but I am sure I will be fine.
It's difficult running two apps at once though. I do like to track my complete runs on iSmoothRun but need to start Gipis mid way for the coaching and this proves tricky. Getting the iPhone in and out of the Y-fumble mid run isn't easy.
I could program iSmoothRun and may try that but I am not sure I like the coaching within that app.
Why can't all the apps be the same and excel at everything rather than one feature over another? If only I could build my perfect running app…
Tonight was possibly the warmest run I have completed in the UK this year and although windy I enjoyed pounding the streets and leaving the worries of work behind me.
I did sweat more than normal, probably due to the speed work. I had to remove my sunglasses mid run as the sweat on my lenses meant I could not see where I was going. Rubbing my eyes just put sweat in them which made them sting and again impaired my vision. Next time I'll take the baseball cap I bought in Spain!
Fastest track tonight was Axis by Pet Shop Boys which conveniently kicked in at the start of my first fast session.
I captured this short Vine video of tonight's run. Seems fitting to share it on my running anniversary! Why not take a look and join me on my run?
Be warned, it's not a pretty sight!
I'd like to say special thanks to Richard, Paul, Enda, Janice, Em, Sean, Dave, Ivan, Milly and countless others who have helped and supported me on this new adventure.
Long may the running continue and here's to the next challenge
I write this as I head back to Colchester following a weekend to see how my mum is doing following her surgery and as usual the time has gone by far too quickly.
Mum is looking remarkably bright considering she has had heart surgery and is out of bed. She is still sore and bruised following the operation though so I believe it will take a couple of weeks for her to get back to normal. Just hope she does spend the time convalescing and doesn't try to do too much too soon.
Typically the weather en route was nice but yesterday (my only full day), was pretty grim. That said I didn't go home to sight see.
Still I spent the day with my parents and Richards sister popped over with our niece, husband and Richards eldest nephew. This was a nice break in the day as mum has not see baby Freya since her christening. It was lovely to have a house full of guests. Some other people for mum to talk too and it helped animate the house and my parents.
We had a late fish and chip supper before turning in and I left early this morning to catch my train back to Colchester (via London).
I am pleased I have been to see mum and dad and am happy with my mums progress and how my dad is coping with everything.
I have this scenic journey (well the bit through Devon) to get through, a week of work and then Richard and I can head off to the sun for a much needed rest.
Please let this week be quiet and uneventful!
So it's certainly been an odd week. One I didn't see coming and one where I never imagined I would be writing a blog entry on the train heading down to Devon.
As you may know both Richard and my mum have been unwell and I am currently en route to see my mum post heart surgery.
I cannot remember the last time I took the train home and its kind of odd. I spent a lot of my late teens and early twenties taking the train to London to see the sights and to experience what the big city had to offer.
It was these trips that lead me to make the decision to leave the south west and find something bigger and better. I knew that Plymouth had had its hay day and knew that I would find what I was searching for in London.
I also knew (by the time I left) that I was gay and that the manner and opinions at home were not conducive to me living a happy independent life
That was thirteen years ago and I have not looked back.
I of course miss my parents but being an only child do not feel committed to the large extended family we have. I made the choice to move away, find my self, enjoy my life but ensure that mum and dad were always cared for. That's what I have done and I am proud and surprised at what I have achieved since I left Plymouth all that time ago.
I cannot condone people for wanting to stay where they grew up but I have to say it saddens me when so many people I went to school or worked with are still there. Same locations. Same lives.
Don't get me wrong many others have gone much further than I and some are tied due to commitments etc but I find it a shame that people stay put. I guess it's comfortable. I guess now I am comfortable too.
I am sure there are other places like Plymouth (or maybe Devon or Cornwall) where you could be born and raised and think you were living a million miles from anywhere.
That mentality still exists and I have taken years to break this mindset that everything is miles away from where I live. I commute 70 miles each way every day and to most people at home, they wouldn't travel that far to go to an airport on holiday.
Family and friends constantly insist we live in London. We don't. It's where we work, where we tune our careers and where we socialise. We live in Colchester and we love it there. It's taken us further away from Plymouth and that's why I have a six hour journey under way but you know what, if you want to do it you make the time. You make the effort. You get off your ass and you do it.
It may sound like I am knocking people – I am not. I made a choice and I am glad I did. I just find it sad some people never even get to that initial decision. Or maybe they regret not doing it later in life…
I fear for the generation growing up at home, there's no airport, no major road links and the local economy is declining faster than anywhere else. All government support (as always) heads up north (no it doesn't make it to London event though it feels like it) and the south west is left to suffer.
But then again the NIMBIES in the area need to stop complaining and be more proactive. If the people of Plymouth saw the value in a motorway, their airport or investing in big business and trade, the place wouldn't be in such a state as it is now.
I often spend these train journeys thinking about things. Mulling things over and I find it incredible that I can now pen these thoughts and store them for myself and anyone who cares to read them. Technology has opened these barriers. Could I have ever imagined such a device as an iPad or iPhone to allow me to do this when I first embarked on my journeys to the big smoke?
I was blogging back then but had to wait to get home to put finger to key…
This is purely my opinion but I love going home. I love this journey and I love my folks. I also love the fact that I made the decision years ago to move away and get a life. I simply hope all the grand children, nieces, nephews and friends kids at home wake up and do the same (before its too late).
I obviously love my husband and miss B and will miss them terribly whilst I am away. I am only gone for two days though and soon Richard and I jet off to the sun for some much needed r and r.
Oh… The duffle coat reference? That's Paddingtons fault. I loved Paddington Bear as a child but could never have imagined how many memories and feelings that little lost bear from Peru would evoke.
I wonder if he has reverted back to marmalade sandwiches following his brief dabbling with marmite?
Ok here’s a quick update for those who have commented or contacted me following my last few blog entries…
Richard is feeling much better and his fever broke yesterday. He still has some swelling on his face but it feeling much better.
My mum had Angioplasty today, I don’t know any more than this other than the consultant completed what he had intended to do. Mum was in surgery for around two and a half hours and was in recovery when I spoke to my dad this afternoon.
I will know more when dad returns from the hospital tonight.
I’m probably going to head down to Devon in the next couple of days to catch up with my folks.
Thanks for all your kind words and support.
I left the house early this morning as the sun was shining and there was no cloud in the sky. Of course it's still pretty damn windy and chilly (2 degrees) but just having bright sunshine made it feel so much better.
I ran today simply to clear my head and to try and switch off from the past couple of days. I'm not sure it worked. In fact it probably proved just how distracted I am. I recall the distance markers on iSmoothRun but I wasn't really paying any attention to the pace, time information etc.
I felt sore, my legs were heavy and my feet were numb throughout the run and this lack of focus probably didn't help. I aimed to run 5k and managed to push myself to 6.5k. I found my rhythm around 4k and got into my stride.
This wasn't my best run but it was great to do it.
Fastest track again was Run Boy Run by Woodkid which was kind of ironic as my friend Paul texted me just that as I was running. It was quite entertaining to hear Siri say “Run Boy Run” that over the music when Paul texted
So I'm distracted as two of the most important people in my life are currently ill; Richard has had lots of problems and complications following the removal of his wisdom tooth. He's ended up having several procedures to sort this out this week and it has been knocked sideways with the pain and treatment.
Yesterday following a routine ECG my mum was diagnosed with another leaking valve and they have admitted her, keeping her in to undertake a new Angioplasty on Monday afternoon.
I wish I could make Richard and Mum 100% better but I know I can't. All I can do is show my love and support. I hope Richard will recover soon and that mums operation is a success (and that she learns from these constant messages from her body to slow down and actually heeds the advice once and for all). It's such a pain though as I feel so helpless.
This week has been such a contrast to that of the Easter weekend. I can only hope things get better for all concerned.
Following our week in Cyprus we went home to visit our folks for a couple of days.
The weather wasn't as nice as Cyprus and the pace a little busier but it was lovely to catch up with everyone.
We took my parents out to lunch on Thursday as it was their wedding anniversary. Richard's mum, youngest sister and our niece joined us. We visited the Royal William Yard which is a recent renovation. This gave a fantastic new perspective on Plymouth that none of us had seen before.
It really was lovely to see everyone and we managed to catch up with the family as planned.
Whilst there we made a substantial purchase at the art gallery at the Royal William Yard. We are both very pleased with the piece featuring Smeatons Tower on Plymouth Hoe. We wanted a sizeable painting for the wall and this does not disappoint. We had to fold the seats down in the back of the car to get it in!
I thought I wasn't doing too great tonight as I had very little sleep, was up at 4 am today no was in the office at 6:30. Even though I allowed myself a brief walk break my perserverence paid off as my final pace was good, I completed my planned route and am pleased with tonight's performance.
Find out more in this video update:
Please sponsor me at http://justgiving.com/Keith-Tomlinson.
Here's tonight's performance chart. As you can see, a predominance of green. I a very happy with this
My net pace for the block of running was 6:41 /km which I am really happy with. My cadence was also at 80 so even though I had a brief break I did very well.
Fastest song of this run was Janet Jackson -All Nite (Don't Stop)