John O’Groats to Lands End – Day 3 – The Bit Where I Fell Over

Where Was I Now?

Day3It was now morning number three, and once again I found myself in a budget-crippling hotel after the weather had forsaken me for a second time in as many days.

The idea was that I’d be camping out in the wild; making the most of the remote, picturesque landscapes that Scotland provides in abundance; something I successfully managed in March last year for my LEJOG run. Unfortunately, the conditions were not so kind to me this… May? … At least I think it was May. It felt more like February.

John O’Groats to Lands End – Day 2 – Glencoe Valley!

Where Was I?

day2It was now Thursday morning, having left JOG the morning before. To summarise the challenge so far, it would be fair to say the weather was being a little unkind. The weeks building up to challenge we had a lot of sun, typical of what you’d expect from mid-May really. The very second I stepped off the train in Thurso the rain began. I’m not even exaggerating for comic effect here; that is genuinely when the first drops of rain started; I just didn’t think too much of it at the time. I was now in a hotel in Bonar Bridge; a non-optional budget extension having been exposed to a prolonged head-on battle with the elements all of the previous afternoon and early evening. Hopefully today would be a better day…

The Vegan Welsh 3,000’s

V3KThis is a 55km route covering several popular areas of Snowdonia, so as any experienced ultra-marathon runner would tell you, this is not huge mileage.

So why is it then, sitting here now on the morning after the event, do I feel like I’ve just completed an intense, full body workout?

This is because the race is a bit different to most ultra-marathons you see, in that it happens to cover 15 of the highest peaks in Wales. In fact, the reason the course is called the Welsh “3,000’s” is because of the 15 peaks >3,000ft. I think an apt description for the event would be more like ‘a full day of mountain climbing’ than it could be described as a ‘running race’. Nevertheless, the result is spectacular! Not for the faint-hearted, but definitely spectacular.

John O’Groats to Lands End – Day 1

Getting started!

Before I could get started, I had to endure a 13 hour train journey to Thurso, where I refused to let my bike leave my sight for the entire duration. I didn’t mind the journey so much; I think I was just daydreaming and listening to music the entire time. It was a sunny day outside, so the experience was quite pleasant. A sign of things to come no doubt.

Not letting this out of my sight.

Not letting this out of my sight.

John O’Groats to Lands End – With A Bike This Time

What happens when a runner tries to do some cycling?

Lands End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) or John O’Groats to Lands End (JOGLE) have long been known as benchmark multi-day rides for endurance cyclists. Whether you take six days over it or six weeks, it’s generally recognised as a pretty decent achievement as it covers the full length of the UK, with mileage ranging anywhere from 874 miles to as many as you like.

Returning to John O’Groats

What Am I Doing?

It seems so strange planning a return here after the relief of leaving last year. Last year I ran the approximately 1,000 mile route from Lands End to John O’Groats; this year, from Wednesday (27th May) I am now intending to head back down the other way; only this time on a bike.

Macclesfield - Thurso

Macclesfield – Thurso

I want to point out at this early stage, that I am NOT a cyclist. I don’t really know the first thing about cycling; I don’t look like one and I certainly don’t own all the gear.

How Do I Decide What I Need To Work On?

As a recently qualified Personal Trainer, it has really opened my eyes to a world of training that could potentially make a world of difference to my own running.

PART I – Analysis!

Using race photographs and video footage of certain exercises, I am able to ascertain any weaker areas, or technical aspects of running that could use a little work.

Race photographs are pretty good for this, because you are invariably TIRED when these are taken. Fatigue is obviously the main cause of loss of form, which you can see here in these examples:

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The Great Manchester Marathon, 2015

ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon_logo_498x98

 

 

 

This is a brilliant event and an excellent alternative to the prestigious London Marathon. I have been in Manchester for this event for the last three years and have run it two out of those three times.

Like London, the Manchester Marathon is quite flat (probably a little bit flatter if push came to shove) and the atmosphere is amazing! People come out to line the streets all through Manchester, Sale, Altringham and everywhere else it passes through.

How Running Helped Me Get Life Back On Track

Have you ever found yourself in one of those really surreal situations that has you thinking: “How did my life take me to this point?”, “What did I do to get myself here?” – Well, I seem have these moments on a regular basis right now; sometimes good, often bad, always kind of funny to assess afterwards.

To give you an example, a few months back in sudden a moment of clarity, I noticed that I was sat eating a sandwidge in a shower cubicle on a campsite in Peterborough.