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Finishing the Isle of Wight Half Marathon BarefootOk, so last week I wrote about how the Isle of Wight half-marathon would be my longest race since I completed the Edinburgh Marathon in May and how I was feeling little bit nervous. This was further compounded by reading in “Keep on Running – The Highs and Lows of a Marathon Addict” by Phil Hewitt a narrative of “hills [that] seemed to get bigger all the time – a reflection, most likely, of their frequency rather than their actual size.” All of this was nothing, however, with driving the course the day before the race and facing hills where I needed to change down a gear in my campervan just to get up them!

Shortly before the race started on Sunday morning the heavens opened to give us all a nice drenching, but the sun was out and shining very strongly by the time we were ready for the off. This was a very different kind of race from the others I’ve completed this year with just a few hundred people taking part, many of which appeared to be seasoned club runners. Whilst waiting for the off I heard several tales of the Isle of Wight being “one of the UK’s toughest half-marathons” and even heard one runner talk of how they had completed both the half and full Isle of Wight marathons and found the half tough due to the distinct lack of flat course between the hills.

Anyway, once we were off we were almost immediately on to the first hill which climbed for about the first 3/4 of a mile. The course was constantly up and down from the very start. I decided to take it a little easier knowing there were many hills to come and to focus on finishing in a good time, but not push for a personal best. On some of the later hills I started to get cramp in my right foot, with the toes briefly curling in, but I was able to keep pushing through and keep running until I got cramp in my left foot. This caused me to stop dead and swear quite a bit. Luckily I was near a wall and was able to hop across to it and sit down to try and stretch my foot. My toes had curled in and were locked tightly in place. I took my shoe off to try and get my foot straight again. I managed to massage my foot straight, but as soon as I tried to put it back in my shoe the toes locked again. I looked at my watch, the time spent trying to sort my foot was seriously damaging my race time. I know that with rational thought my focus probably would have been different, but in a race many runners are not rational. Now what?

Barefoot?

I’ve spoken to a few people since the race who have suggested perhaps I should have withdrawn from the race and waited for a medic or perhaps keep massaging my foot until I could get my shoe back on and then walk to the end. Sorry, but no way! I had a race to finish and was getting dangerously close to 2 hour territory. No, there was only one option in my mind – carry my shoes and keep running. So off came the other shoe and I ran the last mile or so in my socks, including a sprint for the finish that got me across the line in 1 hour, 59 minutes and 44 seconds! Far from a PB but thankfully still sub 2 hours!

2013 Miles in 2013

Cystic Fibrosis A Race We Must WinThis year I am trying to complete 2013 miles self-powered miles. It is has been 10 years since my cousin’s son Adam lost his fight with Cystic Fibrosis. Adam was just 18 years old when when he lost his lifelong battle with CF, the UK’s most common life-threatening inherited disease. Despite spending large parts of his short life in hospital Adam never once complained, not even of a headache and was determined to make the most of everyday.

My 2013 miles in 2013 challenge is in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust as I have been surprised since I started fundraising for the CF Trust just how many people are unaware of this disease and so I hope my efforts will not just raise money, but also awareness of the UK’s most most common life-threatening inherited disease.

The first person to commit to sponsoring my 2013 mile challenge has committed to 1p per mile (£20.13 in total) and this got me thinking. I am hoping that as many as possible of those reading this will commit to do the same and the best thing is, if each person does this on a “pay as you go” type approach all you will need to part with is approx £2 just after each pay day. In January I completed 205.9 miles, in February I completed a further 200.9 miles, in March I completed 185.7 miles, in April I completed 192.1 miles, in May I completed 168 miles, in June I completed 145 miles and in June I completed 210.1 miles. If you can please spare £13.07 to help the Cystic Fibrosis Trust it will be greatly appreciated.

The easiest way to give your sponsorship is to visit my Just Giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/2012-AYearWithoutBeer-CF.

2013 Miles in 2013 – The rules

The rules for my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge are quite simple:

  1. All miles must be completely self powered (no motors, sails, etc)
  2. I must be able to evidence all miles, either via GPS or with a picture of any static gym equipment

To complete my 2013 miles I will be running, cycling, rowing and who knows, I might even try a few other self powered methods along the way.