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Cystic Fibrosis Running Vest - New Logo - Cystic Fibrosis The Reason I RunAlthough not technically in the rules for my 2013 miles in 2013 challenge, I am trying to pick up some race bling along the way and hope to average at least one race per month.

Regular readers will know that I am currently trying to complete my self imposed challenge to travel 2013 “self-powered” miles in 2013 in order to try and raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. The easiest way to add your sponsorship is to visit my Just Giving page: http://www.justgiving.com/2012-AYearWithoutBeer-CF.

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.

Forthcoming races:

  • The Great South Run (in October – this is another event that I also ran in 2012)
  • Mo Run Cardiff 10k (in November)

I still need to find a December race…

Here are the races I have already completed this year:

Disney 5k Medal 2013January 2013 – Disney 5k

Whilst on holiday in January, my family and I took part in the Disney 5k Family Fun Run, part of the official Disney Marathon weekend. I had planned to do either the half or even full marathon, but sadly the event was sold out before I’d been able to confirm travel arrangements, luckily the 5k still had space.

My highlight of the race though has to be seeing my 3 year old daughter run across the finish line. My wife and daughter were in the “stroller division”, but my daughter insisted on getting out and running the last mile in her Cinderella dress! Very proud Daddy.

Gloucester 10 Finishers MedalFebruary 2013 – Gloucester 10k

This weather was wet and windy, but 600+ people still turned out for the first Gloucester 10k. I think the weather must have put some people off, but to be honest, I quite like running in the wet. I’m not so keen on heavy rain, but some light drizzle is a great way of keeping the body cool when running at race pace is busy warming it up. For me the Gloucester 10k was a great race. I improved on my 10k personal best by approx 3 minutes with a finish time was 47 mins and 35 seconds. As I sprinted across the finish line I knew in my heart that I could have pushed myself harder and finished even quicker! At least that gives me something to aim at on my next 10k.

Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon 2013 MedalMarch 2013 – Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon

My first official half-marathon – done! Although Id done a number of training runs of 13.1 miles or greater, the Adidas Silverstone half-marathon was my first race at this distance.

When  I started running I suspect it would have taken me over 3 hours to complete a half-marathon, if I’d managed to finish at all. I was really pleased with my time in this race when I finished in 1 hour, 49 minutes and 53 seconds. My ultimate goal was to run a half marathon in under 1 hour and 45 minutes, but for my first attempt I was more than happy with my finish time. I was also quicker at the 10 mile point than my finishing time at last year’s Great South Run (10 miles). Thanks to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust I was also lucky enough to get a quick sports massage at the end of the race.

Warwick Castle Half Marathon Medal 2013March 2013 – Warwick Castle Half Marathon

Just 2 weeks after completing my first official half-marathon I was lining up ready to start my second. My target was simply to try and match my time from the Silverstone Half Marathon. That was until I saw how hilly the Warwick Castle course was.

When the first racer to finish crossed the line about 20 minutes slower than the Silverstone winner, my wife decided she wouldn’t need a camera ready until at least 1 hour 50 minutes after the start. This view was only confirmed when some of the early finishers were interviewed and commented on how hilly the course was.

I really enjoyed the course, running through some great countryside with plenty of hills to keep it interesting. To be honest, I think the course was great at keeping my motivation up and this was helped even more by the spectators cheering the runners on. The result of all this? I crossed the line in 1 hour, 43 minutes and 43 seconds – more than six minutes quicker than Silverstone! My long term goal of a sub 1 hour 45 minute half marathon was achieved on just my second attempt. The only disappointing thing was the muddy, slippery grass at the end which stopped me from doing a sprint finish.

Plymouth Half Marathon Medal 2013April 2013 – Plymouth Half Marathon

OK, so Plymouth is NOT flat. In fact, this was without doubt the most hilly half marathon I have run so far. Oh, and perhaps the steepest hill of all was in the last mile! By the end of the race my toes were feeling bruised and one of nipples was bleeding, but I didn’t care. I got another personal best (1 hour, 41 minutes and 48 seconds).

This race was also a harsh reminder that there is not enough awareness of Cystic Fibrosis. I saw many runners representing many different charities, most of them cancer charities, but I did not spot a single CF runner other than myself.

May 2013 – Edinburgh Marathon!

edinburgh marathon medal 2013OMG! I ran a marathon. If you’d told me last year that I’d ran 26.2 miles on my birthday I would have laughed in your face, but that is exactly what I did as I celebrated 38 years on this planet.

My first marathon experience wasn’t easy. For a start it was stupidly hot in Edinburgh on race day (at lot hotter than I expected anyway). I was sweating like a pig and was so thirsty I took water at every water point on the course. This meant I had to stop twice for a pee. Not great when you are determined to push yourself for a quick finish.

Although it was hot, I was still going strong when I crossed the half way point, but by mile 15 I was struggling. Part of me was ready to quit, but today was about finishing my first marathon no matter what. I had another moment a couple of miles later and slowed to a walk, when a man called Ken who was also running for CF tapped me on the shoulder and simply said “remember why you are doing this”. I quickly forgot my discomfort and started running again. The second half of the marathon was quite a bit slower than the first, but I kept going and once I saw the finish line I even managed to break in to a sprint. I am still waiting on my official time, but according to my watch I finished in 4 hours and 3 minutes. Slower than I hoped, but I am still chuffed with that for a first marathon attempt.

June 2013 – The Two Castles Run

two-castles-run-medal-2013It’s not very often I choose to get up at 5 a.m. on a Sunday, but one race day in June I was up and out early to take part in my 7th race of the year, the Two Castles Run 2013. This year was the 31st Two Castles Run, a 10k race that starts inside Warwick Castle, Warwick and finishes inside Kenilworth Castle, Kenilworth. For me, it was my first serious run since the Edinburgh Marathon and despite doing very little running between the two races I managed another personal best, completing the race in 46 minutes and 39 seconds and finishing in position 373 of 2052 male runners.

July 2013 – Great British 10k London Run

British 10k London Run Medal 2013Since I started running I dreamt about running through the iconic streets of London. Maybe it’s just because of the number of times I’ve watched the London Marathon on TV, but the thought of running through our nations capital past some of the famous landmarks was definitely on my to do list. Well, now that is another dream ticked off the list!

It was seriously hot on race day, but although I was slower than planned I don’t think it was down to the heat. The problem was the sheer volume of runners and the fact that there was no attempt to group by ability. This resulted in lots of traffic on the course (including walkers 4 and 5 abreast) and a little frustration having to slow down and try to navigate a way through the crowds.

I finished in 52 minutes and 46 seconds. Now to see if I’m successful with my London Marathon ballot entry so that I can do a slightly longer course on these famous streets.

August 2013 – Isle of Wight Half-Marathon

Isle of Wight Half Marathon Medal 2013What is it with my half-marathon choices and hills? I think the Isle of Wight was the hilliest yet, a race that I heard described whilst waiting on the start line as “one of the toughest half-marathons in the UK” and “harder than the full Isle of Wight marathon as there are no gaps between the hills”. 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 so I finished the race in my socks!

September 2013 – Apperley Quarter Marathon

apperley-quarter-marathon-2013This race was a kind of judgement day for me, as it was the first time in my adult life that I competed in a race I have previously run. There was no hiding on this. No blaming a different course if I was slower.

I woke up for this race not quite as enthusiastic as I would have like to have been. The travel and holidays that resulted in a reduced mileage for August had also left me feeling a bit bloated and lacking in energy. Could I beat last year’s time? My main recollection from last year was hitting a hill when I thought I was almost at the end and it appearing to go on for ever. This year I couldn’t help but think “what hill?” as I looked back over my shoulder and saw a few other runners slowing behind me. I wasn’t as quick as I would have liked, but still managed to take more than 4 minutes off my previous time.

September 2013 – Great North Run

Great North Run 2013 Medal

Despite the extremely high number of runners, I was pleasantly surprised that I was able navigate my way through the crowds and complete the first 5k in around 23 minutes. Around mile 4 the rain came and it was heavy. After a good drenching it stopped around 20 minutes later, just before I hit 10k. A half marathon is just over 21 kilometres. My 10k time was just over 49 minutes. A personal best (PB) was suddenly in sight.

Having done some quick calculations in my head I knew I had to keep the pace up. I was comfortable. Maybe not so comfortable as to call it easy, but I was confident I could keep going and I got to 15km in 1 hour 16 minutes.

Just after to 10 mile mark my race suddenly took a turn for the worse. The cramps I experienced in the Isle of Wight half marathon suddenly hit me again and when they hit, they hit hard. My dreams of a PB were slipped away from me and despite my every effort to run through the pain, my legs simply failed to work as they should.

The last 3 miles of my race were slow and extremely uncomfortable (painful!). There was no way I was quitting. I pushed on as best I could and eventually finished in 1 hour and 55 minutes exactly. I have to be honest and I say I was gutted. I don’t know if it was the fact that I had been on target for a great time until the cramp kicked in, the pain of the cramp itself or a combination of the two, but to say I was unhappy would be a serious understatement.

On reflection I am able to feel a bit better about the race. To battle through 3 miles with extremely painful cramps that hurt every time you take a step is an achievement in itself. I am proud to have completed the Bupa Great North Run. Now to fix my cramping problem before the Great South!

Why Am I Doing 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, in July I completed 210.1 miles, in August I completed 130.7 miles and in September I completed 170.8 miles. If you can please spare £16.09 (my mileage so far) 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.