Regressing to my youth

At last, the Spring term comes to an end and this final week has been a long one. We managed our, now regular, Monday morning swim and set off for work – just five more days to go. At pilates that night Lynds and I endured enjoyed a thorough workout under the guidance of Rachael. It’s a shame she is leaving the employment of the gym soon, and I hope they find an equally testing instructor to replace her.

On Tuesday I hit the track for a storming Benchmark session. You can read about my exploits in a post all about it from earlier in the week.

Waking up on Wednesday I found myself seriously demotivated for swimming, and seeing as how it is not my main focus in life right now, I was quickly able to justify to myself not going for a swim. Instead I sat around, drank coffee and somehow found myself in a rush to get to work.

After a long ole’ day at work, I went for an enjoyable long run home. It’s nice to be able to get a midweek run of some distance into my training, so Wednesdays 9 mile run was a welcome addition. The three miles in the middle at marathon pace were less enjoyable, but it was nice to be running as the sun set and I turned on the headtorch to light my way home.

On Thursday I enjoyed a trip out of the office to the Oxbridge Conference held at Epsom race course. It was nice to get out of the office and listen to some talks aimed at inspiring bright young minds to two of the best universities in the world. I’m not going to lie, despite a somewhat botched attempt at Maths & Further Maths during my A Levels, the Mathematics talk at the end of the day pretty much went over my head!!

On our return to school I got changed and headed out on my run home. Just about managed to squeeze in my 5 miles at a nice easy pace before heading off to another pilates class with Dawn. My ITB affected knee was giving me a little grief, and since last week my right calf has been relentless – it’s just so tight, and no amount of stretching seems to be helping at the moment! Together, they conspired to make pilates a little tougher than usual, but generally it was another enjoyable class.

Lynds and I decided on Thursday night that we wouldn’t swim again on Friday as we had a long day ahead of us. I was excited for a super blow-out breakfast as they used up all the stock before the holidays – but that was a damp squib. There was nothing but toast or porridge. Oh, and a tonne of pastries, so I ate a lot of those!! :-)

We already knew we’d be enjoying an early finish at 3pm, but that simply served to prolong the day, and with my excitement building in anticipation for the evenings activities, it was a loooooong day!!

We set off for home at the end of the day, fed the cat, got changed and drove to Guildford train station. From there we got the train to London Waterloo and searched for something to eat. We ended up enjoying happy hour cocktails at Las Iguanas where Lynds ate her weight in tapas and I enjoyed a steak and onion burrito. Yum!!

From here we moved on to the ghetto of Brixton for the highlight of the evening.

In 2002 Finch were the very first band that I saw at my first ever music festival. It was a random punt as they were the first acts that were on one of the many stages at Reading. Having never heard of them, we headed to the tent to see what was what. There began a wonderful musical journey and ignited a love for the band that still burns strong today. A little later that year Finch released their debut album What It Is To Burn, the soundtrack to my college and university life. That December I crashed my car late at night returning from a gig in Eastbourne with a bunch of mates. I always remember the soundtrack to that crash as my friend searched through the CD that was playing to find Grey Matter by Finch. In 2003 I got my first tattoo, and it was taken from my musical inspiration as I got the Finch logo permanently attached to my shoulder blade. In fairness, the work is rubbish and it still needs recolouring – but I’ll get round to that some day. Since then I have probably seen Finch play at least half a dozen times and hung out with them once or twice before and after gigs. In 2006 they went on an ‘indefinite hiatus’ before reforming in 2007 when I saw them again. Despite work beginning on a third album, the band split for good in 2010. Devastating.

Roll forward a couple more years, and in 2012 they announced that they would be reforming for a handful of dates in the US and UK to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of WIITB and play the album in its entirety. I bought tickets immediately; there was no way I was missing that!!  That was six months ago, and in no time at all, suddenly it was Friday and I was in the O2 Academy at Brixton.


I’m not sure words could do justice to the experience of Friday night. The band were epic, the songs were as amazing as they always were, and Brixton was as cool as it ever was. It was amazing, I was like a little kid. I was hoarse from singing so bloody loud, and my face still hurts from smiling so darn much. ‘New Kid’ was an odd choice for the penultimate song, but they absolutely killed it when finishing on the title track from the album. Enjoy:


On Saturday, for some reason I was still up stupidly early and awoke to the snow falling out side our window. I couldn’t be bothered with a particularly long run – this is an actual planned rest week, unlike the circumstantial ones of the last few weeks. Instead I zipped up the jacket and went for 3 easy miles. Easy is not very easy when you use Trivium as the soundtrack to the run – I wouldn’t advise trying that :-)

Sunday, was race day!! It is always nice having a race that is local enough to run to, so I incorporated my warm up in jogging to the start line of the Cranleigh 15/21. It’s a race that I’d not heard of until I moved here, but it is well respected, always a sellout, and pretty perfect long run prep for marathon training. At £10 it’s pretty good value for money, and you can choose at any point in the run which distance you want to do. The race consists of one 9 mile loop followed by either one or two 6 mile loops. On a nice day the route would probably be very nice, but it was very chilly yesterday. Thankfully only a few flakes of snow fell though, and no rain! So really, we were quite lucky.

I set out with the intention of running the 15. Rather than another 20 mile plod, I thought I’d try and go a bit quicker over the 15. I set it as my Marchvellous target and hoped to hold 8:35min/mi pace to bring in 2:08:45.

I set off a little quicker than that, and as the route goes largely downhill over the first couple of miles it was difficult to slow down to the pace I was hoping for. So I resigned myself to trying to hold this pace. Over a couple of little lumps in the road I lost a little time, but on the whole I was maintaining 8:10s and fueling to plan with my Torq gels. I saw a teacher from work at about the 5 mile point which was nice as she spotted me and cheered. As I came into town at the end of the long loop Lyndsey was lying in wait, in the cold, to snap me coming through.


At this point I got a little confused as I caught up with some painfully slow (and quite large runners). How fast must they have gone off for it to have taken 10 miles at 8:10min/mi to catch them? If they are marathon training, I hope they learned their lesson!

Much as I had done at Dunsfold a couple of weeks ago, I was able to push on in the final couple of miles, or at least to limit my losses. No one came past me, and I was able to catch a few runners. Also similar to Dunsfold, was that it was impossible to know who was going for 15 rather than 21 miles. As I pulled off to the finish line I felt a little bad about not ‘going the whole distance’. As I beat my race predication time by 4 minutes I soon got over that fact. I was a bit disappointed that I clearly don’t understand my body, or the improvements in training that I have seen recently, but I was pleased with the net result.

The organisers had even measured and marked the half marathon point on the course, which I passed 5 minutes inside my previous PB set at Silverstone a year ago – an unofficial PB :-) You can see my pictures courtesy of Sussex Sport Photography here.

I collected my bling (the one downside of a cheap race is the naff medals that these organisers give out)

Cheap Bling
Cheap Bling

I spent the afternoon veggie out, chilling on the sofa and keeping track of the amazing runners who were completing the altered route Thames Path 100 challenge. Including the phenomenal Luke Ashton who came in second, and Bryan Webster who had to walk most of the final 40 miles after hip/groin/feet issues plagued him in the first half of the run. Inspirational guys, both of them!! Can’t wait to join Bryan on the North Downs!!

But for now, ciao. Catch ya on the flipside folks!!


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