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Sunday, 30 April 2017

Feb/Mar/Apr Update

Into Spring and I've ticked off number 10 of the 28 with a steady run in Barcelona (more on that in a bit).

Here's a quick summary of what's been going on since my last blog.

Hosting UK Runchat Hour

Way back in Feb I co-hosted UK Runchat Hour on Twitter.  The online running community have been really supportive to my challenge and in return I've been happy to give advice where I can to people training for marathons.

So from 8-9pm, I had some questions lined up for the followers of the community (52,000 strong).  It was a fast and furious hour but great exposure for Invest In ME as people were visiting my profile, website and asking questions about ME and the charity.

Polish ME Flyer

With our Polish ME Support Group on Facebook at 50 members, Kotki, Ian and I put together a flyer to help us grow membership and to get more conversations going.  The idea is that patients in Poland can print off the flyer at home and leave them at their doctors surgery or other public places to help spread word of the illness and group.


Juli (who helps run the group) has been amazing with her contributions and Poland now has an online protest and presence as part of Millions Missing's global action on May 12th (ME Awareness Day).  We've added another 15 members or so and hopefully it's a big step in the right direction.

Yorkshire Times

Good friend and ME sufferer Bill Clayton managed to get a feature on my challenge into the Yorkshire Times which was really nice of him.  The paper gets a big readership and it was great to see some followers added and donations coming through after this post.

Click on the link below to read it:
Yorkshire Times 

Care 4ME Conference (Brussels)

A week before I ran in Barcelona, Nancy Van Hoylandt (a long time supporter to my challenge and to Invest In ME) and Alice Vertommen, as part of the Belgian ME Association, organised a fantastic conference on ME at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Amongst the researchers there were Jo Cambridge, Olli Polo, Nigel Speight and Simon Carding.  Also in attendance was MEP Helga Stevens, more fantastic progress for the European ME Research Group and European ME Alliance.

Millions Missing Canada

Big thanks to Barbara Fifield and Lindy Bilyea for picking up my challenge and for very generous sponsorship.

Barbara has featured my challenge on the MillionsMissing Canada social media and I've had some really fantastic support over their side of the Atlantic.

Click here for article: MillionsMissing Canada

Petition For Parliament Debate

Finally an ME petition has hit it's target this month.  There's now over 10,000 signatures which triggers a response from the UK government into the continued neglect and mistreatment of people with ME.

If you haven't already, please do click on the link.  It takes 10 seconds and you won't get any spam through.  It's fair to say that the pressure is building on the UK Government to start taking biological research seriously and dump the ludicrous PACE Trial rhetoric.

Open until 3rd May

Barcelona Marathon

So if you missed it, I ran Barcelona on March 12th (4hrs 10) and we managed to raise over £1000 for Invest In ME in this race alone.

It was great to meet so many ME patients over there as well as being able to stay with Teresa over there.  It was a really well organised race and although it did get uncomfortably hot towards the end, it was a decent start to the year and I'm sure I'll get faster.

Well done to Ben (right) for getting round under difficult circumstances and raising lots of money for Invest In ME also!

Full race report here

UKRunChat Charity Feature

Every Tuesday, UK RunChat select two runners to feature and I was really happy that they were able to publish a piece on my challenge. It went out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (60,000 followers in total).  Love those guys.

Click here to read article:  Charity Tuesday

Haywards Heath Run

I love running in new places.  I enjoy switching between my 3 usual Bristol long runs but getting out on the roads and trails in a new town seems to make the running less painful.

Ouse Valley Viaduct

I got out for a 15 mile morning run in the sun from Haywards Heath to Balcombe and then back through Cuckfield.  It got a little hairy sharing the road with the traffic but it was a really enjoyable run and some very pictureque views.

Luxembourg ME Interview

With a population of 500,000 I thought it would be incredibly unlikely to find someone to interview from Luxembourg (next race) about their struggle with ME.  Big thanks Robyn James for searching groups and to my friend Juli for finding Katja in one of the German groups on Facebook.  Katja's story is uncomfortable reading but it's important that people understand what patients are going through and what it's like in Luxembourg for sufferers of ME.

Since publishing last week it's had over 1000 views already.  My goal is to try to reach other patients there and put them in touch with Katja.  I've also contacted Luxembourg Marathon and some local press there to see if we can raise awareness for people with ME living in Luxembourg.

Click here for the article:

Luxembourg, hills and the one-speed gearbox

I've read a fair few reviews about Luxembourg Night Marathon.  It's fair to say nearly everyone who has run it says that it's not a PB race.  There's a 15 mile or so decline (great!) followed by a steep drop into a valley/ravine and a reverse back up it for the final 11 miles.  Ouch.  As a result I've been running up and down what I consider to be one of the steepest hills in Bristol, Bridge Valley Road.

The road meanders up from the Portway underneath the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge up to Bristol Zoo.  It's a 0.5km route which tests almost every part of your body.  I'm running up it 2-3 times every Tuesday through the car fumes, prevailing head wind and, on hot days, sweat fest that it brings.  Mixing in some higher altitude long weekend runs and a faster flat Thursday 7 mile sprint with intervals, I'm hoping this will get me ready to get round the course in a passable time.

Any thoughts of sub 4hrs have gone out of the window.  It's a shame as I don't have another marathon after this until Lithuania in September but I know it's unrealistic for me to post a quick time out there on such a challenging course.

Big hill!

I'm still only 2 years into the challenge and running as a whole really.  So far I've only really had one-speed, I seem incapable of running slower on my long runs and find it difficult to run faster on the short ones.  The answer to this is more of what I'm now doing with intervals and hills (and good diet). I seem to be able to get around 22 miles in 3 hours but fall apart soon after in most races.  So this time around I'm going to find that elusive steady pace to last the full 26.2m, sounds easy doesn't it.  

2018 Rough Plan

I'm always tweaking the plan for future marathons as the dates of the races (and my availability) does change a fair bit.  I've got to be ready to book flights as they get released to keep costs down, in this challenge it definitely pays to be organised!

Only 3 years left!

I've booked flights for Malta as the first one of 2018, actual registration for the race doesn't start until October 1st.  I've never been to Malta and it looks like a fantastic place to run.  Once again I'll be flying back to the UK a couple of hours after the race (eeek) and then driving home to Bristol from London but I'm just grateful I can make the flights work and actually get out there.

So just under 4 weeks to go now until Luxembourg Night Marathon.  I've been training hard with hill and sprint work, hopefully I'll be ready.  It's definitely not a race to run my personal best.  I'll be flying over at 6am on the morning of the race, can't check in to our hotel until 2pm and then the course itself has a 10m incline to finish.  Getting through in one piece is the priority for this one!

If you'd like to sponsor me for what looks like my hardest of the 28 races then please click on the link below! or text 'IIME82' and £1, £3, £5 to 70070

Total Sponsorship Raised: £6425
Social Media Followers: 1516
Miles Covered: 280
Average Temp: 12C
Lessons Learned: Change up the training with hills and sprints