Helsinki trip…..

Went to Helsinki with my mate Bo, same guy i went to Norway with last year. The trip started for me in London, where Bo lives. He lives in the Queens Head, a pub in Piccadilly. He owns the pub, just to clarify that. Spent the day/night in London then headed to Heathrow to catch the plane.

Leaving London, and arriving Helsinki!

We had a day/night in Helsinki to start, we had an Air BnB in the city, which was a really nice apartment and about a 5 mins walk from the main city centre. The city is not really that old, its around 200 years old, but then there was a fire, so most old buildings are around 150 years old. So in city terms its quite modern!

The city is quite, well compared to the likes of London or Paris its quite. Which is good, they have everything you’d expect a European capital to have, its just easier to walk around, get a table etc. They have a metro, which has one line! can’t get it wrong, they have trams running through all parts of the city and the trains are fast and cheap! As we didn’t really have much time on the first day, i dragged Bo into Hard Rock cafe Helsinki, on the basis he’s never been to Hard Rock Cafe. And taking him their made me laugh!

The next day we were picked up to be taken to a hotel we were staying at about 30mins form the city centre. the hotel was awesome, hidden in the trees, and right on the lake. All wood and glass! was brill. We started our Kayaking from there. Around Helsinki is 100’s of islands, so we kayaked the Baltic, around some islands and then got off and had a walk around an Island.

After the Kayak we went back to the hotel, and had a swim in the baltic. The sea was an amazing 25 degrees (Celsius). Finland also has an extraordinary amount of Saunas. Population 5.5m people, Saunas 3m!! they like saunas. So we embraced this and had a sauna, after 10 mins in the sauna, jumped in the Baltic and repeat. Ok the desired effect doesn’t really work when the fucking sea is 25 degrees!

The day after the Kayaking we went bike through the forest and along the coast line. In winter you can actually bike on the sea as its frozen!

 

After these activities we went back to Helsinki and had a few days there. We went to the 1952 Olympic swimming stadium, and had a swim. 50m pool too which was a novelty to swim in. It’s also outdoors, so i can only imagine they use it for 3 months of the year.

We went on a boat tour around the islands which was good, we also went on the stupid red tourist buses and did some exploring. We found some good bars and nice restaurants. One of which we had Reindeer, well worth it if anyone ever comes across it, very nice. They have a few bars that have outdoor swimming pool areas, and surprisingly saunas. One bar on the harbour had a sauna, and little jetty so after the sauna you could jump in the sea! then grab a beer! We somehow managed to walk into Helsinki’s football clubs ground, and there training pitch, while they were training! We went paddle boarding twice! as paddle boarding for two hours is cheaper than a beer! From where you start paddle boarding you can make your way into the Baltic sea! I’d highly recommend doing that!

Helsinki is a awesome city, and if you like outdoors and outdoor activities you should defiantly go. If you want to go for the night life and beer, don’t bother, there isn’t much and the beer isn’t cheap. Apparently the locals get a ferry to Estonia, as its cheaper. Its also pretty much crime free.

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Feeling fit, bit bored if Triathlons though!

Soooooo, i haven’t updated this for a while! I can not be bothered to fully recap everything in the last few months. I’ll do a quick recap of what i’ve been up to, a few picks, then i might rattle on about stuff.

  • May – Maltby Sprint Triathlon 1:16:41 – Was really happy with this and enjoyed the race.
  • Ripon Triathlon 2:48:08 – Swim = 31:19 – Bike = 1:21:17 – Run = 52:44 – I enjoyed this, bit warm, but was a nice day. I fucked up for about 10km on the bike, i couldn’t work my new hydration bottle thing!! And it was fucking baking, so i panicked a little! Yes, i’m the big dickhead who didn’t test things before a race!! No fucking medal either!!!!!!! Gutted!
  • Castle Howard Triathlon 3:08:25 – Swim 24:13 (Ripon was a non-wetsuit swim, hence the time difference) – Bike = 1:40:37 (This was about 7km longer than 40km, hence the 20mins time difference from Ripon) – Run = 55:57 – The swim was dirty and full of reeds, then a 600m run up an hill to T1 (T1 took me 6 mins!!!), i hated the bike, but again this is my dumb fault as the weekend before i did a 110mile bike from Filey to Barnsley! I could feel the fatigue in my legs. I loved the run, it was all off road on trails around Castle Howard, it was mainly up hill too! I might, next year just do the half marathon run as the weekend festival was good. I hate my time result on this, the 6mins in transition and extra 7km on bike ruins it!

The above are the races i’ve done, i’ve also do the Great Yorkshire Bike Ride which is 80miles, the Filey to Barnsley, about 7 Oxspring Trunces, which is a local fell race. The Dam Flask relays, which was awesome and Stan’s Toffee Run, which is a local trail race.

 

I’m getting bored with Triathlons, not so much the actual events but the training for them. I enjoy the swimming, the biking and the running. What i don’t like is that sometime its feels restrictive in how i train and what i want to do. Its mainly the biking and the running. The road biking i like and enjoy, i find nice rural roads and kind of just explore, which is good as there is plenty around where i live. The problem is that just training isn’t about a nice amble out. It has to be functional on the bike whether this is endurance or speed etc. So most of the time its head down and get the numbers right! And the running!! i love running, but i love running in the middle of hills, mountains and trails. I like to stop at the top and admire the views! I like that n one is around and its kind of just you and nature! i also like the kind of self sufficient thing about it. You put on your race vest, few snacks, water, rain coat and just fuck off somewhere! Training for flat road and speed gets boring.

I’ve been doing a few more trail runs lately and kind of neglecting the bike. I have about 4 to 5 weeks until Ironman Weymouth, so i need to get some biking in.

The plus point is i do feel a lot fitter than say 6 months ago. I did a 16 mile run in the Peak District the other day with 3,500ft of elevation in it. I felt brill, and i’ve not really done that for 3 months, and i have’t run over 10 miles since start of May. So i was happy with the progress.

Currently my training week breaks down into

  • Monday: Swim 2,000m (am) / 1 Hour turbo on Sufferfest (pm)
  • Tuesday: Swim 2,000m (am) / Speed work 5 – 10km (pm)
  • Wednesday: 1 hour Strength & conditioning (am) / 1 Hour turbo on Sufferfest (pm)
  • Thursday: 2000m (am) / Club ride 30km & 5km brick (steady pace)
  • Friday: 2000m (pm) / 30mins Yoga (pm)
  • Saturday: 100km bike ride & 5km brick
  • Sunday: 10 – 20km steady recovery run

Sometimes i miss shit, sometimes i swim less than 2,000m etc but i try and roughly stick to this. If i’m feeling tired or that i need a rest then i’ll take a day off. I use Training Peaks to plan shit and review my form and numbers etc. It works out to around 10 – 15 hours per week, depending on how i feel.

I do think though 2019 will be a run only year though, i’ll still swim and ride, but the comps will be run only!

Running Adventures

So….. my plan of updating this thing every week properly backfired! about once every 3 months currently!

Anyway, lets say I started the Hardmoors 55, seems better than saying i did it, as ‘did it’ would imply a finish! Which i didn’t do. It was my first DNF, thought i would feel a lot worse for having a DNF. It bugged the shit out of me at the time, felt like a failure and that maybe i had overreached  “The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.” Arthur C. Clarke

So i beat myself up a little bit (the exact same way i do when i start a sentence with ‘so’), realised that i just need to slap myself, have another go and train smarter! I think the training is the area i need to improve. I dropped out at around mile 30, just before the 3 sisters. My hip started hurting around mile 15, which didn’t bother me too much until about mile 25. I must have been compensating for my left hip on my right side, as my right hamstring and glute started hurting. I just thought dropping out was the most sensible option, to not get too drastically injured and still be able to do the other events i’ve entered. I also pretty much decided the moment i’d quit that i was going back next year. To fucking smash it 😉

Now the weather was bad, with snow, sideways sleet and wind. But i had the right gear and never felt cold or wet, i can’t even blame the weather for sucking!

So the positives and lessons learnt are that, i did 30miles, no small feat in itself. The course is worth running more than once, and i’ll get to! The weather makes the adventure. Fucking stay over, getting up at 3 in morning to run 55 miles is fucking dumb. My flexibility and mobility is zero, i need to work on this. Just because on a training run you can comfortable do 20miles, does not mean you can do 55miles, and doing 40-50 miles per week is not enough. One long run a month of a marathon or more is on the cards when in training for an Ultra.

 

The above stories are a huge over reaction and absolute bollocks. Whoever Bethany Lodge and Graeme Hetherignton are maybe they should have asked the runners, or got off their lazy arses and run it themselves to find out. Useless twats, being good at you job and having some integrity would help.

Last weekend i did the Great Lakeland 3Day event, this is a Mountain Marathon event 3 different classes (as with most mountain marathons). The event is 3 days in the Lake District, Run/Hike camp everyday. You get given a map and have to navigate to the check in points, these are just electronic markers, no people. There is no aid stations so you have to be self sufficient on the Hills/Mountains.  The event was brilliant, on day 1 i did the the Elite class, 30 miles with 3,000 metres of elevation. Day 2 and 3 i dropped down to the lowest class, covering 20 miles on day 2 and 10 miles on day 3. I’ve been to the Lake District before, but not like this weekend. This was up in the Western Lakes, a place i’ve  never been before. It’s part of the Lakes that isn’t really busy compared to Windermere or Keswick way out. There is basically no one on the hills. We started from Ennerdale, went up Hen Comb, down to Crummock Water, up on to Dodd and then up again onto Whiteside running the ridge past Hopegill Head onto Grisdale Pike, back down and then up to Barrow, from their along the ridge onto Scar Crags and Sail, then a steep down and up to Knott Rigg. Down from there all the way over to Dale Head, over to Hindscarth and onto Robinson. Finishing at Buttermere, the new camp site. Second day was backup to Hindscarth along to Dale Head, and down into Little Town, where i had Soup and a roll 😉 From there up back onto Knott Rigg and back down to Buttermere. The 3rd day i just walked it back from Buttermere to Ennerdale. I would defiantly recommend the Great Lakeland 3Day, the adventure and exploring is amazing.

 

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Now it’s onto some triathlons…………

1 week to go Hardmoors 55 – Kit List

Well thats it, if i haven’t done the training i’ll soon find out, and a week isn’t going to improve anything! This week is pretty much relax week, eat well, drink plenty of water, stretching and Yoga, with maybe one run thrown in to keep the legs mobile.

The last longish run was yesterday, 10mile around the Upper Derwent & Howden reservoir. This is a amazing place to run around, the views alone are amazing, but the roads and trails around the reservoir’s are easy going and undulating making it a good, quick run on trails.

I spent the rest of Saturday checking the kit, i ordered a new top for race day, and i’m hoping it gets to me before Saturday 😬

There is a mandatory kit list, as expected. Its the usually stuff, waterproofs, map, water, bivvy bag etc.

He’s my kit list and some of the gear i will be wearing.

I have the Petzl ACTIK head-torch, the race starts at 9:00 in morning, so we could potentially be running in the dark, the sun is setting around 18:00 here in England. Map, spare hat and a buff, plus a few gel’s and some Made Good chocolate chip Granola bars. These are good, and contain all natural ingredients, they even have one portion of veg in them! sounds rank but you can’t taste the vag shit!

 

For the waterproof jacket i have the Salomon Bonatti Pro, best waterproof for the trails i’ve had. Awesome coat, highly recommend. Its windproof with taped seams. A pair of Compressport calf sleeves, i find these really work and help on long distance runs, i also tend to keep them on after runs for quite a while too. I have a Salomon Advance 12 Skin Set race vest, i have tried a few race vests and this one, so far, seems to be the stand out vest. It is really comfortable to run, the front pockets and rear pockets are really easily accessible, which is good for food and waterproofs. There is a few zip pockets too which i like, the pouch at the rear is plenty big enough for any race needs, and the hydration flasks are easy to get to. I am also taking a pair of Black Diamond Distance Z poles, i’m not sure if i will use these or not, but i’m going to pack them. They’re light enough to not care about.

 

I’m taking 2 pairs of trainers, i’m lucky enough that a few people are following us around the race (in their cars) and will carry spare kit for us. I’m starting the race in my Inov8 Terra-Claw 250, they are really roomy and comfortable, but i’m not sure how they will feel after 55 miles, the soles are pretty thin with not much cushioning, so i’m pretty apprehensive to do 55miles int them, i’ve done 32 miles in these, but my feet aching for a few days after. I’m going to take my Inov8 Park-Claw 275 GTX shoes, just incase things get a little too rough for the feet! I’ll be taking spare socks too, i love the injinji socks, so will be wearing these and taking a few spare pairs too.

So all i have now is 6 days of waiting! really looking forward it, i’m confident i/we can do it in around the 12 hour mark.

Hardmoors 55 – nearly there!

So its 11 days until Hardmoors 55. Really looking forward to this, it’ll be the furthest i have run, and its going to hurt, but, still looking forward to it. We did a recce run of the last 10mile or so, this was from Kildale to Guisborough (we ran back, as we’d parked in Kildale).

This was a good part to recce as this could be the bit done in the dark!! Its a bit of a climb from Kildale up to Captain Cooks Monument, theres a few flats thrown in though. Its then a nice downhill from there, then back up a little hill to the start of Roseberry Topping, this kind of reminds me of WinHill, but its easier to run than WinHill. Its then back down, and a nice run into Guisborough from there, around 5 mile of undulating trail. I’m still hoping for around 12 hours, and i’m hoping the snow has gone, as nice and cool as it is to run in and have fun in, running 50miles in snow would be wank!

As well as this recce run theres been training runs every week, well quite a few runs every week to be honest! A few snippets are below.

 

Few runs on the Trans Pennine Trail, its pretty flat, so normally a faster run. A few runs in the Peak District for the hills and undulating trails. Through the week just thrown in some hill repeats, recovery runs etc. Along with this i’m trying to keep up the strength training with Squats, lunges, plank, press-ups etc. Added in Yoga and stretching. Plus swim drills once a week on a Sunday, and up until a week ago i was on the turbo trainer once a week!

I have all the kit ready, i have a slight foot issue though. The top of my foot is sore, i think this is from my trainers being too tight! its now a decision on what trainers i wear on the day. The ones that hurt me are the specific ones i bought to run this race, ahh!!! I’ll try them this weekend again and see how they go, if not i’ll have to revert back to the Inov8 Terraclaw 250.

Anyway, few easy runs this week, one last proper run this Saturday, a hike on Sunday then chill for a week!

Holiday in Amalfi

In August we went to the Amalfi coast, we stayed in Amalfi, went to Positano for a day, then we went to Sorrento for a few days, and had a day in Capri.

Amalfi itself is pretty amazing, its big enough that there is plenty do, with bars, restaurants, shops and beaches. Yet small enough that you don’t get overwhelmed by everything, it is just the perfect way to actually see how nothing on the Amalfi coast has really changed (especially the roads). Amalfi is defiantly one place worth a visit.

 

We found a bar that makes its own Amalfi Gin, which, if you like Gin is well worth a find (its easy to discover these things in Amalfi, me telling you will only ruin the adventure).

We stopped in the Grand Hotel Excelsior, which is a really nice hotel, you have to be prepared that there is no modern/new hotels knocking about, nothing new really gets built, but what they have is pretty good and the views are pretty sweet.

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That is our hotel, top of the hill. Its like a 15 minute bus ride into Amalfi, the busses are free and put on by the hotel. There is also some steps all the way down, now me being me, i used the steps and created a Strava Segment! They guy in the hotel says it took around 45mins, smashed it in 12mins. Please don’t try this on my very bad advice, if you fall and die it is not my fault! I literally passed no one! i also reckon i now own the record for most trips u and down the steps in 4 days, 9 down and 7 up.

The beaches and seas get pretty packed, but our hotel had a private beach which was pretty awesome, it had a bar and a snack bar on there too. The sea is amazing, and warm (in August).

We also went to Sorrento, there we stopped in Hotel Plaza. Sorrento is much larger than Amalfi and is basically and small city/large town!

They had a pool and bar on the roof which was pretty good, and a gym in the basement, and yeah i used this!

From Sorrento we got a ferry over to Capri, this is well worth a visit. The island is unreal, it is defiantly a millionaires paradise! The little town up the hill is amazing. Basically you have a square that overlooks the harbour and the sea, another square that is full of bars and restaurants, and off this is streets full of shops. However these shops are literally all designer shops, all the way down.

The Amalfi coast is definitely a place everyone should visit.

Training & Comps

Everything’s been going good, had a little unmotivated few days last week, but apart from that on track.

Benn running about 3 times a wee, and swimming around times, my biking hasn’t been really going anywhere. Started commuting to work (when the weather is good), but that is more of a 9km sprint to see if can do it faster than the car!

I did the Maltby Sprint Triathlon a month or so back, this was a new event put on by Huub, the wetsuit/triathlon brand, was really well orgainsed. Really enjoyed it, but it made me realise how shit my bike is/was, so i bought a new one.

This is my ride home from the shop buying the bike, i know its only 4km, but the point is i got to the top of a Strava leaderboard 😉

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After that i did another Dark & White event, this was a 26km run. This was the most annoying event to date, I smashed the first 21km (half marathon) in less than 2 hours (this is all off road on trials, so i was really happy with this time), then my knee proper fucked up, i had to hobble the last 5km, which ended up taking me 45mins. I was so disappointed with is, i could have finished in around 2:20 which would have put me in the top 30! I got over it though, and just focused on the fact i was doing so well for the first 21km.

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We then had a Triathlon orgainsed by the Tri Club i go to, Manvers. This was an 800m outdoor swim, 15km bike ride and a 5km run. I enjoyed this, was a good day, and really nice that other clubs turned up and took part. The bike was off-road, which meant i had to use my mountain bike, which is slow as fuck when compared to road. You just feel like you’re peddling like mad to get nowhere! The swim and run went well though.

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And yesterday i did another Trail Marathon, this was the Peakrunners Ladybower Marathon. I love running in the Peak District, the views are incredible and the terrain is ever changing, and some of it gets really technical on the downhill trails. I did this in 4hours 36mins, which i was over the moon with for a trail marathon. The run was really good, as normal the last 6 miles were hard going, and they decided to throw in a huge hill at mile 15! always nice.

So all in all a god few months. And last week i also book this 🙂

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So this will be in September, i’m going with a mate who owns a pub in London, which he also lives in (the flat above the pub, not just randomly in a pub), which worked out brill, as we’re flying from Gatwick. The holiday is Friday to Monday, i’m going to London on the Thursday, and coming back from London on the Wednesday. I have never been more excited about a trip!

And finally here are some snaps of a few runs, swims etc and other shit. Oh and the Vibram 5 Fingers are awesome, but fuck me start of steady, i did the 4km run and honestly i could not train for about 4 days, my calves were in bits. The picture below with the blue skies and 28 degree heat (Celsius) was a run to my sisters, about 15km the heat was pretty unbearable (not used to it in the UK), the other pic of me having run 15.67km, in a Salomon waterproof coat, with constant heavy rain and wind was exactly a week before the other one!The 50km one is a bike ride, the other is the Lake and a few open water laps. Next week is the Ripon Triathlon, Olympic Distance.

 

End of the year, nearly!

Yesterday i ran the Hobopace Wheatley 10.1 trail race. This is the last event until the New Year, I enjoyed this run, although i had a few problems with my shin at the beginning of the race and my knee at the end. I’m convinced this is down to my running technique, or lack of, i might get a coach to have a look for me, i convinced of this as today my body is perfectly fine, and surely if it was something injury wise it would hurt when i don’t run too? I go to Tenerife over Christmas, so will be chilling out doing no more than a few 5k’s and a spot of swimming, maybe in the sea 😉

Next year i plan to hit the road running and smash up the events, i’m going to look at when the last half Ironman of the year is and plan my year around doing that. I’m doing the Yorkshire Marathon in October with my sister, but that shouldn’t really get in the way, i don’t have to specifically train for this, as i will already be ready fitness and running wise. I have a 17km trial race at the end of Jan, and i intend to hit as many Sprint Tri’s and Olympic distance Tri’s as possible. While also still going touring on my bike, i could incorporate the two for some trail runs.

This is some of the training over the last few weeks, not all of it but some of it.

 

This is a few snaps of scenery from the runs and bike rides.

And a new bit of training kit, to sooth those aches and pains, by submitting yourself to more pain in the process of recovery.

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These are the achievements of this year, The Sprint Triathlon, the Fan Dance Race, The North Yorkshire Coastal Marathon and the Wheatley 10.1.

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Training……….

Soooo, last week i planned to do about 10-15 miles trail run, i got to mile 8 and my knee kind of packed up! i tried to ‘jog it off’ that didn’t work too well. I’ve been doing other stuff to try and compensate, but the not running is doing my nut in. I did about 2km yesterday and a small bike ride and 1km in the gym in the middle of the week. Had a few twinges but the knee is getting better.

I’ve bought some straps, and some supplements for my joints, this is more of a future prevention than cure though. Been doing a spot of Yoga too to improve my range of motion and flexibility. Its only a 30 min class off the iPad. I daren’t go to a real class as i’m fucking terrible and have bad flexibility (at the minute)!

I have a 10km in two weeks, and booked a 17km for next year. Have the Yorkshire Marathon at the end of next year, plus the North Yorks Coastal one again (which is a week apart, fuck). I plan on doing as many Tri’s and Sprint Tri’s as possible too. My swimming is improving, which is good. The exception being i’m still not bike riding, and i’m now using dark nights as an excuse! I need to man up!

I bought some new trail running pumps too, then fucked my knee up!!!

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Only managed to wear them once! They are good though, and a bargain at £32! I get 50% off with Vitality (life and health insurance) and they were also reduced due to no one buying this style due to the colour! like i care about the colour, and which sad pricks do! They are black after a few runs.

I also get 30% of Garmin too with Vitality and i though i would treat myself to the best thing ever!

This things is awesome, its the Fenix 3 HR. It literally is amazing. Before i had the polar heart monitor that worked through bluetooth on my phone which was highly annoying as i couldn’t check my heart rate or distance or anything basically without getting my phone out and fucking about. Honestly just get one, that is my review. Oh and it does indoor and outdoor swimming. Fantastic shit.

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This is a new exhaust for the motorbike, the Yamaha XT660Z, the bike is wrapped up and in the garage for the winter. Then this will be going on for some adventure trips next year.

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My only problem is i haven’t figured out how to properly use the Garmin Connect proper;y yet. I need to sit down and figure it out, i just figured while i’m not actually doing much i’ll figure it out when i’m busy. That makes sense doesn’t it!

 

Catch Up

Ok, so its been a month since the last blog. At te end of September i did the CTS Endurance Life Coastel marathon, this was the North Yorkshire one. Just to clarify and stroke my own ego, this is a trail/cross country run, the course record is around 4:30 this year.

I ended up going for the Friday & Saturday nigth, as it was near the wedding anniversary the wife suggested it! I was glad i didnt have get up at 5:30 to drive 2 hours to run 26 mile to run home!

Anyway, nice place, good food, good wine, worth a stay if you’re in the area. Not the most important part though.

The marathon, started at Ravenscar, ran down towards Scarbrough, back up the old Railway lines, saw some spectacular houses, especially the old railway station converted into houses (see pics). We then ran past the starting point and down towards Boggle Hole, along the beach, which is picturesque to run on, but a fucking bastard to do so after 15 miles already! We then run up through Boggle Hole, which is a hell of a climb, on some wonderfull cobbles (ballache). Towards Robin Hoods Bay/Whitby, then onto the Flying dale Moors. The last stretch was a nice run, but all i wanted to see was the sign that said 1 mile left! That was the longest mile of my life, so far!

This was my first marathon, everyone who asked me about the race and what i’d done before was pretty shocked i choosen this as my first one!! i wish i had met these people beofre i’d booked it.

All in all an awesome eperience, and i’m defo in for next year, with one slight problem, my sister wants to do a marathon, and has signed me up to the Yorkshire Marathon (in York, on the roads), now these marathons are 1 week apart!!!!!!! fuck it still doing em.

After the marathon went back to the hotel, chilled out in a bath, had some food and wine and a good nights kip! Now surprisingly it took me around 2 days to feel absolutly fine, don’t get me wrong after 2 days i didn’t start back in the gym or running, but my legs felt fine and i felt good.

The day after we went into Whitby onto Silver Street to the famous ‘Rusty Shears’, if you like Gin and good food, then i implore you to go, get to Whitby and go here, get drunk on Gin and eat good food.

 

This is my last two runs, so as i said signed up for Yorkshire Marathon next October, have a small 10k trail run race end of November, and i plan on doing Sprint Tris and Olymic Tris next year. Need to practice on the push iron though.