Eleven weeks already! Where has that gone? This week I gave myself three days off after last week's marathon, where I literally did nothing (except complain). Monday morning after the race I was a mess. It was actually embarrassing.
I crawled out of bed, slid down the stairs on my bum and sat in the sauna watching it snow outside. But by Thursday I was feeling much better and was back on the bike. I am cycling two hours per day so I am decent shape with two weeks to go until I attempt to run two sub 3:00 trail marathons in six days (Cambridge Boundary & Thames Meander).
More cycling means more books! So many books. The two I read this week were both excellent - "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves" by Karen Joy Fowler and "Things We Have In Common" by Tasha Kavanagh (read if you like Gone Girl - very creepy).
After slagging off people who run to dance music last week (sorry about that), someone asked me to make a Spotify playlist with my running music on - so I did. Making this playlist made me realise I have weird taste in music, most of which is really old and sad (hi Adele). You can listen to it here so I'd be keen to see what people think it is like running to.
All this cross-training however does pose different challenges. I get through so much kit, towels and shower gel it is actually ridiculous. I am literally the cleanest man in Suffolk. I always seem to be making or drinking a protein shake. I genuinely cannot remember the last time I left the house without at least three bags - I don't even know what is in them or if they are even mine? And when someone says "dress smart" I think I'll wear my slightly cleaner running shoes and my nicest sweatshirt (never invite me to black tie events).
This means it's important not to forget anything, which has also proved challenging. Typically the forgotten items vary between socks, pants, swim shorts or a towel. Last week I turned up for work without any shoes, meaning I had to wear my gym shoes all day (smart casual). This week I did remember my shoes, which is good, but unfortunately they were not the same, which is not good. In my defence, they are REALLY similar.
Also this week I got selected to represent mighty Suffolk in an inter-counties match at the Essex 20 "based on my recent form" which made me lol considering I don't actually run. However the race is on the same day as my next marathon so I had to decline. Completing this challenge (fundraising is up £1,677) comes before anything else, and besides why run 20 miles once when you can run 26.2 seven more times, right?
Yesterday I worked at the Glasgow Indoor Grand Prix for my first day as part of the Biomechanics support team for British Athletics. We were meeting up in Lancashire at 6.30am so I travelled up Friday night and stayed in a motel on the M6. I woke up on Saturday to find that I hadn't been murdered in my sleep, which was surprising given the state of my room. We all got introduced to each other and hit the road up to Glasgow - my first time in bonny Scotland (it was so grey).
There were five of us in total to cover all the events. We set up all the various equipment for collecting data and I was assigned to Pole Vault and High Jump (both awesome). I was filming next to the mat for the High Jump and the atmosphere was brilliant. I got through the day without being trampled by a High Jumper (people with longer legs than me) or being speared by a vaulter's pole, which was a bonus. Shawn Barber - the pole vault World Champion is my new favourite athlete. He is only 21 and he was so chilled and laid back, which was refreshing.
It was a fantastic experience and everyone in the team got on really well. Next week we are all working together again for the British Indoor Championships at EIS, so I have already arranged some pre-work group runs (course I have) around Sheffield. Attendance is mandatory, but I suspect I may be on my Jack Jones.
Now I know I said that after my tenth marathon in Edinburgh in May is over I will give myself a well earned break. But.. Well... You know what's coming don't you?... I have entered Man versus Horse in June! Yes that's right, Man versus Horse. As in a real horse against a real man (and woman). It has always been on my running bucket list so I am very excited. It's an annual race in Wales where humans race against a pack of horses over 22-23 miles of hills, trails, bogs and rivers (4,000ft+ elevation gain and loss) - someone filmed it on their GoPro here.
To be fair the horses usually smash it, but then they do have a few advantages:
1. Horses are massive.
2. Horses have four legs (this one is particularly important).
3. Horses have crazy eyes.
4. Horses get fed sugar cubes.
5. Horses are mental.
Runners get a fifteen minute headstart and down the years the first runner has been able to hang on and beat the first horse (I have said the word horse so many times). Apparently horses are terrible at going downhill (just like my friend Matt..) which evens things out. The winning time is usually around 2:30 ish, which seems reasonable. Looking at results from 2014 & 2015 (and some Power of 10 stalking), the 1st men have marathon PBs of around 2:38-42. Mine is 2:34 so based on that I should do alright - that is assuming Black Beauty doesn't rock up with his mate War Horse, or Frankel decides he fancies coming out of retirement. And if all else fails, I am not above tripping up an animal (just kidding). But seriously.. I would.
Next week is looking busy - tomorrow I have to finish my dissertation presentation, Tuesday & Wednesday I am in London, Thursday I then have to give my presentation, and Friday-Sunday I am in Sheffield - then all of a sudden I will be tapering for another marathon! Whatever you are up to, have a good one. And remember your (matching) shoes.
I am running ten marathons to raise money for Beat, the UK's leading eating disorder charity. You can follow me on Twitter here, on Instagram here, or on Facebook here. You can also sponsor me via my Justgiving page here. Thank you!