No marathon this week! Feels a bit weird..
But it is quite lucky as I spent Wednesday night, most of Thursday, and Friday being sick, sitting on the toilet and sleeping! I actually didn't keep any food down for almost two days, so I have felt pretty weak. My calf is also still pretty sore - I have a physio appointment tomorrow which I hope will try and get to the bottom of just what is wrong..
However it is not all doom & gloom this week. Following last Sunday's Manchester Marathon my girlfriend and I spent the rest of Monday & Tuesday kicking back at the Lifehouse Spa in Thorpe Le Soken, Essex. It was really nice to be able to relax as we both have a busy few weeks ahead leading up to Man v Horse.
Beat, the eating disorder charity I am raising money for by undertaking these 10 marathons got in touch on Friday. They would like me to do an interview next week with BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat. The station is looking to raise awareness of eating disorders among men, so you may be hearing me on Radio 1 soon!
CNN also contacted me again to say they are progressing with the planning around their Man v Horse documentary which I will be involved in, and they are still optimistic that they will be joining us for the trip to Wales in June once they sort the logistics. I promise not to get too big-headed once I am a big rock star in the USA :-)
Next Sunday is my seventh marathon of the year and my third of the month at the London Marathon. LONDON BABY! It is undoubtedly the pinnacle of any runner's career and one of the most famous sporting events in the world. I tweeted on Tuesday that I was looking to pace someone and I had over 30 retweets and tons of replies!
BBC newsreader Sophie Raworth sent me a private message saying she was interested and asked what pace I was planning on running, which was a bit surreal (I'm more of a Susannah Reid kinda guy..) However, it turns out we are starting in different areas - I'm running from the Championship start (Blue) and the London Marathon organisers do not allow you to move starting pens, unlike most races.
For those that may not know, London is such a huge race that not everyone actually runs the same route. The first 2-3 miles are different depending on where you are starting, which is normally based on your predicted finish time. To all first-time London Marathon runners out there joining me next week, here are some tips to consider:
1. It is so easy to go off too fast in a marathon due to the excitement, but even more so at London because the first five miles are mainly downhill, and quite steeply too. It is very important that you use the hills to your advantage and save energy, rather than see it as an opportunity to speed up.
2. The Cutty Sark is LOUD - be prepared to have your ears firmly rung! I imagine it's what being in One Direction is like. Well, apart from you don't have £millions in the bank and Kendall Jenner on your arm..
3. Follow the blue line! - the race organisers kindly paint a blue line on the road which represents the shortest possible route to the finish. That is where they measured the exact 26.2 miles from. I always hear people say after a marathon that "the course was long" because their watch says they have run 26.5 or 26.7 miles etc. Nope - that is not true, it just means you have gone the long way round..
4. Canary Wharf and the Embankment both seem to play tricks on your GPS watches. There are lots of huge buildings, tunnels and twisty turns, so do not be surprised if you briefly lose signal or it says your pace has gone crazy! During these latter miles it is probably best to just look at the time on your watch as you pass the humongous mile markers.
5. Big Ben to the finish is further than you think. When you watch it on TV, it seems to go straight from Big Ben to the finish - but that is actually just because the Kenyans are flying! In reality, Big Ben is still quite far from your hard-earned bling as you have to travel along Birdcage Walk to the Palace, which really drags. Bear that in mind when considering a lung-busting sprint to the line
6. THE LONDON MARATHON IS FLIPPING AWESOME! Like, literally awesome. Very rarely will you get almost 1 million people screaming at you and shouting your name for hours on end, so lap it up baby! Getting to the Palace, turning right, crossing the finish line and getting presented with your medal is one of the best feelings you will ever experience.
I ran London in 2014 which was my second marathon, but I was struggling badly with my bulimia in the build-up as I picked up an injury during my taper and was unable to run. I was worried about putting on weight even though I was very underweight at the time, which meant I didn't carb load. It came back to bite me on the day as I got to Tower Bridge and then hit the wall.
I ended up running 2:47 but it was unpleasant for the last few miles. But I can see now that in the grand scheme of things I was very lucky not to have suffered any major health issues as a result of my illness. Skinny definitely does not equal strong when it comes to marathon running.
This year will be much more fun for me as I should hopefully be pacing my friend Justin - he is raising money for Tommy's which is an amazing cause, so please sponsor him here! As well as my girlfriend Coralie, my best friends of over 20 years - Dave, Az, Ollie and Dan are also coming down from Suffolk to support me.
Whether you are running London or another spring marathon soon, whatever your time be sure to enjoy it. Yeah it's going to be hard (never a bad thing..) but you know what, if running a marathon was easy then everyone would do it.. I look forward to hearing how you all get on.
I'd like to especially wish good luck to my training partners Will Law, Matt Hunt & Ian Coxall. I am more of a silent partner these days given my fragile physique, but the boys are all in great knick and I have no doubt they will bring home the bacon next Sunday - they all deserve it for training like beasts!
My Mum & Step-Dad will also be watching and I am very appreciative to have my family there watching. It would be easy for them to stay at home and send me a good luck text, but instead they are making the effort to travel to London to support me because they see how much I put into training for these races and just what running these marathons means to me.
It just so happens to also be the 13th marathon of my life - what could possibly go wrong?
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!